Apogee Symphony vs. UAD Apollo 2 (Which is best?)
Old 19th December 2012
  #1
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Apogee Symphony vs. UAD Apollo 2 (Which is best?)

Good morning, has anyone had any experience with 1 of the 2 - Or both?

What's the better bang for the buck?
Old 19th December 2012
  #2
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I actually have both strapped together at the moment. I have had the Apollo longer than the Symphony. The Apollo is in impressive interface. Really great conversion quality, quite natural sounding. Side by side, I would give the nod to the Symphony, but only in the slightest of margins. The Symphony is modular, so it grows when you grow. The Apollo has the built in UAD dsp which is great. They really work for me together. You can't go wrong with either.
Old 19th December 2012
  #3
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I recently had a similar decision to make-- I was comparing the ensemble and the apollo and went with the apollo. Everything about the apollo is great-- it's nice clean conversion and its very easy to use-- very user friendly ui. Also you get the option to use and track with uad plugs w out having to buy a separate thing to do so. You get a few free uad plugs with the apollo which is cool.

Only weird thing is that logic registers the monitor L and R outputs as out 1-2, but there are actual outputs 1 and 2, which then get registered in logic as out 3-4.. I'm sure there's a way to clean that up but I haven't figured it out yet..
Old 19th December 2012
  #4
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I have the Apollo. Love it. Really, it depends on what you have/how you work/what you want. Apollo worked best for me because of built in DSP and Thunderbolt connectivity. However, I don't use that much I/O. Maybe 6-7 inputs at most.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundHouse View Post
I actually have both strapped together at the moment. I have had the Apollo longer than the Symphony. The Apollo is in impressive interface. Really great conversion quality, quite natural sounding. Side by side, I would give the nod to the Symphony, but only in the slightest of margins. The Symphony is modular, so it grows when you grow. The Apollo has the built in UAD dsp which is great. They really work for me together. You can't go wrong with either.
Is the symphony connected to the computer or the apollo? I was wondering how one would expand the Apollo. Seems like the only way to get more analog inputs is to either chain it to another apollo or chaining another interface/converter via ADAT or S/PDIF
Old 21st December 2012
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Originally Posted by SirEarl View Post
I have the Apollo. Love it. Really, it depends on what you have/how you work/what you want. Apollo worked best for me because of built in DSP and Thunderbolt connectivity. However, I don't use that much I/O. Maybe 6-7 inputs at most.



Is the symphony connected to the computer or the apollo? I was wondering how one would expand the Apollo. Seems like the only way to get more analog inputs is to either chain it to another apollo or chaining another interface/converter via ADAT or S/PDIF
Right now I have the Symphony running ADAT off of the Apollo. Runs pretty solid on my iMac and haven't had any issues. I can do it the other way around as well using USB from the Symphony. Worked fine either way.

Looking forward to purchasing the thunderbolt option for the Symphony and use that for my permanent setup and the Apollo for remote recording/more I/O.
Old 21st December 2012
  #6
You're clocking the Symphony with the Apollo? Wtf?
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1
Old 21st December 2012
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
You're clocking the Symphony with the Apollo? Wtf?
I have just been testing back and forth to see differences. More than likely I'm going to be using the Symphony as the MASTER and the Apollo as SLAVE.
Old 29th December 2012
  #8
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Soundhouse have you found a way to use the Symphony as interface and still use the Apollo for the UAD plugins as well as more inputs as you state above? I want to do this so, from time to time, I can take the Apollo in another room or location and use it by itself to record but I have an investment in the UAD plugins and would like to use Apollo vs one of the cards and keep the Symphony as A/D
Old 29th December 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundHouse View Post
I actually have both strapped together at the moment. I have had the Apollo longer than the Symphony. The Apollo is in impressive interface. Really great conversion quality, quite natural sounding. Side by side, I would give the nod to the Symphony, but only in the slightest of margins. The Symphony is modular, so it grows when you grow. The Apollo has the built in UAD dsp which is great. They really work for me together. You can't go wrong with either.
Ditto
Old 29th December 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboycoalminer View Post
Ditto
Surprising, in that Apogee said it was their all out effort to make the best unit possible, while UA stated they did "the best they could within the price point." I find it hard to believe that there wouldn't be a pretty big difference considering that, though my Mexican Strat sounds as good as the CS model I had lol

TH
Old 29th December 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Surprising, in that Apogee said it was their all out effort to make the best unit possible, while UA stated they did "the best they could within the price point." I find it hard to believe that there wouldn't be a pretty big difference considering that, though my Mexican Strat sounds as good as the CS model I had lol

TH
The DA on the Symphony is better. I mix analog so that means a lot to me. But I'm honest in saying the AD is coin flip between the two for me. To the point that I prefer the Apollo for recording some things. But yes I always mix through the Symphony. It is a better converter IMO but I also think the Apollo is the best value in audio, quality to dollar.
Old 29th December 2012
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboycoalminer View Post
The DA on the Symphony is better. I mix analog so that means a lot to me. But I'm honest in saying the AD is coin flip between the two for me. To the point that I prefer the Apollo for recording some things. But yes I always mix through the Symphony. It is a better converter IMO but I also think the Apollo is the best value in audio, quality to dollar.
It's my understanding that the converter chips are superior on the input and cost was saved on the out. Their thought being most users would be mixing itb. That's a fair move by ua. Personally I have been saving up for a symphony.
Old 29th December 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboycoalminer View Post
The DA on the Symphony is better. I mix analog so that means a lot to me. But I'm honest in saying the AD is coin flip between the two for me. To the point that I prefer the Apollo for recording some things. But yes I always mix through the Symphony. It is a better converter IMO but I also think the Apollo is the best value in audio, quality to dollar.
Yeah DA is really up there for me too, I'm getting too old to discern small differences in A-D...

Having something crystal clear is a major deal for me, so that all makes sense. The Apollo does seem like a superb deal though. Thanks for the info...your productions always sound like they should be in the top ten FWIW...

TH
Old 29th December 2012
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therefore View Post
Soundhouse have you found a way to use the Symphony as interface and still use the Apollo for the UAD plugins as well as more inputs as you state above? I want to do this so, from time to time, I can take the Apollo in another room or location and use it by itself to record but I have an investment in the UAD plugins and would like to use Apollo vs one of the cards and keep the Symphony as A/D
Running the Symphony as the Master and the Apollo slaved to it has worked amazing over here. The Apollo is connected via ADAT to the Symphony.

The card that I have for the Symphony is the 8 in 8 out with ADAT optical, so with the Apollo I have altogether 16 in 16 out. As cowboycoalminer stated, the DA is better on the Symphony and the opposite is true for the AD.
Old 29th December 2012
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Yeah DA is really up there for me too, I'm getting too old to discern small differences in A-D...

Having something crystal clear is a major deal for me, so that all makes sense. The Apollo does seem like a superb deal though. Thanks for the info...your productions always sound like they should be in the top ten FWIW...

TH
+1

It was those productions that made me decide to go the Apollo. Great stuff Cowboy.
Old 29th December 2012
  #16
Lets not get crazy here. I've had both...multiple times. The Symphony has better AD and DA. Listen to the mids of the acoustic guitars. I agree that the AD is closer than the DA, but the DA isn't close at all with critical listening. The Apollo is an excellent value...It woul be cool to see them do an upgraded Apollo that would compete with the Hilo, Orpheus and Symphony. If it was up to par conversion wise, I would snap it up.
Old 29th December 2012
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Lets not get crazy here. I've had both...multiple times. The Symphony has better AD and DA. Listen to the mids of the acoustic guitars. I agree that the AD is closer than the DA, but the DA isn't close at all with critical listening. The Apollo is an excellent value...It woul be cool to see them do an upgraded Apollo that would compete with the Hilo, Orpheus and Symphony. If it was up to par conversion wise, I would snap it up.
I completely agree with you. I'm just talking value wise. Little off topic. I really appreciate the clips you posted of the CV4, I thoroughly enjoy mine
Old 30th December 2012
  #18
Man - isn't the CV4 good? I am totally gassing for something, and been wanting another mic, but I don't think anything would particularly be better, just different. I've been thinking about a 251 or clone...but I just can't pull the trigger. I'd love to have that rich midrange - if I have one "complaint" about the CV4, it's that it might be a little midrange scooped...but - we are talking multiple thousand dollars difference.
Old 30th December 2012
  #19
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I was torn between these 2 for a long time. the symphony won out for my needs and should be here next week

i may get a new octo card though to.
Old 30th December 2012
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trock View Post
I was torn between these 2 for a long time. the symphony won out for my needs and should be here next week

i may get a new octo card though to.
You'll love it, trock. I know you want to mix analog so I think it's a good move going Apogee. Congrats.
Old 30th December 2012
  #21
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I recently purchased an Apogee Symphony, and I am astounded by the D/A! I was previously using an Apogee Rosetta 800 as my primary A/D and D/A. The moment I switched to the Symphony for my D/A in my monitoring chain, I could hear a wider sound stage and more detail in my mixes. I immediately revisited my recent mixes and spent a few minutes "fixing" what I didn't know was broke before. All of the artists loved the differences in the mixes. I haven't used the A/D yet, but for the D/A alone, I am soooooooo happy that I now own the Symphony.

Just my .02
Old 30th December 2012
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Lets not get crazy here. I've had both...multiple times. The Symphony has better AD and DA. Listen to the mids of the acoustic guitars. I agree that the AD is closer than the DA, but the DA isn't close at all with critical listening. The Apollo is an excellent value...It woul be cool to see them do an upgraded Apollo that would compete with the Hilo, Orpheus and Symphony. If it was up to par conversion wise, I would snap it up.
Haven't used the Symphony or the Hilo, but when placing the Orpheus next to the Apollo you'd be incredibly hard pressed to tell what is what (I've tried). Both AD and DA. Couldn't say that with more confidence if I tried For all intents and purposes, they're a similar interface in a different package.

I'll also hop on and say the AD on the Apollo is pretty fantastic. For someone like me who mixes in commercial rooms, having a solid AD stage is key. The DA is important of course, but as long as it's not impeding what I'm hearing on the floor during beds, it's doing its job. I only ever use it for guitars and vocals anyways. Drums are also done in commercial rooms. My Apollo is the overdub machine, and for that purpose and IMHO it's one of the best out there regardless of price.

That being said, if the symphony is even better than the 16X series converters from Apogee, I'm sure it rocks. But it's in a little different league with regards to pricing, and intent. If I had a room with a console, patch bay, and a bunch of outboard, I'd probably be in a symphony. For a mobile rig, not going to happen. 2U with a fan is an automatic turn-off, no built in preamps at all (even though Apollo's are more "utility" pres if anything) is a no-go, and a $3K entry point for an 8x8I/O is $1K more than an Apollo DUO which is another channel of BAE in my world. Plus, from my experiences with previous versions of Maestro, the UA console application is light years better (not to mention having the ability to track through UA plugs).

Guess what I'm saying is that IMO, the Apogee is probably the better converter, but the Apollo is the better interface. Depends on what you're doing with them.
Old 30th December 2012
  #23
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Hey fellow Torontonian, any chance you have an Apollo you want to sell me at a reasonable price? lol

I've been going back and forth, and on thing that strikes me about the Apollo is how well the INTERFACE was designed:

- dedicated DAC's for control room (so you can use all 8 line outs for outboard)
- physical buttons for hpf/phantom/polarity, that are available for all 8 channels
- per channel meters (not all mid-level fw interfaces have these)

It's just a very thoughtful package, and Craig Anderton's review showed that it's also well built. It's "pro level" gear.

I'm torn between an Apollo and a 2882. I'm they're both at the same level as far as conversion... of course the UA pres will be better... but MH's customer support is renowned. But from a sheer INTERFACE point of view, the Apollo seems to have nailed it.
Old 30th December 2012
  #24
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Thanks Cowboy

Love the stuff you post! i wanted to add it wasnt due to any WOW ITS SO MUCH BETTER SOUNDING thing between the 2

just that the symphony is modular and will allow me to grow as i need

the stuff you guys are producing with the apollo i would be PROUD to display anywhere

tanks
Old 17th July 2013
  #25
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Reviving an thread. Could someone explain by what they mean by AD and DA?
AD is stiff coming in the preamp getting converted, I get that. But when people say DA mixing, they really mean the audio being returned by the computer, converted by the interface and output to the monitors, yes?
Old 17th July 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drumdrum View Post
Reviving an thread. Could someone explain by what they mean by AD and DA?
AD is stiff coming in the preamp getting converted, I get that. But when people say DA mixing, they really mean the audio being returned by the computer, converted by the interface and output to the monitors, yes?
Yes, if you are mixing with the computer you feed a pair of DA converters. Signal from the DAW is converted from Digital to Analog.
Old 18th July 2013
  #27
AD - analog to digital
DA - digital to analog

The basic building block of your sound. The foundation.

DOH! I typed audio instead of analog...
Old 18th July 2013
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Mixwell View Post
Yes, if you are mixing with the computer you feed a pair of DA converters. Signal from the DAW is converted from Digital to Analog.
Yes I get that. I guess for a moment I just wanted to be sure I was on the same page.


Question though:
Ok so it's pretty much established that the symphony had better converters.
And the apollo lets you track with plugins, like you would with outboard gear.

So take this statement...

"Outboard gear has a bigger effect on the overall sound than your converters do. A compressor on a track with have a greater sonic effect than a different converter chip. Therefore, with plugins essentially acting like outboard, the apollo has a greater potential to positively (and negatively if you aren't careful) affect your overall mix. Therefore it is the more powerful interface, and therefore would allow you to create superior mixes than the symphony."

Discuss.

Btw, yes I did order an Apollo Quad. Nearly got a Symphony but figured that since they are both so close in terms of sound quality, I'd rather Mic faster by helping myself with getting the sound at the source. Real men commit! :-)
Old 18th July 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnkenn View Post
Lets not get crazy here. I've had both...multiple times. The Symphony has better AD and DA. Listen to the mids of the acoustic guitars. I agree that the AD is closer than the DA, but the DA isn't close at all with critical listening. The Apollo is an excellent value...It woul be cool to see them do an upgraded Apollo that would compete with the Hilo, Orpheus and Symphony. If it was up to par conversion wise, I would snap it up.
I had the Apollo, sold it and bought an Apogee Symphony I/O and let me the AD and DA are both superior to the Apollo. I love UAD plugs but the Symphony is the better sounding unit by without a doubt.
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Old 18th July 2013
  #30
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Would you rather have something designed to do one thing well by experts in that field who are renowned for their amazing products?

Or would you rather cram a bunch of features into something that does a lot of things competently, but without much by way of flair?

I would much rather have the Apogee in this case, unless I was PC based, and then I would choose the Antelope Orion.
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