Apogee Duet for iPad & Mac USB Audio Interface Review
The award-winning Apogee Duet has been a best-seller since its release in 2008 and has seen a few updates to retain its spot as one of the most sought-after audio interfaces for the home studio or travelling musician. It covers all the bases for home recording offering essential features, high-speed, simplicity, and an undeniably superior sound.
Apogee Electronics are well known for their high-end A-D and D-A converters that are turning out pristine audio in top studios worldwide. With the same quality components, the company is focusing on the home and mobile musician recording on Mac with this very affordable and professional audio interface that is compatible with any DAW. What’s more, is it is also designed to record professional audio to you iPad with Apogees Maestro 2 software for iOS, capturing stunning audio with up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution from any Apple device running iOS 7 and above.
Duet features legendary Apogee AD/DA conversion, 2 world-class microphone preamps, USB MIDI I/O and ESS Sabre32 DAC technology.
Connecting to the Apogee Duet is done with a breakout cable which includes two combo mic/instrument connectors (XLR and 1/4” built into a single connector) and two balanced 1/4” connectors for speakers. These inputs allow you to connect guitars, keyboards, outboard analog hardware or effects, and with preamps offering the incredible range of 0-75dB and switchable 48V phantom power you can connect any and all types of microphones at your disposal.
For outputs there are two 1/4” balanced outputs that connect the Apogee Duet to your monitors or any outboard equipment. A separate, independently controlled 1/4” stereo headphone output offers ample power to sufficiently drive any pair of studio monitor headphones.
The Duets next-gen AD/DA converters are designed to deliver stunning recordings and best listening experience possible with a simplified signal path resulting in incredibly transparent recordings that compare to recordings from much higher-priced audio interfaces.
A single USB MIDI connection allows you to connect any CoreMIDI compatible keyboard, synth, or DJ controller. This eliminates the need of any external MIDI interface and offers an all-in-one music creation solution where Duet and Maestro manage all audio and MIDI routing.
As an audio interface built exclusively for Mac, Apogee incorporated the design from its contemporary MacBook that provides a very unifying aesthetic across devices. The design is extremely minimal with all features displayed on the its front panel.
On the front is a single, a large, immediately recognizable control dial multi-functions as an encoder and select switch. This is your main control from which you will control the majority of tasks from the interface without having jump into Maestro. The full-color OLED display gives visual feedback for metering, input/output level settings, input selection and grouping, muting, phantom power and Soft Limit indicators.
Two configurable touch pads located on either side of the main encoder dial offer access to output functions assigned through Maestro 2 such as mute outputs, toggle headphone source, dim outputs, and so on.
Apogee Duet Specifications:
- 2-in/4-out USB audio interface for Mac and iOS devices
- World-class mic preamps and selectable 48v phantom power for connecting microphones, instruments or line-level devices.
- Apogee quality, 24-bit/192kHz next-gen AD/DA converters
- 1/4″ headphone jack
- Color OLED display offers visual feedback
- Charges your iOS device while you work
- 2 configurable touchpads to improve your workflow
- Includes breakout cable with 2 XLR/TRS combo inputs and 2 TRS outputs
- Includes USB cable
- Includes universal power adapter
- Includes Maestro 2 software for easy configuration
Requirements for Mac OS X:
Intel Mac, 1.5GHz or faster
OS X 10.6.4 or greater
2 GB RAM minimum, 4 GB RAM recommended
The outstanding performance and sound of the Apogee Duet is undeniable and it stands as a completely valid interface to use in any serious recording project—regardless of its size. Though it can be sufficiently powered via your Mac’s USB port, the inclusion of the AC power insert is a great bonus for occasions that may become taxing on your computers CPU.
There is a noticeable width, depth, and detail to its overall sound that rivals its competitors of the same price range. The Apogee Duet excels at everything it says it does and you may be pressed to find any significant amount of customers who have anything poor to say about it. If you’re looking for a high-quality, two channel, portable audio interface then it doesn’t get much better than this.