Next-Generation Universal Audio Apollo Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interfaces

April 21 2015, 04:00
During the 2015 Prolight+Sound show in Frankfurt, Universal Audio surprised the recording studio community with the introduction of an all-new line of Apollo audio interfaces for Mac Thunderbolt users. The new generation leverages dual Thunderbolt 2 connections and features next-generation A/D and D/A conversion, effectively upgrading the successful interface lineup.

All the new generation Apollo interfaces are now housed within a sleek, black aluminum package, featuring new monitoring functions and Realtime UAD Processing at very competitive prices, considering the number of channels and preamps. The dual Thunderbolt 2 connections also allow cascading of up to four Apollo interfaces and 6 UAD devices, while supporting a complete chain of other Thunderbolt connected devices.

As Bill Putnam Jr., CEO and founder of Universal Audio, expressed during the opening remarks, “the new Apollo interfaces push the standard forward for professional music recording and production.” The presentation, as usual, was guided by Lev Perrey, Director of Product Management, which highlighted the extremely detailed and open sound — giving you measurably the lowest noise and highest dynamic range in their class - due to the all-new A/D and D/A conversion.

The new Apollo interfaces shared features include Unison-enabled mic preamps and Hi-Z inputs (Apollo 8p and Apollo 8) for tracking through classic preamp emulations from Neve, API, and Universal Audio. The high-quality Realtime UAD emulations are powered by the onboard UAD-2 DSP Processing, which allow recording through plug-ins from Lexicon, Studer, Manley, Ampex, UA, and more at near zero latency.

The new Apollos are bundled with a “Realtime Analog Classics Plus” UAD plug-in package, including the 610-B Tube Preamp & EQ, Softube Amp Room, legacy LA-2A, 1176, and Fairchild compressors, Pultec EQs, and more. Important also to note that Universal Audio recently released its Apollo Expanded software, which includes the new Console 2.0 application with numerous important improvements.

The new interface range includes the entry level Apollo 8 (US$1,999 w/ UAD-2 DUO Processing; US$2,499 w/ UAD-2 QUAD Processing) which features four Unison-enabled mic preamps and Hi-Z inputs, and features convenient front panel monitoring functions such as Alt Speakers, Dim, and Mono. The Apollo 8p version (US$2,999 w/ UAD-2 QUAD Processing) features eight Unison-enabled mic preamps instead.

The new Apollo 16 (US$2,999 w/ UAD-2 QUAD Processing) is the main multitrack interface solution for studios already equipped with great recording consoles and preamps, featuring 16x16 analog I/O via DB-25 connectors, dedicated XLR monitor outs, and stereo AES/EBU digital I/O. The range also includes the existing Apollo Twin desktop 2x6 Thunderbolt 2 interface, featuring two Unison-enabled mic preamps and available with onboard UAD-2 SOLO or DUO Core processing.

Finally, Universal Audio announced the range includes the Apollo FireWire (US$1,999 w/ QUAD Processing), in order to continue to support Windows and legacy FireWire Macs with Apollo’s A/D and D/A conversion and Realtime UAD processing. The interface comes with 4 Unison-enabled mic preamps.

All the new interfaces are expected to be shipping in June 2015.
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