Apogee Duet Recording Questions

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by coldwaternights, May 8, 2012.

  1. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    Hey everyone,


    i have the first generation apogee duet running through a macbook pro.

    when i'm recording through it, the levels sound great and big and clear and really professional.

    i love how it sounds listening back to the playback through my headphones.

    However, the problem arises when i unplug everything and go to edit the song in the other room and i just have my headphones plugged straight into my macbook.
    Suddenly, the levels are REALLY low and the sound quality is gone.

    What am i missing here?

    How am i to work on the song and editing and adding effects etc when the track no longer sounds the same as when i listen to it through the duet?

    I REALLY hope i'm doing something wrong..............it makes no sense. I need the song to sound the same when i dont have the duet hooked up to it so i can adjust levels and edit accordingly.

    Please help, i'm really worried because if i finish a song and it sounds great through the duet and then i send it to my itunes and listen to it later with just my headphones plugged straight into my computer, the song is NOT the same.

    What do i do? help! :drown
     
  2. iamspartacus

    iamspartacus Member

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    The difference you are hearing is (1) using the Duet as a sound card, vs (2) using your macbook's sound card. The difference in quality between the two is, indeed, significant. When you plug in your Duet, is becomes the sound card hardware that converts your audio to digital and your digital to audio (often called AD/DA). The quality of your Duet is leaps and bounds higher than what comes with the MacBook.

    If you want to mix, mix with the Duet's headphone out jack.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Fran Guidry

    Fran Guidry Member

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    The change in level is the cause of the apparent change in quality. Ears are not linear with respect to volume, so a louder playback sounds fuller, richer, bigger, and better.

    Figure out how to match the volumes and the problem is solved.

    Fran
     
  4. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    thanks for the responses, guys.

    the problem is, i can mix with the duets headphone jack and think everything sounds great.
    but then when i finish the song and send the mp3 to a friend it's not gonna sound the same.
    i really don't understand this.
    it's misleading almost...............the track will sound great AS LONG as i'm listening to it through the duet. That's crazy. But in reality the track will sound night in day to anyone i'm sharing it with who doesn't have a duet.
    How is this a great way to record?
    I understand people rave about these duets and it does sound great when you're recording but when i finish the song and listen to it later in itunes with just my headphones into my computer, the song sounds like ****.

    how do i match the volumes between the two?
    i almost am starting to feel like this duet is worthless and i don't get why people use them.
    i'm hoping im just stupid and confused................please somebody help me out!
     
  5. BobbyFudge

    BobbyFudge Supporting Member

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  6. SkippyD

    SkippyD Member

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    Stupid is kind of a nasty term, I would say ignorant may apply in this case.

    Mastering engineers have made entire careers dealing with the problem you mentioned, it's not a new problem either. So don't feel alone. It's not your gear though, it's just part of the learning process.
     
  7. dass101

    dass101 Member

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    The difference between the Apogee and the internal sound card can't account for a big difference in the way you hear the mix. At best you get a little more detail and stereo image through the Duet, but that's it.

    have you checked if you hear the same difference when listening to any other itunes song, in both situations?
     
  8. shredtheater

    shredtheater Member

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    One thing i can think of is if your running your tracks quiet in the DAW but running the output pretty loud on your duet then your tracks are still gonna be quiet. If you gain stage correctly you should see improvement.
     
  9. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    please explain to me what gain staging is?


    thanks to everyone for their help.
     
  10. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    i guess my question is.......what did i spend $500 on the duet for if when i listen back to the track and it doesn't sound as good as when i listen to it through the duet?
     
  11. Fran Guidry

    Fran Guidry Member

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    Gain staging - setting the levels at the various points in your recording chain to optimize the signal to noise ratio and minimize distortion.

    Your gain staging should be simple. Set the preamps on the Apogee so your signals in the DAW average (RMS) around -18 to -24 dBFS, this should leave your peaks between -6 and -12 dBFS.

    Adjust your headphone output level on the Apogee so this level of recording sounds right to you.

    Fran
     
  12. pickaguitar

    pickaguitar 2011 TGP Silver Medalist Silver Supporting Member

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    The Duet is a great recording tool...I tried headphones but did much better when I got monitors
     
  13. Jahn

    Jahn Member

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    If you think the Duet's playback sounds good through the Duet's headphone out, you should try it using the Duet's 1/4 mono plugs out, feeding a dedicated headphone amp. The Apogee's D/A converters are no joke, your music will sound far more awesome than anything stock coming out of your Macbook.

    However, most of the folks who listen to your music probably will be using an iphone or a macbook, so mix accordingly. When I record, I monitor with the apogee to make sure nothing funny's going on when I'm recording live, but when I mix i unplug the apogee and use the crap macbook headphone out, and even dry run through the macbook speakers. Sad day, but true.
     
  14. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    I will try this out, thank you Fran. How do i know when it's at -6?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  15. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    see, this is my problem.
    how can i mix it in garageband so that it sounds like when i hear it through the duet???? am i just being naive and clueless and it's not even possible?
     
  16. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    it's a pretty big difference.
    the apogee soundcard is much higher quality than whats in my macbook pro.
     
  17. dass101

    dass101 Member

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    I have both a Macbook and a Duet, and I'm also fairly experienced in studio gear and I know exactly what's the difference. As far as listening/monitoring quality, what you hear through the Duet is better in terms of dynamics and clarity, but we're talking about details, not about great vs crap. It's easy to get carried away when evaluating the difference, but the fact is that no decent interface (as in the MBP) will degrade anybody's listening experience to the point that they feel it doesn't sound the same.

    Have you checked if you get the same difference when listening to anything else (itunes music) through both the Duet and the MBP headphones out?

    What you DO get in the Duet are great preamps and converters, meaning you can get great tracks in the DAW
     
  18. coldwaternights

    coldwaternights Member

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    well when i'm listening to the track in the duet, it sounds big and loud.
    when i listen to the exact same track with just my headphones straight into my computer, the levels are super low and it is night and day.

    anyway, i was messing with it tonight and came across some things: in garageband, when i set the output to "line" it seems to be an accurate representation of what the recording sounds like. when i select it to "instrument amplifier", the apogee sound kicks in and it's super loud with lots of presence.
    but i know that that is just the duet's soundcard, right?

    so basically i think from now on, i'm going to record with the output selected to "line" because if i record with it selected to "instrument amplifier", i know i'm hearing the duet and not the true sound of the recording.

    so i'll just use "line" and then edit/mix/master from there to get it as close as i can get to when i hear it through the duet.
    does that make sense?
    is this a good plan? because i think it's a happy medium for me. :confused:
     
  19. dass101

    dass101 Member

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    I believe the headphone out of the duet should be the same no matter how you set the output device, but I'm not at home now to check.

    Anyway, the instrument amplifier setting is to be used only for reamping purposes, meaning you should olny use it when you inject your output signal into an amplifier's input. It then sends a signal that conforms to the instrument level standards in terms of impedance and output voltage. You should not use it in any other circumstances.

    Except when reamping (considering you are new to all this I imagine you won't get to that right now) you should have your output set to line level. If you have the original Duet also keep in mind that the line outputs are unbalanced consumer level, and that means you should not connect them with XLR cables to your monitoring system, and use TS -> TS or RCA cables and connect to the -10dbV input.
     
  20. Fran Guidry

    Fran Guidry Member

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    Hopefully you have some kind of metering in your DAW. If you don't then you should find a recording program that has some sort of metering and use that. Audacity will work, REAPER is even better.

    Fran
     

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