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Apollo x8p: Extremely disappointed about the sound
Old 13th March 2020
  #271
Manufacturer
 
Universal Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
It's just that you keep saying something is 'wrong', when you also keep saying it's a personal taste thing.
Indeed, the use of the word "wrong" is dubious and an attempt to convert an opinion to fact, but who's keeping score.

Regardless, glad your unit was not faulty and that you're keeping it. Win win.

Enjoy your new setup!
Old 13th March 2020
  #272
Lives for gear
 

Apollo's sound is ok at best. (I have not tested the new X versions, might make a difference).

I really don't like the preamps tho. Even with the unison thing they have a bad sound in my opinion. I stopped using them and made a great difference in my recordings.
Old 13th March 2020
  #273
Gear Maniac
Downloaded the LPX project and listened to bits of all the tracks. With 2 or 3 exceptions, I thought the differences between the 2 units was audible but very minor (often subtle). FYI, I monitor with Dynaudio Lyd 5 + 9S and Senn 650's, both using Sonarworks Reference 4. The Sennheisers were powered with a Violectric 281 balanced headphone amp, not the Apollo amp.

My personal observations:
  • Punchline first - I prefered the Apollo version in every case. Probably good news since I own one as a replacement for a RME UCX
  • I needed an additional .1 dB gain reduction in the Apollo track to get the perceived loudness equal
  • While I understand the comment about the RME being "smoother" I also thought it was a little "hard" and more artificial sounding. This may have something to do with monitoring chains - I have always thought the Genelecs to be a bit "toppy" for my tastes. For instance, I could imagine someone preferring the RME presentation if they were using something like NS10's
  • I thought the Apollo was more dimensional and "effortless" sounding, thus more "lifelike" than the RME. While the UFX+ is significantly better than my old UCX, that is consistent with my initial feelings when I got the Apollo
  • Sometimes I thought there was a difference in lower mid presentation, but other times an upper mids (1-2k) delta seemed to be the primary difference
  • Since most of us have no idea how these particular tracks were mastered, all I can say is that the Apollo versions sounded more like what I would want these tracks to sound like if I were mastering them on my monitoring chains
  • I can see how someone might prefer one or the other based on personal preferences, monitoring equipment, room acoustics or engineering of the underlying tracks, but I soundly reject the notion that there are huge differences or that you couldn't produce a world class mix with either unit (given world class mastering skills of course).
  • I'm monitoring using an Apollo X6, so. in theory, the Apollo sound signature could be even more "hyped" than if one compared these tracks using a non-RME or Apollo DAC. That would seem to make the differences even smaller.

I like the Apollo sound better personally, but if you think your mixes suck because you are using an Apollo vs RME (or vice versa), you are sadly mistaken. Thanks to the OP for going to all this work, but this thread really got off in the ditch thanks to the original hyperbole.

Last edited by khollister; 13th March 2020 at 04:24 PM..
Old 13th March 2020
  #274
I also downloaded the Logic session and auditioned with HD600's and Focal Shape Twins with Sonarworks, both using the Apollo x6 DAC.

This is definitely a preference thing, and may even also influenced by the OP's room, monitors, monitor placement (dedicated stands, or desk with or without speaker isolation). Or it's just a case of you being more familiar with the RME sound, so that sounds right to you.

As mentioned by Khollister above, if the Apollo was "wrong and harsh," the effect would be even more pronounced by doubling Apollo DAC's. That is not what I heard.

I listened to parts of all 3 songs and compared the 1st RME file to the UAD file (after dropping the UAD level). What I heard was recessed mids on the RME.. for instance two of those tracks either have an R&B or dance backing track, and on those (and the George Michael track for that matter) the snares and some of the presence of the percussion levels sound overcompressed or almost ducked, definitely lacking somehow. Now I know those songs would not be mastered that way for the target audience, not in today's market with punchy drums etc.

On the vocal sections to me, the UAD was more forward yes, but on the R&B song, the female vocal part sounded more intimate and the reverb a little more definable to me on the UAD, which seems to fit the style and content of the track, so that did not sound "wrong" to me.

On the dance track with the Piano breakdown, I do agree that sounded better on the RME, smoother, but again on the parts with the drums are playing the snare has no power on the RME, and again sounds right to me on the UAD.

Overall I do agree the RME has that more sort glassy, classy, smoother sound in the upper mids to my ears, but also a lack of punch and power where it's required IMHO. If this were monitors with these sound signatures, I'd take the UAD.

Last edited by blayz2002; 13th March 2020 at 05:31 PM.. Reason: Forgot about the reverb on the fem vox
Old 13th March 2020
  #275
Gear Maniac
"Glassy" is probably a better term than "hard". Probably "polite" would be a good descriptor for what I heard - less musically involving for me. I also agree with blayz that there is a micro-dynamics difference on a lot of the material, which may have something to do with the "forward midrange" impressions. I would bet money that both units measure ruler flat as far as frequency response.
Old 20th April 2020
  #276
Gear Nut
 
RicardoWheelock's Avatar
Yup

That my friend is the exact same reason I am sticking with my RME UFX II, the sound!! It’s just better on RME...
Old 24th April 2020
  #277
Lives for gear
 

I have similar comments after comparing the Apollo X16 to the Avid HD I/O. X16 has more clarity, more 3D, better transient response. And I liked the Avid HD I/O better than an Apogee Symphony Mk II, as I thought the Avid had a better top to bottom balance and punch, vs the Symphony which was smoother and darker. I ended up buying an Apollo X16 and an X8P.

(Previous to Avid HD IO, I had Apogee AD and DA 16X, and mytek 192, and sold those because I preferred the Avid HD IO.)

The Industry Standard is the Avid HD IO, most pro studios have these, and I have been happy with mine for the last 10 years. The Apollo X16 clearly beats the Avid, and 2 other engineering friends did shootouts with me and agreed. The Apollo X16 is a great interface, especially considering the extra DSP it comes with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Bucci View Post
I just updated my converters from the Apogee Rosetta 800 to the Apollo X8. In comparison to the older Apogee, the Apollo sound is clearer like a gentle veil was removed. It does not have the harder top end sparkle of an older Mytek I used to have, nor does it have a plain vanilla sound of the older Lynx converters which are still good converters. There is a slight excitement to the Apollo while being very clean and natural. The extra dynamic range over the 114 Db of the Apogee is a welcome. The converters helped my Focal Twins and Focal sub sound even better and mixing to the finish line should be a little faster.

I still have not used the mic pre's as I also purchased a new Dell computer that has a Thunderbolt header on the motherboard as well as the Thunderbolt card. The setup was so easy. The computer recognized it immediately and it is very stable. No hiccups at all. Spent two days installing all my software. My biggest headache is trying to get Superior Drummer 3 to be recognized in Cubase. It was fine on my old computer. Its installed on the same Steinberg/VST Plug in folder. I will report back later in a different thread on the entire setup

I highly recommend the great sounding Apollo X8 which is very stable on Windows 10. The Prism converter comparrison video I heard the slightly darker sound on the older Apollo. I heard the original silver Apollo converters and thought they was just ok. The newer X8 has a much improved top end. Granted the more expensive Prism stereo field maybe a little better but bear in mind the Apollo also has a hexagon UAD2 card, two headphones outs, monitor switching, talkback , and dim features.

Last edited by bforest4; 24th April 2020 at 01:46 AM..
Old 12th June 2020
  #278
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bforest4 View Post
I have similar comments after comparing the Apollo X16 to the Avid HD I/O. X16 has more clarity, more 3D, better transient response. And I liked the Avid HD I/O better than an Apogee Symphony Mk II, as I thought the Avid had a better top to bottom balance and punch, vs the Symphony which was smoother and darker. I ended up buying an Apollo X16 and an X8P.

(Previous to Avid HD IO, I had Apogee AD and DA 16X, and mytek 192, and sold those because I preferred the Avid HD IO.)

The Industry Standard is the Avid HD IO, most pro studios have these, and I have been happy with mine for the last 10 years. The Apollo X16 clearly beats the Avid, and 2 other engineering friends did shootouts with me and agreed. The Apollo X16 is a great interface, especially considering the extra DSP it comes with.
Now I just wonder how my X8 d/a stands up to the X16 d/a.....
Old 12th June 2020
  #279
Lives for gear
After dumping my silverface Apollo 8p and moving to RME - there a subtle difference in the sound of the supposedly "much better" DA - extremely subtle and whether you like the difference or not is merely subjective - I think this converter stuff is over-hyped - all modern hardware sounds amazing. To describe something like a silverface apollo as "cloudy" - let alone the newer ones is nitpicking to the extreme. People forget the kind of noise and distortion we put up with as "normal" 30 years ago.
Old 12th June 2020
  #280
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nyandres's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scragend View Post
After dumping my silverface Apollo 8p and moving to RME - there a subtle difference in the sound of the supposedly "much better" DA - extremely subtle and whether you like the difference or not is merely subjective - I think this converter stuff is over-hyped - all modern hardware sounds amazing. To describe something like a silverface apollo as "cloudy" - let alone the newer ones is nitpicking to the extreme. People forget the kind of noise and distortion we put up with as "normal" 30 years ago.
The newer ones are decent, but the Silverface, its actually pretty bad sounding by modern standards...It wasnt great even when it had come out for its price range. But overall I do agree with the sentiment. Modern (actually modern) converters are soo good, that any choice can get pro results
Old 14th June 2020
  #281
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyandres View Post
The newer ones are decent, but the Silverface, its actually pretty bad sounding by modern standards...
I had one of the first 'silver face' Apollo.
I used it for projects that were vetted by high end audiophobes (drum sampling) and not one person flagged up 'bad sounding' audio.
I'm sure audio interfaces are even nicer now, but in the early 2000's they were also pretty good and the difference between room sound, source instrument and recording skill were MUCH more important than the interface, unless it was a really low budget interface.
Old 14th June 2020
  #282
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I had one of the first 'silver face' Apollo.
I used it for projects that were vetted by high end audiophobes (drum sampling) and not one person flagged up 'bad sounding' audio.
I'm sure audio interfaces are even nicer now, but in the early 2000's they were also pretty good and the difference between room sound, source instrument and recording skill were MUCH more important than the interface, unless it was a really low budget interface.
I think he was referring mainly to the D/A of the silver face. I’m not saying I agree, but would your drum sampling work essentially not touch the D/A? Presuming you were recording drums and processing them, to then send to the client as Wav files?
Old 14th June 2020
  #283
They were recorded using the Apollo. Sometimes including the Apollo pres.
Also, they were processed and mixed using Apollo, sometimes sent out to hardware fx or modular synths, then exported (yes) as wavs.
But I don't think anyone is claiming Apollo just sounds bad as a monitor playback.

In my experience, no one questioned me using it, and this was in tandem with more upmarket gear we were using on the same projects.
Old 14th June 2020
  #284
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Will different converters make your music better?

Can the average listener tell the difference?

Old 14th June 2020
  #285
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nyandres's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I had one of the first 'silver face' Apollo.
I used it for projects that were vetted by high end audiophobes (drum sampling) and not one person flagged up 'bad sounding' audio.
I'm sure audio interfaces are even nicer now, but in the early 2000's they were also pretty good and the difference between room sound, source instrument and recording skill were MUCH more important than the interface, unless it was a really low budget interface.
When I say its a bad sounding interface I meant relative to others. You can get a good enough sound even on a $100 focusrite Scarlett, and even make a hit with it. Listeners won't care or be able to tell in the end, after all processing, and if the sound works with the song anyway.

It however doesn't mean its fidelity and smoothness in sound was great. So yeah the apollo silverface will get the job done, but relatively speaking is not a good interface in terms of conversion. I however never said you can't make a good track with it. You can with a focusrite scarlett too, for example
Old 14th June 2020
  #286
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyandres View Post
You can get a good enough sound even on a $100 focusrite Scarlett, and even make a hit with it. Listeners won't care or be able to tell in the end, after all processing, and if the sound works with the song anyway.
Spot on, exactly what I was trying (probably poorly) to get across. Modern hardware is amazing - nothing "sounds bad".
Old 15th June 2020
  #287
Quote:
Originally Posted by nyandres View Post

It however doesn't mean its fidelity and smoothness in sound was great. So yeah the apollo silverface will get the job done, but relatively speaking is not a good interface in terms of conversion. I however never said you can't make a good track with it. You can with a focusrite scarlett too, for example
I never said anything about 'making a good track'.
I was talking about using my silver face Apollo on projects where every thing was focussed on audio quality. It was about creating and selling high quality drum samples and the other people involved were all audiophiles with a keen ear on quality.
We recorded in very expensive famous studios, and also in my home using the Apollo. And NOT ONCE did anyone ever flag up an audible loss in audio quality. So I call your claim BS.
Old 30th June 2020
  #288
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monomer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by borisovonline View Post
The test: The Fall of Max Payne (or not?)
Hi.
I just downloaded the +4dB files.
It seems that the Apollo file is much more limited.
Are you sure you're not engaging some sort of limiter or something, possibly some sort of anti-clipping mechanism on the Apollo inputs and driving it too hard?
Otherwise, unless these tracks were mixed differently i can't explain the lack of upward peaks.
Downward 'peaks' (places where the sound dips a little) seem completely identical in shape for both files, but the upward peaks are gone in the Apollo one.

So, despite the good () work i think your files are flawed. Sorry.
Try maybe to record a few dB less loud into the Apollo, i think it should be better and possibly sound closer to the RME.
Old 30th June 2020
  #289
Here for the gear
 

I honestly think the mid range is harsh in new Apollo x8p. And I also think the DAC is ****. I’ve been using a silverface apollo 16 for years and monitoring through a DBox with PMC two two.6 monitors. The 10 year old D-Box has far superior d/a than this new Apollo x8p. I am interested in upgrading to newer x16 or keeping my 16 and getting newer D-Box +
Old 10th July 2020
  #290
Here for the gear
 

I recently had a bad experience with a 3 meters thunderbolt 2 cable. I had it for 2 years, was fine at the beginning (I guess) but in the last few months, something was off, I couldn’t put my finger on it, less dynamic range, weird very subtle distortion, overall some of my favorite tracks didn’t have the « wow » factor anymore. Long story short : I made some test with a Revox tape machine to listen to what my main chain sounds like when it goes directly to tape and it sounded waaay better than what came into the DAW, meaning there was an issue between my Apollo 8p BF and my MBP.
So I bought a 50cm Thunderbolt 2 cable made by Apple.
I also bought a wireless keyboard and mouse so that my MBP would be just above the rack and it’s also plugged in hdmi in a screen in front of me. So basically I adapted the whole setup to go from 3m to 50cm of thunderbolt. Wait before trashing me, i’m not saying the length made the difference (because oh boy the difference it made)
I’m saying that a digital cable can be bad from the start and also and can become bad and when a digital connection goes bad well maybe it « still works » but you get other problems then with analog, someone that I respect a lot said « digital problems are harder to detect »

As a side note, I saw some of you were talking about clocking, I use a BLA clock mkII with a dedicated Teddy Pardo 9V linear power supply and it makes my apollo sound way better than with the internal clock. Low end is tighter, mid range has more clarity, high end I would say sound dryer but overall the picture opens up when clocked to my BLA, theres also more depth, I did blind tests with other people.
Bottom line, check the thunderbolt cable maybe.
Just my 2c
Cheers
Leo
Old 6th September 2020
  #291
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by planck View Post
Woooh. Red flag there.

RME adds something special?
Converters typically don’t “add” anything. Unless we are talking about intentionally colored one. Neither of those two are like that.
Any user who believes a converter should add something special is also misguided, and not really expecting the right things from their gear.

The best converters sound the most transparent. If you're interested in a converter that makes stuff sound "better," then you don't have the right expectation of what a converter's function should be.

One company that comes to mind is Apogee. Their converters do have a reputation for hyping the high end a bit more, and adding some "sparkle." Some engineers run their mixes through Apogee converters and back in just to get that on it. BUT, technically speaking, this isn't really what you want from a converter.

In recent years, I think there's been more of an emphasis on making converters as transparent as possible, even more so than before. Once did a shoot out with some engineer friends of mine, both using our ears and metering to see the frequency response changes from converter to converter. We determined that the most transparent and faithful converters were Avid's HDX interfaces. UAD Apollo followed close behind, then the older Avid 192s, then Apogee. Apogee sounds nice, but it's coloring the sound a lot more.
Old 6th September 2020
  #292
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyJoe View Post
Any user who believes a converter should add something special is also misguided, and not really expecting the right things from their gear.
Wise professional's statement!
I am indirectly related to this subject personally because the OP of this thread is a customer of one of my partners and I am therefore aware of several details - all in all this is no more than a tempest in a teapot... To cut the long story short, emotional amateurish judgements towards professional gear (particularly audio interfaces, their AD-DA and clocks...) would never reveal anything objective, constructive and valuable for professionals.
Old 7th September 2020
  #293
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattyJoe View Post
Any user who believes a converter should add something special is also misguided, and not really expecting the right things from their gear.

The best converters sound the most transparent. If you're interested in a converter that makes stuff sound "better," then you don't have the right expectation of what a converter's function should be.

One company that comes to mind is Apogee. Their converters do have a reputation for hyping the high end a bit more, and adding some "sparkle." Some engineers run their mixes through Apogee converters and back in just to get that on it. BUT, technically speaking, this isn't really what you want from a converter.

In recent years, I think there's been more of an emphasis on making converters as transparent as possible, even more so than before. Once did a shoot out with some engineer friends of mine, both using our ears and metering to see the frequency response changes from converter to converter. We determined that the most transparent and faithful converters were Avid's HDX interfaces. UAD Apollo followed close behind, then the older Avid 192s, then Apogee. Apogee sounds nice, but it's coloring the sound a lot more.
In some defence of the the person that made those comments, they didn't actually mean that the RME was adding anything, more that the UAD was not revealing something that the RME was. They just worded it poorly, but I think they cleared that up later in the thread.

Also I think the Apogee Symphony MKII is far more transparent on the AD than the MKI.
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