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Apogee Duet briefly compared to Lavry Black

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I compared these two at a friends yesterday, and as expected, the more expensive Lavry does sound better. The question, however, is how much better. The setup was fairly simple, with a macbook connected to the dacs, and then to a pair of Stax Lambda headphones, and also a pair of Grado GS 1000s with the RA-1 amp. All files were .aif. The main track used to compare was "Charlie Dozen" from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, but also some k.d. lang and Slayer for a little variety. The difference was noticeable right away; although, it wasn't a large difference. If I had to describe it, I would say that the lavry had a deeper silence and more silence between the notes which was noticeable across all tracks. What is this silence? I would say that it is the "next" level of sound up from the Duet; it was more enjoyable to listen to. This is not to say that the Duet missed something, or produced a different track. Everything was there, but everything was more there with the Lavry. That being said, the Duet has the goods to reproduce very enjoyable music. Personally, until I have the money to invest in that "next" (read ~$10000) level of equipment, the Duet will remain my DAC.


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if only... :( actually, now that I reread the post, I should clarify. Until I get other speakers and amp totalling $10000, then I'll stick with the Duet. I would definitely go the the lavry black for the next dac upgrade


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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice review Mr. C. I did like the sound of Duet as well. Although there are minimal hissing when there is no music playing (when listening with IEM), the sound of the Duet is still very nice (straight out of headphone jack with SR-80).


However, have you have heat issue with your Macbook? I use a Macbook Pro and I noticed that leaving the Duet plugged in make my MB hot (CPU over 80 celsius). It is hot, but the fan wasn't spinning. It's like encoding video, you can feel the part close to the screen hinges hot enough to cook an egg.


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The heat issue you're experiencing could be because the Duet draws it's power from the mac's firewire port. I have noticed that the light does not go out on the Duet even when the mac is switched off - I have to switch off at the mains to turn the light off on the Duet. In fact I'm not sure that a laptop is the ideal front end for a system if it's going to stay powered up most of the time, mainly because of concerns about heat dissipation from such a compact, tightly packed enclosure.


I also hear some background hissing when listening with IEM's, but not with less sensitive Sennheiser phones - I'm very happy with the sound either way, but haven't compared it to anything as high end as the Lavry. Do you hear the same hiss through your Grados?


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My Macbook usually gets quite hot to the extent that I usually can't use it directly on my lap when it's worked up, so I didn't notice a change with the Duet. I also didn't notice a hiss with the duet; although, the main difference between it and the lavry was that the lavry was quieter (blacker?). This may be that you can hear the hiss and I can't, but I qualify the "hiss" as supra aural noise. I also used the RA-1 amp which may have moderated the hiss. I suspect that the answer would be that because the power comes through the computer, it is computer noise in the power that causes it (maybe).



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Mr.C that's a good observation. If you are interested at all in a passive + active cooling solution check out the Zalman NC-1000 and NC-2000 laptop coolers. They are made of aluminum and by using it non powered it cools your computer alone pretty well; but it also has two built in quiet fans with an adjustable RPM speed control. It connects to your USB port and receives its power from the computer for active cooling. My dad, mom, and brother own one and they love them (my laptop died from spilled gatorade some time ago and I never got another one unfortunately). At the lowest fan speed setting (near silent) it actually reduces the temperature of the computer by 10 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite impressive. I might just ago ahead and make a thread!


david is hear[br]http://www.tuniverse.tv

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