Quantcast
Lavry vs Benchmark vs Apogee - Gearspace.com
The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Lavry vs Benchmark vs Apogee
Old 28th January 2009
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Lavry vs Benchmark vs Apogee

Hi, I'm after a high quality DAC. At the minute I'm looking at the Lavry DA10, the benchmark DAC1, and that apogee DAC, the usb one. Does anyone have any opinions? It'll be for a mixture of music really, trance, classical, indie.

I've had a look at a couple of other threads, but there aren't that many replies.

Thanks
Old 28th January 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6891 ➑️
Hi, I'm after a high quality DAC. At the minute I'm looking at the Lavry DA10, the benchmark DAC1, and that apogee DAC, the usb one. Does anyone have any opinions? It'll be for a mixture of music really, trance, classical, indie.

I've had a look at a couple of other threads, but there aren't that many replies.

Thanks
Id have to say the DA10 is hands down the winner if you have an SPDIF or ADAT optical output. The clock inside is phenomenal, the converter is just beyond words and the translation is AWESOME. Of course the latter depends on your monitor chain but that converter is a MUST HAVE for anybody making serious music!

The DAC1 would have to be a more distant second and the Apogee is a much much distant third. So, if you can get a DAC1 for under 700 USD, id buy it....theres no shame in that. But, if you can afford the DA10 (900 USD) then by ALL MEANS PLEASE do yourself a favor and get the DA10 which is a much superior DAC in every aspect.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Addict
 
jwleeman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
paul6891, which apogee dac are you referring to again?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
the mini dac. Also, if anyone has any experience with the metric halo uln2. ive heard them being compared to these in one forum, but they never went into much detail...
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
lakeshorephatty's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I had a DAC1 before the apogee DA16x. The DA16x took away the concerns i had about the benchmark. It had something 'grainy' going on in the midrange. I think the mini DAC is not of the same quality of the DA16x so not a fair comparrison. This is more to note about the mids of the DAC1. Still a great converter you can work with, just something different there.

Russell
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
hi,

there is a comparison between these three in the january issue of SoundOnsound.

greetings wolfger
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Do you have it in pdf? What is the conclusion?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Tube World's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
The Apogee Rosetta 200 is more on par with the Lavry and Benchmark compared to Apogee's Mini converter.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6891 ➑️
Do you have it in pdf? What is the conclusion?
lavry is the winner
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
Id have to say the DA10 is hands down the winner if you have an SPDIF or ADAT optical output. The clock inside is phenomenal, the converter is just beyond words and the translation is AWESOME. Of course the latter depends on your monitor chain but that converter is a MUST HAVE for anybody making serious music.
The Lavry DA10 is truly phenomenal and I love the sound. The different wordclock modes works really well and the volume switch is great for recalling a volume setting.

I just happen to lay my slutty hands on an Apogee Mini-Dac really cheap the other day, demo unit from the former distributor. I tried it out in the studio today doing a shootout with the Lavry DA10.

In comparison the Mini-DAC has the classic "Apogee sound" with in my opinion a slightly polished lowend and lowmid, somewhat forward-sounding midrange in the center of the panorama and slightly rounded transients. But, it actually sounded better than I thought it would.

The Lavry DA10 has a more transparent sound, deeper and truer bass response, more depth in the midrange and more open transients. Better in all categories. It's so so good!

But the Mini-DAC suits my needs perfectly because I'm going to use it with one of my ADAT outputs on my Fireface 800. I have really been looking for a fairly cheap way to convert ADAT to SPDIF, but the converters have been too expensive.
The Mini-DAC is able to play a pair of ADAT channels and I haven't seen that feature on any other unit. So for me it's a perfect match. :D

I plan to use it as monitoring output from Nuendo 4 when I'm bouncing tracks thou my analog gear using the Lavry as output and my Prism as input.

IMHO, if you have the cash, buy a Lavry DA10. If you find a used Mini-DAC at a good price, then buy it because it's a good unit with great features.


Just my two cents
Frederick
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Did anyone actually compare the Lavry DA10 to the DAC in the Crang Song Avocet? I wonder how different they both would be.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hisbluness ➑️
Did anyone actually compare the Lavry DA10 to the DAC in the Crang Song Avocet? I wonder how different they both would be.
differences at this level are slight; they are both pretty great
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
AdamJay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6891 ➑️
the mini dac. Also, if anyone has any experience with the metric halo uln2. ive heard them being compared to these in one forum, but they never went into much detail...
I owned a DAC-1 some years ago. amazing headphone output, very low noise in that area compared to other options.

As far as conversion goes, once i got a ULN-2 i realized that the DAC-1 was a bit redundant. If anything i felt that the DAC-1 was grainy sounding at the very top. To some this comes across as presence, but really its almost a hype in the high range. but i didn't get so critical about it until i was able to compare it to a ULN-2 and a Lynx Aurora. I'm not saying the ULN-2 has a better D/A. I'm saying that the DAC-1 was doing something that i began to notice and did not like, and that the ULN-2 was sufficient enough for me to get rid of the DAC-1.

For folks without a good low noise headphone amp, nor a solid monitor volume control (coleman, etc.), the DAC-1 is great in this regard. Solid conversion with lots of other features.

I see Mytek DA96's go for $600 used all the time, which in my opinion is the best deal on a converter you can get. By the same token, a Legacy ULN-2 runs around $800 second hand and you get two fantastic preamps there. So which way to go? Having both is always an option.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My experience with the DAC1 is that it's less flattering than most. Indeed lots of stuff sounds "grainy" but the very best recordings don't.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson ➑️
My experience with the DAC1 is that it's less flattering than most. Indeed lots of stuff sounds "grainy" but the very best recordings don't.
This would be preferable if you're looking for blatant honesty in your DAC, no?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by terminal3 ➑️
This would be preferable if you're looking for blatant honesty in your DAC, no?
Absolutely.. BUT how do you find out for sure?

You can't just go thru your HD or CD collection and let your gut feeling decide if you really want to know if some coloration is at the record or from some piece of gear.

Analog gear such as an amp is easier to test objectively since you can compare the sound of the signal before and after the amp in a bypass test.

When testing converters you really need to use a AD and DA together but then you wouldn't know which of them is coloring (or maybe both) if you find out that the signal can not pass without alteration.

The best method we have is to use many AD and DA together in blind bypass listening tests together with measurements and hopefully you will get a grip on absolute performance.


/Peter
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by terminal3 ➑️
This would be preferable if you're looking for blatant honesty in your DAC, no?
It doesn't work like that. You have to understand that your monitoring chain needs to hear everything so that when you mix, you know what you did and why. The end result is a more natural translation between your intent in the mix on other mediums. If that weren't the case, you would not need high end speakers for monitoring because you could use what every body else uses....radio shack speakers.

The same applies to converters. It needs to sound exactly the way you want it in the studio which a high quality solusion helps achieve, and the end result is a better translation on any other medium.

Also, the musicality factor of a certain DAC either helps you relax while you mix or frustrates you and fatigues you to such a degree that you cannot work for more than a few hours, so no, blunt honesty is not THE only factor. I like honesty, precision but also a pleasureful experience while working. I think allot of people skip out on that part, and speakers. IMO those two are THE most important things in your studio.

So to wrap it up, its very important to have a good, precise and easy to listen to DAC. It will show in your end result.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I see some contradictions in your post Danny.


/Peter
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
dannycurtean@yah's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop ➑️
I see some contradictions in your post Danny.


/Peter
Would you be so kind as to point them out? Im just trying to answer the poster's question.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6891 ➑️
Do you have it in pdf? What is the conclusion?
hi paul,
sorry for not answering earlier.
no pdf here.
I typed in the pros an cons from the review:
hope that helps.
greetings from austria
wolfger

Apogee Mini-DAC
pros:
World-renowned 'Apogee' audio quality.
Very portable, and can be run on batteries for location work.
The only unit of the three that can listen to any stereo pair of an ADAT stream.
Convenient front-panel mute switch for headphone-only listening.
Firewire card option.
cons:
Some users may find the third-rack format inconvenient.
summary
The Mini-DAC offers the clean and detailed Apogee 'house' sound, similar to its more expensive stablemates, and provides more options than most competitors, including battery power.


Benchmark DAC1 Β£919
pros:
Excellent audio quality comparable with considerably more expensive converters.
Available in both desktop and rackmount versions
USB version available.
Rear-panel mute option enables headphone-only listening.
Two headphone outputs.
cons:
No front-panel on/off switch.
summary
With its supremely detailed and focused sound, as well as a few useful extras, Benchmark's DAC1 will take your audio playback to another level.


Lavry Engineering DA10 Black Β£780
pros:
Superb audio quality.
Precision digital level control with 1dB steps and two-digit readout means you can achieve very repeatable adjustments.
Extremely revealing headphone amp.
Mono/stereo and polarity-invert controls.
cons:
Up/down switch can be very fiddly compared with a rotary level control.
No mute option for main outputs when listening on headphones.
The Narrow and Crystal modes don't allow you to work at 192kHz.
summary
While it may lack a few of the extras provided by its competitors, the Lavry DA10 Black concentrates on achieving effortless audio of the highest quality, and this it does with true finesse.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks a lot wolfger. That was very helpful of you. May I ask, was that the latest version of the DAC1? I know that is a bit more expensive than the lavry, so buying the lavry would then be a no brainer
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6891 ➑️
Thanks a lot wolfger. That was very helpful of you. May I ask, was that the latest version of the DAC1? I know that is a bit more expensive than the lavry, so buying the lavry would then be a no brainer
Hi paul!

Sorry I canΒ΄t help you with this one, since IΒ΄m not so much into converters.
I just read the SOS article and thought that I could help.

good luck wolfger
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hisbluness ➑️
Did anyone actually compare the Lavry DA10 to the DAC in the Crang Song Avocet? I wonder how different they both would be.
Well I did... sort of. I have Lavry blue, Avocet and miniDAC.

Mind you I'm talking about .1% differencies with minidac and .01% with lavry vs avocet.


Minidac is not in the same ballpark as the rest. It is smaller sounding a bit muddy/smeared and there is an accent on the low-mids with smaller (sub)bass. But still I think it is a very nice unit with very solid sound.

Lavry and Avocet are at the same level. Lavry being more clinical clean, avocet being a bit softer, both having about the same amount of detail. Pluging lavry through the avocet it gets a bit softer (0.00001%) than when plugged directly to the speakers.


On and about that ADAT > spdif conversion in minidac... that's a feature I've never come across, that's very interesting one. I thought about selling the apogee and hesitated, now it is one more thing why to reconsider keeping it.

Anyway I'm not sure if the avocet dac I have is the last revision, I bought it 2ndhand and the the serial suggests it could be the penultimate or the last one.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] ➑️
Would you be so kind as to point them out? Im just trying to answer the poster's question.
First you mentioned:
Quote:
You have to understand that your monitoring chain needs to hear everything so that when you mix, you know what you did and why. The end result is a more natural translation between your intent in the mix on other mediums. If that weren't the case, you would not need high end speakers for monitoring because you could use what every body else uses....radio shack speakers.
Which implies gear free from colorations even if that would be a harsh grainy sound due to the source material.

And that does not go well with:
Quote:
Also, the musicality factor of a certain DAC either helps you relax while you mix or frustrates you and fatigues you to such a degree that you cannot work for more than a few hours, so no, blunt honesty is not THE only factor. I like honesty, precision but also a pleasureful experience while working. I think allot of people skip out on that part, and speakers. IMO those two are THE most important things in your studio.

So to wrap it up, its very important to have a good, precise and easy to listen to DAC. It will show in your end result.
Where you seem to imply that the set up should have some musicality and not being "blunt honestly".

Don't mean to offend but I thought that was some major contradictions.


/Peter
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiop ➑️
Don't mean to offend but I thought that was some major contradictions./Peter
Indeed. In fact any statements about gear being musical are suspect. The musicians are "musical". The gear has to be transparent or uncoloured, particularly A/D/A stuff. A mic preamp can be coloured, but this is usually required to compensate when the mic is not so good, great mics again need transparency.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
70% Coffee, 30% Beer
 
Doc Mixwell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
let me make this simple;

The Mini-DAC FW is 1K and undoubtedly sounds better than whats in your pro-sumer interface. Don't expect this DAC to turn your studio into world class mastering house. Its a good box for the money and I suggest TRYING it, and NOT listening to all this endless speculation.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Youre right, but there arent many music shops in Ireland, and none of them sell high end audio equipment, so I cant give them a listen. At the minute, it may sound strange, but I have heard good things about the metric halo uln2. I know it wont be as good as the mentioned converters, but surely it wouldnt be too much worse?! It's the same price as the converters - dsp, and considering you get pres/ADC, surely it may make more sense. A good mic would probably make a bigger difference. And let's face it, theres no point in spending thousands on recording gear, and then have crappy guitars/pianos to record.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
AdamJay's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul6891 ➑️
Youre right, but there arent many music shops in Ireland, and none of them sell high end audio equipment, so I cant give them a listen. At the minute, it may sound strange, but I have heard good things about the metric halo uln2. I know it wont be as good as the mentioned converters, but surely it wouldnt be too much worse?! It's the same price as the converters - dsp, and considering you get pres/ADC, surely it may make more sense. A good mic would probably make a bigger difference. And let's face it, theres no point in spending thousands on recording gear, and then have crappy guitars/pianos to record.
pretty much... and the 2d upgrade for the ULN-2 gives you a clock upgrade, making it sound even better.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Is the 2d thing necessary? Im not overly sure about what it does. Does it affect the quality of the pres / converters?
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Addict
 
MicSlut666's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Here is my story. Some month ago i wanted to upgrade my DA and deceided to go with the Apogee Mini DAC or the Benchmark DAC1. So i got both and did a shootout.

First i noticed that the Apogee Mini Dac syncs A LOT better to my Apogee AD16x/ Big Ben clock compared to the Benchmark DAC. Regarding the sound i found the Benchmark to sound a little bit grainy and clinical ,in comparison the Apogee seemed a lot warmer and more pleasing to my ears - especially when thinking of long hours mix sessions. All in all the Apogee seemed to have a little more mojo, i also could monitor reverb rooms better with the Apogee. Furthermore the Apogee also offered ADAT connectivity (also not offered by Lavry DA10) and an on/Off switch , which was missing at the Benchmark. At the other site the Benchmark had a far better sounding Headphone out!

In the end i deceided to go for the Apogee and like it a lot.

By the way the Apogee Mini Dacs DA quality is considered better then the Rosetta 200. I once heard it is the same quality like the Apogee DA16x minus the Big Ben clocking.
πŸ“ Reply

Similar Threads

Thread / Thread Starter Replies / Views Last Post
replies: 69 views: 13631
Avatar for pentagon
pentagon 26th November 2017
replies: 261 views: 73483
Avatar for didier.brest
didier.brest 14th September 2013
replies: 2380 views: 411044
Avatar for didier.brest
didier.brest 4 weeks ago
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearspace Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…

Forum Jump
Forum Jump