Hands-On Review: Apogee Quartet Desktop Studio Interface



Apogee is a premier brand name in both clocking and conversion. Their small-scale audio interfaces have forever changed the performance and sound-quality expectations of USB and FireWire devices. The new Quartet joins and further develops this prestigious product family.

The Quartet features four XLR/TRS combo inputs, six 1/4” TRS outputs and two Toslink digital inputs. All of this connectivity reaches your computer through high-speed USB 2.0. Additionally, the Quartet has a BNC output  to send a clocking signal to a digital preamp or another converter. MIDI connection to your CoreMIDI-compatible keyboard, synth or DJ controller is also available via Type A USB input.

Join Rob Rives as he discusses Apogee’s history with small-scale interfaces and the customer requests that led to the Quartet’s development. The video also showcases the extensive functionality of the Quartet as an audio interface, monitor control and a surround sound 5.1 mixing solution.

Analog Inputs
Connectors4 x XLR/TRS combo jacks
GainUp to 75 dB
Phantom Power48V selectable
Soft LimitYes
Phase InvertYes
Digital Inputs
Connectors2 x Toslink
ProtocolADAT / SMUX
Sampling Rates44.1 to 96 kHz
Analog Outputs
Connectors6 x 1/4" TRS balanced
Headphones1 x 1/4" stereo
In/OutDedicated USB (type A) connector
Clock Sync
Connector1 x BNC Word Clock output
Mic Pre
EIN128 dB un-weighted @ 60 dB, 150Ω input
Max Input Level+20 dBu
Input Impedance3kΩ
Max Input Level14 dBu
Input Impedance> 2MΩ
A/D Conversion
Max. Bit Rate24-bit
Max. Sampling Rate192 kHz
Max. Input Level (+4 dBu)+20 dBu
Max. Input Level (-10 dBV)+6 dBV
Input Impedance5KΩ
Frequency Response @ 44.1 kHz20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.2 dB
Relative THD + N-106 dB @ 96 kHz
Dynamic Range114 dB (A-weighted)
D/A Conversion
Max. Bit Rate24-bit
Max. Sampling Rate192 kHz
Max. Ouput Level (+4 dBu)+20 dBu
Max. Ouput Level (-10 dBV)+6 dBV
Line Output Impedance90Ω
Headphone Max Output Level19 dBu
Headphone Out Impedance30Ω
Frequency Response @ 44.1 kHz20 Hz to 20 kHz ±0.05 dB
Relative THD + N-113 dB @ 96 kHz
Dynamic Range123 dB (A-weighted)
System Requirements
ComputerIntel Mac with 1.5 GHz processor or better
Memory2GB RAM, 4GB recommended
OS X version10.6.8, 10.7.4 or greater
ConnectionAvailable USB 2.0 port
PowerDC power supply included



I have owned an apogee quartet for about a year now. I bought it as I have used an apogee symphony before and it was good. I also regularly use apple hardware in my home studio. This product however is terrible. The monitor speaker outputs hiss and buzz! I have two other audio interfaces at home, no hum at all thought the analog outputs. This is replicated on other speakers in other locations. I have a 10 year old focusrite interface that I prefer to use now.

The apogee quartet does not connect to an original iPad as it purports. It does not connect to my iPhone 4s as it purports. The tech support are terse, elitist and fond of using big words to confuse, yet take no responsibility for a product that just won't work.

I have tried a power conditioner, hum buster and checking my earthing pin at home to try and fix the hum. No success. Apogee tech support recommended I lift the earth on the power cables going into my active studio monitors. That is dangerous and illegal. They seem not to care that spilling a drink or some such could cause electrocution. Even lifting the earth results only in a minor reduction in the horrible hiss. Likewise lifting the ground on the cables connecting interface to the monitors.

 I thought my bad purchase could be rectified slightly if I could use this product as a portable recorder with my iPad or iPhone. Sadly this does not work. Again Apogee tech support blame me and my equipment, try to blind me with tech jargon and generally speak down to me. I have wasted some real time trying to get this product to work. Now, I can't be bothered. Things could be so simple, yet apogee fail to deliver on that. This interface has had me pulling my hair out.

I am a sound engineer with 20 years experience in audio production. I have studied recording, mixing and audio production at the NZSM (New Zealand School of Music). I can say with absolute certainty, do not buy into the hype and purchase this product. It is a badly supported paper weight that sits in my studio looking oh so pretty but with no real function other than causing me distress. Don't judge this book by it's cover. Get something by RME or Focusrite. Heck, get ANYTHING else!

I just bought one, but I only wish it had 2 headphone outs, because often you are monitoring while another is singing or you are playing while they sing solo or harmony. Having only 1 output requires buying an additional headphone mixer box, no?