CDP louder than laptop. Why?

My CD player (Anthem CD!) is louder than my laptop. Is that a function of the sound card? I was surprised the difference was so large.

I am using a Cary tube amp and preamp. I switched the inputs around and the laptop is always less loud and requires me to turn up the volume compared to the CDP. Any input on why this is would be appreciated.



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Your CDP undoubtedly has higher voltage supply rails in the analog and digital sections which allows for more headroom. Many modestly priced CDP have at least bipolar +/-5V analog supplies.

Standard CDP full scale output voltage is usually 2Vrms, in the case of your laptop due to the use of single 3.3V supply rails or lower the full scale output is likely to be no more than 700mVrms. (True of many budget pc sound cards as well.)
Thank you for your response! I recently found that using the headphone output from my laptop is not the same as an audio out - which my laptop does not have. It was suggested to buy an external USB dac... or try something like a Squeezebox. I am happy to know i can get better performance from my ripped cd's! Maybe i will recycle and older pc and try that too. Any suggestions are welcome!

Many thanks!