Laptop audio upgrade
Nov 30, 2009 at 10:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

-Daan-

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Hi,

What is the next step I should take in improving sq on my laptop. I have a sennheiser HD25-II already (step 1
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), but I notice that sq on my laptop (conexant audio onboard crap) is really terrible. I can hear my cpu buzz and click...My walkman sounds much better btw.
So my next step would be buying a usb-DAC right..?
Btw I don't have very much cash left.

Greets Daan
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 1:07 PM Post #2 of 11

Phelonious Ponk

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Daan,

I can't say I've ever heard my cpu buzz and click, but if your is doing that, the cure is to get the digital to analog conversion out of your computer. You need a DAC/amp to plug your Senns into. There are many out there at many price points, and the audiophile law of diminishing returns is very much in effect, especially with efficient phones. A Total Airhead from Headroom, at $99, is a great place to start. I'm sure there will be other suggestions.

Tim
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 2:05 PM Post #3 of 11

germanium

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Either that or make sure your mic input is not accidently left open. Even if the mic switch is turned off the mic cord pics up all sorts of radiated electronic noise assuming you have an an external mic that has its own switch.
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 6:13 PM Post #4 of 11

Armaegis

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The Airhead is not a DAC, it's an amp only. To list just a few dacs, starting from about $30 up to $170
Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro
HotAudio
Nuforce Icon Mobile/Nuforce uDAC
FiiO E7 (out in a few weeks)
Fireeye 2
Total Bithead
iBasso D2+
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 8:57 PM Post #5 of 11

-Daan-

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Hi,

Thx for your replys.

@Phelonious Ponk & @germanium:Well the buzzing etc is what irritates me the most, but it also has an overall muffled and dark sound in comparison with e.g.the onboard audio of a macbook.

@Armaegis: Why do dacs like total bithead and iBasso (I suppose these deliver best sq) come with a battery? I don't really need it to be portable..And I don't want to pay extra for a feature that I'm not planning to use anyway
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EDIT: I come to realise that this could be to deliver more power? Could this be right
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So what I need is a dac/amp solution that's good bang for the buck, no fancy looks or whatever, durable and it doesn't have to be portable.

Greets Daan

Btw: How is the sq of a Nuforce uDAC, this seems an option, will I hear a great difference, or should I pay that bit more for a better dac/amp which has a better sound..?
 
Nov 30, 2009 at 9:18 PM Post #6 of 11

rawrster

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well one reason for a battery is that it functions as an portable amp as well as a dac

there was some impressions of the udac somewhere by larry somewhere and from what i remember it was very good for the price..im too lazy to search but im sure if u search for udac it will pop up somewhere
 
Dec 1, 2009 at 2:00 AM Post #7 of 11

thoppa

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Hi,

I have the same issue with noise on the output of my new laptop. The output is pretty good and the onboard sound (Realtek) supports kernel streaming too but the flat cable passes over the top of the HDD and picks up noise - such a shame. I'm going to try some copper shielding over the cable, but if that doesn't work I'll get an Echo Indigo DJX expresscard - they are supposed to have a 'good' head amp, although it remains to be heard if it is still good driving Senn HD650.

I'd avoid Creative products. I've tried a few and although they are often a bit better than the onboard sound, they aren't that good either. I had a pcmcia Audigy 2 ZS with my old laptop and that had noise issues too.

The Musiland USD 02 is supposed to be very good for the money and is another possible candidate.

Let me know what you choose and what you think.
 
Dec 1, 2009 at 6:54 AM Post #8 of 11

Mark_Louis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by germanium /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Either that or make sure your mic input is not accidently left open. Even if the mic switch is turned off the mic cord pics up all sorts of radiated electronic noise assuming you have an an external mic that has its own switch.


What do you mean by "mic input is not accidentally left open"? Are you saying that I have to plug something to my mic slot to enjoy good music from my notebook (e.g., leave a connector in the mic slot all the time)? Thanks!
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Dec 1, 2009 at 8:11 AM Post #9 of 11

-Daan-

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Mark_Louis /img/forum/go_quote.gif
What do you mean by "mic input is not accidentally left open"? Are you saying that I have to plug something to my mic slot to enjoy good music from my notebook (e.g., leave a connector in the mic slot all the time)? Thanks!
smily_headphones1.gif



I think he means that you have to mute these channels on your computer, but that didn't help in my case.
I'll never buy a 'multimedia' hp laptop again!
mad.gif


But I'm very interested in the nuforce uDac, I'll ask some more questions in the amp section.

Greets Daan

Btw: Larry's review about the nuforce uDac can be found here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/fir...if-out-456945/
 
Dec 3, 2009 at 3:12 AM Post #11 of 11

thoppa

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Hi,

I did some testing with my laptop - the noise mostly comes from the HDD and DVD. The copper strip helped with the HDD noise, so the sound is halfway decent now, unless I've got a DVD going. However, if I plug in an external amp the noise comes though again so it seems I'm going have to look around for a low noise, high quality expresscard output to connect to the amp, or just live with the onboard sound.
 

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