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UA Releases Updated Apollo

It looks like UA is trying to make a leap toward high end audio. The x16 model has 133db dynamic range on the DA side (monitor outputs) 124db on the line ins, 127 on the line outs. With price points staying the same as the previous gen, this line of Apollo is looking really sweet. Its nice to see attention given to the DA sides since you can't mix what you cant hear. Hopefully thunderbolt3 becomes a lot more common on all levels of computers, the way firewire once was.

Have a look.

Comments

audiokid Wed, 09/12/2018 - 21:14

Excellent interview with Gannon Kashiwa . I liked his explanation on jitter . These look like my next converter. The X16 is obviously the choice for the pro studio interfacing analog gear, independent mic pres. Can the other three accept independent mic pres too?

Re thunderbolt 3. Could I simply buy a TB3 PCIe card and install that into my windows desktop?

kmetal Wed, 09/12/2018 - 21:26

audiokid, post: 458975, member: 1 wrote: Excellent interview with Gannon Kashiwa . I liked his explanation on jitter . These look like my next converter. The X16 is obviously the choice for the pro studio interfacing analog gear, independent mic pres. Can the other three accept independent mic pres too?

Re thunderbolt 3. Could I simply buy a TB3 PCIe card and install that into my windows desktop?

Yeah I found the interview great as well. Informative, not shilly in any way.

As far as I understand it, they all have line inputs, which can accept external pres and other outboard.

TB 3 cards are available, but your motherboard has to be compatible. I had looked a coulple hours ago, and gigabyte and Asus both have them available, assuming your model is on the compatibility list.

My question is if the interfaces are will transmit audio (ie work normally) with the TB1 or tb2 adapters, or if it's just for linking other Apollo's.

Newegg has a TB 3 mini atx motherboard with m.2 compatibility slot, and 8th (current) Intel seires compatibility for 168$, and the same one with 7/6th gen version for 138$. So it might be worthwhile to upgrade the motherboard. The tb3 cards range from 60-140$.

There aren't a whole lot of mobos with TB3 built in, but quite a few compatible with the card. I looked more into gigabyte than Asus, as gigabyte came recommended by Marco, and they seem to always be better specd and priced.

Tony Carpenter Thu, 09/13/2018 - 19:47

audiokid, post: 458987, member: 1 wrote: With the X8p
Do the inboard pres bypass if you insert outboard pres?

If it’s anything like my current one it’s automatic. However, without getting a go of it, that’s of course conjecture. Example, I plug a guitar in front hi-z input it’ll use it, even with mics on patch bay input to mic pres. The control panel is of course getting an upgrade to allow surround mixing, so..

Good question :).

Tony

audiokid Fri, 09/14/2018 - 08:19

Congratulation to UA. The 3rd generation of Apollo's look to be big game changers.

Watch the buy and sell for used converters and interfaces now.

Over the last few years I've watched Antelope Audio go from affordable quality converter options to outright confusing with having way too many snake oil variations of their product lines. They now appear to be competing with UA and UAD effects offering mic emulation and effects which doesn't make me feel overly confident in their direction anymore. It will be interesting to see what Antelope Audio is coming out with next.
I suspect something to compete with UA real soon.

I think UA has it right. Less is more. 4 awesome versions of the same quality conversion. Very cool.

Boswell Fri, 09/14/2018 - 10:08

audiokid, post: 458987, member: 1 wrote: With the X8p
Do the inboard pres bypass if you insert outboard pres?

According to the block diagram in the X8p manual, the line inputs can be switched either to go through the pre-amps or direct with no gain trim to the ADC stage. This looks like a per-channel configuration choice, saved in the EPROM.

Tony Carpenter Fri, 09/14/2018 - 11:43

@Boswell Yep, per channel via the console. This includes the ability to store choices of unison plugin and aux sends etc also in a session save. This can't be switched to different ones, but, whatever the last one to be run is, will be active when you start the Apollo up even without a Mac or Pc on for the console. Very handy.

audiokid Sat, 09/15/2018 - 07:28

For those finding this thread and wondering if their PC would support a Thunderbolt PCIe card, I found this info on PC Audio Labs website. Hope it helps others.
I'm wondering if this info would apply to my older i7 166 ? I'm going to contact their support.

My Thunderbolt device is not recognized on my PCAudioLabs PC.
https://pcaudiolabs…

Links I've found to help update my Thunderbolt 3 knowledge:

Apollo Thunderbolt Windows Compatibility
https://help.uaudio…

https://pcaudiolabs…
https://www.sweetwa…

kmetal Sun, 09/16/2018 - 19:22

Besides the thunderbolt 3, I find it a little disconcerting that several models have different specs. So you can have anywhere from a 127db-133db dynamic range on the outputs depending on model. Also the input specs are around 123 db dynamic range which is good but not great.

Another big thing that's kind of a bummer is the fact that the line outs and the stereo "monitor" outs don't share the same specs. With them incorporating surround sound, your front 3 speakers are usually matched, and you certainly want every ounce of dynamic range in the sub channel, this makes things a little more tricky. Even if the monitor outs are veiwed as extra it would still be nice to have a matched complete set of outs. This also forces the use of a monitor controller for trie a/b ing, as only the monitor outs have the full specs. As far as the 16x goes with them citing outboard and tape machine incorporation, it would be nice to have the full specs, since your essentially never able to record the spec that your capable of hearing.

I understand the price is relatively reasonable, and it's got dsp, but these types of compromises are not found on the high end competition in mytek, and burl.

Im hoping the next gen Apollo twin shares the high end DA spec, and I think I'd pull the trigger, as it's cuts alot of the other compromises out as well as the price.

Tony Carpenter Mon, 09/17/2018 - 01:48

From my relatively low end background, this has a place. Where I see it sitting is with 500 series racks and a good external monitor controller in a average modern studio. The days of large setups being a requirement have sailed.

The days of home high end stereo listeners have sailed. We can make much higher quality recordings for far less. An audience that thinks a good pair of headphones/earbuds is the same as good speakers.

Between my ability to make a decent recording with this level now, and perform live still, personally, I’m happy.

Tony

DonnyThompson Fri, 10/12/2018 - 05:54

@kmetal @audiokid @dvdhawk (et al)
Kyle...
UAD is just one of the reasons I’ve been talking more lately about our new PC build steering towards an Intel Mobo/CPU system instead of an AMD.
And, to be clear, it was my fault for not giving enough consideration to TB compatibility in the beginning. I made that decision based on what devices I had now - and that was a mistake. It was absolutely not you that originally waved me off from Intel. I was trying to save a few bucks, and put more focus on the CPU cores, and AMD was less expensive.
I changed my mind about AMD after doing research, listening to friends who suggested that I might not want to go that route, because of this:
As of this writing, (October 2018), based on suggestions from friends who have Intel systems, and doing a lot of reading and research, from what I’ve been able to gather, TB is not compatible with AMD based PC’s.
(I’m happy to be corrected on this if someone knows I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am) ;)
Initially, I thought I could just add a TB card in the future to the AMD system.
I was wrong.
While researching, I did come across a few videos showing a couple very serious computer guys being able to get TB to work on an AMD, but... their workaround is ridiculous; the process was unimaginably convoluted; requiring hard-wiring of external adapters, and having to manually type in code to reset the system every few minutes, when the computer ceased to recognize the TB interface... so, it’s not only a complex workaround, it’s also anything but stable. That being said...
TB being incompatible with AMD could change at some point... I mean ... who really knows what will happen in the future, right?
But, a “maybe” isn’t something we can count on as definitely turning into a “yes”.

It’s not that I have a new unused boxed-up Apollo or Apogee just hanging around and waiting only for an Intel system to connect it to; and it’s not even something I have any immediate plans to buy, either. But knowing that I can add TB to my system at some point, if the need arises, is reassuring.
(In my research, I also learned that the new line of Apogee I/O’s are implementing TB as the connection.)
And, there are devices other than audio that are implementing TB as well; displays, storage, video capturing, etc. it’s ultra high data rate ( 40gbs), along with its stability when chaining TB devices together is, I think, going to make the format even more attractive in the future, ( perhaps even necessary) as other devices that may require that lightning fast data transfer rate are developed and released.
USB isn’t going anywhere - it’s continued to be a stable, popular and widely accepted connection format. As of right now, there are a lot more USB-based devices in use than there are TB devices.
But ... there are devices (like UAD) available now that require higher ( and faster) transfer rates of data than what the current version of USB can deliver, and I think we’re going to see more TB “required” devices emerging in the not so distant future.

IMO, I think it’s impossible to look into our crystal balls and be able to foresee the necessary technology to build a PC with a 100% guaranteed “future proof” architecture - that’s just not possible. Technology is just moving sooo fast these days.
But, I think that we can “hedge our bets” enough to at least anticipate some things; and by paying attention to things like TB, (or CPU speed, or the ability to expand RAM, or have open slots available for future use, etc...) we can make certain decisions that will help us move into the future more smoothly, (and with more confidence), than if we don’t consider them. Some of these considerations can help to keep our systems powerful (and expandable) enough to remain current (or at least relatively so) for more than just a few years; and that gives us the advantage of not having to face quite as many obstacles as we would face if we didn’t at least try to anticipate what could be coming ... including the 1-2 year obsolescence faced by those who don’t do the research, and who don’t care about anticipating what could be ( or that absolutely is) on the horizon ...
That horizon could be 3-4 years away...
but it could also be as soon as one year from now. ;)

Side Note: Kyle is helping me choose the components for a new PC that I’m (nervously) going to build myself.
He’s a fantastic resource for information on this stuff, with a level of intelligence that makes me look like a friggin’ tree stump. And, he’s been incredibly kind, patient, and enthusiastic about helping me out.
I couldn’t do this new PC build without him.
Everyone here on RO who knows Kyle is already aware of his kindness, intelligence, and willingness to help. In my mind, he is one of the members of RO who exemplifies the spirit of this wonderful forum - intelligent, helpful, patient, knowledgeable, understanding, and skilled.
I think about the members we have here; their level of talent and knowledge, and the collective brain trust that’s been a part of this forum for as long as I can remember, and I’m continually reminded of why I love this place so much, and why I’m so lucky to be a small part of it.
Yes indeed... We have quite the roster here on RO.
;)
-d.

Tony Carpenter Fri, 10/12/2018 - 07:06

@DonnyThompson that’s a lot there Donny :). I’ve been tempted a few times only since about 91 to go AMD. Each time I learned to regret it. Latest chance it was given, wife got a 3 in line tablet/laptop. Never ever again!. I have always said there are issues at basic assembly level that Intel has somehow kept secret lol. Anyway, glad you’re sorting it out.

kmetal Sat, 10/13/2018 - 13:23

D, you too kind, to this thing is gonna be sweet. Your current PC is an AMD, and the new ryzen line has shown to be as good or better than Intel counterparts and as much as 50% cheaper. Amd is even making server chips now so they have certainly become a true no compromise alternative to Intel. They even cram 32 cores / 64 threads into a chip for the same price as a 16c/32t Intel i9.

IMHO TB is the only reason to decide against AMD for your build or any current daw, aside from the need to run Mac OS, which is only Intel compatible.

For server computers, Intel has an edge, as they are scalable to 4 processors on a single Mobo! Amd tops at 2.

@Makzimia I think AMD got a bad wrap since they are usually bought in low budget, off the shelf PC's. There's no reason to believe that the current line of AMD is any less of a processor than a comparable Intel. Benchmark scores are on par with each other. Considering for $1800 you can have a 16c Intel or a 32 core ryzen, Intel is tough to defend on that one. For servers I still think Intel Xeon is the way to go as they are trued tested and true, with amd being too new in the game to tell. I think when comparing apples to apples, AMD is a viable if not favorable option.

DonnyThompson Sun, 10/14/2018 - 07:08

I have nothing against AMD; the PC that I have been using for 6 years has served me well. And I totally understand why Kyle is sticking with AMD... he knows what he needs, and TB isn’t in that picture for him.
The only reason I’ve decided to go with Intel for the new PC, is for the potential scenario where a Thunderbolt connection is required. There may be other advantages to Intel that I’m not yet aware of, (I’m happy to learn about them if anyone wants to share) but TB is the deciding factor for me. And, TB for audio offers latency measurements that were previously only obtainable with PCIe cards.
I didn’t know about the potential for switching to a Mac OS, but it’s not something I ever see on my radar; if for no other reason than that Mac doesn’t support Samplitude (at least as of this writing). Samp Pro X has been my main DAW for several years ( thanks to Chris (@audiokid), and while I’ve occasionally worked with other DAW’s that I have found value in (Logic, Presonus S1, MixBus), Samp is my main DAW, and I have no plans to change that.
I recognize that Thunderbolt may not be an important feature to others, and in that case, AMD seems to be the way to go, in terms of pricing and bang for the buck.
I’m just trying to anticipate what may be on the horizon for me, and for what I might be doing/needing in the next few years.
At some point, I may end up looking at an Apollo for myself, but I’m also seeing other manufacturers who are now making TB devices as well: Apogee, Antelope, Presonus, Focusrite...
I also like that I can chain up to 6 TB devices together - audio, displays, external drives, video capfure, etc.
I know the Intel is more money, and I know I’m sacrificing cores - the AMD we were looking at was 16 cores, the Intel is 12.
So at this point, my only concern is the drop in the number of cores for the CPU, and how that will affect me.
(Keeping in mind that for the last 6 years, I’ve been using an AMD Athlon 2.6ghz QUAD core, with 16 gig of RAM, the specs on the Intel 12 core seem to be pretty great to me...
I’m still happy to hear any thoughts on how I might be sacrificing a noticeable drop in performance by going with 12 instead of 16.
Lol... this would all be so much easier if only AMD supported Thunderbolt.
:)
-d.

audiokid Sun, 10/14/2018 - 07:17

I use AMD and Intel and both are solid. My mastering DAW is AMD. If I was building another DAW I would look at what PCAudioLabs uses and clone what they do best I could. Since I've been at this game I look far ahead, look at what interfacing I want and base my DAW around that and go from there.

If you choose a DAW platform that leans towards Apple, then that's where you go, I f you choose a platform around PC, then that's where you go. If you like where UAD is going but you choose PC, then you build a PC that supports TB 3 and a box that is quiet that has PCIe ports where you can install cards.
I wouldn't choose a laptop for my main DAW. You simply don't have the ports and they get too hot. I would without question always have a desktop built to last, that was quiet.

If you are still into cutting edge after 5 or 10 more years, you toss most of it in the garbage and repeat the process all over again.

DonnyThompson Sun, 10/14/2018 - 09:05

audiokid, post: 459394, member: 1 wrote: you choose a DAW platform that leans towards Apple, then that's where you go, I f you choose a platform around PC, then that's where you go. If you like where UAD is going but you choose PC, then you build a PC that supports TB 3 and a box that is quiet that has PCIe ports where you can install cards.
I would without question always have a desktop built to last, that was quiet.

It’s the “where you want to go” part that is difficult for me to determine. ;)
I wouldn’t want a laptop for my main production PC, either... they run hot, the power supplies are generally a lot lower in voltage, and future expansion is limited. That said, I wouldn’t mind getting a laptop at some point for remote tracking; I like the idea of being able to go to my friend’s places to collaborate, and using my Apogee I-O with the LT would be very convenient, because both are so light and easy to transport. And, the LT would be used solely for on site capturing; I wouldn’t be mixing on it, so I wouldn’t need a powerhouse to do that. But that’s not something I absolutely need right now.

I have no interest in Mac - because they don’t support Samplitude, and that’s a real deal-breaker for me.
But the possibility of moving into UAD at some point does interest me; and obviously I need an Intel system with TB compatibility to be able to do that... and other device manufacturers seem to be moving in the direction of TB as well: Apogee, Antelope, Presonus, and Focusrite all currently have interfaces that are using TB as the connection.
The only concern I have left, is in the potential difference in performance between an AMD 16 Core, and an Intel 12 Core. Other than that, both boards allow for expansion with slots for more RAM, as well as providing open PCIe slots for future use.
So, it really all comes down to the performance between the two... how much am I sacrificing by choosing one board that allows for TB but that has fewer cores, versus the other that has more cores, but doesn’t allow for the addition of TB?
Lol.. that’s not a rhetorical question, BTW. That really is my dilemma.
;)

audiokid Sun, 10/14/2018 - 09:18

DonnyThompson, post: 459396, member: 46114 wrote: It’s the “where you want to go” part that is difficult for me to determine. ;)
I wouldn’t want a laptop for my main production PC, either... they run hot, the power supplies are generally a lot lower in voltage, and future expansion is limited. That said, I wouldn’t mind getting a laptop at some point for remote tracking; I like the idea of being able to go to my friend’s places to collaborate, and using my Apogee I-O with the LT would be very convenient, because both are so light and easy to transport. And, the LT would be used solely for on site capturing; I wouldn’t be mixing on it, so I wouldn’t need a powerhouse to do that. But that’s not something I absolutely need right now.

I use my LT for remote and daily online stuff. I've had the same LT for 10 yeas now. I can't believe its still going. Touch wood. Its a PCAudioLab Intel LT on Windows 10 now.

DonnyThompson, post: 459396, member: 46114 wrote: I have no interest in Mac - because they don’t support Samplitude, and that’s a real deal-breaker for me.

Same for me.

DonnyThompson, post: 459396, member: 46114 wrote: But the possibility of moving into UAD at some point does interest me; and obviously I need an Intel system with TB compatibility to be able to do that... and other device manufacturers seem to be moving in the direction of TB as well: Apogee, Antelope, Presonus, and Focusrite all currently have interfaces that are using TB as the connection.

If I can continue working on music this next decade I am preparing to go with the new Apollo X now. The past Apollo's didn't do it for me but I can see they have addressed the setbacks and exceeded in other sections now. However, if you looked at the new Grace M908, that unit with Samplitude on a really well build PC, wow.. That looks very pro to me.

DonnyThompson, post: 459396, member: 46114 wrote: The only concern I have left, is in the potential difference in performance between an AMD 16 Core, and an Intel 12 Core. Other than that, both boards allow for expansion with slots for more RAM, as well as providing open PCIe slots for future use.

AMD is solid but if it doesn't support TB then I would likely not go there. TB is here to stay.

DonnyThompson, post: 459396, member: 46114 wrote: So, it really all comes down to the performance between the two... how much am I sacrificing by choosing one board that allows for TB but that has fewer cores, versus the other that has more cores, but doesn’t allow for the addition of TB?

I know what you are saying.

I'd go with Intel I think.

kmetal Mon, 10/15/2018 - 12:01

Makzimia, post: 459390, member: 48344 wrote: @kmetal We'll agree to disagree :). Not ever going to sell me an AMD, LOL. I built my own with high end components always, it was a thing, I won't get over it.

Good thing I ain't selling anything. Lol. I'll let you know how my ryzen PC's do if I end up going that wsy, which is likely, especially for my slave machines. I think previously amd was a noticeable difference, but seemingly not anymore.

@DonnyThompson

Macs can run Windows, so a Mac isnt out of the question from a technical standpoint. It doesn't require any hacking or anything, it's a standard thing people do. You run Windows via a thing called boot camp. My buddy ran windows on his MacBook back in '06.

Considering the motherboards we are looking at for Intel support up to 512gb of ram, I think you can make up for the 4 core difference, albeit at the cost of more expensive, registered memory. It's slightly slower than unregistered memory as well, but it does have error correction for more reliable performance.

x

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