Apollo Expanded may well turn out to be the star of NAMM 2015. I’ll get the skunk on the table early on in this article - yes it’s Thunderbolt so it is only for Mac users right now. However for those Mac users investing in the latest generation of Apple Macs it is the ideal way to build a system.
It means someone can start by buying the baby Apollo Twin and then as their needs change they simply add more interfaces or horsepower in the form of Satellites.
What we have is one system that meets the needs of every user from the hobbyist to a powerful studio set-up with say 4 x Apollo 16 interfaces. At the very least 4 Apollo 16s will give you 64 channels of I/O with real-time DSP processing.
In the 1980s I went shopping with a friend for a Yamaha DX9 synth. It was the baby brother of the Yamaha DX7 synth and around £300 less to buy. In the end he bought the DX7, I asked what had changed his mind and he said “Every time I played the DX9 I would have been dreaming of playing the DX7.”
It’s a smart move by Universal Audio, it means that anyone who jumps into the Apollo Thunderbolt ecosystem is able to with confidence knowing that however meagre their first investment is that it won’t be wasted should they wish to expand later.
A system that takes Mac users from dipping their toe in the water to being the core of a powerful modern recording studio over time is in our minds a very cool thing.