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Universal Audio Apollo Twin High-Resolution Thunderbolt Interface With Realtime UAD DUO Processing
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- The same audio quality, preamps and build of the UA Apollo in a new compact, all-metal desktop chassis
- Introduces Unison Preamp technology giving it chameleonic mic preamps (which will roll out to existing Apollos in Q1 2014)
- Both Solo and Duo models ship with new "Realtime Analog Classics" bundle, including Solo 610-B Unison Mic Preamp plug-in (based on the LA-610 MKII Preamp section), Softube Amp Room Essentials and more, for real-time UAD processing
- Expandable via optical ADAT or SPDIF for up to 10 inputs total
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|Shipping||—||£4.35||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||£9.90|
|Sold By||—||GGIStore||Amazon.co.uk||Amazon.co.uk||AudioPartner EU|
|Item Dimensions||20.32 x 20.32 x 13.97 cm||4.9 x 17.6 x 10.9 cm||7.01 x 15.24 x 19.81 cm||25.2 x 10.21 x 27.51 cm||4.8 x 20.9 x 19 cm|
|Item Weight||1.75 kg||0.6 kg||0.95 kg||1.83 kg||1.17 kg|
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The Universal Audio Apollo Twin Duo 2x6 Thunderbolt Audio Interface for Mac comes with an excellent 24Bit/192kHz converter technology, 2 microphone Inputs with switchable phantompower, S/PDIF-/ADAT-Input, Hi-Z Input, Thunderbolt port, 4 Line Outputs, latencyfree audio recording and Unison Mic Preamp Modeling technology.
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The Apollo Twin feels like it was built to withstand being run over by a tank. It's far weightier than many of the competing products, and feels nice to operate. For the majority of functions, the buttons on the unit are a joy to use, and basic input and output functions are all ergonomically mapped and easy to reach within seconds. For routing and other more complex stuff, the supporting software is also well mapped out and powerful. The inclusion of optical allows you to expand the input section, although its important to note that the same is not true of outputs, so for example the Twin cannot be used with most summing mixers or to create a flexible set of outboard options.
The preamps are one of the best things about this unit. They sound fantastically clean and detailed, and with the Unison system, some of the bundled preamp simulations can be used for great sounding emulations of warmer gear, down to the point of changing the impedance of the signal and affecting your actual microphones. I have yet to find a source material that cannot be recorded to a professional standard with the Apollo Twin, which cannot be said for many products in this price range.
Equally excellent are the bundled plugins. Like most producers I have plenty of good quality plugins, but the UAD ones have managed to carve their own space in my work - they are as good as pretty much anything else you can buy, and knowing the Twins's DSP chips are taking the strain away from your computer is great. Although they are all great, the highlights for me are the Precision Channel Strip, which features a ludicrously clean sounding compressor and EQ section, and the Precision Delay, which can be used for everything from early reflection simulations to warm, wide textural delays, all with a great sound.
My two real issues with this interface focus around opposite sides of the same design principle. I work on a laptop - as somebody who works in a high intensity part of the music industry but travels a lot, the loss of processing power is worth it for the ability to get things done at any time, from anywhere. However, I do a lot of my work in the studio, and in both of these cases, relatively small changes to the unit would have made it significantly more powerful.
Firstly, the plugins automatically disable when the unit is not connected to the interface. Whilst I understand this from a CPU point of view, it would be nice if the unit either interfaced with your DAW to create momentary bounces of any channels running the UAD plugins, or just allowed you to run the plugins so you could do that yourself before disabling them to save CPU power. As it is, the plugins are basically worthless in a mobile setup, as good as they sound, because if a client needs changes to a project while you're away from the studio, any channels you're using them on are now completely different. I'm not blaming UAD for this because it wouldn't be a problem if their plugins weren't so good, but it's frustrating to have great plugins on your system that you can't really use. On the same note, the install program automatically installs every single UAD plugin on your system as a demo, instead of just the ones you own, which is an annoying move.
The second issue revolves around a simple problem when in the studio with the Twin. I use a second set of monitors as an important part of my writing / mixing process, and despite having the extra set of outputs, these are surprisingly difficult to use for this purpose. Because they turn out to be not controllable digitally, you have to set the volume on your speakers, and then it cannot be changed without fumbling about behind your setup. Furthermore, within the console software, you have to mute the main output and then select the monitor out as an input for line 3-4, which is hardly devastating but is again just counterintuitive and not massively streamlined. This is just a waste of the Twin's potential as for many people such inflexibility will mean they never use the second set of outs.
In short, this interface is not flexible enough for use in a 'mobile' set up, neither is it powerful enough to be a full solution in a serious fixed studio. Neither of these gripes is a major setback and plenty of the Twin's users will never need to worry about them, but the point is that when you start asking what can really be done with it (which as a professional you'd assume is normal) it's surprisingly easy to find limitations and inconveniences.
Like everybody, I have plenty of other good plugins to use, and believe it or not there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that the perceived difference between high and low quality AD/DA is largely a placebo, so it's not like anything the Twin does puts it head and shoulders above any of the hundreds of cheaper, more flexible interfaces chasing it down. I love many things about the Duo but I'm going to be keeping my eye on the competition and I don't think it will be too long before I move on to something more suitable for my (fairly normal) requirements, which is a real shame because neither of these two issues seem like something that were really necessary.
The Twin is probably the ultimate interface for anybody who doesn't require A) their projects to be usable away from the studio or B) professional level routing such as complex outboard setups or multiple monitors without the use of a dedicated monitor controller. If your requirements are relatively simple, this box offers great quality in everything it does, and I can't imagine any of the competition would be able to keep up with it from that perspective, although the only comparable unit I've owned personally would be the Apogee Duet (which this does indeed outperform in most areas).
If you're looking to build a professional setup however, the Twin will be unlikely to meet your needs, which is fine for the price, although it feels almost deliberate considering how simple some major improvements would have been. Given the quality of some of the more entry level gear available from brands such as focusrite and presonus today, I'd say anybody looking in this kind of price range who wants to do anything more than producing demos should perhaps turn their eyes to something with more flexibility, as it is entirely possible to get a perfectly good interface with triple the flexibility for this price.
All in all, this is a very good interface, and if you're the Twin can handle everything you need it to do, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it above anything I've used, but do be aware that it is less flexible than it may seem when you glance over the features, so be smarter than I was and do a really detailed check that it has everything you need.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I'm a huge fan.
These are my favorite plugins. I've bought probably about 10.
610- A and B Tube Pre Amp
API Vision Strip
Shadow Hills Mastering
For video sound:
Pultec Passive EQ Collection (love love love)
Teletronix LA-2A Leveler Collection (love love)
I asked my friend that records and mixes for a living what top plugins he would suggest to me and most of these are from him.