Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface

Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface, 30-in/34-out with 24-bit/192kHz Resolution and 32-bit Playback, 8 Mic Preamps, Soft Limit, OLED Display, 2 Headphone Outputs, and Talkback Mic - Mac
Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface image 1
Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface image 1
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Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface
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A New Standard for Music Creation Technology

Apogee has squeezed every ounce of their digital audio expertise into the newly-rebuilt Ensemble Thunderbolt audio interface, setting yet another standard for sound quality, performance, and functionality. By utilizing blazing-fast, cutting-edge Thunderbolt 2 technology, the Ensemble Thunderbolt gives you ultra-low latency and unmatched CPU efficiency, allowing you to monitor more effectively, record more tracks, and process more plug-ins. Of course, the Ensemble Thunderbolt's eight digitally-controlled mic preamps and premium AD/DA converters give you the phenomenal sound quality you'd expect from Apogee. The original Ensemble was an enormously popular audio interface here at Sweetwater and found its way into many Sales Engineers' personal studios, so we're confident that the new Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt will be our next in-demand audio interface!

Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface at a Glance:
  • New software driver for ultra-low latency and unmatched CPU efficiency
  • Converters provide exceptional-sounding audio, whether going in or coming out
  • Pristine preamps result in detailed, distortion-free recordings
  • Ample I/O provides lots of recording and monitoring options
New software driver for ultra-low latency and unmatched CPU efficiency

The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt audio interface's software driver utilizes a Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine that resides on the Ensemble Thunderbolt's hardware logic chip to efficiently read and write data directly to your Mac's memory. Since this happens independent of your Mac's CPU, it doesn't run out of resources, and the driver is able to crunch an enormous amount of data at blazing speeds. Featuring a full 32-bit signal path directly from your DAW's output straight to its D/A converter, the Ensemble Thunderbolt's driver also ensures that your audio doesn't need further data processing before it hits your studio monitors or headphones. What does this mean for you? Well, in the real world, it means that you can monitor straight through your DAW in real time (even with loads of plug-ins) and that you'll no longer have to compromise on speed when you need more power.

Converters provide exceptional-sounding audio, whether going in or coming out

The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt audio interface's A/D conversion has received a significant upgrade over its predecessor, giving you greater dynamic range, lower distortion, and an almost nonexistent noise level. The icing on the cake; however, is the Ensemble Thunderbolt's inclusion of an ESS Sabre32 32-bit Hyperstream D/A converter with a Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, providing you with unbelievably clear, jitter-free audio playback. When compared to older 24-bit technology, the ESS Sabre32 D/A converter's 32-bit filter processing results in an astonishingly low THD+N specification and a large dynamic range, improving upon the audio fidelity and transparency for which Apogee is renowned. While already wildly popular with the audiophile community, Apogee is one of the first manufacturers to utilize the ESS Sabre32 D/A converter for pro audio applications.

Pristine preamps result in detailed, distortion-free recordings

Featuring 8 uniquely-designed mic preamps, the Ensemble Thunderbolt audio interface utilizes Apogee's Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture, which uses a dynamically-optimized circuit to give you superior bandwidth, ultra-low noise, and nonexistent distortion, for up to 75dB of clean, useable gain. Whether you mic up a manic drummer's kit, record a dynamic vocalist, or capture delicate orchestral instruments, these pristine preamps will ensure that your recordings retain all of the focus, intricate detail, and 3-dimensional impact of the original performance.

Ample I/O provides lots of recording and monitoring options

The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt audio interface gives you so much I/O, you'll never find yourself coming up short, regardless of how you work. Featuring 4 combo inputs and 4 XLR inputs, the Ensemble Thunderbolt lets you connect up to 8 microphones, external mic preamps, or any other pieces of analog gear. You also get 10 highly-configurable balanced line outputs (2 balanced monitor outputs and 8 balanced line outputs) that are designed to accomodate a wide variety of workflows. Whether you mix in-the-box or on an external console, the Ensemble Thunderbolt makes it easy to get to work quickly and efficiently. On top of that, you get 2 independently-controlled headphone outputs, 2 hardware inserts, 18 channels of digital I/O, and a word clock input and output.

Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface Features:
  • New software driver and 32-bit signal path for ultra-low latency and unmatched CPU efficiency
  • Converters provide exceptional-sounding audio, whether going in or coming out
  • Pristine preamps result in detailed, distortion-free recordings
  • Soft Limit prevents digital clipping that causes distortion
  • Ample I/O provides lots of recording and monitoring options
  • Class A JFET circuits preserves every drop of your guitar's feel, tone, and harmonic character
  • Hardware/software hybrid approach for a refined user experience
The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt makes a difference that you can hear!

Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Ensemble Thunderbolt Audio Interface User Manual

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity Thunderbolt 2
Form Factor Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O 30 x 34
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Analog Inputs 4 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x 1/4" ( Balanced Inserts), 4 x XLR (Mic/Line), 2 x 1/4" (Guitar/Instrument)
Analog Outputs 2 x 1/4" (Monitor), 8 x DB-25, 2 x 1/4" (Headphones), 2 x 1/4" (Guitar/Instrument)
Digital Inputs 2 x ADATF (Optical), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Digital Outputs 2 x ADAT (Optical), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Phantom Power Yes
Clock I/O 1 x BNC (In), 1 x BNC (Out)
Rack Spaces 1U
Depth 12.125"
Width 19"
Height 1.73"
Weight 11.15 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number Ensemble TB

Customer Reviews

4.5/5
Based on 17 reviews
Write your review
5/5

Really Great tool for recording!

Still learning how to get the most out of this unit, even thought I previously had a Firewire Ensemble. So far, I really like all the improvements and the quality of this unit. I have already experienced the better recording perimeter/sound. The Ensemble should be minimum for anyone serious about recording!
Music background: Profession musician and hobbyest music recording
5/5

Best Thunderbolt interface in it's price range

Had this baby for over a year and haven't had a single problem with it. Blazing fast, built like a tank and sounds pristine...
Music background: Arranger, Music Enthusiast
5/5

Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt

I have owned many interfaces and convertors, including the AD/DA16X Series, Rosetta 800, as well as the original Ensemble Firewire. This unit is a game changer! 1.1 Ms round trip at 32 samples 24/96 is not hype, it is the real deal. The Convertors sound like the Symphony series to my ears, and this box has ALOT of functionality. I could go on and on, but the reality is that track counts, plugin counts, etc are pretty much a thing of the past with this interface, and a powerful MAC (I am running the new Mac Pro 6 core with this...) I know it is alot of $$$, but worth it. You will not need anything else for a LONG time:)
Music background: Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer, Pro Musician, Composer, Beer Drinker
5/5

Sounds Like Heaven!

The Apogee Ensemble sounds amazing! It's incredible how crystal clear it captures sound, the mic preamps are outstanding, love the high resolution OLED display (it shows the levels of analog inputs and outputs, including the headphones), ultra-fast latency in LOGIC thanks to the Thunderbolt connection. The monitor speaker outs and the two headphones sound loud and accurate, yet I haven't had ear fatigue after long sessions. Has tons of expansion possible thanks to two ADAT ports (think 16 more input channels). It's a joy to listen to and records with pristine quality. Love the Apogee Ensemble!
5/5

Marvelous Masterpiece

After five solid years with the old Ensemble I thought I was getting great results. This new Ensemble is the level I thought I'd need pay five digits for. This is a marvelous engineered interface that is musical in its approach to sound. Absolutely breathtaking!
Music background: Recording engineer specializing in classical music and jazz.
See also: Apogee, Apogee Thunderbolt Audio Interfaces