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Entries in thunderbolt (20)

Focusrite Saffire PRO 26 Audio Interface Released - Video

Focusrite have today announced the Saffire PRO 26 audio interface.

The Saffire Pro 26 is a 18 in/8 out interface using FireWire or Thunderbolt™*

Saffire PRO 26 connects to a Thunderbolt port via a FireWire to Thunderbolt adaptor (not included) or directly to a FireWire 800 port with the cable provided. Focusrite claim that its dual-protocol compatibility (Firewire and Thunderbolt) means it will work seamlessly for years to come with the next generation of computers. The unit has four mic/line pres, two of which have high-impedance instrument capability and 8dB pads, plus two additional TRS inputs; two independently-controlled headphone outputs, six TRS line outputs and a ‘loopback’ facility for routing audio between software applications via Saffire MixControl.

For more information watch the Focusrite Saffire PRO 26 video here

Pro Tools HD Rack System with Magma Roben Chassis - Video

Our friends at Absolute Music have produced this video showing an install of a Pro Tools HD system using the Magma Roben.

The video features their product specialist Tom Osborne who talks you through their latest Pro Tools HD build.

Using the Magma Roben-3TS-R PCIe to Thunderbolt chassis, a Mac Mini server as the main CPU and the Sonnet RackMac Mini. This means that everything is easily rack mountable. The set-up is all running from an APC UPS.

Sonnet Thunderbolt Chassis Now Qualified By Avid For Pro Tools HD

Look at what we found out about at BVE in London. Avid have qualified Sonnet’s Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis range for use with Pro Tools HD Native and most importantly Pro Tools HDX. We will bring you more details as we get them but we saw both the rack mount version on the HHB stand and the desktop version on the Holdan stand who are UK distributors for Sonnet.  

Sonnet claim they are whisper quiet, which was hard to verify scientifically on a noisy trade show floor but Mike had to put his ear very close to the desktop version to hear anything at all and was very impressed with what he didn’t hear! They use big slow spinning fans and have plenty of natural ventilation all of which will help to make sure they are as quiet as possible.

Our friends at HHB are very impressed too, they feel this is the solution that we have been looking for.  We are arranging to get a chassis for review as soon as we can arrange it so we can check it out in much more controlled conditions.

The Echo Express II will take 2 cards and is good for an HD Native system and other half length cards, and the Echo Express III can take up to 3 full length cards and is good for 3 HDX cards which would be a monster system. The rack mount Echo Express III also has two 5.25” bays that can put a range of options into including fitting 4 SSD drives into one bay and with the price of SSD drives dropping this again makes for a very powerful and versatile unit to use with all the contemporary Mac computers.

Universal Audio Talk About The New UAD Apollo Twin Audio Interface 

Jed from Universal Audio sat down with Russ Hughes from Pro Tools Expert for this exclusive interview about the UAD Apollo Twin desktop UAD powered interface.

Find out more here.


UAD Apollo Twin Audio Interface Review 

James from Pro Tools Expert gets an exclusive first look at the new UAD Apollo Twin desktop audio interface from Universal Audio, find out what he thinks in this extended show and tell video review.

How Quiet Are Magma Chassises? - A User Report

Stuart McCredie got in touch with us to report his finding whilst using his MacBook Pro in response to our story on the new and Old Mac Pro.

In that response Stuart also commented…

Heavy use tracking the band all week via thunderbolt chassis & HDX. Faultless. 

So in the light of concerns about the noise levels from Magma chassises we asked Stuart to expand on his experiences with a Magma chassis and his 15” Retina MacBook Pro with Haswell 2.6GHz, 16GB ram & 1TB ssd. Stuart told us…

The Magma EB3T with the quiet fan they retro fitted on its lowest setting (which Avid don’t recommend) is just about usable in the room you’re mixing in.

You can’t record any vocals or acoustics with it on. I’d say it’s not as quiet as my old 12 core Pro. I’ve emailed Magma about it & waiting to hear back. I have no idea about the noise generated by the new Roben chassis fans (seems likely it’ll have been designed for machine rooms to me) but the new Sonnet Echo Express III is meant to be the quietest yet. But I really don’t want to have to consider a rackmounted solution as the portability of the Magma is great.

Magma & Avid need to find a quieter portable solution. I was horrified when I first got mine & set up the initial fan they sent me as per Avid’s instructions. Its clearly designed to be portable & sit next to a laptop or iMac, but it is so noisy that it needs to be in a machine room or iso-rack yet thunderbolt cables at that point on 2m in length. The 10m Thunderbolt cable that Apple now sell in the Apple Store will help but all in all its a bit of a shame. 

Do you have any experieces of the current Magma chassises, especially the Thunderbolt capable ones? How noisy do you find them?  Can you track with them in the room? Have you tried using any of the other Thunderbolt expanion chassises like the Sonnet one that Stuart referred too? Please do tell us your experiences whether they are good or bad, Thanks.

Magma to Offer Thunderbolt 2 Equipped Express Box & ROBEN-3 Systems

Our friends at Magma have announced that their ExpressBox 1T, the ExpressBox 3T, the ROBEN-3TX and the ROBEN-3TS will be Thunderbolt 2 capable and will be ready to ship by the end of February and good news, these Thunderbolt 2 systems will be the same price as the original Thunderbolt versions.  

Thunderbolt 2 upgrade kit $99

In March, Magma will also offer an upgrade option that allows customers to upgrade their existing Thunderbolt systems to Thunderbolt 2 for only $99.00 but this offer will only be available for a limited period. There will be upgrade kits for the Thunderbolt enabled Magma EB1T, EB3T, ROBEN-3TS, and ROBEN-3TX units. 

Mac Pro ready

This will be good news for any new Mac Pro owners or anyone planning to use an expansion chassis with a new Mac Pro which has Thunderbolt 2 capability.

Apogee Announces Symphony Thunderbolt Compatibility with Apple’s New Mac Pro

Apogee Electronics is pleased to announce its multi-channel Thunderbolt™ audio recording solution featuring Symphony I/O and Symphony 64 | ThunderBridge is now fully compatible with the new Apple Mac Pro. We reviewed the Symphony I/O back in September 2013 and it is clearly a great solution for HDX and portable users and this adds another piece to the jigsaw puzzle so that purchasers of the new Apple Mac Pro can use the Thunderbolt version of the Apogee Symphony.

Magma Roben-3 Series Details & Pricing

We have posted some basic information about the latest Roben-3 Thunderbolt pci-e slot chassis solutions from our friends at Magma. Now we can tell you lots more about this solution.

Magma has announced three new Thunderbolt™ to PCIe Expansion products. ROBEN-3 is designed to be the “ultimate sidekick” expansion solution for creative professionals.

ROBEN-3 features 3-slots of PCIe expansion capacity with a robust, high speed backplane. The rack-mountable aluminum chassis was designed for integrated removable storage expansion, with room for up to 8 hot pluggable 2.5” SSD, SAS or SATA hard drives. This added power can be channeled through lightning fast Thunderbolt technology at 10Gbps, with the option of 20Gbps bandwidth with the roll-out of Thunderbolt 2 capable devices. With 3-Slot PCIe and internal storage expansion, ROBEN-3 empowers the serious audio, video, and design professional to transform their computer into a powerful workstation - a sidekick for the creative hero. 

ROBEN-3 also allows you the option to host a Mac mini within the chassis creating an integrated rackmount server with direct Thunderbolt connection to 3-slot PCIe expansion slots. Mac mini external connectivity is provided through the front and rear panels, including a secure iLok housing allowing you to lock your valuable application or plug-in licenses right to the chassis.

Release Date: 
Mid-November in North America and worldwide availability in December. 
ROBEN-3TX - 3 Slot Thunderbolt to PCIe Expansion chassis $1399
ROBEN-3TS - 3 Slot Thunderbolt to PCIe Expansion with 8 drive bays $1799
ROBEN-3TM - 3 Slot Thunderbolt to PCIe Expansion for Mac mini $1799
Rackmount option for any of the above $100

More information here


Introducing The Lynx LT-TB Thunderbolt Card

Our friends at Source Distribution have let us know that Lynx Studio have announced the LT-TB Thunderbolt L-Slot card, bringing true Thunderbolt compatibility to both Lynx Aurora and Hilo converters.

This two-port Thunderbolt expansion card supports daisy-chaining up to 6 Aurora and Hilo converters per-port on both Apple and Windows computers. The LT-TB and accompanying Aurora and Hilo models are the first Thunderbolt audio devices certified for Windows as well as Mac. 

Available as both separate card, or pre-installed as a bundle package with a saving overall.

UK Pricing and availability






Jan 2014



Dec 2013



Dec 2013



Dec 2013

This is a smart move as it enables users to retain their interface and update it to the latest computer connectivity. Mike reviewed the Aurora together with the LT-HD card for use with Pro Tools HD and HDX systems. With this Thunderbolt card it would be possible to use the same interface with a Thunderbolt equipped computer out on the road.

Click to read more ...

Unboxing And Show And Tell Of The Magma ExpressBox 3T 

In this video James unboxes the new 3T chassis from Magma. He installs an HDX card and runs up Pro Tools to see how the ExpressBox 3T handles an HD session with video. For full spec and price click here.

Pro Tools Thunderbolt HD Running On A Hackintosh At 192K 32 bit

Shane responds to some questions regarding his first videos showing a Hackintosh running Pro Tools Thunderbolt HD.

Sonnet Echo Express III Offers Serious Rackmount Thunderbolt Connectivity

For those looking for a Thunderbolt option for Pro Tools HDX or Native cards, then the Sonnet Echo Express may just fit the bill, it’s not cheap at around £1000 UK, but it looks very cool. In their words…

3-Slot Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis for PCIe Cards

Sonnet’s Echo Express III enables you to connect three compatible full-size professional video capture, audio interface, and other special-purpose cards to your iMac, Mac mini, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro with a Thunderbolt port. The Echo Express III integrates a universal 300W power supply and includes a 75W auxiliary power connector for cards that require supplementary power. Even with all that power, the III is enviro-friendly; it automatically powers on/off when the connected computer powers on/off or sleeps. The use of larger, slower-spinning fans in the Echo Express III makes it the quietest Echo chassis yet. Two Thunderbolt ports support daisy chaining of up to six devices to a single port on your computer.


Click to read more ...

Pro Tools PC Release More Info - Enough To Tempt This Apple Fanboy

Neil and the guys over at Pro Tools PC have updated their site with more info on the Pro Tools PC project.

I have to say that I’m impressed with the features cited… enough to wonder what I’ll do if Apple fail to deliver me a new Mac Pro sometime in the next decade. Bearing in mind that these machines are ‘Hackintosh’ compatible it does make me consider my options. Now if only I could blag a free one…

More here

Intel Doubles Speed Of Thunderbolt

As if Thunderbolt wasn’t fast enough already, Intel have announced a speed bump of their technology up to 20Gbps.

More and more peripherals and interfaces are arriving on the scene for audio and creative professionals, such as the highly acclaimed Apollo series and Avid Thunderbolt HD Native, but as yet many users are yet to invest in it.

Apple insider write;

The high-speed tech, code-named Falcon Ridge, allows for simultaneous 4K video file transfer and display over two I/O channels.

Driving the tech will be a new Thunderbolt controller, currently designated by the codename Redwood Ridge, which is expected to be integrated with Intel’s fourth-generation Core processor lineup this year. Improvements over the previous Cactus Ridge controller are DisplayPort 1.2 capability when connecting to native DP displays, improved power management and a supposed decrease in material cost. “

Anything that increases data throughput for media professionals is welcome news. Watch this space.

UA Announce Apollo 16 Interface - Exclusive Video 

Last week, we were invited by Universal Audio to meet with them and see the new Apollo 16 audio interface and talk about it with UA’s Jed Allen. Of course we jumped at the chance.

We’ve been very excited since seeing this - an Apollo 16 and Pro Tools 11 may well be a killer system.

Apollo 16 is targeted at professional studio installations and pro-sumer home recordists looking for a no-compromise recording interface. It will also appeal to adjacent audio markets like Post-production, Broadcast, and Live Sound.

 Key Features

  • UA’s flagship audio interface with 16 x 16 analog I/O and best-in-class conversion 
  • Onboard UAD-2 QUAD DSP Processing runs the full library of 60+ UAD Powered plug-insboth in real time, for sub-2ms tracking/monitoring, and during DAW mixing 
  • Twice the analog connectivity of the original Apollo — ideal for professional facilities with mixing console, outboard analog hardware, cue/headphone systems, etc.
  • Connects to compatible Mac or Win 7 machines via FireWire 800* or Thunderbolt Option card (Mac only - sold separately)
  • Plug-Ins from the biggest names in the business 
  • Additional UAD DSP Accelerator horsepower available during mixing

Full Spec 

  • UA’s flagship FireWire/Thunderbolt-ready audio interface for Mac and Windows 7* 
  • 16 x 16 analog I/O via DB-25 connectors — ideal for professional mixing consoles, outboard preamps, etc
  • Realtime UAD-2 QUAD processing for low-latency (sub-2ms) tracking and mixing w/ UAD Powered Plug-Ins
  • Thunderbolt Option Card for next-generation connectivity to compatible Macs 
  • Multi-unit cascading merges two Apollo 16 units for 32 x 32 analog I/O 
  • Four stereo Cue mixes with fully assignable outputs  
  • PT Mode allows easy insertion of outboard analog hardware in Pro Tools**
  • New Virtual I/O feature for Realtime UAD Processing of virtual instruments and DAW tracks 
  • Includes “Analog Classics” plug-ins: LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler, 1176LN Limiting Amplifier, and Pultec EQP-1A EQ 
  • Full recall of interface and plug-in settings in DAW sessions via Console Recall plug-in (VST/RTAS/AU)
  • Includes dedicated XLR monitor outs; 2 x 2 channels of AES-EBU digital I/O 
  • Basic stand-alone mode for persistent mixing without a computer
  • Full compatibility with UAD-2 DSP Accelerator systems 
  • VST, AU, RTAS, and 64-bit plug-in support

For more info visit UA

Blackmagic Announce New Video Interfaces In The Ultra Studio Range

Blackmagic have added the Mini Monitor and Mini Recorder to the Express to broaden the range of the UltraStudio range of Thunderbolt video interfaces. Blackmagic are stating these are supported in Pro Tools but Avid’s compatibility charts don’t yet reflect this. They say…

When you need tiny sized portable video capture and playback for your Thunderbolt laptop or desktop computer then UltraStudio Express and UltraStudio Mini are the perfect solution. You get an extremely affordable solution with high quality SD and HD video all powered from the Thunderbolt connection so you just plug in and go! UltraStudio Express includes capture and playback of SD/HD-SDI, HDMI and analog video and analog audio all in the one beautifully designed model. UltraStudio Mini Recorder is the pocket sized SDI and HDMI recorder and UltraStudio Mini Monitor features SDI and HDMI playback, perfect for simple low cost NLE monitoring.

The pricing is pretty good too.

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock Offers Serious I/O

The one downside of the new MacBook range is their limited I/O, settling for a few powerful ports rather than every port you might need.

Now Belkin are about to ship their Thunderbolt Express Dock, which offers;

  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2 x Thunderbolt
  • 1 x Firewire 800
  • 3 x USB 3.0 ports
  • Headphone
  • Mic In

This is a great addition to a Thunderbolt based solution and should be selling for around $300 USD.

More here

Test Of Pro Tools HD Thunderbolt Native With A Hackintosh

Community member Shane, takes a look to see if the Pro Tools HD Thunderbolt Native will play nice with a Hackintosh.

Pro Tools Expert Products Of 2012 - And The Winner

Just some of the shortlisted products of the Year 2012The team have been considering what gets our Pro Tools Expert Product of the Year Award 2012.

Without consulting one another we made recommendations for those products we wanted to win. We all threw in our own favourites and here is the shortlist…

  • Universal Audio UA Apollo
  • Moog Minitaur
  • iZotope Alloy 2
  • Nugen Audio ISL True Peak Limiter
  • Neyrinck V-Control Pro for iPad
  • Pro Tools HD | Native Thunderbolt
  • Sugar Bytes AAX Wrapper
  • PPG WaveGenerator iPad Synth
  • Arturia Mini Brute

It may come as no surprise to many of you that the product that was unanimously voted as the winner with the most votes from our team is the Universal Audio UA Apollo. For many of us it sets a new benchmark for combining great features, sound and at a great price. All those short listed are worth consideration, so check them all out!