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Apogee Duet - weird echo effect!


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I have been using the Apogee Duet for some time now, but have reservations about it. All music from my cd's is ripped 44/16 to my MacBook. I am using iTunes and before you ask, all effects, equalizers enhancers are off. Audio Midi is set, (yes prior to opening iTunes) to 44/24.

 

My problem(?) is that while playing if I hit "pause", I am hearing a very brief echo type effect at the instant of stopping the music. Similar to speaker cabinet resonance in a poor cheap speaker. And before you suggest that it is my amp or speakers, let me say that I am using a pair of 300B mono-block amplifiers and open baffle speakers and also Sennheiser HD580 headphones and this effect is not there when I use any other source or other cd player. I have narrowed it down specificaly and only to the use of the Apogee Duet. If I use the Sennheisers directly into the MacBook, there is no problem, but the problem is aso there when I use the Apogee Duet as a headphone amplifier, thereby eliminating the rest of my system.

 

I have also tried an Apogee MiniDAC and both the effects are there also. I had hoped that the MiniDAC would be an improvement since it has been very well reviewed and well respected and also cost about twice the Duet.... but the two minor points aside, the Duet is a better sounding DAC than the MiniDAC.... it is slight but it is there and the Duet wins out bby a wisker.

 

In addition I do have also some reservations about the upper top end and especially crash cymbals which all appear one note and "tizzy" or better still they sound just like a three year old kiddies drum kit with a 3" cymbal and have absolutley no body to them. Sounds more like tambourine than a cymbal!

 

.... or is it just me?

 

Anyone care to comment or anyone out there using the Duet that cares to talk about it? Anyone experiencing similar?

 

Thanks for reading and hope that someone will have something to say!

 

DerrO

 

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Thanks for the response Chris..... I would be most greatful if you can shed any light on this matter. I am surprised at the results from both the Duet and MiniDAC, both exhibiting the same sonics after reading so many good reports about the MiniDAC and Duet, I thought that this would be a step up from my KingRex DAC, but in fact it is not and I have to say that I am now beginning to resort back to Airport Express! I guess this is just an inherent signature of Apogee and I better start looking again for something else.

 

Maybe I am just being too expectant!

 

Thanks,

 

DerrO

 

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I had an Apogee MiniDAC for about a month but I do not recall hearing any echo type effects. I suggest that you post your observations to head-fi.org or gearslutz.com since there are many users on those sites that have the Apogee products. I mainly got the Apogee FW MiniDAC to playback my 24/176.4 or 24/192 files from my Macbook Pro. It was clearly different from some of my other DACs, such as the comparably priced Benchmark USB DAC1, but not clearly a better sounding DAC. If Weiss Engineering ever makes it easy to evaluate their Minerva DAC, I guess one of these days I will take the leap to see if it is my last DAC purchase.

 

I have seen preferences for the sound quality of the Duet over the MiniDAC and vice versa. Feature wise the Duet offers recording and playback capabilities, but only at 24/96. The MiniDAC offers playback capabilities to 24/192 and toslink in addition to firewire connectivity. Any slight edge you hear favoring the Duet is probably due to the power supply advantage of running off firewire. I hear a similar advantage when I run my TC Electronics Konnekt 8 off of the firewire powered connection to my laptop as opposed to the external power supply. I believe there is a strong recommendation from several MiniDAC users for either a high quality Sigma 11 power supply unit (if you’re a DIY builder) or battery power that offers significant improvements in sonics.

 

 

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This in no way helps, but I use an Apogee Duet & have never experienced what you're describing. I'll ask a colleague who also uses a Duet to see whether he has any insight. I doubt it though, as he bought a Duet on my recommendation a few months ago, and he surely would've griped about it!!

 

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Well, after much pulling out of my hair and substituting a iMac for the MacBook, I was further convinved that there was most definitely some very badly amiss.

 

Turns out that that just after I got my MacBook and before I got an external DAC, that I downloaded an equalizer application called "Hear" by daemon/joesoft. THIS was the culprit and even though I removed ALL files associated with it there was one hidden deep deep within a system folder and it was this plug-in that was causing the problem. I have since seen that others too have had the very same experience with this application.

 

I can NOW and only now hear the full glory of the Apogee DUET and it is simply STUNNING!

 

I just had to satisfy my curiosity as to how the Apogee MiniDAC was in comparison to the Apogee DUET, so I dropped into my dealer who by luck had a MiniDAC Demo unit. I said that I want to know how the two stood up against each other and his unhesitating answer was "DUET is better!" ..... but as we know, we need to hear this for ourselves, especially since this guy had not actually compared one against the other.

 

As it happens, this was a demo unit and he said that if I wanted I could do a straight swap against my new DUET. With that in mind, I was not swayed by the prices of the units - since effectively they would cost me the same, no matter which I choose.

 

Well, now after extensive and tortuous listening sessions with both I have come to a final conclusion. Both were level matched and each had similar VandenHul interconnect between DAC and my 300B S.E.T. amplifier The MiniDAC was connected by the USB connection and the DUET by Firewire.

 

The Apogee MiniDAC is most certainly an extremely good DAC, but in comparison to the DUET, the MiniDAC is slightly smaller scale and not as full bodied and a tad hard sounding at times.... a little clinical, very slightly mechanical and closed maybe. The DUET after that just opens up everything - HUGE sounding - wonderful wider soundstage with far better depth than the MiniDAC and vocals sound more natural. Phrasing and emotional expression is just easier to grasp with the DUET. Strings sounded like strings on the DUET, whereas on the MiniDac they were all there OK, but seemed smaller scale and thinner sounding.

 

I am totally convinced and happy with the DUET. For me, definitely better sounding than the MiniDAc - within the context of MY system and MY preferences.

 

When you read this, it may look like to you that there big differences between the two, but that in fact is not the case - what we are talking about here are minor, very minor changes in the presentation.

 

Just wanted to put things straight in case my post may have caused some to be swayed from the Apogee Duet..... the problem was nothing to do with the Duet, but it was my system that was at fault.

 

The integration, use and asthetics of the Duet with the Macbook is simply superb and works beautifully.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read and or to post inn responce to my initial problem.

 

Regards

DerrO

 

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