Apogee has unveiled the Duet 3 audio interface. The new version marks a leap ahead for the popular portable interface. In addition to USB-C connectivity and a new, shiny, even slimmer design, Apogee has also added an integrated DSP for low-latency effects during recording.
Apogee Duet 3 audio interface
The Apogee Duet has been a benchmark for a portable, high-quality recording solution for many years. Now the manufacturer has unveiled the new generation. And it’s a big upgrade: Not only has the interface received a new, even slicker design, Apogee has also updated the connectivity and added an integrated DSP chip.
As before, the new Apogee Duet 3 is a portable audio interface for Mac and PC with two input and four output channels. The included breakout cable, which connects to the back of the interface, provides access to two mic/line XLR inputs with phantom power and two 1/4” instrument inputs. You also get two 1/4” line outputs for your speakers. The headphone output on the front side is now in 1/8” format due to the slimmer enclosure.
Speaking of slim, Apogee has updated the design. The new Duet 3 features a slim aluminum enclosure with a scratch-resistant glass top. The large multi-functional dial controls the monitoring volume and preamp gain. There are also two LED level meters.
At the back, the Duet 3 offers two USB-C connectors, which replace the single USB port of the previous generation. Thanks to the two ports, the interface can be powered independently from the computer, if necessary.
Apogee Duet Dock
Apogee has also announced the optional Duet Dock, which positions the interface at a convenient angle on the desktop. It also mirrors all XLR, TRS and USB connections of the interface, so you can do away with the breakout cable. That’s a very nice idea indeed. In the studio, you can place the interface into the dock, which can be permanently wired up to your computer, speakers and other gear. If you want to take the Duet on the road, simply take it out of the dock and grab the breakout cable.
Integrated hardware DSP
The biggest upgrade isn’t visible from the outside. Apogee has brought the integrated hardware DSP of the Symphony Desktop to the Duet 3. This means that you can run the company’s Symphony ECS Channel Strip plug-in directly on the hardware, which allows for low-latency processing during tracking. On the computer, this is controlled by the new Apogee Control 2 software and Apogee Channel FX plug-in. While the Symphony ECS channel strip isn’t included in the price of the interface, Apogee gives you 50% off when you purchase a Duet 3. They also mention that similar deals might be available for their other (native) plug-ins, as well.
Price and availability of the Apogee Duet 3
Apogee says that the Duet 3 audio interface will be available in July 2021 for USD 599. The Duet Dock is USD 149. After the 50% rebate, the Symphony ECS Channel Strip plug-in costs USD 49.50.