When using a laptop, how do you listen?

• Feb 28, 2024 - 02:38

I am curious, for those who are scoring on a laptop for convenience or being mobile, how do you listen to your playback?

Audio Interface connected to speakers
Internal speakers
Bluetooth speaker
Bluetooth headphone


For convenience, when scoring (not composing) on a laptop, I use the internal speakers.
Afterwards, for listening - with greater audio fidelity - I plug in wired (over-the-ear) headphones.

I've got a 4-year old Windows HP laptop which boasts "Bose sound system" built-in speakers and IMHO the sound quality is adequate for Teams and Zoom but a bit flat for music playback appreciation. For better playback sound, I use my desktop Linux ubuntu system. The main thing that makes playback better isn't the computer but the soundbar that i have connected to the desktop PC - it's like walking into a room where musicians are playing as opposed to like listening to music on your phone that the laptop gives.

If you already have (or are planning to buy) headphones or earbuds then use these but consider a soundbar to plug into your laptop if space permits.

Well sure, nothing like an audio interface hooked up to a soundbar (don't forget the subwoofer). But not always practical.

In reply to by bobjp

Although the soundbar is currently connected to my desktop, it does fit (diagonally) into the side pocket of the bag that I use to carry my laptop and it would fit in carry-on luggage for flying. It doesn't have a subwoofer. I agree that over-the ear headphones can be good.

In reply to by underquark

I don't happen to be in a situation where I can use speakers very often. And then it really depends on the speaker system. A sound bar doesn't have the stereo separation that traditional speakers or headphones have. My soundbar has a setting that simulates stereo, but it isn't the same. I pan my scores. I don't think most people do. And things don't sound the same when played on different systems. I set up something just the way I like it on one setup, only to find the balance is off on another. The old saying of mix-down for your intended listener is true.

I'm not really using the playback function but if I do, I use the internal speakers.

If I really want to listen to a piece, I print out the score and the parts and we play it in our symphony orchestra. I've more than enough problems to engrave the music and don't have time to "fight" for a good/optimised playback as well.

In reply to by bill0287

I'm mostly engraving music where, for example, only hand written scores and instrument parts are available.

Apart from that, I'm only arranging music now and then but no composing for me.

I made some film music arrangements last year where I only had the material for small orchestras. "My"orchestra is a full blown symphony orchestra with with 60-90 musicians (thereof around 40 strings and I play the violin myself) depending on the music we are playing. But it's correct, I hardly use the playback function

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