Apogee Electronics introduced Groove—a new portable USB DAC and headphone amplifier for listening to music on Mac or PC—at the 2015 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show. As the company explains, Groove is “built upon Apogee’s 30-year history of award-winning digital audio technology for music creation” and “unlocks the highest possible quality of any headphones or powered speakers” for music listening.
Leveraging Apogee’s digital audio technology, trusted by professional recording artists, producers and engineers, for the first time, Groove puts this same technology into a compact, durable, easy to use interface for consumers. The portable device (95-mm H x 30-mm W x 16 mm T) features simple top panel buttons for adjusting output level and muting, uses multi-color LEDs for status and level indication, and is powered by USB only.
The aluminum device connects to any Mac or PC with the included USB 2.0 cable, while sending signal to headphones or active speakers through its ⅛” jack analog output with Constant Current Drive. The innovative circuit design provides an even distribution of output power across the audible frequency spectrum, correcting impedance imperfections often found in entry-level headphones and powering even the most demanding high impedance headphones.
Apogee says the “result is smooth, detailed analog warmth that will impress even the most discerning audiophile,” while sounding with “incredible lifelike clarity” and providing a music listening experience “closer to what was originally captured in the recording studio.”
The confirmed specifications reveal Groove to support up to 24 bit/192 kHz audio using an ESS Sabre DAC and Quad Sum DAC - 4 DACs per channel for highest dynamic range and lowest distortion - with asynchronous clocking. Maximum output level is 225 mW into 30 Ω.
To commemorate Apogee’s 30 years, a limited edition anniversary model of Groove will also be available. The Groove 30th Anniversary Edition will feature a custom machined aluminum body, upgraded audio performance (no specific details provided) and will be available in silver and gold. All models are built in the USA and will be available Spring 2015. Price is still to be confirmed.
At the NAMM Show, Apogee and Sennheiser also announced a mysterious partnership of which no further details have been revealed. On the press announcement about the collaboration, Betty Bennett, Apogee co-founder and CEO says only: “This collaboration will result in innovative, high-quality products that will truly inspire our customers.”