Laptop Sound Card That Bad?

zingozingo AudiophilePosts: 11,826
edited June 2014 in Going Digital
I have a new laptop for work (Toshiba Satellite C55), and I can't image the sound card is really this bad! I have my trusty Monsoon magnetic planar desktop speakers, and when I used their 1/8" plug into the headphone jack on the laptop (the only analog out), the sound is like I'm listening through a tin cup and string. I plugged my phone into the speakers to ensure it was the laptop, and the sound was back to its previous glory; these speakers really are amazing for what they are. I can't image the output is really that bad, so maybe there is an issue with the Windows 8.1 or stock "DTS" sound drivers? I've tried these speakers on a number of work computers, some of which were eight years old Lenovo business machines, and never had this poor of sound.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Post edited by zingo on

Comments

  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited April 2014
    I would just grab the $100 Audioquest DragonFly and be done with it.
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited April 2014
    How is this a surprise? :lol:
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Glen BGlen B Posts: 269
    edited April 2014
    I would just grab the $100 Audioquest DragonFly and be done with it.
    +1. I use one with my party system.
    Main System: Denon DP-59L | Audio-Technica AT33EV | Marantz SA-11S2 | Classe DR-10 | Classe CA-300 | Classe RC-1 | PSB Stratus Gold i's | DIY Balanced AC Power Conditioner | Acoustic Zen and NeoTech cables | Oyaide and Furutech power connectors | Dedicated 20A isolated ground line.

    Home Theater: Toshiba D-VR5SU | Laptop #1 |Outlaw Audio OAW3 wireless audio system | Marantz SR-19 | Phase Linear 400 Series 2, modified | AudioSource 10.1 EQ (for subs) | Axiom M3 v3’s | Axiom VP150 | Optimus PRO-X55AVs | Dayton 12” powered subs (x2) | Belkin PureAV PF-60 line conditioner.

    Party System: Laptop #2 | Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC | Technics SU-A6 | Acurus A-250 | Radio Shack 15-band EQ | Pioneer SR-9 reverb | Cerwin Vega DX9's | Dayton 100° x 60° horns with titanium HF/MF compression drivers.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,126
    edited April 2014
    HT SYSTEM-
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    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
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    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
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    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
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  • ken brydsonken brydson Posts: 7,465
    edited April 2014
    tonyb wrote: »

    Samantha has some ugly man hands....
    HT/Main- Panny 50" G10 Plasma, Pioneer SC-1222k AVR, Panny DMP-BD60 BDP, Polk LS90 mains, CS350LS center, LS/fx side surrounds, LS50 surround backs, SVS 25-31PC+ sub, Harmony One

    Office Rig- Marantz 2252B, Denon 2910, Kenwood KD2070 TT, Polk RTA 12B's/ RTA8t
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,826
    edited April 2014
    You guys are worthless at helping fix my problem without spending money... :P
  • zane77zane77 Posts: 1,711
    edited April 2014
    Isn't that what money and friends (and to a slightly lesser extent) wives are for?
    Home Theater
    Onkyo PR-SC5508 Sharp LC-70LE847U
    Emotiva XPA-5 Emotiva XPA-2 Emotiva UPA-2
    Front RTi-A9 Wide RTi-A7 Center CSi-A6 Surround FXi-A6 Rear RTi-A3 Sub 2x PSW505
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    Two Channel
    Oppo 105D BAT VK-500 w/BatPack SDA SRS 2.3 Dreadnought Squeezebox Touch Apple TV
  • sucks2bemesucks2beme Posts: 4,854
    edited April 2014
    the question is, how is it set up?
    A walk through the control panel is in order.
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,126
    edited April 2014
    I've been hearing about all sorts of problems with Windows 8, particularly with drivers. No surprise that the sound sucks as well. Since it's a work 'puter, you may be limited to what you can change on it. As suggested, a walk into the control panel to see your options is a good idea.

    Maybe your boss intentionally did this....do more work and less listening to music.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,826
    edited May 2014
    Sorry, my boss, the CEO, doesn't have anything to do with setting up my new laptop... :)

    I just picked up an HRT Headstreamer, which will provide an 1/8" out to my planar speaker system from async USB.
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,826
    edited May 2014
    Yup, the sound card was that bad. Plug in the HRT USB DAC, and I have music again! I even did an A/B between the stock headphone out and I couldn't believe that sound that poor could come out of good speakers. The system is nothing glamorous, but it sounds much better than something this compact and poorly set-up should.

    IMG_1596.JPG
  • RamZetRamZet Posts: 776
    edited June 2014
    Good choice on the HRT, I use the Music Streamer II and love it.
    B&W
    B&K
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 16,705
    edited June 2014
    zingo wrote: »
    Yup, the sound card was that bad. Plug in the HRT USB DAC, and I have music again! I even did an A/B between the stock headphone out and I couldn't believe that sound that poor could come out of good speakers. The system is nothing glamorous, but it sounds much better than something this compact and poorly set-up should.

    IMG_1596.JPG

    What speakers are those man? They look pretty cool, especially if they are planar's..
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,826
    edited June 2014
    It's a 90's 2.1 system from Monsoon. True magnetic planar desktop speakers driven by a class A/B amp built into the powered subwoofer. It's the best sounding pair of desktop speakers I've owned including the Focal Book XS. The small subwoofer does keep up with the speed of the speakers, but acccordingly needs to be crossed at 120Hz which sounds a little funny. I highly recommend grabbing a used set if you can find them, and they also don't take up much desktop space.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 7,771
    edited June 2014
    zingo wrote: »
    It's a 90's 2.1 system from Monsoon. True magnetic planar desktop speakers driven by a class A/B amp built into the powered subwoofer. It's the best sounding pair of desktop speakers I've owned including the Focal Book XS. The small subwoofer does keep up with the speed of the speakers, but acccordingly needs to be crossed at 120Hz which sounds a little funny. I highly recommend grabbing a used set if you can find them, and they also don't take up much desktop space.
    You haven't tried the Klipsch, then. :) I remember seeing those Monsoon's advertised in PC Gamer magazine back in the 90's.

    http://www.klipsch.com/promedia-5-1-computer-speaker-system/details

    1a5c063b9eeaabfb9deec8a6193b948c_635042193467870000_large.jpg
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,826
    edited June 2014
    My brother has one and it's fine. :)
  • cnhcnh Posts: 13,310
    edited June 2014
    zingo wrote: »
    I have a new laptop for work (Toshiba Satellite C55), and I can't image the sound card is really this bad! I have my trusty Monsoon magnetic planar desktop speakers, and when I used their 1/8" plug into the headphone jack on the laptop (the only analog out), the sound is like I'm listening through a tin cup and string. I plugged my phone into the speakers to ensure it was the laptop, and the sound was back to its previous glory; these speakers really are amazing for what they are. I can't image the output is really that bad, so maybe there is an issue with the Windows 8.1 or stock "DTS" sound drivers? I've tried these speakers on a number of work computers, some of which were eight years old Lenovo business machines, and never had this poor of sound.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    Just wanted to say the I agree with that assessment of Lenovos. I run one of their laptops and W 8.1 and the analog out is on a pair with a consumer grade CDP ($200+). For a simple desktop setup, no external DAC is necessary. Of course I run it into a vintage receiver and vintage speakers that probably roll off any harsh digital highs. But that's fine with me, I'm not into those highs.

    I see you solved your problem! Good. Interesting set of speakers too!



    cnh
    Currently orbiting Bowie's Blackstar.!

    Polk Lsi-7s, Def Tech 8" sub, HK 3490, HK HD 990 (CDP/DAC), AKG Q701s
    [sig. changed on a monthly basis as I rotate in and out of my stash]
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