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Not all PC's sound the same.


Dave A
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I am getting ready to attend an event with my S-MWM's. While getting ready it was my intent to take the laptop and use it for my music server as I do with my workstation PC with stellar results. Made sure all settings were the same between the two and that the Realtek driver was hi-def and up to date. Side by side the laptop could not be made to sound as good as the PC so I am having to rethink simpler is better. I still have a minimal setup but even though both are Dells and both are the Precision line they did not sound the same. As time has run out the only thing I can think of is sometimes when running on battery power things do not do as well as when run off an outlet. I will try that and report on what I find but for now I am left wondering what exact thing caused the fidelity difference. Any ideas?

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Most of that will have to do with the power supply unit of the PC, and the proximity of the pre section in the PC to the rest of the topography of the other components (including how good the shielding is).  My Dell computers were terrible with noise, mostly because the motherboards in them are just standard breadbox boards that aren't really built with anything other than cost cutting in mind.  When I moved to a custom build with my MSI board, there was still noise until I swapped out the power cable with just a little bit better quality one.

 

In addition, heat can cause significant problems with components in PCs.  You will see degradation over time.   Laptops almost always will run hotter than desktops.

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20 minutes ago, mark1101 said:

never use the analog output of a PC or laptop.  I only use the various digital outs and it sounds much better using an outboard DAC.

Absolutely. Topping makes some excellent affordable DACs or aa mentioned above, audioquest has their portable Dacs which are supposed to be quite good. 

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I admit I have never used any of the high end DACs, but have used various Presonus/Behringer/Tascam usb audio interfaces. I mostly use them to get audio into a computer, but have found they all work nicely as output devices, too. I have no idea how much better the standalone DACs are, but judging from the pricing they SHOULD be way better.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Marvel said:

judging from the pricing they SHOULD be way better.

You don't need an expensive DAC to realize the difference.  I just sold  topping DX7 PRO DAC in here for $450 and that is a very nice sounding DAC.   Yes, there is definitely a difference.   However, diminishing returns coem quickly as prices climb. Also, your system may have a weakest link that may be a limiting factor for the DAC.  Just me 2 cents after playing with several DACs on different systems.  

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