Better Sound Quality Than An Apogee Duet?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by goodgnus, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. goodgnus macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    #1
    I own a firewire Apogee Duet on a Mac Mini running the latest version of OSX Mavericks, and I'm growing weary of the audio issues that creep up. Granted, I'm guessing that upgrading to the USB Duet 2 would fix the issues - maybe - but I'm wondering if I should be looking at another device.

    The issues I'm experiencing are audio cutting out when more than one app is creating sound at the same time. For example, if iTunes is playing and I get an email, all sound may cut out, or I might just get a bit of digital noise.

    This morning, I was listening to iTunes. I paused iTunes and switched over to play a file in the finder, but I got no audio. Fine. I went back to iTunes, but that audio failed too.

    These problems don't happen a lot, and they usually resolve themselves quickly, but I'm growing tired of them, and since my Duet is the old firewire version, I might as well look into upgrading before Apple stops putting firewire in Mac Minis (since I'm 99% sure my next Mac will also be a Mini. I'm really happy with Minis - I've been using them for years).

    Is there a D/A? converter under $500 with even better sound quality than an Apogee Duet? All I need are L/R in and L/R/ out (not including a headset jack). A headset jack is cool but not required.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Diastro macrumors member

    Diastro

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    #2
    No. Nothing under a $1000 comes close, really.
     
  3. UBS28 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 2, 2012
    #3
    I'm using an Apogee One (iOS & Mac version), i have no such issues? Maybe contact Apogee since this isn't normal?
     
  4. goodgnus, Mar 5, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014

    goodgnus thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #4
    I'm going to assume that's USB, not firewire. Mine is firewire.

    That's what I thought. I do love the sound I get from my Duet. I should probably just sell it to get rid of the firewire and buy the USB Duet 2.

    EDIT! Scratch that! I'll probably wait until they update it to use a lightning connector for iOS rather than the old school (ha!) 30 pin iOS connector.

    EDIT 2: It already comes with a lightning connector, as noted in a comment below. Perfect!
     
  5. rpcclark macrumors newbie

    rpcclark

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    Mar 6, 2014
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    Duet for iPad and Mac

    The new Duet for iPad and Mac includes Lightning, 30-Pin and USB connectivity. The converters and preamps are also significantly better than the Duet Firewire! The Quartet is iOS compatible as well.
     
  6. UBS28 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    They already support a lightning connector, the ones that work with iOS devices.
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7
    Is there a D/A? converter under $500 with even better sound quality than an Apogee Duet? [/QUOTE]

    You are using an Apogee for PLAYBACK??? You paid hood money for a good recording device but for playback one audio interface is as good as the other, eel at least once you cross a certain threshold.

    Apogee's reputain is based on their preamplifiers, that you are not using.

    The cut out's you here is NOT caused by the sound quality of the interface. Likely Mac OS X software issues.

    If you must replace you FW device with USD a pretty good one is Presonus' "Audiobox". The price is $150. Mackie makes something good too as does Focusrite and MOTU. All of them make a USB product in the same price and performance class.

    Al that you've read about Apogee mostly applies to recording. If you are just listening to iTunes, even if you have lossless files then ANY of the studio type audio interfaces will work fine.

    But likely you get the same cuts outs if they are caused by Mac OS X.

    ----------

    The OP is just listening to pre-recorded music, iTunes and so in. He is not even using the preamps, nor is he using 24-bit playback. His use case is not what those Apogee products were designed for.
     
  8. Diastro macrumors member

    Diastro

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    #8
    Incorrect. Apogee's reputation is based mostly on their D-to-A and A-to-D conversion.

    Lossless music from iTunes CAN and WILL sound better with an Apogee interface, as opposed to on-board audio or a Presonus Audiobox, provided that the rest of the OP's signal chain is of the needed adequacy to reproduce the increase in sound quality. And also has the hearing to perceive the difference.

    Sound quality is only ever as good as the weakest part in the signal chain.

    Of course, if the OP is listening to lossy audio formats, upgrading the audio interface is the very definition of diminishing returns.

    FireWire driver issues are to be expected with current and future Macs, as it's technology is now officially defined 'legacy' and its support will decrease.

    The Apogee Duet 2 will likely perform better.
     
  9. goodgnus thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #9
    What is this "just" you speak of? Logic and Pro Tools aren't locked into proprietary interfaces anymore (well, to the best of my knowledge, Logic never was, but PT spent too many years being tied to Digi gear. My Duet blows away the 888 it replaced). There - feel better now, knowing I'm not some kid? Don't be a snob. It's uncalled for. My pro audio experience dates back to when a PT TDM rig was limited to 8 tracks, but even if I were "just" an audiophile, so long as one is dealing with lossless formats (or even 320 kbps, really) quality D/A makes a difference.

    I didn't mention work because, when mixing, I generally quit out of everything else (more for the sake of avoiding interruptions and distractions, though the habit has its roots in the days when PT practically required its own Mac). So, the chopping out of audio only happens when I'm not doing prod.

    It's true that Apogee pres are wasted on me. I just need the best possible D/A for a pair of ins and a pair of outs (and, really, though I'd rather not, I could do without the ins on this particular Mac), and I'd rather not spend more than $500. OK, a new Duet would be $600, but I'll sell my firewire unit, so it won't be quite so much.


    Good to know! Thanks.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    OK so you are doing recording too. The drop outs are Mac OS X not your Apogee.

    The best solution? Buy an iPod Nano. It will play music even if you turn the Mac off. Connect the iPod to the speakers. It costs a lot less than a new audio interface which really will not do what you want anyway. Or just put up with it and hope Apple fixes the software some day.
     
  11. goodgnus thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #11
    It's not about music. The drop outs occur sporadically whenever two apps use sound at the same time (or an app and the finder or the OS itself). I assume it's a coreaudio issue involving firewire - though I have no idea why firewire would be any different than USB, but while researching it, firewire seems to be the only commonality. And since the future of OSX probably doesn't involve firewire, and since the days of the original Duet being supported with firmware updates are probably limited, it seemed wise to look into a USB device. Hence, the question that began this thread.
     
  12. beestigbeestje macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2007
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    Belgium
    #12
    Audio dropouts

    I don't know if any of you are having issues with the newest DUET? (ipad/mac)

    I'm having random audio dropouts since the moment I unboxed it. Been talking to tech support, but they haven't come up with a fix yet. Thought 10.9.3 would have fixed the issue, but no luck. Like 5 dropouts in 1,5 hours or so.
    I don't have it with my firewire audio interfaces.
     
  13. bwhli macrumors 6502a

    bwhli

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    Jan 9, 2012
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    Boston, MA
    #13
    I've owned Apogee Duet, Duet 2, and RME Babyface. I prefer the Babyface. Conversion and preamps are definitely less colored than the Duet (if that's something you're looking for).
     
  14. flyingmanatee macrumors member

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    Jan 7, 2014
    #14
    I'm not sure what the OP's full get up looks like, but honestly using SPDIF to a receiver (if using passive speakers) would be the way to go. A $10 optical cable to a Marantz or Onkyo receiver would be roughly the same price as an Apogee Duet. The DACs on modern receivers are pretty damn exceptional today. The Onkyo receivers advertise Brown-Burr DACs at 192KHz/ 24 bit sound and they have damn nice amps in them, (rated honestly, using RMS, 20Hz - 20 KHz loads, at 8 ohms, and the THD being measured at half power, 20Hz - 20 KHz loads at 8 ohms).

    I'd be surprised if the Apogee DAC is as good as the Brown-Burr, but I'd be more surprised if you could tell the difference.
     
  15. sonsofnarcissus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    #15
    Had similar issues

    Hey OP....just my 2c - I had similar issues with my Apogee Duet for iPad. The audio would drop unexpectedly when I would open websites or itunes after working on Logic or vice versa.

    I contacted Apogee tech support and after a software/firmware update the problem went. Btw I use Logic X and am on Mavericks.

    Best of luck.
     
  16. beestigbeestje macrumors regular

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    Belgium
    #16
    What version of Mavericks are you running and do you have Flash installed?
    From what I've learned, NOT installing flash kind of fixes the problem for me (fingers crossed). Apogee support is not helpful. How low can you set buffer size in logic? Anything below 128 distorts for me, very weird. I'm on 10.9.3
     
  17. Macalway, Jun 2, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014

    Macalway macrumors 68000

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    Aug 7, 2013
    #17
    I find the whole market a bit confusing.

    I have the ONE for iPad/Mac and it's great with features I must say.

    (i was going to give sage advice, etc, then realized I haven't a clue :D )
     
  18. sonsofnarcissus macrumors newbie

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    May 20, 2014
    #18
    I'm on the latest version of Mavericks and I do have flash installed. Buffer size is 64.

    I'm running logic on a Nov 2013 iMac fully maxed out (1TB SSD, 32GB ram, i7 etc.)
     
  19. beestigbeestje macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    Belgium
    #19
    Oke, I'm on a maxed out 15 inch retina macbook pro. I can get 32 samples with my NI soundcard. Apogee acknowledged something is wrong with the card. (finally!) So I'll be getting a new one.
     
  20. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #20
    You are right. a short fiber cable would likely out preform the Apogee Duet.

    Using an Apogee as and output only device is a waste of money. Apogee use the Cirrus Logic 4272 codec chip for both ADC and DAC (the one chip does both) it is the same chip that Focusrite uses. The chip has really good specs bout the limit is set by the bit depth and rate.
     

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