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ZiggyPastorius
May 17, 2008, 09:03 PM
So I've had my Duet for about a day now (haha...) and I have some first-use opinions, comments, and questions on it.

When I plugged it in the first time, I kernel paniced. Haven't had any issues since then, KPs, lagging, not recognising, et cetera, so no real complaint there, as long as it doesn't happen again...

So now for my questions...

Okay, my first question is about sound quality. I have a stereo system with some decent speakers that I use for writing at home in my "studio," and I also have a crappy, but not ultra-crappy, pair of headphones. Each ear on the headphones has it's own volume control...So, I'm curious what I should do with the volume controls to achieve the best sound quality. I know nothing about all the technical stuff behind sound, so I have no idea how using headphones through the Duet is supposed to sound better than using the same headphones through something else, as the claim is by them...but, assuming that is indeed true, how would I achieve good sound? My Macbook volume (in the menu bar, and the buttons) is the same as the output control on the Duet, and then I have the headphone volume control, like I said. I've tried experimenting with the headphone volume up, Duet volume down and vise versa, but I can't tell a difference...and I also can't really tell a difference between listening through the Duet and listening to the same thing through the headphones plugged into my computer. Any help and background on that would be appreciated...

Second, is Midi. The duet does not have any Midi inputs, so I'm just curious if it's possible to plug an instrument, whether it be my keyboard, or bass, or whatever into the Duet through the 1/4 or mic. inputs (probably the 1/4), and control virtual instruments in logic express (basically the job a MIDI keyboard does).

Third, what does the phantom power do? I read about it somewhere, but I don't understand it, so if anyone could help explain to me a bit, that'd be appreciated...

My main concern is with the sound quality, as the sound quality listening through my headphones in the Duet is actually pretty bad, especially the bass. I assume this is the headphone's fault, not the Duet, but there should be some way to make it sound good.. Thanks, everybody.

With all that in mind, the recording is great. The sound quality is good as far as recording goes, and I don't really have anything to complain about there (my main purpose for it is recording, so, that's probably a good thing :p)



Xander562
May 17, 2008, 09:28 PM
Phantom Power adds an extra 48volts of electricity to the mic line. This is for certain microphones that require extra power. Correct me if I'm wrong.

junior
May 17, 2008, 11:13 PM
1. You need a good pair of headphones.
2. You can only control your software instruments via midi, unless your keyboard has a USB out for that specific purpose (which is also midi).
3. Phantom power is used for condenser microphones. Dynamic mics don't need the extra power.
4. Get a good pair of headphones! If you're not going to use it for recording purposes, get an open one (like a HD570 or whatever). If you want to be recording vocals, guitars etc and want to monitor through your phones, get a closed one (Sony, BT, etc).

fernmeister
May 18, 2008, 06:19 AM
The Duet Manual outlines how to use the duet to run Midi Continuous Controller data. You can't input notes via the Duet, but you can control things like song position or use the control knob to create automation data in your DAW.

You headphone sound will be constrained by the quality of the headphones you have. To hear the difference between the Duet and the Mac's soundcard you need some decent cans.

If you get anymore KPs make sure to forward the details to Apple AND Apogee. Quite a few users have had KP issues and the sooner both companies sort the problem out completely, the better for all of us/

ZiggyPastorius
May 18, 2008, 09:59 AM
Thanks for the feedback, guys. Just a few things:

Unfortunately, I looked at some nice headphones (I think they were Sennheiser...HD280 Pros? But at this point in time, I can't afford to get them. I mean, I can, but I vowed that this $800 I spent for my Duet and touch last Saturday would be the last major purchase before college, fall 2009. I guess I'll have to deal with it until then :P

Out of the curiosity, what is the difference between closed and open headphones? What are the advantages of one over the other, and how do I know which is which?

As for MIDI, I'll just wait for college, as it's not a necessity at this moment, and my college laptop program comes with:

****WARNING:COPIED FROM WEBSITE****

Computer specifications and included software

The special Berklee Laptop Package for the Summer 2008 semester includes the following:
Apple MacBook Pro computer with 15-inch Widescreen Display (1440x900 resolution), 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM memory - (2x1GB), 120GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm, SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW), AirPort Extreme wireless networking, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, FireWire 400, full-size backlit keyboard
Special three-year AppleCare Protection Plan Extended Warranty. Note: The AppleCare Protection Plan is subject to terms and conditions, which are provided on the AppleCare Protection Plan website at http://www.apple.com/support/products/proplan.html
Oxygen 8 v2 Keyboard/MIDI Interface

*snip*

OSX Operating System
iLife (iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, iTunes, GarageBand)
Finale
SmartMusic Studio
Microsoft Office
NoteShare
Reason
Logic Express
Digital Performer
Filemaker
DrumCore

and it is mandatory. So even though I have some of that already, I'll be getting a USB MIDI Keyboard and such mandatory through the college I attend (that is, assuming I end up going there :)) So I won't worry about that right now, no biggie.

I watched the video on controlling song position and stuff through MIDI or whatever, but I don't understand at all, so, I won't worry about it...

Thanks for the info, guys.

ZiggyPastorius
May 18, 2008, 02:46 PM
Okay, so, an update...A few minutes ago, I plug in my Duet, and bam...I get another Kernel panic. I sent a report to Apple, but I don't know how to report it to Apogee. I went to the site and reinstalled the software from there, but if it happens again, I may have to consider returning it...is this a good route? I need as much money as I can, but I desperately want to keep the Duet, but having to restart from a Kernel panic every day and a half is a bit annoying. I also don't want to remove two gigs of my RAM. Is there no way to escape this fate? ._.

junior
May 18, 2008, 06:01 PM
Okay, so, an update...A few minutes ago, I plug in my Duet, and bam...I get another Kernel panic. I sent a report to Apple, but I don't know how to report it to Apogee. I went to the site and reinstalled the software from there, but if it happens again, I may have to consider returning it...is this a good route? I need as much money as I can, but I desperately want to keep the Duet, but having to restart from a Kernel panic every day and a half is a bit annoying. I also don't want to remove two gigs of my RAM. Is there no way to escape this fate? ._.

I'd say return it. You don't have the equipment right now to fully appreciate the Apogee's quality (budget's too tight right now to even go for a headphone, right?).
Get a cheap alternative, maybe even second hand, then next year when you get your new gear, have a look again to see what you really want. It might be an Apogee or maybe there'll be something that gets even better review by then.

ZiggyPastorius
May 18, 2008, 06:12 PM
I'd say return it. You don't have the equipment right now to fully appreciate the Apogee's quality (budget's too tight right now to even go for a headphone, right?).
Get a cheap alternative, maybe even second hand, then next year when you get your new gear, have a look again to see what you really want. It might be an Apogee or maybe there'll be something that gets even better review by then.

Well, I'd like to keep the Duet, if I can figure out some way to get around problems...which I may not be able to. My budget isn't too tight to get headphones, I just swore that I would save up from now on, so perhaps you're right. I can return the Duet and look into it in the future. Problem is, is I'm looking desperately to expand my musical capabilities, with recording, and I haven't faced any problems with the actual recording. I just record my instrument, then I can listen back later to check everything through my stereo system. Also, I'm getting some cables to hook my Duet into my stereo system, and that may help with realising the Duet's sound quality above my Mac's soundcard's capabilities. As an update, though, keeping in mind I bought this for recording purposes, and the quality of listening isn't that important at this moment (unless it's worse than what I had before, which was nothing), should I still look to return it?

ZiggyPastorius
May 18, 2008, 08:14 PM
All right, now I'm wondering if anyone can help me...My electric guitar comes out stereo, but my electric bass comes out only mono (right or left ear, depending on the input I'm using), and my acoustic-electric bass doesn't come out at all. I don't understand why this is...?

junior
May 19, 2008, 04:56 PM
All right, now I'm wondering if anyone can help me...My electric guitar comes out stereo, but my electric bass comes out only mono (right or left ear, depending on the input I'm using), and my acoustic-electric bass doesn't come out at all. I don't understand why this is...?

What do you mean by 'come out'? What application are you using? What's the pan settings? Are you recording into stereo tracks or mono tracks? Are you recording straight into the input or are you mic'ing up your amp? Are you using the same cable for all the instruments?
Are you talking about the recorded sounds or when you're simply monitoring what you're playing on the spot?
Give us some details!

ZiggyPastorius
May 19, 2008, 05:49 PM
What do you mean by 'come out'? What application are you using? What's the pan settings? Are you recording into stereo tracks or mono tracks? Are you recording straight into the input or are you mic'ing up your amp? Are you using the same cable for all the instruments?
Are you talking about the recorded sounds or when you're simply monitoring what you're playing on the spot?
Give us some details!

Sorry about that. I'm recording my instruments all through the same 1/4" cable, to the same Instrument input - 1 on the Apogee Duet's breakout Cable. I'm using Logic Express, the settings are all stereo. Both monitoring and playing back after recording give me stereo sound with the electric guitar (all same equipment, inputs, et cetera, except the instrument itself), and only mono with the electric bass.

By the way, if you know how to tweak the pan settings in Logic Express, I'd like to know :p Thanks.

ZiggyPastorius
May 19, 2008, 06:03 PM
All right, sorry for the double post, but as an example, I'll give this:

Example (http://noradiodjd.net/IP/mrtest.mp3).

You probably won't be able to notice unless you have a decent set of speakers, but the bass only comes out of one speaker. I made this example in like ten minutes to show you guys, so please don't critique the horrible rhythm and stuff :p

Plumbstone
May 20, 2008, 03:58 AM
the one ear problem is normally when you try to record a mono signal onto a stereo track in logic. Make sure the track you record on is mono, there is a symbol at the bottom of each track which switches its mode (if you hold down on it with pre-recorded tracks you can even select just the left side or right side. Use this with tracks you have already recorded incorrectly.)

To double check if you hold down over the input, a mono track will give you the options (input 1, input 2) a stereo track will give you (inputs 1-2).

I have just got a duet a few days ago and do have the necessary gear to check it out properly as I work in a professional studio. It blows all the low end digidesign ADs out of the water (m-boxes etc.) and stacks up really well against the higher end gear too, (192, psx-100) especially at the higher sample rates.

As far as returning it goes, i would save up for a decent but small pair of nearfield monitors as you can work at low levels and will still get a much more accurate representation of the sound than with headphones. The duet is a really nice bit of kit imo and is definitely worth hanging onto and learning how to get the best out of....

ZiggyPastorius
May 20, 2008, 05:13 AM
the one ear problem is normally when you try to record a mono signal onto a stereo track in logic. Make sure the track you record on is mono, there is a symbol at the bottom of each track which switches its mode (if you hold down on it with pre-recorded tracks you can even select just the left side or right side. Use this with tracks you have already recorded incorrectly.)

To double check if you hold down over the input, a mono track will give you the options (input 1, input 2) a stereo track will give you (inputs 1-2).

I have just got a duet a few days ago and do have the necessary gear to check it out properly as I work in a professional studio. It blows all the low end digidesign ADs out of the water (m-boxes etc.) and stacks up really well against the higher end gear too, (192, psx-100) especially at the higher sample rates.

As far as returning it goes, i would save up for a decent but small pair of nearfield monitors as you can work at low levels and will still get a much more accurate representation of the sound than with headphones. The duet is a really nice bit of kit imo and is definitely worth hanging onto and learning how to get the best out of....

Thank you so much! I just woke up, but I shall try this today at school. If I understand, you're using I need to switch the track to mono, instead of stereo, as setting the track as stereo interprets that I'll be recording two different signals, one to each ear? I think that's what you meant. Anyways, I'll try it later, and get back to you. Thank you :)

Edit: Scratch that, it worked! Thanks a lot :) Out of curiosity, though, how come the guitar worked stereo in the stereo input mode, but not the bass? Also, do you have any recommendations for those monitors?

Plumbstone
May 20, 2008, 06:32 AM
ziggy, were you plugging the gtr into just one instrument input on the duet or were you sending it to both (I only ask as some gtrs do have stereo outs which you can use a y splitter). If not (which is likely) then you were probably recording that onto a mono track in the first place. It seems the tracks already in logics initial template are usually stereo, whereas if you create a new track it defaults to mono, so you were probably recording the gtr onto a newly created track.

As far as monitors go, you should generally get the best ones you can afford. Don't go for multimedia ones as they tend not to be accurate at all. Make sure you get active ones then they will hook straight up to your duets outs and you can use the big silver knob as your master volume control. The only way to really choose speakers is to take down some music you know and love to a shop and listen....

ZiggyPastorius
May 20, 2008, 12:25 PM
ziggy, were you plugging the gtr into just one instrument input on the duet or were you sending it to both (I only ask as some gtrs do have stereo outs which you can use a y splitter). If not (which is likely) then you were probably recording that onto a mono track in the first place. It seems the tracks already in logics initial template are usually stereo, whereas if you create a new track it defaults to mono, so you were probably recording the gtr onto a newly created track.

As far as monitors go, you should generally get the best ones you can afford. Don't go for multimedia ones as they tend not to be accurate at all. Make sure you get active ones then they will hook straight up to your duets outs and you can use the big silver knob as your master volume control. The only way to really choose speakers is to take down some music you know and love to a shop and listen....

I'm not sure, then, because I did them in the exact same track...Tried the guitar, was stereo, then tried the bass, and it was mono. Doesn't really matter, though, 'cause it's fixed now :)

All rightie, if I get a chance to go to like a best buy or circuit city or guitar centre or something, I'll see if I can check it out. By active, do you mean powered?

Plumbstone
May 22, 2008, 08:50 AM
So just plain odd about the mono stereo business...at least its fixed now.

yes by active I mean powered, enjoy shopping!

Virtuoso
May 22, 2008, 05:29 PM
Edit: Apogee have some new (May 2008) drivers which, according to the readme, fix the kernel panic issue. Grab the file DuetUpdateMay08.dmg from here. (http://www.apogeedigital.com/downloads/drivers) (the main website hasn't yet been updated). Changes are listed in DuetMay08Readme.pdf


As for the headphones, closed or open just refers to whether sound can leak out of the backs. For recording (e.g. vocals) you would normally use closed back phones so that the mic won't pick up the track you're singing along to. High end audiophile headphones tend to be open back though.