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Microphone Month 3

Apogee Symphony I/O Reviews

Sweetwater Advice

  • Josh Estock

    The Symphony I/O is the best-sounding converter and clock Apogee has ever made. All bundled in a two-rackspace box, its modular design accomodates two I/O modules, giving you the ability to customize the Symphony I/O specifically for your studio setup. Most importantly, this box sounds killer! What else could you ask for?

  • Carson McClain

    On your own, it can be a daunting task to configure a high-end system like the Apogee Symphony I/O correctly. That's one of the reasons why Sweetwater Sales Engineers are here - we have the training and knowledge to help you. Are you going mobile? How many inputs and outputs do you need? Are you needing the preamp card configuration? These are just a few of the questions we field every day on the Symphony I/O. Call now to get expert advice on your high-end home studio.

  • Rodney Mitchell
    from Bronx, New York September 7, 2012Music Background:
    Touring and recording guitarist. Arranger/composer.

    Pro Audio!

    This unit sounds great! I dialed up some recent projects and was very impressed with the sound. Every instrument had it's place in the sonic field. Apogee really did their homework. Symphony I/O has an excellent clock! This is the best audio interface i've ever used!

  • SnareBuzz Studios
    from Raleigh, NC April 11, 2012Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Producer

    Wow....Truly a GameChanger for Me! No Regrets...Get One Now!

    I've been a long-time Apogee product owner. Prior to purchase of the Symphony I/O, I was owner of both an Apogee Duet & Apogee Ensemble. The Ensemble & Duet are great products, but honestly, the Apogee Symphony is in another class altogether. I bought this product expecting a subtle change in results...what I got was a giant step forward in quality. The Symphony provides so much more detail & depth to my recordings and I can hear things I couldn't hear before during mixing. This isn't a small investment, but honestly, the jump up in sonic quality is sizeable, not marginal. Definitely one of the best investments I've made! KUDOS Apogee & the support I've received from Jeff @ Sweetwater on this has been second to none! Thank You!

  • La Forest Gray
    from Orlando, FL January 26, 2012Music Background:
    Music Producer/Engineer/Arranger & Full Sail RA-Student

    Best choice of 2011....

    I wanted to wait on my review of the Symphony I/O... I wanted to really sit back, listen to the sound quality that I'd added to my studio....so I've waited (since Sept, 2011)....this was a HARD, but today hear we are: BEST STUDIO INVESTMENT of 2011 for my studio. The sound quality is noticeable as soon as it's up and running, the various expandability of the modulation gives endless configurations and simply put...the Symphony IO has a veeeeery long shelf-life.

    The convertors are AMAZING, the various connects & portability makes this a studio/portable big-class studio in every respect. From USB to ADAT/SP/DIF the signal flow is unmatched. I keep it in the studio (I have the Duet 2 for being mobile)... this is the front-end of my set-up: Symphony IO in stand-alone mode routing the DIGI 003 mixer through the Symphony via SP/DIF...works like a charm, I get to use the DIGI 003 faders/pots/panning for mixing in PRO Tools 10, but utilize the IO convertors.

    Apogee has done a great job of not only creating a great interface, but making sure that the software updates arrive in a timely manner & keeps you in the loop of the updates as the come available, once you registered with them.

    Once again, thanks to my sales rep, Bob Mondock for all of his insight.L

  • Ryan Mowdy
    from Oklahoma City April 16, 2011Music Background:
    20 years of recording., playing, song writing


    Okay so I got an HD 2 system. But then I struggled over what interface I would be using. Tried some Avid Interfaces, Lynx, etc. But I could not find a decent Interface for PT HD. Well if you are looking for the absolute best interface then this is for you. You don't have to have PT HD you can use Logic, PT 9, or any DAW in Standalone Mode. This equipment is made in the U.S.A its solid, sexy, built like a tank you will not be dissapointed. I absolutely LOVE the Symphony System and now my search is over. So spend the money and use this for it beats all other interfaces and allows you to choose what I/O's you need with 2 slots for modules. I cannot overstate how amazing the S.System is and it works great with PT HD and Logic (my primary DAW's). And I suspect that in the future Apogee will come out with better modules so this is a great investment and Apogee has great customer support. Don't look any further - if you want the best this is it. At last my studio is complete (until I want something else) and I could not be happier about it. And props to Sage for helping me out on this.

  • Bigtyme175
    from New Jersey AKA THE GARDEN STATE March 17, 2011Music Background:
    Hobbyist, Student


    First off i have to thank my sales rep ROBBY RESNICK AKA MY JOE MONTANA OF MUSIC for leading me to the SUPER BOWL OF MUSIC with the symphony i/o interface, it's like musical brail for the blind this thing has opened up my sonic pallet so much it's like when i listen to my favorite albums again thru the symphony i/o it's like hearing them again for the first time to the 10TH POWER. For those of you out there who are looking for musical excellence look no more the benchmark has arrived!

  • Andy Mendoza
    from JAM Studios - San German, Puerto Rico October 12, 2010Music Background:
    Guitarist, producer, Recording Eng. Grammy voting member

    Sky is the limit

    Rock and roll, sweetness, awe, I am on cloud 9 with this superb piece of gear. You can tell immediately that Apogee has spared no expense to go a level beyond where there were. If you think they were good...........think again. Then there is the simplicity of set up. The Mac Pro recognized immediately the device and had everything on screen for me to ajust during sessions or before them. No more standing up to tweak.
    The fan on it is powerful to keep it cool so you might want to consider isolating it. Keep it well ventilated.

  • TG
    from Jacksonville, FL, USA March 16, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Keyboardist (25+ years), Recording Engineer (10+ years)


    This box sounds amazing. I have mine configured with the 8 Analog/8 Digital in/out card and the 8-preamp card. The preamps (from the card) sound amazing... very transparent, very clean, tons of headroom--but that's more of a review of that card than the Symphony itself.

    The Symphony conversion is simply incredible. I've A/B'd it in my studio with other various converters (names everyone knows), both blindly and not, with both pros and novices listening and it's a remarkable difference. In all cases, even blind with all other factors removed, I was able to identify when I was listening to the Symphony and when I wasn't. There's just something about it that's "better" and more "open" than anything else I've used in my studio.

    I use it primarily with Ableton Live 8, MOTU Digital Performer 7, and Propellerhead Reason 6 (all available through Sweetwater); it works like a champ in all of them. Occasionally (and this is why I dropped it .5 points), when I first boot it up, it'll act weird (either, it won't be recognized or some of the inputs act weirdly, etc.). I attribute this to driver issues and not the quality of the product itself. I am running the latest drivers for Mac OSX Lion and firmware and update as they are released. It's a minor inconvenience and restarting the Symphony I/O usually rectifies the issue. Boot time for the I/O is generally just a few seconds, so this isn't a major hassle by any stretch.

    I've also used the Symphony in a live environment for sound output from my keyboard rig. FOH immediately touted that my keyboard output sounded clearer and better in the mix.

    Another review knocked the way that the unit looks. I kind of disagree... it sort of evokes an old-school hi-fi look, which I dig. It looks great in my studio. It's 2U profile also makes it look like a pretty hardcore piece of equipment vs. some of the 1U converters out there (not that that should be a deciding factor for any serious producer... just worth noting).

  • Steven
    from Smiths, AL April 12, 2012Music Background:
    Recording/mix engineer

    Great AI

    This is an incredibly versatile unit and it sounds absolutely amazing. I took a half a star because I was shipped a faulty unit and another half because it's not the best looking piece of gear on my rack. Do the looks matter to me? Not so much. But, unfortunately, looks matter a LOT to others. It's not the easiest thing to set up, but it's worth it. The conversion is incredible. I can't speak for the pres, but I'm using the 8 Analog OUT/IN cards x 2 and the PCI 64 card with a Mac Pro and I'm liking it a lot so far. I'm getting a few CPU overloads, but I may just need to tweak some ProTools playback engine parameters so I took none away on this review. I'd recommend this unit.

  • Hasan F.
    from Washington, D.C. November 29, 2010Music Background:

    The Best I/O You Can Get!

    The Apogee Symphony I/O is an amazing example of audio exellence.
    It just makes whatever you record...sound better! If you are running Pro Tools LE, this interface gives you the Pro Tools HD sound using Pro Tools 9. In my opinion it beats the Pro Tools HD sound quality.
    Talk is cheap, Go listen to one in action and you will be sold.
    Only one problem with it. No PC/Windows support,Mac only. I guess Apogee really does'nt care for PC(4 out of 5 stars for this reason).
    If you have a Mac.....this is for you. Don't take my word for it. See for yourself.

  • ConnerOcean
    from Dallas, TX May 17, 2011Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    10 years backward? Need new designer

    Okay, It sounds great but what happened to Apogee's design team?

    I liked Ensemble and Duet's style and material, but the new Symphony look and feel backward to me. I was very disappointed when I opened box - ordinary sheet metals, chassis is rough, average finishing and paint. Clumsy nob and poor level leds (OLED screen looks good though).

    It doesn't support look and feel of $3.5 - $5.5k box. I hope Apogee get some help from Apple product designers.

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