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Rating and Reviews: Apogee Duet2 USB Audio

Capture pristine digital audio on your Mac. The Apogee Duet 2 USB audio interface gives you 2 inputs, 4 outputs, a full-color OLED display, and much more.

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"Yes, it's worth the money." submitted October 12, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Active Producer/DJ
Music Style: Electronic: House, Drum & Bass, Electro, Dubstep
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SPOTLIGHT REVIEW
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zZounds has verified that this customer bought this product from us.
Sound: The Apogee Duet 2 is without question, the best audio interface for any producer looking for first class preamps and a transparent listening experience. It has enhanced my mixdowns though it's top notch A/D-D/A converters, allowing me to hear sounds and frequencies in the sonic field that I was unable to hear before. And when plugging in an electric guitar, the recording quality and ZERO latency are a musicians wet dream. Feature: Super clean appearance along with the amazing OLED screen and touch pads make this interface extremely functional and aesthetically pleasing. The Maestro 2 software is simple to use, and the Duet 2 seamlessly integrates with Logic. Ease of Use: Plug and play, it doesn't get easier than this. No complex routing, no abundance of knobs that have no use - no B.S. If you don't know how to use it, you shouldn't be making music. Quality: This thing is built like a brick, though when I travel with it I still keep it in secure case. No loose parts or blemishes. The breakout cables are a bit of a mess, but in all honesty, it doesn't matter. Value: I was skeptical to drop this amount of money on a simple audio interface. However, with the payment plan offered by zzounds.com, I couldn't resist. Now I don't know what I would do without this thing in my possession. You truly pay for what you get, and what you get is the best sound in this price range and beyond. Manufacturer Support: We're talking Apogee here. I doubt this product will fail. The Wow Factor: It's aesthetically pleasing, it's easy to read the colored meters, and switching between sound sources is cake. Did I mention you can map different functions to the touch pads like "sum to mono?" Yeah, this thing is sexy. Overall: I won't be searching for another product because no other company can touch Apogee's technology. If I do get another product, it will be from Apogee. The cost of admission is worth it.
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"Run, Don't Walk To Get This." submitted February 5, 2012

By D D in Brookline, MA
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Musical Background: 25 years of recording and performing.
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Overall: I have upgraded from the Duet 1. It is of the same build quality and even a step better on the breakout cables. The OLED screen is a very nice touch. The headphone amp is really really sweet and has it's own DAC with level. The DAC is noticeably sweeter and polished in the mids and smoother in the highs. Translation is better with this DAC. The ADC is killer. Plenty of clean gain with the mic preamps and the preamps can be bypassed. My only complaint is the drivers have an issue with USB2 and sometimes the unit needs to be unplugged and replugged. Happens about 1 time per week with daily use.
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Apogee Duet2 USB Audio Customer Review submitted June 17, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: Classical, Metal
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Sound: You know how there are 'truth monitors' that tell you exactly what's in a mix? Well the Duet 2 is a 'truth interface' because both input and outputs are surgically precise and honest regarding the source and mix. The preamps are truly fantastic, very pristine. Gain does indeed go up to 75dB without any noise or hiss. Sure there are other preamps known for their warmth, but keep in mind they are colored, and colored preamps only work well on certain sources. For instance, you wouldn't want a warm preamp on a dark source, as that will make things even muddier. The Duet 2 being neutral, transparent, and clear will work on *any* source, and allows the signal to then be processed further "in the box" in whatever color you like. I'd rather have that. As for the output DAC (digital analog converter) that's what Apogee is known for, and indeed you get smoother highs, clearer lows, more accurate mids, and better image separation and 3D depth. If you're moving up from a lower cost interface, you'll likely hear things in music that you didn't notice before. This makes the Duet 2 essential for better monitoring. Overall, compared to cheaper interfaces or the stock Apple headphone out, moving to the Duet 2 is like going from 128kbps MP3s to 320kbps MP3s. Anyone who complains the Duet 2 sounds "sterile" is like someone who complains the best studio monitors are "flat sounding" compared to his colored and deceptively flattering "hi-fi" speakers. If you want truth in recording and mixing, the Duet 2 is your interface. Lastly, I tried and SM7B with the Duet 2 and vocals were sparkling clear and awesome sounding. Bass guitar is fine, true to the source. Duet 2 doesn't do any coloring or hyping, keep that in mind. Feature: As an independent artist doing home recording, this has everything I need and nothing I don't. Definitely a quality over quantity device. It doesn't have optical outs, MIDI in, or loopback functions like other interfaces, however. Luckily I don't need those. I just use a mic for vocals and acoustic guitar, and plug my guitar and bass into the Duet 2, and for that application it's perfect. Soft limit is an excellent feature, though it only works for quick clipping transients and not for a signal that is constantly overloud. Ease of Use: Maestro 2 is a breeze to use. I haven't even needed to use the manual to figure things out, but will be reading it anyway during my downtime. The Duet 2 itself is a piece of cake. You press the wheel to switch between 1 of 4 sound channels (2 ins, 2 outs) and can then adjust the volume for each. The two touch sensitive buttons are pretty convenient. That's all there is to using it. Quality: If an Apple Macbook Pro is a 10 in terms of build quality, I'd rate the Duet an 8. The chassis is solid aluminum but the black top is glossy plastic that can scratch. I think plastic was necessary for the touch buttons to work. Also in a way I'd rather have it scratch that shatter if it were glass. A couple nitpicks: the rotary wheel on mine was *slightly* wobbly, but it doesn't affect function and Apogee states it's not a defect. And the rubber backing on the bottom had a thin line of clear adhesive transgressing out from one side. These are all minor cosmetic issues, and the only issues really. Hence an 8 versus Apple's 10. The unit itself feels hefty and solid though, and looks darn nice overall. Value: Yes, six hundred bucks is quite a bit for a USB audio interface. On the bright side, I don't have to reboot my system when plugging/unplugging the Duet, like you must with some Firewire devices. So anyway, it seems like not a great value UNTIL you realize that it has among the best preamps and DAC converters under $1700 *and* that it squeezes them all into something highly portable *and* that it has a graphic interface to boot! Mostly though I care about sound quality going in and out, and the Duet 2 delivers. Saves me from having to buy a separate preamp and separate headphone amp to use with a crappier interface. I can honestly say that, there is no other interface under six hundred bucks that delivers such quality in both looks and function. Manufacturer Support: Haven't had to use it yet, but Apogee is respected for their excellent support. The Wow Factor: It's slick and beautiful, well proportioned, and quite a revolutionary design for an audio interface, though I can't give Apogee all the credit for originality since it seems to have taken much of its inspiration from Apple. You know, if it looked pretty but had crappy converters then I'd agree there's some fanboism happening here, but here the looks are superseded by even better performance. That's total gear appeal right there. Overall: The Duet 2 meets and exceeds all my recording needs and expectations. It was a worthwhile purchase and I won't be getting anything to replace it until I start needing more ins/outs, then I'll probably upgrade to a portable Metric Halo unit for three times the price. I'm glad to say that, with the Duet 2, I didn't have to make any compromises as with lower end interfaces, you know where the preamp might be good but the headphone out sucks, or vice versa, etc... the Duet 2 is something I can feel proud to own for a long time time come.
10 of 11 people (90.91%) found this review helpful. Did you?
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"The wait.... was well worth it." submitted June 19, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Hobbyist
Music Style: Alternative
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VERIFIED BUYER
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Sound: This baby has incredible sound quality. I've tested it with several different microphones and both, acoustic and electric guitars, and this thing is crystal clear. If you are looking for something that doesn't produce low hums and annoying feedback, get this now. You won't regret it. Feature: It comes with a new and improved breakout cable -Thank God- that is a lot less of a hassle to use than the original Duet's. It still has the single multi-function knob, which is so simplistic that it makes it beautiful. the New display and touch-sensitive buttons are fantastic, and make using the Duet 2 much easier. Ease of Use: Takes a couple of minutes to set up, but after the software is downloaded and the computer restarts, it just fires right up. Two buttons and a knob. Can't get much simpler than that. Quality: Apogee does it again. Not only is the sound phenomenal, the actual hardware itself is sleek and durable. Completely rubber on the bottom, so it doesn't slide around. It's much heftier than the original, which I find really nice. And the cables are very thick and feel extremely sturdy. This thing looks beautiful and sounds even more so. Value: It's pretty expensive, but I found it to be worth the cash - and the wait. Manufacturer Support: I haven't had to contact the company about anything, thankfully, but from the looks of this product, I'd say they will stand behind their product. The Wow Factor: I own it. This thing is gorgeous inside and out. Super sleek and attractive. Overall: Just get it. It is a superb audio interface that is top quality in every aspect of it.
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"Little Piece of Heaven" submitted January 5, 2013

By Ben M in San Marcos, TX
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Musical Background: Engineer
Music Style: Multi-Genre
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Overall: I love it, a blessing indeed to have for my travel studio. Although, expensive, the saying is true, "you get what you pay for." Would not trade it for the world. Its tiny with big sound and looks very professional. Used it with a sm-57 and the guitars sound awesome! Used it with an mxl mic and the results were unbelievable! You will need some installation because the pres pickup everything. Enjoy.
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"Just Duet!" submitted August 4, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: Musician, Home Recordist
Music Style: Indie rock, singer/songwriter, experimental, americana
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Sound: The best D/A converters I've ever heard for this price. Made a large, noticeable difference over my presonus firebox. Everything sounds bigger, fuller and clearer. Even just listening to 128k mp3's on itunes through the Duet 2 sounds fantastic. I'm hearing details that I had bever heard before. Feature: The included breakout cable is great. Simple and easy to use. The cord wire could be slightly thicker but then again, your breakout cables probably won't be laying on the floor among speaker and guitar cables getting stepped on. The combination mic and 1/4" inserts are great. Neutrik connectors, enough said. The single button wheel on the face works great and is very handy. The 2 programmable buttons are great, respond well, and are stupidly simple to program with the included 'maestro' software. Oh and did I mention it has the best D/A converters you can get for this price? I just wish it included midi on the breakout cable, but then again you're paying for audio A/D conversion. Ease of Use: Very easy, straight forward. Plug and play. You'll want to spend a few minutes installing the Maestro software, it's a great help and allows you to change duet 2 functions on the fly, such as sample rate, phantom power for your condenser on/off, mixer levels, etc. The only issue I've experienced were a couple of times when I plugged it in and it was not recognized by my mac. It just displayed the apogee logo and appeared to be 'thinking' as a loading bar kept loading. (This could be an issue with my OS). I unplugged, plugged it back in and it worked fine as ever. Quality: This thing is a brick. Heavy and solid, but I have to take off 1 point for the plastic top. As I said, it really doesn't bother me for normal use but if I were to take it with me somewhere, such as to record at the jam space, I would need to be extra careful to protect the face of it from scratching. It would be great if it came with some sort of little rubber case to use for transporting it, with cable storage. Value: Excellent. I would buy it again in a heartbeat and can't imagine going back to what i used before. Manufacturer Support: Leaving this one blank because I haven't needed to deal with Apogee. I registered online which was quick but a little confusing, the UI flow can lead you to believe you need to register again. The Wow Factor: Very appealing little brick. Display is beautiful and well organized. The brick itself is sleek and looks petty cool with the aluminum and black face. Overall: I don't know of any other 2x4 interface as good as this for the price. I hope it continues to work for a long long time.
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"Maybe too-much for untrained ears or entry-level home-recordists, but definitely a solid and dependable piece of gear for interm" submitted July 21, 2011

By a customer from me.com
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Musical Background: Musician/Engineer/Producer
Music Style: Rock/Folk/Alternative
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Sound: I don't typically use the on-board preamps, but have tested them and they are as clean, clear and quiet as one would expect from Apogee. I can actually get enough clean headroom out of them to drive all of my passive ribbons sufficiently to record vocals, but have continued to use my Cloud and P-Solo preamps for that purpose. The AD/DA is also up to Apogee standards; however, my ears do hear a bit more presence from the Duet2 than the same source/setup seemed to yield with the original Duet. It is very subtle to me, and could just be a placebo effect from all the accounts I've read on the web prior to and after purchasing the unit. The only 2x4 portables I could ever recommend as equal or superior to this - based on individual strengths and not as a universal statement - would be the original Duet and the RME Babyface. Feature: You simply can't get more for the same or less if you're looking for quality, portability, compatibility and aesthetics. I use Apogee products in my primary rack as well, and this little guy is has just as much mojo and quality to it as the units that sell for thousands more. Apogee doesn't cut corners, they give adequate consideration to making their devices intuitive for users of all experience levels, and they dress the packages up to look like the high-end components they are. Ease of Use: Intuitive, functional, flexible and it gets the job done quick. Setting up aggregate devices can be a bear sometimes, but that seems to be consistent within particular vendors. In my experience, the Duet 2 doesn't play nice with my Mackie or Presonus interfaces, but integrates well with multiple Apogee devices, my MOTU and RME interfaces and my primary sound card. Quality: Apogee. Enough said. Value: It costs more than other 2-input USB interfaces, but it performs at or above the price-point as well. To trained ears, the differences between your average $2-300 interface (e.g. UX2) and the Duet 2 are instantly evident. To some folks new to recording or without significant experience listening to the differences in various AD/DA conversions, the value may not be so obvious. The only reason I marked it down a bit, is that I would have actually been willing to pay the extra $100-150 bucks to get the Apogee quality I'm so used to with all the additional features available in the RME Babyface. Familiarity won out for me, though, and I don't regret sticking with Apogee at all. Manufacturer Support: Apogee is slow to roll out updated drivers and software for those of us who are early-adopters of new systems and applications; however, I have no doubt this is due to extensive testing and thorough quality control. Even when Beta software is released (e.g. the latest Lion-compatible Maestro) it is solid, dependable and relatively bug-free. Customer support for the actual products is superior to almost every other vendor I've dealt with, possibly excluding Universal Audio and AEA. The Wow Factor: It is a sexy beast sitting on my desk (used as a monitor controller and headphone amp for late-night sessions) and clients always ooh-and-ahh when I pull it out on remotes when they haven't seen one before. The screen is bright and informative - classy even. The encoder knob is just the right size and feels good in your hand. The blocky-style with rounded corners may turn some off, but I think it makes it look "heavy" and solid - which it is. Overall: I know the AD/DA in the unit is a derivation of the higher-quality abilities in the Rosetta products, but it is hard for my rather-discriminating ears to hear a noticeable difference without using a very high-end headphone amp and balanced headphones. Since the average listener isn't going to be critiquing the sound quality of a neighborhood singer-songwriter with a $2500+ headphone rig, the Duet is more than adequate for the majority of folks needing a quality 2-in rig. I personally own two so I can stereo mic acoustic guitars and still take down scratch vocals and DI from the pickup if available, but for $1200 I was able to get a setup that provides recordings near the level of those I record in the studio. The folks that I record on location are always pleasantly surprised at how even the raw tracks sound a bit larger than life, full-bodied and clean.
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"Just google "apogee duet 2 not recognized" to see I'm not alone." submitted December 26, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: 35 years
Music Style: Rock, pop
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Sound: Quality is good but….. Feature: Features OK but…. Ease of Use: I bought one in July 2011, the right hand touch button would randomly trigger, meaning it couldn't be used. A common problem. It took 12 weeks to get a replacement, 12 weeks! And that only after emailing everyone in the company to stir things up. The new one is now exhibiting the same "unrecognised" problem, and it took 2 un/reinstalls last night plus many imac restarts before it worked again. Never again Apogee. And I'm still waiting for the half-wits to organise collection of the old unit, there's no way I' spending a single cent on postage after all the grief I've had. Quality: Useless. Needs software uninstalling/reinstalling every day before it works. Value: Wish I bought something else. Manufacturer Support: Took an email to the CEO before I even got it exchanged. Overall: Looking now, it's unusable.
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