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Reed
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Last seen: 1 month 1 day ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 5:37am
Apogee Duet via Firewire

I picked up an Apogee Duet last Friday. I'm in the process of playing around with the various computer fed DAC options. I have a new Music Streamer II+, Centrance Dacport and an Apogee Duet.

I really like the Centrance Dacport for headphone listening. I have tried it, as suggested by Centrance, with the volume all the way up feeding a preamp. I actually like the results.

I have the Music Streamer II+ breaking in at the moment.

I was immediately impressed with the results I'm getting from the Apogee Duet. It really sounds great for both headphones and as a preamp/DAC option. You can also set it to "fixed output" mode, which sets the volume at a fixed level of 0, for intended use of a standalone DAC. I know it is early in the break in for the Music Streamer, but so far I favor the Apogee over the Music Streamer and Centrance.

I believe all of the computer fed DACs reviewed in Stereophile are USB DACS. Is there an inherent advantage to the firewire interface vs. USB? I'm using a MAC Mini as a server. I understand that USB is "universal" to both PCs and MAC, but I'm wondering whether the impressive performance of the Duet is solely related to Apogee's equipment, or partially related to the Firewire interface.

Any help?

deckeda
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Joined: Feb 1 2006 - 7:41pm
Short answer: probably not (but I don't know.)
Reed wrote:

... Is there an inherent advantage to the firewire interface vs. USB? ...

Long answer: practically speaking, it doesn't matter if it's better or not, because there are few consumer-ish FireWire models to choose from, and perhaps fewer that offer both protocols for comparison.

Any discussion of connection protocols will at some point involve data clock control and therefore jitter. Partly due to USB's popularity (it's cheaper to implement, but not tremendously so) we now know that USB offers the possibility of asynchronous control, which is conceptually simple because instead of trying to reduce jitter between two components with differing clocks, asynchronous control essentially says, "hey, let's forget the clock altogether on one component" --- so with one clock only, jitter's pretty much wiped out.

FYI, FireWire is "universal" to PCs too, common on models that aren't bottom-feeders, it's just that PC owners don't know what the heck it's for. (I kid.)

And the Duet was just replaced. The new model uses instead ... USB.

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