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Where is the pitfall? [MBP -> Speakers]

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I'm experiencing some issues with my audio setup. My speakers have an integrated amp.
 
Here is what I found through testing (when I'm using lower volume on the source, I increase the amp volume to compensate):
 
 - Integrated CD player -> Speakers: Optimal
 - MacBook Pro @ min. volume -> Speakers: OK
 - iPod @ min. volume -> Speakers: OK
 - MacBook Pro @ max. volume -> Speakers: Horrible, unlistenable
 - iPod @ max. volume -> Speakers: Horrible, unlistenable
 
The results are quite puzzling, as I'd expect a higher source volume to be better, because it increases the bit depth. What could be causing this distortion? I'm always playing lossless CD rips on the source, which is connected via its headphone jack.
 
How can I improve the quality? Should I buy a standalone DAC? TIA.
post #2 of 3

The bit depth has nothing to do with this - you are using analog connection.

What you are experiencing at the max volume is a combination of two things:

- analog distortions caused by the device's amp working beyond its optimal range.

- the signal is too strong for the speakers' input.

Both can be cured quite easily by setting the volume on your iPod and MacBook somewhere in between. A good way to find the right level is to keep increasing the volume until you start hearing the distortions and then back out 10-20%. After that use the speakers' volume control to adjust the listening level.

An external DAC may help further, but make sure it can connect to all your source devices, as iPod doesn't have any of the standard digital connectors.

post #3 of 3

What it is ,is the volume pot the higher u turn it up the the less masking effect on the sound it has, its how they are thats why people modify theyre amps with stepped attenuators, digital attenuation doesnt mask so much so its better to turn the volume as high as youu can and just usee the digital volume conttrol.

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