The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Metric Halo ULN-8 3d vs. Apollo x8p
Old 11th April 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 
calebloveless's Avatar
Metric Halo ULN-8 3d vs. Apollo x8p

I've narrowed my search down to these two options. I'll probably order both and listen.

But is there anyone who has heard both and who can comment on the A/D? That's what I'm most interested in. Can the new X series really compete?

Is there anything else they would cause you to lean one way or another?
Old 11th April 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
loji's Avatar
Never heard the Apollo,

but if you like clean : think Grace, Millennia, DAV ... the ULN8 is excellent. The depth in the low-end in particular (very very clean, but extended) is very good.
Old 11th April 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 
cheu78's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by calebloveless View Post
I've narrowed my search down to these two options. I'll probably order both and listen.

But is there anyone who has heard both and who can comment on the A/D? That's what I'm most interested in. Can the new X series really compete?

Is there anything else they would cause you to lean one way or another?
I can't speak for the new apollos x.. never compared them..
I'm sure at this level it's more a matter of taste and maybe few feats and workflow..

That said the MH ULN8 is an excellent sounding unit plus getting it with the 3d card makes them virtually futureproof.. (It has both usb-c and rj45).. Get a CAT5 cable and you're done no matter what usb or thunder bull$hit microsoft or apple is coming out with..

I like the fact that instead of "garbaging" their old products, MH offers a upgrade card and you could use these for another 10 years probably..
I like the attitude of "recycling" or better put reusing instead or buying new crap every 2 years.. our planet can't afford that anymore (different topic, but still a very valid point imho).



Cheu
Old 12th April 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheu78 View Post
with the 3d card makes them virtually futureproof.. (It has both usb-c and rj45).. Get a CAT5 cable and you're done no matter what usb or thunder bull$hit microsoft or apple is coming out with..

I like the fact that instead of "garbaging" their old products, MH offers a upgrade card and you could use these for another 10 years probably..
I like the attitude of "recycling" or better put reusing instead or buying new crap every 2 years.. our planet can't afford that anymore (different topic, but still a very valid point imho).



Cheu
[Metric Halo Fanboy Alert]

This right here. The fact that I bought a ULN8 10-12 years ago and it's still competing with the highend offerings of companies that have churned product instead of innovating is why I'm happily swimming in the MH pool. And the ethernet connectivity and box aggregating...I mean c'mon, brilliant. Plus the potential of the Edge Card - can't wait to see what happens there.

But to the OP: in the end, IMO (obvs) anything sonically at this point is probably nipping at the margins, so I'd be looking at connectivity, work flow, back end software and customer service and see what is going to work for you.

And good luck, these are always tough decisions.

Last edited by swafford; 12th April 2019 at 10:33 AM..
Old 12th April 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
As with the above posters I've not tried the Apollo x8p, but recently moved to a LIO-8 setup. I used to use a Prism for mixbus AD capture and have no complaints, it sounds fantastic. Also echo the importance of ethernet (getting USB out of the way is great for audio), versatility and investment security.

Added bonus: helpful/friendly crowd in the MH 3D thread.
Old 13th April 2019
  #6
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
ULN-8 3d all in here. I've not heard the Apollo either. Future proof! Amazing product design and support.
Old 13th April 2019
  #7
Gear Nut
I have both and the ULN-8 3D is a high end level product. The mic preamps are in an entirely different league above the Apollo. The conversion is more musical and less cold/clinical than the Apollo X. Only reason to go Apollo is if you had lots of great outboard gear and for some reason wanted to monitor through UAD plugins. If you just have an Apollo X alone don’t expect it to deliver high end sounding results by itself because of some plugins. If I could go back in time I would have never spent money on UAD because really its just cheap emulations of great analog gear and to me one great piece of analog gear has a quality of tone that is priceless. The mic preamps on the ULN-8 are in the lower boutique range so they can compete directly with great clean preamps costing much more like Grace, Pueblo, NPNG or Millenia. Not quite as good but very close. Additionally they have direct analog outs so you can insert real analog gear before conversion or use other high end converters like JCF AD8 for really great sound. I dunno, the way I see it these days the Apollos just cheaped out on their analog sections especially with their preamps even on the X series. When you compare head to head with great preamps they just don’t cut it and the conversion is just cold and clinical to my ears. I really just use my Apollo as an FX box for guitar and occasionally a live mixer for live shows. I would sell it if I wouldn’t stand to lose so much money on the plugins I bought. Just my opinion.
Old 13th April 2019
  #8
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by veggieryan View Post
I have both and the ULN-8 3D is a high end level product. The mic preamps are in an entirely different league above the Apollo. The conversion is more musical and less cold/clinical than the Apollo X. Only reason to go Apollo is if you had lots of great outboard gear and for some reason wanted to monitor through UAD plugins. If you just have an Apollo X alone don’t expect it to deliver high end sounding results by itself because of some plugins. If I could go back in time I would have never spent money on UAD because really its just cheap emulations of great analog gear and to me one great piece of analog gear has a quality of tone that is priceless. The mic preamps on the ULN-8 are in the lower boutique range so they can compete directly with great clean preamps costing much more like Grace, Pueblo, NPNG or Millenia. Not quite as good but very close. Additionally they have direct analog outs so you can insert real analog gear before conversion or use other high end converters like JCF AD8 for really great sound. I dunno, the way I see it these days the Apollos just cheaped out on their analog sections especially with their preamps even on the X series. When you compare head to head with great preamps they just don’t cut it and the conversion is just cold and clinical to my ears. I really just use my Apollo as an FX box for guitar and occasionally a live mixer for live shows. I would sell it if I wouldn’t stand to lose so much money on the plugins I bought. Just my opinion.
There's your answer!
Old 16th April 2019
  #9
Gear Head
 
calebloveless's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by veggieryan View Post
I have both and the ULN-8 3D is a high end level product. The mic preamps are in an entirely different league above the Apollo. The conversion is more musical and less cold/clinical than the Apollo X. Only reason to go Apollo is if you had lots of great outboard gear and for some reason wanted to monitor through UAD plugins. If you just have an Apollo X alone don’t expect it to deliver high end sounding results by itself because of some plugins. If I could go back in time I would have never spent money on UAD because really its just cheap emulations of great analog gear and to me one great piece of analog gear has a quality of tone that is priceless. The mic preamps on the ULN-8 are in the lower boutique range so they can compete directly with great clean preamps costing much more like Grace, Pueblo, NPNG or Millenia. Not quite as good but very close. Additionally they have direct analog outs so you can insert real analog gear before conversion or use other high end converters like JCF AD8 for really great sound. I dunno, the way I see it these days the Apollos just cheaped out on their analog sections especially with their preamps even on the X series. When you compare head to head with great preamps they just don’t cut it and the conversion is just cold and clinical to my ears. I really just use my Apollo as an FX box for guitar and occasionally a live mixer for live shows. I would sell it if I wouldn’t stand to lose so much money on the plugins I bought. Just my opinion.
This is a great reply, thank you! I think ill take the plunge on a MH.

BTW, maybe you could consider getting rid of it and getting a UAD Satellite to keep your plugs rocking

Thanks again.
Old 17th April 2019
  #10
Here for the gear
 

I currently own 2 ULN8 interfaces and did the 3d upgrade last year. I have owned an Apollo8 and currently have about 16 cores of UAD that are useless to me (as well as many $k worth of their plugins).

As interfaces, they cannot be compared. The ULN is leaps and bounds better than the UAD system I had. I was unable to trust the UAD Apollo or any of their systems. No matter which Mac I used them on (MacPro, various Macbooks, iMac) I would always get Error -38 messages. Such a hugely unreliable system if stability is what you seek. Even now I've had to bomb an Octo system that will not stay stable on a new MBP or trashcan Mac. After so many emails, so much money spent trying fixes etc, I gave up on UAD and cut my losses. I don't see the value anymore in having an oversized, unreliable 'dongle' chained to my workflow anymore.

Metric Halo on the other hand has been rock solid (with a few teething issues going over to 3D). The quality of the preamps is excellent. The Apollo preamps had so little headroom, noisy, and even their line ins went through these prosumer sounding pre's. It was all sales hype, smoke and mirrors to me, and when A/B the ULN against it, it was a no-brainer. If running realtime plugins is your thing, get an arrow (for your autotune vocalists in studio), but I'd never move back to UAD for interfaces.

I use the ULN's stacked for classical recordings, I use one often for multi-channel field recording (powered via NP-1) and the routing and flexibility is second to none.
Old 17th April 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Jantex's Avatar
 

I will offer a counter opinion. I have two Apollo X, Apollo X8 and Apollo X16 which substituted previous generations. All the Apollo line has always been rock solid and new Apollo X line sounds superb. While I haven't tested it against Metric Halo, Apollo X's specifications (dynamic range, THD+N) are heaps and bounds better than ULN-8 which makes me thing some people might be a bit biased in this thread. Besides never had any issue with any noisy preamps.
Old 17th April 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
I will offer a counter opinion. I have two Apollo X, Apollo X8 and Apollo X16 which substituted previous generations. All the Apollo line has always been rock solid and new Apollo X line sounds superb. While I haven't tested it against Metric Halo, Apollo X's specifications (dynamic range, THD+N) are heaps and bounds better than ULN-8 which makes me thing some people might be a bit biased in this thread. Besides never had any issue with any noisy preamps.

The only people in this thread who slagged the Apollo used both devices. The people who only used ULN8's seemed careful not to state an opinion about something they've never used, while extolling the virtues of the one they do use.

Quote:
bi·as
/ˈbīəs/
noun
1.
prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
Medice, cura te ipsum.
Old 17th April 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
dbjp's Avatar
 

The Firewire driver on the ULN-8 used to drive me nuts but I think it should be a whole different ball game now with the 3d upgrade. I'm lusting for one again.
Old 17th April 2019
  #14
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jantex View Post
I will offer a counter opinion. I have two Apollo X, Apollo X8 and Apollo X16 which substituted previous generations. All the Apollo line has always been rock solid and new Apollo X line sounds superb. While I haven't tested it against Metric Halo, Apollo X's specifications (dynamic range, THD+N) are heaps and bounds better than ULN-8 which makes me thing some people might be a bit biased in this thread. Besides never had any issue with any noisy preamps.
Ok, but you stated you've never tried or tested one against the other, so it's kind of hard to offer a counter opinion, no? I haven't so I have no opinion between the two. Like you I only have experience with one as an interface. I have been using UAD plugins since BEFORE they were commercially available and have always been a fan.
Old 17th April 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Jantex's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
Ok, but you stated you've never tried or tested one against the other, so it's kind of hard to offer a counter opinion, no? I haven't so I have no opinion between the two. Like you I only have experience with one as an interface. I have been using UAD plugins since BEFORE they were commercially available and have always been a fan. But they do hype their stuff. I have no doubt that the Apollo is good. I just know the ULN-8 3D is just about the best there is - biased opinion. LOL.
Neved doubted the quality of MH, and have used ULN-8 many times just not in direct comparison. When the source sound is good, all these units won’t break or make the sound. I can only say that Apollo X sounds significantly better than the previous version, which sounded significantly better than silverfaced one. I replaced Apogee Symphony with blackface versions and didn’t regret my decision a single moment, because the workflow with Apollo was much better. Now X definitely sounds better than the blackface. But all these little differences won’t make much difference to the end product and that’s a fact.

Last edited by Jantex; 17th April 2019 at 07:06 PM..
Old 17th April 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 
AudioGaff's Avatar
I'd strongly suggest to be very careful in taking the biased opinion of one pissed off troll that uses his 1st post on GS with UAD bashing. It is true that early on, UAD had some issues with Firewire on some host computers. UAD Thunderbolt is, and has been ROCK SOLID since it's release.
Old 19th April 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
I have ULN8s 3D in the studio. Using them as my main units.

My partner also brought an x8p just days ago. It’s just sitting there. Haven’t heard it yet. It looks very fancy many lights and stuff, which i don’t like lol

The ULN8s 3D were definitely sounding better than the previous Apollo.

But haven’t compared it with x8p. I’ll do some quick comparison and post it.
Old 19th April 2019
  #18
Gear Head
 
calebloveless's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by planck View Post
I have ULN8s 3D in the studio. Using them as my main units.

My partner also brought an x8p just days ago. It’s just sitting there. Haven’t heard it yet. It looks very fancy many lights and stuff, which i don’t like lol

The ULN8s 3D were definitely sounding better than the previous Apollo.

But haven’t compared it with x8p. I’ll do some quick comparison and post it.
I would LOVE your comparison! Please be sure to let me know
Old 30th April 2019
  #19
Here for the gear
I own an Apollo X8p, and the sound is amazing. I came from a clarett - significant step up in both AD and DA to my ears. I couldn’t be happier with it.

Haven’t tried MH, but I know 100% the x series won’t stand in your way to making pro sounding recordings. It is in no way “sterile”. Read the gearslutz reviews on the unit, as well as the countless positive reviews from actual industry professionals.

Download some stems of Unison pres vs the real deal.

Anyways back to making music!
Old 30th April 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
FWIW, DigitalGrease (good ears) mentioned in another thread that his Apollo X16 clocked by a Grimm CC2 sounds as good as his Solaris (tested at 96K). I also have a CC2—clocking the LIO-8 and Trinnov ST2—and love it. If you're going to be clocking multiple devices that might be another option.
Old 30th April 2019
  #21
Gear Maniac
I have both an Apollo X6 and a Lio 8 and I believe that although the Apollo is very close in terms of sound quality the Metric Halo is still better. I am comparing line inputs AD conversion obviously.

Except for the Burl AD converters (I also have a Burl Bomber B2 adc), I have not heard better conversion than the Metric Halo after all those years. I have the 3D card ready to be installed for an upgrade but still run it on Firewire on my upgraded gratecheese MacPro.. It is quite incredible that such a piece of tech has held up so well after all those years and I am grateful that MH keeps upgrading their existing line of products. They also have excellent tech support and service.

My Apollo X6 is very nice sounding and can be useful once you have their UA plugins. I guess you would not be disappointed by a X8p, but if you want the best conversion you should get the Metric Halo or even better a Burl Mothership.

Last edited by michenal; 30th April 2019 at 11:00 PM.. Reason: Clarity
Old 30th April 2019
  #22
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by michenal View Post
I have both an Apollo X6 and a Lio 8 and I believe that although the Apollo is very close in terms of sound quality the Metric Halo is still better. I am comparing line inputs AD conversion obviously.

Except for the Burl AD converters (I also have a Burl Bomber B2 adc), I have not heard better conversion than the Metric Halo after all those years. I have the 3D card ready to be installed for an upgrade but still run it on Firewire on my upgraded gratecheese MacPro.. It is quite incredible that such a piece of tech has held up so well after all those years and I am grateful that MH keeps upgrading their existing line of products. They also have excellent tech support and service.

My Apollo X6 is very nice sounding and can be useful once you have their UA plugins. I guess you would not be disappointed by a X8p, but if you want the best conversion you should get the Metric Halo or even better a Burl Mothership.
Yeah just wait till you hear it with the 3D upgraded clock and power supply... it widens the gap considerably. It really is not surprising the Metric Halo still sounds better since it is a professional product at a professional price point being compared to products in the prosumer price range in this thread. It's just not realistic to expect better performance out a product costing so much less. A quad pcie UAD card is about 700 USD and an octo is about 1,000 so we can guess about 850 for the 6 core DSP portion of an x-series Apollo. and an x8p is 2999 USD. So the interface/preamps on the x8p are about 2149 USD vs 3500-3900 USD current street price for the ULN-8. For UAD the focus is on realtime DSP vs Metric Halo where the DSP is a secondary focus to the sound quality.

The main staying point for the ULN-8 has been that its clean preamps are actually boutique grade which means you have to spend more than about 3k+ on a set of 8 preamps to hear an upgrade. I love the fact the preamps have analog send/return before hitting the conversion. That alone tells you they mean business. That plus the musical quality of the conversion that has been enhanced further by the 3D upgrade while other companies expect you to just throw away your old interfaces every few years has really solidified Metric Halo as a product with no equal unless you spend twice as much or far more on the next step up in conversion like JCF or Burl.
Old 1st May 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

Excuse my ignorance.

But why is the dynamic range "only" about 118db on these units.

Could someone please elaborate so I can learn?

I am also curious to know what you think bout'; how the higher end antelope interfaces preamps hold up against the units mentioned; audio quality wise and why.

Let's presume you were to have lots of analog IO connected (analog board etc. I realize we are splitting hair strands here).
Old 1st May 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Usgggg View Post
Excuse my ignorance.

But why is the dynamic range "only" about 118db on these units.

Could someone please elaborate so I can learn?.
I can't learn you, but here is what the designer had to say:

Calling metric halo 3D card where are you

Quote:
...as you point out these, numbers are mostly good for marketing. Once you are around 120 dB dynamic range, increases to the dynamic range don't really make much of a difference in the actual audible performance of the device. I am certainly more concerned with other parameters like distortion spectrum, frequency and phase response, and EIN on mic channels. Under pretty much all operating conditions the other sources of noise in your system swamps the converter Dynamic Range.
Old 1st May 2019
  #25
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swafford View Post
I can't learn you, but here is what the designer had to say:

Calling metric halo 3D card where are you
Thank you for clarifying.
Old 1st May 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Melgueil's Avatar
 

I've owned both. Each very compelling in their own way. Neither was a "game changer" for me.

If you have solid engineering skills, you'll make great sounding tracks with either. As someone said earlier in this thread, look closely at the use cases, your studio, how you want to work. These are different platforms for different applications.

This is Gearslutz, so expect folks to have solid opinions (and defend them!).
Cdlt
Old 16th September 2019
  #27
Here for the gear
 
ofriendoe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by planck View Post
I have ULN8s 3D in the studio. Using them as my main units.

My partner also brought an x8p just days ago. It’s just sitting there. Haven’t heard it yet. It looks very fancy many lights and stuff, which i don’t like lol

The ULN8s 3D were definitely sounding better than the previous Apollo.

But haven’t compared it with x8p. I’ll do some quick comparison and post it.
Did you ever get a chance to compare the two units? I’m trying to decide wether or not to upgrade my BLA002 sig to the XB mod or grab one of these two units. Very tempted by the MH.
Old 20th October 2019
  #28
Gear Nut
 

Hello guys whats the difference of Metric Halo Metric Halo ULN-2 3d and 2882?
i mean there is big difference?
if anyone have samples between apollo x and metric i would love to listen to them!
thank you so much!
Old 20th October 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
 
swafford's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dimosz View Post
Hello guys whats the difference of Metric Halo Metric Halo ULN-2 3d and 2882?
i mean there is big difference?
A 2882 3D? and a ULN2 3D have a big difference in feature set and those differences (I would think) are listed on the MH product page.

The 8 preamps on the 2882 are fine as long as you don't gain them up to far - great for loud sources like drums, but can struggle with acoustic instruments in low volume situations. The ULN2 pres are a bit more refined and have substantially more gain.

I think they both have a similar if not the same A/D/D/A, the major difference would be in the analog stage.
Old 20th October 2019
  #30
Gear Nut
 

about vocals

What about recording vocals? should i choose the uln2?
or should i go to a higher? like lio 8
i want this interface cause it has really nice latency and amazing converters to make covers on youtube
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump