UA Releases Updated Apollo

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by kmetal, Sep 12, 2018.

  1. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    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 alot more common on all levels of computers, the way firewire once was.

    Have a look.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.soundonsound.com/news/universal-audio-present-apollo-x-interfaces?amp


    https://www.uaudio.com/apollo-x/





     
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  2. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    RIGHT ON! this looks done right and from what I hear, sounds really good. Nice post, Kyle.
    Congratulation to UA. The 3rd generation of Apollo's look to be game changers.
     
    kmetal likes this.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    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?
     
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  5. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    Most flexible choice to me would be the X8p. You get a 1-8 db25 input for external and the 8 preamps. What this does mean is of course the previous generations are already falling dramatically in price.

    Exciting times for an already great product range.
     
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  6. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    With the X8p
    Do the inboard pres bypass if you insert outboard pres?
     
  7. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    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
     
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  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    I sure wouldn’t want my pres stacking on top.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    The 16X would not stack because it doesn't have any inboard mic pres.
     
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    I dislike the audio switch function on the di because it requires you to be near the unit physically.

    I believe you have the option to select line or mic input separately.
     
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  11. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    @kmetal yes Kyle. It’s done in the console. What it does is automatically switch over to the hi-z input if in use on front though. You just don’t need to unplug any mic pres at the same time.

    And you save a session it will be there even when Mac or Pc is off. I do that for playing my keyboards for example.
     
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  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    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.
     
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  13. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    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.
     
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  14. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    @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.
     
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  15. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    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.com/my-thunderbolt-device-is-not-recognized-on-my-pcaudiolabs-pc/

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

    Apollo Thunderbolt Windows Compatibility
    https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/215731443-Apollo-Thunderbolt-Windows-Compatibility?mobile_site=true

    https://pcaudiolabs.com/product/thunderbolt-3/
    https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/what-thunderbolt-3-usb-c-mean-to-musicians/
     
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  16. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  17. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    spot on.

    imo, a high quality outboard monitor controller is as essential as good monitors and acoustic treatment.
     
  18. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    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
     
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  19. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    @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.
     
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  20. Makzimia

    Makzimia The Minstrel Well-Known Member

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    @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.
     

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