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Apogee ONE v Yamaha Audiogram 3 v others?

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by TaylorTay, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. TaylorTay

    TaylorTay Active Member

    Hi there. New to the forum. Did a little bit of searching on my topic but I'm still a bit curious so I hope you haven't judged me for making a post without searching. Because I did search. :p

    Anywho, I have only gotten into recording in the last year or so. I got myself a MicroKORG XL a year or so ago, and was using GarageBand on my Mac along with the built-in soundcard and a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter on the Line In jack - I could do stuff with my MicroKORG and my cheapo Strat.. Though producing some significant noise, it was enough for the basic sort of demos that I was doing.

    I've upgraded to a MacBook Pro now, and I plan on getting Logic Studio at some point soon (I'm really keen on using MainStage for gigging - being able to take all of your software instruments and setups from your song project straight onto the stage, not to mention all the looping/backing track stuff.) Alas, my new MBP 13" only has one jack, which can alternate between input and output.

    Though I was planning on buying an audio interface at some point so that I'd actually have some decent sound quality, this has forced me to make that decision somewhat more quickly. Now, I'm unsure about what one to get.

    The Apogee ONE ($300 AUD - about the top of my budget) has rave reviews everywhere I look, in terms of sound quality. Another advantage for me is that it has a built in condenser mic - at the moment I use the direct input from the vocoder microphone of my MicroKORG when I need to do vocals, and though it's not great quality, it does the job. The condenser mic on the Apogee ONE is of course not made for vocals, but I imagine it would be useful for recording acoustic instruments, and reviews seem to say that the quality is surprisingly good, probably enough for what I'd need it for since I'm not doing professional level recording yet. Additionally many people have said that if you're using a Mac, Apogee is the way to go without a doubt.

    However, the ONE only has two inputs - an XLR and a 1/4" jack. That would be fine for my guitar, but it would be preferable to record my MicroKORG in stereo I suppose due to all the panning effects on certain synth patches. Additionally I don't have a microphone at the moment (except the MK one as mentioned) so the XLR input is not necessarily useful.

    A local music store has the Yamaha Audiogram 3 interface. That has a combo jack for XLR and 1/4" input, as well as a stereo input with 1/4" or RCA jacks - I'd be using the 1/4" jacks with guitar leads from my MicroKORG. It's also a good $90 AUD cheaper. However, I've struggled to find reviews online, and Apogee's recording equipment is used much more professionally than Yamaha's.

    With that $90, I could buy a microphone, or put it towards an SM57/SM58. In fact, considering that I have no other professional equipment (I'm using computer speakers and Sennheiser earbuds for mixing - don't shoot me! I'm not professional yet!) I could get a much cheaper interface with just stereo 1/4" jack input, and put the rest of the cash towards getting some monitors.

    I'm not exactly sure which way to go. For my needs (recording internet-demo-quality stuff one track at a time) do I need something with the quality of the Apogee ONE? Would I be better off getting something with a stereo input? I haven't looked at all at anything from M-Audio, Line 6 or other brands - what sort of products do they have in the <$300 range?

    I essentially want to get the greatest sound quality for my budget. Will buying one really good interface (like the ONE) and having nothing left over be better than buying a cheap interface ($100) and then getting some other equipment like decent mics?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You've already created your reply by saying you need to record two channels from the Korg. For Apogee, that means the Duet or better. Cheap is never the way to go. Never ever.
  3. TaylorTay

    TaylorTay Active Member

    As sick as you all must get of hearing this sort of reply, I don't have $600 for a Duet. :p
    The thing is that with my not-at-all-audiophilic output equipment would I even be able to hear the difference between a Yamaha interface and an Apogee interface?
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Yes. You would be able to hear the difference between Apogee and the cheap end of Yamaha. Keep saving. That is my best recommendation. There can't be any urgent need to buy now is there?
  5. TaylorTay

    TaylorTay Active Member

    It's not really urgent, but I don't have any means of recording onto my current laptop due to the aforementioned lack of a line in input on my laptop.

    Are there any other brands/models I should be looking at for my purposes (two simultaneous inputs/one stereo input at a time)? Regardless of price? Or is the Duet pretty much the best you can get for that market?

    I've had a look at some of the M-Audio products in this range and there's the MobilePre and the FastTrack Pro, both cheaper than the ONE but with more inputs. It's a case of quantity over quality I assume?
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Can you get the Audient Mico dual pre-amp for a reasonable cost in Australia? Since the Mico has built-in A-D converters, you can plug it directly into the optical S/PDIF input on a Mac Pro and get excellent results.
  7. TaylorTay

    TaylorTay Active Member

    Boswell, it's a MacBook Pro, not a Mac Pro, and though I believe the input is S/PDIF, there's only one jack - it can only be used for output or input at any time.
    I need a USB interface.
    Thanks for the comment though.
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Sorry, yes I knew it was a Macbook Pro, but my shorthand confused it with the desktop model.

    All the Macbook Pros that I have used (and that's a fair number over the years) have all been 15" or 17", and have had an audio input and an audio output connector. Both of these connectors are dual digital/optical so can be used with a stereo audio minijack or with an optical minijack using S/PDIF protocol. Unfortunately you have the 13" Macbook Pro, which I see has only one connector that provides optical digital output but not optical input. This makes the 13" Macbook Pro not useful for the Audient Mico, which is a great shame.

    However, another excellent small interface that is worth your while looking at is the RME Babyface. This is a USB unit with both inputs and outputs, and has considerable expansion capabilities.

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