• 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Great sound but noticeable latency

    The Duet is a great sounding interface. But it suffers from the same USB latency problem that Apogee has solved with its big brother, the Emsemble. If you are using Duet for recording a guitar, for example, you will hear noticeable latency even at 96khz sample rate (of about 3-4 ms). The Maestro app will help with this, but it means you are monitoring your guitar without plug ins. If you are using Duet with MainStage you will have the same latency which makes it unusable for a live guitarist who wants to use MainStage to perform.

    To be fair, this isn't an Apogee problem. It is true of all USB interfaces and all older Macs because to process 96khz takes a lot of CPU power. I tested the Zoom Tac-2 Thunderbolt interface with my MacBookAir 1.7 ghz i7 at 96khz with a 32 sample buffer (lower sample buffers reduce latency but increase CPU load) and it had 1.3 ms of latency - which is unnoticeable to the human ear, thus equivalent to analog and wonderful to perform with live. But the CPU of my Air can't handle the plugin processing, e.g Amp Farm and a few effects. So it pops.

    We are at the threshold of a new era. With the Ensemble, Apogee has achieved 1.1 ms and with a new MacBook at 3.0 ghz a guitar player should be able to play "in the box" with a full set of plug ins and no latency in MainStage and Logic.

    I would be very surprised if Apogee doesn't release a new version of Duet with Thunderbolt with a lot less latency very soon. The Duet and the new Ensemble use the same 32 bit chip, so the same performance should be relatively easy to achieve.

    Let's hope a new Duet arrives soon.

    9 of 10 people found this useful