MB Sound Quality (headphones)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jbstew32, Oct 10, 2007.

  1. jbstew32 macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2007
    I just bought a pair of Shure SE210 headphones, and they sound very good. After listening to them for a while on my Macbook, I plugged them into a PC with a Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 sound card and immediately noticed a HUGE difference in sound quality, especially with the lower frequencies. It really gave me a whole new perspective on the quality of these earphones

    The question is, is there anything I can change on my mac to improve the sound quality? I've tried adjusting the equalizer in iTunes, but it seems to make little difference.

    any suggestions?
  2. triddent222 macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2007
    Somewhere interesting
    i don't really know, but I would say a dedicated sound card would probably produce better sound quality than the integrated, minimalist sound card available on MBPs...

    Aside from that, never found iTunes equalizer quite 'effective.'
  3. jbstew32 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2007
    thanks for the reply. that's what I am thinking, and the MB Sound quality is still pretty good. I just didn't know if there were any tricks or 3rd party apps that would let you make adjustments for better sound.
  4. Erukian macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2007
    I know this probably isnt the answer you were looking for but i'll throw it out anyhow because i was in the exact same situation you are in now.

    What i bought was the EMU 0202 USB, it powers off usb, has a high end 24/192 cirrus logic DAC in it, and it has a good headphone amp that helps clean up and pick up the bass a lot. You can pick one up at frys or guitar center or online. Only downside is it's not the most portable device. But if you're like me and you only do serious listening with good gear at home, i have a usb hub with all my periphs plugged into it and the emu is in there as well. OSX drivers work great too.

  5. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    I have a Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 and a MacBook (C2D 2.16GHz).

    When I used the Live! I couldn't stand it. Replacing it with the AV-710 was the best thing I ever did for PC sound. All Creative cards, except the Emu line, have awful sound quality.

    The bass is completely overblown, the mid's are very fatiguing and the high end basically doesn't exist.

    Even though the MacBook doesn't have "colored" sound like the Live, I find it to sound MUCH better. It's flat, doesn't color the sound at all like the Live, and you can listen to it for hours without getting a headache or feeling fatigued.

    That being said, the iPod (my 5.5G 80GB and 8GB 3G nano) blow away both for music.

    You'll definitely come to appreciate the much better quality of the MacBook over the Live! ;)
  6. juxtaposer macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2007
    In A Field
    I don't have it myself, so can't give an experienced PoV, but there are definitely a few programs that claim to do exactly what you're asking over at the 'downloads' section on 's website. One which comes to mind is a program called 'iWow' which is supposed to give 'studio quality sound', whatever that is (always thought most pro studio monitors were flat response which seems to be what you get from the MacBook's headphone socket anyway). Maybe give iWow a blast and let us know how you get on?

    EDIT: or as a previous poster suggested, perhaps a Firewire/USB Audio Interface (prefer Firewire myself) is what you're after. My 'Focusrite Saffire' with a couple of powered monitors gives off a beautiful sound.

  7. jbstew32 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 15, 2007
    I just noticed something else that's kind of weird. If no song is playing in iTunes and I try to play some random song, I hear a popping sounding just before the song starts. If I hit stop in iTunes, I hear another popping sound just after it stops.

    It's not very loud, but once recognized is pretty annoying hah

    It doesn't happen if a Song is already playing and I click to start a new one. It only happens when the player is stopped and I try to play something, and when I press stop when something is playing. weird. maybe a driver issue?
  8. deadpixels macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2006
    i've seen people mentioning this popping sound before, what i remember is it's when the sound card turns on and off, it does turn off when not in use to save power. the sound issue with your shure headphones is maybe because of the impedance, i own a pair of E3C and these headphones have a high impedance so they need more juice if you want to run them at their best. i know one can by a small adapter that decrease the impedance and you get louder and better sound.
  9. nightshowerer macrumors newbie

    May 28, 2011
    You might try unchecking sound check in the iTunes preferences (makes all songs the same volume). After I unchecked this, I noticed some improvement.
  10. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020


    Oct 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    You can get a digital audio out from the audio port and then a DAC or something and then plug from that.

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