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Old 2nd June 2008, 07:45 PM   #1
germpod is offline germpod  United States
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Default Poor laptop sound

I have a Macbook 4 and the sound from it is very poor. I have to turn the volume up on the pre-amp (a very simple passive leading into a gainclone), much louder than I do on the DVD player, and there are still no dynamics. Fostex fe126 drivers are less sensitive to the volume and dynamics problem than Pioneer B20s, though their sensitivity are very close so they should be close.

I have looked on the forum for a soulution but do not see an answer. The closest I see is a buffer, but there is not a lot of information . I was thinking that maybe an active preamp with gain would fix the problem, but am not sure.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Ed Robinson
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Old 2nd June 2008, 08:38 PM   #2
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I think most laptop sound outputs are poor, due to close proximity of everything which leads to noise. They also love to use switching supplies to save power (can't really blame them). The best solution is a USB/Firewire external soundcard, or sometimes laptops have S/PDIF outputs in which you could hook up an external DAC.
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Old 2nd June 2008, 09:04 PM   #3
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Mayb takee a different approach.

Check out the Linksys WMB45G. It's a music bridge that enables you to get a digital/analog output via LAN or WLAN (latter requires wireless router). Cheap and Works on Mac too.

After installing the software and configuring the music bridge you tell your audio software and computer hardware to use the bridge as an output and hook up the WMB45G via LAN or WLAN. The WMB45G has analog output (chinch and headphone) and digital output (coax and optical). I run mine into my CD-player's digital input (= DAC).

There is an audio-lag of at least .2 seconds, so it's not suitable for watching movies.

You could also check out the Apple AirPort, which basically does the same for twice the money.
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Old 2nd June 2008, 09:25 PM   #4
wazzy is offline wazzy  Zimbabwe
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i have a dell laptop and recently got a new acer aspire that says it has a hi def sound card and to be honest, there is a pretty significant difference in sound quality between the two, acer definately has more detail sound wise, more space too.
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Old 2nd June 2008, 10:28 PM   #5
germpod is offline germpod  United States
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Thanks, I will have to look into the suggestions.

Ed Robinson
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Old 4th June 2008, 11:24 AM   #6
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I'm pretty sure the MacBook has optical output. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1562
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Old 4th June 2008, 01:04 PM   #7
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Originally posted by alleycat
I'm pretty sure the MacBook has optical output. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1562

The optical is a line it, not out unfortunately...
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Old 4th June 2008, 04:27 PM   #8
falis is offline falis  United States
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What about USB out? I haven't had my hands on the new Mac X86 laptops in a year or two, so I don't remember the connectivity. I have an old "PC" laptop running Ubuntu Studio that I connect via USB to my Glow Amp 1. The latter has its own DAC and it sounds great.
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Old 4th June 2008, 04:44 PM   #9
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Usually it is kind of tricky to get bit-perfect data from the PC and Mac, though it's possible.

Using a streaming client such as airport express or the above mentioned linksys is the better choice.

Anybody tried to tap off I2S from the Linksys? To squezze
most out of these streaming devices quite some people,
swap the clock, improve the ps and run I2S straight to the

BUT: Squeezebox etc. don't give you more then 24/48.
Don't know what Linksys is offering here.

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