The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Apogee Duet, professional two-channel firewire audio interface for the Mac Audio Interfaces
Old 5th December 2007
  #631
Here for the gear
 

First Impressions Review

I have been lurking on this thread for a couple of weeks and I finally bit the bullet and picked up the last Duet at a local dealer. Here are my first impressions.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed at first. I may be spoiled from purchasing Apple gear, but my first impressions weren't good. It was
definitely bigger than I had expected, and I was surprised by a number of mechanical flaws. The top of the case does not match the bottom, so there is an uneven gap on two sides. Both the headphone jack and breakout connectors are not centered in the holes in the case. And lastly, the big beautiful knob mounting hole is slightly off center, so it wobbles a bit as you turn it.

Next, I downloaded the latest drivers from Apogee's site. That all went smooth, except I found it pretty annoying that you are required to provide all your contact information to install. Every other program I install that wants your personal information allows you to check a "register later" option if you don't want to provide all your info.

Luckily, things began to look up after my initial disappointment. After installing the drivers and rebooting, the machine immediately recognized the Duet and prompted to select it for audio output. I fired up iTunes and was listening to music in no time. Listening to Mp3s isn't the best way to audition a D/A, but it sure sounded sweet. So far, I am really impressed with the drivers. The integration with OS X with the pop ups for volume and levels is really slick and intuitive.

Next, for the real test. I started up Logic and followed the directions in the users manual to configure it as my I/O device. I enabled a track, plugged my Strat into the Duet, set the levels and proceeded to record a few bars of a blues progression. The sound was amazing! I had previously been using the built in audio, and had briefly tried a Presonus Firebox (which was quickly returned). The Duet produced the sound I was hoping for. Transparent A/D conversion with lots of gain. And very quiet gain at that. A Fender Strat is not a very quiet device, and I have always had trouble recording it due to the noise. Last night, plugged directly into the Duet with no effects, it sounded amazing.

Unfortunately, I had to cut my recording session short due to our 4 month old baby, so I only recorded two tracks. Both sounded great and I am looking forward to more recording tonight. I imagine I'll forget about the cosmetic flaws after a few days of listening the Duet because, in the end, it is all about the sound.
Old 5th December 2007
  #632
Quote:
Originally Posted by boltman View Post
...
I have to say, I was a little disappointed at first. I may be spoiled from purchasing Apple gear, but my first impressions weren't good. It was
definitely bigger than I had expected, and I was surprised by a number of mechanical flaws. The top of the case does not match the bottom, so there is an uneven gap on two sides. Both the headphone jack and breakout connectors are not centered in the holes in the case. And lastly, the big beautiful knob mounting hole is slightly off center, so it wobbles a bit as you turn it.

Next, I downloaded the latest drivers from Apogee's site. That all went smooth, except I found it pretty annoying that you are required to provide all your contact information to install. Every other program I install that wants your personal information allows you to check a "register later" option if you don't want to provide all your info.
...
This kind of stuff would never make me pass a piece of gear if it sounds right.
But thanks for the review!
Old 5th December 2007
  #633
Lives for gear
 
macgee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by boltman View Post
[FONT=Verdana]Next, I downloaded the latest drivers from Apogee's site. That all went smooth, except I found it pretty annoying that you are required to provide all your contact information to install. Every other program I install that wants your personal information allows you to check a "register later" option if you don't want to provide all your info.
yeah, i couldn't believe this, i had to install on my Mac pro & Laptop and i didn't have my serial with me and tried inputting by memory...anyways, they should really add an option during install to say 'already registered'

DUY has a similar thing, to install the software you need your serial number but it's ilok protected!!! go figure! now that's a pita
Old 5th December 2007
  #634
Lives for gear
 
Vocalvoodoo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by macleodgrant View Post
yeah, i couldn't believe this, i had to install on my Mac pro & Laptop and i didn't have my serial with me and tried inputting by memory...anyways, they should really add an option during install to say 'already registered'
That is SO annoying, but I did find a work around, FWIW. Mount the Duet installer .dmg. Then right click on the Duet_Software_Installer.mpkg and select 'show package contents'. When that window opens go to Contents>Packages and install the 3 installers in that folder. (AppleFWAudio.pkg, DuetDaemon.pkg and Maestro.pkg) Before I found this workaround, I installed the drivers the normal way and now my Duet is listed 2 or 3 times in my Apogee account.

I did the workaround after I upgraded to Leopard and everything is working fine.
Old 5th December 2007
  #635
Lives for gear
 
macgee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vocalvoodoo View Post
That is SO annoying, but I did find a work around, FWIW. Mount the Duet installer .dmg. Then right click on the Duet_Software_Installer.mpkg and select 'show package contents'. When that window opens go to Contents>Packages and install the 3 installers in that folder. (AppleFWAudio.pkg, DuetDaemon.pkg and Maestro.pkg) Before I found this workaround, I installed the drivers the normal way and now my Duet is listed 2 or 3 times in my Apogee account.

I did the workaround after I upgraded to Leopard and everything is working fine.
handy one, thanks a lot! that'll save me a bit of hassle. i have 2 duets registered in my account

cheers grant
Old 7th December 2007
  #636
Gear Head
 
ipressrecord's Avatar
 

My Duet arrived today and I installed Maestro on my PB and G5 in like 5 mins. This little box sound f'n sweet. My Powerbook is cool again, and I feel totally portable now. No more lugging a rack around or pulling gear out of it to throw in my laptop bag. I'm going to run the preamps through various tests tomorrow and put it up against my Black Lion 828mk2.


Jeff
Old 7th December 2007
  #637
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ipressrecord View Post
My Duet arrived today and I installed Maestro on my PB and G5 in like 5 mins. This little box sound f'n sweet. My Powerbook is cool again, and I feel totally portable now. No more lugging a rack around or pulling gear out of it to throw in my laptop bag. I'm going to run the preamps through various tests tomorrow and put it up against my Black Lion 828mk2.


Jeff
Cool, post em if you got em, looking forward to it........
Old 7th December 2007
  #638
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DISCERN View Post
So I've spent a pretty solid 24 hours with the Duet. I love it. Its $500, what more could one want? The single knob is extremely quick and effective. You can control the levels of everything right off the bat. The metering looks good and is actually handy. Maestro is brilliant.

It baffles me how people can complain about it. Its sitting next to my macbook, doing everything it was designed to do to a tee. Its portable, rock solid in operation, durable and sounds f*cking brilliant!! Compared to the other products in the $500 ball park, this thing is a home run.


to each his own I guess.
Nice review, I agree, the sound and functionality is all it is about, once you get it set up, even with some little nit picking which is fine too, It works and works well.....what more can you ask for???? once I learn how to use Logic Express Its going to get ugly....I can't wait until I master the software end, cause the Duet is a piece of cake!
Old 7th December 2007
  #639
Anyone knows of a store in boston (ma) that has it? Or a trustworthy online store? It seems to be made in such low quantities that there's no stock anywhere... :-)
Old 7th December 2007
  #640
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipressrecord View Post
My Duet arrived today and I installed Maestro on my PB and G5 in like 5 mins. This little box sound f'n sweet. My Powerbook is cool again, and I feel totally portable now. No more lugging a rack around or pulling gear out of it to throw in my laptop bag. I'm going to run the preamps through various tests tomorrow and put it up against my Black Lion 828mk2.


Jeff
curious to read your comments...
Old 7th December 2007
  #641
Lives for gear
 
SoundEng1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeronimo View Post
curious to read your comments...
Ditto
Old 7th December 2007
  #642
Lives for gear
 

Poll!!

Hey Folks!

If you have a second, please participate in the poll we just put up:

What software do you use with your Apogee

Knowing what software you guys use helps us give better support on many levels.

Thanks in advance.
Old 8th December 2007
  #643
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ipressrecord View Post
My Duet arrived today and I installed Maestro on my PB and G5 in like 5 mins. This little box sound f'n sweet. My Powerbook is cool again, and I feel totally portable now. No more lugging a rack around or pulling gear out of it to throw in my laptop bag. I'm going to run the preamps through various tests tomorrow and put it up against my Black Lion 828mk2.


Jeff
Cool! I almost did the blacklion upgrade, but decided the apogee was simpler- I'd be curious to hear a comparison.
Old 8th December 2007
  #644
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boltman View Post
I have been lurking on this thread for a couple of weeks and I finally bit the bullet and picked up the last Duet at a local dealer. Here are my first impressions.
Nice review, and echoes my experience with the unit. I too thought the
fit and finish of the unit was a little sub-par (top not centered over
unit, knob not centered and wobbly). In addition to that, I had a nice
little scratch on that beautiful knob right out of the box

I was most annoyed that there was no software install cd in the box.
OK, maybe not a big deal, but you have to go through the hassle
of registering at their website before you can even download the software.
What a pain!

Software install went ok. However, I got no sound out of the unit at first, even
though everything was hooked up correctly, meters were lighting up showing output, etc.
I tried several different programs until I toggled the mute switch on, than back off,
than I finally got sound. Must have been a stuck relay or something...

So at that point, I'd say it was a pretty poor out of the box experience.
To improve the user experience, I would include a cd in the box
or don't make you have to register at the site to download and install
the software. Also, not sure why I didn't get sound out of the box?

Once I got it working, things have been pretty smooth. Sounds pretty
darn good, but I really need more time with it to give an honest review...

I've considered returning mine because of the scratch on the unit,
but GC isn't getting more until next year. Did I get a B unit?
Assuming everything works well the next week or two, I'll
likely live with it because so far, it sounds great!

I'll post more on the sound and usability of the unit when I have
more time to play with it.
Old 8th December 2007
  #645
Gear Addict
 

to be honest, I think you will get over it, because once you set it up you will stop looking at it, and you will use just your ears........if your looking at it you are not using correctly anyway...

I hate when you get something that is scratch and dent, but thats life and no matter what you buy there will be defects to some degree...its the american way....

I hope you like the sound I have not heard anyone that didn't....happy user here i feel i made a great choice to start recording on an mac.
Old 8th December 2007
  #646
Gear Nut
 







Old 8th December 2007
  #647
Gear Nut
 





Old 8th December 2007
  #648
Here for the gear
 

My unit resets Maestro to factory settings when the unit
is unplugged or the mac is restarted? Is this normal?

Most other firewire boxes I've used preserve the unit's settings
to flash for later recall. With the duet, I have to save and re-open a .mst maestro file
everytime I want it to go back to my settings.
Old 8th December 2007
  #649
Lives for gear
 

Still curious about the clock operstion and specs and the differences in clock specs between the ensemble and the duet

Psyched to hear the bla comparison
Old 9th December 2007
  #650
Lives for gear
 

I have the Duet and the Ensemble....they sound the same to me. I love the simplicity of the Duet.
I use the Apogee Ensemble with Logic Studio/Macbook when tracking live and song writing, but really can't handle mixing in Logic. I'm really new to Logic so still early days, but mixing in my PT HD system seems so much easier.

nIC
Old 10th December 2007
  #651
Gear Head
 
ipressrecord's Avatar
 

I have a Black Lion Audio modded 828mk2 and I just received my apogee Duet last week. Here are some tests that I ran between the two of them:

Red vs. stock Oktava caps, Apogee Duet vs. BLA 828mk2 (analog/clock mod, November 2006)...

The following files were all recorded with the same MK-012 preamp/body and 10' Monster XLR cable. I paid close attention to gain staging but of course there will be slight differences. My Taylor 310ce was miked at the 12th fret approx 6" away for each 24-bit 44.1kHz WAV file. All files are presented here with no EQ and no processing of any kind. Straight off the microphones and raw. This is the Duet's mic preamps and the BLA modded mic preamps only.

Apogee Duet:
Red MK-12 Capsule
Oktava MK-012 Cardioid
Oktava MK-012 Omni

MOTU 828mk2 w/ BLA mod (analog/clock):
Red MK-12 Capsule
Oktava MK-012 Cardioid
Oktava MK-012 Omni


I'd love to hear some feedback. I have my own opinions but I am keeping my mouth shut to remain objective for others. Use your ears. Both units sound great, but there are differences.

Jeff
Old 10th December 2007
  #652
Lives for gear
 

I can give some feedback on the setup here at the office....
The BLA tracks sound better to me. Both sound good, I just prefer them. I think they're more open. I'd like to hear these on some real speakers, but this is all I've got here.
I also liked the card cap better than the red or the omni for this guitar. No surprises there as that's the go to style of cap/mic for me on acoustic guitar anyway. That's what my ears prefer, so I would have guessed I liked that better. The red did sound nice though as well.

m
Old 10th December 2007
  #653
Gear Head
 
ipressrecord's Avatar
 

My opinion after 5 days is that both units sound good and I'll continue to use them. I am favoring the Duet, though. On the NS-10Ms they have more air and a more focused and 3D midrange. I obviously can't tell a lot about the low low end detail on them, though.

Regarding the mics, I like all three sounds for different types of mixes. I love the Red Caps, though. Someone also posted the Red Caps performance on toms over at TapeOp.

Jeff
Old 10th December 2007
  #654
Lives for gear
 
Acoustic Cloud's Avatar
 

The differences here are ridiculous. I know this is GS, but this is just stupid, sorry.

Have we nothing better to do, EVER??!!

I dont think a single band/artist in the world would ever come close to deciding, or even noticing that A or B was not only just as good, but even different?!?!

Just my thoughtsa, as I look through my blades of grassa, to find the greenest onesa, instead of mowing it.
Old 10th December 2007
  #655
Gear Head
 
ipressrecord's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic Cloud View Post
The differences here are ridiculous. I know this is GS, but this is just stupid, sorry.
How so? Both myself and a lot of others on a few other boards have found it very informative, and most of us have differing opinions. Both the Black Lion 828mk2 and the Duet sound good and are a huge improvement over a stock MOTU unit. Also, killing two birds with one stone, again, differences and comparisons between different capsule available for the MK-012.

Jeff
Old 10th December 2007
  #656
Lives for gear
 

Personally I hear a big difference. I prefer the BLA one (even though I have an Apogee duet coming tomorrow).

I think the Duet sounds very thin and plinky compared to the BLA. BLA also seems to have better response to the player's dynamics.
Old 11th December 2007
  #657
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Football View Post
Personally I hear a big difference. I prefer the BLA one (even though I have an Apogee duet coming tomorrow).

I think the Duet sounds very thin and plinky compared to the BLA. BLA also seems to have better response to the player's dynamics.
What is the price difference between the two? Do have a link to BLA, we don't get them here in Aussie.
Thanks
nic
Old 11th December 2007
  #658
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aearth View Post
What is the price difference between the two? Do have a link to BLA, we don't get them here in Aussie.
Thanks
nic
Not sure of the price difference but I am impressed again with the BLA guys.

If they could turn my 002Rack around in a crazy hurry I'd send it to them tomorrow.
Old 12th December 2007
  #659
Lives for gear
 

Well, I just sent BLA a 50% deposit to schedule my 002Rack. Been on the fence with this for a long time.

I have loved the clips from way back when they started doing these and hear a big difference with their modded equipment. This last series of clips sent me over the edge.

For the record on this one I kind of hoped to like the Duet more as I just purchased one this week.
Old 12th December 2007
  #660
there is a big difference in price. an 828 + mod would be over $1000 and a duet cost $500
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
overclock / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
4
slowjett / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
2

Forum Jump
Forum Jump