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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs Apps
Someone pointed me to Daniel Gattermann's blog post, which discusses a new and seemingly little-mentioned feature (there's almost nothing about it to be found via Google) on Intel-powered Macs running 10.4.8 -- ambient noise reduction.

You'll find this setting on your Intel Mac in the Sound System Preferences panel, and it looks like this:



It appears that the ambient noise reduction feature is designed to remove the background noise that the microphone would otherwise pick up. It should make a difference in any app in which you use the microphone, making your voice clearer while diminishing unwanted noises. Audio chats (in iChat or Skype) seem like an obvious beneficiary, as but one example. Daniel tested iChat with and without the ambient noise reduction enabled, and wrote:
Without this option the voice was clear but there was also a lot of noise from the MBPs fans and some static to hear. With this option enabled the sound seems to be a bit "softer" but more pleasant to listen to.
It seems this is definitely Intel-only; it's nowhere to be seen on either my G5 or older 12" PowerBook G4. I haven't had the chance to test it yet myself (audio chats in the household are frowned upon during the early morning hours when I'm working on hints!), but will do so later today.

Update: Per the comments, this isn't new in 10.4.8, and it's applicable to only the MacBook and Mac Book Pro, it seems.
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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: xwiz on Nov 17, '06 07:57:02AM

Nowhere to be seen on my 1.83GHz Core Duo iMac, either.



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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: VonHugenstein on Nov 17, '06 07:58:51AM

I can't find this on my 2GHz Intel iMac



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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: TvE on Nov 17, '06 08:10:37AM

Not visible on the 24" iMac (with intel in case one should be wondereing ;-)



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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: Papillon on Nov 17, '06 08:11:19AM

I've got it on my MacBook Pro 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo...
And it helps enormously - thanks for the hint!



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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: dmoren on Nov 17, '06 08:29:28AM
I believe this is a function of the integrated mics on the MacBook and MacBook Pro. It pre-dates 10.4.8 too, as I noticed it when I first got my MacBook.

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not on every Intel Macs
Authored by: sd on Nov 17, '06 09:07:53AM

Not on my Mac Pro



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Reasons and Uses
Authored by: Mike Perry on Nov 17, '06 09:45:42AM

Given the hardware that it doesn't work with (Mac Pro and Intel iMac), this can't be a CPU horsepower or Intel-only issue. I wonder if this is working like noise cancellation headphones because there a tiny extra microphone inside the MacBook and MacBook Pro that picks up ambient noise.

I also wonder if it might be adapted to another purpose, to give the two Mac laptops something roughly similar to a noise cancelling headphone with any headphone. That'd be handy in airport lounges with those impossible-to-silence CNN News monitors blaring overhead and on noisy flights and train commutes.



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10.4.8 Microphone volume settings ruined
Authored by: rinnin on Nov 19, '06 12:12:58PM

I had the latest updates for my Macbook but the volume level for my MacBook was reduced considerably on update to 10.4.8. A number of other people are having the same problem and can be seen on Apple's Discussion boards with the problem of a macbook turning "deaf". The only way to solve this problem is to do an erase and install to return the microphone setting back to their original state. I hope this problem can be addressed in the next update to 10.4.
Below is my most recent post to the above discussion.

I've just did a complete erase and install (about a 2 1/2 hour job) on my MacBook and am now running 10.4.6 again and just want to report that the microphone level is almost twice the volume of that in 10.4.8.
I tested this by recording my normal speaking voice in iMovie using the isight camera before and after the update with the mic input level slider set to near maximum in both cases.
Only problem now is that since I dont have 10.4.8 I cant run the recent firmware update so run the risk of RSS!.
I hope to God Apple does something about this microphone issue as I'm probably gonna have to update to 10.4.8 pretty soon.

BTW the ambient noise sensor makes the volume even fainter



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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: drackett on Nov 20, '06 12:46:30PM

This item isn't found on my macbook pro, a first revision. Maybe this is something that was added with the macbook and newer macbook pros?



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10.4: Use ambient noise reduction on 10.4.8 Intel Macs
Authored by: DanielG on Nov 20, '06 03:24:33PM

It is available on my GF's early 2006 MBP (she pre-ordered). Very odd it's missing on your MBP.



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