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NEW! Focusrite Forte USB DAC Interface for Mac & Windows - Apogee Duet 2 alternative? - Page 2

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by devgru View Post


It has two headphone amps, but it's limited to powering those two opamps with bus-power.

 

 

Yes sorry about that, it does sport headphone amps. I indeed read from a RME representative one the dedicated forum that there is indeed a hardware limitation due to USB powered operations (+/- 5V) as compared with higher end units (+/- 15 V) - I guess they mean units such as the FF400 and so forth.

 

Which leads to another question regarding :

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiGuy528 View Post

It has a good amp, but is volume limited unless powered by 5v DC.  I used a battery pack that charges iPads.

 

If it's powered by a 5V AC adapter, then the only difference in amp gain when compared with the Babyface is the fact that it only has to drive one amp instead of two ?

post #17 of 18

I'm currently listening to a Forte through AKG K701's, which seems to have a little difficulty driving. Currently the dial needs to be around 1/2 gain (-15 db) for a decent level, even higher (-8 db) for live jazz... this is with the power adapter plugged in.

I don't know if it's just new and the hardware needs to be "burned" in or if this is by design, but when switching between an old RME Fireface 800 headphone stage, I can say that the RME seems to have a slightly warmer and fuller sound, with improved focus, rhythm and dynamics, in some ways it just sounds "right". Also, the RME is able to drive the same headphones at 1/4 gain. 

The character of the Forte, in comparison, is more forward and favors the mid to high frequencies over the lower spectrum. It also could be said to have a detailed, almost analytical sound which can, when combined with it's forward nature, overpower the more quiet portions of the sound-stage. Sometimes I can't put my finger on it but I could swear there are tendencies to be out of phase in comparisons with the RME, but that could be my interpretation. 

Bottom line, when I currently listen to the Forte, I find myself focusing in on the sound detail, and when I switch to the RME, my foot begins to tap.

Then again, this could all change with proper burn-in time. confused.gif

 

 

I realize that the two interfaces are vastly different but I find it's always good to compare equipment from a reference point. 

Although, with Focusrite's claim to create the "Best Sounding Interface" (they can make), I thought I should see if there is anything to this claim. While the specs are very impressive, it seems like those must a given these days... it's how it behaves within those specifications I'm more interested in. How are the dynamics? Sound-Stage / placement? Tone separation or saturation? Transient response?

The RME is a 10 in / 10 out interface compared to the Forte's 2 in / 4 out, so when you factor in the difference I/O, age and price, one would think that the sound should at least be on par... especially when you have interfaces out there like TC's Impact Twin at $400, which IMHO has a very good headphone stage, even compared to the DAC-1 (Benchmark).

I'm not trying to discourage people from the Forte, It has a significant amount of features going for it: it's size, USB/buss powering, MAC/PC compatibility, and it's quality of sound for the price and size. With that though, if size is not as mush an issue I would still recommend an Impact Twin if you're looking for a nice, clean headphone stage... it's also $200 less. 

 

Anyway, hope this helps... atsmile.gif


Edited by ModernViking - 12/21/12 at 3:53am
post #18 of 18
Quote:
 With that though, if size is not as mush an issue I would still recommend an Impact Twin if you're looking for a nice, clean headphone stage... it's also $200 less. 

 

Anyway, hope this helps... atsmile.gif

Thanks, however TC interfaces are Firewire based so it's a no-no for lots of musicians using laptops because of latency issues.

 

It's hard to find people comparing headphone outputs between interfaces of the same category. The Fireface 800 is known to have a higher gain on its HP output than the Babyface, so it's no wonder.

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