Help mimicking macbook pro audio
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senyk

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My headphones: audio technica m50's

Im going to try to be as detailed as possible in hopes it gives you guys and gals the best idea of what I'm looking for.

At my last job i was provided a macbook pro 2017 or 2018, i had downloaded eq named "Ears: Bass Boost, EQ Any Audio!" Its a chrome browser i paired with soundcloud. Once i adjusted the highs mids lows and the weird purple lines, the sound was mind blowing. Better than anything i have ever heard with these headphones before. It was as if i had a new pair of headphones.

When i take the same headphones and plug it into a windows laptop ( have tried lenovo and hp thus far) and adjust the eq to the same levels i dont achieve the same results. When i adjust the sub bass (purple line) to close to the top, what sounds like the most amazing powerful subbass on the mac just sounds like farting on the windows laptop.

Im desperate to find a solution i can use with windows laptops that would allow me to have the same control and quality as the mac with the eq.

I went to a few electronics stores and did a bunch of researching but what people are saying is use a new amp or dac. Today i went to a store in nyc called b&h and tried the audient id4 and one of the fiio devices, and so far the devices i have tried just made the audio clearer/louder, but when i used the same eq it didn't allow me to really add the sub bass without either becoming muddy bass or taking away from the highs and mids that I'm looking for like the mac with eq did.

Do any of you have any recommendations on what can help here? Is saving up 2 grand for a macbook pro really my only option to achieve the same sound quality? If you are going to recommend a dac/amp combo do you have any recommendations beyond the two mentioned?

I'm desperate to find a solution, the audio quality was night and day difference when compared to the default sound profile of the m50.

 
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theveterans

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You can never have the same EQ settings on one machine and expect the same sound on another machine.

These are the factors that are different on the MacBook Pro and Windows PC can affect the way your headphone sound (no EQ involved):

1) Output Impedance
2) Output power
3) Voltage Swing variations on diff. loads
4) Current Swing variations on diff. loads
5) THD+N
6) et cetera

No EQ can compensate these parameters unfortunately especially when volume levels are cranked up high
 
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PurpleAngel

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My headphones: audio technica m50's
I'm going to try to be as detailed as possible in hopes it gives you guys and gals the best idea of what I'm looking for.
Do any of you have any recommendations on what can help here? Is saving up 2 grand for a macbook pro really my only option to achieve the same sound quality? If you are going to recommend a dac/amp combo do you have any recommendations beyond the two mentioned?
I'm desperate to find a solution, the audio quality was night and day difference when compared to the default sound profile of the m50.
My two cents and best guesses.
It might be that Apple puts more effort and resources into it's audio software then Microsoft.
Apple PCs seem come with better audio hardware, then your typical Windows PC.
At least that the way it was in the old days.

Assuming you buy a Windows PC/laptop
Check out the free program Foobar2000
https://www.foobar2000.org/
And if you install it, add the WASAPI and Graphics Equalizer components
(WASAPI will will give you a cleaner signal)
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_out_wasapi
https://www.foobar2000.org/components/view/foo_dsp_xgeq
Try playing with that, see if you can get the audio you like.

Maybe for an external DAC/amp, check out the FiiO K1 or Q1 or Q1 MKII.
 
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armink

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The onboard dacs on Macbooks pros are miles better than what you might find on a Lenovo or HP (as much as I love my T430, the onboard DAC suckkss) and combined with the exceptional audio software on OSX it creates a pretty damn good listening experience (Which might explain why you also see a DJ rocking a MacBook, IDK). If you're looking for the same (or even better!) sound quality that you got out of that Macbook, you should probably invest into getting an external DAC/amp like the FiiO K1 or Q1 mentioned above. I would also suggest trying using Foobar2000 with WASAPI and Graphics Equalizer to see if that satisfies your needs,

I would also disable Dolby Digital effects installed on your computer as it can really mess with your sound.
 
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castleofargh

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looking at a vid of the app, the purple low end point is just a basic low shelf filter, so nothing extraordinary here. plus if I understand correctly, you're using the same settings on both computers? so here are a few diagnostic ideas:
- lower the gain (the volume slider on the left) by as much as you boost your signal in the EQ. maybe you're already doing that, the point is to avoid clipping and make sure you're getting the same effect on both no matter how the OS handles the signal.
- I'm going to assume that you've checked that every settings are indeed identical on both computers. if not ... well do that ^_^. it's not rare to have a bunch of DSP effects activated by default with the soundcard.
- if there are protective capacitors at the output of the computer, it might end up acting as a high pass filter and into a low impedance headphone like the M50, the result could go from a slight roll off, to a complete collapse of the low frequencies. but if you get similar results on various devices but the mac, then chances are that something uncommon was going on with the mac(be it DSP, clipping of the boosted low end, or maybe protective caps?). I know nothing about the audio specs of computers or macs so I can only suggest vague possibilities. last time I checked specs for a macbook the output impedance was really high, but I don't know if that's consistent over mac models or if it makes much of an audible difference on this headphone.

by last job am I to understand that you don't have access to it anymore? that's a problem, both for proper diagnostic(and ultimately replicating whatever you had), and also because as time passes, even if you get the same sound, chances are you wouldn't know it, because of how much you will have idealized the sound in your memory.
 
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ProtegeManiac

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When i take the same headphones and plug it into a windows laptop ( have tried lenovo and hp thus far) and adjust the eq to the same levels i dont achieve the same results. When i adjust the sub bass (purple line) to close to the top, what sounds like the most amazing powerful subbass on the mac just sounds like farting on the windows laptop.

Im desperate to find a solution i can use with windows laptops that would allow me to have the same control and quality as the mac with the eq.
That sounds a lot like a hardware problem, but on both machines. Your particular Windows machine has really bad hardware; but the Mac might also at least have high output impedance (which is just one of the Windows laptop's problems) so the EQ tuning is always going to be a bit off even if you get around the hardware problem.


I went to a few electronics stores and did a bunch of researching but what people are saying is use a new amp or dac. Today i went to a store in nyc called b&h and tried the audient id4 and one of the fiio devices, and so far the devices i have tried just made the audio clearer/louder, but when i used the same eq it didn't allow me to really add the sub bass without either becoming muddy bass or taking away from the highs and mids that I'm looking for like the mac with eq did.

Do any of you have any recommendations on what can help here? Is saving up 2 grand for a macbook pro really my only option to achieve the same sound quality? If you are going to recommend a dac/amp combo do you have any recommendations beyond the two mentioned?

I'm desperate to find a solution, the audio quality was night and day difference when compared to the default sound profile of the m50.
Did you only adjust the bass to the same level?

Also are you using exactly the same program? Because apart from those DAC-HPamps having a low output impedance and therefore higher damping factor, ie, you have a different response than the Mac's, if you're not even using the exact same settings - center freq, Q factor, or heck, gain - you're starting off with a very different response curve and then trying on an EQ profile that works with another totally different response curve.
 
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ZMG885

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The onboard dacs on Macbooks pros are miles better than what you might find on a Lenovo or HP (as much as I love my T430, the onboard DAC suckkss) and combined with the exceptional audio software on OSX it creates a pretty damn good listening experience (Which might explain why you also see a DJ rocking a MacBook, IDK). If you're looking for the same (or even better!) sound quality that you got out of that Macbook, you should probably invest into getting an external DAC/amp like the FiiO K1 or Q1 mentioned above. I would also suggest trying using Foobar2000 with WASAPI and Graphics Equalizer to see if that satisfies your needs,

I would also disable Dolby Digital effects installed on your computer as it can really mess with your sound.
+1

Outboard DAC/Amp is the way to go for best SQ... on either platform really. Many great solutions from $99 on up. Windows drivers are a bit more of a challenge, but once that's done, you're good to go. I have a 2012 Mac Mini and a Win 10 system. Yes, the Mac Mini has better SQ than my Win 10 machine, but an Audio Engine D1 was a dramatic improvement over both internal DACs, and what I currently use (Schiit Modi Multibit & Magni 3) was a leap above the D1.
 
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senyk

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looking at a vid of the app, the purple low end point is just a basic low shelf filter, so nothing extraordinary here. plus if I understand correctly, you're using the same settings on both computers? so here are a few diagnostic ideas:
- lower the gain (the volume slider on the left) by as much as you boost your signal in the EQ. maybe you're already doing that, the point is to avoid clipping and make sure you're getting the same effect on both no matter how the OS handles the signal.
- I'm going to assume that you've checked that every settings are indeed identical on both computers. if not ... well do that ^_^. it's not rare to have a bunch of DSP effects activated by default with the soundcard.
- if there are protective capacitors at the output of the computer, it might end up acting as a high pass filter and into a low impedance headphone like the M50, the result could go from a slight roll off, to a complete collapse of the low frequencies. but if you get similar results on various devices but the mac, then chances are that something uncommon was going on with the mac(be it DSP, clipping of the boosted low end, or maybe protective caps?). I know nothing about the audio specs of computers or macs so I can only suggest vague possibilities. last time I checked specs for a macbook the output impedance was really high, but I don't know if that's consistent over mac models or if it makes much of an audible difference on this headphone.

by last job am I to understand that you don't have access to it anymore? that's a problem, both for proper diagnostic(and ultimately replicating whatever you had), and also because as time passes, even if you get the same sound, chances are you wouldn't know it, because of how much you will have idealized the sound in your memory.

This actually worked quite well. Definite improvement in audio quality and sub bass control i dont get the farting noise when i move the purple line up, but its definitely not as clear as when i had put the same settings the mac. Your right not having the laptop anymore sucks because i cant diagnose fully, i didnt realize this was a problem until i had left the job :frowning2:. A few others on this thread recommended the fiio k1 so i might look into getting that and playing with the settings further after using your suggestions.
 
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