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A1418 | EMC 2889 | Late 2015 | 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.8 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5. Released October 13, 2015.

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Microphone noise reduction or stuttering FaceTime

When I use FaceTime to video call someone they are complaining the sound is stuttering, like when noise cancellation is used but not working properly.

Now I can’t seem to find if the internal mic has noise-cancelling or not, nor can I find anything that shows if it has how to turn it off. I have fast internet and have no problems with any of my other devices using FaceTime.

I’ve tested my mic by using the “Voice Memos” app included in Big Sur. The recordings sound fine and clear, with no stuttering. So I don’t think the hardware is the issue. So far only FaceTime has given me this complaint from the listeners.

I have macOS Big Sur installed with the latest updates, I have installed an SSD drive and the Mac works and performs just fine, even with apps like Photoshop.

Does anyone have an idea what this is or how I can solve this?
I don’t like using external stuff, one of the reasons I like use an iMac ;-)

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Have you tried an external microphone either hardwired or Bluetooth? I would start there as that would isolate the issue if it is or isn't the systems mic system when on a FaceTime call.

Your system does have noise canceling. It has two microphones internally. But its not as good as the newer iMac’s ability. In any case if you are recording your self and don’t hear any issue then its not the systems microphones.

Now the tricky part! Your other devices are an iPhone or iPad which likely are connected via the cellular network Vs your cable internet connection. Its also possible your iMac is not hardwired to the cable router but instead connected via WiFi (or has a bridged connection over WiFi). So while you might have a good internet connection things are a bit more complex!

So let’s start at the cable end at the Router most folks connection is Asymmetrical that is the data flow coming to you is much higher than the flow leading out of you. So watching movies or other Internet stuff is silky smooth, but posting a big file to a server on the internet takes forever! This is the limits of your connection.

If your directly wired that would be the most likely issue you are facing. If you are connected over a WiFi connection then the distance between the iMac and the Router (AP) could be an issue as well as the given band you are using. You’ll need to check to see what you are connected via a good program like WiFi Explorer Lite which allows you to visually see the bands and what is in use around you. Ideally you want to use a band that is not heavily used and offered better throughput. Do keep in mind the 5 GHz bands don’t offer the same distances as the slower 2.4 GHz bands. In addition if you are using a WiFi bridge the slowest link will we the limits of the pathway. If you can go for a Meshed router setup.

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Hi Dan,

Thank you for your answer. To give you a more detailed view of my network;

I use Google WiFi (not Nest Wifi) as my wireless internet network and have a small home. I have 4 Google Wifi points so full coverage in the whole house, garden, garage and roof. And the iMac is about 3 meters from the main Google Wifi Router. My signal is strong and I am alone in this house, so no TV/Spotify or big files/streams running at the same time. My iPhone XS and iPad Mini 5 are connected to the same wifi network as is my MacBook Pro (2015). All except my iMac work perfectly fine with FaceTime, with no hiccups or stuttering. So I doubt that it is the WiFi or network causing this issue.

Thank you for confirming there is noise cancellation. The issue really sounds like I’ve experienced before on earlier editions of noise cancellation, kicking in too late causing the stuttering effect. There is no way this can be controlled in any way, or even turned off?


@maltacode - Did you try an external mic yet? I would do that first.

I personally haven't seen cutout issues with noise canceling. Wind and sound sources (something rubbing on the case is one example) which are stronger can cause fade where the primary source you want is over run by the other background source.


Hi Dan,

You are right, I will give the external mic a test first, see what happens. Thank you.


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Malta Code will be eternally grateful.
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