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Apogee Duet


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Hi,

 

Anyone out there any experience of the Apogee Duet? I am looking for a headphone amp/DAC to use with my Macbook. I know the Duet is designed for musicians, but it can just be used as a separate DAC/headphone amp via firewire and seems sensibly priced (second hand or ex dem). Apogee products seem to held in very high regard in pro-audio circles.

 

Any advice/comments welcome.

 

Phil

 

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Hello Phil, I am using the Apogee Duet with my MacBook, both for listening (FLAC via Play.app) and for digitising my vinyl (using Audacity).

I find the quality and clarity of the sound to be very good. I have done very little headphone listening through it though, so I can't really give an opinion on this aspect, although most reviews on the web are positive about this.

I also like the convenience of the large volume control knob.

 

Overall, a great piece of gear for the price, it is a bit larger than it appears but still easily portable.

 

One caveat on it would be Apple's incredibly stupid (IMO) decision to remove FW from the latest MacBooks, meaning that if your current laptop died, you would be forced to spend a lot extra on a MacBook Pro and a FW800-FW400 cable to continue using the Duet. Apparently it works with that setup.

Maybe Apogee will decide to write Windows drivers for the Duet, who knows?

 

HTH.

 

Peter

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Phil, I got a TS-RCA cable when I bought the Duet. I hook that up to the tape outs on my integrated amp and hook it up to the Instrument inputs on the Duet breakout cable. The turntable is hooked up to the phono inputs of the integrated amp.

 

1. Check Core Audio is set for the Duet I/O and also set at 24/96 (Audio Midi Setup)

 

2. Run Audacity (I am running 1.3.5b) on the MacBook, set Default sample rate to 96000 Hz, leave Default sample format (what Audacity uses internally) as 32 bit float and check Duet is selected for I/O (under Audacity prefs)

 

3. Do a trial run and set levels in Audacity for the loudest passage on the LP (you can be a bit conservative when you are going to export in 24 bit i.e. if the levels are a bit low you will still have more than say 16 bits)

 

4. I record the entire side as one file, export as 24 bit WAV then manually split into tracks later, convert to FLAC and add metadata.

 

While Audacity can export straight to FLAC, and re-import that FLAC, it is much faster exporting/importing WAVs.

I find the best workflow is to do all the recording in one session then spend time later on splitting tracks etc. and this is where the faster import of WAVs comes into play.

 

I don't bother removing clicks and pops (just clean the vinyl well first), but Audacity comes with a plugin that can do this if you wish.

 

You could also dither the files down to 16/48 (using Audacity - again the quality of the dither is set in prefs), if you wanted to save some space.

 

Peter

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Peter,

 

Very interesting, but sounds quite time consuming! I have a reasonably large vinyl collection, but probably more CDs (and many of these duplicate my vinyl). Can I ask what is the motive for digitising vinyl when (a) most vinyl exists as CDs anyway and (b) you can hook up your turntable directly anyway? Is it because you have rare records and want the flexibility to listen to them via computer/ipods, etc?

 

Phil

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there

 

I recently bought a Duet and am currently using it as my dac between my powerbook and amp. I am very pleased with it but have not heard other dac's so I can't compare it to anything. The sound quality from the mac via the duet is however a better than from my Harman Kardon cd player. It is not really a fair comparison though as the cd player is hardly an "audiophile" product.

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

The Duet is an excellent DAC, and a decent head amp, but its specialty is definitely the former. If fact I haven't heard a new DAC solution sound better under 1K and I prefer the Duet to several at that price point (notable the Lavry DA10). That said, if you're looking for a combo DAC/amp one box solution and you're using phones that require significant power (AKG, Sennheiser, etc.), there are other options with a better amp section. For the same price I'd point to the Headamp Pico.

 

\"Science fiction tends to be philosophy for stupid people.\" - Chuck Klosterman

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

I realize I'm a little late on this thread but I thought this might be useful to some.

 

I bought a Duet some time ago as a guitar amp substitute (which I have since given up on) and stored it away. However, I've been reading recently about it's DAC performance so I unboxed it and decided to give it a go against my Cambridge Audio DacMagic playing material from my MacPro on iTunes. OMG talk about an ass-kicking! The Duet via firewire is a VERY credible DAC and left the DacMagic via Toslink in the dust. I have a Acoustic Research DAC on my main system that is 6x the cost of these 2 so I don't expect it to be outperformed by the Duet. However, for 100USD more for the Duet over the DacMagic you get a SIGNIFICANT performance improvement. There could be a number of reasons for the difference. The use of firewire for instance. Since the Duet is a Mac only solution (right now) integration with the Mac may be tighter and the interface with CoreAudio more direct than the Toslink to the DacMagic. I'm using the Duet headphone output to powered speakers (a pair of Bose which are destined for replacement) and the sound still is better than the CA rival. I can only imagine the breakout cable outputs would perform even better. I'll report on that once I get an adapter (and possibly some better speakers).

 

 

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I have had many dacs in my system , stripped down Imac external SSD storage, apogee duet, wyred sx500 mono blocks , Quad electrostatics, with Townsend supertweeters.

As you can see a very revealing system, the Apogee is one of the best DAcs I have heard in this system and I can only think that if money is no object I would try the Weiss DAC.

Excellent music separation, excellent detail retrieval, excellent bass, for the money highly reccomended plus you can use it to record vinyl at high res for archiving or just making it easier to access your favorites, cannot comment on it as a headphone amp.

FYI over the weekend my system developed a low level hum from what is normally dead silent background, I traced it down to my using the HD out from the mac mini into my large screen tv, once this was disconnected and hooked back up to a normal computer monitor the hum disappeared.

 

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Is nice, good looking and cheap, but I prefer so far my Apogee MiniDAC than my Apogee Duet. I feel the Duet a bit brighter sound, and less defined stereo image (more diffused and open) than the MiniDAC.

 

Cheers

 

Mac Mini >Amarra Mini>Apogee MiniDAC>Ars Sonum Filarmonia SXE>Quad ESL 2805[br]www.susoramallo.com[br]

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I would suggest an Apogee Rosetta 200 as next level dac. And then Berkeley Alpha DAC

 

MacBook Pro + Roon > Airport Extreme > microRendu + mbps-d2s > Auralic Vega > McIntosh MC275 > Yamaha NS-2000

Wired with: High Fidelity CT-1 Enhanced RCA, Revelation Audio Labs, Fadel Art Coherence PC

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