Duet 2 (USB): Troubleshooting

Mac Audio Optimization Guide

When streaming audio through an interface connected to your Mac, there are many factors that can cause the audio to have artifacts such as pops or clicks, stutters, or dropouts as you play or record. Use this guide to optimize your Mac computer to reduce the chances of this from happening.
  • In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Energy Saver set Computer Sleep to Never. Make sure “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” is NOT checked.

  • In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network and make sure to remove any unused Network Adapters.  For example remove “Bluetooth PAN” “Thunderbolt Bridge” “Firewire” et al.  Having a port that shares a Bus with your Audio Hardware here can limit its bandwidth.

  • In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall make sure Firewall is Off.

  • In Apple Menu > System Preferences > Users & Groups > Admin Account > Login Items and remove any Startup items.

  • In Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility select Macintosh HD and click Repair Disk Permissions. Repeat this for any other Hard Drives you have connected.

  • If you are using a USB Audio Interface, such as Duet, try all the USB ports as one may work better than another due to how the internal ports are hubbed.

  • Be sure you have tried another USB, Thunderbolt or Firewire Cable.

  • In System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy Tab > Analytics (could say Diagnostics and Usage), un-check the boxes for Share Mac Analytics, Share with App Developers, and Share iCloud Analytics. You may also want to disable Locations services found in this same Privacy Tab to further reduce background network traffic.
After these steps please RESTART the Computer.

While you are recording:

  • Check that any Virus Scanners or Backup software (i.e. Hightail or Carbonite) that run in the background are disabled.  High background activity especially over the Network can cause glitches.

  • Close any unnecessary applications while recording (i.e. Skype or Browsers you are not actively using.)

  • Be sure that you record to a separate Hard Drive from your System/OS drive.

Volume and Gain are changing by themselves – Auto Gain Control

If your Apogee’s Input Gain or Output Volume are changing on their own, this may be caused by a 3rd-party program like Skype, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, and others.

How is this possible? All modern Apogee interfaces have input gain and output volume that are digitally controlled rather than an analog potentiometer that must be physically turned. The advantages of digital control are many:

  • Improved Sound Quality (turning the gain doesn’t cause a “scratchy” sound, and enables the advantages of our Step-Gain preamp technology)
  • Settings can be saved to presets that can be recalled later.
  • You can also control these settings directly from recording applications like Logic or Garageband’s Device Control feature instead of having to open a separate app.

Unfortunately, other applications are also able to take over these controls in an undesirable way. Most often the culprit are Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) applications like Skype or GoToMeeting, or video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts, as well as Video Podcast features like Facebook Live.

These apps want to optimize the sound as much as possible for phone & video calls or recordings. This feature is usually called “Auto-Gain Control” and is actually pretty great when the computer’s built-in microphone and speakers are being used. However it’s very disruptive when you want to manually set the levels of your own interface and have them stay there.

Sadly, many of these applications do not provide you with the ability to turn off this Auto-Gain Control feature.

There are many applications out there, but there are a few that are most popular that we’ll briefly cover:

SKYPE: Can disable auto-gain 👍

The more recent versions of this app provide the ability to turn off AutoGain Control. The example below shows the Mac version. The iOS app is restricted to only using the built-in iPad/iPhone mic and can’t use external sound cards.

Google Hangouts: Cannot turn off auto-gain 👎

On a Mac, Hangouts typically needs a Chrome or Safari browser extension installed. None of the settings menus provide an option to turn off auto-gain. Even worse: even if you are not in a hangouts session but your web browser is open, the hangouts plugin will still be active and can adjust the gain on you. If you are in a DAW or recording program at the time, this is obviously bad. Turn off or disable the extension to avoid this:

Safari Browser:
 

 

Chrome Browser:
 

 

Facebook Live: Cannot turn off auto-gain 👎

The Facebook Live interface only allows you to select your interface, there are no audio options beyond that so if it is adjusting your Apogee’s levels there is no way to turn it off.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes. At least on a Mac or PC there are 3rd-party programs that stream through Facebook Live, or Twitch, or YouTube, and has extensive audio features. Apogee does our Facebook Live streams using an open source broadcaster software called OBS. There are many other such programs out there so look around to find one that serves your needs.

On an iPad or iPhone, you are limited by the capabilities of the iOS operating system and the app you are using, so there are usually even fewer options to get around the auto-gain problem.

The ability to disable Auto-Gain should be added to these apps by the developer. Please contact the maker of the program or iOS app you use and ask them to add this feature in a future update. Getting many requests from customers is the only way developers will know there is a demand for this.

 

*If you know of a better way around this problem, please contact our Support Team and let us know!

Do Apogee USB products (Groove, ONE, Duet, GiO, MiC, JAM, Quartet) work with the latest MacBook?

Question:

Do Apogee’s current USB products (Groove, ONE for Mac, ONE for iPad & Mac, Duet 2, Duet for iPad & Mac, GiO, MiC, MiC 96k, JAM, JAM 96k, Quartet) work with the 2015/2016 12″ MacBook?

 

Answer:

Yes. The 2015/2016 12″ MacBook includes a USB-C port. Since USB-C uses a different size port and connector than traditional USB ‘Type A’, you will need to use an Apple USB-C to USB adapter to connect any USB device with a traditional ‘Type A’ connection, such as Apogee’s line of USB audio interfaces, to this port.

Apogee’s line of USB audio interfaces are also fully compatible with the 2016 MacBook Pro, as outlined in this post.

 

*It should be noted that Apogee’s Thunderbolt products will NOT work with the 2015/2016 12″ MacBook.

 

Click for information about compatibility with Apogee’s Thunderbolt products and the 2015/2016 12″ MacBook.

Click for information about compatibility with Apogee’s Thunderbolt products and the 2016 MacBook Pro.

Click for more information on the differences between USB-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

 

 

 

 

Do Apogee USB products (Groove, ONE, Duet, GiO, MiC, JAM, Quartet) work with the 2016 MacBook Pro?

Question:

Do Apogee’s current USB products (Groove, ONE for Mac, ONE for iPad & Mac, Duet 2, Duet for iPad & Mac, GiO, MiC, MiC 96k, JAM, JAM 96k, Quartet) work with the 2016 MacBook Pro?

 

Answer:

Yes. The 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar includes Thunderbolt 3 ports, which can also be used to connect USB devices. Since Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C use the same size ports and cables, you will need to use an Apple USB-C to USB adapter to connect any USB device with a traditional ‘Type A’ connection, such as Apogee’s line of USB audio interfaces, to these ports.

Apogee’s line of USB audio interfaces are also fully compatible with the 2015/2016 12″ MacBook, as outlined in this post.

 

*It should be noted that Apogee’s Thunderbolt products will NOT work with the 2015/2016 12″ MacBook.

 

Click for information about compatibility with Apogee’s Thunderbolt products and the 2016 MacBook Pro.

Click for information about compatibility with Apogee’s Thunderbolt products and the 2015/2016 12″ MacBook.

Click for more information on the differences between USB-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Signal not showing up where it’s supposed to and routing incorrect in Pro Tools

If your signal isn’t showing up correctly in Pro Tools, coming out of Pro Tools to the desired outputs, or if the routing isn’t showing up as expected, there are a few things to check. Look below for the section that applies to the Apogee product you’re using:

 

JAM, JAM 96k, MiC, MiC 96k, Groove

  • Confirm that the device you’re using is selected as the ‘Playback Engine’ in Pro Tools by going to the the ‘Setup’ dropdown menu in Pro Tools and selecting ‘Playback Engine’. Make sure your Apogee device is selected in the ‘Playback Engine’ dropdown menu at the top of the window. If you are using JAM or MiC, you will first need to create a ‘Pro Tools Aggregate I/O’ and then you will select ‘Pro Tools Aggregate I/O’ as your ‘Playback Engine’. Click here for setting up JAM for Pro Tools.  Click here for setting up MiC for Pro Tools.
  • You may need to reset the I/O paths in Pro Tools. This is a very common thing. Click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘I/O’. Once the I/O Setup opens, select all of the channels in the left-hand column and hit ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.  After you’ve deleted them, click the ‘Default’ button in the lower part of the screen. Follow the same steps for each tab in I/O Setup. Once you have gone through these steps in each tab, click the ‘OK’ button to confirm changes and exit.

 

ONE (every model), GiO, Duet (every model), Quartet, Ensemble (every model)

  • Confirm that you are using the correct inputs/outputs on your device. Click here for instructions on how to setup ONE.  Click here for instructions on how to setup Duet.  Click here for instructions on how to setup Quartet.
  • Confirm that the device you’re using is selected as the ‘Playback Engine’ in Pro Tools by going to the the ‘Setup’ dropdown menu in Pro Tools and selecting ‘Playback Engine’. Make sure your Apogee device is selected in the ‘Playback Engine’ dropdown menu at the top of the window.
  • Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ and click the ‘Reset Routing’ button in both the ‘Input Routing’ and ‘Output Routing’ tabs. If you’re using an Avid Duet or Avid Quartet, you will use ‘Pro Tools I/O Control’ app instead of Maestro. Click here if you need to download the Pro Tools I/O Control app for Avid Duet or Quartet.
  • You may need to reset the I/O paths in Pro Tools. This is a very common thing. Click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘I/O’. Once the I/O Setup opens, select all of the channels in the left-hand column and hit ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.  After you’ve deleted them, click the ‘Default’ button in the lower part of the screen. Follow the same steps for each tab in I/O Setup. Once you have gone through these steps in each tab, click the ‘OK’ button to confirm changes and exit.

Symphony I/O, Symphony I/O MkII, AD16x, DA16x, Rosetta 200, Rosetta 800

 

 

My Avid Duet isn’t showing up in Maestro

If you are using the ‘Avid Duet for Pro Tools’ (the all-black version that comes bundled with Pro Tools software), it will not show up in the ‘Apogee Maestro’ application. You will need to install the ‘Pro Tools I/O Control’ app from Avid’s website. Once you download and install this app, you should launch the ‘Pro Tools Duet Firmware Updater’ (found in Applications>Utilities>’Pro Tools Duet Firmware Updater’) and confirm that the firmware is up to date and then launch the ‘Pro Tools I/O Control’ app from your Applications folder.

Click here to find the appropriate download for either Mac or Windows. Make sure you select the download for ‘Duet’ and not ‘Quartet’.

Duet, Quartet, and Ensemble Thunderbolt’s 1/4″ and XLR inputs explained

When using Duet2, Duet for iPad & Mac, Quartet, and Ensemble Thunderbolt, it is important to remember that any of the dual XLR-1/4″ combo jacks are set up so when the input is set to ‘Mic’ or ‘Line’ (+4dBu or -10dBV), only the XLR part of the jack will receive signal. This means that you will need to use an XLR cable or a cable with an XLR adapter connected to it.

The same is true in reverse- when the input is set for ‘Instrument’, only the 1/4″ part of the jack will receive signal.  This means that you will need to use a 1/4″ cable.

 

Here are some examples for setting up different types of input sources on Duet, Quartet, and Ensemble Thunderbolt:

 

Mics

Connect your Mic using only an XLR cable (no 1/4″ adapters or cables) to the XLR input jacks on your Apogee device.

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Input’ tab and ‘Analog Level’ drop-down menu for whichever input you’re using to ‘Mic’.

If you’re using a condenser mic that requires phantom power, engage the ’48′ button on the input you’re using.

Gradually bring the input level in Maestro up until you get a good level from your input source. Make sure the meter isn’t going into the red.

 

 

Guitars, Basses, Keyboards, Hi-Z Mics that have 1/4″ cables, such as harmonica mics:

Connect your Instrument using only a 1/4″ instrument cable to the 1/4″  input jacks. (be sure that you’re connecting to the 1/4″ inputs on the combo XLR-1/4″ jacks and not the 1/4″ output jacks)

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Input’ tab and ‘Analog Level’ drop-down menu for whichever input you’re using to ‘Instrument’.

Gradually bring the input level in Maestro up until you get a good level from your input source. Make sure the meter isn’t going into the red.

 

Sending Line-Level audio to your Apogee device and bypassing it’s mic-pres

Connect the output from your line-level piece of gear (such as a compressor or external mic-pre) to the XLR input jacks. If your Line-Level device only has 1/4″ outputs, you will need to use balanced 1/4″ to male XLR cables. You can’t use the 1/4″ input jacks on your Apogee device, as they are only used for guitars/basses/keyboards.

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Input’ tab and ‘Analog Level’ drop-down menu for whichever input you’re using to ‘+4dBu’ (for use with professional audio gear) or ‘-10dBv’ (for use with consumer audio gear).

 

Why are the input and output level/volume popup indicators not showing up?

Several Apogee products have pop-up level indicator graphics that will appear on the desktop of your Mac when the input and output levels are adjusted from the device or from the Mac’s keyboard volume buttons.

 

If the pop-ups aren’t appearing, there are a few things to check:

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ from your Applications folder, click on the ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ drop-down desktop menu and select ‘Preferences’. Confirm that the ‘Display pop-ups’ checkbox is checked. If you don’t see this option, then pop-ups aren’t available for the product you’re using.

 

If you’ve confirmed that the ‘Display pop-ups’ checkbox is checked and you’re still not getting the pop-ups, try the following:

 

– Unplug/replug your Apogee device

– Restart your Mac

– Launch ‘Activity Monitor’ (Applications> Utilities> ‘Activity Monitor’), click the ‘View’ drop-down desktop menu and select ‘All Processes’. Type ‘apogeepopup’ in the searchbar in the upper right-side corner of Activity Monitor. Once you see ‘ApogeePopup’ displayed in the list, highlight it and force-quit the process by clicking the ‘X’ button in the upper left-side corner of Activity Monitor. Wait a few seconds and you should see the popups again after adjusting input/output level.

 

*Note for Duet Firewire and Ensemble Firewire customers*

There was a known issue with pop-ups not working for Duet Firewire and Ensemble Firewire when using any version of Mac OS 10.8. It is recommended that you use either a version of Mac OS earlier than 10.8 or later than 10.9.

 

 

Why do I only hear the left output channel when recording with ONE or Duet in Garageband?

Note- if you are experiencing audio in one output channel only when using the CAMERA APP, please click here. The article below is for GARAGEBAND.

If you’re only hearing sound from the left output channel when recording with ONE for iPad & Mac or Duet for iPad & Mac in Garageband (or other apps), this is most likely because you’re using a stereo track when you need to be using a mono track.

 

If you create a MONO track in Garagband, it will send your input out both Left & Right output channels. When you create a stereo track in Garageband, it will hard-pan both inputs, so input 1 goes out only the left and input 2 goes out only the right. This is why you’re only hearing sound in 1 channel. Stereo tracks are typically used for stereo mic situations or if a keyboard has a stereo output.

 

Here are some videos on how to set up ONE with Garageband (you can also apply these videos to Duet):

 

 

For Mac:

 

 

 

 

 

For iPad/iPhone:

 

Not getting sound/no output from Duet

Please go through these steps to ensure that everything is set up properly:

 

Setting up Duet’s inputs:

 

Mics

Connect your Mic using only an XLR cable (no 1/4″ adapters or cables) to the XLR input 1 or 2 of Duet’s breakout cable.

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Input’ tab and ‘Analog Level’ drop-down menu for whichever input you’re using for ‘Mic’.

If you’re using a condenser mic that requires phantom power, engage the ’48’ button on the input you’re using.

Gradually bring the input level in Maestro up until you get a good level from your input source. Make sure the meter isn’t going into the red.

 

Guitars, Basses, Keyboards, Hi-Z Mics that have 1/4″ cables, such as harmonica mics:
Connect your Instrument using only a 1/4″ instrument cable to the 1/4″  input 1 or 2 of Duet’s breakout cable. Make sure you’re plugging into one of the input connectors (the fat ones that are dual XLR and 1/4″) and not the 1/4″ output connectors.

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Input’ tab and ‘Analog Level’ drop-down menu for whichever input you’re using to ‘Instrument’.

Gradually bring the input level in Maestro up until you get a good level from your input source. Make sure the meter isn’t going into the red.

 

Sending Line-Level audio to Duet and bypassing Duet’s mic-pres

Connect the output from your line-level piece of gear (such as a compressor or external mic-pre) to the XLR input 1 or 2 of Duet’s breakout cable. If your device only has 1/4″ outputs, you will need to use balanced 1/4″ to male XLR cables. You can’t use the 1/4″ input jacks on Duet’s breakout cable.

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Input’ tab and ‘Analog Level’ drop-down menu for whichever input you’re using and set to ‘+4dBu’ (for use with professional audio gear) or ‘-10dBv’ (for use with consumer audio gear).

 

 

Setting up Duet’s outputs:

 

Using Duet with DAW or audio playback software:

– Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Output’ tab and set the Speaker output and Headphone output to ‘Out 1-2’ (the drop-down menus under the software output knobs)

– Confirm that the mute or dim buttons aren’t engaged in Maestro’s output tab.

 

Using Duet without any software- input directly to output:

– Launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, go to the ‘Output’ tab and set the Speaker output and Headphone output to ‘Mixer’ (the drop-down menus under the software output knobs)

– Confirm that the mute or dim buttons aren’t engaged in Maestro’s output tab.

For more on using the Maestro Mixer, see this article: Read More