• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Review and Measurements of Apogee Groove DAC and Amp

Veri

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
4,738
Likes
5,215
#42
At that lower price point, $10 less than the Dragonfly...why not just go for the Dragonfly, which is more widely reviewed / measured?
Widely reviewed/measured, how? I've not seen any truly positive Dragonfly measurements, besides the subjective "it sounds good" reviews. The SMSL iDea was measured by archimago and it was an excellent performer. I have one because of his review, it works fine for what it is: a small dac/amp.
And Amir tested it to be better than the black: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...dea-and-audioquest-dragonfly-black-dacs.2397/

it will be interesting to see how AudioQuest DragonFly Red compares. I really like how it sounds and it has plenty of power but I still kind of expect it have poor measurements... edit: here's one test: https://www.stereophile.com/content...lack-usb-da-headphone-amplifiers-measurements
Yeah no, that dragonfly red's measurements do not look very good at all, either..
 

watchnerd

Major Contributor
Beer Hero
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
6,721
Likes
3,711
Location
Seattle Area, USA
#43

PuX

Active Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Messages
109
Likes
52
#44
Yeah no, that dragonfly red's measurements do not look very good at all, either..
if you click the link I posted, you'll see that nothing jumps out as awful in that test. only the sine wave looks somewhat bad.
 

Veri

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
4,738
Likes
5,215
#45
if you click the link I posted, you'll see that nothing jumps out as awful in that test. only the sine wave looks somewhat bad.
Sine wave looks a little bad, plus jitter is not particularly good (but probably way below audible threshold).

I just can't see why something "not awful" would be recommended here, personally I'd rather go for "good", or preferably "very good" or exemplary :D
 

PuX

Active Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2018
Messages
109
Likes
52
#47
Veri
agreed, I just want an apples to apples comparison. every reviewer has different equipment and test procedure. headfi managed to get different results on their Schiit Modi 2 test with the same analyzer that amirm uses iirc.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
26,764
Likes
62,621
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #48
This review/measurement just makes me more curious about the performance of the Cyrus SoundKey I sent to @amirm :p
OK, OK, I will pull it closer to the front of the queue. :)
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
26,764
Likes
62,621
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #49
agreed, I just want an apples to apples comparison. every reviewer has different equipment and test procedure. headfi managed to get different results on their Schiit Modi 2 test with the same analyzer that @amirm uses iirc.
If they sent me the specific unit they tested, I am sure I would get the same results as they! ;)

Indeed I have shown this with running their exact script on my analyzer with identical setup with Schiit Yggdrasil yet getting different results showing that the units they tested are not what customers have bought.
 

Johnb

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
137
Likes
117
Location
San Francisco, CA
#50
I have an SMSL Idea. It is small enough that it becomes like a part of the headphone cord. I use it with my laptop, and am moving around the house with it all day. So that would be its appeal, and also of something like the apogee (though less so). Although the idea gets to 2VRMS, and that is marginally loud enough for my HD 650's, I am still wanting a bit more volume and HEADROOM. With my phones, the max power corresponds to like 12 mW. Having the 70mw of the Apogee would be perfect. At $150 refurb, that is perfect for a very portable unit. DACPORT HD should be similar.

BTW, the IDEA sells for $75 typically, VS $200 for the DFly Red, and both use the same chip and ESS's amp, so identical.

I bought a small portable amp, which will hopefully be reviewed by Amir sometime soon, which (should) achieve about 50-70 mw into 300 ohms. Aside from the convenience of a continuously variable volume control, the combination of the two is no longer super small, and in that case a NX4 DSD would have been a better choice in hindsight - or something like the Apogee. USB powered will set you free!

As for convenience, you can't beat the Idea. With my son's Massdrop HD58X, which is about same efficiency but 150 ohm, it is perfect.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
26,764
Likes
62,621
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #51
I have an SMSL Idea.
I reviewed that last year and it performed quite well. It was a loaner so I don't have it to compare.
 

bakker_be

Active Member
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
170
Likes
84
Location
Belgium
#54
At ±150€ for the DX3 Pro I couldn't pass up the chance to see/hear if the high(ish) output impedance of the A30 has an impact on the frequency response my Focal Elear. If it doesn't I'll have 2 separate very good sets, if it does I'll have a very good set and a better set :p
 

Graph Feppar

Active Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
195
Likes
162
#55
I would like if Amir did also the crosstalk measurements.These small cheap amps often have poor crosstalk.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
24
Likes
7
#56
Hello to everybody there. I’m no expert in electronics and just would like to have opinions about the apogee groove, which I could get used at a very cheap price. I run an IMac 2017:
1)use the Groove as a line-out dac to link to my old but nice Linn stereo preamplifier to hear music through loudspeakers. Somewhere I’ve read that the groove’s output far exceedes the consumer average line- in accepted voltage. Do the measurements here shown say something about this?
2) I also have an akg 141 headphone, which is 55 ohm and doesn’t seem the best option for the groove. May be an issue or it will work anyway?
3) and last: I may also buy a used dragonfly red at a good price ( still higher than the apogee). Could it better suit my needs ( use as line- out and drive my headphones)?
I know there is much better gear around... just would like to improve a little bit, but audibly, over my pc internal dac. I am a professional pianist and teacher and, though it may seem weird, I don’t have true audiophile needs...live music is different in any case; just like a flat and natural hearing. I thank you all for your help. Carlo
 

Veri

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
4,738
Likes
5,215
#57
@carlo outputting to preamplifier should be fine. 55ohm headphones are not a good match however, due to the rather high 20 ohm output impedance on the groove...

I would not buy the dragonfly though. Something more modern like a meizu USB-c or a hidisz S8 is better and cheaper.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
24
Likes
7
#58
@carlo outputting to preamplifier should be fine. 55ohm headphones are not a good match however, due to the rather high 20 ohm output impedance on the groove...

I would not buy the dragonfly though. Something more modern like a meizu USB-c or a hidisz S8 is better and cheaper.
Thank you very much @Veri. I’ll go for Groove. I only was worried for having read something about 5 volts output , so my concern was abou damaging preamp or speakers. Thanks again
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2020
Messages
24
Likes
7
#59
I received my Groove. Great sound using it as a DAC connecting it to the aux input of my Linn preamplifier. As a headphone amplifier I may understand the jump in quality vs my Imac headphone jack, as the sound is deeper and bass is more pronounced. Only my AKG 141 don't seem to be the best choice for this Groove due to their 55Ohms quite low impedance. I've read here that the Groove may perform at it's best with higher impedance Headphones. Any advice for a better headphone which won't break the bank? I mostly listen to classical piano music, but also Symphonic and a bit of Jazz. Somebody suggested me Sennheiser HD660 or Beyerdynamic 880pro, being both models at 300ohm. I understand the best thing is to give a listen if possible....
 

Veri

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 6, 2018
Messages
4,738
Likes
5,215
#60
I received my Groove. Great sound using it as a DAC connecting it to the aux input of my Linn preamplifier. As a headphone amplifier I may understand the jump in quality vs my Imac headphone jack, as the sound is deeper and bass is more pronounced. Only my AKG 141 don't seem to be the best choice for this Groove due to their 55Ohms quite low impedance. I've read here that the Groove may perform at it's best with higher impedance Headphones. Any advice for a better headphone which won't break the bank? I mostly listen to classical piano music, but also Symphonic and a bit of Jazz. Somebody suggested me Sennheiser HD660 or Beyerdynamic 880pro, being both models at 300ohm. I understand the best thing is to give a listen if possible....
HD660 is 150ohm not 300. For Jazz and Piano I wholeheartedly recommend the HD 6XX from Drop, or HD650 if you live outside the US (they are the same thing). You won't regret it :) Imo, it is the best headphone for acoustical content.
 
Top Bottom