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What to get - Apogee mini DAC v Benchmark DAC1 v Apogee duet - Page 2

post #16 of 43
Is there anywhere serious selling a Duet for less than $495?
post #17 of 43
Thread Starter 
I don't know about the US. I got mine for £295 delivered, which works out at $589.05600. VAT, import tax and sellers overhead considered it's not too bad a price for the UK. The RRP over here is £320 which is effectively another $70!
post #18 of 43
I've seen the Duet for $400 now. How much should the mini-DAC trade for, used? Preferrably with a USB so it can connect to most computers.
post #19 of 43
Typically $750-800 for a minidac with usb.
post #20 of 43
I want to chime in here as I have had experience with both. I first had the DAC1 - I was running this connected via digital coax to an Empirical Audio Freeway. I used it both in SE mode, and then when I got balanced cables for the HD650, in balanced mode straight out of its XLR jacks.

It was excellent, no doubt about it. Clarity and speed were great, as was instrument separation and positioning. I tried it with a few other headphones too, and with each (HD650 included) I ended up finding it a little too sterile. It lacked an element of body and warmth. This was particularly prevalent when running the DAC1 to the Stax SRM-717 and Omega II.

I then got the Apogee Mini-Dac USB. At first I used it via USB, but after moving my computer source from PC to Mac, I run it straight from the Mac Mini's optical digital out via a Van Den Hul Optocoupler cable. This allows me to use it at 24/96 (USB limited to 24/48 on the Apogee). The headphone amp in the Mini-Dac is very competent, if a little warm. The balanced output worked a treat, especially with the Stax. I also used its XLR outputs for the HD650 in balanced mode.

I have read on occassion when people compare these two DACs that they say the DAC1 is more detailed. I think differently - I found them to have the same level of detail extraction, as well as articulation. The DAC1 has the edge in speed, but I prefer the warmth which the Apogee brings to the party. It is not as clinical, but certainly not less detailed. When I listened via the Stax, and with my newly acquired balanced SA5000, it was evident that detail is one thing this DAC does not lack. Perhaps the speed, and cooler nature of the DAC1 (can call it "neutrality") is what some people have reported as more detailed.

I am personally thrilled with the Mini-Dac. I cannot imagine what the SA5000 would be like through the DAC1, but can only assume it would be similar to the Stax experience - great at first glance, but fatigue very soon sets in.

Cheers,
X
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenithon View Post
I want to chime in here as I have had experience with both. I first had the DAC1 - I was running this connected via digital coax to an Empirical Audio Freeway. I used it both in SE mode, and then when I got balanced cables for the HD650, in balanced mode straight out of its XLR jacks.

It was excellent, no doubt about it. Clarity and speed were great, as was instrument separation and positioning. I tried it with a few other headphones too, and with each (HD650 included) I ended up finding it a little too sterile. It lacked an element of body and warmth. This was particularly prevalent when running the DAC1 to the Stax SRM-717 and Omega II.

I then got the Apogee Mini-Dac USB. At first I used it via USB, but after moving my computer source from PC to Mac, I run it straight from the Mac Mini's optical digital out via a Van Den Hul Optocoupler cable. This allows me to use it at 24/96 (USB limited to 24/48 on the Apogee). The headphone amp in the Mini-Dac is very competent, if a little warm. The balanced output worked a treat, especially with the Stax. I also used its XLR outputs for the HD650 in balanced mode.

I have read on occassion when people compare these two DACs that they say the DAC1 is more detailed. I think differently - I found them to have the same level of detail extraction, as well as articulation. The DAC1 has the edge in speed, but I prefer the warmth which the Apogee brings to the party. It is not as clinical, but certainly not less detailed. When I listened via the Stax, and with my newly acquired balanced SA5000, it was evident that detail is one thing this DAC does not lack. Perhaps the speed, and cooler nature of the DAC1 (can call it "neutrality") is what some people have reported as more detailed.

I am personally thrilled with the Mini-Dac. I cannot imagine what the SA5000 would be like through the DAC1, but can only assume it would be similar to the Stax experience - great at first glance, but fatigue very soon sets in.

Cheers,
X
x2 - I am personally thrilled with the mini-DAC. It was also an eye opener how much better it is with a sigma 11 PSU vs the stock wallwart. YOU MUST GET ONE.
post #22 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
x2 - I am personally thrilled with the mini-DAC. It was also an eye opener how much better it is with a sigma 11 PSU vs the stock wallwart. YOU MUST GET ONE.
Where? How can I look into this further? I punched that into a search engine and didn't come up with much.
post #23 of 43
Post a WTB in the accessories for sale forum. There are a number of people who can build them.
post #24 of 43
I am running mine off of a 12V 5A SLA battery. It is hooked up permanently to a charger which connects to AC, such that at any point in time the DAC runs off battery power (the AC connection is there just to charge when needed).
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenithon View Post
I am running mine off of a 12V 5A SLA battery. It is hooked up permanently to a charger which connects to AC, such that at any point in time the DAC runs off battery power (the AC connection is there just to charge when needed).
Just curious: Does the charger make any "PSU noise"? I would guess it did, since it's connected all the time. But battery - hmmm, good solution.

I am very partial to the Duet, though, from what I've read around here. Isn't the mini-DAC an older technology than the Duet? Some, like grawk, even prefer the Duet sound to the mini-DAC, so might this newer product not actually have DAC and head-amp that is superior to the mini-DAC?
post #26 of 43
No PSU noise that I can think of. It is a small wall-wart connected charger, which hooks up to the battery terminals with crocodile clips. Will experiment this evening with the hooks disconnected to see if I hear any layer of grime removed
post #27 of 43
How did it go, xenithon?
post #28 of 43
Hi there,

Sorry for not updating here

Tried it with the charger disconnected - no difference that I could detect. I do not think there is any noise here. Also bear in mind that I do not connect it directly to the battery (that is, the two terminals directly to the power plug and into the DAC). In between (in the middle of the cable) there is a small fuse and capacitor attached - maybe that eradicates any noise.
post #29 of 43
So the Sennheiser HD650 runs fine right out of the Mini-DAC? I'm a bit curious which headphones sound fine from the mini-DAC headphone out, since I cannot afford a high-class amp on top of new headphones + mini-DAC right now, and don't want to keep it going for a year with something that doesn't work. List ...

HD650
RS-1
K701?
GS1000?
D5000?
???
??
?
post #30 of 43
SA5000 sounds fantastic out of the Mini-Dac. I do not think Grado cans fare so well though.
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