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Microphone Month 4

Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB DUO 2x6 USB Audio Interface with UAD DSP Reviews

4.0 stars based on 21 customer reviews
Questions about the Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB DUO 2x6 USB Audio Interface with UAD DSP?

Questions about the Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB DUO 2x6 USB Audio Interface with UAD DSP?

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  • P Arnold
    from Lakeland, Fl April 22, 2017

    No need to define quality

    AS soon as you record your first track you know! Everything you heard and read pales to the joy yours ears and spirit feel when you hit playback that first time. You will giggle inside. Just don't try to use it with an inadequate computer, it will not work. But don't settle for anything less. The console software, Unison preamps, and the included plugins are the best in class.

  • Preston Lucas
    from Eustis, FL February 2, 2017

    So relieved !

    I recently decided to sell off my Motif XF and move towards a more software centric setup. This meant parting ways with the Yamaha FW16E Audio interface add-on card for the Yamaha Motif. I didn't realize how good that card sounded until I bought a budget model M-Audio Interface as my new interface. The difference was night and day. I sent the M-Audio back and tried Steinberg's UR22. This was ok, however still not quite matching the clarity and punch of FW16E's converters. Not to mention that the headphone amp in the UR22's required me to use a mixer in the chain, which I was trying to do away with in my setup. I gave it a few more days and just was not satisfied. Finally I made a decision to invest some real money into an audio interface. The Apollo Solo/Duo just kept coming up, however I got disappointed because I was pretty sure that my brand new PC build would not support any configuration allowing thunderbolt connectivity.

    So I took the plunge, got the USB DUO model and I have not regretted it for one second. The plugins out of the box give you a sense that you are not limited to merely one sound. The neutral sound with all plugins disabled is quite pleasant to your ears and the output amps are plenty powerful for any reasonable situation. I feel like the quality has not only matched my previous setup, but has also given me much more flexibility with the UAD plugins.

    The only place I can fault the Apollo is that I am not very encouraged to go out and purchase any UAD plugins right away given their hefty price tags. The good news is that it comes with quite a few free ones out of the box. Overall I am very pleased with this unit !

  • Eli Prinsen
    from Florida December 19, 2016Music Background:
    Vocal Coach, Singer, Songwriter

    Pull The Trigger!

    I am so happy I decided to "pull the trigger" and buy this thing! I was looking at a few others but (at the time of purchasing the interface) it came with some really incredible plug-ins, so I just could not pass up such an amazing deal. The interface alone provides such excellent sound quality that even without the bonus plug-ins, it's worth every penny of the price. One selling point of mine was the near zero latency. I can now track vocals with effects, with the option to either just monitor the effects or print them, all without any latency. I also picked up a couple of amp simulator plug-ins from UA, to use with this interface, they work flawlessly with zero latency, which gives you the natural feeling when playing and recording. And again, the choice is left to you if you want to record or just send the dry signal to your DAW, and use whatever plug-ins you desire. And last but certainly not least, thanks to the lower buffers, I am enjoying near zero latency with my Edrums. I am one seriously happy customer!

  • Greggor
    from December 15, 2016

    A lot of punch in a little package

    Great addition to my home studio. Everything sounds better running through the Apollo and the awesome UA plugins. My only advice is use the mono plugins when you can, because some of the stereo plugins can be very dsp heavy and with their being a dsp limit you have to choose wisely on bigger projects. Overall I am very happy with my purchase

  • Scott
    from Lewiston, CA August 15, 2016

    Mind blown in multiple locations....

    I'm an old guy. I've been a home recording enthusiast for 35 years, and have been fortunate enough to work in some pretty well equipped pro studios, as a client. I decided to upgrade my Focusrite setup and get into UA for their dedicated plug ins after hearing some examples at NAMM. So, my plan was really to get a satellite or a PCI card and a separate hi quality interface with better converters. But, when I started looking at the Unison technology of the plug ins with UA's interfaces, I thought what the heck! I'll try.

    Wow. I mean, like, "Did I just HEAR that coming out of MY monitors!!" kind of wow. Now, I cheated a little by talking to my long time Sweetwater rep and having the sweetwater team do the bulk of the Cs400 installation of my virtual synths, interface, etc, so I can't speak to ease of set up. But I CAN speak of intuitive use. So logical. It's a little odd having the separate UA console with my Sonar UI as well, but it made sense in short time. But, let's get to the sound. I mean, I made up a couple of quickie projects, one using MIDI to learn that aspect (which, incidentally, the UA does NOT provide a MIDI input, so you'll need a different input for that.... I just went USB right to the box), and then a hybrid soft synth/e gtr/vocals tune. The space, and the ability to identify exactly where something is in my mix has been amazing. And pesky reverb tails that don't translate will now be a thing of the past. And, don't even get me STARTED on the plug ins. Blows away even the high end stuff I've used in the past, and they aren't kidding when they claim tracking with a Unison enabled plug in is like working with the original hardware... it really is. To the point of being a wee creepy if you've used them. So? If you're on the bubble and this baby has the inputs you need (which, incidentally, if I need to track more instruments I CAN still use my previous interface via ADAT and the UA device saw them right away... as soon as I did MY part correctly), I hope you just get it and feel as good about your purchase as I do mine!

  • Rick
    from Ohio May 5, 2016Music Background:
    Lifelong musician

    One of the Best Audio Interfaces

    Yes, I was blown away...the sonic clarity, the ease of use is unparalleled. That together with the rich history of Universal Audio, converted me.

    It also works flawlessly with my two Quad PCIe cards.

    My wish would be that UAD could figure out how to integrate keyboard shortcuts for their Console 2.0 Apollo software.

  • Harold Bones
    from March 19, 2016Music Background:
    Singer,Songwritter,Mixing Engineer,Producer,Rapper

    BUY IT!!!!!!!!!! DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    First Off let me say thanks to Alex Morales for putting up with me all the time I ask him questions about the things I want to purchase for my home studio.

    Ok now my review:

    I was one of those guys who always said, I don't need to buy expensive gear to make great music. I can do the same thing as other producers out there, it is all in the mix. Well it turns out I was wrong. From M-audio interfaces to Avid to Focusrite even Audient, I found myself changing every couple of months my audio interfaces because I wasn't getting what I wanted out of them. I knew about the Apollo line from a fellow producer who uses one. One day I went to his studio and record some vocals and I was blown away because of the quality coming out of the Apollo but I knew that I didn't wanted to spend to much money on a interface.

    Well I decided to wait since I knew there was a usb version coming out because I'm a Windows PC Power User. This baby came yesterday in the mail.

    The initial setup was pretty easy. Downloaded the drivers and the plugins from my account. Got 3 coupons and went ahead and got some plugins out of the page.

    How does it work?

    Perfectly!!!!! No hang outs, no latency, no stutters, no nothing just clean pure awesome audio.

    The preamps on this thing are amazing, so much detail and rich sound coming out from them. The option for the Unison Technology, let me tell you!! This Unit should've cost so much more for what you are getting. I did a test of the Unison using my Rode Nt1 and putting the UA 601A and B preamp and the sound was another level it took my 269 condenser mic and made it sound like a 1,000 and even more expensive mic, very professional sounding unison preamps. The stock preamps are also amazing you can't go wrong with both. The converters! OMG!!!!!!!!! this is were I was so happy that I went ahead and got this unit I did a A/B with my old interface the Audient id14 and of course the Apollo won hands down.

    I use FL Studio 12, Bitwig Studio 1.3.6 and Studio One 3.2 Professional and the interface did an amazing job in all of them.

    Please do yourself a favor. If you are a Windows guy like me, Do not waste your money on other interfaces. Buy this!!!! you are going to thank me!!!!!!!

  • Tim McJury
    from Batavia, NY March 13, 2016Music Background:
    Professional Recording engineer, Musician, Producer, G

    Woth It

    I have used this interface for about 24 hours and I'm very, very impressed. First a shout out to Pat Weaver who convinced me to pull the trigger on this( I have yet to see a shout out for him) and was 1,000 %correct. Maybe it's a little unfair to go full five stars cause I've never heard RME but that's about the only one I haven't. First off its like it's thunderbolt counter part in everyway except for its usb3 and for Windows! I am not running a crazy great machine. Its a HP with 2.6 quad core 8gb ram and 1TB hard drive. Its a very good machine but not made for real time audio. The drivers, plug ins and hardware installed flawless and everything is working great with no tweaking. That is a first for me Just to be able to plug and play basically. Also I am running Windows 10 and even though it's not fully endorsed yet by UA it works just fine. The quality and responsiveness to the preamps and plug ins is just amazing for digital. I've worked on neves and ssl and some other very high quality boards with apogee conversion into the daw and back. If your looking for that sound this is as close as you get for the so called "poor man". Be honest though, this isn't cheap. But for what you get its pretty affordable for the mobile or home engineer. I have no quams with the device beside I hate that you download everything but that's how it all works nowadays. I dont see how you can regret this unless your familiar with high quality interfaces costing much more but still this is in its own league. One review said your paying for more than the interface and I agree. Its exciting in todays world how much you can get from a guy/girl and their computer. Unison technology is just revolutionary and it works amazing. We all know plug ins will never sound as good as the real thing yatta yatta yatta. But unless you make a million dollars as a producer how much better Will the hardware make you? You get very close with this box and it will greatly improved recording and mixing. I'm coming from a focusrite 2i4 so it's not fair but **** it sounds goooood and much much better than the 2i4. You can clip the preamp and the distortion sounds musical. In a digital domain that's pretty ******* cool. I am telling friends I own a LA-2A an 1176 and some sweat eqs because I do..in Plug-ins. I'm confident when they here them they will agree. If your not into them this is made for connecting out board gear as well. If you can afford it save the hassle of going through other cheaper interaces and save for this. Worth it!

  • Jonathan
    from Andover February 25, 2016

    Audient ID22 vs Apollo & update on

    Based upon advice from another user out on the web, I bought a regulated 12v power supply to use instead of the little wall wart supplied by Universal Audio. It brings an already brilliant performer to the next level, and the cost is peanuts for what you get in return. For those willing to experiment, I got the power supply on Amazon:

    Philmore Multi-Voltage Regulated DC Power Supply : MW122A

    I had another cheap wall wart supply with the correct sized plug for the Apollo that was not being used for anything. if you do not have a sacrificial lamb for the connector, you could use one like this from Amazon:

    Velleman PSSMV1USA 3-12Vdc Switching Power Supply

    I cut off the wire from the wall wart, stripped the wires and attached them to the regulated supply binding posts. You will need a little volt/ohm meter to make sure that you have positive on the center contact, negative on the outer shell. I also measured the power supply to be sure that it was in spec. My specimen measured at 11.83 volts. The original wall wart for the Apollo measured 12.30, but that was not under load.

    This particular power supply (Philmore) is very nice because there is a switch that locks the voltage so that it does not change by accident. (Be sure to set the switch to 12v) It provides a very solid 2 amp capacity, and by the weight of it, it feels like a true transformer with regulation, not a little switching supply.

    For those of you who may own an Audient ID22 or are thinking about getting one; The power supply suggestion above works even better on my Audient ID22. It is not surprising that there would be wide differences in the quality of wall wart power units and this simple, inexpensive upgrade brings the Audient into very close competition, sound quality wise, with the Apollo. I needed a good USB isolator for the Audient. You may not need one, but you won't know until you try.

    Audient ID22 vs Apollo Twin Duo USB (sound quality of the headphone outputs):
    The Audient with the new regulated power supply is, to my ears, in the same ball park as the Apollo with the new regulated power supply. They do have a different signature. The Audient comes across with a warmer sound, while the Apollo is more neutral. On the Beyerdynamic 1770 headphones, I was hard pressed to declare a winner. Every time I thought I heard more detail on the Apollo, I switch back to the Audient and there it was, just a little warmer. It comes down more to taste. Perhaps the most telling result of my testing so far is that I am keeping both units. The Apollo does a whole lot more, but costs $300 more and requires USB 3.0, while the Audient works nicely on USB 2.0.

    If you have an ID22 and are looking to upgrade the sound quality, get the new regulated power supply. No need to sell off the Audient to purchase the Apollo, unless you want all the new capability of the Apollo, such as 192khz, DSP features, etc.

    I am completely thrilled with the sound quality of both units after the power supply upgrade (and USB isolation on the Audient in my setup, you may not need one). Your mileage may vary.

  • Jonathan
    from Andover February 24, 2016

    The hype is true - but......

    First: Yes, this is the best sounding D/A interface that I have had in my system. I have not tried the multi-thousand dollar units, and I have not tested the mic inputs yet.

    Second: My unit is sensitive to USB ground loop issues. My other interface is also sensitive to that, but a USB isolator fixed the problem and improved the sound tremendously. Unfortunately, the only USB isolators that I can find are USB 2.0, not 3.0 compatible. Without an isolator on my main machine, the Twin Duo USB sounded thin, flat and harsh.

    Luckily for me, I have a second computer that I am setting up as my DAW work station. This machine had no detectable issues and the sound quality is the best I have had - ever. I am using a single ended triode amplifier for my monitor speakers and Beyerdynamic 1770 and 880 cans on the headphone output. The headphone out is just as delicious as the monitor outs.

    If you can afford it, it will bring your system to the next level. Seriously. If you try one of these and don't find sonic nirvana in your setup, check for USB ground loop issues. In fact, just try an isolator on your existing interface. You might be shocked at the improvement. I am beginning to think that USB ground loop issues are a pervasive problem. I am planning to isolate every usb device, if possible. If we don't get the basics right, we wind up spending tons of money fixing the wrong problem.

  • Customer
    from November 27, 2016

    Power packed little unit

    What a great sounding and performing addition to the studio. Love the tactile controls and ability to send separate mixes to headphones and monitors. My only concern thus far with the unit is the DSP limit. I have found that using the mono versions of the plugins helps free up the dsp, and since then I haven't run into a plugin ceiling. Highly recommend the Apollo Twin.

  • Sasha
    from Strings September 27, 2016

    Major Upgrade

    If you are looking for a world class A/D converters, world class plug ins - DONT look any further- this is a place to be.

    The only reason i am giving 4.5 stars is that UAD plug ins are very DSP hungry.
    Amazing product and a great investment for your home studio.

  • Larry
    from Seattle April 14, 2016

    Worth every penny!

    Amazing audio interface with superb conversion quality! The UAD plug-ins are also amazing, I was skeptical at first because of all the hype, but this little darlin lives up to all of it! I cannot wait to purchase the Neve pre-amp collection of plug-ins and the Ocean Way Studios Plug-in. My Sales Representative Ryan suggested this to me and I am so happy that I listened to him! Thank you Ryan!

  • Georazor
    from Chicago April 5, 2016

    A Must Have

    This Apollo Twin USB really starts putting you in the big leagues (sonically) as soon as you turn it on.
    Add the included plug-ins and some of the many other quality plugs that are available and you are golden.
    All you need is some common sense and talent, and you will soon be exporting quality product.

    Set up was straight forward and the whole installation and interface with UA was easy.

    The only snag that I had was with Windows 7 and ProTools 11. A session would intermittently give me
    error messages 'not communicating with USB Interface'. After some research found out that I should disable WIFI in the control panel while running sessions. Apparently Apollo, WiFi, and ProTools do not play well together..................all seems good now.

    Reason for 4 not 5 stars: Everything about the build of this box shouts quality except for the big
    volume knob (the main event). I understand that it is a push-push switch underneath, but why the
    wobbly big knob on top?

  • James S.
    from Johnson City, TN March 4, 2016Music Background:
    Recording Engineer / Producer / DIY

    Sounds like 900$

    In today's world where you get what you pay for, fortunately this rings true with the Apollo. It's not just an audio interface you are paying for when you buy it, While it may seem like a glorified plugin license for UA as well, this box actually does way more than you'd expect. In the first few minutes of using it the response of my DAW was already light years beyond the previous interface I was using. The plugins which come with the device are more than enough to get you started making clean, powerful mixes that shine clear and feel warm against your ears. Simply putting the LA-2A Legacy plugin on.. literally anything, and it sounds like the real hardware. I personally cannot spot a noticeable difference between the plugins and the hardware. I mean, I think there's a slight, negligible difference.. could just be placebo. Either way you get Legacy plugins, not the nicer/newer updated GUI plugins. They do the same thing as their slightly graphically polished counterparts, and hardware brethren: Sound amazing.

    When you put the preamp plugins on, you hear the relay click over inside the device itself. It changes its internal voltage/impedance to authentically recreate the sounds of the preamps it simulates. Any mic you run through this thing is going to sound incredible. This really gives the box a very premium feel. The volume knob is however very delicate feeling though, so don't go yanking it or slamming your fist down on it in excitement of how good it sounds.

  • Nick D.
    from SF, Bay Area February 26, 2016Music Background:
    Producer, Engineer, Artist

    UAD Quality at a UAD Price

    I pre-ordered my Apollo Twin four months ago and I finally received it. It was well worth the wait.

    I am a mobile producer with a large stationary studio, and I wanted to be able to fluidly produce on the go, mix and master in the studio, and transition seamlessly into outboard gear with one single, portable unit.

    I am impressed. The converters sound killer. I've run some electric guitar through the device using some of the onboard DSP and was highly impressed. I have been bussing out mixes to my RND MBP and back in while clipping the converters and have pleasantly distorted them while retaining all of the detail and clarity of much higher priced converters.

    The only reason for knocking off a star is because of the UAD plugin pricing model. Yes, the device is relatively cheap, but the plugins cost much more than they are worth, and to me, this money would be much better invested in the hardware counterparts that UAD is trying to emulate. $350 for a reverb? Nah, I think I'll save for the Bricasti. $399 for Pultec emulations? I'd rather spend money on the Warm Audio EQP and get the real thing. The GUIs are the selling point for most of these plugs.

    UAD, why don't you let Sweetwater sell your plugins? I believe the bundles and deals Sweetwater could put together would be much more appealing.

    Overall, the hardware is impeccable. Does everything I ask of it, but the plugins are a little overpriced.

  • Customer
    from August 5, 2016

    OS X volume controls don't work PART 2

    I have upped my rating to 3-star after using the product for several months. Heck, maybe even 3.5 stars. The key breakthrough was finding a free utility that makes the volume controls work in OS X on a MAC. I am still amazed that UAD can't figure out how to do it (or doesn't care...)

    With that in place, I really like the Apollo interface - solid, durable, clean, etc., and yes now i would recommend it.

    MC

  • Customer
    from April 4, 2016

    OS X volume controls don't work

    Buyer beware -- this product will not work with OS X volume controls. Many competitors make that work with no problem, but universal audio has not figured out how to do that. It appears that their R&D efforts go into plug-ins for you to buy, but they have not been able to make that basic thing work.

  • Steve
    from May 12, 2017

    Good luck

    Lot's of potential, here. Of course, potential means that the benefit is unrealized. The first unit worked for a week. The second unit would not communicate over the USB 3 bus. UAD blames the problem on a USB controller that is incompatible with their architecture. But, if this is correct, the original unit would not have worked, either.

    For the lucky owner (lucky is the important word, here), the Twin USB is a good sounding unit that also records well and has access to some very good UAD effects.

    If your pc requires expensive upgrades for your pc to become compatible, one probably would be wise to spend the extra money and buy an even better interface. This is where Sweetwater shines. Unrivaled service and support and total respect for the interests of its customers. So, if you decide to try the Twin USB, I can't think of a better place to buy from. Based on my experience, if you have a problem, you will have unrivaled support and the opportunity to consider other options.

  • Customer
    from El Paso April 23, 2016Music Background:
    professional musician

    couldn't get it to work with Win 10

    Universal Audio worked with me on the phone as did Sweetwater and we just couldn't get it to work.
    not even once. Kudos to both UA and Sweetwater for their customer service.

    be aware....there is a list of things you need to do before you get it to work and apparently those things work for others but none of them worked for me.

    it is NOT plug and play and it should be.
    perhaps with a future update.

    i returned mine.

  • Yiming
    from Los Angeles April 4, 2016

    I want say it is ok

    It is ok, but not that good, if I want to buy a 900 dollar interface again, I would not like to buy this.

Questions about the Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB DUO 2x6 USB Audio Interface with UAD DSP?

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