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Apogee Duet, professional two-channel firewire audio interface for the Mac Audio Interfaces
Old 20th June 2008
  #931
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by desotoslo View Post
Hi Duet'ers

Do any of you have experience in mating the duet with passive monitors?

I'm really interested to hear your stories...

Thanks thumbsup
I use my Duets with NS10MS and a QSC amp. Works great, never a problem. I also have some actives and a Coleman LS3 switch. Its great.
Old 20th June 2008
  #932
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthere View Post
The Duet has better sound quality than any audio interface under $1500. It has better mic pres than any audio interface under $1500. I've compared it to interfaces by Presonus, Focusrite, TC Electronics, M-Audio, and Motu.
+1 This man speaks the truth, it sounds WAY better than my old Digi002R.
Old 20th June 2008
  #933
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svart's Avatar
 

Quote:
@jslevin, you are of course right about every single issue you addressed in your previous post(s).

I admire your patience and persistence, but have you ever considered this:

I still don't agree with a lot of what jslevin had to say. He's biased towards Apple and I am biased away from them and nothing will change that.

That's why I simply quit trying. I don't feel that he made any decision altering retorts or really said anything of substance. It's just that I know nothing will change. He likes what he likes and it works for him. I simply tried to offer a different perspective for those who might still have a chance to choose without being driven by slick marketing. At this point, either PC or Mac offer excellent hardware choices and both have their own selling points, Mac with it's software support, PCs with much more to choose from in terms of upgradability of the PC itself for a much lower cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inthere
The Duet has better sound quality than any audio interface under $1500. It has better mic pres than any audio interface under $1500. I've compared it to interfaces by Presonus, Focusrite, TC Electronics, M-Audio, and Motu.
Define better? They are just a couple of ICs. it's hard to screw up a preamp that is already built for you. Just add power and you're done. The real chore when designing an A/D is properly matching the preamp/buffers and the A/D. A/Ds are notoriously picky when it comes time to implement the design. That is where a lot of converters fail. They just stick whatever cheap opamp in front of the A/D and let the performance lay where it falls.
Old 20th June 2008
  #934
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by svart View Post
Define better?
That's an easy one. Record any source with the Duet and then the same source with another interface. Then play them back and listen.
Old 21st June 2008
  #935
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My word... This has gotten very heated and off topic!!
Old 21st June 2008
  #936
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagerfeldt View Post
@jslevin, you are of course right about every single issue you addressed in your previous post(s).

I admire your patience and persistence, but have you ever considered this:



That is messed up!
Old 21st June 2008
  #937
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stevelindsay's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desotoslo View Post
Hi Duet'ers

Do any of you have experience in mating the duet with passive monitors?

I'm really interested to hear your stories...

Thanks thumbsup
I used the Duet with passive Monitor Ones (Alesis) and an RA-100 amp, and it worked just fine, sounded great (or as good as the Monitor Ones would allow anyway - I recently switched to HS80m actives, but more so really to get the bass that the passive M1s couldn't deliver).
Old 21st June 2008
  #938
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Quote:
it's hard to screw up a preamp that is already built for you. Just add power and you're done.
In something like the Duet there are opportunities to screw up at every turn. The PGA2500 is a pretty remarkable device - and it does the lion's share of the pre-amp work, but the chances of making a mess of it are huge, as are most of the other parts.

The Duet is remarkable on a number of fronts. It is bus powered, and has a huge and complex power supply section. It upconverts the bus power (which is allowed to vary quite dramatically) 12V, and then feeds a whole swag of converters that provide +3 +/-5 +/- 7.5 and +48V. It seems likely that the power converters are synced to the sample clock to avoid all sorts of nasties.

PCB layout is a critical element in a device like this, the Duet uses a 6 layer board. That is pretty unusual, and I feel probably plays a very significant part in the success of the design. The ability to control circulating currents and ground returns in a mixed mode system is crucial - and is probably the place where more designs fail than any other.

In many ways the Duet is otherwise a datasheet design. Much of the circuit is very close to the application notes for each device. Where a choice was possible they have gone with the better performing (for instance whether to AC couple the preamp to the DAC or use a reference voltage to float the input.)

There are limitations to it - The ubiquity of LM388 op-amps - these are OK, but not stellar, and the headphone amp is a little lacking compared to some (pricier) options. Some coupling caps are pedestrian, but space limitations take their toll. But for the money it is remarkable. If the Duet were made 10 years ago it would have taken up a full width rack case. There is a huge amount of stuff in there. SMD really lets them pack it in. And lets them achieve a better result.
Old 21st June 2008
  #939
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jslevin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by svart View Post
I still don't agree with a lot of what jslevin had to say. He's biased towards Apple and I am biased away from them and nothing will change that.
It's just lame to say that someone is biased just because he doesn't agree with you. You have no evidence that I'm biased towards Apple, and the fact that you would really like to believe that doesn't make it so.

My bias is for pragmatism, and toward not aggravating myself. I know how to separate practical questions from the irrelevant side-issues, even if I find the side-issues irritating.

JSL
Old 21st June 2008
  #940
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foldback's Avatar
Duet

I think the Duet is a great little box and it is easily worth the $440 to $499 price if you want a compact and relatively low cost box of I.O. for a Mac.

I've had mine since the beginning of the year and I've made a lot of recordings with it.

IMHO, one of the biggest problems with DAW recording is latency. There are a ton of users out there recording who are unaware of the small timing differences their systems are injecting into their recorded tracks. This leads to sloppy sounding loose recordings.

I can't stand latency, it ruins good music. Latency should be illegal. It should not be some special mode you have to go into. Latency must be stomped out!

I grew up on tape decks that passed their input to the output when you were in the record mode (zero latency). Why is this so hard? Is it the need to apply reverb and effects during recording? Why don't more computer recording interfaces offer this simple monitoring mode, at least as an option, without running some other big mixing board piece of monitoring software.

The Duet uses a piece of software (Maestro) to effectively pass the input to the output and reduce latency to virtually non-existent. The Maestro interface consists of two relatively large windows. I wish these windows were smaller. I wish the relationship between Logic and Duet was spelled out better, but, it is possible to make very FAT good sounding recordings using the onboard Duet mic preamps, line inputs and instrument inputs and latency is NOT an issue so I've been very satisfied.

In my main control room I run the output of Duet into the 2-track return on a Neve 8816 and monitor it over Meyer HD-1 monitors. Some things I have to compare to are a hardware L-2, Apogee AD/DA16X, and Hedd.

In the field I have played and recorded on Duet/Logic Pro using a stock $1099 MacBook (not pro model). I also tried Duet/Logic on a late model MacMini and that worked fine. Track counts are limited on these lower cost Macs due to the slow 2.5" hard disks Apple puts in them and lack of DRAM (only 1GB in mine) but I have been able to record and overdub 7 or 8 tracks without an external disk drive. Logic will let you know very quickly when you run out of system resources. In these personal field applications I don't use virtual instruments or loops, I'm just trying to make some high quality recordings of song ideas when inspiration hits.

There are things that I wish were different on the Apogee Duet but the quality of the sound you can produce with it is up there with the best. The size and features means that you can take it with you anywhere in the world easily. The Maestro software means latency won't be an issue. The Duet works very well with Logic and Garageband so now, even some of the cheapest recording packages on the planet are 24-bit with great converters and mic preamps.

For well under 2-grand anyone can have a complete 24-bit recording system (including computer and software) that dramatically surpasses the most premium of systems available just a few short years ago. This is a great time to be a recordist.

Best of luck to all.

Mark
Old 21st June 2008
  #941
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desotoslo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Francis Vaughan View Post
In something like the Duet there are opportunities to screw up at every turn. The PGA2500 is a pretty remarkable device - and it does the lion's share of the pre-amp work, but the chances of making a mess of it are huge, as are most of the other parts.

The Duet is remarkable on a number of fronts. It is bus powered, and has a huge and complex power supply section. It upconverts the bus power (which is allowed to vary quite dramatically) 12V, and then feeds a whole swag of converters that provide +3 +/-5 +/- 7.5 and +48V. It seems likely that the power converters are synced to the sample clock to avoid all sorts of nasties.

PCB layout is a critical element in a device like this, the Duet uses a 6 layer board. That is pretty unusual, and I feel probably plays a very significant part in the success of the design. The ability to control circulating currents and ground returns in a mixed mode system is crucial - and is probably the place where more designs fail than any other.

In many ways the Duet is otherwise a datasheet design. Much of the circuit is very close to the application notes for each device. Where a choice was possible they have gone with the better performing (for instance whether to AC couple the preamp to the DAC or use a reference voltage to float the input.)

There are limitations to it - The ubiquity of LM388 op-amps - these are OK, but not stellar, and the headphone amp is a little lacking compared to some (pricier) options. Some coupling caps are pedestrian, but space limitations take their toll. But for the money it is remarkable. If the Duet were made 10 years ago it would have taken up a full width rack case. There is a huge amount of stuff in there. SMD really lets them pack it in. And lets them achieve a better result.
Interesting! Thanks for this.
Old 22nd June 2008
  #942
Thanks for the info Francis, very informative.
Old 30th June 2008
  #943
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first duet upgrade

check this out duet: BREAKOUT
Attached Thumbnails
Apogee Duet, professional two-channel firewire audio interface for the Mac-sexxy5.jpg  
Old 30th June 2008
  #944
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macgee's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by duetbreakout View Post
check this out duet: BREAKOUT
interesting! thumbsup
Old 30th June 2008
  #945
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Brian Lee's Avatar
 

Very cool! When can we get one?
Old 30th June 2008
  #946
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dirtboy's Avatar
 

Great idea. At $100 it's way too pricey though.
Old 1st July 2008
  #947
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WideawakE's Avatar
 

can you bypass the preamps of the Duet?

how do you guys do it? I already have a nice preamp with DI's that I will need for my MPC...can you turn them off or down all the way to where they are non-existent?
Old 1st July 2008
  #948
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duetBREAKOUT

thanks, im just waiting for a couple parts to come in so i can make more of them... hopefully by the end of this week. keep checking the website or sign up for the mailing list to know when they are ready.

thanks for all the comments

-mike
Old 1st July 2008
  #949
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

What a crazy thread... I can't believe this has reached almost 1,000 posts...


Old 1st July 2008
  #950
Tui
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Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
What a crazy thread... I can't believe this has reached almost 1,000 posts...


You can say that again... I only had a look now, for the first time, to see what all the fuss is about. Apparently, I missed a PC v. Mac debate, amongst other things...
Old 1st July 2008
  #951
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WideawakE View Post
can you bypass the preamps of the Duet?

how do you guys do it? I already have a nice preamp with DI's that I will need for my MPC...can you turn them off or down all the way to where they are non-existent?
yes. it explains this in the manual. just change the input settings in Maestro.
Old 1st July 2008
  #952
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WideawakE View Post
can you bypass the preamps of the Duet?

how do you guys do it? I already have a nice preamp with DI's that I will need for my MPC...can you turn them off or down all the way to where they are non-existent?
Yes. The PGA2500 has an internal bypass mode. When in bypass it does have substantially lower impact on distortion figures than if the amp is in the chain. The only true bypass would appear to be when using the +4dB setting.
Old 3rd July 2008
  #953
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WideawakE View Post
can you bypass the preamps of the Duet?

how do you guys do it? I already have a nice preamp with DI's that I will need for my MPC...can you turn them off or down all the way to where they are non-existent?
choose +4 in the drop down

Look at 4 minutes on the video

YouTube - Recording with Duet
Old 3rd July 2008
  #954
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Dysanfel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by WideawakE View Post
can you bypass the preamps of the Duet?

how do you guys do it? I already have a nice preamp with DI's that I will need for my MPC...can you turn them off or down all the way to where they are non-existent?
Yes, there are 4 ways to input. Instrument, XLR Mic, XLR Line -10dBV, and XLR Line +4dBu
Old 5th July 2008
  #955
x99
Gear Nut
 

Not really an important question, more just a curiosity:

In the quick start guide to set up the duet, when setting the duet as your sound output, the pic shows the question 'would you like to choose Duet (0174)......'

The pic for the system pref selection show 'Duet (0260)

and in my system pref I have a different number in the brackets.

Now obviously it's not critical to anything, so i'm really just curious as to what the number represents, as it is different to my serial #....
Old 5th July 2008
  #956
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desotoslo's Avatar
 

Did anyone else find the Duet to be a little big grating in the higher frequency range? I was listening on headphones to some well-recorded classical music, and I found flutes in particular to be unusually fatiguing. It was not an isolated incidence.

Would the Duet benefit from burn in time? At least the headphone amp section, perhaps? Though, I have also heard reports of it being fatiguing through monitors.

Maybe the real problem is I'm a double bass player.

Anyone?
Old 14th August 2008
  #957
Here for the gear
 

i'm considering purchasing a duet to go along with a planned mac pro purchase.

i want to locate the duet close to my primary audio system, where i will record 2-channel analog output. i'll have to run cables to my computer in another room (~40' away).

seems like firewire would be a fine, high-fidelity (=low/no error) way to go for the long cable run. (balanced is not an option for me at all.)

this may be a dumb question, but can the duet handle both of these functions:
1) take the analog input, convert to digital, and transmit to the computer via firewire (this one's obvious)
-and-
2) take a digital output from computer, convert to analog, and output to my stereo amplifier?

here's the catch: i'd like to leave the cables hooked up in this configuration without having to switch when recording vs listening.

i assume if i do this that i could monitor via my stereo while recording to computer.

thank you for the help. apologies if this is a dumb question.

my other option seems to step up and spend quite a bit more money for a rosetta 200, benchmark adc/usb, or similar, and i'm not sure that it's worthwhile.
Old 14th August 2008
  #958
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desotoslo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by analog guy View Post
i'm considering purchasing a duet to go along with a planned mac pro purchase.

i want to locate the duet close to my primary audio system, where i will record 2-channel analog output. i'll have to run cables to my computer in another room (~40' away).

seems like firewire would be a fine, high-fidelity (=low/no error) way to go for the long cable run. (balanced is not an option for me at all.)

this may be a dumb question, but can the duet handle both of these functions:
1) take the analog input, convert to digital, and transmit to the computer via firewire (this one's obvious)
-and-
2) take a digital output from computer, convert to analog, and output to my stereo amplifier?

here's the catch: i'd like to leave the cables hooked up in this configuration without having to switch when recording vs listening.

i assume if i do this that i could monitor via my stereo while recording to computer.

thank you for the help. apologies if this is a dumb question.

my other option seems to step up and spend quite a bit more money for a rosetta 200, benchmark adc/usb, or similar, and i'm not sure that it's worthwhile.
Hi!

check this thread re: firewire length How long can a firewire cable be, without loosing signal?
but it looks to be OK to have it long. some seem to use a repeater...

to answer your questions

1) Yep, the ADC takes care of that

2) Yep again... DAC.

The Duet is basically the same thing as the Rosetta / Benchmark ADC/DAC whatever.

There are some little feature differences that set them apart, and of course the base quality of the conversion, but otherwise they are pretty similar.

The Duet has a handy feature in Maestro (the operating program for Duet) where you can mute the Line out (your speakers), while the headphones out is full on.

There is no separate monitor controller / head phone volume controller other than this little mute "trick". (Apparently it would have cost much more money for a separate on-board controller.)

In my opinion, track with headphones via this mute trick, and then do the mute trick again to play back through your monitors.



you hold down the big knob for 2 secs to engage the mute.


Hope this helps. Duet conversion is excellent for the money, and also just plain nice. I recently ran some Reason synth sounds out through Duet to my DAV BG-1, and back in through my Duet into Logic, and I really think it enlivened the sounds... the detail and quality remained, and was sauced up a bit by the DAV. I couldn't have gotten the same results with my old Ultralite, that's for sure.

Good luck
Old 17th August 2008
  #959
Here for the gear
Has anyone here with the Duet had problems with distortion? I've read a few posts on line about a similar problem I have, where the Duet's output will start distorting in a digital bit crushed sort of way after a random period of time, the only fix is to open the audio/midi control panel and reset the Duet's sample rate. Some say it's incompatibility with external firewire devices, I've been able to reproduce the problem with no firewire device attached to the computer except for the Duet, I have a feeling it's more to do with 3rd party AUs and bad drivers on the Duet.
Old 17th August 2008
  #960
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desotoslo's Avatar
 

funny you should mention that because I just had that exact problem.

playback was 100% normal, but I was trying to record into Logic 8 via Duet and I kept getting clicks and stutters.

I was thinkin "oh **** here we go". First I reset the Duet, and restarted Logic, but still got the same.

I ended up changing the I/O buffer size (lowered first, then raised) in Logic and it started working fine. Guess it just tripped a wire that needed tripping. However, I am not sure that the actual size I chose is important...

I didn't change the sample rate in audio/midi setup. but if it does that again, I'm going to try that first.

makes me glad for warranties.
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