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Will I notice an improvement in sound quality with this on a MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012) with low impedance headphones (AKG550)? I've been doing some research and some indicate that the onboard DAC is pretty good on the retina models. Trying to decide if this would make a difference or not.
The internal DAC in a MacBook Pro is NOT an AK4490. Apple cannot afford to put an audiophile DAC into their products. Too expensive for the mainstream audience. On the other hand, CEntrance specializes in audiophile products and we have a very strong relationship with AKM.
AK 4490 costs 1 dollar, it's not an expensive device
The chip alone isn't going to work miracles, you need to partner it with components that together will make the best compromise of soundquality, batterylife and so on.....for Apple to do this research it will probably eat to much of their profit on each device that they can't be bothered- There are a few chinese manufactureres which have used the Ess9018 in portable devices, but not to a great success. Batterlife is crap, and not soundquality also not that good.
That's an incredibly good price. Care to say where you are seeing it?
Yeah, that's more like it. At 25k pcs qty it drops down to $2.11, but still nowhere near 1 dollar. And in high volume consumer electronics that's a HUGE difference. They literally shave cents off, that's how tight the cost is in the laptop world. And believe me, we also had to work on shaving cents off on this project, to make sure we could maintain the audiophile quality, high output power and all the features, and still be able to bring DACport Slim to you at this incredible price.