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noob question about amps.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

ok, so ive just bought a new laptop, a sony vaio, however unlike my previous laptop the audio dosent seem to be as good a quality (samsung) ...im using a pair of akg 272's. Audio is quite important to me as im working with sound in college. I have tried to return the laptop but they tell me since its started up i cant.

 

my question, if i buy a good headphone amp, can i increase the sound qualiuty coming into my headohones, or will it just make it louder???

 

please help:(

post #2 of 6

Unless the volume level is not where you want it an amp is not going to bring the sound quality up to par.  You may want to invest in an external DAC like the Total Bithead from Headphone.com.  It is both an external USB DAC and headphone amp.  Most PC listening is extremely limited because of the poor DAC implimentation used on most motherboards.  There is of course the issue of output impedance which determines how well a system can control the headphone drivers.  On top of that the voltage may simply be too low ( low volume ) and you may end up with poor quality sound that way.

 

The first step in generating a better PC listening experience, besides upgrading your headphones/speakers, is to apply an external DAC.  It can be in the form of an external soundcard or stand alone DAC like the Bithead.  This will bypass the internal DAC and audio management and run the semi raw digital audio signal into the DAC.  The DAC, being isolated from the noisy environment of your PC, will be able to process the digital signal into an analog signal that your headphones can utilize.

 

Almost always when going from on-board sound to an external DAC improves the audio quality and listening experience.

 

Hope that helps.

post #3 of 6
post #4 of 6

I have read that the uDAC and uDAC-2 have some issues.  I suggest looking elsewhere.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/products/nuforce-icon-udac-2-black-usb-dac-24bit-96khz-and-headphone-amplifier/reviews/

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron l View Post

ok, so ive just bought a new laptop, a sony vaio, however unlike my previous laptop .......

 

my question, if i buy a good headphone amp, can i increase the sound qualiuty coming into my headohones, or will it just make it louder???

 

aaron

 

I recently purchased a new laptop with an inferior soundcard and suffered the same dilemma.  

 

There are a lot of solutions our there for you, it just takes times to sift through all the threads and opinions.   A lot of great stuff!

 

At the time I did minimal research and purchased a FIIO E7 DAC/AMP.  Great inexpensive band-aid to my problem.  The reason I say band aid, is because the FIIO E7 is fairly cheap, but it gets the job done. The E7 instantly brought amazing clarity and sound quality to my music as a DAC and as an AMP it provided some considerable volume omph.     If you have a lousy laptop soundcard it will give you immediate night and day difference.   

 

On a side note, the other nice thing about the E7 is that it is about the size of an iPhone so it provide ulta portability to accompany your laptop on the go, but it also integrates well with an iPod, iPhone or iPad.   You can purchase a L9 plug from FIIO that provides a direct connection to your apple device.   Just like the laptop performance improvement, coupling the E7 with the apple makes a considerable improvement in sound.

 

As of writing this, the FIIO E7 was selling for $67 on amazon which is $15 cheaper than what I paid for 2 months ago.

 

There are a lot of other great options out there as well.  I just found the FIIO to be the best solution at the time and I don't regret my decision.  They also make an E17 which is much more powerful and gets great reviews.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron l View Post

my question, if i buy a good headphone amp, can i increase the sound qualiuty coming into my headohones, or will it just make it louder???

 

If your problem is "bad" sound, you have to bypass the laptop's audio circuitry. In that case, a reasonable quality USB-attached DAC+amp will improve the sound.

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