Headphone DAC only 44.1/48khz

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hooptyuber, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. hooptyuber macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2017
    #1
    2016 MacBook Pro Touch 15" - I noticed the onboard DAC is capable of 44.1/48/96khz but, when you plug headphones in, it's only 44.1/48khz. 96khz is not available with headphones. That seems odd. Any idea why that's the case? If the DAC can handle 96khz for the onboard speakers, it should be able to do the same for headphones.
     
  2. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #2
    Well, The headphone port on the new MBP works differently to how it worked on older models. It's now exclusively an analog port, so maybe there's something there that's influencing it? I don't really know. But regardless, if you use a USB-> optical out, you can get higher sample rates.
     
  3. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #3
    The onboard DAC isn't that great anyway. Nor is the headphone port powerful enough for most of the better headphones out there. If you have the need for 96kHz output, you will probably want to buy a better external DAC and a headphone amplifier. I like the stuff from Schiit out in California. As they like to say, they make some really good Schiit!
     
  4. Nathan King macrumors member

    Nathan King

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    #4
    The onboard DAC is terrible, and I doubt you would hear an improvement anyway. I use and recommend the Schiit Bifrost.
     
  5. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #5
    I have the Schiit Modi Multibit DAC and the Schiit Vali 2 headphone amp. Can't beat that Schiit!!
     
  6. jitgill, Jan 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017

    jitgill macrumors member

    jitgill

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    #6
    When at home I use my Panasonic SA-PMX100B connected though a USB-C to mini-USB-B connector. It pipes though 192khz 24bit FLAC files without issue. They sound fantastic either though the 3 way speakers or though my Shure 846 IEMs. On the road if I need Hi-Res audio I'll use my Apogee One as it can be powered by the MBP or battery if using my iPhone.

    IMG_0454.jpg
     
  7. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #7
    So many audiophoolery here lol. It's been proven already that one cannot distinguish between on-board soundcard and expensive external sound card reliably and on a volume matched ABX test. Amps particularly tube or solidstate OTOH is distinguishable. Don't get me started with Hi-res audio, DSD, MQA formats. The way the music was mastered is 1000x more important than comparing lossless uncompressed audio formats.

    All that's needed to provide all of analog information in a digital domain is 16-bits 44.1 KHz which covers 22KHz of frequency range per Nyquist frequency.

    See here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733-19.html
     
  8. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 23, 2013
    #8
    Is it worse than the 2015 or earlier models? The 2015 model (I'm using) the DAC is pretty decent, I'm rather pleased with especially after comparing with my 2009 MBP and a few windows laptops. It wouldn't' surprised me if the DAC was different as the optical port was removed.
     
  9. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #9
    ^ It might be that the amp spec for 2015 is different / more powerful than the 2009 model thus making the sound better (due to better transducer control). DACs sound the same unless the DAC is making more THD than an amp which in recent years would never happen or some manufacturer has made a hardware DSP (i.e. using digital filters) to "liven up" the sound (which a lot of expensive external DAC do anyways).
     
  10. ThisBougieLife macrumors 65816

    ThisBougieLife

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    #10
    Was 96Khz with headphones available on the 2015 model though? I find it hard to believe the new MBP can only play 96 files through the onboard speakers--what benefit would that be?

    I've been using an external USB DAC for a long time though (I use Fiio E17K now) so I wouldn't really know.
     
  11. sidewinder, Jan 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017

    sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    #11
    Believe what you want. My ears do not agree with anything you wrote about DACs. Especially when you compare an on-board DAC to a multibit DAC. If what you wrote were true, there would be one super cheap DAC chip out there that everyone used because it would be all any manufacturer would need. There would be no reason to use a more expensive DAC chip or any need to improve them over time. Of course, I can tell the difference between a 192 kbps and 256 kbps version of a quality recording.

    Read here:

    http://www.mother-of-tone.com/conversion.htm
     
  12. Chocomonsters macrumors regular

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    May 22, 2007
    #12
    I use CEntrance DACmini. It is DAC/Amp unit. It drives my Sennheiser HD 700 great.

    I think using nice DAC and headphone amp only matters if you are going to drive decent headphones. If you are going to use Apple iPhone earbuds, I don't think you will notice much difference between onboard 44.1 vs 96 or 192.

    If you are going to get DAC/Amp for headphones, do try better media players than iTunes. I do like Fidelia for playing high-res music.
     
  13. evec macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2016
    #13
    I use MacBook12 2015. The internal speaker only able to support 48khz/16bit.
    When we plug in the headphone, this support up to 96khz/24bit and the sound is very good as some as our external RME sound card without noise and distort, and i sure the output in 96/24 is better that 44.1/16 even when play CD (better sound stage and more clear).
    (I use beyer T51p headphone )

    Is 2016 (13" non touch / touch ) mbpr headphone jacks not support 96khz ?

    I know that the chip is all some and should support 96khz output, i thing may be driver problem, may respect to Apple for improve.
     
  14. idark77 macrumors 6502

    idark77

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    Dec 2, 2014
    #14
    Audioengine D1

    The DAC in the 2016 MBP is worse than 2015...
     
  15. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    Northern California
    #15
    The Audioengine D1 is okay....but I would get Modi 2/Magni 2 stack from Schiit instead. Better all the way around and still under $200. Better DAC and a better headphone amp.
     
  16. idark77 macrumors 6502

    idark77

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    Dec 2, 2014
    #16
    Yes but I prefer AE D1 because all in one and the audio quality is good for the price (I like AKM 4396 DAC). For sure the Schiit Magni 2 is better to drive any Headphones.
     
  17. evec macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2016
    #17
    Don't thing the medium price Hifi DAC can get better that MacBook internal DAC unless it with noise or unable to drive the high ohm headphone. Most consumer DAC introduced coloration give user better feeling. Apple DAC is a second-class DAC with 110db SN an more that 30mw power for driver headphone, the sound natural like professional sound card without coloration.

    Although many Hi-fi DAC use best SNR chip up to more that 120db, but extreme SNR may have trade off and not already best result (so professional grade sound card may use some bad DAC in view of audiophoolery), also the shortage of most DAC is the interface and software of USB driver and relative circuit, they purchase XMOS or CMEDIA solution for cost-reduced and make the sound worst.
     
  18. idark77 macrumors 6502

    idark77

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    #18
    I know ...
     
  19. ThisBougieLife macrumors 65816

    ThisBougieLife

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    #19
    That was another DAC that I considered. I got the Fiio because it has tone controls and I like to boost the bass a little. Once you've tried an external DAC you never want to go back to the built-in one, though. (I have Sennheiser HD 599 headphones).

    But yes, the 2016 DAC does seem to be inferior to the 2015 one. Getting rid of optical out was a downgrade.
     
  20. cbautis2, Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017

    cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    As long as your happy with your purchase, that's all that matters, but one can't deny that an fast switching ABX blind test shows that sound cards aren't that different in sound reproduction even with custom digital filter like on your external sound card. If you take out those oversampling stuff and just run your multibit sound card with No Oversampling (NOS), I bet it'll sound the same as the on-board given that there is none of that "custom digital filter to make the sound better" is implemented. That's why I wrote on post #9 that the sound between sound card are different because of the digital filter, but without filtering, sound cards sound the same. Like on Tom's article, you pay for features that make the sound 1% better (IMO) if you buy an external sound card. This is my opinion that I'm entitled to express of course.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 22, 2017 ---
    Do audio interfaces that pros use to make your music use a multibit chip? None AFAIK. They use a cheap and priced-right ADC/DACs ($2 - $10 chips) to make your music, but one difference between a consumer and pro gear is is the ultra precise clocks that the pros have so that the digital file that is created is contains minimum amount of jitter, which translates to as perfect recording of analog audio as possible.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 22, 2017 ---
    Agree with this except for the "bad DAC in view of audiophoolery". IMO, reason pro's use cheap ADC/DACs is because they have INAUDIBLE THD as well as accurate analog sound reproduction which is just as good, if not better than exotic sound card implementations like the multibit or resistor ladder (with custom digital filter to color the sound). With regards to XMOS or CMEDIA, it's the jitter and master clock that messes up the signal before it goes to the sound card thus making it sound worse than external sound card with femto/pico clocks. The sound card itself is just converting whatever garbage is fed with excellent accuracy.
     
  21. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Northern California
    #21
    From the web site I linked too:

    The Looks

    See below the unfiltered output of a 1-bit sigma-delta DAC, respectively DSD/SACD:

    [​IMG]

    This is supposed to be a sinewave.

    Following is the output of a 3-bit (multilevel) sigma-delta DAC.

    [​IMG]

    Well, now you can estimate, it wants to be a sinewave ;-)

    And now, take a look at a good old 16-bit R2R DAC:

    [​IMG]

    Don't be afraid, to relate what you see to what you expect to hear.

    The key issue that I want to address here is noise. A R2R DAC can convert noise-free, whereas any sigma-delta DAC relies on the noise in order to randomly shape the immense quantization error.

    Even if the noise is technically specified to be outside the human listening range, and also specified to be easily filtered away, any real-world implementation of any sigma-delta DAC will tell your ears a different story.

    And Soundwise ?
    In science, the experiment decides if a theory is held valid or discarded.

    This is of course difficult when a sound quality is subjectively assessed, as science only deals with instruments, as the experiment for being considered valid, must be repeated consistently.

    This is the core of all arguments of the following type:


    • A: It is flawless and perfect in any scientific, engineering and mathematical way.

      B: But it sounds so bad.
    or the other way:


    • A: You cannot do that at all. It is totally wrong and you can measure numerous kinds of distortion.

      B: Hey, now its just right. This is the way a saxophone sounds :)



    Subjective Evaluation
    R2R/Multibit/Ladder DAC:

    What I personally like with R2R converters, is their ability to reproduce a wide variety of timbres. A cymbal can really sound like a cymbal, not like crinkling a piece of paper. A piano can have body.

    It is the richness and diversity of complex harmonic structures that a well done multibit or R2R DAC is able to produce, which can make it a very musical and real sounding device.

    And this is the reason why I use R2R technology inside my Attraction DAC and Tera-Player!

    Position of instruments is rock-stable.

    Sound has balls, and at the same time precision. It can drive

    If there is any sonic signature at all, it is one which could best be described as "chocolate-like".


    Sigma-Delta DAC:

    What I personally dislike with any sigma-delta DAC I have listened to up to now, is the lack of reproducing a voice's or instrument's timbre, and the lack of all other positive aspects of R2R DACs, as mentioned above.

    Instead of being able to enjoy the richness and variety of different sounds, I have the impression that everything sounds the same, or has the same imprinted character, which could best be described as nervous fizzle.

    There is no tone and no body. No balls, no precision, no transparency and no drive.

    What is left is the annoying sonic signature, ranging from "acid to pink hiss".

    The more levels or bit-resolution are introduced in a sigma-delta converter, the less annoying the sound becomes.

    The worst sound can be achieved with 1-bit modulators, as found in DSD, respectively SACD.

    Apart from SACD being a complete waste of storage space, the achieved resolution is low, and the musical presentation ranges from "very lame without detail and drive" to "more detail but very acid".

    PS: For being fair, some people relate what I call "nervous fizzle" to "very wide and open soundstage". I consider this an issue of listening level, or perhaps - in better words: personal preference. To me, the realness of a musical presentation is to a large part determined by correct timbre (tone) of instruments and voices.

    PPS: Recently I was able to audition a very expensive and high-performance CD-player that runs on 4x AD1955 sigma-delta converters per channel. Although that was definitely the best and smoothest sigma-delta presentation I had heard by then, I was not completely satisfied. One or two octaves were underrepresented in the lower end, soundstage was quite narrow, although none of the typical switching noise was apparent. But subjectively the worst and most consistent problem was the inability to play different timbres. Every instrument sounded the same, as if covered with a gloss of plastic, not PVC but a higher quality plastic...

    PPPS: And this is the reason why I completely avoid Sigma-Delta technology in any and all of my audio products.
     
  22. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 17, 2013
    #22
    ^ Seemed BIAS to me. Looks like the good ol' days of using early D/S sound cards. Also, that's raw signal that is not dithered yet. There's no more 1 or 3 bits lol. All cheap sound cards are now multibit delta sigma modulators. No sound cards today processed that crap signal anyways without sophisticated noise shapers that affects THD+N. Current on-board sound cards have advanced far more than that article that the biases in that article are now moot. If you look at recent sound cards today, they even surpassed multibit in terms of THD+N, jitter measurements etc.

    Finally, in a video from a reputable audiophile, that person claimed ZERO sound difference between a multibit sound card and a delta sigma one. This video just proves that the noise shapers in the cheap delta sigma (on-board and external sound cards) that the article say affects sound (make it "digital sounding cymbals", blah blah) are INAUDIBLE and that DACs with very low THD+N specs sound the same. Amps on the other hand distort the signal FAR more than sound card do.

     
  23. richpjr macrumors 68030

    richpjr

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    May 9, 2006
    #23
    Not sure one could take that review very seriously. Aside from being done by one of the most annoying people on the planet, a much better test would have been comparing a Schiit Bifrost Multibit vs a Bifrost Delta-Sigma (not a different manufacturer where all kinds of things could affect the sound) with volume levels set with a sound meter (not "they are the same as far as I can tell") in a blind listening test. That was just one guy's opinion.
     
  24. sidewinder macrumors 68020

    sidewinder

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    Northern California
    #24
    You guys go ahead and keep using the MacBook DAC. More power to you.
     
  25. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    Horsens, Denmark
    #25
    Indeed it was. And in fact, i urge everyone to form their own opinion. Find a way to do your own test like in the video, and see what your ears tell you. Mine tell me the same as in the video, but yours might not be the same
     

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