Introduction

The Apple Pro Speakers (made by harman kardon) are a great piece of technology. They were specially designed for the iMac G4 and the Power Mac G4 MDD (mirrored door drives) series. Those computers had a special connector which supplied both – an audio signal and power – to the speakers.

There are some guides which explain how to connect the speakers using a 3.5 mm jack, but this will never be a real solution as these speakers need to be driven by a real amp – and not the line-out of a computer or other audio device.

As Griffin iFire converters are expensive and hard to get, this guide relies on a class-d amp, which means that you can revive the speakers for about 40 US dollars.

This image shows the complete setup with which you will end up. With a little bit of work you can soon enjoy the clear sound of true harman kardon speakers.
  • This image shows the complete setup with which you will end up. With a little bit of work you can soon enjoy the clear sound of true harman kardon speakers.

  • Please note: This guide will destroy the original cable/connector which is used to connect the Apple Pro Speakers to an iMac, Power Mac or the Griffin iFire.

  • Please also note that – as with every electronical repair or modification guide – you alone are responsible for your own health and the health of others. Also be aware that you alone are responsible for any damaged electronic equipment.

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Cut each of the speaker cables. To get the maximum length you can cut the cables near the white "knob" which merges the two cables.
  • Cut each of the speaker cables. To get the maximum length you can cut the cables near the white "knob" which merges the two cables.

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Remove the outer insulation on each speaker cable. Remove up to two inch of isolation. You can use a scissor or a wire stripper. Be ultra careful not to damage or cut the inner wires.
  • Remove the outer insulation on each speaker cable. Remove up to two inch of isolation. You can use a scissor or a wire stripper. Be ultra careful not to damage or cut the inner wires.

  • Two wires are inside each speaker cable.

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Now also remove the insulation of the small inner wires. Again be careful not to cut the cables as they are very small.
  • Now also remove the insulation of the small inner wires. Again be careful not to cut the cables as they are very small.

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You should end up with something like this.
  • You should end up with something like this.

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Now you will need to find out the proper polarity of the speakers, i.e. which cable is negative (-) and which is positive (+).
  • Now you will need to find out the proper polarity of the speakers, i.e. which cable is negative (-) and which is positive (+).

  • Unfortunately – at the time where I did this conversion – I did not photograph the cable colors. But there is an easy trick to find out the polarity:

  • In this image you see two banana plugs and a AA battery. Just imagine these are two stripped wires from one of the speaker cables.

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Now connect one wire to the negative terminal (-) and the other to the positive terminal (+) of the AA battery.
  • Now connect one wire to the negative terminal (-) and the other to the positive terminal (+) of the AA battery.

  • If the speaker cone bulges out (left image), you've got the proper polarity. You now know that the wire on the positive terminal of the AA battery is your "+" wire, i.e. it will connect with the "+" output of your amp.

  • If the speaker cone moves in (right image), the polarity is reversed. You now know that the wire on the negative terminal of the AA battery would be your "+" wire, i.e. it will connect with the "+" output of your amp.

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Now solder an extension cable to each of the stripped wires. If you want you can use a red wire for positive (+) and a black wire for negative (-) so you can easily connect the speakers with the amp later.
  • Now solder an extension cable to each of the stripped wires. If you want you can use a red wire for positive (+) and a black wire for negative (-) so you can easily connect the speakers with the amp later.

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Finally insulate the wires properly. Use shrinking tube and/or electrical tape.
  • Finally insulate the wires properly. Use shrinking tube and/or electrical tape.

  • If you like you can also use shrinking tube on the previously insulated wires, so you end up with a single cable (per speaker) again.

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Now strip the extension cables of each speaker. You are now ready to connect the speakers to your amp.
  • Now strip the extension cables of each speaker. You are now ready to connect the speakers to your amp.

  • If you like you can use banana plugs with the stripped cables (like seen in the image).

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You are almost done. Now properly connect the speaker cables/banana plugs with your amp. Connect your Mac or PC or some other audio device with the amp and enjoy your old new Apple Pro Speakers.
  • You are almost done. Now properly connect the speaker cables/banana plugs with your amp. Connect your Mac or PC or some other audio device with the amp and enjoy your old new Apple Pro Speakers.

  • Please note that the Apple Pro Speakers don't sound too loud, but that's by design. Still, their sound is very clean and detailed (on a class-d amp).

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Finish Line

18 other people completed this guide.

rafael

Member since: 10/30/2012

670 Reputation

1 Guide authored

25 Comments

Amp shown appears to be a Muse Audio M20 EX2 TA2020

dick - Reply

Good guide. I'm doing the same thing with a pair of these speakers, but I think I'll use new cables soldered to the speaker terminals.

One quibble though. I believe the correct term for the wire covering is "insulation", not isolation, and in step 9, you "insulate" the wires, rather than isolate.

Chuck - Reply

Thanks chuck, I have corrected the wire covering term :)

rafael -

Will this amplifier work for my Apple Pro speakers?

http://www.amazon.com/LP-2020A-Lepai-Tri...

Brian Hernandez - Reply

Should work. Not the 'best' amp out there, but same tripath chip as most other class-d amps on the market.

rafael -

Yes, I actually bought that amp last week and it worked a treat with these apple speakers.

downs -

I just did this successfully, thanks for the writeup. :) For the record, these were the wire colors and polarities on the set I had:

Left speaker: Blue = negative, white = positive

Right speaker: Brown = negative, yellow = positive

But who knows whether that's consistent? Anyway I reinforced the connections with a combination of heat shrink tubing and Sugru, since the wires are so teensy, and got the exact amp used here from eBay for about $25. Nice to give these speakers a new lease on life. :)

mbates - Reply

Great to hear that :] It's a good thing to see some Pro Speakers getting revived!

rafael -

For the record, I had exactly the same colours and polarity.

Thanks for the great guide - my speakers are working perfectly again!

phwells -

Just to confirm that I had the same polarities.

Also, to add, here are the matching connector rings:

Tip: White, Left (+)

Ring 1: Blue, Left (-)

Ring 2: Brown, Right (-)

Ring 3: Yellow, Right (+)

Hiyel -

You can send a link to purchase amp correct?

Thanks

Ciao

dduniv - Reply

Thanks. Great guide. It looks like after step 4, the wires can be used in an amp with those spring loaded clip connector, rather than having to solder an extension and put on the RCA connectors.

smegma - Reply

Sure, you can just connect the speakers directly!

rafael -

I have these speakers, plus the subwoofer designed to work with them. It attaches directly to the computer via USB cable and has its own power brick. Will I be able to use the subwoofer with these speakers after completing the project above?

LarryH - Reply

This will most likely not work, as the USB Subwoofer has to be supported by your operating system. As far as I remember Apple stopped support for those USB subwoofers a long time ago and in addition to that they were only supported on few computers (like the second generation iMacs). Even if it would work, you'd have two separate volumes – one for the subwoofer and one on the Pro Speakers amp. It's a pity. Long ago I had an iMac "snow" in combination with this USB iSub and it sounded terrfic. What you could do is to disassemble the sub and connect the speaker directly with the amp where you also hook up the Pro Speakers, but this requires a little bit more technical insight and I would not recommend to do it.

rafael -

What Amp should we use or witch model is this

Andres - Reply

Answered above already. Anyway, you can use any Class-D / Class-T amp.

rafael -

This completely worked for me. I used a Muse Audio M20 EX2 TA2020, which I ordered through Amazon (it shipped from China). The wire colors were the same for me as mentioned earlier: Left speaker: Blue = negative, white = positive, Right speaker: Brown = negative, yellow = positive. I've been holding onto these speakers for a long time, hoping there would be a way to use them again. Thanks for the guide, and for everyone's comments!

Dennis - Reply

Hello,

Your post is amazing , thank you very much !

Your project has made me think of a more ambitious project since I have not used these beautiful speakers also the first Soundsticks and Subwoofer .

Is it possible that there is a type of amplifier that would connect the pair of Apple Pro Speakers (4 inputs) , Soundsticks another pair of Harman / Kardon (4 more inputs) and also Subwoofer Harman / Kardon (1 more input) . In all 5 pairs of inputs.

If so, can you tell me what kind of amplifier would be.

I hope you can help me and tell me whether to start , you think appropriate the project.

arturo barrera - Reply

pefect, thanks a lot

man

Michele Angelo Narracci LR - Reply

Great guide, thanks a lot! I'm pretty amazed how great the speakers sound. Kudos to you!

Jan Sieroslawski - Reply

Also did the same way and it is Success! )) Works like a charm! )) Pro Speakers with two white Cinemas and Mac Pro is best!

armdn - Reply

I like the description given of how to connect the speakers to a small amp, and despite my extreme novice status, I think I can pull this off. One thing I'm not clear on, however, is the means by which to connect the amp to the source. (In my case, it'll be a Mid-2010 iMac.) Is this so simple it simply isn't mentioned? Help appreciated, as always. Thanks.

perryclarkkc - Reply

Sorry for this late post. Does anyone know the resistance of these speakers? Can I use it on my Kenwood 6-16 Ohm amplifier?

Geralt van 't Veld - Reply

I've been storing these little speakers of mine for a decade, on the verge of throwing them away because I figured they were probably useless. This thread gives me hope that I can use these again!

I'm pretty good with electronics, but don't know what a class D or class T amp is exactly. Trying to figure out what to buy in Sweden that might work. Does this seem like the right kind of thing? https://www.kjell.com/se/sortiment/el-ve...

jacknutting - Reply

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