Headphone static on iMac

Emily Phelan
Emily Phelan used Ask the Experts™
on
Regardless of listening to music or video, I'm experiencing intermittent static while plugged into my office iMac. The static noise is every few seconds, but there is no consistent timing between noises. I moved the cable away from other electronics and power cords to no avail. Muting audio does not prevent noise. The headphones are Audio-Technica ATH-M40x and the computer is an iMac running High Sierra 10.13.6

I also plugged the headphones into my MacBook Pro (also running High Sierra 10.13.6) and the static ceased, so the headphones are fine?
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Top Expert 2016

Commented:
So it is the headphone connector on the mac that has the poor connection. Replacing the jack is about your only option.
David FavorFractional CTO
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
As David Johnson said, it's either the iMac headphone jack or headphone cables.

Replacing iMac jacks is long + expensive.

Another option (if the jack is really bad), just switch over to using USB headphones.
Emily PhelanUX/UI Designer

Author

Commented:
Thank you gentlemen. I'm certainly not prepared to replace the audio jack in an iMac that isn't mine.

The headphones play fine on my MacBook Pro, so I'm guessing the cable is okay. I imagine there be a loss of quality using an AUX female to USB male adapter? I tried looking for a direct cable replacement by Audio-Technica, but I'm only seeing AUX options.
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Emily

Coming at the problem from another direction .. how about converting your wired headphones into bluetooth with a receiver like this
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D8K76F4?ascsubtag=AwEAAAAAAAAAAUXR&linkCode=g12&tag=thewire04-21

In effect the audio on the iMac would be over bluetooth not the headphone jack and you plug your perfectly working headphones into the receiver instead.
If you've a canister of compressed air (commonly used for cleaning computer keyboards etc ..) you could also try a quick blast in the headphone port .. in case there is something tiny in there causing the static but it’s a long shot
Emily PhelanUX/UI Designer

Author

Commented:
Thanks Eoin! I didn't even know that existed. I will give the air a try during lunch.
Emily PhelanUX/UI Designer

Author

Commented:
I'm not ready to replace the jack on the iMac nor buy another set of headphones, so I'm going to give the bluetooth adapter a shot. Thank you!

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