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Released on October 23, 2012. Core i5 or Core i7 Processor. Apple Fusion Drive.

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No system audio device listed

The system audio device of my Mac Mini 2012 isn’t available, neither in System Preferences nor in the System Report.

I bought this Mac Mini only recently second hand, replaced the second hard drive with an SSD, and made a clean install install of OS X 10.11. I hardly used the computer before and therefore can’t say for sure if the system audio device had been working before.

Any clues what could be the cause, and how to fix it?

Audio output over DisplayPort/HDMI works. SMC and PRAM reset did not solve this issue.

Update (11/11/2021)

@danj Thanks again for your help. I had another look at the logic board but found no suspicious traces near the audio chip - at least no difference to other areas. Maybe you can see something?

I think I’ll leave it as it is now before I cause any serious damage to the Mac’s innards - unless of course you or someone else have further suggestions.

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Lets give the board a clean using some 90% isopropyl alcohol and a soft brush to pull away the dust & dirt. lets see how it looks then.


@danj AIUI, cleaning the board would only help identify existing damage to the board, wouldn't it? I'm hestitant opening the case yet again and risk serious damage by ESD or broken connectors. Thanks anyway for the suggestion.

Meanwhile I spoke to the seller, who (maybe tellingly) mentioned an USB audio interface they've been using ...


@Jo H - If you can return it and get your money back then I would.


@danj Bad luck for me - I bought this Mac Mini months ago and did some initial checks back then, including the Thunderbolt and Ethernet ports but not the audio device. Then I set it aside until a rainy Saturday afternoon (which we finally had in November). I can't possibly return it after several months, and besides, if the audio device remains the only broken component, it's still been a fairly good deal.


@Jo H - Then look at a USB DAC device there are quite a few out there!


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Ah! A Where’s Waldo problem!

First do you hear the Bong startup sound? If you do that tells us the logic board DAC is working

Second look at your System Preferences > Sound do you see in the Output section the two listed outputs: Analog and Digital Out? If you only see Digital then that’s telling us the headphone jack has a problem. Try plugging in a headphone do you hear your music or other audio? Putting it in and out may fix things. Sometimes the little blade switched inside get messed up and need a little work to fix either because they shifted or they are dirty

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Sadly you can’t replace it as its mounted directly on the logic board. You may just need to use a set of speakers.

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Thanks a lot for your reply, Dan.

There is no startup sound when I switch on the Mac Mini. Since you mention it, I’m pretty sure it never played a startup sound.

In System Preferences > Sound, the Input tab says “no input devices found”.

The Output tab shows no devices except for the display (connected over an DP-HDMI adapter) and an AirPlay receiver. No SPDIF, no headphones.

I will try cleaning the headphone connector next.


@Jo H - Not good ;-{ This is staring to look like a logic board issue within the DAC logic (Cirrus Logic 4206B Audio Controller). Review this guide Mac mini Late 2012 Teardown Jump down to Step 11 to ID the DAC. Look for corrosion around it and on the exact other side.


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Jo H será eternamente grato(a).
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