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Apogee Duet Vs Symphony AD Converters For Recording & Symphony Preamps
Old 3 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Apogee Duet Vs Symphony AD Converters For Recording & Symphony Preamps

Anyone who has experience with the Duet and Symphony, from what I've read I'm sold on the idea that the Symphony has better DA converters than the Duet for mixing and mastering. However, at present I outsource my final mix and mastering. So what I'd like to know is:

1. Would the Symphony give me noticeably better recordings than the Duet due to significantly better AD converters?
2. How do the preamps on the Symphony compare to high end preamps such as the A Designs Pacifica?
3. Would I get better quality with Duet converters and a high end preamp such as the Pacifica, or would it be better for me to invest in a Symphony instead of a preamp and use its on board preamps?

I really want to get the best possible sound recorded at the source. If necessary, I might even consider trading some other gear so that I can get both a Symphony and a high end 2-channel preamp.

Also wondering if a used Symphony Mk1 would be good enough or is the Mk2 much better?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #2
If I’m not mistaken the preamps are a cost option on symphony - so you can buy it without any pres, and out the money to external preamps.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Thanks psycho_monkey, this sounds good. I imagine I would get the chassis: https://www.thomann.de/ie/apogee_sym...tb_chassis.htm. Can't find anywhere that says you can use preamps besides the Apogee ones though, I even looked in the guide. Are you sure this can be done with the Mk2?

Any idea if the DA converters on the Symphony are a big step up in recording quality from the Duet?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundofmai View Post
Thanks psycho_monkey, this sounds good. I imagine I would get the chassis: https://www.thomann.de/ie/apogee_sym...tb_chassis.htm. Can't find anywhere that says you can use preamps besides the Apogee ones though, I even looked in the guide. Are you sure this can be done with the Mk2?

Any idea if the DA converters on the Symphony are a big step up in recording quality from the Duet?
No I mean you can buy it with preamps or without. If you want with, you buy the apogee board. If not, you use external pres.

I’m sure everyone will say it’s a massive “step up”. I’m sure it’s an improvement; whether or not your average home studio will notice I don’t know.

The symphony has a fan in it; that’s something to be aware of!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

I see. I looked at the version without preamps and it says that an Apogee preamp module is available. I’ll email Apogee to see how I would set up a non Apogee preamp.
Have heard mixed things about converters, some say that the Duets AD converters are so good that the difference would be hard to hear in any context. I might just need to buy a Symphony to find out. Would still be cheaper to buy a Symphony with an Apogee preamp module built in but I don’t know how good the Apogee preamps are for this.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
That’s a huge jump! Not only in price but also in features you may or may not need. I would recommend the Element series...A noticeable converter upgrade (same as Ensemble TB converters) while staying in the Apogee family. Then an outboard pre or two of your choice and still more $ left in ya pocket.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjack2020 View Post
That’s a huge jump! Not only in price but also in features you may or may not need. I would recommend the Element series...A noticeable converter upgrade (same as Ensemble TB converters) while staying in the Apogee family. Then an outboard pre or two of your choice and still more $ left in ya pocket.
Would I notice a big difference in converter quality with the Element over the Duet 2 converters? If the Symphony gave me a huge jump in recording sound quality over Element or Duet 2 I think it would be worth it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundofmai View Post
Would I notice a big difference in converter quality with the Element over the Duet 2 converters? If the Symphony gave me a huge jump in recording sound quality over Element or Duet 2 I think it would be worth it.
Yes there is definitely a noticeable upgrade. I moved from Duet to Element and never looked back. It’s a step up, read the specs. It’s an Ensemble in a plain black box. Captures much more detail in my vocal recordings and analog synths. Built in mic pres are clean (not colored at all) and perfectly good for making good music.

Not to mention the outstanding built in headphone amp on the Element which will match impedance and Drive any pair of pro headphones, which made me sell off my external headphone amp.

Assuming you don’t need more analog outs and just want a quality upgrade, anything more is unnecessary, unless you’re just a straight up baller and want to flex a Symphony. That’s pro studio level stuff, hence the major price difference lol. You’re paying for more than you may need.

Also Element users get Apogee FX Rack for free, very dope collection of EQs and comps. Element is dope and underrated. Crazy bang for buck.

I use an Element 24 and external Hairball Lola pre, which also has DI for my synths. Couple of good mics and some room treatment. Undeniable good quality recordings.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Element sounds awesome. Did you step up from Duet 1 or 2?

About the Symphony, when you say paying for more than I may need, do you mean that I may not notice much difference in the AD conversion / quality of my recordings (between Element and Symphony)? Because that’s the main reason I would get it...I want my recordings to stand up against music made in pro studios and albums made by my favourite artists. However, the DA conversion is not as important to me as AD conversion as I outsource my final mix and mastering.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundofmai View Post
Element sounds awesome. Did you step up from Duet 1 or 2?

About the Symphony, when you say paying for more than I may need, do you mean that I may not notice much difference in the AD conversion / quality of my recordings (between Element and Symphony)? Because that’s the main reason I would get it...I want my recordings to stand up against music made in pro studios and albums made by my favourite artists. However, the DA conversion is not as important to me as AD conversion as I outsource my final mix and mastering.
I had the ‘Duet for iPad and Mac’.

Paying for more than you may need as in, do you need more inputs and outputs. Are you just one guy like me, tracking one microphone, and or one synth, or one guitar. Do you have multiple sets of monitors, do you use other outboard gear, etc. interested in outboard summing and doing multiple conversion loops, etc.

If you’re mostly plugin based ITB, wanting to make pro recordings and send off to a mastering house when you’re done, Symphony is overkill. get the Element dude it’s a win. Save that money for mastering!

Oh yeah another cool thing about Element, you can control all the levels of the entire interface from app on your phone. Pretty cool and unique.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Thanks again man. I heard that the Duet 2 was a step up from the Duet, so wondering if I'd notice as much of a step up as you did. Besides using VST instruments the plan is to track a Moog Subsequent 37, Prophet 6 (in stereo), 2 mics on a guitar cab, bass through a REDDI, Elektron Analog Rhythm in stereo. I was thinking about the Symphony I/O 2x6, which only has 2 inputs. I would only track 1 instrument at a time. I'd like to get the best quality/detail as possible, but if I thought I wouldn't hear any difference between recording these through the Symphony and the Element, I'd go for the Element. Similarly, I'd hope to hear a noticeable difference in Duet 2 and Element recordings.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjack2020 View Post
I had the ‘Duet for iPad and Mac’.

Paying for more than you may need as in, do you need more inputs and outputs. Are you just one guy like me, tracking one microphone, and or one synth, or one guitar. Do you have multiple sets of monitors, do you use other outboard gear, etc. interested in outboard summing and doing multiple conversion loops, etc.

If you’re mostly plugin based ITB, wanting to make pro recordings and send off to a mastering house when you’re done, Symphony is overkill. get the Element dude it’s a win. Save that money for mastering!

Oh yeah another cool thing about Element, you can control all the levels of the entire interface from app on your phone. Pretty cool and unique.
I’d want a “proper” volume control though.

My little control remote arrived today. Seems pretty cool, not hooked it up yet though!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundofmai View Post
Thanks again man. I heard that the Duet 2 was a step up from the Duet, so wondering if I'd notice as much of a step up as you did. Besides using VST instruments the plan is to track a Moog Subsequent 37, Prophet 6 (in stereo), 2 mics on a guitar cab, bass through a REDDI, Elektron Analog Rhythm in stereo. I was thinking about the Symphony I/O 2x6, which only has 2 inputs. I would only track 1 instrument at a time. I'd like to get the best quality/detail as possible, but if I thought I wouldn't hear any difference between recording these through the Symphony and the Element, I'd go for the Element. Similarly, I'd hope to hear a noticeable difference in Duet 2 and Element recordings.
As far as the Symphony goes I don’t own one so I can’t say, but I can say pro guys have talked me out of it..for people who do what you and I do at least, and recommended less expensive, more practical models. I know of pros who use Duet and other company entry level stuff in a pinch. But if money ain’t an issue, I guess go for the Symphony.

It’s debatable whether or not the converters get audibly better in the est. price range of $1k- $3k. Different but not night and day better. Some would say there’s a ceiling. Kinda like buying mics. Dudes have different motives and will persuade you to waste money. Guys are spending over $10k for the best of the best converters but they are also mastering and doing much more than you and I.

But coming from Duet, Element series is an upgrade you can hear and something I would get and just move on. I am a Moog enthusiast myself and I’m satisfied

Last edited by cjack2020; 3 weeks ago at 08:13 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I’d want a “proper” volume control though.

My little control remote arrived today. Seems pretty cool, not hooked it up yet though!
I’ve thought about that little remote, hmmm..I just control the volume with the software. Let me know what you think of it.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjack2020 View Post
As far as the Symphony goes I don’t own one so I can’t say, but I can say pro guys have talked me out of it..for people who do what you and I do at least, and recommended less expensive, more practical models. I know of pros who use Duet and other company entry level stuff in a pinch. But if money ain’t an issue, I guess go for the Symphony.

It’s debatable whether or not the converters get audibly better in the est. price range of $1k- $3k. Different but not night and day better. Some would say there’s a ceiling. Kinda like buying mics. Dudes have different motives and will persuade you to waste money. Guys are spending over $10k for the best of the best converters but they are also mastering and doing much more than you and I.

But coming from Duet, Element series is an upgrade you can hear and something I would get and just move on. I am a Moog enthusiast myself and I’m satisfied
Thanks again man. I've actually decided that I'm going to stick with the Duet 2, and move on from the whole converter issue, and buy a Beyerdydamic M160 mic for my guitar cab instead. Have been told that if an AB test was done on 2 of the same recordings made through a Duet 2 and any other Apogee AD converter, the difference would be so small that a new mic would yield a much greater difference. Was just getting caught up in the whole converter issue because I hadn't really thought about it before. However, I'll definitely consider the Element in the future once I'm entirely happy with everything else in my recording chain. I wasn't aware of it before so thanks a lot for sharing this great option!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundofmai View Post
Thanks again man. I've actually decided that I'm going to stick with the Duet 2, and move on from the whole converter issue, and buy a Beyerdydamic M160 mic for my guitar cab instead. Have been told that if an AB test was done on 2 of the same recordings made through a Duet 2 and any other Apogee AD converter, the difference would be so small that a new mic would yield a much greater difference. Was just getting caught up in the whole converter issue because I hadn't really thought about it before. However, I'll definitely consider the Element in the future once I'm entirely happy with everything else in my recording chain. I wasn't aware of it before so thanks a lot for sharing this great option!
Glad you figured everything out.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjack2020 View Post
It’s debatable whether or not the converters get audibly better in the est. price range of $1k- $3k. Different but not night and day better. Some would say there’s a ceiling. Kinda like buying mics. Dudes have different motives and will persuade you to waste money. Guys are spending over $10k for the best of the best converters but they are also mastering and doing much more than you and I.
Conversion wise, the difference is NEVER "night and day". Confirmation bias and so on, of course people are happy with their upgrades - but just about all conversion these days is better than the pro stuff of years gone by (even if the physical manufacturing isn't the same!). If you can't make a record with a Duet's conversion, you possibly can't do it!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
cjack2020's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
If you can't make a record with a Duet's conversion, you possibly can't do it!
Touché. Facts.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Conversion wise, the difference is NEVER "night and day". Confirmation bias and so on, of course people are happy with their upgrades - but just about all conversion these days is better than the pro stuff of years gone by (even if the physical manufacturing isn't the same!). If you can't make a record with a Duet's conversion, you possibly can't do it!
That’s very reassuring to hear
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