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Apogee Mini Dac or...? - Page 3

post #31 of 53
After a good weekend and a good chunk of this morning:

See post 9 in this very thread. What he described about the Apogee is exactly right and what I can vouch for now myself.



Quote:
Originally Posted by artears View Post
This is what I am thinking. I am following your impressions in the recent Apogee thread as well... Please post more...
Here we go:

I've just realized the Apogee was doing something wonderful that I wasn't fully aware of until today, after a good weekend of "sessions."

Unbeknowest to me, before the Apogee, ...when I'm playing my music direct from my player into the headphone amp over the RCA unbalanced analogs...among other minor quibbles that I had: The sound tends to favor or at least have a slight favoring towards the left side.

(Yes, I checked the player's settings. Everything's where it should be. )


Now the Apogee is connected XLR balanced all the way into my GS-X.

I know there's a lot of arguments up and down the spectrum about balanced but I had no less than three audio calibrators tell me that balanced between source and amp is the most important and where it gets done. They also suggested there isn't much benefit if any unless you're trying to cover long distances.

I can't speak for that latter part, but I can tell you this much: I definitely have some kind of benefit going right now and this is in a rack setup with maybe 3 ft. worth of XLR cable involved.


What's happened here is:

When I A/B switch back and forth on the fly with the GS-X's XLR/RCA switch (seamless) between the music coming through the XLR'd Apogee vs. straight up old RCA directly out of my player...the sound from the Apogee is now dead on 50-50 at all times with ALL recordings of ALL kinds and "better distributed" to the left side and right side. The soundstage has been "corrected."

When I swtich back to RCA analogs without the Apogee there's a noticeable favoring to the left side vs. the right in terms of the soundstage.

Without the Apogee: It feels like, if you could, you'd reach out and just kind of pull that soundstage back to center where it belongs (and where I have it with the Apogee.)

I guess that's something going balanced does for you... who knows?

In any event: My sound truly is "balanced" now, literally. The stereo imaging as a whole is better.

I credit the Apogee for that in conjunction with the GS-X from HeadAmp.

^^ Just that alone makes the Apogee a keeper for me, but thankfully that's not where the benefits have ended.

I do have more warmth, which I was looking for. I didn't lose any of the detail and resolution that were the strengths of my rig, but now I have a touch more of dimensions, spatiality, and the aforementioned "corrected and centered/balanced" soundstage, for lack of a better phrase.

Some of the occasional harshness, brightness, and dryness that I had at times on some recordings are also gone for the most part.

Technically, I'm still "testing" this thing out, but I really have no expectations of sending this thing back.
post #32 of 53
nice impressions. glad you are enjoying it.
post #33 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
nice impressions. glad you are enjoying it.
Big time!

Offhand curiosity: Has anyone ever compared these mini DACs against something a little higher up the Apogee food chain like the Rosetta 200?

I know that has a few more bells and whistles to it in addition to also being an A/D converter, of which I have no use.

Anyone here even own a Rosetta 200?
post #34 of 53
do you guys usually let Mini DAC live alone, or you put it with some headamp together??


Cheers!
post #35 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Thorsen View Post
Big time!

Offhand curiosity: Has anyone ever compared these mini DACs against something a little higher up the Apogee food chain like the Rosetta 200?

I know that has a few more bells and whistles to it in addition to also being an A/D converter, of which I have no use.

Anyone here even own a Rosetta 200?
I'd love to know the answer to this as well. maybe if no one picks up on this here Audio Asylum would be a good place to check.
post #36 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricmat View Post
do you guys usually let Mini DAC live alone, or you put it with some headamp together??


Cheers!
Definitely going XLR outs to my headphone amp, the GS-X.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ldj325 View Post
I'd love to know the answer to this as well. maybe if no one picks up on this here Audio Asylum would be a good place to check.
I actually emailed Apogee tech support a little while back just to satisfy my curiosity.

The response I got back actually surprised me a little bit and might surprise some of you as well:

Me:
Quote:

Is the mini-DAC the two channel equivalent of the DA-16X or comparable to either one of the Rosettas?

I'm just trying to get a better feel of where I'm at and where I landed.

I'm really VERY impressed with what this "little box" has done for my sound system and music enjoyment.

Thanks for your time.
Them:

Quote:
The Mini-DAC is comparable to the DA-16X when clocked by Big Ben or an AD-16X. Mini-DAC D/A is slightly better than a Rosetta 800.

Hope that helps.
Keep in mind that the Rosetta 200 and 800 are the exact same thing except the 800 has more channels and the 200 is strictly a 2 channel device.

^^
That's good enough for me!
post #37 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Thorsen View Post
Definitely going XLR outs to my headphone amp, the GS-X.
I actually emailed Apogee tech support a little while back just to satisfy my curiosity.

From Apogee: The Mini-DAC is comparable to the DA-16X when clocked by Big Ben or an AD-16X. Mini-DAC D/A is slightly better than a Rosetta 800.

The response I got back actually surprised me a little bit and might surprise some of you as well:
Keep in mind that the Rosetta 200 and 800 are the exact same thing except the 800 has more channels and the 200 is strictly a 2 channel device.
That's good enough for me!
Whoa, that is a surprize as well as great news. Thanks for passing this on!
post #38 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldj325 View Post
Whoa, that is a surprize as well as great news. Thanks for passing this on!
Guess who developed the first Apogee converters? to be more accurate "designed them".
post #39 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by slwiser View Post
Guess who developed the first Apogee converters? to be more accurate "designed them".
I'm not clear on this, but I've been told in some circles that Dan Lavry himself once worked for Apogee so that may be who you are alluding to.

I have no idea how much truth there is to any of that, one way or the other or who deserves credit for what.
post #40 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Thorsen View Post
I'm not clear on this, but I've been told in some circles that Dan Lavry himself once worked for Apogee so that may be who you are alluding to.

I have no idea how much truth there is to any of that, one way or the other or who deserves credit for what.
Well you get the prize. Dan Lavry on his forum makes this claim as well as having some significant design input to some other high end products well known around here. I don't know if his design has anything to do with the present design of the Mini-Dac but it is a great little unit for sure. I really like the portable nature of the Mini-Dac but I got my Lavry for the headamp that it had in it when I purchased it. If I had known that I would have purchased the HA5000 shortly after getting the DA10, it may have been a different DAC that I am using today. Can you say Mini-Dac?
post #41 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.

Really? do you think HP? like K701 and DT880 sound better out of some amp, rather than Apogee Mini DAC's internal amp??


Cheers!
post #42 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by slwiser View Post
Firewire is also considered a bus whereas the USB is considered only a signal path where data is push out to anyone and anything able to capture it. Being a bus you have two way communication available. Sending and receiving units talk to each other to ensure communication integrity. In other words, no lost bits if the receiver is not ready. This is the specific reason it is used in video equipment.
I am a bit confused by Apogees information sheet. On their spec sheet they state that the regular Mini-DAC takes a USB input. But in their blurp advertizing cost they state that USB and Firewire are optional. But then they only seem to have a Firewire version as the only upgrade.

Is the $795 "regular" Mini-DAC inputed via S/PDIF (of these three choises USB. Firewire, and S/PDIF)? Does the Firewire option include USB?

Is Firewire sonically superior to USB and S/PDIF, especially in regards to reduced jitter?
post #43 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by sum View Post
Firewire outputs are proprietary outputs on DVDA/SACD players. They carry an encrypted signal in order to comply with the governing bodies for the two formats. The Firewire input on the Mini-DAC requires a driver from Apogee on a PC or Mac. It allows you to carry a much higher resolution signal than USB. Generally, this isn't a concern if all you are playing back is ripped CDs. There are some ultra high resolution downloads available though.
Where are the ultra high resolution downloads you mention?

Also I may be recording music into my computer via Pro Tools LE at 24bit/96K. Would the Firewire option allow me to playback at this same resolution and is this the reason its superior to the S/PDIF or USB version?
post #44 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldj325 View Post
Where are the ultra high resolution downloads you mention?

Also I may be recording music into my computer via Pro Tools LE at 24bit/96K. Would the Firewire option allow me to playback at this same resolution and is this the reason its superior to the S/PDIF or USB version?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldj325 View Post
I am a bit confused by Apogees information sheet. On their spec sheet they state that the regular Mini-DAC takes a USB input. But in their blurp advertizing cost they state that USB and Firewire are optional. But then they only seem to have a Firewire version as the only upgrade.

Is the $795 "regular" Mini-DAC inputed via S/PDIF (of these three choises USB. Firewire, and S/PDIF)? Does the Firewire option include USB?

Is Firewire sonically superior to USB and S/PDIF, especially in regards to reduced jitter?
My opinion is that Firewire is better in many ways to USB. Firewire is a network protocol where you have flow control built into it where USB has no essential flow control. No the Firewire Mini-Dac would not have USB. The web site data sheet must not be updated yet to the Firewire option as opposed to the USB, both are or were add-ons. Only the Firewire is available now as I understand it from the manufacturer.
post #45 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ricmat View Post
Really? do you think HP? like K701 and DT880 sound better out of some amp, rather than Apogee Mini DAC's internal amp??


Cheers!
i think the internal headphone amp of the mini dac is good enough to get you by, but regardless of what headphones you are using, i would not want it to be my only headphone amp in the long term, especially if my main headphones were the k701, dt880, or hd650 which all, in my opinion, require above average amplication to sound their best.
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