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The Sound Of A Defective Duet

Yesterday at my Acoustic Guitar recording workshop for VHR the Apogee Duet decided to add heaps of white noise into channel one.

I was demoing Large diaphragm condensers vs small diaphragm condensers using both channels. I turned off phantom power, swapped the LDC for another small diaphragm and went back to recording. There was a ton of noise in channel 1 making stereo miking impossible. With the mics disconnected the noise was still there. I don’t know if this is a permanent problem but I wasn’t able to fix it within a few minutes.

This unit wasn’t brand new and I don’t know if it had been abused prior to this workshop by connecting mics while 48V is on. A bit of searching online shows a number of noise issues with the Duet mostly on the monitoring side but some had preamp issues too. Hopefully the owner doesn’t have any trouble getting it repaired or replaced.

Mini review of the Apogee Duet

Here are my first impressions after using the Apogee Duet for a few hours.

Sound – The preamps and conversion sounded very nice, very clean with lots of gain. When it was working I was impressed with the sound.

Functionality – Using the Duet was fairly simple and the features that can’t be controlled directly on the box were in the software. I could get used to the one knob design, but I definitely didn’t love the idea of it. The software control panel and mixer was far less intimidating than most others.

Design –  The large knob just looks out of place to me. A shorter dome shaped one with little nubby grips would have been better. I much prefer a separate control for the essentials. 4 flat sliding controls would have been best. The pigtail for the i/o really detracts from the appearance of the device. The wires are thin and I wouldn’t trust it to last long if you do any traveling.  I can’t think of any way to get that i/o on the interface without making it twice as large.

Other complaints – No power button means you have to completely shut down the mac or hot plug the interface, which is bad. Loud noises into your speakers when you plug in the interface to the computer and a pop when you use the mute. Mac only.


  1. Sean
    Sean February 27, 2011

    Definitely agree with you on the one button thing. I’m not a huge fan. It’s useable but they sacrificed functionality for the “Apple” aesthetic.

  2. loprimo
    loprimo August 31, 2011

    The apogee duet is of the worst piece of over hype gear in the last decade imho of course. I also have the duet “1” and from day one same problem noisy pre amps no matter what i do. I disconnect mics and cables running the duet tru the headphone amp yields same results. HISS!!!!! Horrible noise maybe ok for amateurs but not good for semi pro or serious hobbiest. The Duet SUCKS!
    Stay away buy pretty much anything else even low low level behringer preamps are quiet compare to this junk!!! I was going to buy the ensemble but nk thanks staying away from these products all together. Extremely sad by the product as you can tell 🙁

  3. Jonathan
    Jonathan March 18, 2013

    after researching a similar problem for quite awhile – it sounds like you have a ground loop problem. google it! There is no aspect of the Duet’s design which would give you any sort of detectable noise to human ears. Apogee know what they’re doing, I think 🙂 – they are by far the most accomplished and venerable people in the business! Try using a ground lifting plug on your computer and you’ll be surprised at the result.

    • Admin
      Admin March 18, 2013

      nope, it was working only a minute earlier and was only on one of the channels. It stayed broken until the owner had to pay for repair.

  4. Jaka
    Jaka March 22, 2013

    Mine has the same issue on channel 1 – since there are only two channels… this is quite a problem – I have to say it worked great for years – the problem is that it is out of warranty, and no one in my country can fix it apparently – is there a fix (he said klicking his heels together three times and crossing his fingers and toes…0?

  5. RustyWilot
    RustyWilot December 6, 2013

    Mine is having the same problem on ch 1! Grrr

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