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Mike, Mac Medic
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 8997
Experience:  Over 20 years IT experience with Apple computers in publishing, marketing and design.
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I suddenly have no system alert sounds or any sort of audio

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I suddenly have no system alert sounds or any sort of audio coming from my internal speakers on my MAC OS X 10.9. I tried headphones, and still nothing. I have gone into System Preferences/Sound and everything appears as it should. Mute is not 'checked', I have tried rebooting the operating system, upgrading to the latest version, and still nothing. Hours of troubleshooting. Please help!
Please try this then let me know:

Resetting the SMC & PRAM for Mac Pro, Intel-based iMac, Intel-based Mac mini, or Intel-based Xserve
1. Shut down the computer.
2. Unplug the computer's power cord.
3. Wait fifteen seconds.
4. Attach the computer's power cord.
5. Wait five seconds, then press the power button to turn on the computer.
6. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
7. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts.
8. Release the keys.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I did as instructed. When I hold the keys down, a white screen flashes briefly, I hear the CD/DVD re-configure (like on a normal power-up) but then back to black screen. This repeats every 5-8 seconds, there is no chime. So, essentially, when holding the command-option-p-r keys, it doesn't really restart. Once I release the keys, it does then restart as normal to desktop screen...but still no start-up chime or volume.

Re-checked system preferences, still appears normal. Volume buttons on keyboard work, in that the icon shows on screen, but no sound.


Ok when the screen goes black it is actually restarting but you are not even hearing the startup chime, so it seems to be a hardware problem because that would reset the sound Preferences. Please go to the Sysyem Preferences/ Sound and under Output tell me all that are listed there.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

NAME: internal speakers TYPE: built-in


There is only the one option under Output

OK did this start right after you installed Mevericks or did it work for a while?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The sound issue started 2 evenings ago...seemingly out of nowhere. Left for work and everything was fine. Returned home, and BOOM:(


So no, I installed Mavericks just this morning, hoping it would fix the audio problem. I re-installed and updated my older OS, Lion, yesterday, hoping it would fix the prob. Nothing. Before Mavericks, I even tried a "Lion Audio Fix" app I found online, that didn't help either.

OK it sounds like a hardware failure but try this:

Plug in and then take out headphones.

Open the Activity monitor. Kill the Core Audio process by selecting it and then select the X in the upper left corner:


Reboot. Let me know

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I tried to "Kill the Core Audio" through Activity monitor, but I will try again...

OK let me know
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No luck Chuck. (or Mike;)

Would it help if I installed an older version of an operating system? I suppose not, if you think it's a hardware failure.

Have you ever heard of a hardware failure like this on a $1,400 computer that is less than 2 years old? I am livid!

Some users had loss of audio after Mavericks installation but since your's started before you installed it then yes I'm afraid it is a hardware problem. If you do not have Applecare which would cover it for 3 years then I would still take it in to Apple since it is less than two years old I'm sure they will fix it for a nominal cost if not for free. Sorry, wish I had better news.
As far as installing a clean system if you had a startup chime I would say that is worth a try but since you don't I think that would be a waste of time.
Mike and 5 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your help Mike. I'll haul it down to the Apple Store.

Ok good luck