Apogee Element 88 - 16x16 Thunderbolt Audio Interface for Mac

Thunderbolt Audio Interface with 8 Analog Inputs, 8 Mic Preamps, 2 Balanced XLR Outputs, 8 x 8 ADAT Optical I/O, 2 Stereo Headphone Outputs, and Word Clock I/O - Mac
Apogee Element 88 - 16x16 Thunderbolt Audio Interface for Mac image 1
Apogee Element 88 - 16x16 Thunderbolt Audio Interface for Mac image 1
Limited-time Offer!
Free Apogee Control Hardware Remote, a $195.00 value!
Purchase this Apogee Element 88 Thunderbolt Audio Interface at Sweetwater and receive a free Apogee Control Hardware Remote with your shipment, a $195 value! The free Apogee Control will be automatically included with your order. There is no need to add anything extra to your cart. Effective now through August 15, 2017.
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Or make 3 easy payments of $498.33/month!

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Apogee Element 88 - 16x16 Thunderbolt Audio Interface for Mac
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Apogee's Streamlined 16 x 16 Thunderbolt Interface

If you record music to a Mac, the Apogee Element 88 is for you. The Element 88 is a 16-in/16-out audio interface that takes the best of cutting-edge Apogee gear and packs it into a streamlined, cost-effective unit. The Element 88 gives you eight balanced front-panel analog inputs, two rear-panel XLR outputs plus two balanced 1/4" outputs, two stereo headphone outs, and word clock I/O. Eight of Apogee's world-class mic preamps are onboard, with selectable phantom power. For expansion flexibility, optical I/O is also provided with ADAT (8 x 8), SMUX (8 x 8), and S/PDIF (2 x 2) compatibility. Apogee's Element Control software gives you remote control of your hardware on your Mac and wireless control via iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Apogee Element 88 at a Glance:
  • Superior conversion for tracks that blend harmoniously
  • Microphone preamps that can do it all
  • State-of-the-art Apogee clocking
  • Ultra-low latency Thunderbolt connectivity
Superior conversion for tracks that blend harmoniously

Top-notch A/D conversion is an essential ingredient for capturing every nuance of your digital recordings. Apogee's Element series interfaces feature high-quality Apogee A/D conversion that minimizes noise and maximizes signal quality, for tracks that sound amazing and sit perfectly in your mix. You'll hear enhanced definition in every track and virtual instrument. Tracks will blend more harmoniously, making precision adjustments - and achieving the perfect mix balance - easier.

Microphone preamps that can do it all

Drums, vocals, guitar, strings, brass - each source places unique demands on your mic preamp. You need a preamp that can do it all, capturing the minute details of every performance. Apogee's Element series mic preamps are engineered with the company's Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture, an analog circuit that dynamically optimizes across a 0-75dB gain range to provide exceptional bandwidth with the lowest possible distortion.

State-of-the-art Apogee clocking

Your audio interface's clock source is like a conductor, meting out tempo to the orchestra. A digital audio clock delivers a timing signal to all parts of a digital audio system, synchronizing every part of the AD/DA process. Every Apogee Element series interface is spec'd with its own onboard clock source that provides pro-studio-grade word clock I/O for syncing with other digital audio equipment. Slave your Element to other gear, or take advantage of Apogee's superior clocking technology, by using your interface as a master clock.

Ultra-low latency Thunderbolt connectivity

Apogee's Element Thunderbolt driver delivers impressive low-latency round-trip performance (1.41ms), along with rock-solid stability. This proprietary driver also draws less CPU power thanks to Apogee's Direct Memory Access (DMA) technology. At Sweetwater, we can confirm that the DMA implementation in the Element series lets you run more plug-ins and monitor through your DAW at low buffer settings. With Apogee Element interfaces, you no longer have to choose between speed and power!

Apogee Element 88 Features:
  • 16-in/16-out Thunderbolt audio interface for Mac computers
  • Up to 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA conversion for recording
  • 4 front-panel mic/line/instrument inputs on combi connectors
  • 4 front-panel mic/line inputs on XLR connectors
  • 8 world-class Apogee mic preamps, selectable phantom power
  • 8 analog outputs:
    • 2 balanced rear-panel XLR outputs
    • 2 balanced 1/4" outputs
    • 2 x 1/4" stereo headphone outputs
  • Single-port Thunderbolt connectivity with ultra-low latency:
    • 1.41ms round-trip at 96kHz (with buffer setting 32)
  • Optical In - supports ADAT, SMUX, and S/PDIF:
    • ADAT - 8 channels; 44.1kHz-48kHz on 1 TOSlink connector
    • SMUX - 8 channels; 88.2kHz-96kHz on 2 TOSlink connectors
    • S/PDIF - 2 channels; up to 192kHz on 1 TOSlink connector
  • Optical Out - supports ADAT, SMUX, and S/PDIF:
    • ADAT - 8 channels; 44.1kHz-48kHz on 1 TOSlink connector
    • SMUX - 8 channels; 88.2kHz-96kHz on 2 TOSlink connectors
    • S/PDIF - 2 channels; up to 192kHz on 1 TOSlink connector
  • Word clock I/O (BNC connectors) for sync with other digital audio gear
  • Element Control Software for Mac provides control of hardware parameters, including:
    • Input gain, Output level, and low-latency monitoring
  • Element Control Mobile App for wireless remote control via iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • Compatible with optional Apogee Control hardware remote control
  • Multi-unit Thunderbolt support for connection of any 2 Element units to your Mac
Upgrade your studio with the Apogee Element 88!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity Thunderbolt
Form Factor Desktop, Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O 16 x 16
A/D Resolution 24-bit, up to 192kHz
Number of Preamps 8
Phantom Power 8 channels
Analog Inputs 4 x XLR-1/4" combo, 4 x XLR
Analog Outputs 2 x XLR (main out), 2 x 1/4" (alt out)
Digital Inputs 2 x Optical (ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF)
Digital Outputs 2 x Optical (ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF)
Headphones 2 x 1/4"
Clock I/O In/Out
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.10 or later (Element Control Software), iOS compatible (Element Control App)
Rack Spaces 1U (with provided rack ears)
Depth 5.5"
Width 13.5"
Height 1.75"
Weight 3.5 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number Element 88

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
Write your review


Since I am more a musician than a computer technician, I particularly covet hardware that does everything with little in-depth training on my part. Elements 88 replaced my Quartet interface which replaced my Ensemble before it. I was adequately served by both prior purchases. Happily, Elements 88 does everything my previous interfaces accomplished and then some. With its minimalist design and amazing versatility, I was up and running in less than an hour and generating recordings with the pristine sound I have always enjoyed from my Apogee products. I don't hesitate to recommend this product to any and all musicians who, like me, prefer to make music than fidget with dials. Thank you Apogee.
Music background: Graduate degree

Apogee element

Absolutely fantastic!


I love that Apogee focused this product on the stuff that matters to me (preamps/converters) and ditched all the features I don’t care about (plugins/reamp/meters/knobs) which allows them to sell this for half the price of competing products. Preamps are super clean and transparent with a lot of headroom. Mixes feel spacious and airy. Latency almost non-existent. Connecting this to a Macbook Pro and Logic was smooth, fast and problem free. The in-DAW integration with logic is cool. It’s handy having your preamp controls right in the channel strip. Having a bulletproof interface you can put it on the floor like a DI box is a practical. Overall sound quality is pristine. I researched this purchase for over a year, deciding between the Apollos and Antelopes. Those other products seem great too, but all I really wanted were great preamps and converters. This fits the bill, at a significant cost savings. Cons? None
Music background: Musician, composer, audio engineer with 25 years experience

What an Interference!!!!! No frills just great sound!!!!!

I personally am not someone who needs tons of bells and whistles in his interface. What I do want is the cleanest and best preamps I can find for a reasonable price. If that is what you are looking for...this is the interface for you. Pair it up with the Apogee remote, and you have an amazing mobile recording studio in the quality that only Apogee can provide. I have used other brands in the past, but I am proud to say the only interface that I have been perpetually loyal to is Apogee. The software integration and quality of sound make it a sure winner!!!!!
Music background: Music Education and Music Technology

Apogee, Over-simplified

I bought the Element 88 in hopes of securing a second mobile-rig, that could also chain into my Apogee Ensemble. However, I have now discovered that the Elements are only compatible with other Elements, and for the time being cannot connect with other Apogee products (i.e. Ensemble, Symphony). This is a huge flaw for someone in the professional audio world, hoping to gain more pre's, while have the flexibility to have another stand-alone unit. Here is the information from the Apogee website: "At the current time, Element Series interfaces aren’t compatible with other Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces (Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, ThunderBridge). Compatibility is planned for the future. Currently, it’s not possible to run an Element Series interface and other Apogee Thunderbolt interface on the same Mac partition, i.e. it’s necessary to uninstall previously installed Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O Mk II and ThunderBridge software/drivers before installing Element Series software." So, in review, this unit has the same pre-amps that Apogee earns accolades, but fails in the amount of Thunderbolt ports, and connectivity to other interfaces. Thanks to the amazing Sweetwater customer service policy, I have returned my Element for something a bit more sophisticated.
Music background: Audio-Engineer for a Music Conservatory
See also: Apogee, Apogee Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces