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Customer Review

13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sound Card, January 23, 2014
This review is from: Toshiba Satellite C55-A5308 15.6" Laptop PC - Intel Core i3 / 4GB Memory / 750GB HD / DVD±RW/CD-RW / Built-in HD Webcam & Microphone / Windows 8 (Personal Computers)
Its a good laptop for the price.
The only thing i hate about is the sound. Its built with a cheap sound card or speakers and it is really not at all great to hear or watch movies because of the quality of the sound.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 4, 2014 1:56:21 PM PST
I concur, regarding the sound quality. It sounds (even through headphones) like my old cassette tapes did on a Walkman years ago. Or a cheap clock radio, if NOT listening to music/TV through the headphones. I played around with the speaker mixer, but got only very modest improvement in sound quality. My 2007 iPod and 2007 desktop (Dell) PC sound FAR superior to this laptop's system.

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 8:24:37 AM PDT
Hi There,

Sound quality is awesome if it's configured right through DTS Studio Sound that should already be pre-installed but if it's not then install here

Important to update the audio driver also, makes a huge improvement.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2014 9:21:24 AM PDT
Matt&T says:
I have to disagree with you regarding the sound. Well DTS studio was pre-installed with the laptop and I have tweaked it many way to get a good sound. Well still it sound so bad, and if you ever want to listen music or watch movies this is not the laptop for you. If you use it for the surfing or word processing it's a good deal.
My smart phone sounds 10 times better than this laptop.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2014 10:09:19 AM PDT
I must say though that DTS sounds a lot different using Windows 7 than 8. I installed 7 almost straight away and even without DTS installed it was great with headphones.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2014 1:31:51 PM PDT
Interesting, that the Windows OS change made such a difference in sound quality. (My old 2007 desktop PC, which uses Vista, has FAR better sound quality than Windows 8 on this Toshiba laptop. But I presumed that was due to the monitor having it's own fairly-decent speaker with an old-fashioned dial, besides the OS mixer to utilize.) Do you still use the Realtek Audio, or did you switch over to another sound system somehow (like Microsoft)?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 20, 2014 2:18:12 PM PDT
I actually wrote a review on this laptop here on Amazon, and documented my many hours of "adventure" improving the sound quality on it. Updating the audio driver is important and will help a tad, but it will simply not create great quality. I've played around with the driver, the mixer, the internal/external setting, DTS, iTunes own equalizer...You can make it BETTER, yes, but still not great. Nothing comparable to what one can get on a mid-priced desktop PC, a Smartphone, stereo system, a car's CD player or an iPod- even ones dating back to the 1990's, if applicable. You can reconfigure the settings, and for NEWER (post-digital master age) recordings, it is acceptable in playback quality. (I've done no recording of sound, so I can't say how that would be.)

My 50-disc CD player from the mid-90's had ASTOUNDING sound quality compared to this laptop, and it wasn't too expensive a system (maybe $500, max). I don't own a big stereo anymore, but I have a $500 Bose sound system (manufactured around 2004 or so) which is used with my TV, as the television sound by itself is crappy. It's not a system that will blow you out of the water, but the bass from Bose is terrific. And that's used with a true dinosaur of a TV, ca. 1990!

Whether remastered or not, the older the music, the worse the sound on this Toshiba will almost invariably be. I am CONSTANTLY having to adjust this system from song to song, if iTunes is on shuffle mode, which I've never had to do on any other system of mine. I have tried everything short of just outright buying new speakers.
Even brand-new recordings will not be played to their best, but older tracks present a REAL problem to this system. Examples...Bobby Darin's 1973 "Sweet Caroline" recording, which sounds lovely on my Bose, iPod, Smartphone, desktop PC and even my car stereo, is just atrocious on this system. Distortion, feedback, background vocals almost inaudible, instrumentation can barely be differentiated, Darin's powerful voice reduced to mono. I have tried every setting known to mankind. Sadly, just to make the feedback minimal, I have to cut the bass and treble down to the point where all magic of the recording is lost. Andy Williams, who had one of the most powerful and beautiful tenor voices which ever existed, his tunes will sadly make you hear the same horrid lack of detail and depth. And these are remastered tracks! Even 80's pop music like Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" is so distorted and full of feedback, it's actually worse than the playback from a car stereo BACK IN THE 1980's. The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" has a bass intro which is clearly audible on every other system I've mentioned before. But on the Toshiba laptop, with the equalizer's mode set to Bass Booster on both the Realtek mixer and iTunes, the DTS bass maxed out, plus the computer AND iTunes volume both turned to the very top, this bass intro is actually still completely inaudible. You literally hear nothing but silence...well, unless you count the feedback that's still audible! (Even my CD player in the car, which is just the regular old one that came with the vehicle, plays this bass very audibly.) Realtek Audio has a very real problem with bass, as it is documented in many Internet forums that people cannot hear the bass no matter what they try out. Unfortunately, uninstalling Realtek and just using the MS mixer is even worse in quality (believe me- I tried it myself). I've actually had to completely turn the equalizers off on every system, turn off of every feature the mixer offers and downgrade the Hz, just to get playback without distortion on some songs- very sad. Naturally, this leaves almost nothing enjoyable to the tracks. And what is applicable to older music is also true for playback of older movies with this laptop, especially non-remastered footage.

I realize that this is an inexpensive laptop, and it is not marketed to gamers or audiophiles. So I don't expect extraordinary sound at all, but I did expect (being that it's 2014!) that the mixer would at least match my 2007 desktop PC, especially considering that my desktop was only a mid-priced unit, and not one marketed to audiophiles or gamers either. Heck, I'd be happy if the Toshiba's sound was like my first CD player back in 1993. I've never owned separate computer speakers, so I'm not judging this laptop against a system which has that (either laptop or desktop). If you don't use your laptop to play movies, music or audiobooks, you probably wouldn't even care about this issue. But should even an inexpensive laptop in 2014 have THIS bad an onboard sound system? I'm sorry, I think not. I really like the laptop...but the onboard sound is it's Waterloo.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2014 8:48:56 AM PDT
Hi TurquoiseEyes13579,

I first thought that maybe you were just more clued up with audio configuration and how it's meant to sound until I listened to "Ball of Confusion" and the bass is great for me. I'm listening to Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" as I type and it's perfect.

I went and uninstalled Toshiba's Audio Enhancement, DTS, and the Realtek Software and driver. Then only installed the Realtek driver, using the Realtek EQ with custom settings and it's way better than having DTS installed. I noticed as soon as I installed DTS it stuffed up the sound even if it was turned off. Try uninstalling the above and just installing the Realtek driver. If you've already tried that then it wouldn't hurt to try install the Win 7 driver.

I hope you haven't got a faulty headphone jack as even when I had Win 8 it still had great bass using DTS with the updated driver. If nothing changes than buy a USB sound card.

In my gaming computer I have the Asus ROG Phoebus Sound Card and I'd be quite happy listening to music on the laptop instead. Seems to give out decent bass for me.

Sorry to hear you're having trouble.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2014 11:47:23 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 21, 2014 1:09:07 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 21, 2014 1:12:20 PM PDT
Okay, I will try uninstalling the DTS for sure, and maybe the Toshiba Audio Enhancement, too. If one or both improves the sound, I'll try to report back here. I'll experiment with the Win 7 driver, if needed. We'll see. If that doesn't work, I'll just get an external USB sound card and let it go at that.
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