Audio output on my Powerbook better than my Macbook

Nameci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
1,944
8
The Philippines...
Ok, here's the thing.

I have an Etymotic HF3 that I have been using for I guess more than a year already.

When I left the states last December, I also left my Powerbook. The Powerbook back was not used so much because I have a macbook that I use for my work. I am an equipment engineer that my work involves traveling for the most part of the week. I am basically living in hotels and airports, flying every week to different locations in the States.

Anyway, I am now working here in the factory in China, now assigned to the subsidiary here. I have asked my friend to bring me my Powerbook here in China, and just last week I got my Powerbook back.

I am not an audiophile per se, but I want that whenever I listen into something, I want the sound to be clear crisp and accurate. I don't want my bass to be powerful I want it to be tight and accurate and at least I can hear all the instrument in the background, in other words I want to be as real as possible. Its as if the singer and musician is in front of me.

I have my equalizer setting already preset on my macbook, so that I can balance the sounds to my liking. Since, I opted to use my Powerbook at work, I plugged in my IEM's (Ety HF3) on it. Tinkered with the equalizer in iTunes to balance the sound to my liking.

Wow! The Powerbook audio out sounds better than the macbook eventhough the powerbook had an older audio chip. The sound is warm, clean and the frequency response is almost flat on the equalizer. With the macbook I have to boost the lower frequency to get a decent bass and of course the more you go higher you'll get distortion but you don't get the kick. The macbook sounds dry.

I am very thankful that my friend brought it for me. The PB uses a Crystal Semi chip while the MB uses an Intel HDA. Does it mean the older Crystal semi is much better in encoding than the newer Intel HDA?
 

skinniezinho

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2009
1,022
44
Portugal
Ok, here's the thing.

I have an Etymotic HF3 that I have been using for I guess more than a year already.

When I left the states last December, I also left my Powerbook. The Powerbook back was not used so much because I have a macbook that I use for my work. I am an equipment engineer that my work involves traveling for the most part of the week. I am basically living in hotels and airports, flying every week to different locations in the States.

Anyway, I am now working here in the factory in China, now assigned to the subsidiary here. I have asked my friend to bring me my Powerbook here in China, and just last week I got my Powerbook back.

I am not an audiophile per se, but I want that whenever I listen into something, I want the sound to be clear crisp and accurate. I don't want my bass to be powerful I want it to be tight and accurate and at least I can hear all the instrument in the background, in other words I want to be as real as possible. Its as if the singer and musician is in front of me.

I have my equalizer setting already preset on my macbook, so that I can balance the sounds to my liking. Since, I opted to use my Powerbook at work, I plugged in my IEM's (Ety HF3) on it. Tinkered with the equalizer in iTunes to balance the sound to my liking.

Wow! The Powerbook audio out sounds better than the macbook eventhough the powerbook had an older audio chip. The sound is warm, clean and the frequency response is almost flat on the equalizer. With the macbook I have to boost the lower frequency to get a decent bass and of course the more you go higher you'll get distortion but you don't get the kick. The macbook sounds dry.

I am very thankful that my friend brought it for me. The PB uses a Crystal Semi chip while the MB uses an Intel HDA. Does it mean the older Crystal semi is much better in encoding than the newer Intel HDA?
I don't know if one is better than another, but I can say that Crystal Semi made some good chips.
Long time ago I had an Hercules Fortissimo 3 7.1 with Crystal CS4624 and it was very very good, much better than Creative Audigy 2 ZS I had later and wich was very famous.
I even remember there was teh Hercules Game Theater XP with the CS4630 wich claimed to be even more amazing!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,333
13,193
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I'm not a soundohphile or anything like that and really know nothing about the technology for it in the Mac. But I'm not surprised you are sensing better sound quality.

We got a Mac Pro at work about a month ago. I was NOT impressed when I turned it on and heard the startup chimes. I'm still not impressed any time I have to restart it. The difference in sound to me is like trying to play a piece of music on a real instrument (PowerPC Mac) and a kids toy instrument (Intel Mac). I have not yet had the need/desire to use the Mac's sound system but I'm further betting I won't be impressed there either.

Apple made some tradeoffs to go to Intel. I guess sound might have been one of them.
 

Wildy

macrumors 6502
Jan 25, 2011
323
0
Some of the PowerBooks also have Texas Instruments chips which are decent.
 

Nameci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
1,944
8
The Philippines...
I did not really paid much attention to it until yesterday when I muck around with Powerbook and then referenced back to the macbook. My home setup is a M-Audio AV40 directly connected to the PMG5 Quad and has always been. And it has been an awesome experience to my ears. And it has been always known that as a supposed to be reference monitor, the AV40's will sound warmer to the ears. The reason I did not paid too much attention to the sound chips on the PM Quad. I thought they should always sound the same, until yesterday did I realize that of course different models come with different chips, they would sound differently.

The PMG5 afaik, comes with a TI chip, and it has two not one because of the digital out (TOSLINK).

Most of the time audiophiles have amplifiers, equalizers and sound processors in between their macs and their speakers or drivers, so the effect of the chip is not more apparent that directly plugging on the analog line out.

I am now thinking that the Intel models have Intel High Definition Audio (HDA) on all of them and will sound "tinny".

I am sticking with my Powerbook, and I will never let go of it. The macbook eventhough how unique and rare it looks, will go back to bag. I have no need for parallels to run windows software on my macs, I realize now I can be all powerpc mac again on my workflow.
 

Nameci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
1,944
8
The Philippines...
I'm back at my powerbook again, and I just can't believe my ears. Oh! I just hit the sweet spot.

I wonder how it would sound on real speakers?
 

powermi

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2013
143
2
Avila (Spain)
do you use osX on the PB? i use linux on mine and never have use it to hear some music. At home i have my ibook docked to my yamaha HS50 with a external sound card, and my headphones are always used with the ipod, and now o wonder how they must sound with the PB.
 

Nameci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
1,944
8
The Philippines...
do you use osX on the PB? i use linux on mine and never have use it to hear some music. At home i have my ibook docked to my yamaha HS50 with a external sound card, and my headphones are always used with the ipod, and now o wonder how they must sound with the PB.
yes OSX on all my OSX capable Macs. I use Etymotic's HF3 IEM's though. So that also is a contributing factor, but again I am comparing it against a more modern Macbook. Same music, same IEM for both. And the difference is can be distinguished between the two.
 

powermi

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2013
143
2
Avila (Spain)
great for the PB!

BTW i could never advice to use no one an in-ear Headphones. in terms of audio quality and ear health they are not be best choice at all.

why do you use this ones? witch software is your proffered?
 

Nameci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
1,944
8
The Philippines...
great for the PB!

BTW i could never advice to use no one an in-ear Headphones. in terms of audio quality and ear health they are not be best choice at all.

why do you use this ones? witch software is your proffered?
Don't get me wrong but this HF3's are good with sound reproduction. It's pretty outstanding. Clarity and accuracy. I don't hit the volume really high with IEM's and they are of noise isolation type, they work like ear plugs, so you can listen more to the music than trying to raise the volume to appreciate it because of ambient noise.

I am just using iTunes and sometimes turning SRS to give it a little of a sound stage if I fancy.
 

powermi

macrumors regular
Apr 6, 2013
143
2
Avila (Spain)
i really understand your choice.
your experience with the sound quality of the powerbook is another thing to me just to stay with PowerPC as long as i can.
 

Nameci

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Oct 29, 2010
1,944
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The Philippines...
The more I love to use my powerbook now more than ever. I think the PowerPC macs do have better hardware compared to the intel ones. I wonder what is on the PowerMac G4 Digital Audio. That must be something.
 

Yahmess

macrumors newbie
Nov 15, 2013
1
0
Just to add my two bits - I'm not so deeply into audio as you all, but do appreciate good sound (used to do road managing and radio). Now I listen to music while working, simply iTunes audio out, and then aux-in through my stereo: NAD amp/Mordount-Short speakers/Walker turntable with special arm and cartridge/Marantz CD player. I've digitalised a lot of my old music from vinyl and cassettes, and was pleased and surprised to notice a BIG difference in quality between what I digitalised from analogue and the CD's (let alone compressed mpegs).

So to get to the point, I was cleaning up my iTunes library on my old PB G4, so moved the audio jack over to my MB Pro to listen to the music from there. Tinny, a bit flat. Checked the equaliser - off on both iTunes. Got organised and started listening to the same song from both computers, shifting the cable back and forth. No question - the PB G4 has a fuller sound. I must admit, I never suspected this kind of thing would happen....

So, my two bits.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,333
13,193
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All you have to do to realize this is boot an Intel Mac and a PowerPC Mac. No question that the boot chime from a PowerPC Mac is superior in sound quality.

It grates whenever I have to restart my Intel Mac at work because I know I'll hear a tinny chime followed by hard drive spinup!
 

wobegong

Guest
May 29, 2012
418
1
Problem I had on my MBP was volume, especially on Skype calls - I now use Boom ( http://www.globaldelight.com/boom/ ) and the volume (and sound) is much better, shame this is needed though. Havn't had a PB in years (mine was one of the last 15" 1.67 models) so don't recall the sound (since I picked up my rucksack from the airport security scanner in Paris (around 2008) and forgot it was still unzipped - PB dropped out as I put the rucksack on my shoulder and smashed to pieces all over the marble floor....