I've had my Apogee Duet 2 for about a year now, but it was until recently that I really had the chance to test out its abilities as a preamp for tracking multiple instruments and layering them together in a DAW. That said - here are my thoughts on this amazing little device:
The Duet 2, for those of you who haven't had the chance to use one, is a two line in four line out box with one button on it - that uses a set of breakout cables to handle the ins and outs. Kind of like an iPad or iPhone: it's incredibly minimal. One big knob that functions as a controller for a variety of purposes - from switching between sources, to controlling the volume - it's a very intuitive design.
The next thing to note about this device are its aesthetics. It actually looks like it was made to sit next to your MacBook Pro - as it has the same metallic finish on the sides, and black interface on the top. Sleek, small footprint on your desk (or in your bag as you travel). But don't let the size fool you. This thing makes a huge sound!
Before this I was using a Neve clone - which gave me huge tones on everything. From kick, to vocals - that preamp liked just about everything I threw at it. That said, I was a bit hesitant to move away from the classic Neve sound to this device, but had to pick up something that was a bit more travel ready. I haven't really been happier with the results!
I recently had the chance to layer live strings, guitars, vocals, and synths all through the preamp on the duet - all with great success. The sounds were clean, allowing for beautiful layers without distortion or the kind of muddiness that I was getting from the stock preamps on my Motu. All-in-all, it worked beautifully for multitracking, and has inspired me to continue trying new mic combinations for my recordings.
If you have a home studio and won't be needing more than a track or two into your interface at a time, then I really would recommend ditching your rack gear and picking up this beautiful little device by Apogee. We already knew they made some of the best A/D convertors in the world. But their work on the preamp section of this device is just stellar!
My Duet 2 will be coming along on all my travels for the foreseeable future - at least until they come out with a Duet 3.