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BY DARWIN GROSSE
Originally founded in 1958, and rebooted in 1999, Universal Audio has a long history as an innovator in professional audio systems. From hardware preamps and compressors favored by recording engineers, through the UAD DSPbased plug-in system, UA gear can be found in almost every studio in the world.
I was slightly surprised to find that the monitor outputs were solely available on quarter-inch jacks, balanced TRS that can also work with unbalanced TS; I would expect that many of the people using a $2000 audio interface would be using balanced XLR cables for their monitor collection, but the cramped rear panel might
aux sends and more, as well as a complete interface to the UAD-powered plugins as channel, send and master effects. There are a number of settings available to control the use of both the console and the interface through a Console Settings application; this contains the ‘hidden’ interface to the hardware, but probably only
A compact and amazingly powerful solution for interfacing and DSP
Universal Audio’s most recent addition to the world of recording is the Apollo audio interface, UA’s shot at creating the ultimate in-the-box recording solution. How does it measure up? Let’s dig through the shipping peanuts to check it out... System and setup The Apollo interface is a 1U high, 12" deep audio device that exudes quality with its clean lines and brushed aluminum face. The front panel includes two Hi-Z (instrument) inputs with trimmers, two headphone outputs, a monitor level control, input/output meters and a satisfyingly chunky power switch. The interface is top-vented and can put out a bit of heat, so it would be wise to employ rack spacers if you decide to slip it into a full rack. The unit hooks up to your computer with a FireWire 800 cable (with Thunderbolt interface optionally available), and is powered with standard IEC cable. Connecting it to the computer took about two minutes, with most of that time spent routing the cable behind my mess-of-a-desk. Connecting audio cabling was almost as simple; there are four mic inputs, eight line inputs, eight line outputs, a dedicated stereo monitor pair, S/PDIF, and ADAT—18 ins and 24 outs in all, plus word clock. Jamming all of this on a 1U backplane makes things a bit tight, and the labeling of the connectors is very tiny, so having a good light available is useful when you have to crawl behind a rack to wire up the Apollo.
RECORDING January 2013
not have allowed for XLR outputs. Other than that, I found the combination of connections could handle pretty much everything I could have needed, and then some. The software installation disk for the Apollo is thankfully short of bloat, and provides a simple installer that loads up the drivers, UA console app and demo versions of all their UAD Powered plug-ins. With no more than ten minutes of installation time, a quick registration on the uaudio.com site and a reboot of the Mac mini, I was off and running. Console App Your first interaction between the hardware and your computer will most likely come via the Console application, which provides a mixing console-style interface to the internals of the Apollo. The console is gorgeous, but with all inputs shown it takes up a fair amount of screen space—it spanned most of my 24" monitor. (The screenshot shows the Console partly collapsed to save space—it can also be horizontally resized.) The Console’s functionality is great, with a comfortably standard workflow displaying input channel strips,
needs a quick once-over when you first set up the system. Frankly, I found all of the defaults to be to my liking, and was happily using the system with very little tech work. Plug-in options Having a powerful “virtual” console is critical if you are hoping to build a mixerfree environment. It will be used for input monitoring during overdubbing as well as building your monitor mix, so flexibility and quality are important. But one of the problems can be that the mixes you create with a virtual mixer often don’t live up to expectations—they don’t feature the effects, eq and processing you would normally use for either mixing or monitoring. This is where the UAD-powered effects come in to play: these effects can be used within the Console application as well as within your host, and therefore can be used as part of your mix without introducing noticeable latency. If you aren’t familiar with the UAD-2 Powered Plug-in environment, it is a system that uses SHARC DSP chips by Analog Devices to offer high-quality effects with very little native CPU usage. The plug-ins
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013
Table of Contents
2012 AES Convention Report.
Universal Audio Apollo.
ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Monitors & Monitoring.
Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Getting Into Your Head.
Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
2012 Annual Index.
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Recording - January 2013 - Cover2
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Recording - January 2013 - Fade In.
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Recording - January 2013 - Table of Contents
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Recording - January 2013 - Talkback.
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Recording - January 2013 - 2012 AES Convention Report.
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Recording - January 2013 - Universal Audio Apollo.
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Recording - January 2013 - ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
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Recording - January 2013 - Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
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Recording - January 2013 - Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
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Recording - January 2013 - AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
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Recording - January 2013 - Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
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Recording - January 2013 - Monitors & Monitoring.
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Recording - January 2013 - Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
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Recording - January 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
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Recording - January 2013 - PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
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Recording - January 2013 - Getting Into Your Head.
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Recording - January 2013 - Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
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Recording - January 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
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Recording - January 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
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Recording - January 2013 - Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - Advertiser Index.
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Recording - January 2013 - 2012 Annual Index.
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Recording - January 2013 - Fade Out.
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