for the Audiophiles

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Sound Evolution, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. Sound Evolution macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #1
    Dear,

    I know they are out here too. Audiophiles.

    Myself an designer of high-end audio electronics, musician and Audiophile was very disappointed in the the sound quality of my MBP 17". Besides all the hiss and noise, the sound quality was very poor from the headphone output.

    My first 2008 MBA also had inferior sound quality, combined with hiss/noise. The old Ibook G4 had a sublime headphone output and outclassed all Apples later laptops if it comes to sound quality.

    I have good news! Totally unexpected and surprised, the NEW MBA 11" has an very good sounding headphone output. Very well designed, no hiss/noise, a very punchy and good low end (like the old Ibook G4) I am very happy with this.

    With kind regards,
    Bas
     
  2. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #2
    If you are a real Audiophile you would know to use an external sound card. I use apogee duet.

    Btw MBP sounds fine if you use professional headphones.

    But good to hear about the MacBook Air.
     
  3. muff macrumors member

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    Oct 3, 2010
  4. Sound Evolution thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #4
    The MBA is for on the road. No one going to bring an Apogee Duet on the road. That is why it is so nice the MBA sounds good from itself. For real audiophile listening I listen to my self designed class A headphone amplifier with USB receiver and first class D/A conversion.


    With kind regards,
    Bas
     
  5. iRun26.2 macrumors 68000

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    Aug 15, 2010
    #5
    Who doesn't want to have excellent audio quality in their notebook computer?
     
  6. muff macrumors member

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    Oct 3, 2010
    #6
    There is a huge difference in excellent sound quality and the quality from a real audiophile product. If you expect a USD 1.000 laptop to produce sound as good as a USD 20.000 music setup you will be disappointed.
     
  7. double329 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #7
    Now that you brought this up, and I don't mean to steal your post.

    This is my first Mac. I use Foobar2000 in Win with Perfect-bit driver for external USB DAC. My question is: what is the best player sw do Mac people use that can support varieties of format and good USB data stream? Thanks:D
     
  8. YMark macrumors 6502a

    YMark

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    Nov 7, 2008
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    Arizona
  9. YMark macrumors 6502a

    YMark

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    Nov 7, 2008
    Location:
    Arizona
    #9
    An self proclaimed "audiophile" talking about laptop speakers. Not that's funny. Maybe a Bose "engineer". :rolleyes:
     
  10. The Viking macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #10
    Yes, but you no longer HAVE to use an external USB soundcard to get decent audio.

    I can confirm the hissing, popping, and general garbage quality of the old logic board is gone, and the audio from the built-in audio on the MacBook Air is very clean.

    I've been going back and forth, and the difference is astounding.
     
  11. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #11
    That's funny, indeed! I don't know how many posters got your point but as a longtime home theater nerd, I did.:) In fairness to the OP, though, he was talking about his MBA's headphone output, not its speakers.
     
  12. Sound Evolution thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #13
    Apparently people here listen only with $$$ and can't believe/understand that with the current IC technology you can get very good sound quality. I have owned Krell KMA200 amplifiers, Mark Levinson 333m Bryston 7B's before i designer my own amplifiers. So I do know how good equipment can sound! I am blessed to design electronics for a very well respected high brand. I am not deaf! I just use my ears and not my audiophile snobbism. Very narrow minded to think that something can ONLY sounds good if it cost many $$$. If you only know how u get screwed with some so called "high-end" brands.

    With kind regards,
    Bas
     
  13. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #14
    Have you tried the Apogee One? It's tiny, light and therefore very portable (May even use same circuitry as the Duet?). I use it with my Grado SR225s and, while it may not qualify as "audiophile" sound quality, it leaves me wanting for nothing.

    But I agree, the new MBA's internals are much quieter than my old MBP (whose soundcard hissed like a b-----d), and negates the need for any external circuitry for casual listening.

    Also, very charitable of you to not point out the 3 grammatical errors/typos in this post which tried (without much success since it's based on a flawed premise) to ridicule you for no reason.
     
  14. aberrero macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    #15
    I use the NuForce uDAC.


    The MBAs headphone output isn't nearly powerful enough to drive my Sennheiser HD 580 headphones. I added an iBasso T1 amp and the sound is good enough considering the low quality of the sampled garage band piano, but for serious listening I would use a dedicated card.


    NuForce has a $65 "upgrade" for the original uDAC to the new design, it is basically just the naked internals without the case. The new chip doesn't support usbAudio though so it won't work on the iPad(although apple killed the iPad audio in 4.2 anyway, so this might be a moot point if the JB'ers don't bring it back). I am thinking of just using the upgrade card inside my desktop and then using my current uDAC exclusively with the MBA/iPad.
     
  15. aberrero macrumors 6502a

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    #16
  16. runnin17 macrumors member

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    Dec 9, 2008
    #17
    I haven't used my MBA's headphone out. I am using the MBA with my iBasso D10 Cobra DAC/amp (via USB). I am debating on getting a nuforce uDAC-2 to bring along with me.

    I guess I'll have to try the headphone out and see how it sounds. The problem is I have been using my Beyer DT990/600's exclusively and really don't think the MBA's headphone out can handle 600 ohm headphones :D
     
  17. aberrero macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 12, 2010
    #18
    No, no it can't.

    For what its worth, I have been very happy with my uDAC considering the price. I have been wanting the iBasso equivalents for years but could never justify the cost.
     
  18. Mr. Savage macrumors regular

    Mr. Savage

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #19
    On a semi-related note, I just saw on 9 to 5 mac that Marshall (of amplifier fame) has just released 2 new headphones. I have to have the (sold-out already) In-Ears.

    Relatively cheap too!
     
  19. aberrero macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2010
    #20
    I'm just assuming that they will sound horrible for anything other than rock, but who knows? Dr. Dre did pretty well.
     
  20. Sound Evolution thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #21
    I highly respect Apogee. I used the Apogee mini-me (now discontinued), and sounds very good. Apogee makes exceptional products designed by a fellow Dutch, Mr. Lucas van der Mee.

    There are plenty of very good headphone amplifiers/D-A converters on the market today. Also the Benchmark DAC1 and Grace audio sound very good.

    My point if this post however was to indicate that the quality of the jack output of the MBA is above expectation. I travel a lot through europe, and trust me going from train to train, packed with suitcase and bags, each kilogram is to much. That is why I envy my new MBA. A good laptop sound is important for me, and I am glad that the MBA provides excellent audio quality.

    It turns out my ears didn't cheat on me and Apple does pay more attention to audio quality now. The new MBA uses the high-end Cirrus logic 4206 CODEC, and the former Macbook's the-low tech Realtek ALC-885 CODEC. that explains the big difference. Cirrus Logic makes excellent D/A convertors and CODECS and can definitely be considered as Audiophile.

    With kind regards,
    Bas
     
  21. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #22
    HAH! Mark Levinson... high end? isn't it just over-priced shockingly bad Harman Kardon stuff? HK is almost.... but not quite as bad as Bose.

    Anyway, I use a cheap Project USB Dac Box, only cost £150 but sounds a million times better than the standard output on ANY computer.
     
  22. Sound Evolution thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #23
    Mark Levinson is overpriced, so is almost all "high-end" equipment. However Mark Levinson (Harman Kardon group) have some very skilled designers and the designs are really good. If it is worth the money is up to the end user.

    Mac's are overpriced to, yet we are willing to pay for it :D

    Back to the topic. If you really want a truth high-end sound quality, try this program for free the first 15 days. Trust me you won't be disappointed.
    http://www.channld.com/pure-music1.html

    Who thinks zeros and ones sound all the same and digital doesn't matter is wrong.

    My new MBA together with Pure Music sound truly high-end. The Apogee Mini Me on the MBA sounds warmer and more involving, but the MBA stand alone output does a really good job. And truly satisfying enough for the audiophile.

    With kind regards,
    Bas
     
  23. bloodycape, Nov 16, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010

    bloodycape macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #24
    Yeah that IEM looks pretty nice and is priced fair. If microphonics are good, and it has a reasonably wide sound range that is balanced, or natural I am sold. Any reviews of it yet?

    I found my 12in iBook was actually worse than my first gen MBP, but both had a very light hiss out of my Sennheiser HD465, but neither are as nice as what my Vaio is producing(and that is kind of expected as Sony generally has better than average SQ).

    Edit: looks like Zounds is the ODM, so the SQ may not be the worth the cost.
     

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