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Apollo (8p) preamps vs. Audient for drums Audio Interfaces
Old 20th July 2015
Here for the gear

Apollo (8p) preamps vs. Audient for drums

Hi Team,

I currently track through an MOTU 828mk3 into a Macbook Pro running Logic Pro X. When I'm recording drums, I go through a mackie 1604VLZ and come out of the insert and into the MOTU. (God help me, but I like the sound of the Mackie preamps on drums. Don't judge...I can hear you judging!)

The old Mackie is on it's last legs with channels starting to crap out and whatnot (I bought it in 1998). I'd like to replace it with some nice rackmount preamps, and clear some space on my desk. I really like the sound of the Audient ASP880 on drums, so I'm thinking of getting one of those. I could plug the ADAT out right into the MOTU.

That said, I'm also thinking about upgrading to a Thunderbolt interface. I'm looking at the new Apollo 8p. I also like the UAD plugins. I could have one box that "does it all" rather than an interface plus a preamp bank plus native plugins. The unison preamps / plugins would also give a lot of new sounds / textures for use in other situations.

What I'm interested in is the basic sound of the Apollo preamps on drums. My problem is that I can't find much in the way of demos where people are tracking drums (clean, no plug in effects) into those Apollo preamps. As a preamp (without any unison plugins), can anyone speak to how "accurate" / "crisp" / "clean" they sound on drums / fast transients? Has anyone A/B'ed them against the Audient stuff? I've found decent quality A/B's between Audient and Midas, and Audient and the UA 710, (and I prefer Audient every time), but a clean Apollo comparison escapes me.

I know this is all highly subjective but I would appreciate any insight.

Old 1st September 2015
Here for the gear

Hi, I actually own an apollo quad (silver) 4 pres, and an audient asp880. If you can afford the apollo, I would go with the apollo. Mainly because of everything you can do with it. From the start I never used the apollo pres w/o unison because the UA 610b came with it and simply sounded better on everything. After that I got the API Vision which then sounded better than the UA610b on everything… And just with the free legacy plug-ins that come with the apollo you can get a great sound just by having them in the chain. For example, my favorite chain is API Vision(just pre), Pultec legacy, and the fairchild legacy. The Audient is a more transparent pre. It's great, but as far as options for tracking, that's what you get, simply a very good transparent pre. With the apollo, you immediately get 2 different pres for any of your 8 channels, plus hardware emulating plugs that you can use to build your sound however you want from clean to colored in your eight channels, 8 line outputs, main out, 2 headphone outs, and it's an interface you can't go wrong with. Plus it's ever expanding because UA won't stop making new emulations.

Now the audient is simply the best bang $. especially the asp800.
Old 2nd September 2015
Lives for gear
Kamurah's Avatar

I cannot help you with a direct comparison on drums between Apollo and Audient.


I do own an Apollo and an iD22. If I were asked which one had the better sounding preamps out of the box unprocessed I would say Audient without hesitation.

The Apollo preamps are clean and will accurately capture your signal. To describe them I would label them as "pedestrian". I don't think I ever had a 'wow' moment when using them, but they get the job done.

The Audient preamps are just much more appealing TO ME. I like their presence and frequency balance. They are clean but I would describe them as "lively". Great transient response. They sound very pleasing to me.

I would not recommend the Apollo unless you want the simplicity of an all in one box with great processing. The real-time use of plugins is the reason to go that route.

If it were me and I had the money: I would probably get an Apollo 16 and use external preamps.

Apollo conversion is good, and again, the processing is what sets the unit apart. Pair it with 8 or 16 channels of your preamp choice and it is a good system IMO. For drums I would personally chose API or Millennia (two different ends of the spectrum, but each would do well). Something fast with plenty of headroom is what I would shoot for.

Best of luck
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