Great sounding Laptop Out Of The Box?
Jun 28, 2015 at 10:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

voxie

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Hi Everyone, need some help and pointers... my current laptop a Lenovo T61 (i know its old but i loved it) has waved the white flag and wants to retire! My budget is €1500. I know this us a very subjective and general question but from peoples opinion what is the best sounding laptop without an external Dac. 
 
I am a Qobuz Sublime Subscriber which i listen via a Denon integrated amp. Thanks in advance.
 
Jun 28, 2015 at 2:56 PM Post #2 of 17

cel4145

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I don't know the answer to your question. I think there are a lot of claims about laptop audio quality from laptop to laptop that may or may not be true for a variety of reasons. Seems easier to me with a budget like yours to allocate a little bit of money for an Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2, which should should best most laptops in audio quality, and it's the size of a big flash drive, so not a burden for carrying with a laptop.

That being said, Apple laptops generally have a better reputation for audio quality than most PC laptops.
 
Jun 28, 2015 at 3:06 PM Post #3 of 17

Music Alchemist

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I have an Alienware M11x R2. I would not recommend it because I think it's overpriced and has serious build quality issues...but in the past, I compared various headphones with a Schiit Magni 2 Uber + Modi 2 stack and directly from my laptop's headphone jacks...and did not hear a difference between them, except for harder to drive headphones that couldn't get enough volume from the laptop. I'm listening directly from the headphone jacks right now too.
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Jun 28, 2015 at 3:52 PM Post #4 of 17

voxie

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Thanks Guys, Appreciate your feedback. It kind of gets me thinking.... If the" future of audio listening is via streaming" why cant i purchase a laptop that has a decent internal Dac. Again i know this is a very simplistic statement. 
 
Have been to lots of live gigs and most of of the sound guys use mac's as their source. Would you recommend mac over windows? Again just out of the box without any external add software / hardware. Keep well.
 
Jun 28, 2015 at 5:09 PM Post #5 of 17

aqsw

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I don't think computer manufacturers are really concerned about the audio. They know most consumers will be happy with their $2.00 dac. The people like us are probably only about ten percent. They know we will go buy our own dacs and amps anyways. I think if a "dell" or "apple" came out with a $200.00 dac , nobody would buy it for the premium. JMO:)
 
Jun 29, 2015 at 8:28 AM Post #6 of 17

Tablix

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I would look into ASUS laptops, having owned one about 2 years ago I found the on board audio perfectly good, with no noise issues using cans.. They also have a little heritage and experience as they produce some pretty good soundcards too, such as the xonar stx. On top of that you will find them available in pretty much any country and will have customer support you expect from a multinational company.  Unlike buying apple you will have LOTS of different models available to suit budget and requirements, and you wont be paying that "apple product premium" (APP coincidence?)
 
Jun 29, 2015 at 8:38 AM Post #7 of 17

Jeff Y

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I think I've seen an ASUS laptop with Dynaudio having done the speaker and dac/amp section.
It was feeding a dac through USB so I had no idea what the laptop itself sounds like.
Although Dynaudio doing the sound part must be better than your average laptop, I still think it's largely bs compared to getting an external dac/amp. Still, you might want to take that route if it's a must.
Sorry I can't recall the model name. It was at and audio show so I did not pay much attention.
 
Jun 29, 2015 at 9:41 AM Post #10 of 17

Music Alchemist

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Here's a good question: with all that money, why do you want only a laptop, without instead getting something like an ODAC?
 
Jun 29, 2015 at 10:13 AM Post #12 of 17

cel4145

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Yep, good question its just that i was wondering which laptop offers the best sound out of the box, without modding it. Thanks for your reply.


It's doubtful anyone will be able to answer that question because (a) professional reviews of laptops almost never measure laptop quality, which would be necessary for making comparisons between different reviews, and (b) most people on head-fi have experience with a very limited number of laptops. The best you can do is get "I like laptop X" recommendations or "laptop A has chipset B which is generally good." The problem with looking at audio chipsets as a measure of sound quality is that their implementation in the machine is a big factor. So while some laptops might use chipsets which never yield good audio, just because a laptop has a good audio chipset, it could easily not yield "the best sound."

That being said, Apple laptops consistently are rated by people as having very good audio implementation. Go to your local Apple store and give them a listen :)
 
Jun 29, 2015 at 10:24 AM Post #13 of 17

Tablix

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Apple audio is not great, its just better than a walmart laptop, it just gets good feedback because people want to justify their expenditure.  My ASUS laptop was perfectly fine for audio playback and technology has certainly moved on in the last 2 years.  I have 3 laptops around the house atm and none cost more than $1k and all give perfect playback through my external dac and monitors, and through my DT770's plugged in direct they all sound equally fine except they struggle to drive the headphones to their potential. 
If you buy a laptop and its not producing good levels of playback its more likely the audio jack not being isolated than DAC being used, as companies like to cut corners on the things they dont use in advertising. 
 
All IMHO
 
Jun 29, 2015 at 10:32 AM Post #14 of 17

voxie

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Thanks for your help, appreciate it. Completely agree. Just thought that some members would be able to point me to a model that ticks their setup ie Listening to Hi -Res streaming. Ah well thats me off to my Apple store and "listen" to the sales pitch.
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Jun 29, 2015 at 10:34 AM Post #15 of 17

cel4145

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Thanks for your help, appreciate it. Completely agree. Just thought that some members would be able to point me to a model that ticks their setup ie Listening to Hi -Res streaming. Ah well thats me off to my Apple store and "listen" to the sales pitch.:gs1000smile:


Take your headphones with you and a flash drive with some music. Then visit some other computer stores. Listening for yourself is the best way to figure it out :)
 

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