Apogee Symphony I/O with 16x16 Analog I/O Module Reviews5.0/5.0 based on 1 customer review
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Brad Lund - Westlund Recording Studios
from Tucson, Az
February 3, 2013Music Background:
Producer, Engineer, Multi-instrumentalist
WOW!! UnbelievableMy Sweetwater Sales rep (Ben Porter) has been telling me about the Symphony IO since it first arrived on the scene. Of course it has always been out of my price reach. I started with Apogee Duet 1st Gen and was impressed, then the Ensemble and it too was awesome, then the price dropped on Apogee and I took the plunge.
THIS unit is light years ahead of anything I have ever heard. The Symphony IO coupled with my Focal Twin Be6's now give my studio that truly professional sound - NO BS!! I am hearing highs that I knew existed but could discern. And my low end immediately tightened up!! truly!!! I have been struggling with bass in my room - I have pretty great bass trapping and all but even with my ensemble - the bass always sounded...flappy, not tight and certainly nowhere close to what pro studios sound like? Well not any more - immediate gratification in the low end…in fact throughout the entire sound spectrum – I ran some XTZ Room analysis to compare and I can see from the graphs a huge difference.
Look, I wish I could tell you all that this sucks so you would not buy it and thus reduce my competition, but that would be a lie and just wrong. In fact I wish more people would buy a unit like this so I could quit hear crappy mixes J It’s simple! If you want your mixes to sound like LA or NY or Nashville – you need to make the investment – period and investing in the Symphony IO is a step in the right direction.
I have said it time and time again, THANK YOU Ben Porter – I actually cried (just a tad) when I put up Kansas, Blackeyed Peas, Aerosmith, Muse up and OH MY GOD it’s was the most pleasing thing I had ever heard!
For maximum audio quality with a computer-based audio system, you've got to get the sound into and out of the digital domain with maximum precision. And that's something that Apogee Digital knows a lot about -- has been at the forefront of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion for many years. Their latest triumph is the Symphony I/O, a modular converter system that provides not only exemplary audio quality but also amazing flexibility.
The Symphony system consists of a central chassis. Into this chassis you install your choice of input and output cards -- the chassis will hold any combination of two cards. Various flavors include an 8 x 8 analog/digital card, a 16 x 16 analog card, a 16 analog-in/16 digital-out card, and a 16 digital-in/16 digital-out card. Plus, there is an 8-channel microphone preamp card that can be installed into one of the two chassis slots.
The chassis can operate as a standalone converter, taking analog in and sending digital out, and vice versa. Or you can use it as an interface connected to your Mac via USB. You can also connect the Symphony system directly to a Pro Tools|HD or HDX rig, where it shows up as a standard Pro Tools interface. Finally, you can combine the Symphony system with a Symphony 64 PCIe card in your Mac. This setup is perfect for working with high channel counts and for low-latency monitoring.
Speaking of latency, the Symphony system includes Apogee's Maestro 2 software console, which handles all routing of inputs and outputs as well as software returns. Plus, it provides a low-latency mixer for creating headphone or monitor feeds. The Symphony chassis has two independent headphone outputs, plus outputs 1 and 2 can be used as stereo monitor outputs, each with its own front-panel volume control. So there's no need for anything else -- just the Symphony and your computer, monitors, and headphones.
Apogee sent me a Symphony system equipped with an 8 x 8 card -- which simultaneously provides eight analog inputs and outputs, and eight digital inputs and outputs -- and an 8-channel preamp card. I first put the Symphony to work as an 8-channel preamp/interface with my MacBook Pro, for acoustic guitar duet sessions in Sweetwater's amazing Studio A recording space (designed by Russ Berger). We placed four microphones on each guitar and spent two full days tracking. The results were spectacular. The Symphony preamps are clean and clear, with great dynamics. They easily hold up to (or surpass) far more expensive standalone mic preamps. And, of course, the conversion quality is totally top notch. The system was rock solid. I had nary a glitch or hiccup during hours and hours of sessions.
Next, I moved the Symphony to my home studio and connected it to a Symphony 64 card in my Mac Pro. I used it for mixdowns and overdubs. Once again, it was completely rock solid. There was never a problem with latency, and the sound quality was crystal clear, full, and transparent.
If you're looking for the best, most flexible converter/interface available, then you need the Apogee Symphony. It simply doesn't get better than this!