Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Apogee Mini Dac or...?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apogee Mini Dac or...?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 
Greetings:

I've see all the threads asking about Dacs, but didn't want to hi-jack their questions, so can anyone share their thoughts with me? I need an Dac/Amp combo to mate w/ my Squeezebox and don't want to go over $700. I have my eye on the Apogee Mini Dac. Any other suggestions? Are any of the $300-$400 dacs "close" to the Apogee? I am using a pair of ATH-W1000's (may look into some AKG 701's, later) and like all kinds of music (Rock/Blues/Jazz/Easy Listening/Pop). Smaller size would be benficial, as I may consider building a case to tote the Squeezebox/dac around the house to listen in different locations.

Thanks,

stlblue
post #2 of 53
the apogee is widely regarded as a top notch dac, but it is primarily a dac. the headphone out is adequate but not impressive. my Gilmore Lite (without DPS) sounds better and that is only a 300 dollar amp. however, the ath-w1000 are very easy headphones to drive and the mini-dac should have no problem with those. the k701 may not sound as good though.
post #3 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
the apogee is widely regarded as a top notch dac, but it is primarily a dac. the headphone out is adequate but not impressive. my Gilmore Lite (without DPS) sounds better and that is only a 300 dollar amp. however, the ath-w1000 are very easy headphones to drive and the mini-dac should have no problem with those. the k701 may not sound as good though.
How about going balanced out of the apogee? How does that compare to going single end through an amp? Have you already answered that question by rank ordering them as "Rig 1" and "Rig 2"?

If so, that is kind of surprising.
post #4 of 53
the rig 1 and 2 etc are not rankings. the order is random. going balanced out of my mini dac is a totally different experience. balanced out of the mini dac is very good. i prefer it to single ended use from my lite. a mini dac or dac1 or other dac with xlr outputs is a great way to go balanced on the cheap.
post #5 of 53
I have the Apogee MiniDAC with USB. I auditioned the Benchmark DAC1 and the MiniDAC. They're close contenders, but for me I prefer the MiniDAC. The DAC1 was impressive, but I found the MiniDAC more mellow sounding. And at the current price of $719 it's a great buy. I use the MiniDAC with my main system, but I also use it "portable" (it's a workout!). FYI, I use a 8-AA NiMH battery pack (2500mAH) and get 1.5 hours out of a charge. So I carry 2 sets of batteries with me.
post #6 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
the apogee is widely regarded as a top notch dac, but it is primarily a dac. the headphone out is adequate but not impressive. my Gilmore Lite (without DPS) sounds better and that is only a 300 dollar amp. however, the ath-w1000 are very easy headphones to drive and the mini-dac should have no problem with those. the k701 may not sound as good though.
I would go mini dac, i absolutely love mine out of my imac and the headphone out isn't bad. With grado ps-1s it sounds great and while I want to upgrade I'm in no rush, it may not pair with other headphones as well but with grados it really good.
post #7 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by jp11801 View Post
I would go mini dac, i absolutely love mine out of my imac and the headphone out isn't bad. With grado ps-1s it sounds great and while I want to upgrade I'm in no rush, it may not pair with other headphones as well but with grados it really good.
most if not the entire line of grados are rated at 32Ω and 98dB/mV, so they should be easy to drive and sound pretty good out of a mini-dac.
post #8 of 53
This and the Benchmark DAC1 are near the top of my list of considerations.

Tough choice...
post #9 of 53
i was deciding between these dacs as well. in head to head comparisons people always seemed to prefer the mini dac over the dac1. it was often said that the former was warm and musical and the latter was bright and analytical. the da10 is another dac that people seem to like a lot and should be considered.
post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
i was deciding between these dacs as well. in head to head comparisons people always seemed to prefer the mini dac over the dac1. it was often said that the former was warm and musical...
That's what I need!

Quote:
...and the latter was bright and analytical.
I definitely don't need any more of these characteristics in my setup.

Quote:
the da10 is another dac that people seem to like a lot and should be considered.
The Lavry? I'm aware of it and it's on my radar somewhere.

^^
I've done a lot of scouring over the last month and that's more or less what I'm coming up with as well outside of DIY stuff like the RAKK or the ever popular Zhalou/ZapFilter combo...


As far as the Apogee Mini-DAC goes: I see they have a regular version, a USB version, and a newer firewire version. Are they all identical units, hardware wise, except for those features?

My source actually does have a firewire connection on it. Is there any benefit to me using that connection over coax or optical as far as the Apogee Mini-DAC is concerned?
post #11 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Thorsen View Post
... As far as the Apogee Mini-DAC goes: I see they have a regular version, a USB version, and a newer firewire version. Are they all identical units, hardware wise, except for those features?
Yes.

The USB or FireWire capability is through daughter cards. Note also that the USB has been discontinued, and FireWire is the current model. USB cards may still be available. All you need is on the Apogee miniDAC web page.
post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by agile_one View Post
Yes.

The USB or FireWire capability is through daughter cards. Note also that the USB has been discontinued, and FireWire is the current model. USB cards may still be available. All you need is on the Apogee miniDAC web page.
^^ Thanks.
post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Thorsen View Post
The Lavry? I'm aware of it and it's on my radar somewhere.
The Lavry is definitely more analytical that the Apogee. Better detail, separation and soundstage, less warmth and sweetness, a bit more bass, better transients, less body to the sound (it's more "hollow", great contour but not filled in properly IMO), some instruments sound more natural on the Apogee (piano is fuller and has better, more realistic sparkle, piano seemed to me a weakness of the Lavry and I couldn't stand this), others were better on Lavry. A matter of taste - and needs, the Lavry is clearly better for professional purposes, it's the more technically proficient unit. I do not adhere to the point of view that "sound differences are <5% at this price point, it's more about features", to me the sound differences were very significant.
post #14 of 53
I just ordered the Apogee Mini DAC this morning from Sweetwater. No USB or Firewire. (Don't really need those.)

It really sounds like it could just the touch my system needs.

That basically gives me 30 days to take this thing for a test spin with little to no risk.


Here's a question for mini DAC owners (I even called Apogee abou this):

My source actually has an I-link on it, which is the same as firewire, is it not?

With my source, you can have SACD and DVD-A and all the rest of it either over the multichannel analogs OR the I-link connection.

So I wondered if I connected my source to the Firewired Mini-DAC...would it work and would I be able to run high rez audio through it as well?

The tech I spoke to at Apogee said no. He said it's strictly for computer useage.

I certainly have no reason to not take his word for it unless someone here has actually tried it and has something different to tell us.
post #15 of 53
i don't know but why not just connect your source to your mini-dac via s/pdif.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Apogee Mini Dac or...?