Apogee - The Musician's Headphone DAC/Amp

First off, I’d like to say thanks to this community! I’ve certainly read a lot over the last couple weeks before starting my first post.

As a unique drummer (yes, we too are musicians haha) who went to college (UM) for drums, has played piano for forever, played/recorded with lots of different bands in many genres, and an eclectic musician I’d like to offer a musician’s perspective in the community (and it will definitely benefit those of you who love drums)!

This brings me to Apogee. As far as the company goes, my take is that it’s for musicians AND listeners who want/need pristine audio. We’re not talking a lot of color (though their Duet is a simply amazing DAC/amp combo), and it’s made by people that have a deeeeeep relationship to making music; as well as enjoying it! You won’t find $20,000 DAC/amps here, you’ll find practicality and quality.

I think this article is a great intro to the company, and sums up their philosophy on not only their products but approach to gear.

If brands like MassDrop and B+O have a spot here, Apogee certainly will have one too.


Apogee make some nice gear … if a bit pricey for the performance (unless you’re actually using their full functionality, i.e. their AD and mic pre-amps rather than just the DAC and headphone output) and not really targeted at critical listening. Monitoring, sure, critical listening … well … with an external amplifier sure, but not with the built-in headphone outputs.

Their headphone outputs are too high in impedance to be a decent match with any headphone shy of about 250 ohms impedance (the result is a significantly shifted tonal response and underdamped lower-registers with dynamic headphones) and they don’t really have enough power to drive the planar headphones that don’t exhibit much impedance-related frequency shift.

There really isn’t anything “practical” about a 30 ohm headphone output in any modern gear.