Review: Apogee Duet 2

What makes a 2nd generation audio interface even better than its highly-acclaimed predecessor? Rounik Sethi takes a look at just how impressive the Apogee Duet 2 really is.  

When Apogee released the original Duet, a 2-in, 2-out audio interface, it created ripples in the pro audio world. Along with excellent construction, great sound quality and a reasonable price, its portability made it a popular choice for Mac-based musicians and audiophiles alike. So the big question, when the Duet 2 was announced, was how Apogee would improve upon the quality of the original and maintain a compact and appealing form factor.


First Impressions

The Duet 2 looks gorgeous. Mac users will appreciate the consideration put into the clean lines, rounded corners and single multi-function rotary knob. It's hard not to love the sleek and sexy aluminum body and darker faceplate of the Duet 2 which will blends in nicely with the current MacBook Pro and iMac line. As well as adding style to your desk it is also a highly portable device. Light enough to carry, but sturdy enough to take the demands and rigors of life on the road.

The Duet 2 angle


Get Connected

There are no drivers in the box, so a visit to the Apogee website revealed an OS X 10.7 Lion-ready installer which includes the new Maestro 2 control software. The installation process was quick and painless and gave me time to examine the newly designed breakout cable. Apogee has taken the Duet user feedback onboard in many areas and this cable reflects that philosophy. It features 2 combo XLR & 1/4'

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More

Discussion

lostinthesound
Bought it. Own it. Love it. Well worth the price of admission.
Rounik
That pretty sums up what I feel about the Duet 2. A truly excellent audio interface.
codedwire
I have an original Apogee Duet but after several months of light use it began developing noise problems (after I did some research I discovered I was not the only one with this problem).

Apogee support was not helpful and the whole experience (especially after contacting support) left me disinclined to purchase another Apogee product.

Some people have reported problems with the cable harness (there is at least one third party replacement that is better if you want to spend the money), however the harness was not the cause of my problems.

Maybe they've improved the Duet 2, but I recommend looking at other options first.
Rounik
Hi codedwire,

I haven't had any bad experiences with my Duet v.1. But, I have to say, having spoken to some of the people at Apogee, that the Duet 2 has been completely redesigned.

Sorry to hear you had bad experiences at all... though I'd still recommend checking out the Duet 2. It is simply awesome!

Best
Rounik
Gary Hiebner
This is definitely going to be my next audio interface. Will look so nice next to my Macbook instead of my big blue MBox.
Hello, bad news here, so I'm running the DUET 2 with my iMac (2.8 i7 8gb ram) OsX 10.8.1 (latest Mountain Lion update), a disaster, clicks and pops are unbearable. I can't find a working flow because of this, I've been in contact with Apogee for more than 2 weeks now and I think we're just exchanging e-mails for nothing really. I'm pretty sure they know what's wrong but there's probably bureaucratic stuff going on with Apple. What I mean is that the tech from Apogee told me they don't even do DRIVERS anymore, their units now depend on Apples DRIVERS!!! so they say. It's quiet amusing that they advertise so much about catching creativity and whatnot, yet I'm not even able to concentrate on my work. BTW I didn't have any clicks at all with my Mbox Pro, right before changing for the Duet 2, and I was using the same system. Clicks may not appear right when you open a fresh new session, but they will happen, the you'll have to reboot over and over. You simply can't work like this.
Rounik,

What's the preferred way to setup gain levels on the mic settings on Duet 2 when working with tools such as garageband. It comes out the levels are either too low or too high (clips). There are 2 places one can configure: on duet2 and the software. Type of music is softer Indian period music with few graduated high notes. As you can see I'm a novice.

Thanks!
Jay
Rounik
Hi Jay,

When recording audio through a device like the Duet 2 into software which supports 24-bit depth you don't need to record at a very high level. Basically, never ever let the signal clip (go into the red). Clipping will cause distortion which you certainly don't want.

If the recorded level is low then either re-position the microphone to suit, or once recorded increase the level of the volume using a gain plug-in.

Most professional recording engineers record electric or acoustic sources between -18 to -12dB. This gives plenty of headroom (the space between your recorded level and 0dB - where the audio signal will begin to clip).

I'd highly recommend watching this tutorial on basic recording techniques:
http://www.macprovideo.com/tutorial/introduction-to-recording

There's so much good info there which will help you now and as you gain more experience.

In essence, with the current audio hardware and software, there's no need to record so the level hits 0dB. You can record at a lower level and boost the gain later on in the process.

Hope this helps,
Rounik

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