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If you're really serious about capturing quality audio and you're looking for a device that works not just with your iPad, but you can also use with a Mac, you might want to consider the Apogee Quartet. The Quartet is definitely the priciest of the devices we've looked at in this series, but you can really feel the quality throughout this device. From its solid metal construction to the quality components, to the warm rich tones it captures. On the back it features four combination XLR quarter inch inputs. So you can plug in both mic and instrument cables. You'll find two digital optical inputs and a USB port for connecting mini devices.
This mini USB port is for connecting the device to your iPad or to your Mac. (SOUND) You'll also find three pairs of outputs here. Which means you can potentially hookup three sets of speakers or monitors to listen to what you're recording or performing or even mix in 5.1 surround sound. And there's also a world clock out port, so you can sync the Quartet with other digital devices. On the side of the device is a quarter inch stereo headphone jack. But it's the front of the device where the design considerations really shine through.
As you can see, you only have one controller knob. What it controls at any time is determined by what you select using these other buttons. For example, if I press the speaker icon, turning the controller knob adjusts the level of the speaker output. And pressing the controller knob quickly mutes and unmutes the speaker. Similarly pressing the headphone button gives you the same control over the headphone output. The buttons labeled one through four are for selecting among the four analog inputs. Selecting one lets me adjust its input levels using the controller knob.
But you also have to let the Quartet know whether you're recording with an instrument or microphone on that channel. To do this you need to download and install the Apogee Maestro app which is a free download from the app store. I have it right here. Maestro is basically your input output control center. So for example all four inputs are currently set to the instrument input. If I'm going to be recording from a mic plugged into say input one I would tap instrument and choose mic. Now you might have noticed.
That if you're going to be recording a line level signal you can also select between plus four dBU and minus ten dBV so be sure to check the specs of the device you're plugging in. This goes for your output settings too. In this case all my outputs are set to plus four dBU by default but I have selected mic here now and notice that the icon on the quartet has changed to a microphone. Once I've selected the mic I can enable phantom power in that channel if necessary. And I can also say change of polarity.
While in Maestro I can also use the on screen knob, to adjust the levels. Or I can use the controller knob on the Quartet as usual. And I'll see the knob in Maestro. Move along with it. Here in Maestro is also where you can configure these three buttons labeled A, B, C. By default, these three buttons are for a. Clearing your meters, which resets the clip indicators. B, dimming the output audio, which is basically a way to quickly lower the volume of your output. So you can monitor your playback at both full volume and quieter levels for reference.
And c, summing all the outputs from stereo to mono. But you can quickly and easily reassign any or all of these buttons to suit your needs, here in Maestro. Just come over to Device Settings, you can see we have Touchpad Assignment, A, B, C. Just tap the one you want to change, and then select from any of these settings. For example, maybe you have two speaker sets connected to your Quartet, you could assign, engage speaker set one to a, and maybe engage speaker set two to b. And then you'll be able to quickly switch back and forth, between them, just by pressing a and b on the Quartet.
So the Maestro app is an essential part of using the Quartet, but Maestro is not a recording or audio editing app. You need to use it to set up the Quartet to meet your requirements for your recording session, but then you'll open up whatever recording app you happen to be using, whether it's Garage Band, or Aria. Or any other core audio compatible iPad app. So that's the Apogee Quartet. It really is a great sounding solid professional level audio input device. Now if you're concerned that the Quartet might be out of your price range, or even if you don't need as many inputs and outputs as it offers, Apogee also offers a similar device called the Duet.
(INAUDIBLE). Both of them record at up to 24 bit, and 192 kilohertz resolutions. And both can connect directly to your iPad or Mac without any adapters. But the Duet has just two analog inputs, two analog outputs, and a headphone jack. And it doesn't have the customizable control features like the Quartet does. But again, it does come with a smaller price tag, and might be just enough for what you need.
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