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MacBook Pro and SSD


rruffin
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I have been running my system with a 2009 MBP with a regular internal hard drive (OS and program). Music has been fed through an external hard drive via Firewire 800. It was my assumption that upgrading the internal HD to a SSD was a natural progression. And it has been a great improvement in speed for my general computing tasks. However, I have been disappointed in the sound.

 

My sound has become thinner on the high end with much less life.

 

Just wondering if folks with older MBPs have upgraded to SSDs and if mine is a common experience.

 

(SSD is from OWC designed for the vintage model.)

 

Thanks in advance,

Rick

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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I have been running my system with a 2009 MBP with a regular internal hard drive (OS and program). Music has been fed through an external hard drive via Firewire 800. It was my assumption that upgrading the internal HD to a SSD was a natural progression. And it has been a great improvement in speed for my general computing tasks. However, I have been disappointed in the sound.

 

My sound has become thinner on the high end with much less life.

 

Just wondering if folks with older MBPs have upgraded to SSDs and if mine is a common experience.

 

(SSD is from OWC designed for the vintage model.)

 

Thanks in advance,

Rick

 

I have a similar front-end as you, except my laptop is a 2012 MacBook Pro. I upgraded the HDD to a 120GB Kingston SSD a while back. I also play my AIFF files from a bus-powered FireWire 800 HD, using OSX 10.9.5 and Audirvana Plus. With the C.A.D. optimization scripts v.1.2.2 enabled, the computer boots in 6-7 seconds.

 

I don't dispute what you say about the SQ, but I'm wondering why the SSD would affect the SQ at all, since the app is loaded into RAM when in use, the tracks are loaded into the app's memory buffer, and Audirvana's preference settings allow you to bypass the Mac's Core Audio, and much of the other background operations.

 

It would be impossible for me to A-B the sound with my old internal HDD vs. the currently-installed SSD. Swapping them out is possible, but requires a bit of time. I'm wondering how you are able to evaluate the SQ of your original HDD boot drive vs. your new SSD.

 

Additionally, Audirvana itself has changed, with numerous version updates in a relatively short time period. Are you using the latest version, 2.5.2? I ask because I can hear SQ differences between some of the versions. To my ear, v. 2.3.3.8 is a little smoother, with a touch less resolution on the highs. Or, maybe, I'm high, I dunno, but the developer did make note of several SQ enhancements coded into some of the version 2 updates.

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Am able to compare because I have listened to my HD based system for a few years now (with friends) and had a session right after installing SSD and then after about 100 hours of burn in. Sound got a little better (slightly richer high end, but still thin compared to with HD. Friends agreed. Some say that the electrical noise given off by SSD is what contributes to worse sound. I assumed that fewer moving parts with SSD would improve things. A friend says this is debated over on the PC side of things with many sticking with regular HD. I had not read about this debated on the mac side and, as I have said, assumed it would improve the sound.

 

As I mentioned, my 2009 MBP is used for all of my home computing activity, so the SSD is quite worthwhile. However, I may need to get an inexpensive Macmini or something to use exclusively for audio. The future...

 

Yep, use the latest version of Audirvana - it sounds better with each version. Amazing. Had not noticed the decrease of resolution of the highs in the latest version as I just had my tweeters re-fluided and it has taken many, many hours of playing for them to settle in.

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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Really, what I want to know is:

 

Have folks debated the HD vs. SSD for sound quality in a Mac system on CA?

 

Thanks.

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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The only thing I noted when I switched to SSD from HD on my iMac was that A+ loads the library much faster. No impact on SQ.

 

Thanks, that is exactly what I wanted to know. Wonder if this is the case with most Mac upgraders...?

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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A+ loads everything into RAM. SSDs don't "burn in". I don't know how to explain what you hear, but it is not the drive influencing the sound.

 

Sorry, didn't really mean "burn in" - maybe "settle in" would be better. Still, there are lots of electrical noises that influence sound quality. Some sites have engineering types who can explain it with math and such. I do intense critical listening with audio buddies. Tweak, tweak, tweak...

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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Sorry, didn't really mean "burn in" - maybe "settle in" would be better. Still, there are lots of electrical noises that influence sound quality. Some sites have engineering types who can explain it with math and such. I do intense critical listening with audio buddies. Tweak, tweak, tweak...

 

if you want to get crazy, you can load your music into a RAMdisk, and then unmount and unplug your FireWire drive. Personally, I don't hear a difference, but that's one less device connected to the computer.

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if you want to get crazy, you can load your music into a RAMdisk, and then unmount and unplug your FireWire drive. Personally, I don't hear a difference, but that's one less device connected to the computer.

 

I have been having some audio success by loading a SD card with a fresh OS and audio program and booting from it. Still left my music on the firewire drive. Folks say this works better on newer Macs that have a separate bus for the card reader. (Mine seems to be on the USB bus.) Still, the music sounds better. Maybe sometime I will load music onto the card and unplug the firewire drive. For serious listening, I also unplug the monitor and USB keyboard...

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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I have been having some audio success by loading a SD card with a fresh OS and audio program and booting from it. Still left my music on the firewire drive. Folks say this works better on newer Macs that have a separate bus for the card reader. (Mine seems to be on the USB bus.) Still, the music sounds better. Maybe sometime I will load music onto the card and unplug the firewire drive. For serious listening, I also unplug the monitor and USB keyboard...

 

You are correct that older Macs have the card reader on the USB bus. Conventional CA wisdom says if you are running a USB-connected DAC, keep as many other devices off the USB bus as possible.

 

My MBP has the card reader on its own circuit, and I have tried the SD card boot trick/unmounting the internal SATA drive, but these old ears just can't hear the difference. I spend my anal audio time seeking out the best masterings of my favorite music, wherever possible, and worry less about the hardware, since I'm not planning to put any more money into equipment upgrades in the near future.

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You are correct that older Macs have the card reader on the USB bus. Conventional CA wisdom says if you are running a USB-connected DAC, keep as many other devices off the USB bus as possible.

 

My MBP has the card reader on its own circuit, and I have tried the SD card boot trick/unmounting the internal SATA drive, but these old ears just can't hear the difference. I spend my anal audio time seeking out the best masterings of my favorite music, wherever possible, and worry less about the hardware, since I'm not planning to put any more money into equipment upgrades in the near future.

 

A beautiful activity - especially when your audio system is stable. I am in the process of several "upgrades" (HD, tweeter re-fluiding, speaker crossover rewire, amp recap) and sometimes you just wonder if you have actually upgraded the sound. In this case (HD/SSD), the speed is a vast upgrade, but the sound is different. At first I though "thin" but now I will say different. Thanks for letting me know that you did not hear any noticeable difference.

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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I also have a 2009 MBP and installed a SSD from OWC, and more RAM about a year ago. I didn't notice any change in sound. It does run a lot faster but I don't know if that was the RAM, SSD or both.

 

Thanks for letting me know. I also just upgraded my wife's 2009 Macmini. Bought ram and SSD, but the ram was problematic. Just adding the SSD made an incredible speed difference. I will get the new ram shortly and see if upgrading from 2 to 8 megs also makes a big difference.

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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Thanks for letting me know. I also just upgraded my wife's 2009 Macmini. Bought ram and SSD, but the ram was problematic. Just adding the SSD made an incredible speed difference. I will get the new ram shortly and see if upgrading from 2 to 8 megs also makes a big difference.

 

Just added the 8 megs. Seems like the SSD drive made the most difference (boot time and the like), although I have not used really big apps or multiple apps yet. Still, a great combo upgrade making a 2009 computer worthwhile in 2016!

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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A beautiful activity - especially when your audio system is stable. I am in the process of several "upgrades" (HD, tweeter re-fluiding, speaker crossover rewire, amp recap) and sometimes you just wonder if you have actually upgraded the sound. In this case (HD/SSD), the speed is a vast upgrade, but the sound is different. At first I though "thin" but now I will say different. Thanks for letting me know that you did not hear any noticeable difference.

 

 

Turns out that the decrease in audio quality (for me) with substituting a SSD for a HD was related to my other attempts to quiet the MBP. I previously had added Audioquest Jitterbugs - one between the computer and the JKenny converter and one in the other USB line that connects to peripherals. I removed the Jitterbug on the DAC line (JKenny) and the sound improved greatly with the high end sounding richer and overall soundstage getting back to what it was with the HD. Maybe, because the SSD is quieter that the HD, I have too much noise suppression with the Jitterburg.

 

Well, that answers my original question. Thanks for looking and posting!

MacMini Quad i7/Audirvana Plus 3.5/DigiOne Signature Player/Schiit Yggdrasil GS/Aragon Palladium 1 amplifiers/Stacked Energy 22 speakers (Reference Connoisseur on bottom & Pro 22 on top) set tweeter to tweeter/Kimber Monocle XL speaker wires/stereo Mordaunt Short 309 subwoofers

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  • 1 month later...

May I jump in? I have a 2013MBP 8GB ram sounds good but I was having library problems and am reinstalling A+ and I get a empty A_ screen with only Loading Library... and a progression bar at top. After 3.5 hours I haven't noticed and progression. I have a 2TB WD external usb2 HD with all my Music on it. Help.

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