In today’s review we take a look at the great looking, lightweight headphone AMP and DAC from Apogee…
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The Apogee Groove is a small USB headphone amp aimed at bringing studio-quality audio to your laptop listening on the go. The interface itself is barely bigger than a packet of chewing gum, and while lightweight, the Groove is built of aluminium and has a solid feel.
For convenience when carrying the Groove, it comes with a small carry pouch,that’s big enough for both the Groove and the supplied USB cable. The Groove packs four ESS Sabre DACs into each of its channels, to achieve a dynamic range of 117dB and incredibly low distortion characteristics.
Groove connects to your Mac or PC via USB, drawing power through the USB connection. Three LEDs on the top of the device provide quick visual feedback for level indication. There are only two buttons: volume up and volume down. A mini-jack port at the opposite side to the USB port provides a connection to your headphones.
Sound-wise, the Groove is a considerable improvement over the headphone port on our MacBook; the response is clean and clear without any artificial enhancement – a disappointing feature found on far too many PC laptops.
Transients are detailed and the low-end tracking is excellent. We compared a mix using our Lynx Aurora converters through the headphone amp in our MunroSonic Egg amplifier (a £4,000 chain) to the Groove, and were very impressed with the Groove – which had perhaps a little sweetness in the upper mid-range when compared to our studio chain.
If you find yourself frequently editing audio on the move, or you simply want better audio quality from your system, the Groove has to be worth a listen.
● USB 2.0
● 24-bit /192kHz audio
● Eight ESS Sabre DACs
● 3.5mm headphone jack
● 10Hz-20kHz frequency response (+/-0.2dB)