My strangely unexpected best-sound source --- my laptop!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Ghostworld, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    I have a lot of sources, iPhones, iPods (5th gen video, supposedly the best), CD players... but I was taken totally by surprise a week ago when I decided to plug my Sennheiser Momentums into my Dell Latitude E6410 laptop. I had never really played music from it before, I have so many portables and stereos, I usually work on the laptop and get music elsewhere, but I broke the headphone jack on my iPhone, so I thought I'd try plugging into my laptop for the first time.

    I was playing back lossless and HQ MP3s through Foobar and the headphone jack and thought to myself over a couple days: "Damn, why is this sounding so good?" It piqued my curiosity enough that I plugged into some other sources, and then came back to the laptop and I'll be damned if the sound didn't have more depth, power, space... what the hell? Are you telling me a laptop has better output than my treasure vintage ipod? Well, it does! It's now my favorite source to listen to music for quality. Very weird.
     
  2. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Location:
    Fonthill, Ontario
    I nearly choked :cheers:
     
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  3. noname74

    noname74 nocustomtitle

    Location:
    nolocation
    This is a fictionalized account of actual events.
     
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  4. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    My laptop also sounds very good, really good when I use a headphone. I have a rather new Acer. I don´t think it´s weird at all. Wish my digital recorder sounded that good.
     
  5. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    And why not? It has an IDT 92HD81 192kHz/24 bit high-resolution audio chipset (none of the other products mentioned are Hires). Has an output capable of up to 4.75 volts and capable of loads down to 4 ohms. It has a +/- 0.1dB response 20Hz-21kHz, but 17 bit-like specs- dynamic range 100dB, SNR 95dB, THD+N 83dB.

    It also has a 12 band parametric equalizer, dynamics processor, mic acoustic echo cancellation and noise supression, DTS, SRS...

    Just because the THD+N of my DAC is 20dB lower doesn't mean this audio codec can't exceed a CD player in enjoyment.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  6. cdgenarian

    cdgenarian Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Carolina
    I wonder why more listeners don't use a laptop rather than a streamer. The Node 2i is $500, and a decent laptop can be purchased for around that price point. Then you've got a keyboard and a screen. Of course, the 2i "can" be used as a preamp, but if you've already got a preamp or an integrated, why not go with a versatile laptop and forego the streamer?
     
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  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    As @harby stated, there is no reason to assume that a laptop is going to be inferior to an iPod is sound.

    Also considering, that your laptop is a newer device and may have newer technology that your iPod.

    There is nothing really remarkable about the iPod as far as digital music goes, other than it is portable.
     
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  8. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    very true
     
  9. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US
    You know what? Maybe I’m just a victim of the Apple Empire. I’ve been duped!
     
  10. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US

    I keep one eye open for a new
    dAP all the time. Even a Pono!
     
  11. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I started in computer's back in 1977, when I built my first computer from a kit.

    A few years later, I became the Sales Manager for the computer store, which started as a hobby store" and was the original Apple dealer in the State of Florida (It was their 2nd store).

    Over the years I bought the first McIntosh and went on to specialize in Apple products, due to their unique from DOS software and hardware options.

    After the original 128k Mac, Apple endorsed open architecture. You had expansion slots and could add additional memory, monitors and many other peripherals.

    Somewhere along the way, all this went away and people began to endorse both Apple and their products with the fervor usually reserved for religious cults.

    It was about this time that I backed away from the Apple universe, for those reasons.
     
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  12. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I don't know if I would go that far?

    There is a lot more newer and better player's on the market today.
     
  13. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    My iPad sounds better than my OG Schiit Modi version 1. I haven't tried it but I bet my MacBook Pro sounds even better.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  14. Count me in as well, I'm pretty satisfied with my Macbook Pro as a source. I run it directly to a Meier Jazz to my headphones and I'm happy as a clam.
    I also use an ACER Chromebook 15 which isn't too bad either. ACER>Topping D10>Topping NX3s>Headphones. No Streaming, just Flacs stored on a Sandisk..
    Works for me!!!
     
  15. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Please label the photos you post

    Location:
    Austin, TX
    How did his morph from someone saying the headphone jack of a laptop is the best sound to people talking about their fancy headphone amps and stuff?
     
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  16. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Bay, CA
    Not my experience at all, in fact quite the opposite. One of the best things I've ever done for my digital front-end, by far, was to take my dedicated Mac Mini music server, which only had the OS on it & was connected to my DAC via a USB cable, and move it completely out of the audio rack and into the other end of the house. I put it on the network with an Ethernet cable connected directly to my router, connected a Sonore microRendu powered by an Uptone LPS-1 to the DAC instead, and installed Roon Core on Mini at the other end of the house. Installing both the Sonore on the network and streaming files from it out the to the DAC made for a BIG improvement across board: a signficantly cleaner, quieter presentation, blacker background, improved vocal and instrumental reproduction, tonal accuracy, timbral nuance, significantly improved DR, tighter and more finely articulated bass and mid-bass, and an overall much more accurate, natural and engaging presentation.

    That served me very well until two weeks ago when I installed a Shunyata Alpha USB cable from the Sonore to the DAC, which resulted in major significant improvement again in sound quality, a bigger jump in audio quality than a better DAC or preamp would bring. The icing on the cake was to replace the run of Ethernet Cat 7 cable to the Sonore with a run of optical fiber, instead. My digital front end has never sounded better, and the last two upgrades (the Shunyata Alpha and optical fiber) took it up several big notches.

    In my experience, all general purpose computers do is add a lot of noise, hash, grunge, and garbage to music reproduction, and their high-bandwidth CPUs and GPUs and incredibly poor and noisy power supplies spewing RFI and EM radiation everywhere are the culprits.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
    TarnishedEars likes this.
  17. ALAN SICHERMAN

    ALAN SICHERMAN Van Cortlandt Park

    Location:
    Kew Gardens, NY
    I understand. I love the sound of my imac!
     
  18. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US

    It’s like being back at Headfi.
     
  19. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    US

    Same story with me. And I started playing with PCs and realized a lot of good open source stuff was out there. But I insist on a Mac for video editing. I love Final Cut Pro.
     
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  20. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    In my music room, my MacBook Pro sounds sweet streaming to a Bluetooth thingy attached to my main system. I call this my lazy system for when I'm not feeling like flipping vinyl or messing with a 5.1 listening experience.

    In another room, the same laptop can be easily hardwired into a pair of Bose computer speakers which completely rock.

    I've always attributed these experiences to my not being an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination. I simply like very decent sound and I have achieved it for a rather modest overall price. These computer-based options are simply an extension of a good listening experience. I shouldn't be surprised that others feel this way too.
     
  21. libertycaps

    libertycaps Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    :righton:Enjoy, bro! Who am i to say anything about your ears? :righton:
     
  22. cdgenarian

    cdgenarian Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Sonically (or 'music-wise,' I should say), is there anything inherently and measurably superior about a Macbook or Macbook Pro over a Windows laptop in the same price range?

    I'm a Windows 10 desktop user, and beginning to be in the market for a laptop for music streaming (nothing else, not even email). I don't mean ease of use or apps, just musically. I'm just curious. Thanks.
     
  23. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    The macbooks have had notorious keyboard issues, so that should be an opt-out right there.

    For a Windows laptop, you have instead hundreds of choices, so it is hard to characterize sound quality generally.

    Instead of a new $500-1000 laptop, for that role you may be more than satisfied with a $200 used laptop and instead a $200 external DAC. You can decide then if you want a big screen for usability (like running radio station library software or DJ software) or a small screen you'd rarely use (if using with a TV as a media center or via web remote control).

    Another specification is deciding between a small SSD (if playing network sources) or a huge hard drive (if storing your music library).
     
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  24. SJP

    SJP Forum Resident

    Location:
    Anaheim
    No difference that I am aware of.

    I'd be curious to know of these notorious keyboard issues so that I can spot the problem if it ever happens to me.

    My first MacBook Pro lasted me about 7 years without a single issue before I handed it down to my middle school & high school age daughters. They are embarking upon year 3. The only problem they are having is battery life which can be easily fixed.

    Of course, I'm moving into year 3 with my newest MacBook Pro and haven't seen this mysterious keyboard issue.

    My son and one of my best friends are in the exact same boat. Super long term MacBook users with superior track records in terms of performance and reliability which support a major reason why many purchase these in the first place.
     
  25. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA

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