Universal Audio Unveils Apollo Audio Interface

At The 2012 NAMM Show: Audio recording gear manufacturer Universal Audio today unveiled Apollo, their high-resolution audio interface that combines UA’s analog design with UAD Powered Plug-Ins in a single recording system that works on both Mac and PC*.

With Apollo, music producers and performers can track through UAD-Powered Plug-Ins in real time, via a professional 18 x 24 FireWire/Thunderbolt™-ready audio interface that with 24-bit/192 kHz sound quality.

“Apollo is the culmination of 10 years of analog and digital audio development here at UA,” said Bill Putnam Jr., Universal Audio founder. “In many ways, it’s brought the analog and digital sides of our company together. With Apollo, we’re delivering the sound, feel, and flow of analog recording with all the conveniences of modern digital equipment, including next-generation Thunderbolt technology.”

Apollo is a high-resolution audio interface, featuring premium mic preamps and top-end converters to deliver the lowest THD and highest dynamic range in its class. Its Core Audio and ASIO* drivers ensure compatibility with all major DAWs, including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase, Live, and more. Moreover, Apollo’s Console application and companion Console Recall plug-in (VST/AU/RTAS) provide control and recall of all interface and UAD plug-in settings within individual DAW sessions, even months and years later.

Apollo differentiates itself from all other audio interfaces, however, via its onboard UAD-2 DSP Acceleration. This onboard processing allows for recording through UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins — with nearly instant sub-2ms latency — so that music producers can monitor, audition, and “print” audio using a range of popular analog emulation plug-ins from Ampex, Lexicon, Manley, Neve, Roland, SSL, Studer, and more.**  The onboard UAD-2 processors are also available for mixing and mastering, offloading processing from the host computer.

Of note is that Apollo offers compatibility with Intel’s new Thunderbolt technology, as found on the recent iMacs, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs. Available via a user-installable Thunderbolt Option Card (sold separately), Thunderbolt provides lower latency, reduced audio buffer size, improved performance at high sample rates, and greater UAD plug-in instances versus FireWire.

“Thunderbolt technology makes possible a whole new class of products to enhance music production workflows and creativity,” says Jason Ziller, Director of Marketing and Planning for Thunderbolt technology at Intel® Corporation. “Products like Universal Audio’s Apollo are using Thunderbolt to rock music producers’ worlds.”

Apollo incorporates design hallmarks from classic UA analog gear. Dedicated front-panel controls are present for all the most frequently-used features, including preamp gain, channel selection, mic pad, +48V phantom power, low cut, monitor level, and dual headphone controls.

Apollo’s connectivity includes 4 digitally controlled analog mic preamps, 8 balanced line inputs and outputs, dual front-panel JFET DIs, digitally-controlled analog monitor outputs, 8 channels of ADAT, 2 channels of S/PDIF, word clock I/O, FireWire 800 (standard), and a Thunderbolt expansion bay.

The Apollo High-Resolution Audio Interface will be available in both DUO CORE and QUAD CORE processing formats (with either two or four Analog Devices SHARC processors, respectively). Apollo will be shipping in the first quarter of 2012, with an estimated “street” price of $1,999 (DUO processing model) and $2,499 (QUAD processing model). Apollo’s Thunderbolt Option Card will be shipping in the first half of 2012, with pricing TBD.

NAMM Show Preview: Alesis’ Awesome MasterControl

2009 NAMM ShowAlesis is now shipping its awesome MasterControl audio interface and control surface. 

MasterControl is a professional audio interface and recording control surface, providing engineers with 44.1 — 192kHz-recording capability and full-featured control of HUI-compatible DAWs and external MIDI devices.

  • The input section consists of two XLR inputs with phantom power and channel inserts, six TRS line inputs and extensive expansion capability. Twenty six simultaneous inputs are possible with the optional S/PDIF and dual S/MUX ADAT Lightpipe inputs. Six analog outputs are configurable for use with 5.1 surround, three sets of stereo pairs or six discrete outputs.
  • MasterControl offers dedicated speaker switching, let you dynamically select between multiple monitors to check their mixes on different speakers or in different rooms. A stereo headphone output is also provided for an additional mix reference.
  • Each channel contains dedicated Solo, Record Enable, Mute and Select buttons for instant access to the most essential channel functions. The large, multifunction jog wheel can be used to shuttle, zoom and enter data.
  • Nine 100mm-motorized faders and a dedicated transport-control section provide guess-free access to the most crucial recording operations.
  • Two banks of eight assignable buttons enable users to customize functionality for commonly used actions such as markers, loop points and automation modes.
  • Eight 360-degree assignable virtual potentiometers with three banks let you control 24 different parameters for extensive control of nearly any DAW.
  • Removable, customizable templates provide a visual overview of all preset operations. All presets are fully editable and configurable.

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