PROS: Great sound quality, simple design and functionality.
CONS: Mac only.
Home recording has become more common now than 4-tracks were back in the day, and now Apogee’s offering up their best features in a small package and at a small price.
The Duet 2 USB interface is designed to work exclusively with Macs, and its sleek and sexy design follows suit. Connection is via USB and a multi-cable connection allows for two speaker outputs, and two multi-use connections that handle XLR and 1/4” cables. For microphones that require it, phantom power is available as well. A headphone output is also easily accessible for private monitoring during recording sessions.
The big, “can’t-miss” knob is the main controller, while the visual display provides input and output information. The touch screen features two assignable “quick keys,” tailoring their functions to specific controls, such as muting channels or resetting levels. Setup is incredibly easy, but will require a recent version of the Mac OS. It works well with GarageBand, Logic and Pro Tools and getting things up and running is very easy. The only potential downside is that the Duet does not work with a Windows setup.
The sound quality is great, with very low latency. There are a lot of cheaper I/O devices out there, so what do you get for that extra cost? Well, the sound quality of the preamp and analog to digital (A/D) converters that Apogee has been known to offer are here and well worth it. For vocals and instruments, it sounds great. Since there are only two inputs, this isn’t something that could be used to record a complete band in one shot, but for doing a few tracks at a time (as is the case in many home studios), it’s perfect, especially considering the overall build quality and preamps. The combination of this, with an Apple laptop, makes for a very powerful and portable recording situation, with no sacrifice in sound or connectivity.
System Requirements: Intel Mac 1.5GHz or faster
Memory: 2GB RAM minimum
Operating System: Mac OS X (10.6.4 or higher)
Compatible Software: Includes Logic, GarageBand, MainStage, Soundtrack Pro, Pro Tools 9, Albeton Live and Cubase
Latency performance: 32 buffer @ 96kHz = 3.6 ms
64 buffer @ 44.1kHz = 5.8 ms
Power: USB Bus Power (DC power optional)
Sample Rate: 24-bit/44.1-192kHz
Input channels: 2
Output channels: 4 (Stereo headphone out & L/R speaker outs)
Microphone preamps: 2
Microphone preamp gain: up to 75dB