You have probably collected more than a few pieces of audio hardware as a voice actor. After all, we are always looking for that special something that will make our voices sing! Apogee is hoping the ONE is the single piece of kit you will use in your Mac-based recording studio.
The ONE is a compact USB microphone and digital audio interface. And with a 2.25” x 4.75” footprint it is actually small enough to fit in your pocket. But you probably would not want to do that with a sensitive piece of audio equipment.
A USB 2.0 cable powers and connects the ONE to your Apple computer. Other connections include a breakout port and cable that sports one balanced XLR microphone preamp input and one unbalanced ¼” instrument input for all you musicians out there. There is also an ⅛” stereo headphone jack that doubles as an output to powered monitor.
At the heart of the ONE is the encoder knob. Just like its big brother, the Duet, a simple click and twist of the knob can select and adjust most of the ONE’s features. You do have to use the included Maestro software to switch between the internal mic, external mic and instrument input.
Apogee is known for the quality of its analog to digital and digital to analog conversion. That is the process that converts sound into a digital signal on your computer and then back into an analog signal you can hear. When using an external microphone, the ONE actually lives up to the company’s stellar reputation. But there is some room for improvement.
The ONE did work with my power-hungry Shure SM7B dynamic mic, but the input was very low. I could not get it to record at the optimum levels even with the knob turned up to its maximum input. But when I connected a Rode NT1-A condenser mic it reached proper levels with little to no noise. The VO audio recorded through the ONE on my NT1-A was smooth and warm – very similar to the sound I get from the Duet. It truly is studio quality recording. And that is surprising coming from such a small interface.
But the ONE has something that most other interfaces in its class do not, a built-in condenser microphone. The mic records some respectable audio. But as expected, it cannot stand up to a full-size condenser mic with a 1” capsule. Plus there is no real pop filter to stop the puffs of air that come from hard consonant sounds.
If you like traveling light, I could see using this neat little unit to set up a portable studio with just the ONE and a MacBook. The sound quality from the internal mic is not perfect, but it is good enough to record auditions. You get a lot of value here for the MSRP of $249. Take a listen to my recording samples and judge for yourself.