For those of you familiar with my series of posts on using a laptop as a guitar preamp, a key component of this rig is the Apogee duet. Apogee just announced a new version of the Duet that has some really interesting features and may be worth exploring.
Well the new unit looks great:
(All graphics from this post are taken from the Apogee website)
There are 4 output channels now instead of the 2 on the first Duet. (The headphone is now a separate stereo out). They’ve added a touch pads on the front screen that are assignable. Through these pads you can now, “Mute speakers, headphones or all outputs”, “Assign headphones to outputs 1-2, 3-4 or low latency mixer”, “Dim speakers, headphones or all outputs” or “Sum to mono speakers, headphones or all outputs”.
Having the ability to see all of the monitoring levels on the unit itself is also a nice touch.
There are a number of new upgrades that have been made to the new unit in terms of connections as well.
- New cables: The Duet 2 now only has 4 cables. 2 combination mic/instrument connectors (XLR and 1/4”) built into a single connector and 2 balanced 1/4” connectors for speakers.
- Optional breakout box. Slicker looking than the breakout box reviewed here, it also comes with a 6′ cable. Very handy.
- The new unit is USB rather than firewire. This is fine if you have a newer computer, but for the computer I have firewire still runs circles around usb in reliability and speed. Still, due to the relatively small number on ins and outs – it probably works fine.
- You also get a Universal Power Adapter for US, UK and EU (it’s USB powered with an optional converter).
Under the hood
There are a number of changes within the unit as well.
- New mic pres: “The Duet 2 mic preamps feature a new design, all new components and seamless click-free transitions as the gain increases and decreases throughout the incredible range of 0-75dB.”
- The AD/DA converters are also an all new design.
- Soft limit has been added. “An Apogee technology first introduced in 1992 on Apogee’s AD-500 converter, Soft Limit can be heard on countless platinum selling records around the world. Once a technology exclusively reserved for Apogee’s most advanced audio converters, Soft Limit is now available in Duet. This superior analog design prevents the digital clipping that causes distortion by instantaneously rounding off transient peaks before they hit the analog-to-digital converter. Soft Limit allows several more decibels of apparent level to be recorded while subtly providing an analog-like warmth to the sound.”
- Increased Sample rate: Where the 1st generation Duet has a 24 bit 44.1–>96kHz Sample rate, the Duet 2 supports up to 192khZ!!!!
- Decreased Latency: They’ve managed increase the sample rate with lower latency as well. Here are some specs from the web site:
Roundtrip Latency performance 1st Generation
32 buffer @ 96kHz = 4.6 ms
64 buffer @ 44.1kHz = 7.23 ms
Roundtrip Latency performance 2nd Generation
32 buffer @ 96kHz = 3.6 ms
Maestro ( the controlling software) has received and upgrade as well.
It looks like Apogee has made a very smart launch with this product. They added in a lot of features that users had asked for and kept all of the core features (like core connectivity with ProTools, Logic, Live etc) that users wanted.
I’ll be interested to see what this unit can do. $595 might seem like a lot for a stereo in USB converter but if the quality is even better than the first generation it could be an excellent investment. In the meantime, 1st generation Apogees will probably be selling for a song by the end of the year, so if you have an older firewire macbook like me this could be very good news for you.
Full information can be found on the Apogee website.
As always, thanks for dropping by.