Apogee Ensemble Reviews
If you are a Logic user looking for a FireWire interface, the Apogee Ensemble is tailor-made for you. Every parameter, including the microphone preamps, can be controlled within your Logic session! Convenience, quality, and features.
If you want the most versatile, reliable, stable and best-performing FireWire audio interface for your Mac and Logic, choose the Ensemble! Of course, it also works great with most any Core Audio application such as Cubase, Nuendo, or Digital Performer.
I've owned an Apogee Ensemble for the past two years and it has only impressed! Not only is the unit super-cool looking, but it really sounds great. I've used this box in conjunction with an Apogee Rosetta 800 and a bunch of outboard gear in previous sessions and effortlessly recorded 16 simultaneous channels of audio. In my opinion, this is the best all-in-one box on the market. You won't be disappointed!
Simple and powerful. I was set up and running in under five minutes and was blown away by the performance. The A/D converters alone make this interface worth it. Add four crystal clear mic pres, tons of I/O, and computer control - you have a winner.
December 11, 2012Music Background:
An incredible soundThis unit is nothing but amazing! I went from focusrite to the apogee duet and was blown away by the difference, never did I think converters could sound so different. Then I really wanted to take advantage of multiple track analog summing and incorporated the Dangerous 2 BUS and so obviously was going to stick with a high quality name like Apogee. I am truly amazed how this system sounds now. For years I've been trying to get that "professional sound" and beginning to think only the major studios can achieve it on the Neve and SSL boards that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.....WRONG! Get some great converters like this one, there's a reason they cost a lot, they are superior quality! I am amazed that anyone that has posted thinks this thing sounds just okay. Of course you need the rest of your gear to be at the same level as well so be sure to have some quality monitors and maybe another preamp. It links up to Logic 9 as if they were meant to be!!
from Memphis, TN
February 3, 2012Music Background:
Just what I neededThe Ensemble interface has such a clean and clear sound no matter what you are using it for. The preamps sound great and are very clean. But I love the fact that you can make those preamps to be line inputs and have 8 analog inputs and 8 analog outputs along you to use any kind of outboard gear you want. So I use it with my analog preamps to get amazing sounds right as I am tracking. Nothing better than converting sweet analog gear.
January 11, 2012Music Background:
Apogee stands for quality...I used to record everything from voiceovers to full bands with my old digi 003...Well,I'm glad I switched to this powerful interface.The ensemble has an openess and transparency I could only dream of from more expensive systems,way to go Apogee!
from East Lansing, Mi.
April 5, 2011Music Background:
Recording Engineer, Pro Musician, Composer, and Arranger.
Apogee EnsembleThe Apogee's preamps are clearer than most preamps in it's price range. I feel it contends with some of the best pre-amps in the world. Very low noise, if not any. Great functionality. It's integration with what I use, Logic Pro and Abelton Live sync's wonderfully with Maestro, the live mixing program.
Most importantly, you will never have better customer care. The first time I called in, a what seemed like 50-year old guy picked up with a warm and chilled voice in two rings. He helped me so quickly, and didn't care about the bull s**t aesthetics. They're online chat is great, their updates are easier than anything I've ever worked with. Their products, have been around for many years, and they've kept their quality and their character.
All in all, as an Apogee Ensemble owner all I can do next is buy the Symphony
March 21, 2011Music Background:
Producer, Engineer, Studio Owner, Musician
Nothing like it - anywhereAll I can say about the Ensemble is WOW!!!! I purposefully played some mixes through the Apogee Duet for about an hour - just to get them ingrained in the brain - I also added plug-ins and other effects to quite a few tracks; I actually had the mix sounding really good. I then installed the Ensemble and ran the same mixes through it and holy smokes.... like no comparison, day and night - with the Ensemble being the daylight! The Ensemble just sounds so sweet and clear, kicked everything up 10 knotches, I now feel my "in the box" mixes can finally compete with out of the box openess - I'll never doubt your advice ever again - thank you.
from Vancouver, WA
March 12, 2011Music Background:
Simply beautifulConnected the Ensemble to my Mac Pro and to my Kyma Pacarana. Everything worked first time without any driver software. Floored too by the purity of sound. I have no regrets buying this cool device. None.
from Los Angeles, CA
February 15, 2011Music Background:
Musician, Songwriter, TV Producer,
AMAZING PIECE OF GEARThe pre amps are crystal clear, transparent, perfect for vocals, acoustic guitar, drums, amp cabs, bass DI or cabs; the works. This is a really simple intuitive unit to use and to set up. The only issue I had was an installation bug that you must be aware of if the until is to function properly- -There is a firmware upgrade that WILL NOT work if there are any other firewire devices connected to the computer at the time of the install. It will cause major problems down the road if you forget this. Once you get it going, though, the Ensemble is a brilliant, simple, cool looking and sounding interface.
from Orlando, FL USA
January 8, 2011Music Background:
Recording Engineer, Musician, Composer
Perfect for Home/Mobile RigI'm not gonna talk about all the awesome things that everyone else already stated. What ALSO makes this product amazing is the proprietary "conversion algorithm" when bouncing down tracks [especially in Logic Pro]. It's 100% the BEST INVESTMENT I've made in my studio. Pony up the $, don't THINK about getting another interface. Especially now that Pro-Tools 9 has been birthed from the gods, there isn't any reason I would not recommend this to anyone; it's perfect for hobbyist / prosumer / pros alike. Very very very accurate and clear.
from GA USA
November 11, 2010Music Background:
A+I own this and the duet. Quit reading reviews and buy the thing it will be the best investment you ever made. Pre-amps awesome and transparent and the ability to record @ 196k give me a break.......Why are you still reading?
from Los Angeles
January 6, 2010Music Background:
Professional Singer, Songwriter, Guitar Player, Engineer
Ensemble is Great!I've been recording for over 40 years and have bled money throughout the evolution of digital recording. I eventually upgraded my studio to Protools with Apogee X converters only to lose the whole setup six months later in a horrible divorce. Pending the return of my Protools system and to move ahead with my latest album I bought an Ensemble as a "make due" interim solution. Long story short, I have been amazed and impressed beyond belief by the sound quality of the Ensemble. I mainly work on high-gain rock, metal and adult contemporary genres. The Ensemble has dramatically exceeded my expectations and I've received numerous compliments for the sound quality of the mixes I'm creating. No question about it, this is a pro converter system for a great price.
May 28, 2009Music Background:
Pro Recording Engineer
I'd like to comment on the Mytek guyWere you comparing a $3500 ad/da to a 2k 4 channel pre and firewire interface? I think the Ensemble and Duet lines are absolutely fantastic! For the money, nothing on the market comes close. High headroom pre's and killer converters! If you want apples to apples against a Mytek get a Rosetta 800. If you want the best interface money can buy, get this!
from new york
September 21, 2008Music Background:
clear as a bellId have to say its ell worth the money. Compared to any other interface aside from HD or higher end apogee converters its as close as your gonna get in this price range to pro sound. Good clean high gain preamp, the mastero software works great with logic, near zero latency, no BS driver issues or crashed. Great tech support as well. dont waste your cash on something for 1200 like an RME this rocks go get it and record something.
from Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, New York.
August 1, 2008Music Background:
Sound Engineer, Mixer, Sound Editor, Post Production ( foley ),Live Sound Engineer.
The Best Firewire Interface out there!!!I own one at my home studio, also own Digi products. Monitoring with JBL LSR6325P/ 5.1 System through Ensemble and let me tell you, there is not other Firewire Interface better than the Ensemble. It sound amazing! Setting up onto my two Mac's, my Mac Pro the Evil modified desk top and my trusty MacBook Pro it was as simple as drinking water (come on guys I read the other reviews) I installed Maestro to the Mac's and then download the upgrades on Apogee website using firmware updater in less than 30 min. Follow the instructions the manual said it all, is so simple. Also operating Maestro is like breathing, if you have experience or understand how DAW functions you will find the application of the Ensemble easy to operated. I compare this product in the same category as RME Fireface and Prism Orpheus, but for my taste the Ensemble kick a*s. The AD/DA converters, clock and UV22HR dither on the Ensemble are the best you can find on a Firewire Interfaces for the money, Apogee Quality!! The Mic pre's are digitally control up to 75db and they have a very clear and don't colorate your sound. Monitoring with 8 analogue outputs using the 2 Headphones mix or Stereo, 5.1 surround and 7.1 surround (also the ADAT give you 8 more outputs) with zero latency, thats very good! Mixing on it you can hear every detail. Inputs are fair, especially that it only have 4 mic pre's with a total of 8 analogue inputs, also it has 8 more I/O's of ADAT, but Apogee compensated this with fully balanced Inserts sends and returns on each mic pre's for external hardware use. Also feature a 2 channels of S/PDIF coax and optical I/O. Ensemble feature Hi-Z line inputs for recording Bass, Electric Guitars, Keyboards or Synth. The outputs are perfect for surround mixing or patching in to a vintage analogue mixer. Ensemble has a total of 36 Channel of simultaneous audio. Love the LED meters and the knobs they are so simple to operate only two of then, but with multi purpose. For Logic and Mac users this is it, don't wast your time or money. Be a smart shopper and get the Ensemble. From a Pro Studio to a Project Studio or taking the Ensemble to record a live jazz trio or a String Quartet, if you are serious about your sound, Apogee Ensemble!!! I feel like a happy camper :-)
from Reno, NV USA
April 25, 2008Music Background:
Network Television, 4 Time Emmy Award Winner
A Must Have!This is by far the best audio interface for the Mac Pro period. The only flaw in the whole Ensemble system is the manual and configuring the unit to your system. This did take too long, but once I got it up and running it has been nothing but stellar.
My use is with Final Cut Pro Studio w/Mac Pro 3ghz dual core loaded. The Ensemble makes it easy to balance out my 5.1 monitoring feeding Dynaudio BM5A's nearfield monitors. The sound is pure and clean. For voice overs, the Mic Pre's w/Phantom Pwr are sweet and easy to control from the front panel.
Cut loose with some dough...this is a must have!
April 1, 2008Music Background:
Pro violinist/ performer, live and recording Sound Engineer by trade.
The only solutionAfter 2 months of stressful computer configuring I have finally been able to use the Apogee Ensemble with out headaches. This sounds bad, but all those hours have payed off BIG TIME!!! I am using a 2.4 dual core iMAC with 4 gb of RAM and OSX 10.4.11. All drives are hooked up with FW400 (FW800 poses problems with the Ensemble). Also, you must have all ADAT and SPDIF digital devices connected to the Ensemble turned ON or the clock of the Ensemble will not work properly. All this said, the Ensemble sounds incredible.... I got to work immediately with 2 acoustic songwriters' projects and have been blown away by the detail, depth, and most of all the clarity of the recorded tracks sitting in the mix. No longer do I feel that the digital conversion process is a sacrifice for price and ease of editing.
My Digi002 is collecting dust since I have converted all my ProTools projects to Logic 8. No longer do I have to deal with the fatiguing sound of those converters. I can best describe this by comparing images from a standard point and shoot digital camera with those of a digital SLR with premium glass in front of it. My eyes don't try to focus past the pixels just as my ears no longer try to strain to hear what I know I had heard while tracking.
Thanks again to my salesperson Jeff Law for keeping me from making a boneheaded decision by buying something less than perfect, such as (feel free to list all Motu, Digidesign, Focusrite, mackie, TC, and Presonus audio interfaces here).....
from USA. LONDON, JAMROCK.
October 5, 2007Music Background:
Lost in the passion of Music.
Technology Freak!Apogee Ensemble is at the top of its range as it as ever been, as there has been, as they have made a few changes to the new range of Ensemble.
A little tricky to set-up at first i must say. You dont even need Masetro in order to eliminate Lantency as with prevous models.
And with Logic-Pro its a dream come true, never as their been a better DAW on Planet-Earth and is the first interface that integrates with Apple's Platform aslso including GarageBand, Sound-Track-Pro and Final-Cut-Pro.
Ensemble A/D. converters is so transparent in Logic its like a must have, as i have used a few Interface including Delta 1010, Fire-Face 800 and the best as been the EnsembleI know as i have tested it along a Summing device, so it gets 8 out of 10.
Before Delta 1010 as always been my heart-Beat, but with just the first day of testing it won me over, i still like the Delta 10 10 but against this unit it more on point making my mix sound 25% better at least.
Fire-Face 800 is Rock solid, but is far from being Transparent compared to Ensemble, as their is a bit of Colour added to the F-F 800 and will only suite certain style of composition saying this though, the Fire-Face 800 is also stunning with what it can do, however you can push the Ensemble a lot less in getting the Mix to sound as close as to what you have put in, making it the Ultimate Interface amongs its class.
from Tucson, AZ
May 16, 2007
Incredible Interface!Buying this interface is the most significant improvement I have made to my studio in years. It sounds incredible. I'm hearing my music as I never have before. Logic Pro is my main DAW but I sometimes use Pro Tools L. The integration with Logic is fantastic and it works in standalone mode with everything else. At this price point this is far and away the best audio interface I have ever heard or used. If you use Logic this is a no brainer, get it. Ensemble far exceeded my expectations!
from Brooklyn/Bay Ridge
April 3, 2007Music Background:
Producer, Classical Guitarist, Keyboard Player, and Singer/Vocal Coach
I was lost, Now I have foundI recently purchased the Apogee Ensemble,and I'm more satisfied than I ever imagined. The thought behind the idea of this integration was pure genius. The Apogee, Avalon 737, and a Neumann TLM 103 is just pure magic.
Thank you Apogee
March 27, 2007Music Background:
holy cow: Simply the bestSo far I had used 2x Metric Halo 2882 and 2x ULN2 .I was very satisfied with their audiophile results. The MH drivers were nearly unbeatable in terms of stability and performance. Now I took the time and tested the Ensemble over tha last weekend. It blew me away. The concept of the device with its 2 encoders and the nativ integration with Apple OSX is fantastatic. It´s build like a tank and its still a beauty and the Sound ?? wow... just amazing, prestine, transparent, crisp, neutral. There is no doubt about that THIS ensemble is the best Firewire Interface the world ever had to offer.
Thanks to Apple for sponsoring Apogee in building such an incredible interface.
All Or Nothin Entertainment
August 19, 2006Music Background:
Ensemble... closer to commercial.We purchased the Ensemble, after having both the Metric Halo ULN and Fireface 800 interfaces.
While those 2 were already high quality, we felt after one test, the Ensemble blew those 2 away.
We connected an Apogee Big Ben word clock, and finished the set-up with a set of JBL LSR4328 monitors, and could not have been more pleased with the outcome.
This is as close to commercial quality, as we have come, being non-mastered.
Not only does the Ensemble offer nice pre's, but the converters are top notch as well.
Our combo made for one of the best set-up's we've had in house for awhile.
I highly reccommend anyone looking to get that much closer to commercial sound, to buy this interface, as well as the Big Ben word clock.
P.S. Soon we'll add the SSL Duende, for the ultimate combo.
November 9, 2012Music Background:
Musician, recording engineer
Apogee Ensemble Pre/InterfaceI replaced my Duet 2 with the Ensemble because I needed more inputs and wanted to stay with a quality pro/pre and the Maestro 2 software. The sound quality from Apogee products was a no brainer. I have always had great results from Apogee. Love my Duet 2. Best interface for under a grand. I didn't have to sample either Apogee before the purchase. The quality of the Ensemble was consistent with the Duet 2 except another step up. Out of the box the soundstage was better, a bit more air around the instruments and micro dynamics were exceptional. The sweet spot wasn't so demanding for panning, but very accurate in the mix. My unit still needs more break-in, but each time I fire it up I can see what the final results will be. It gets fuller, more dynamics and opening up of the stage and imaging are developing nicely. I am still getting that slight digital edge at first. I notice it disappears when it warms up also. I need to leave it in standby all the time. The Ensemble likes to be in standby mode all the time to keep the processors warm & ready. From my own experience, it takes roughly 24 hours for processors to be ready for serious listening, at least for Audiophile 2 channel and high end HT listening. All my processors are the same way. I am very impressed with the micro and macro dynamics. I can hear the beneficial nuisances within the harmonics I have never heard before from a pre/ pro interface. The articulate voicing within the entire range really stood out. It put the final touch's of the music together for me. I would recommend this unit for the price range. I have not tried the pre's on the unit, I use the an Avalon 2022 and line in for analog recording. Recommended!!!
from Vancouver, BC
September 10, 2010Music Background:
Music Producer, Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician
Apogee EnsembleI love the clarity and silky sound of apogee ensemble, truly a work of art but I am not impressed by the hiss that it produces without any gain or input applied to the unit. I am a sound engineer and music producer that demands a quiet room with accurate frequencies but the low hiss in my opinion greatly reduces judgement calls in a mix.
other than the hiss this product surely has amazing mic pres and TRS inputs that are dramatically better than focusrite mic pres on my protools 002 rack.
I really hope that apogee gets a software update to take out the hiss.
Ruben John Pulido
from Los Angeles, CA
August 6, 2006Music Background:
Music Producer/ Record Label owner
The best For LogicIf you own Logic Pro! and your on a G5 or on one of the new MacBook Pro's Then this is the only audio interface you will ever need. The intergration is perfect. you never have to leave Logic for for any set up at all. It's all right in front of you. All the controls. And the encoders on the Endemlbe it self work as well if you prefer to use the knobs. Currently the drivers only support certin sample rates and can't take advatantage of the units full capabilities. But as soon as Apogee release's the new one's it will be on fire.
from Los Angeles
June 10, 2012Music Background:
Great, but a bit buggy!This unit is wonderful. I have had it for about 2 years. In the beginning, it was simply great. The converters are fantastic, the interface was easy enough to use and the first version of Maestro was amazing, you could have dual mixes no latency no problems. But....then they went and made V2 and it pretty much just caused problems and bugs. My unit doesn't always get recognized by the software, it doesn't always boot correctly, it doesn't always work as supposed to... A good example of this is that when you want to have direct feedback from the unit, you simply push the output routing to the mixer and use the mixer to have a no latency direct source feedback. Well, sometimes I have to reset the unit, start Maestro over and try that a few times, then it finally works. Seriously, it is becoming a pain.
So what would I do, possibly some more research, I think I would likely go with something like a lynx Aurora or something like that. Maybe the new UA Quad unit. Im looking to upgrade to top notch converters and I was considering Symphony I/O but now I am worried that their software may just be too new, so I will likely go to a protools Avid rig.
June 30, 2011Music Background:
It's OK but not worth the moneyThis unit performs great for what it is. But there are some issues with noise and hiss. I know people say ground loops could be a problem but I am I running everything, all my gear from a dedicated very very expensive power source. I had Motu before. No problems there. silence. Then I spend $2000 on Ensemble and got problems with noise.
Sound wise this unit enhance the mids and highs which I really don't like. It's not like in a cheap Chinese way but just not true its source. Although hi quality is present in both pres and the AD/DA converters I would not recommend this unit for acoustic folk, country stuff. For almost $2000 is not worth it. Now I own an RME. Silence and warm are just there. I hope this will help people with their decision.
from Los Angeles
February 16, 2009Music Background:
Music Production / Sound Design
Ensemble Sound QualityThe sound quality seems to be over-rated. In fact coming out of my speck summing mixers directly to the speakers on my system sounds incredible. When I go from the speck into the ensemble, record into logic and playback. The sound is smeary and about 3/4 the quality it was prior to hitting the box. I would consider this box pro-sumer. My Myteks hold up much better. I'm sorry for this review, but this has been my experience with the box.
May 3, 2011Music Background:
Ordinary at Best!Owned it for 6 months..found it noisy, bright and ,thin,sounding. I think it epitomizes mixing in the box to me .. before buying really take along look at your options and don't just go with the flow. The emperor has no clothes guys .That being said however if you cant hear it wont matter to you any way..
I looked at the Ensemble the same way I looked at Apple's Mighty Mouse. It looked cool, but had few "normal" features. The front panel only had two knobs and a power button. But, just like my first experience with that mouse, the Ensemble is not a device to be without.
The first thing that I noticed was how simple everything was. After installing the software, I plugged into the wall and the computer and I was up and running. Then I discovered why the actual interface was sparse in its apparent features. Everything is controlled through Maestro, the included software. This was a dream come true for me. I could easily adjust gain levels for my mics, and output levels for my speakers or even headphones without moving over to my hardware bay.
Even though the Ensemble is geared toward Logic, it connected with Digital Performer perfectly. I was able to instantly dive into my work. The sound coming out of my speakers was much more clear than I was used to. I don't do much recording, but I tested speaking into my microphone and it sounded much more natural. It was able to transfer acoustic to digital as close as I have ever heard. A little side note is that the Ensemble has a "soft limit" that provides a slight compression before clipping occurs. This could definitely speed up recording by eliminating the need to continually adjust the gain.
If you are a serious musician or engineer using a Mac, the Ensemble is a perfect solution to many recording problems.