Achieving the ultimate audio clarity from your PC and Laptop

Several laptops and desktops have issues with their sound cards , For example , Dell Studio series ( 1535 , 1537 etc. ) , was troubled with several sound problems. These problems include hanging sound card drivers, static noises  and several other serious issues. Best among them is the lack of audio clarity. There’s no fun in listening to music in those dumb sound cards. Sorry to be rude, but if you are still listening to your audio card’s bad clarity, I’ve got a few surprises for you.

We will go through several fixes , one by one , improving the audio clarity of your system.

Fix#1 : Bypassing the audio drivers in Windows.

Method#1 : Using SRS Audio Sandbox / SRS HD Audio

SRS Audio Sandbox is a pure software enhancement. Nevertheless, it enhances your audio experience in a much better way than the audio given out by your sound card , at least for the ears.image

How ever, This is a paid application and is available at SRS Audio Labs . While you might be tempted for using this method than the ASIO I have mentioned below, I must tell you that this is purely software based. Your sound is still going through the windows and it’s ruining it as much as it can.

I don’t find any need to explain the settings because It’s very easy to setup and you wont find any hiccups while installing it & because it’s a paid software.

Method#2 :  Using ASIO Driver

If you don’t know how the audio is processed in Windows , you don’t have any right to blame it imageon the sound card. The poor thing is not the single cause ruining your audio experience.

If you are on of the few people who rely on “Enhancements” in the audio device properties for more corrected audio, you are not doing what you are supposed to do.

Get ASIO driver  for your system from  http://www.asio4all.com/ , As of now, the ASIO4ALL Driver is at version 2.11 Beta 1. I have tested it on Windows 7.

The disadvantage in using ASIO for your audio needs is that not all video and audio players support it. However the good ones like Winamp & Foobar2000 supports it with  plugins. That’s good news. Right?. Out of these , From my experience I’ve found out that Foobar2000 is the best due to its massive skinning ability and some other extra features which I found to be having many glitches in Winamp.

Fix #2 : Using the best audio software , foobar2000 .

Use foobar2000 . That’s it. It wont disappoint you. There are many factors for the choice to be foobar. Some of them are:

  • Support of ASIO  without  very less / zero glitches.
  • Support of Dolby Surround audio .
  • Very less resource consumption
  • Excellent themes.

So, After getting the foobar2000 from their website. Install it. And now you can enable support for ASIO , which you must be having now from the above fix. For the plugins of foobar2000, there’s a centralized repository  of components ( All free!. Mint!! ) . You will be needing two components to be exact ,

Fix#2-1 : Getting ASIO enabled in foobar2000

ASIO support plugin will enable ASIO support for your foobar2000 player.

  1. Go to the  Preferences menu of foobar2000  ( File > Preferences ) .
  2. Go to Playback > Output .image
  3. Select ASIO: ASIO4ALL v2 in Device
  4. Now you have to enable “Use 64 bit ASIO drivers” as shown below.
  5. This will make sure that you have smooth playback. image
  6. Now Test drive your audio in the foobar2000 player. You will notice a serious difference with the audio clarity. But it won’t sound that better on the speakers, but a good set of headphones will give you a huge difference.

Fix#2-2 : Using Dolby Surround Plugin

The Dolby Headphone Wrapper 1.4.1 plugin you have downloaded has the ability to use the Dolby surround feature that comes around with PowerDVD and other players which has Dolby Surround support . However since that is proprietary , You will need the DolbyHph.dll (bundled with some software DVD players such as PowerDVD) . For this you need a copy of the PowerDVD ( Paid Software ).It’s usually found under C:\ProgramFiles\CyberLink\PowerDVD\AudioFilters\ . I cannot help you to get this file , but if you have a copy of PowerDVD lying around ,it has become useful.

After obtaining the required DLL file , You can enable the plugin by following these steps:

  • Go to Preferences of foobar2000
  • Go to Playback > DSP Manager.
  • Make the Dolby Headphone Plugin active.
  • image
  • Click Configure Selected and Browse the given DLL file to the shown field.
  • Select your preferred Room Model . DH2 – Live Room is the preferred mode to get the best out of the dolby plugin. You can experiment with other two modes if you want .

Now listen and enjoy the music on your laptop or PC. Believe me ! it works. I have a pair of Senheisser 448 with me and I haven’t heard clearer sounds than this from my laptop . It soothes your ears .

If you don’t like the looks of foobar2000 and that’s what’s holding you back. I’ll show you how my foobar2000 looks like:

image

I’m using a theme named MonoLite Plus 0.2 . You can find several other beautiful themes around the web.

NOTE:

Previously I had an article named  “ Increasing the dell studio 15 series laptops sound “. That involved simple un-installation of the buggy IDT audio drivers and using default Windows Audio Device Driver. I found that difference to be very much interesting. However after learning that Windows mangle the audio much more than your sound card, I researched and thus ended up with ASIO. This is the better solution.

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