Apogee Quartet & DM 4800 routing question


Well-Known Member
Mar 29, 2013
Gear owned
DM 4800
I'm to the point where I feel I need a Mic preamp to add a little headroom and flavor. I was also thinking about getting a upgrade in the converter section for mix down mastering. So, I came up with the idea to use the Apogee Quartet. From what I read it's got better mic preamps and conversion than the DM 4800 (please correct me, if I'm wrong). So, I feel, for the same price of a slightly better preamp, I'm getting the best of both worlds.

My question. I want to unify both the Quartet and the DM 4800. I assume this is a "routing thing". My assumption is that I hook up the Quartet to the DM 4800 via adat, then set the input of the DM to the quartet and the output of the DM to send to the Quartet. Then I would use the Quartet outs to monitor the system instead of the DM outputs?
That's pretty much it: the Apogee would replace the DM's digital output; you'd feed the summed mix into the Apogee, using its A/D - D/A conversion.

To your question: is the Apogee's conversion 'better' than the DM's? I really can't say. Perhaps the preamps would provide a different sonic character than the DM's, but to what extent and quantification, I can't say either. You'd have to ask those who've used both for their opinions.

This is just a personal hunch - based on material I've heard and opinions of engineers I've encountered: Apogee is good stuff, but in some ways, over-rated.
With little doubt, their product is a viable solution for ITB aficionados, needing better I/0 than cheaper alternatives. It's been suggested that - in a blind test - some pretty good ears had a difficult time differentiating between 'native' pres /conversion, and Apogee material. If true, that would be a very good reason to thoroughly research what may be a spendy option.

The big issue is, if anything - whether it be Apogee or something else - sounds good in YOUR environment, helping YOU to achieve better sonics and mixes, then it's a worthwhile investment. But, I also tend to think, that if you can't get it to sound great with just the DM (and maybe a plain vanilla, good quality outboard preamp), then the issue lies elsewhere.


I'm going to look into this today. I have recently been very honest with myself about my studio mixing skills. Though the mic preamps on the DM 4800 are fine for a "seasoned" professional, when I recently recorded an aspiring vocalist, I ran out of clean gain. No...I ran out of clean 'knowledge" LOL.

My next step was to get a "flavor/gain" mic preamp anyways. Though the Quartet's preamps will not fully fulfill my character needs, the projected improvement in the conversion for mixdown/mastering. If I find the apogee quartet converters to be little or no better than the DM 4800 converters, I will invest in a dedicated flavor preamp instead.
Don't waste your money on more digital crap if preamps is what you feel you need.

But, just as a heads up: I am paring down my studio, and I just sold my UA preamp because I did some head-to-head comparisons with various mics and it was almost impossible to hear the difference between it and the preamps in my DM3200. By the time the vocal was in a mix, there was no difference at all.
it was almost impossible to hear the difference between it and the preamps in my DM3200

I've been coming to similar conclusion. At one time, I owned several outboard pres and strips. Over time, I sold all of 'em except my FMR-RNNP. I still use it, simply because of convenience; the RNC is patched in and ready to fly. Saves time.

A few weeks ago, I needed to lay down a reference J-Bass track. Instead of wiring up the Countryman D/I, firing up the FMR boxes, I plugged it directly into the DM.
The section I laid down sounded better than the the previous part done with my SOP chain.

I think you know where this is going. ;)

One point into this discussion: As far as I can tell Apogee Quartet doesn't have any ADAT outputs (only inputs), so it can't be used as a substitute for DM's analog inputs. It's an USB audio interface.

Another point: Are you really sure DM's preamps and A/D converters are the weak link of your signal chain? I highly doubt. They are as good as you would ever need for almost any audio source.

Of course if you want to have
1. A preamp and/or A/D converter with better dynamic range for recording something very demanding source like a world class philharmonic orchestra
2. A preamp with some "character"
you really should need to get some additional equipment ... but I'm afraid Apogee's low-end stuff (Quartet etc) is not solution to either of these cases.
Understood! What you mentioned about the Quartet kills that idea. I did get a lot better results when I moved the Microphone (vocal booth) to a nearby, walk in closet. Its' the quietest part of the house and though it would be nice if it was bigger, the 10x6 room is a better option than in the control room where the mic picks up computer noise, birds, crickets, etc. At one point I thought i was getting a buzzing sound from the board, but when I went stand alone, that wasn't the case. I got a lot to learn.
TorchMusic said:
I did get a lot better results when I moved the Microphone
BINGO! Moving the microphone (no matter if it's just few inches or from one room to another) has far greater effect on sound than buying a new mic pre or A/D converter (if your mic pre & converter are even semi-pro quality ... and DM's ones are better than that).

TorchMusic said:
I got a lot to learn.
We all have. And the first step on becoming a great audio engineer is to understand that no matter how much you know, you have even more to learn.
I have advised about a dozen starting-out VO artists to set up their laptop recording rig in walk in closets... Between the size and the massive amount of absorption and diffusion you get from the clothes, it's just about a perfect vocal booth.

New threads

Members online