Assessment and Measurements of Apogee Groove DAC and Amp

This is a evaluation and measurements of the Apogee Groove moveable DAC and headphone amplifier. It is on type financial loan from a forum member. As little portable DAC+Amps go, its retail cost of $295 is fairly substantial. I see manufacturing facility refurbished types at $149 although on Apogee website.

Apogee is greatest identified for their specialist audio products so their entry into personalized audio is very a departure for them.

As USB audio "thumb push" form elements go, the Apogee is really a little bit more substantial:

Apogee Groove Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier evaluation.jpg

Volume sensible, it is most likely double the dimensions of normal thumb drives. The larger dimension enables rubberized up/down volume buttons with outstanding truly feel. There is no "plastic" come to feel to the device both, creating you think you can sit on it and nothing at all negative would happen to it.

The a few LEDs around show the quantity degree. In the course of music playback, they alter to shade to green and are fully analog. Every single has individual depth which when maxed out, lights up the a single above it.

How we check wi-fi and Bluetooth speakers 2018 , I am quite positively impressed with match, finish and quality of the physical device.

Let's get into measurements and see if the high price is justified by goal info.

Let's start off with our normal dashboard at 2 volts to see the fidelity as if it were a DAC:
Apogee Groove Moveable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Measurement.png

Hey, this is fairly very good for a moveable solution! It puts it in the tier two of codecs analyzed as much as distortion and sounds:

Apogee Groove Moveable DAC and Headphone Amplifier SINAD Measurement.png

Let us search at the 2-tone SMPTE intermodulation distortion as opposed to degree:
Apogee Groove Moveable DAC and Headphone Amplifier IMD Measurement.png

The groove is no match for the Topping DX3 Professional little desktop amp+dac but beats the Chord Mojo at mid to greatest amounts! The Chord is practically three occasions its cost with quite higher claims of goal fidelity so this is quite an accomplishment.

Of course, we see the "ESS hum" which is typical of ESS DACs in most implementations with a increase in mid-amount distortion. It is milder listed here since the sounds ground is increased.

Jitter performance is visually disappointing but audibly transparent:
Apogee Groove Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier jitter Measurement.png

Linearity is also really great for a portable unit, losing accuracy earlier mentioned eighteen bits:
Apogee Groove Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Linearity Measurement.png

Dynamic variety is really great and falls in the middle of pack (max quantity):

Apogee Groove Portable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Dynamic Assortment Measurement.png

Let's seem at the all critical, distortion as opposed to electricity at 300 ohm:
Apogee Groove Transportable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Energy at three hundred ohm Measurement.png

As soon as yet again, the Apogee Grove comes near to performance of Chord Mojo, making the same seventy one milliwatts of electricity. To set this in standpoint, standard smartphone audio dongle outputs 1 to ten miliwatts of electrical power. So this is very an essential bounce as it relates to high impedance headphones such as the common Sennheiser High definition-650 and its clones.

Identical measurements with 33 ohm though, produced odd benefits:

Apogee Groove Moveable DAC and Headphone Amplifier Energy at 33 ohm Measurement.png

At all around 1.five volts of output, the unit would shut down. This created whole energy of seventy eight milliwatts which is way limited of specified 225 milliwatts. I even examined one channel with the identical outcomes.

Channel balance versus quantity position was best considering that these combo DAC+headphone amps are able to execute attenuation utilizing the DAC handle:

Apogee Groove Transportable DAC and Headphone Amplifier channel imbalance Measurement.png

Sadly we have some negative information when it comes to output impedance:
Apogee Groove Moveable DAC and Headphone Amplifier output impedance Measurement.png

Oh, no. 21 ohms? Why did you do this to us Apogee? You had been doing so nicely.

This signifies that you need to not use low impedance headphones that have variable impedances them selves or else, their frequency response will be modified. This may be a great result or poor depending on what is exaggerated and your preference for such.

Listening Assessments
I commenced my listening checks with my Sennheiser Hd-650. Here, output was cleanse up to max volume as measurements demonstrate. Alas, whilst comfortable, the bass was not as impactful as I am employed with desktop products. Relying on your desire below for quantity (I like it loud), you could or may possibly not be content.

Things enhanced a lot with the Hifiman HE-400i. There was plenty of quantity and a quite satisfying time was experienced listening to a assortment of music. So possibly with a reasonable load and audio alternatively of tones, the Grove is in a position to produce considerably much more electrical power at lower impedances with out shutting down.

The Apogee has the greatest top quality feel and layout of any moveable, thumb generate sized, DAC and amplifier I have reviewed. It just feels great in hand and seems to be good on the desk also.

As a DAC, its overall performance is really great, virtually a amount of desktop products.

As a DAC+headphone product, its functionality is variable. Objectively there is anything incorrect with lower load impedances causing it to shut down. But subjectively, it sounded great there. It will not have a ton of energy for three hundred ohm loads but then again, what it has is a lot, much a lot more than inventory headphone amp in your cellphone.

Substantial output impedance of 20 ohm indicates you want to be cautious about its impact on the seem of some headphones.

All in all, you can notify the Apogee Groove is made by proficient individuals seeking to produce a top quality merchandise in the extremely transportable type issue. If they experienced gotten there with out that 20 ohm output, I would give them an A. As it is, I have to get them down a notch and give a guarded advice.