Recording - January 2013 - 22
Universal Audio Apollo
and fantastic-sounding plug-ins all redefine the idea of “working in the box”. The street price of the Apollo of around $2500 is a hefty bill for many of us. Getting a rack of plug-ins is going to set you back even more. But in a very real way, the Apollo can help you reimagine your studio. The plug-ins range from simple to astonishing, and trying to do some of these things in hardware would require a warehouse-sized studio area and a PG&E-sized energy budget. The demo system for testing out plug-ins is a key tool, since it allows you to “try before you buy” within the context of the kind of music you do and the workflow that you like.
example, the Ampex tape-machine emulation was too subtle for a synth pad, but was perfect for thickening up a percussion track. The end result of this effort was a great mix that sat exactly the way I had been hoping. Having the plug-in options available for testing (and for purchase once I’d found out how they would fit into my sonic landscape) meant that I had a music store’s
this is a quad-core system, I had to use a little caution to make sure I was getting a good balance between the cores. But using the LA-2A compressor tool as a test, I was able to get a total of 58 devices on the Apollo before I got an error—and that error was a FireWire bandwidth problem, not a lack of DSP. Trying this with the Moog Filter (which took 4% of the DSP per instance)
worth of gear at my fingertips to determine what worked best for my needs. Torture testing The Apollo interface that I tested contained a QUAD UAD-2 with 4 SHARC chips, giving me piles of DSP to work with. (A slightly less expensive Apollo sporting a 2-SHARC DUO UAD-2 is also available.) In normal use, I was able to load many different compressors, eqs and effects plug-ins without stressing my modest computer system. With my Mac Mini’s CPU usage peaking at about 20% (with a full load of plug-ins), I was able to work without any of the delays or slow starts typical of native high-plug-count mixes. I decided to push the envelope in order to see what I could get out of the Apollo QUAD. Using Logic as my host, I started using a stock audio track and pouring plugins against it. I used 8 plug-ins per track (just to make it easy to manage), and added tracks until I started hitting some limits. Since
RECORDING January 2013
allowed for 22 instances before maxing out the DSP. This is pretty impressive, and even at that level my Mac CPU usage was only around 30%. One of the tools that helps you in your plug-in management is the UAD meter application, which shows you the load on the DSP cores and helps you understand how the system is coping with your processing and bandwidth needs. When I was working on my heavy mixes, I always kept a copy open in the corner so that I could keep an eye on the plug-in system and its load and keep myself out of trouble. Conclusion The Universal Audio Apollo is an attractive interface in many ways. It’s a handsome, space-efficient system with a nice set of I/O connections and simple but user-friendly front panel controls and metering. The real beauty, however, is mostly under the covers. The Console application, top-shelf audio path
I can’t imagine anyone not finding the Apollo a great upgrade to an existing system. It’s solid, flexible, and sounds great regardless of the source material. Using it for both overdubbing and mixing was both comfortable and efficient, and the endresulting sound was as good as I could have hoped for. Universal Audio gets an “A” grade in my book, and the Apollo is an easy recommendation. Prices: Apollo DUO, $1999; Apollo QUAD (as tested), 2499; Thunderbolt option card, $499 (all prices MAP) More from: Universal Audio, www.uaudio.com Darwin Grosse (grosse@recordingmag .com) is a recording and mastering engineer, sound designer, musician, and music software wrangler, living in the Colorado Rockies.
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.
Recording - January 2013 - Recording - January 2013
Recording - January 2013 - Cover2
Recording - January 2013 - 1
Recording - January 2013 - 2
Recording - January 2013 - 3
Recording - January 2013 - Fade In.
Recording - January 2013 - 5
Recording - January 2013 - Table of Contents
Recording - January 2013 - 7
Recording - January 2013 - Talkback.
Recording - January 2013 - 9
Recording - January 2013 - 2012 AES Convention Report.
Recording - January 2013 - 11
Recording - January 2013 - 12
Recording - January 2013 - 13
Recording - January 2013 - 14
Recording - January 2013 - 15
Recording - January 2013 - 16
Recording - January 2013 - 17
Recording - January 2013 - 18
Recording - January 2013 - 19
Recording - January 2013 - Universal Audio Apollo.
Recording - January 2013 - 21
Recording - January 2013 - 22
Recording - January 2013 - 23
Recording - January 2013 - ADAM Audio F5 and F7 Monitors.
Recording - January 2013 - 25
Recording - January 2013 - Earthworks ZDT 1022 Mic Preamp.
Recording - January 2013 - 27
Recording - January 2013 - Trident HG3 Close Field Monitoring System.
Recording - January 2013 - 29
Recording - January 2013 - AKG K702 65th Anniversary Edition Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 31
Recording - January 2013 - 32
Recording - January 2013 - 33
Recording - January 2013 - Grace Design m903 Reference Headphone Amplifier.
Recording - January 2013 - 35
Recording - January 2013 - Monitors & Monitoring.
Recording - January 2013 - 37
Recording - January 2013 - 38
Recording - January 2013 - 39
Recording - January 2013 - Lauten Atlantis FC-387 Condenser Microphone.
Recording - January 2013 - 41
Recording - January 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 13: Monitors Part 2.
Recording - January 2013 - 43
Recording - January 2013 - PreSonus BlueTube DP V2.
Recording - January 2013 - 45
Recording - January 2013 - Getting Into Your Head.
Recording - January 2013 - 47
Recording - January 2013 - 48
Recording - January 2013 - 49
Recording - January 2013 - Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones.
Recording - January 2013 - 51
Recording - January 2013 - 52
Recording - January 2013 - 53
Recording - January 2013 - 54
Recording - January 2013 - 55
Recording - January 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
Recording - January 2013 - 57
Recording - January 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Last-Minute Audio Gifts!
Recording - January 2013 - 59
Recording - January 2013 - 60
Recording - January 2013 - 61
Recording - January 2013 - Sennheiser HD800 Headphones.
Recording - January 2013 - Advertiser Index.
Recording - January 2013 - 64
Recording - January 2013 - 65
Recording - January 2013 - 66
Recording - January 2013 - 67
Recording - January 2013 - 68
Recording - January 2013 - 69
Recording - January 2013 - 2012 Annual Index.
Recording - January 2013 - 71
Recording - January 2013 - Fade Out.
Recording - January 2013 - Cover3
Recording - January 2013 - Cover4