Contribute
Register

Question about Cube speakers

Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,423
Motherboard
Zotac Z77-ITX
CPU
i5-2500K
Graphics
HD 3000 + GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Classic Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
Other
Okay, I bought another Cube, this time with the speakers.

As was predictable they worked with the Cube, but not on later Macs. I did the usual searching and did a hardware mod to the speaker amplifier board as set out here:

http://www.cubeowner.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13516&st=15

And after the mod (which had a couple of tricky soldering joints to do) the speakers will work on all my computers.

Only after having done the hardware mod though did I re-read some of the threads on here and see there is apparently a kext that will let them work on later Mac OS'es and non Cubes without having to do a hardware mod.

So, to my questions: 1. My amplifier board seems to me to get quite warm. Does the kext hacked version also get warm to the touch??? 2. (and this is probably the power issue) do the speakers get very flaky and difficult when not used from a powered hub and if so what symptoms do they show?

Thanks for your help!
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
1,214
Motherboard
MSI Z77MA-G45
CPU
i7-3770k @ 4.3 GHz
Graphics
Gigabyte R9 280X Windforce 3GB
Mobile Phone
Android
Hi Minihack, I'm using two sets in my office, one for the i3 and one set for the i7 Cube. They work through both my vintage 20" Cinema and my new 27" LED Cinema. Both sets required AppleUSBAudio.kext from 10.6.2 to play any sound at all. Can't help u with the home-built amp, sorry.

Ersterhernd
 
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,423
Motherboard
Zotac Z77-ITX
CPU
i5-2500K
Graphics
HD 3000 + GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Classic Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
Other
Thanks E.

I'll see how reliable they are with power from hub and through Cinema display.

It's not really a home built amp, the mod is simply a couple of little hardware changes to the module inside the little perspex USB case which effectively turns the amp on all the time (though it won't actually receive the audio signal unless the USB speakers are selected in the system preferences). This hardware change enables the speakers in Windows too.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Messages
906
Motherboard
Z68MX-UD2H-B3, DQ77KB, NUC DC53427HYE, NUC D54250WYKH
CPU
i5-2500K, i3-3225, i7-3770S
Graphics
HD 3000, HD 4000, HD 5000
Mac
Classic Mac
iMac, Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,423
Motherboard
Zotac Z77-ITX
CPU
i5-2500K
Graphics
HD 3000 + GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Classic Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
Other
That's a nice little amp board. Looks like it might fit inside the original little perspex speaker module too.

Having tested out my modded originals they seem to work better on some machines than others, undoubtedly that is just down to the power they use as a standard USB 2.0 with regulation 500mA is not enough. I thought they would work well on my MBA as it is supposed to have higher power USB (or so I thought), but they work best of all on my HP 4540s hack (!) both under ML and Win 7 and work fine too in the USB 3 ports.

My new Original Cube - bought last weekend - has had the power supply go south on it now though (no evidence of incoming power to the VRM) so that is now something else to take apart and play with. Having done a bit of reading on these things I will try the "hairdryer" trick http://www.cubeowner.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13846 first to see if that wakes the supply up as if it does then this apparently normally identifies a $1 capacitor as the culprit. If anyone is interested in seeing the insides of the original brick then I'll take some pic.s and put them in a new thread [if not then I won't bother as this is a little off topic for a hacking forum].
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
234
Motherboard
ASUS P8Z77-M Pro
CPU
i5-2500K @ 4.8 GHz
Graphics
Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate
Mac
iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hey Minihack,

Sorry to get an answer to you so late but I have been out of the cube forum and in the graphics forum trying to get my sapphire HD 7750 ultimate to work. I am currently using a set of original cube speakers with my Mac Pro. They are urged into the back of my 23 aluminum apple Cinema Display which is plugged into the back of the Mac Pro. The back of my
Mac Pro is actually a mobo USB header not one from the I/o of the mobo (asus p8z77-m pro). I have the 10.6.2 or 4 USB audio kext installed and it works great. No crackling no flakiness etc. not as loud as my USB sound sticks but I think that's a no brainer. When I fire up my cube is just plug the dvi from the acd into the Dh61ag and plug the acds USB into a USB 3 on the dh61ag. The cube also has the old kext and sound works great on there too. I have used the speakers directly into the board, bypassing the monitor. They worked fine but because of the short USB cord, speaker placement is better if I plug it into the monitor
 
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,423
Motherboard
Zotac Z77-ITX
CPU
i5-2500K
Graphics
HD 3000 + GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Classic Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
Other
My new Original Cube - bought last weekend - has had the power supply go south on it now though (no evidence of incoming power to the VRM) so that is now something else to take apart and play with. Having done a bit of reading on these things I will try the "hairdryer" trick http://www.cubeowner.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=13846 first to see if that wakes the supply up as if it does then this apparently normally identifies a $1 capacitor as the culprit. If anyone is interested in seeing the insides of the original brick then I'll take some pic.s and put them in a new thread [if not then I won't bother as this is a little off topic for a hacking forum].
Like many before me I was sceptical about the hairdryer trick. However, after plugging the power supply into the core of the Cube and then playing the heat gun over where the notorious capacitor lives for a few minutes the little amber light on the VRM board flickered on. I touched the power switch and the Cube sprang into life.

So it looks like to get a permanent fix I will now need to go in and either replace the capacitor or re-solder it (could be a dry joint).

The information available over on Cubeowner.com is an amazing resource. :thumbup:

BTW, while I was playing with this I couldn't help but notice how the original Cube PSU case could be turned into a really cute little Intel NUC or gigabyte Brix case, it looks just the right size.
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
1,214
Motherboard
MSI Z77MA-G45
CPU
i7-3770k @ 4.3 GHz
Graphics
Gigabyte R9 280X Windforce 3GB
Mobile Phone
Android
BTW, while I was playing with this I couldn't help but notice how the original Cube PSU case could be turned into a really cute little Intel NUC or gigabyte Brix case, it looks just the right size.

I've got three sitting here that I can't sell, not a single bite. Hmmmmmmmm????? You got me thinking now, minihack....

:think:
 
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,423
Motherboard
Zotac Z77-ITX
CPU
i5-2500K
Graphics
HD 3000 + GTX 660
Mac
MacBook Air
Classic Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
Other
I've got three sitting here that I can't sell, not a single bite. Hmmmmmmmm????? You got me thinking now, minihack....

:think:
Huh,
if only you were not so far away I'd probably take those 3 off your hands!
If they work, why not try selling them on eBay with a different tactic - "205w silent power supply suitable for wide input voltage pico psu." I think they would be great for this type:



http://linitx.com/product/m4atxhv-250w-634v-intelligent-car-psu/13033 and I am seriously considering doing that myself. I am probably though, if I do try that higher power PSU, going to use one of these:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200725151314?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

which also will serve as a decent alternative to a Cube original PSU should it be needed.

By the way, when I opened up the CUbe PSU I couldn't believe how bad the airflow is in there- basically no airflow at all. Everything is first sealed in all sorts of a insulating glue, then put inside a metal case and then wrapped up tightly in the plastic outer. These things must just slowly cook over the years.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
96
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android
I just got a working Cube in great shape, including speakers, mouse and keyboard for 640 SEK (just shy of $100 USD). A cube project will definitely be coming down the line, when I get the time. But in the mean time, it would be nice to at least put the speakers to use.
I'm not having much luck connecting them. They do work, but only about 1/20 of the times when I try; the other times IOUSBFamily.kext spews errors into the console about not being able to "enumerate an USB device". I suspect that something might be wrong with the board…? I don't really mind if I'd get lower volume from the speakers (due to the power limitations), but obviously it would be nice if they worked somewhat reliably ;)

I was looking at the USB amp board that MacTester57 linked to – looks like a nice little device. Do you think it would be possible to switch out the existing amp board in the Cube speakers' "box" for this one?
 
Top