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Apogee Duet, professional two-channel firewire audio interface for the Mac Audio Interfaces
Old 12th December 2007
  #661
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ipressrecord's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler View Post
there is a big difference in price. an 828 + mod would be over $1000 and a duet cost $500
Yes, but for that extra $500 (plus Micro-clock price to be fair) you are getting 8 analog inputs + 2 Black Lion mic preamps + 2 DIs, 8 analog outs, ADAT i/o, SPDIF i/o, wordclock i/o, a headphone out with independent volume control, MIDI i/o, and AudioDesk if you are on a Mac.

I'm not dogging the Duet. I love mine. I also really love my BLA 828mk2. I can honestly say that if I had to choose one over the other it would be the BLA 828mk2 because of the amount of i/o, however I will be using the Duet more since most of the stuff that I am doing lately is only a track or two at a time, and a lot of basic location recording.

I put them up against each other because it's what I own, and it compares Apogee's analog path (mic preamps) and FW series clock to the Black Lion analog mod (mic preamps) and clock.

Jeff
Old 12th December 2007
  #662
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too bad BLA no longer upgrades the internal clocks of the motu units, kind of takes the fun out of imagining a portable soundcard that can sound stellar, at least the duet is cheaper and and everything is all in one case, and no mod/warranty void issues
Old 12th December 2007
  #663
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dirtboy's Avatar
 

BLA mods and Duet may be cool but for less than $1000, you can get a Fireface 400 which has about the same footprint as a Duet, sounds just as good if not better with way more inputs and flexibility. The two digitally controlled mic preamps are worth the price alone.
Old 12th December 2007
  #664
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jslevin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtboy View Post
BLA mods and Duet may be cool but for less than $1000, you can get a Fireface 400 which has about the same footprint as a Duet, sounds just as good if not better with way more inputs and flexibility. The two digitally controlled mic preamps are worth the price alone.
Of course, the Duet and Ensemble also have digitally controlled mic preamps.

Have you really heard both? I am surprised to hear that the Fireface preamps are even remotely comparable to the Duet's.

JSL
Old 12th December 2007
  #665
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thermos's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin View Post
Of course, the Duet and Ensemble also have digitally controlled mic preamps.

Have you really heard both? I am surprised to hear that the Fireface preamps are even remotely comparable to the Duet's.

JSL
I doubt it, the FF800 pres are the most horrific things on earth. The A/D on the FF800 I don't find as solid as the Duets either.

Thanks for the clips ipressrecord. Cool to hear the differences, the BLA definitely has more transient info/dynamics and a fuller bottom (probably can't hear that on the NS-10s). The BLA also has a tinge of plastic to it, maybe its just me. That alone disqualifies it as a clear winner in my book.
Old 12th December 2007
  #666
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ipressrecord's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin View Post
Of course, the Duet and Ensemble also have digitally controlled mic preamps.

Have you really heard both? I am surprised to hear that the Fireface preamps are even remotely comparable to the Duet's.

JSL
Hey JSL, I was at your studio back in 1999 or 2000 and it was a great space! I think that you were using Digital Performer. Hope that all is well.

Back on subject...

I like the Duet's mic preamps. I also like the mic preamps that Black Lion puts in the modded MOTU interfaces. I'm not sure about the RME stuff, but I am happy with my Duet and it's little footprint.

Jeff
Old 12th December 2007
  #667
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The FF400 preamps are completely different than those in the 800. More like the ones in the micstasy. As far as converters go, the RME is on par with a Rosetta. I should have a duet to compare soon, should be interesting.
Old 13th December 2007
  #668
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Quote:
As far as converters go, the RME is on par with a Rosetta.
I know that quality is fairly subjective, but I'd have to say that I don't believe that they are...purely from the standpoint of accuracy I found Apogee's converters to be noticeably better than RME's...
Old 13th December 2007
  #669
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dirtboy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
I know that quality is fairly subjective, but I'd have to say that I don't believe that they are...purely from the standpoint of accuracy I found Apogee's converters to be noticeably better than RME's...
Subjective indeed........ A while back there was a blind test (somewhere in these forums) where many picked the RME thinking it was the Rosetta. I've done the same here and the results were similar. To each his own I guess.
Old 13th December 2007
  #670
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macgee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtboy View Post
Subjective indeed........ A while back there was a blind test (somewhere in these forums) where many picked the RME thinking it was the Rosetta. I've done the same here and the results were similar. To each his own I guess.
i did that test and i chose RME too because it was the most accurate but that type of test doesn't suit the apogee converters as they actually have a particular sound to them
Old 13th December 2007
  #671
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dlmorley's Avatar
Blind tests are one thing whereas actually working with converters is another.
Layering tracks and mixing with tracks are where the difference is for me.
I recently upgraded to the SSL converters and mixing is a joy.
If someone was to post a recording of a vocal or a guitar done on SSL or Apogee or RME, I doubt the difference would be big but when you mixed 24 tracks THEN the difference can be very noticeable and your job of mixing can become easier.
Old 14th December 2007
  #672
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Quote:
Subjective indeed........ A while back there was a blind test (somewhere in these forums) where many picked the RME thinking it was the Rosetta. I've done the same here and the results were similar. To each his own I guess.
Yes, I'm aware of that test and it was very flawed...aside from the levels not being properly matched compaing converters is virtually useless if you don't have the analog source to compare to...at least, if you want to figure out which converter is the most accurate. I've had the opportunity to participate in several blind tests as well as having the chance to use both converters and have consistently found the Apogees to sound more accurate that the RME's.
Old 14th December 2007
  #673
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I don't know chit about what anyone is talking about technically speaking, but my first impression was that one of the recordings was at a lower gain level and not that one was better than the other.....

Just saying.......

I have the Duet and it don't sound anything like that when I record with it, I play different, I probably have different mic placement, and adjust the gain and recording level differently, so it would be hard to find the test useful..

I also agree with the guy who said that mixing a song is really true test in the end.

I do appreciate the clips however its always nice to hear recordings.
Old 14th December 2007
  #674
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dirtboy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
Yes, I'm aware of that test and it was very flawed...aside from the levels not being properly matched compaing converters is virtually useless if you don't have the analog source to compare to...at least, if you want to figure out which converter is the most accurate. I've had the opportunity to participate in several blind tests as well as having the chance to use both converters and have consistently found the Apogees to sound more accurate that the RME's.
If that suits you then fine...subjective indeed...
Old 14th December 2007
  #675
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thermos's Avatar
Yes! Forgot to mention that, they weren't level matched. The red BLA one sounded louder than the Duet Red one, so I had to even them out.
Old 14th December 2007
  #676
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thermos View Post
Yes! Forgot to mention that, they weren't level matched. The red BLA one sounded louder than the Duet Red one, so I had to even them out.
If that is true, you will never get the detail out of the source from my experience. It will always sound distance without the clarity and punch.

Now if you record it hot then it can sit back in the mix when the level is pulled back and shifted, would people agree with that??

I don't want to sound like no chit 101!
Old 15th December 2007
  #677
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jslevin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chk027 View Post
Now if you record it hot then it can sit back in the mix when the level is pulled back and shifted, would people agree with that??
If you're talking about digital hotness, no, it basically doesn't make any difference at all, particularly recording at 24-bit. A recording that peaks at -1 should be indistinguishable from a recording that peaks at -21, then gained up 20 dB on a fader.

If you're talking about analog hotness, you're talking about changing the sound by pushing some component of your preamp, introducing a hair of compression and/or harmonic distortion. You may or may not like the sound of that, and generally you won't unless the unit was designed to distort in a cool way, and it may or may not make the track sit better in the mix given the same balance.

You were right when you said even a minor difference in gain totally invalidates the test.

You were right when you said tests like this are basically useless, since they don't account for the way you (the engineer) would interact with (USE) the gear in a real-world setting.

You were right when you agreed with the guy who said the acid test is using the tracks during mixdown.

You also said it was nice to hear clips -- I won't say you're wrong, because it is nice to hear clips. But as you implied earlier, it's also useless to hear clips.

Totally, totally useless.

Any real pro worth a damn would trust only his own ears, using the gear in his own hands. These are tools, not measurement devices. You don't buy gear to listen to it, you buy it to use it, and you listen to it in the course of using it. If you didn't use the gear, you can't evaluate it. At all.

JSL
Old 15th December 2007
  #678
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin View Post
If you're talking about digital hotness, no, it basically doesn't make any difference at all, particularly recording at 24-bit. A recording that peaks at -1 should be indistinguishable from a recording that peaks at -21, then gained up 20 dB on a fader.

JSL
Thanks for that explanation, I would have never guess that....to my ears it seems when I record voc or acoustic guitar it seems as if the equipment is telling me to max out the gain as much as I possible on the pre, then adjust the recording level or fader so that it is comfortable to the ear....

Is this a common method or does that make no difference either?

I feel I can get a better track with more detail if I push the pre the most....
Old 15th December 2007
  #679
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ipressrecord's Avatar
 

Since I'm the guy that recorded the "test"...

Gain was different because it was done quickly and unscientifically. A few people on TapeOp asked for comparisons between the sound of the Red R12 capsule and the standard Oktava capsules. Since I could compare all three caps on one source with the same preamp/cable/converter, I decided to record the test. I also decided to record the three caps on my Duet and BLA 828mk2 because I received the Duet and the R12 caps the same week. I also did a test like this between the stock 828mk2 and the BLA 828mk2 in 2006 and you didn't have to multitrack to hear a world of a difference.

It's funny. Posting anything like this brings out a bunch of folks who can't tell a difference, can tell a difference, hate one of the other or both, or, in the end, invalidate this kind of "test". I never said that it was a test. It is simply and example of what the Oktava and R12 caps sound like through the Black Lion 828 preamps/converters and the Duet's preamps/converters. It wasn't meant to be anything but an example. I can personally tell a difference between the BLA 828mk2 and the Duet. Is this difference good or bad? I don't know. Can they both sound good yet different? Yes. Is the real test a multitrack recording? Definitely, yes.

Jeff
Old 15th December 2007
  #680
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ipressrecord View Post
Since I'm the guy that recorded the "test"...

It's funny. Posting anything like this brings out a bunch of folks who can't tell a difference, can tell a difference, hate one of the other or both, or, in the end, invalidate this kind of "test". I never said that it was a test. It is simply and example of what the Oktava and R12 caps sound like through the Black Lion 828 preamps/converters and the Duet's preamps/converters. It wasn't meant to be anything but an example. I can personally tell a difference between the BLA 828mk2 and the Duet. Is this difference good or bad? I don't know. Can they both sound good yet different? Yes. Is the real test a multitrack recording? Definitely, yes.

Jeff
Thank you for posting the examples. I found them very helpful.
Old 19th December 2007
  #681
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin View Post
If you're talking about digital hotness, no, it basically doesn't make any difference at all, particularly recording at 24-bit. A recording that peaks at -1 should be indistinguishable from a recording that peaks at -21, then gained up 20 dB on a fader.

If you're talking about analog hotness, you're talking about changing the sound by pushing some component of your preamp, introducing a hair of compression and/or harmonic distortion. You may or may not like the sound of that, and generally you won't unless the unit was designed to distort in a cool way, and it may or may not make the track sit better in the mix given the same balance.

You were right when you said even a minor difference in gain totally invalidates the test.

You were right when you said tests like this are basically useless, since they don't account for the way you (the engineer) would interact with (USE) the gear in a real-world setting.

You were right when you agreed with the guy who said the acid test is using the tracks during mixdown.

You also said it was nice to hear clips -- I won't say you're wrong, because it is nice to hear clips. But as you implied earlier, it's also useless to hear clips.

Totally, totally useless.

Any real pro worth a damn would trust only his own ears, using the gear in his own hands. These are tools, not measurement devices. You don't buy gear to listen to it, you buy it to use it, and you listen to it in the course of using it. If you didn't use the gear, you can't evaluate it. At all.

JSL
Agreed 100%. Posting audio files and trying to determine the sound quality is effort in vain. The unfortunate consequence is this type of thing leads so many unsuspecting listeners astray.

I cant tell you how many times customers have called me telling me how they purchased a competitive product that was supposed to be "as good or better" than whatever Apogee they were comparing to based on some audio files thrown up on Gearslutz, only to have the results in the real world be entirely different, costing the customer money in the end.

Files on the internet cannot replace the experience of using the product in person to make buying decisions. Be careful out there...
Old 20th December 2007
  #682
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jslevin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ipressrecord View Post
Gain was different because it was done quickly and unscientifically. [snip] It's funny. Posting anything like this brings out a bunch of folks who can't tell a difference, can tell a difference, hate one of the other or both, or, in the end, invalidate this kind of "test". I never said that it was a test.
I appreciate the points you make, and especially that you're not claiming it to be a scientific test. I realize that you're being generous by posting things that people are asking for. I would submit to you, however, that even those people who think they are being helped by listening to clips are not really being helped. They like it because the clips make them feel like they've learned something about the tools, regardless of whether they actually did. And they like to sit back, listen, hear the differences, and form opinions, stroke their chins, declare something -- people like having opinions. Problem is, they think they have opinions of the gear, and they really are only having opinions of the clips.

I know that you understand the concept that taking the user (yourself) out of a test removes its usefulness. That is probably less true of converters than for preamps, and less for preamps than mics, but it still holds across the board. I liken it to selecting a baseball bat based on how some other guy hits with several different models. You could get a lot of detailed data on how he'd hit -- hits, outs, spray charts, groundballs, flyballs -- and it wouldn't tell you anything about what you would have done with those same bats in your own hands.

If that analogy seems extreme, just consider for a moment how many elements will be non-constant between the clips you hear and the using the tools yourself. First of all, there's you. Then the room, then your monitoring, then other pieces of your signal path. I think even just the basic quest for "better" is misguided. What we all should be looking for is "better for me, in my setup." There is no objective "better" anyway.

Just speculating here, but I bet if you polled the really well established professionals, here or in general, you would find an almost universal disinterest in listening to clips like this (with the possible exception of highly calibrated ADC comparisons). I think you would find that high-end pros have this disinterest in common at a higher percentage than almost any other trait, like, say, using Pro Tools, or liking the SM7, or whatever. Of course it's possible that they'd be disinterested because they don't need to rely on absentee listening, but my sense is that they'd still do it if clip-listening were useful, because it's far more convenient.

So, and this is just my opinion, I honestly would say to the TapeOp guys, hey, I know you're curious to listening to some clips, but that wouldn't really tell you anything. You think it will, and you'll think it did, but you'll be wrong. And if and when you someday understand why, you'll know that you've reached a higher level of understanding of engineering issues.

Since you're in Philly, I'd like to invite you to meet me in Old City sometime so we can continue this discussion over a Lager.

JSL
Old 20th December 2007
  #683
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thermos's Avatar
Man, people are funny. I still think clips help, regardless of whether they are level matched or not. I heard in this test the sound of the duet I own, yep that's what it sounds like to me. I've actually bought pieces of gear base on a feeling they gave me when I heard clips, and they felt the same to me when I first plugged into them.
So I guess I'm saying thanks to ipressrecord for doing these comparisons, I always find them valuable. They aren't the be all end all, but they certainly are helpful to some of us.
Old 20th December 2007
  #684
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jslevin View Post
I appreciate the points you make, and especially that you're not claiming it to be a scientific test. I realize that you're being generous by posting things that people are asking for. I would submit to you, however, that even those people who think they are being helped by listening to clips are not really being helped. They like it because the clips make them feel like they've learned something about the tools, regardless of whether they actually did. And they like to sit back, listen, hear the differences, and form opinions, stroke their chins, declare something -- people like having opinions. Problem is, they think they have opinions of the gear, and they really are only having opinions of the clips.

I know that you understand the concept that taking the user (yourself) out of a test removes its usefulness. That is probably less true of converters than for preamps, and less for preamps than mics, but it still holds across the board. I liken it to selecting a baseball bat based on how some other guy hits with several different models. You could get a lot of detailed data on how he'd hit -- hits, outs, spray charts, groundballs, flyballs -- and it wouldn't tell you anything about what you would have done with those same bats in your own hands.

If that analogy seems extreme, just consider for a moment how many elements will be non-constant between the clips you hear and the using the tools yourself. First of all, there's you. Then the room, then your monitoring, then other pieces of your signal path. I think even just the basic quest for "better" is misguided. What we all should be looking for is "better for me, in my setup." There is no objective "better" anyway.

Just speculating here, but I bet if you polled the really well established professionals, here or in general, you would find an almost universal disinterest in listening to clips like this (with the possible exception of highly calibrated ADC comparisons). I think you would find that high-end pros have this disinterest in common at a higher percentage than almost any other trait, like, say, using Pro Tools, or liking the SM7, or whatever. Of course it's possible that they'd be disinterested because they don't need to rely on absentee listening, but my sense is that they'd still do it if clip-listening were useful, because it's far more convenient.

So, and this is just my opinion, I honestly would say to the TapeOp guys, hey, I know you're curious to listening to some clips, but that wouldn't really tell you anything. You think it will, and you'll think it did, but you'll be wrong. And if and when you someday understand why, you'll know that you've reached a higher level of understanding of engineering issues.

Since you're in Philly, I'd like to invite you to meet me in Old City sometime so we can continue this discussion over a Lager.

JSL
Boy, I have got to disagree with most of your points here. What was that website that does shootouts for people to hear clips of? 3d Audio or something? I think a lot of people have found some value in those from time to time.

As wrong as you think people are for wanting to hear clips (and then using that information in part to make or not make a purchase) I feel just as strongly that you are wrong in there being absolutely no value in these clips for anything/anyone at all. I am sure many well respected opinions on both sides of this debate. I do make my living full time with music and have for 25 years and would throw my hat into the ring as being a professional on the other side of this coin.

Obviously the best way is for someone to get their paws on the gear in question to try it out for themselves but that isn't always so easy without purchasing it first.

Ah, I thought of a more extreme example of clips. Take for instance hearing a clip of a Les Paul, a Strat and a Es335. They sound quite different (more than the audio clips here) but you may hear something in one of those clips that could turn out to be what you are looking for.

And even further, when someone heard the "clip" of Eruption for the first time they may have liked it and thought, sh*t, that's the sound I'm looking for (obviously 99% in his hands of course, can't forget some reverb, maybe an Echoplex , phaser etc...) what is the amplifier. Someone could then steer them at least somewhat in the right direction and instead of plugging straight into a Blackface Deluxe they would plug them into a Marshall and at least get them closer to what they just heard.

Every thing we listen to is a "clip" of some sort of another that sometimes we try to emulate with similar tools.

To think that someone can't hear a quality that might appeal to them in clips in general is not something I believe possible. Sure they might buy the piece of gear and with them operating/singing/playing, they may not like it like they thought they might but they can always return it.

Sometimes the clips are done crappy or maybe the player sucks really hard and the piece of gear in question sounds like a*s. I can discern when the player bites hard and won't completely write off the gear because of that.

I am always shocked when people can't hear differences in clips or pick a favorite of their's (not suggesting you can't hear a difference just throwing that into this whole ball of wax).

I saw Max post something similar to your sentiment and respectfully have to completely disagree with him as well.

Please pipe in if there are others feeling like I do on this, I'd like to hear more from this side of view as well.
Old 20th December 2007
  #685
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Quote:
Ah, I thought of a more extreme example of clips. Take for instance hearing a clip of a Les Paul, a Strat and a Es335. They sound quite different (more than the audio clips here) but you may hear something in one of those clips that could turn out to be what you are looking for.
Hearing clips of guitars is very different than hearing clips of converters (although any guitarist would tell you that the only way to really know if a guitar is right for you is to play it yourself...there's the oft-repeated story of Ted Nugent being obsessed with finding out how Eddie Van Halen got his tone early on, but when he finally got to try out Eddie's rig he still sounded like himself). Different guitars have different sounds by design. Converters (with a few notable exceptions) are supposed to be as accurate as possible, and without being able to hear the actual source in a converter test then the test is pretty much worthless, at least if you're wanting to find out which converter is more accurate (which most converter manufacturers, at least, would say equates to "best"). Even microphones and preamps, which you often buy to get a specific type of color or sound, would make more sense to listen to in a test like this. But even then one may be disappointed when bringing a microphone or preamp into their own studio when they find out that it doesn't sound just like it did in the test they were listening to.

Quote:
I am always shocked when people can't hear differences in clips or pick a favorite of their's (not suggesting you can't hear a difference just throwing that into this whole ball of wax).
I don't think anyone's saying that they can't hear a difference, or even that they don't have a preference...but when it comes to converters, the converter that sounds "better" may not necessarily be the better converter.
Old 20th December 2007
  #686
Here for the gear
 

Hi, Is it bad to leave the Duet plugged in (powered) all the time ? Thanks
Old 20th December 2007
  #687
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Vocalvoodoo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shobuddy View Post
Hi, Is it bad to leave the Duet plugged in (powered) all the time ? Thanks
There is no way to turn it off other than unplugging the firewire cable, so I'm sure it should be just fine. If I'm not mistaken, I think Max from Apogee talked about this exact thing earlier in the thread.
Old 20th December 2007
  #688
Gear Nut
 

If you're running a Duet from a MacBook pro, just unplug and then replug the ac jack on the laptop and the Duet will no longer be powered. This is if the laptop is turned off, but still plugged in. Or of course disconnect the firewire cable.
Old 20th December 2007
  #689
Gear Addict
 

I still can't figure out how to get the Duet to work with my Vintech Pre. I tried routing the insert outs into the instrument ins on the Duet, then tell Maestro to treat it as XLR. It still sounds like I'm using the Duet Pre's. Can someone give me a step by step how to set this up?
Old 21st December 2007
  #690
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsound View Post
I still can't figure out how to get the Duet to work with my Vintech Pre. I tried routing the insert outs into the instrument ins on the Duet, then tell Maestro to treat it as XLR. It still sounds like I'm using the Duet Pre's. Can someone give me a step by step how to set this up?
The way I have it setup with my Safesound pre is...

Safesound balanced output into Duet Mic In 2 (XLR). Then in Maestro, input 2 is set to XLR Line In +4dBu. Duet pre is completely bypassed.
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