August 16, 2012
Niles Nerd

Mountain Lion on MacBooks incompatible with 3.5mm microphones

- Nerds On Site After a tremendous amount of support time of my own with theBoom and Apple, it is clear now that Apple OS X Mountain Lion is incompatible with some third party 3.5mm jack microphones.
Here’s the problem: I have a theBoom v4 microphone that worked great in Mac OS X Lion but it will not work in Mountain Lion. Even when my theBoom v4 headset is plugged in, this is what my Sound Preferences Input tab looks like:
- Nerds On Site
theBoom technical support returned my call and confirmed the problem with MacBook Air laptops. I have since tested on 10 MacBook Airs (all units on display at an Apple Store), MacBook Pro (non-retina and retina models) and all have the same problem.
Additionally I’ve tested with associates’ Apple laptops. The only two cases with Mountain Lion that recognized “External microphone” were early 2011 MacBook Pro purchases of friends, so it appears to be a combination of newer hardware + Mountain Lion that represents this problem. Incidentally, my iPhone 4 headset works fine everywhere (but it’s a terrible microphone).
I called Apple Support, who referred me to a Genius, who referred me back to AppleCare. At the second call, AppleCare listened and provided me with a case number, senior advisor name & extension and he suggested it would be a driver issue to be supplied by theBoom and included in a future software update by Apple.
Normally I wouldn’t make a big deal out of an incompatibility like this, but this has left me with only the option of downgrading back to MacOS X Lion. I require both USB ports for other purposes, so a USB headset is not an option. Even though I carefully checked for 100% of my must-haves to be compatible with Mountain Lion before the upgrade, I’ll listen to my own advice to our clients – to wait until the first major update to a new Apple Operating System upgrade.
That’s my “confession of a leading edge junkie” today.
UPDATE#1 (2012-08-23): The MacOS X Mountain Lion Update (10.8.1) did not solve the problem either.
UPDATE#2 (2012-08-28): After downgrading to MacOS X Lion (10.7.4) on this same MacBook Air, the microphone is still not recognized. Therefore a hardware AND software problem.
- Nerds On Site
UPDATE#3 (2012-09-20): After Apple’s MacOS X updates (10.7.5 and 10.8.2), still no joy 🙁

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