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Avid HDX I/O vs Apollo X
Old 1st April 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
Avid HDX I/O vs Apollo X

hi guys!
For years I'm a Pro Tools Native Non Hd user and these years I'm using the Apollo 8 quad! I'm sure many of you use such a system! I have a question for those users of the Hd version and especially those who have Hdx and Avid i/o cards (8 × 8 × 8 ) - (16 × 16). do you suggest to get the Avid Protools hdx system or Apollo X? regardless of the big difference in money, are there any big differences in listening, recording and working these two versions "HDX - Apollo X"? Thank's
Old 1st April 2019
  #2
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It really depends on your needs, the work flow is entirely different. I use a apollo BF16 with PT HD/Ultimate software. It's very solid, but the workflow with the Apollo console, is cumbersome and limited in comparison to a HDX system. That being said, if you are just overdubbing yourself, or no more than say a 3 or 4 piece band, the Apollo can definitely work and for cheaper, although used HD/HDX gear is getting pretty cheap. If you are trying to run a commercial room, I would do HDX over anything else for a tracking setup.
Old 1st April 2019
  #3
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we tried to use Apollo X on a four band piece tracking session in our smaller tracking room. After that session there is no way I would get rid of our existing HDX system. First having to switch out our Pro Tools to the Console App was a pain. If you wanted a low latency plugin instead of HDX DSP plugin you had to insert it on the Apollo Console - I just did not like the work flow added latency.
Plus our rooms use multiple engineers and most guys are not going to add to a work flow. You want to save time in a setup. Plus HDX does sound pretty awesome.
Old 16th April 2019
  #4
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Does the apollo x even sonically compare to an HD i/o interface? I would think not.

ej
Old 17th April 2019
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
Does the apollo x even sonically compare to an HD i/o interface? I would think not.

ej
Apollo x16 certainly does.

I just hate having to switch mixers for tracking.
Old 17th April 2019
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by octatonic View Post
Apollo x16 certainly does.

I just hate having to switch mixers for tracking.
I have a hard time believing that. My friends who migrated over to the apollo platform say that it was a sonic compromise. I know of another who uses it as a digi i/o and prefers the convertors in the Hedd which is what he uses for tracking.

ej
Old 18th April 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
I have a hard time believing that. My friends who migrated over to the apollo platform say that it was a sonic compromise. I know of another who uses it as a digi i/o and prefers the convertors in the Hedd which is what he uses for tracking.

ej
Do you know the difference between the Apollo X16's converters and the converters in the rest of the Apollo X series?
What about the the difference between The X series and the earlier versions?

The X16 sounds fantastic- certainly on par with the current crop of Avid converters with the exception of the MTRX.

Conversion quality is much less of an issue than it used to be anyway.
Old 18th April 2019
  #8
Pro Tools and Apollo and HDX, etc...

Speaking of Apollo X series, does anyone have the i/o connection speed spec on these units? It's found under "About this Mac" -Is you Apollo attached a t a speed greater than 2.5 GT/s?

Having built a Hackintosh while owning an Apollo 8 Thunderbolt, I'd never build a Thunderbolt-based machine again, no matter how great the UAD stuff sounds. It's a real PITA compared to the wondrous simplicity of the Mac and their secret sauce drivers. On the other hand I did learn how to edit an SSDT for an EFI partition.

It's a tough choice: A real mac with fully functional TB ports x2 or 4 or 6... Or an incredibly powerful, quiet full ATX machine with an Intel 8th gen 8700K with that runs at 4.5 GHz with 64GB RAM, six SSDs inside, and an AMD RX580 8GB RAM card. You can't get the Apollo back with a restart if you flip off the power to the Apollo. FWIW, those dedicated GPUs take the load off of the CPU for those graphics-hogging plugin displays. I still have a couple 2012 2.6GHz White Whale Mini's that run Pro Tools fine with the Apollo 8 Quad, but they get bitchy with more than a few plugins: It's a "core" issue.

I may ditch this unit, but the new 2019 Mac Pro or the 2018 Mini i7 and just use my beast as a headless Vienna Ensemble Pro Server.
Attached Thumbnails
Avid HDX I/O vs Apollo X-screen-shot-2019-04-18-3.36.33-am.png  
Old 5th May 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
we tried to use Apollo X on a four band piece tracking session in our smaller tracking room. After that session there is no way I would get rid of our existing HDX system. First having to switch out our Pro Tools to the Console App was a pain. If you wanted a low latency plugin instead of HDX DSP plugin you had to insert it on the Apollo Console - I just did not like the work flow added latency.
Plus our rooms use multiple engineers and most guys are not going to add to a work flow. You want to save time in a setup. Plus HDX does sound pretty awesome.
Don't know about multiple sources as I only record/track myself, but the Console app is on it's on monitor in my setup and is really not a pain at all.

That said, I'd much rather be without it But HDX for just me is silly overkill so I'm kind of trapped in this.
Old 5th May 2019
  #10
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i only record myself as well...vocalist obviously and occasionally a bassist. Hdx my be overkill but i am so entrenched in the protools universe it's hard to leave. Have had the ability to record through plugins for almost 15-20 years now. There just werent very many excluding autotune that i wanted to record thru. There still aren't many. if for the most part you have access to the real thing why bother?

I also have not had to think about buffers or latency in over a decade plus how pt integrates hardware regardless of sample rate is priceless to me.

Yes Hdx may be overkill but what are the other options...really?

ej

Last edited by ejsongs; 8th June 2019 at 08:29 AM..
Old 6th May 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
i only record myself as well...vocalist obviously and occasionally a bassist. Hdx my be overkill but i am so entrenched in the protools universe it's hard to leave. Have had the ability to record through plugins for almost 15-20 years now. There just werent very many excluding autotune that i wanted to record thru. There still aren't many. if for the most part you have access to the real thing why bother?

I laso have had to think about buffers or latency in over a decade plus how pt integrates hardware regardless of sample rate is priceless to me.

Yes Hdx may be overkill but what are the other options...really?

ej
Well, the option (at least for guys like you and me as far as what we record) is certainly UAD. I use PT Ultimate daily with it and there is no latency. PT is set to a 500 buffer all the time here. UAD also lets you monitor with plugs ...but NOT record them (if you wish). So it's very cool.

But yes you have another layer between you, but really it's pretty minor to me. I barely go over to the UAD mixer throughout the day. It's just on it's on monitor screen when I need to, otherwise I'm staring at PT all day.
Old 6th May 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Well, the option (at least for guys like you and me as far as what we record) is certainly UAD. I use PT Ultimate daily with it and there is no latency. PT is set to a 500 buffer all the time here. UAD also lets you monitor with plugs ...but NOT record them (if you wish). So it's very cool.

But yes you have another layer between you, but really it's pretty minor to me. I barely go over to the UAD mixer throughout the day. It's just on it's on monitor screen when I need to, otherwise I'm staring at PT all day.
HDX and only record myself, its overkill but i wanted to eliminate all excusesfor me not being able to do things right.
Old 12th May 2019
  #13
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After moving to computer based audio in 1998 I was recording myself and bands on PT24 ->HD ->HDX systems. 12 years. ~2008 Native was the Buzz and I went back and forth with HDN, SoundGrid, Metric Halo, Apogee and Antelope. Over the last 10 years mostly solo/Duo recording or small groups.

By far HDX is my favorite workflow. But as time has moved on and I have regularly used 0.5 ms monitoring RTL - I see that HDX is a great idea that is not evolving. Noisy hardware - locked to ProTools HD (nasty yearly fee) - and plugins that even at 96kHz add 0.5 to 1.0ms each! I finally have a x8 to try at this time. Basic RTL with no plugs is 1.1ms at 96k (2.4ms I believe at 44.1). There are some zero added latency UA plugs so a monitor mix can certainly be accomplished and keep at 1.1ms. Is this "better" than Antelope? Not so far.

The added complexity of having a separate mixer and plugin chain for monitoring is a fine compromise for a limited # of channels (IMO). The advent of FPGA based FX (Antelope, Apogee (though the SW is still unstable), MOTU and others) allows for pretty good tracking FX with as low as 2 samples per added Effect. I have spent the last 10 years collecting a few truly exceptional Mics and Preamps - to hear them at such low RTL (virtually no comb filtering) is a real joy for me. Overkill for my needs - absolutely :-). Always was!

PS - I rebel heavily against claims of "no latency". The echo effect is certainly annoying - but for singers and acoustic instrument players - the comb filtering between the monitor and direct signal can be a huge impact on what the performer hears. Most will disagree but this is my experience - over and over - over many years. That said - if it sounds right to you - then it is :-). Pure and simple.

Last edited by ProPower; 12th May 2019 at 06:22 PM..
Old 13th May 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
HDX and only record myself, its overkill but i wanted to eliminate all excusesfor me not being able to do things right.
If you are only recording yourself or a few players as others have mentioned, there is nothing "wrong" with using the UAD setup, unless you just simply can't deal with the added software (same thing RME users deal with).
Old 14th May 2019
  #15
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On my home system I sold my HDX system and went Apollo 8P Black face.. It worked but I just felt I was missing something opening up heavy high sample rate mixes what just not happening for me ****73 errors Apollo D/A meh. 2 moths ago I bought an HDX2 system and back to Avid I/O and then opened the same session and wow I could not believe it session was so much smoother it was way better D/A having a hardware based playback engine is so much better.
Old 14th May 2019
  #16
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As much as I may hate to admit it and even more so how much I am dismayed and disgusted by what is happening with HDX...it simply works.

ej
Old 14th May 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
If you are only recording yourself or a few players as others have mentioned, there is nothing "wrong" with using the UAD setup, unless you just simply can't deal with the added software (same thing RME users deal with).
Yeah its just me 99% of the time. The Lynx E44 wasnt too bad either tbh, but not on the level of HDX goes. I never plan on moving to HDX2 just for processing power either, HDX 1 with my mixer loaded with 24 SSL 4000G strips with the master bus loaded with its chain uses a touch more than half of my HDX cards power while the CPU hovers around the 4% usage power. Like others have said, not ideal for everyone but i can see me using this for a long while. Not to mention the BLA HD I/O sounds like, well, almost nothing.
Old 16th May 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deuc647 View Post
Yeah its just me 99% of the time. The Lynx E44 wasnt too bad either tbh, but not on the level of HDX goes. I never plan on moving to HDX2 just for processing power either, HDX 1 with my mixer loaded with 24 SSL 4000G strips with the master bus loaded with its chain uses a touch more than half of my HDX cards power while the CPU hovers around the 4% usage power. Like others have said, not ideal for everyone but i can see me using this for a long while. Not to mention the BLA HD I/O sounds like, well, almost nothing.
i've been debating about the bla hd i/o mods. we have:

1 avid 16x16 hd i/o
2 digi 192 8x16 io
1 avid omni

so we'd be looking at $7500+ to do the mods for all of the units...is it really worth it? Maybe i'll do the omni first just to see. There are just some other pieces and mics I'd rather get first before I'd spend $7500 on converter upgrades...just not sure.

ej

Last edited by ejsongs; 16th May 2019 at 12:21 PM..
Old 16th May 2019
  #19
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octatonic's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
i've been debating about the bla hd i/o mods. we have:

1 avid 16x16 hd i/o
2 digi 192 8x16 io
1 avid omni

so we'd be looking at $7500+ to do the mods for all of the units...is it really worth it? Maybe i'll do the omni first just to see. There are just some other pieces and mics I'd rather get first before I'd spend $7500 on convertor upgrades...just not sure.

ej
I'd be spending my money on mics and outboard before spending $7500 on converter upgrades, especially considering what you have already sounds pretty good.
Old 17th May 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
i've been debating about the bla hd i/o mods. we have:

1 avid 16x16 hd i/o
2 digi 192 8x16 io
1 avid omni

so we'd be looking at $7500+ to do the mods for all of the units...is it really worth it? Maybe i'll do the omni first just to see. There are just some other pieces and mics I'd rather get first before I'd spend $7500 on converter upgrades...just not sure.

ej
I would probably not do it but because im very OCD. I would only do it if all converters were the same. Cuz HD I/O uses different PSU, ADC chips and DAC chips. Which all affect the sound in some way so one might sound better than the other, especially with the omni in play also. But for a converter that gets in the way very minimally, its a damn good deal. Some people will always **** on BLA, I have no dog in that fight, i bought it because I always go the different path. Not the common stuff i.e burl, antelope, UA, i like different stuff. Its not for everyone.
Old 17th May 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejsongs View Post
Does the apollo x even sonically compare to an HD i/o interface? I would think not.

ej
I was part of a blind listening test with the BF Apollo, HDX box and Symphony MKII and blind we all picked the Apollo over the Avid. We picked the Symphony over the Apollo but they were closer in sound (and in rank as we heard it blind) than the Apollo and Avid box were.

Entirely subjective of course but that’s how it shook out.

This was ADC I should say. And it says nothing about workflow. But from my experience the current gen Avid boxes are certainly professional rigs (speaking sonically) but nothing to write home about. Any of these will give lovely results if all the other factors are in order. The HDX stuff's real benefit is workflow with PT in my view, which is a big deal if you’re running a good size tracking operation. In that regard, nothing compares to using the Avid hardware.

Last edited by Ragan; 17th May 2019 at 05:52 AM..
Old 22nd May 2019
  #22
Taste Tests

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragan View Post
I was part of a blind listening test with the BF Apollo, HDX box and Symphony MKII and blind we all picked the Apollo over the Avid. We picked the Symphony over the Apollo but they were closer in sound (and in rank as we heard it blind) than the Apollo and Avid box were.

Entirely subjective of course but that’s how it shook out.

This was ADC I should say. And it says nothing about workflow. But from my experience the current gen Avid boxes are certainly professional rigs (speaking sonically) but nothing to write home about. Any of these will give lovely results if all the other factors are in order. The HDX stuff's real benefit is workflow with PT in my view, which is a big deal if you’re running a good size tracking operation. In that regard, nothing compares to using the Avid hardware.


...And that's wierd because, if you were "running" Avid, wouldn't you want to put in the best components from preamps to the A/D to D/A section that are the best on the planet? For the price and the subscription software, MTRX better sound way, way better than X, Y, or Z.–including any AD/DA you could jam into a 500-series lunchbox. And about using a 3rd party AD/DA, would that add even more latency?

Last edited by jamesPDX; 22nd May 2019 at 03:04 AM.. Reason: Whoops.
Old 22nd May 2019
  #23
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Well done HDX (mini DigiLink) compatible i/o are sample accurate with an AVID i/o and have the same latency. Aurora for sure and Apogee are there - Antelope is supposed to be and there are probably others. Certainly many 3rd party ones to choose from if one wishes.

Workflow wise HDX/ProTools is a clear winner. AAX-DSP plugin wise it is "OK" but most newer ones add significant latency (55 samples each is common). There are also near zero of any new developers making AAX-DSP and the existing developers are only increasing offerings very slowly (if at all).
Old 22nd May 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProPower View Post
Well done HDX (mini DigiLink) compatible i/o are sample accurate with an AVID i/o and have the same latency. Aurora for sure and Apogee are there - Antelope is supposed to be and there are probably others. Certainly many 3rd party ones to choose from if one wishes.

Workflow wise HDX/ProTools is a clear winner. AAX-DSP plugin wise it is "OK" but most newer ones add significant latency (55 samples each is common). There are also near zero of any new developers making AAX-DSP and the existing developers are only increasing offerings very slowly (if at all).
Dedicated user of PT but I just can't find a reason to go HDX as I don't record anyone but myself...acoustic, a vocal or so...the rest of the tracks in my productions come via net from drummers, singers, etc, and are dropped into the session.

The UAD mixer sits on another monitor and is hardly accessed, so I'm just not seeing how HDX would simplify life for me.

Like buying a Airbus to go to the grocery store.
Old 22nd May 2019
  #25
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I should say - looking at only workflow it is a clear winner - simplest.

For you - and me too - having a second mixer for low RTL working one track at a time is no big deal and pays for itself easily in not incurring the cost and maintenance cost of HDX. In my case - Logic + Antelope and now Apogee. The Apogee Dual Path solution is the closest to an HDX workflow I have seen - but it is stilll beta and buggy.

For larger group recording and especially multiple realtime mixes - HDX is my choice for clear winner. That said - many are so adept at the separate mixer approach (like Console) that multiple mixes for them are no big bother. Further still are the straight Native folks who can live with 2 to 8ms of latency and record groups with straight Native. All are answers and it is the individual preference along many parameters that drives the choice.
Old 28th May 2019
  #26
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Long time HD user here (15 years?). Just recently switched to a BF Apollo 16 / Mac Mini rig. The Console setup had me fairly worried that I would hate having that second layer for controlling inputs. I did a small tracking session the first time using it and it was not pleasant. I watched a bunch of videos and read the manual a bit (I hardly ever do that). The Console manual itself is 250 pages. Just did a band tracking session, 4 piece band live on the floor. After using it solid for three days, tracking live and overdubs, it soon became second nature. It's actually a pretty good setup. For setting up headphone mixes, it's actually better than HD in my opinion, because you already have dedicated cue mixes ready to go. And the cue mixer has full sized faders. And tracking through the UAD plugs is pretty great, whether you are recording the plug or just monitoring through it. The routing in Console can get a little hairy at times, but once I figured it out, it was simple. Yes, an HD or HDX rig is simpler and perhaps slightly faster, but honestly, for that much money, not worth it. The only thing I was wanting for was to have Console react to transport commands so I could start and stop playback while working in Console.

Cheers
Old 28th May 2019
  #27
That's interesting. I don't know why more DAW interface manufacturers are not already using simple 10Gbe ethernet connections, unless the latency would be "humanly noticeable delay in milliseconds" in a 128 buffer setting in a 24/44.1 Pro Tools session.

Something I find annoying in my Apollo setup is that there is no "delay in ms" indication in the Console's "Delay Compensation" setting. My interface connects to my Thunderbolt machine at 2.5GT/s. If the the Apollo's i/o connector was a 10Gbe ethernet connection, would it be faster, slower or the same. If it's merely the same, why not use ethernet, where even the best CAT7 cables are vastly cheaper than even a 2 meter, true Thunderbolt 3 cable.
Old 29th May 2019
  #28
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I suspect the issue with Ethernet is getting information on and off the Ethernet bus takes time where as Thunderbolt (PCI) goes directly in and out of the CPU.

But - for any work in UA console - Ethernet should be great (I think) since the performer is monitoring direct with console while the info for storing in the DAW can take a slower path.
Old 31st May 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
If you are only recording yourself or a few players as others have mentioned, there is nothing "wrong" with using the UAD setup, unless you just simply can't deal with the added software (same thing RME users deal with).
For a single overdub, in a way I prefer the uad workflow - console makes monitoring and dropping in easy - but for anything involving multiple sources, HDX all the way.

If it were my own money I was spending though, I might find a way to compromise the workflow - it’s a big cost difference!
Old 5th June 2019
  #30
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The extra layer that UAD Console adds is not too bad but it does add a layer of complexity.

I switched from a TDM system to UAD and I miss the simplicity.

It would completely be a luxury but I have considered moving to HDX because of it...
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