SURPRISE: HP Notebook Onboard Audio + Ety ER-4P = Synergy
Feb 22, 2007 at 1:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

swmtnbiker

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OK, promise me you won't laugh.
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We all know from experience that on-board PC audio usually sucks. It's safe to assume that you're gonna upgrade to something better if you're a Head-Fier and you use your computer as a headphone source. So here's my big smack-down surprise - I picked up a new HP Pavilion DV6226US notebook a few days ago for work-related uses. It's got one of Intel's new Dual Core T2060 1.6 GHz processors, 2GB DDR2 RAM (I upgraded it from 1GB), 160GB SATA HD, Intel 950 Graphics, wireless b/g, DVD +/-R and +/-RW, etc., etc. It's also got Conexant "high definition" on-board audio that offers line out, headphone out, and SPDIF optical out (nice).

Tonight I'm doing some work on this puppy in the dining room, and was enjoying a beer while listening to my Shuffle with my Etymotic ER-4Ps (foamies). Out of curiosity I decided to plug the Etys into the headphone out of the HP and WOW, they actually sound REALLY GOOD! I was stupefied! I'm using J. River Media Center streaming FLAC files over a 54Mbps wireless connection from an external USB HD on my main system downstairs and outputting via Windows Vista DirectSound. I can't believe it, but there really is some synergy with this setup. The 4Ps are singin'! This combo sounds 10X better than my Shuffle with the Etys. What a nice surprise! I've listened to the headphone out on this machine with my K81DJs and it sounds OK, but it's certainly nothing to write home about. This is a different animal all together. I'm still gonna pick up a TBH or other external DAC/amp combo to take on the road, but if I want to travel light it's nice to know that I've got a very simple setup here that is no slouch AT ALL in the audio quality department. Bonus!
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BTW, I've experimented with feeding my CIAudio VDA-1 the optical output from this HP and it compares VERY favorably with my ESI @Juli.
 
Feb 23, 2007 at 9:17 PM Post #3 of 10

skitlets

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Completely unrelated, but the T2060 isn't Intel's new processor. You've got an old generation Core Duo, not the new Core 2 Duo. Nonetheless, those are still good processors.
 
Feb 23, 2007 at 10:11 PM Post #5 of 10

swmtnbiker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skitlets /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Completely unrelated, but the T2060 isn't Intel's new processor. You've got an old generation Core Duo, not the new Core 2 Duo. Nonetheless, those are still good processors.


Right, but I didn't call it a Core 2 Duo, did I?
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The T2060 is new in that it's a new model number. Same chip as the T2300 from what I've read, just 1MB lighter in the L2 cache department. While it's not the fastest CPU out there it does the job, and it runs Vista in a snappy, responsive manner. Considering I got this Pavilion for $699 loaded up the way it is I'm not complaining.
 
Feb 24, 2007 at 4:19 AM Post #6 of 10

sejarzo

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I have the Compaq V6120 with Conexant HD audio, and I have to agree with you.......it sounded far, far better than I expected. The biggest problem with my notebook is that the headphone jack is located in such a way that only the smallest of plugs would work well (preferably a right-angle plug, as the jack is almost immediately below the lower right corner of the touchpad.......mighty inconvenient for me, as that is where I tend to rest my thumb when not typing.) I fed the output from the onboard audio to my PIMETA and was quite pleased--though it's certainly not comparable to the quality of the E-MU 0404, I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I didn't have my E-MU with me. I have a cheap Logitech "behind-the-headset" to use with Skype, and there is no problem at all with the onboard audio.

The quality is even more remarkable to me in light of the fact that it's some sort of "modem-plus-soundcard-plus-other-DSP-on-a-chip". When I Googled for more info on its capabilities, I c ame up nearly empty handed. I may not have interpreted info from one of the links correctly, but I got the impression that the chip was originally thought to be of use in handhelds or to expand capabilities of cell phones.

I do know that when I set Foobar to use DS2.0 with the Conexant audio, then activated Resampler PPHS and set it for 24/96 operation, it worked. But I'm always leery of whether that's really being passed to the soundcard unless there is some other app running to confirm that.

Have you figured out any way to see what is going on with the sample rates, etc. with the Conexant "card"? I haven't found anything equivalent to the set-up applet for a typical PCI soundcard on my machine--and the HP web site doesn't provide much added info on the hardware.
 
Feb 24, 2007 at 5:19 AM Post #7 of 10

Namrac

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I was very pleasently surprised by the audio quality from my dad's 6-month old $600 HP laptop... they seem to pack a little extra in there.
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Feb 24, 2007 at 4:12 PM Post #8 of 10

swmtnbiker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sejarzo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Have you figured out any way to see what is going on with the sample rates, etc. with the Conexant "card"? I haven't found anything equivalent to the set-up applet for a typical PCI soundcard on my machine--and the HP web site doesn't provide much added info on the hardware.


No I haven't unfortunately. Under Vista you can change the sample rates, etc. by going to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Manage Audio Devices and right-clicking on the Coxenant High Definition Audio internal speaker or SPDIF Optical output devices. My media application (J. River Media Center) displays sample rate information for the audio its playing though - I'll play around sometime in the next couple of days and see what I can see.
 
Feb 24, 2007 at 7:10 PM Post #9 of 10

CMasten

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I bought a new HP DV9030US at Christmas and have been very happy with the audio output on this laptop. In fact I have been very happy with the whole thing! I am running Vista 32 in it as well. For its price point I could not find anything close.. HP has a lot of new Vista drivers up on their support site, the Conexant being one of the first.
 
Feb 25, 2007 at 1:46 AM Post #10 of 10

MCC

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Same thing here. My IBM ThinkPad Z60t of all things isn't all that bad. Sound chip is an Analog Devices AD1981HD, 24bit/48kHz, under Ubuntu linux. Haven't tested it with my 595s yet though, just the KSC-75s.

It's a very nice laptop BTW, far better than my flaky HP OmniBook 6100. Flaky is actually a little light, more like abysmal. Two dead hard drives, a bad screen inverter, a headphone out with so much static you could barely hear what you were listening to (it really was that bad) and finally a fried motherboard. Oh, and it went through two batteries too. All in about a year (it was used).
 

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