Many musicians these days have home based recording studios. With some experience in the recording process and the correct set of computer components, a talented artist can produce final results that can sound as good as any professional level recording studio. Over the past few years Apogee Electronics, who are well respected in the professional recording industry, has released a number of legendary hardware/software products and recently with the release of The Duet 2, the company has attracted a lot of attention among Macintosh computer recording artists.
There’s a reason that Apogee Electronics is one of the most respected manufacturers of portable audio interfaces – simplicity of design, quality built products and their hardware/software combinations work flawlessly on the Mac. The Apogee Duet 2 audio interface is the perfect compliment to the Apple Macintosh in both quality and performance. Following the success of the original Apogee Duet Firewire version, Apogee recently released the much anticipated USB version of this exceptional audio interface.
Apogee Duet 2 – USB
With this new USB version, any of the technical issues that surfaced around the original Duet with FireWire, have now been completely resolved and the re-designed Duet 2 which is not only a pleasure to use, is also a very reliable piece of hardware/software which produces outstanding audio quality. As with the original Duet, we have experienced NO latency issues with this USB version. The Duet 2 USB hardware is bundled with the required Maestro 2 driver/mixing software which is also very easy to configure and use.
There is little need to investigate the pre amps, the AD/DA converters or the circuit boards residing ‘under the hood’ of the Duet 2, because the sparkling, crystal clear sound quality of the Duet 2 speaks for itself. Besides, the Apogee brand is already world renown in its association for hi end audio quality components.
Maestro 2 Software
The really great thing about Apogee Duet 2, is the fact that the hardware and software are designed specifically for the Apple Macintosh, creating an Audio Interface that works seamlessly with Logic, Garage Band, iTunes, in fact all Apple software, under previous OS’s and Lion OSX 10.7. The Duet 2 is simple to set up and along with the Maestro 2 software, you can be making quality sounding recordings in a matter of minutes. The software portion of the audio interface package is very important and in this case the Maestro 2 software, as an integral part the Duet 2 experience, provides complete, versatile control over Input/Output and mixing levels. Control over phantom power when required is also built into the Maestro 2 software. The Maestro 2 is stable, completely responsive to the Duet 2 hardware, and provides every feature needed to create great mixes.
Simplicity of Design, Quality Built, Solid Construction
The Duet 2 hardware is functional, durable cast aluminum design, solid enough to house the delicate components within and compact enough to transport easily. On the front edge of the Duet 2 is a standard, QUARTER INCH stereo jack input (APPLAUSE!!!) for a set of studio headphones. The top panel of the Duet 2, now sports a full colour hi-rez, interactive OLED display complete with recognizable Icons that deliver responsive visual information for multiple functions including metering, input output levels, grouping, muting, phantom power and more. The Duet 2 even has configurable touchpads on both sides of the encoder knob to allow handy access to various functions such as Mute, Dim, Sum to mono, Headphone source etc.
On the rear panel of the Duet 2 there is a place for an optional DC power supply but since the Duet 2 is bus powered off the USB you probably won’t ever need to make use of it. We did not run into any issues at all using the Duet 2 directly off the USB therefore there was no need for us to use an optional Power supply but it is great to know that the option is there if it is ever needed. The USB connection to the computer is on the rear panel as well as the breakout cable connector.
The Duet 2 includes a redesigned Breakout Cable which has been greatly streamlined from the previous model and comes with 2 combination mic/instrument connectors. The output from the breakout cable on the back of the Duet 2 accommodates quarter inch balanced out connections. You can use regular quarter inch guitar cables for shorter distances. Running audio cables over longer distances to hi end audio equipment will often cause interference or possible noise from external sources and Apogee has addressed this issue by designing the breakout cable to accommodate quarter inch balanced out cables if you need to run cabling over longer distances. With the release of the Duet 2, Apogee has gone a step further by offer an optional aluminum Breakout Box Accessory for that accommodates the running of left and right XLR outputs from for Duet 2 to a mixer or powered speakers.
Record 2 Sources Simultaneously
The Duet 2 accommodates the ability to record 2 sources simultaneously such as at keyboard and vocalist – this device is a powerhouse of quality and design. Don’t let the compact size of the item in relation to the apparent premium pricing be a deterrent to consideration for purchase. Once you try the Apogee Duet 2, its ease of use, will be a pleasure, its compact design will be a bonus for transport and desk space and its price will be worthy of the sound quality that it provides. The Duet 2 is an outstanding combination of software and hardware that is up to Macintosh standards in terms of quality, ease of use and design – the perfect audio interface for the Macintosh computer.
MRSP: $595.00 US and Canada