New audio gear for new MacBook
Jul 1, 2009 at 6:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36


New Head-Fier
Jul 1, 2009
Hi all the Head-Fiers!! I'm new here even if i read your pages from a while to find answers to my questions...

I actually use my PC with Asus Xonar Essence STX soundcard as source, Audio-Technica ATH-ES7 Headphones and KRK RP5 G2 Studio Monitors.

I've bought a new computer: a Macbook Pro 13" and i want to improve audio quality buying an external audio card or DAC.

The new Macbook doesn't provide a digital audio out (
), so i must choice an audio interface based on USB or Firewire.

I like a lot how my actual soundcard sounds, so i would like to find something whit similar quality...

I've read around the forum, that the Apogee Duet is pretty well sounding,is it comparable to Xonar Essence?

Can you please recommend a good sounding audio interface around 500$?

Thanks for helping me, and sorry for my bad english (i'm italian
Jul 1, 2009 at 8:03 PM Post #3 of 36
Thanks for the answer.

Have you ever compared the Duet whit a portable DAC/Headphone amp like iBasso's ones ore RSA's?
Jul 1, 2009 at 8:13 PM Post #4 of 36
Jul 1, 2009 at 8:44 PM Post #7 of 36

Originally Posted by m1abrams /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You sure the Macbook does not have a digital out? I know on my Macbook Pro the lineout jack/headphone jack is also a digital out, you need a little adapter plug to use it but it is indeed a digital out. Toslink Female to Mini-Plug Male Adapter: Electronics

Just checked on the apple site:
Apple - MacBook - Technical Specifications - Specs for the MacBook

If that is your mac then it appears to have a digital out

My macbook is the new Macbook Pro 13 Alluminium not the white one. But now, looking whit more attention to the specifications, i've seen that it's lacking of digital IMPUT, not OUTPUT so there isn't any problem using a S/PDIF DAC
Jul 1, 2009 at 8:51 PM Post #8 of 36

Originally Posted by grawk /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'll say that the duet is better than any other computer based sound I've heard from an all in one unit

And what can you say about the integrated headphone amp quality?
Jul 1, 2009 at 8:52 PM Post #9 of 36
Well, it does have a digital input - the network!

I use the digital output on my Mac to feed a DAC all the time. If I wanted a digital input and output I would snag the Duet in a second.

It looks amazingly cool and sounds great. In fact i sort of have a "gear crush" on the Duet but all of my funds are going to a 2 channel vinyl setup these days...
Jul 2, 2009 at 5:43 AM Post #10 of 36
I use an Apogee Duet to drive my Denon AH-D5000s. I also have a pair of M-Audio Studiophile AV40s connected to the break out cable outputs. Everything sounds great. I wanna get an iBasso D10 though, for portable use and to compare to the Apogee Duet, because I've never experienced anything else.
Jul 2, 2009 at 12:54 PM Post #11 of 36
I can't see why the new Macbooks won't have it, that's like going backwards in technology. But you will need a TOSlink adapter regardless.

I run my Macbook to a iBasso D10, depends if you want portable or not. Regardless it's a good choice for $300, I really enjoy mine and it's sooo much better then the macbook on board.
Jul 2, 2009 at 1:10 PM Post #12 of 36
I was confusig when i said that digital OUTPUT was not present in new macbooks. I've re-read the new reporting this and in effect Apple doesn't include digital INPUT in new Macbooks; i dont know why, but i dont care about this.

D10 is one of the alternatives i'm evaluating, but i'd like to compare the new source to the actual audio card i own, the Asus Essence STX... Does anybody have both of them?

Jul 2, 2009 at 1:27 PM Post #13 of 36
My Nov. 2006 MacBook Pro sounded equal in SQ from the headphone out to an original Corda Move. The Duet was far better than it, and not far behind the almost $1000 Lavry DA-10 I purchased after it. Since Meier has updated the DAC in his line, this may not be a very relevant comparison now.
Jul 2, 2009 at 2:00 PM Post #14 of 36
I would also suggest the Duet. Great Dac, with line out to your speakers. Good headphone amp. No battery to charge either. Does require Firewire, although there is a new Apogee device that is similar with an integrated microphone, which uses USB.

I feel secure in saying that the USB DAC/AMPs by RSA or iBasso will be better for headphone use, as their amps are designed for maximizing headphone listening. The Duet DAC though going to line out is superb.

Users who are viewing this thread