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Quick Question (Apogee one alternative)

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

Hi.

 

So all those USB Sound Interfaces sold out there in the Guitar Stores. Like the Line 6 Pod Studio. Or the Alesis iO2 Express?

 

Do they help improve a Computer's audio output when heard through, say, a pair of headphones?

 

Basically, I saw the Apogee One. Beautiful piece of equipment.

 

Now I'm both a guitarist, and a person fascinated by headphones and iems. 

 

So essentially I'm looking for something like that but cheaper, and compatible with windows. The Apogee One has two functions that are of any use to me - guitar-usb interface (for recording, effects, virtual amps) and as a headphone amp. 

 

Are there any other cheaper products that satisfy my need? Is there a cheaper, windows compatible alternative to the Apogee One?

post #2 of 2

The nearest I can think of are the Focusrite Forte and MOTU Microbook.

 

http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/microbook/audio-io.html

http://uk.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/forte

 

Although there are many alternatives - the two above are the ones that try hardest to look as cool as  the Apogee.

 

Audio Interfaces are a great invention and everyone should have one. There is a possible potential pitfall for the hi-fi type person.

 

Interfaces were initially designed with musicians and engineers in mind. These people already owned headphones with what is today regarded as high impedance. 80 Ohm and up, usually 250 Ohms. iPod and the like ushered in an era of very low impedance headphones 16 Ohm to 48 Ohm is now quite common.

 

So if you own low impedance headphones, particularly balanced armature IEMs, you need to check the output impedance of your chosen device. It should be as low as possible. Even inexpensive consumer stuff like the sansa clip has an output impedance of ~2 Ohms. Even the Apogee will fall foul of this rule with OI of 30 Ohms btw.

 

The very latest interfaces have caught up with the trend for low impedance headphones and you can always use a $20 FiiO E5.

 

Tale a look at this as a fine example.

 

http://spl.info/index.php?id=2957&L=1

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