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Best way to improove laptop sound

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a pair of Bose IE2 headphones, which I know aren't too highly acclaimed here, which are very bland and cold sounding when listening to music on my laptop which is a Vaio ultrabook. When I listen to music on my HTC One the sound quality is miles better than on my laptop. From what I understand in order to improve the sound I would need a DAC, but I've had also read that just an amp would increase the quality as well. I listen mostly to pop and rock music. 

 

My question is for my needs do I need a DAC or just an amp or is there any other solution?

 

my budget is around 100 USD but the cheaper the better and preferably something smaller and portable.

I've looked into the AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.0 and the FiiO E7 as possibilities for a DAC/amp

and the FiiO E11 if just an amp would help me out.

 

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated since I don't know too much about DAC's and amps and all that good stuff 

post #2 of 6

Fiio E10 would be a nice choice. Even strong/good eonugh to drive way better in-ears/headphones.

 

Portable alternative: Fiio E07K (portable as in usable with android devices as amp, besides on the Notebook).

post #3 of 6
I am relatively new to head-fi, but from my knowledge of the HTC One onboard DAC, it has Beats audio eq preloaded. I would test the Bose on another source, as what might have happened is you are not used to the non-beats sound of the laptop, and the way you interpreted the sound may have been biased. If you do decide to go the amp/DAC route, I would reccomend the FiiO E07K. That thing is amazing for the price, and when paired to the E09K, they can drive some very impressive cans.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadFiHiFiLover View Post

I am relatively new to head-fi, but from my knowledge of the HTC One onboard DAC, it has Beats audio eq preloaded. I would test the Bose on another source, as what might have happened is you are not used to the non-beats sound of the laptop, and the way you interpreted the sound may have been biased. If you do decide to go the amp/DAC route, I would reccomend the FiiO E07K. That thing is amazing for the price, and when paired to the E09K, they can drive some very impressive cans.
Thank you for the suggestions but
when listening on the One I have the beats audio disabled, I don't know if it still has some effect when it's been turned off but I don't listen to music with it on. I have tried the bose on different sources and it still sounds better than the laptop. I've looked at the e07k and the e7 and I don't know what the real difference is other than one is newer. And is it worth paying extra for a DAC+amp or would just an amp make a difference?
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricaud View Post


Thank you for the suggestions but
when listening on the One I have the beats audio disabled, I don't know if it still has some effect when it's been turned off but I don't listen to music with it on. I have tried the bose on different sources and it still sounds better than the laptop. I've looked at the E07K and the E7 and I don't know what the real difference is other than one is newer. And is it worth paying extra for a DAC+amp or would just an amp make a difference?

Chances are the laptop comes with a low cost DAC chip, so getting an external DAC & amp would seem to be the right choice.

E07K, E10, E17

post #6 of 6

That Beats Audio stuff, say, on a windows laptop is the worst. (the software stuff that is what we get nowadays- there was an initial hardware implementation, but that was the first gen products)

From what I have seen when trying to disable it, they have mucked with the software bass and treble controls in multiple places throughout the system,.. some turning them fully up, others turning them fully down,.. so that if you 'turn off the beats audio' the sound will be horrid, and only if you persevere for a bit longer will you find all the places needed to return the laptop to flat sound. Makes sense cause when showing friends how great the 'beats' laptop is, and disabling the feature to show how crap it sounds without it,.. well it does become crap when you click the button in only one place. If we alter all three places that changes are made on a 'beats' laptop (software) then yes, we have nice sound again,.. but I digress..

HTC phone is Android, and it is known for good sound. But I cannot with any certaintly, based off what beats software does on a windows PC platform, trust that the phone is clear.

I guess this is in reply to the "beats' issue.

Regarding your laptop, sure it has a low cost DAC, but that is the least of the worries. Laptops have a horrible electrical environment. Some have a reconfiguring headphone jack that can double as an optical out. I like this idea most as we know that we are free of electrical polution of the signal. I do think as a secondary option a USB external DAC would also cut it. 

Perhaps if you budget the benefits of an amp after a decent DAC, and buy an all-in-one, the increased price point will get you a better part. Just know if you are trying to do this on the cheap, and a certain amount of any item has to go on packaging and casing and profit, then I reckon by buying an all-in-one (in the budget space), a lil research as to which to buy might see you sail into some pretty sweet territory.

As I live in Aussieland, we have such a different range of parts/ and prices/ it would be impossible to recommend.

I did recently sell a musiland MD10 dac/headphone amp for around $100 (Aus dollars) and I do believe that second hand is the place to go when on a tight budget as, these parts don't really wear out, so much as wear-in.

Glad to see you realise that you can get soo much more from your headphones.. success with the project!

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