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Why does audio sound so much better from laptop?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Bimbleton, Oct 24, 2019.
  1. Bimbleton
    Please forgive my ignorance. I’ve been racking my brain for the past two days without a solution.

    Long story short, audio played from Spotify Premium - Dell XPS - Gen 1 Dragonfly/DFRed - 64 Audio A12T is profoundly, immensely more spacious, detailed and better separated than Spotify Premium - Dragonfly Red - A12T.

    Why is that? Aren’t the digital ‘bits’ coming into the source the same (streaming quality equal on both devices)? Isn’t the DAC wholly responsible for converting to analog? Again this is not an insignificant difference — I can straight up hear details off my Dell that I cannot off my iPhone.

    And finally, is there any way to replicate this quality portably?
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  2. Killcomic
    It may be an impedance or power delivery issue with your IEM.
    Also, are you listening to them at the same location? My MSR7 sounds crap on the train but magnificent at home, because of ambient noise.
    Also, make sure you're matching the volume, because louder can give the impression of better with more detail.
    bigshot likes this.
  3. Bimbleton
    Thanks, I’ll give IEMatch a try to increase the impedence. And yup listening in the same place, same track, everything.
  4. Killcomic
    Oh, before I forget, also make sure you are using the same file, and make sure no DSP are turned on on either of the sources.
  5. Wiljen
    Actually you may have another issue to contend with. USB converters coming out of the iphone are often limited to 16/48. If you are using the typical camera connection kit to connect the dragonfly this may be the issue too. So basically regardless of the quality of the original, if going through lightning to usb conversion it is likely being down-sampled by the phone to 16/48 on its way to the DAC.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  6. Bimbleton
    Here’s something bizarre: the audio out of my old iPad mini (the first one with a lightning connector) sounds great. It sounds good out of the iPad’s headphone jack and with the Lightning dongle attached. All of this testing is done with one specific song, the same section of the song where specific instrumentation is missing on the iPhone but present on other sources.

    So now I’m wondering if something is wrong with the Lightning port on my iPhone, since an iPad from 3-4 generations ago sounds better both through the headphone jack and the Lightning connector.

    Thinking my next steps will be to test my wife’s iPhone (same model as mine) and to reset my iPhone and see if that works.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  7. bigshot
    If you are using IEMs, it's most likely an impedance issue.

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