Apogee Duet
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Apogee Duet

Duet, FireWire audio interface from Apogee in the Duet series.

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livewidmusic 18/07/2014

Apogee Duet: Produktbewertung von livewidmusic (content in English)

""Beautiful, Classy and Royal!""
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The Firewire Apogee Duet was something I found and bought after doing a lot of research. This tiny silver looking box comes with 2 Microphone inputs (with Phantom Power) delivering world class Apogee Pre-amps, 2 Line-level inputs and 2 Monitor outputs, all bundled and tied up together in a single breakout cable.

Having a Mobile setup, i.e. a Macbook Pro [OS Mavericks (Late 2009, 2.8GHz Core 2-Duo, 8gb)], a Shure - PG27 Condenser Mic and a DT770 Pro BeyerDynamics Headphone, and being someone who always travels, I wanted a device that could integrate all my equipment at one place without cluster-confusion at the same time without compromising the quality for sound. This is where I found the existence of Duet.

Duet caught me immediately with its crystal clear AD/DA conversion. The sound is absolutely fantastic. Being a Logic 9 and Logic X user mostly, Apogee already has a place inside the Logic DAW option menus to control the Input levels. The dedicated Headphone input is also commendable.

The Giant wheel knob on the Device is easy to use and straight forward giving us several options (Can be used to adjust Input levels and control the main output volume levels etc). Especially found them helpful while switching between Headphone and Monitor Outputs to check the levels individually.

The Low Latency Monitoring option provided with the Stand-alone Maestro application provided by Duet is also helpful at times where you can listen to the recording that is coming directly from the Duet and not from the DAW.

This goes into your smallest travel bag, your laptop case or your work pouch. The idea of having a device that could accompany you without any hindrance and attend to all your primary recording requirements giving you a unique incomparable quality is something special, and Apogee Duet makes it a reality for me.

UTILIZATION

The Legacy Duet that I am still using has the updated driver for the latest Mac OS Mavericks, and this shows how consistent and alert Apogee products are when its come to updating. Stability has never been an issue for me with Duet. 2 to 3 crashes have happened until now, but only when the session was overloaded with more than 100 tracks. Can't blame just the Duet.

Duet initially became my recording companion on the Leopard OS, recording on Logic Pro 9. Most of my projects usually have almost 20-25 audio tracks with Sample Rate set to 44KHz. With my usual setting of the I/O Buffer set to 256 Samples (only while recording audio) and the Logic Software Monitoring enabled, the Duet provides me with 16.0ms roundtrip latency, which is fairly acceptable. I have to say that in this mode, Duet has never given me any kind of latency, and that is, even with any time or DSP based effects, for e.g., with delays and reverbs etc.

Aside from recording, Duet plays back my session like the playhead scrolling without any stops/pops/clicks. Unless your system does not have enough breathing power to play back the sessions. This depends on the amount of free RAM and other requirements etc. For e.g., My sessions are always hybrid modelled, i.e, a session having midi instrument tracks and audio instrument tracks together, and Duet does a good job in handling this, playing back for me realtime multiple midi instruments (usually around 10-15 midi tracks) and all my audio tracks.

All in All, Duet has read my biggest session till date having 200 tracks with 150 audio tracks and 50 instrument tracks without any overload warning or stop. (Note that while I playback after recording, the I/O Buffer is always set to 1024 samples giving a roundtrip latency of 50.8ms)

GETTING STARTED

Setting up the Duet was simple and clean for me. Coming in a Rectangular shaped box, there is nothing that is not clear inside this while unpacking the Duet. 1 Firewire cable, 1 Breakout cable and the Duet itself. As mentioned in the Manual clearly, after connecting it via a Firewire (Gives you a Firewire 800 and 400 free cable each with the case) to my laptop, I had to install the dedicated driver provided on the apogee website and had to install the Maestro, to control Duet on a stand-alone basis.

Once opened with Logic Pro 9, it detects for the newly attached duet and then we are ready to adjust the levels and hit record. The functions of Duet are easy to understand.

Today I am using the Logic X on the Mavericks 10.9.4. Its been 6 years. There has never been any compatibility issues with me.

OVERALL OPINION

Pros
1) Amazing AD/DA Conversion giving crisp and clear recording.
2) Strong Outer-body, has withstood a lot of misplaces by me.
3) The cables provided within do not cuddle, clatter or has never been bent, destroying the connectivity.
4) Easy to use and understand.
5) Offers 44Khz to 96KHz recording and playback.

Cons
1) Moderate amount of heat exertion while recording and playback.
2) Only XLR Inputs and 2 Stereo Outs.
3) The Led levels sometimes portray peak levels even if the gain level is down.
4) Crashed once while recording in 96Khz.


The price I got this for (directly ordered from the website) was for $533. Some might argue that this is a bit overpriced as there are many sound cards out there that gives you more input and monitoring options. But for me, someone going for the perfect quality recording sound, I would say the price is justifiable for this being the main reason.

Apogee Duet was my first sound card. My first recording on a DAW was using this device. After being used to this quality, I have never been satisfied with the sound of other sound cards (not naming them), that comes in this same range of price and value.

After these many years experience, Apogee only amazes me with the numerous amounts of recordings I have made and it still does. The choice I made was perfect!