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How to Get the Best Sound from a Macbook Pro

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I own a 15' MBP Retina, and I was just wondering if there is a good (and cheap) program that will allow my to improve the sound coming from it.  I would like to be able to fiddle with EQ and do stuff like bass boost to adjust the audio to my personal preferences.  I had originally thought of getting an external DAC, but from what I have read you need a fairly good external DAC before you start noticing an improvement over the MBP DAC (and, from what I have seen, fairly good DAC's are not the cheapest).  I have heard that you can EQ in iTunes, but I have also heard that that is far from the best solution for improving your audio (and usually makes it worse).


Thanks,
Josh

post #2 of 14

Welcome to head-fi

Sorry about your wallet

 

It depends of your headphones actually. Which headphones do you currently own?

post #3 of 14
True about the DAC. But if you want to add bass boost to already bass heavy modern music, and you are running it near full volume output, you will probably be clipping the Mac amp output with the bass. A headphone amp (no DAC) could give you better bass clarity in that situation. Especially if your headphones are not very efficient.

What headphones are you using? And are you running the sound output near full volume?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Well, I currently own a older pair of Sony MDR-V600's  (which, I have come to realize, are universally despised by headphone reviewers).  However, I am actively looking for a pair of used ATH-M50's, and I am hoping to get the most out of them when I get them.  Also, I usually run my current headphones at half volume or under.

post #5 of 14
The M50s will generally benefit a little from amping with a computer.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ok, thanks.  I've seen people using alternate music players to iTunes (like fidelia) that (I think) allow them more control over the sound.  Would that make a difference to someone like me who is running there headphones strait from my laptop?

I have also thought of the possibility that the ATH-M50's might be such a great upgrade over what I currently have that I won't feel the need to change anything after I get them.

post #7 of 14
I'm not an Apple person, so sorry I cannot help with Apple software choices. smily_headphones1.gif
post #8 of 14

Audirvana or Pure Music. You can d/load free trials and see if it works for your setup.

 

(I prefer Audirvana with my current setup but ymmv).

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIrwin View Post
 

Ok, thanks.  I've seen people using alternate music players to iTunes (like fidelia) that (I think) allow them more control over the sound.  Would that make a difference to someone like me who is running there headphones strait from my laptop?

I have also thought of the possibility that the ATH-M50's might be such a great upgrade over what I currently have that I won't feel the need to change anything after I get them.


Audio Technica ATH-M50s, bassy, U shaped sound, fairly durable.

Did you have an over budget for you audio upgrade?

 

Gemini HSR-1000 (Takstar Pro 80) headphones, $50 on eBay.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

I didn't really have a planned budget for an audio upgrade.  Just wanted to know if there was a way to use software or hardware to increase sound quality by a good margin without breaking the bank, and then I would go from there. :-)  I looked up the Gemini HSR-1000, they seem like a nice set of headphones.  I would prefer the added bass of the M50's though.  

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIrwin View Post
 

I didn't really have a planned budget for an audio upgrade.  Just wanted to know if there was a way to use software or hardware to increase sound quality by a good margin without breaking the bank, and then I would go from there. :-)  I looked up the Gemini HSR-1000, they seem like a nice set of headphones.  I would prefer the added bass of the M50's though.  

The HSR-1000 are bassy headphones, I'm listening to them right now, Daft Punk-Get Lucky,

but currently stuck using on-board audio from a 4 year old bargain priced Asrock motherboard :(

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ok, cool.  How do you find that they compare directly to the M50? I did see that they have a bigger driver.

P.S. I'm sorry to hear that you have to use on-board audio.  Bargain Asrock MB's are nothing to write home about :P  


Edited by JIrwin - 10/13/13 at 10:19pm
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIrwin View Post
 

Ok, cool.  How do you find that they compare directly to the M50? I did see that they have a bigger driver.


I've only listened to the ATH-M50s for about a minute, about a month ago.

Nothing about the ATH-M50 stood out to make think they where better then the HSR-1000.

But the ATH-M50s are with someone that is only 10 minutes away, guess I should give my ears a refresher on how they sound.

 

I just think for the cash you save getting the HSR-1000,

you can get a USB/DAC/amp, like the Fiio E10 ($63-$75).

 

As the E10 is external,

it's is not affected by any electrical noise inside the computer.

Chances are the E10's WD8740 is better (at least a little) then the DAC chip built into the Mac.

E10's headphone amplifier has a low output impedance, about 1-Ohm, which should help with audio detail.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the insights.  I will certainly think about doing that.

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