Considering 2016 has seen me working through the A-Z Of UAD it’s inevitable that I’ve spent a lot of time using my Apollo Twin. Before buying it I’d already been edging towards spending some money on a new interface. My decision had been postponed and re-postponed by a few things and although I finally bought the Apollo in mid 2015, the majority of its use has happened in 2016.
Modest I/O For Portable Work
My requirements for an audio interface were reasonably specific. Because I have access to multiple HD systems as part of my work, my needs in terms of I/O were modest. If I was doing some serious recording I’d probably choose not to use my own hardware. However I do work fairly nomadically so portability was a priority.
Just before buying the Apollo I’d had an extended loan of the MOTU AVB interfaces. Of the three interfaces I had on loan I had really enjoyed using the Ultralite AVB. I’d pretty much decided to buy it as it ticked all my boxes for a new interface. It was small, rugged, offered expandability and I particularly liked the control software which offered really comprehensive control of routing and was a web interface which was served directly by the hardware.
Access To UAD Plug Ins
After discussing starting the A-Z of UAD with Russ it became clear that I was going to need to enter the UAD ecosystem and as I couldn’t justify buying an Ultralite and an Apollo Twin my plans for buying the MOTU had to be abandoned. I mention this because I think this mirrors the experience of a lot of Apollo owners. If you want access to UAD plug ins you need UA hardware and if you want access to Unison you need an Apollo. Regardless of how nice competing hardware is it can’t compete on that point.
So in my case I bought my Twin because I had to rather than because I wanted to. Luckily the Twin, and all the other Apollos are really lovely interfaces. The experience is a high quality one in the same way as buying Apple hardware and I have to say I still have the box because the packaging is just lovely. The set up experience inspires confidence and although I was perfectly aware that my credit card and I were being gently led towards the plug in store, I’m OK with that.
In use the Apollo has proved to be as excellent as I’d hoped. One of the main things which videos can’t convey is the reassuring weight of the unit. Unlike most small interfaces you can plug in your headphones without holding the unit with your other hand and it doesn’t move. It’s a little thing but it makes a big difference. From a hardware point of view my favourite feature is having a monitor control on the desk next to me and being able to press the knob to mute the monitors. I wish it worked on headphones too. So much has been said about UAD plug ins and Unison that I won’t add to it here. For a full review look at Russ’ review and James’ Show and Tell video below.
I don’t have many criticisms: I’m not a fan of combi XLR connectors as it means you can’t leave things patched to mic and line inputs at the same time. For an interface which is as portable as this I do worry about damaging it when it’s in my bag (my Apollo travels with me a lot) but my biggest criticism wouldn’t be for the hardware, I’ve never really taken to the console software. It works and it’s very stable but I’ve always missed a cross point patching matrix. It’s not that console is bad, it’s just that I’ve preferred the control software in products from MOTU and Focusrite more.
Feature request: How about a Dante option?
- Access to UAD ecosystem
- Beautiful build quality
- Unison Preamps
- Control Knob interface
- ADAT optical
- Potential to incorporate into larger system
- Combi XLRs
- Console software could be improved
- Form Factor - I worry about damaging it in transit
This is both a pro and a con for me. It looks like a non-standard PSU but, in spite of it’s clever locking arrangement, if you were to lose it a standard 12vDC PSU looks like it would work (I haven’t tried). Regardless I’m glad it’s there, while buss power is attractive from a convenience point of view, I’m sure that audio interfaces which run off buss power are tightly designed around the available power. In the case of Thunderbolt this is under 10W. Feeling the heat an Apollo Twin puts out (they run surprisingly hot) I’m sure its radiating at least twice that just as heat!
If you want to know more about the Apollo Twin check the resources below: