Source for my new setup

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by YesThisIs, Oct 12, 2017.
  1. YesThisIs
    So i am building new setup and with that i need a source for the setup.

    Currently what i am planning is to buy 15" Apple Macbook Pro. Stream TIDAL from USB to the DAC. (HDV 820)

    What i am hearing ("audiophoolery") is that in general Laptops aren't great equipment for source. And in overall it depends greatly on the laptop what kind of quality you are going to get from it. Knowing that Apple has high quality standards(?) it might be "okay" choice..?

    In general, i am not so excited to buy separate network streaming box. Because generally those thing go (high-end ones at least) for 1000€/$. Yes, the MBP goes for 3400€ but i have another usages for it. It doesn't just sit there and stream my music to the DAC (Okay i lied, most of the times it will be sitting on my lap streaming music to the dac but anyway...)

    Do you guys have opinion on this?

    And this might.... and it is a stupid question. Just because i have seen one guy streaming from Microsoft Surface to the HE-1... And i haven't heard him complaining about it :p (looking at you @raypin )

    Just to clear thing up:
    How i become to think about this, was after reading this guys review:

    "While there was a hint of solid state firmness in the midrange, a slight digital edge to the presentation (although this might have something to do with the relatively noisy MacBook being a source)"
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  2. selvakumar
    go for Burson Audio Play
  3. YesThisIs
    "Headphone Amp/Pre Amp/ USB DAC" Which one of those you can stream from Tidal?
    ...I am not stupid, you can't.

    This is offtopic but If you are revering to the HDV 820, i didn't ask for suggestions to the Amp/Dac combo. You really can't compare that to the HDV 820. So if you are just trolling, please go away.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    I like your avatar, I've seen the RHPS over 300 times.
  5. Whazzzup
    I agree an external music server provides the best sound source at a high cost. Either you belly up or go with a flash base source.
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    What makes laptops problematic for audio sources are

    1) limited storage in newer laptops; obviously, this is not a problem if you're streaming, which is what I do when not critically listening (ie listening while working).

    2) USB power and signal quality can be finicky. Laptops tend to be less susceptible to power line noise by running on the battery, but some laptops can't deliver 5v, 500mA out of the USB ports when running on the battery. But if you can't hear any noise with no music playing, this isn't a problem either.

    3) Fan noise. Even what seems like subtle fan noise can get in the way of listening as it adds to ambient noise, and a laptop isn't exactly a large tower computer with two 140mm intake fans and a 140mm exhaust fan running at low RPM with a huge CPU tower cooler (ie relies more on spreading the heat out to the fins than just blowing more air to move the heat off the metal) and a graphics card that doesn't even run its fan until it hits a certain temperature while running off a semi-fanless power supply. You instead have small, noisy fans that need to spin faster to move heat away from a cramped chassis. Add the sound of the keyboard and you get a lot of ambient noise.

    Honestly though if you're going to stream Tidal anyway the only problem you have is fan noise, and unless you're running an older gaming notebook with larger fans that have to work harder to cool an older i7 with a flagship NVidia card (or worse, a cheap 15.6 running an AMD APU, which saves space but crams the hot CPU and gaming GPU into one die), for regular people it might not be worth it to spend to replace that laptop.

    I have the Note3 (works fanless; thought before the noise was just due to cellular signals so I switch to Airplane Mode, but apparently there was something wrong with my OTG adapter) with music stored in a 64gb microSD card (plus Spotify on my Note4) sending digital audio to a DAC-HPamp driving an HD600.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  7. YesThisIs
    My first through was to buy the 12" MacBook. Since it only has 1 port using adapter to charge up the laptop and plug the USB to the same adapter is a huge "risk" of getting interference. The MBP 12" would be optimal since it doesn't have any fans on it.

    So i decided maybe 15" MBP would be a good use for this. Since it does have pretty roomy storage (512gb) and Mac's fan are really quiet and Apple tends to like to keep the fans off as much as possible.

    But if there still is some interference. Would the Schiit Wyrd be a good thing for solving these kinds of issues? Or would the "USB Decrapfier" just degrade the sound of the USB?
  8. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    It will not degrade it but for the most part what it decrapifies is the power out of the USB port. If your DAC doesn't draw power through there chances are it won't get any interference, and even if it does, AFAIK there might be less chance it can be decrapified.
  9. bixby
    oh my, do I have an opinion. YUP. Went from Macbook to mini an never looked back. None of my Win or Mac laptops could catch a desktop for sound quality.
    And spending $3400 for a multipurpose laptop that will be used for music is not the best way to spend audio dollars. The more you do on any computer while trying to listen to music, the more you impinge on getting the best sound.

    Biggest problem on laptops is the Screen! Noise city. Fans are not the big problem. Getting that screen out of the mix is a good benefit on Sound quality. Getting everything off of usb is another, no need to spend hundreds or thousand on decrapifiers that may or may not really work. Trust me I had many decrapifiers and use none today!

    You asked for opinions, so here goes. Get a computer with a separate monitor, or run headless, not sure about Tidal, never really liked the sound, yea it is supposed to be perfect. Just something about it with hickups at friends where the wireless stream was mucked up. I went down that whole rabbit hole uisng Linux streaming and Win streaming and would never rely on wireless.

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