Musikemesse 2015: Apollo Audio Interface


The success of the Apollo interfaces for Universal Audio is indisputable, combining first-class audio conversion with internal DSP that hosts an across-the-board excellent set of hardware emulated plug-ins. Today at the Musikmesse trade show in Frankfurt, the company has upped the ante with the announcement of a refreshed Apollo line, along with a new Apollo variant. The updated models are the Apollo 8 DUO and Apollo 8 QUAD, and the Apollo 16B QUAD. The new addition to the lineup is the Apollo 8p QUAD that features eight microphone preamps over the four available in previous Apollo 8 models.

All interfaces share new analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion for extended dynamic range and lower noise performance. The other common feature is the inclusion of Thunderbolt 2 connectivity as standard, which allows them to take advantage of the various enhancements in the company’s Console 2 software application. And, of course, they all contain some variation of the DUO or QUAD DSP configuration for real-time UAD plug-in processing when tracking, mixing, and mastering. Apart from the Apollo 16, both Apollo 8s feature Unison-enabled microphone preamps that can tailor a microphone’s response using preamp emulations from Neve, API, and Universal Audio.

The Apollo 8p QUAD has been designed for those users who previously needed to cascade an additional interface to add more microphone preamps to their setups. Dispensing with the six analog line inputs and S/DIF I/O of the standard Apollo 8, the 16 x 20 interface provides eight microphone preamps and is eminently suited to mobile rigs and tracking applications. Again, with the appropriate preamp emulation plug-in, it provides a choice of multiple input flavorings. For the guitarist, both the Apollo 8p and the Apollo 8 feature impedance and gain matching on the Hi-Z inputs when combined with the classic stompbox models. Both models also include improved monitoring and workflow enhancements.

The Apollo 16B delivers sixteen analog inputs and sixteen analog outputs via DB-25 connectors, ideal for pairing with mixing consoles, outboard preamps, etc. Digital I/O extends the input/output configuration. A front panel monitor knob is additionally controllable from software, a connected Apollo Twin, or can be bypassed for connecting the monitor outputs to an external monitor controller. Standard interface settings like clock source, sample rate, and host connectivity are displayed at all times.

For larger setups, up to four Thunderbolt-equipped Apollo interfaces and a total of six UAD-2 devices can be cascaded for adding I/O and DSP as needed. Finally, all the interfaces ship with a generous bundle of Universal Audio’s plug-ins that cover the basics of music making, such as preamp emulation, dynamics, EQ, reverb and guitar distortion, and amplifier emulations. The 19" rackmount housings have also been updated with a matte-black finish that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but allows the meter to be read more easily.