How is sound quality when you use the digital out?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MVApple, May 16, 2009.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #1
    Well I've been pretty disappointed in the sound quality of the unibody Macbook Pro when plugging in headphones. There is a strong hiss and a lot of detail is lost. So I'm thinking of getting a Astro A140 Mixamp. My idea is to use the digital out from the macbook pro, plug it into the mixamp, and then plug my headphones into mixamp. There are a few reasons I want to get this besides sound quality alone, but improving the sound quality coming from the unibody is a top reason.

    How good is the sound quality from the digital out though? Is it as good as an iPod? Anyone have a similar setup?
     
  2. Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Missouri
    #2
    Since it is digital, it should be perfect, but what you hear will still depend on your headphones and the D-A converter you plug them into.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    jackiecanev2

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    #3
    Wirelessly posted (BB 8900: BlackBerry8900/4.6.1.101 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/301)

    Digital is digital; the sound quality when using the optical out will depend on the amp you choose. Head over to head-fi if you need help with a headphone amp setup.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #4
    digital is not always perfect over a medium, a proper optical cable still has to be used if you dont wish jitter to occur, which can and will distort audio.
    but thats nitpicking.. ;D

    imo mbp d/a is pretty crappy, and the Astro will probably yield better results than built in d/a
     
  5. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    #5
    Sound quality on the Macbook Pro is better than any PC laptop I ever owned. I don't get hiss on my outputs. How loud are you cranking your music? Make sure your app volume is up high first, then start cranking the main volume.

    Digital output doesn't really have sound quality in itself - it depend on the quality of the digital to analogue converters in the receiving device. Heck you could spend $2000 - $10,000 for two channels of good converters. If you want good sound quality, think about getting an Apogee Duet http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/duet.php external firewire audio interface.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    #6
    Listen to low impedance headphones or earphones and you will hear it, it's even more obvious at low levels. Fairly common problem with the MBP.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #7
    its very appearent at low volumes, especially when you work on lowlevel unmastered material, or you are listening to classical..
    or anything 24bit that actually has some dynamic range.
    it is better than PC's, but not good...

    if you are at interfaces id also recommend Echo Indigo which is Expresscard. i have those converters in the big echo card and theyre damn good.
     
  8. Guest

    Benguitar

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    #8
    I personally don't use my headphone jack from my MacBook Pro, Whenever I listen to audio tracks/videos I run everything out my FireWire port and into my Apogee Duet, I will from there send the audio to two KRK ROKIT 5 Powered Monitors, or I will plug my Sennheiser Headphones in the 1/4 inch jack of my Duet.

    So from what I get through my interface, I'd say it is pretty good.

    Before I used interfaces I had a pair of Altech Lancing Speakers that just plugged into the 1/8 inch jack, And they sounded really good except I ended up blowing them out. :rolleyes:

    I did however notice that you get more buzz/distortion when you use the 1/8 inch jack.
     
  9. macrumors regular

    areusche

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    #9
  10. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #10
    Yup. I get the hiss even on my macbook with my 16ohm Sennheisers. I do plan on getting a headphone amp to get rid of the hiss though, since it is really starting to annoy me.
     
  11. macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #11
    If you use a good DAC like Apogee Mini DAC, you will get great results.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    上海 (Shanghai)
    #12
    It really depends on what you get; plus you need better headphones first, if you haven't made that purchase already.

    So for best audio quality, you'd need good headphones, a good amp, and a good DAC. It gets really pricey.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #13
    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. I already have a nice pair of low impedance headphones that sound great when plugged into an iPod. My understanding is that iPods don't exactly have the best sound quality either, but I'm satisfied with the sound coming out of them.

    I looked into the Endigo soundcard and it's something I'll be comparing with the Astro mixamp. The Apogee equipment is just way too expensive for me though. I'm not making recordings and I don't need the best possible sound quality. If I get sound that is as good as an iPod then I'll be satisfied. The Astro mixamp is about $150 shipped so I really am trying to stay in that range, which the endigo sound card falls into.
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Ping Guo

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Location:
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    #14
  15. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #15
    be sure to check IOx, not DJx. IOx has better converters!

    headphone amp wont help you, sorry. another interface will
     

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