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How do I connect TWO Apogee Ensembles together? Audio Interfaces
Old 29th August 2008
  #1
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DanRock101's Avatar
 

How do I connect TWO Apogee Ensembles together?

HOW DO YOU HOOK UP TWO Ensembles?

I know that was one of the selling points originally when they were marketing it.....now....NO answers; not in the Ensemble manual, not on the Apogee website, not on OTHER forums (yes Slutz, I DO moonlight on LUG, LogicProHelp and Apple), and I have left emails AND voicemails at Apogee......NADA!

Help me Slutz?
Old 29th August 2008
  #2
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motown67's Avatar
 

Unhappy How do I connect TWO Apogee Ensembles together?

I emailed apogee regarding this issue here is what they had to say:

Thank you for your email. In order to run more than one Ensemble you need to configure them in the Aggregate device utility. While this does work reasonably well at 44.1 and 48k it is not reliable at higher sample rates so we have decided to not support that configuration. Another option would be to run a second Ensemble in stand-alone mode to expand on the light-pipe I/O of the primary Ensemble.

If you want more I/O the best solution is the Symphony system. Symphony and Symphony Mobile will support channel counts up to 96 channels even at 192k. Symphony will also deliver the best latency performance of any native solution.
Old 30th August 2008
  #3
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Ok Slutz,..........

So, do I take back my Ensemble and get my $2,000 back? Is that what Apogee is effectively telling me/us?

So Apogee is telling us "Well YES, we advertized the Ensemble is being able to run 3 of them together but, uh, sorry, it DOESN'T work....."

Ok, I'm willing to be a good sport. Now, is it possible to use an Ensemble AND a Rosetta 800 on the same Mac Book Pro (using the Symphony Mobile of course)????? I'll give Apogee a chance but, not if this isn't going to work!
Old 30th August 2008
  #4
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post

So Apogee is telling us "Well YES, we advertized the Ensemble is being able to run 3 of them together but, uh, sorry, it DOESN'T work....."

Ok, I'm willing to be a good sport. Now, is it possible to use an Ensemble AND a Rosetta 800 on the same Mac Book Pro (using the Symphony Mobile of course)????? I'll give Apogee a chance but, not if this isn't going to work!
Sorry Dan but where did you see them say you could run 3 of these together?

It seems their suggestion is to use the your 2nd Ensemble in 'stand alone' mode and use it for it's conversion via lightpipe into Ensemble 1 therefore giving you 16 channels of in/out.

R.
Old 30th August 2008
  #5
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dannygold's Avatar
 

It sounds like they're saying you'd have FW bandwidth issues at 96K. Any reason you can't add a 30 dollar PCI FW card or 50 dollar PCMCIA FW card and fix it that way? I mean, I'm guessing here, but that's how I run FW interfaces along with Liquid Mix and TC PcCo FW.
Old 30th August 2008
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey View Post
Sorry Dan but where did you see them say you could run 3 of these together?

It seems their suggestion is to use the your 2nd Ensemble in 'stand alone' mode and use it for it's conversion via lightpipe into Ensemble 1 therefore giving you 16 channels of in/out.

R.
The capability for running 3 units together was a feature listed in the first generation of advertising lit / web cutsheets before the actual release of the unit. It was pulled off as a feature some time after they started shipping, but don't remember exactly when.

As long as you don't need the lightpipe I/O for something else, it is a good way to get 8 more inputs, but then you don't really have the full control features of the standalone Ensemble, part of its selling point, do you?
Old 30th August 2008
  #7
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Yeah,

I totally see the drawbacks of using it purely as a standalone converter and as I've been looking into a new Apogee set-up myself (my AD8000's are getting pretty long in tooth) I wondered what the reality of this multi-Ensemble set up is.

I had a quick look at the Ensemble page again and didn't see it mentioned so thought I might be missing something.

I reckon I'll go with an AD/DA 16X's strapped to a ProFire 2626 (if they turn out to stand up well in the real world) so I can have a mobile PTMP set-up as well as running Logic via Core Audio.

R.
Old 3rd September 2008
  #8
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Here's the skinny.....

1) SOUND: Yummy! The best of the gear that I've come from (started 2002 with Roland 1880 & 2480 with Ridge Farm Gas Cookers & Boilers, True System P-Solo, Millennia HV-3, & UA LA610.) Yes, the pre's on the Ensemble are great. Not grungy like my Gas Cookers or even sweetly clean like my Millennia or True.....a nice middle ground. And the Soft Limit is great....the converters (inputs 5-8) going through my pres are sensational! Headphones have finally cleared up! Hmmmm, as have my monitors! Yes I'm going from Roland to Logic 8. It's a world of diff, even though I whole heartedly respect and love the 1880/2480's.......

2) LATENCY: Yeah Firewire vs Roland's format....well..... unless I REALLY cap my headphones tight, it sounds like I have a 5 millisec delay. I can live with it and compensate.... I'm new to Logic; is there a setting I can change whilst tracking? I don't use plugs while tracking..... I use the 8 X 8 mode to go at a HIGHER samp rate! Oh wow! NICE! And clear as a whistle! I don't get to use the Headphone outs at this rate, instead a TRS to 2X 1/4" break out from the Analog 1 & 2 OUTS....very nice! But, anyhoot Roland does win for Latency. Never any with my Rolands.

3) MAESTRO: Pretty well laid out and user friendly. UPDATE YOUR DRIVERS FOR LOGIC AND ENSEMBLE!!!! DO IT NOW!

4) DRIVERS: see above.

5) SUPPORT: Roland always sucked (wow, I didn't try to make this a Roland comp, just wanted to let you all know where I was coming from), Apogee....well..... 3 voicemails and 2 emails later, and no response on daisy chaining MORE THAN ONE Ensemble (which was one of the advertised selling points) OR using my aforementioned MOTU 8pre WITH the Ensemble via Lightpipe.... The Ensemble CAN NOT, repeat CAN NOT be used with ANYTHING ELSE! I've tried......

With the Ensemble you are STUCK with 8 I/O's.... PERIOD. Now, this isn't necessarily a BAD thing. It's the BEST, I repeat, BEST 8 channeler out there! But, again, with for a Firewire Interface, it is the best, but you're stuck with ONLY 8 inputs until you upgrade to Symphony.

In my case, a Symphony Mobile card (which is what I'd need, since I work through a Mac Book Pro), with an AD16X, DA16X & TWO X-Symphony cards (one for the AD16X & one for DA16X). So that would be a 16 in & 16 out with NO latency and, of course I would need 8 more preamps..... so to best the Ensemble ($2,000), I'd need the above Symphony System ($525, $3,000, $3,000, $175, $175, respectively, plus $4,000 of GOOD pres= $11,000ish)

So, a $2,000 BEST IN CLASS FIRWIRE interface that CAN'T be used with anything else but it's own 8 ins of joy, or $11,000 top of the line kick ass Symphony. I guess I'll keep my Ensemble. I RARELY do more than 8 tracks at once these days. Even for drums...c'mon...if you can't make drums sound kick ass with a KICK, SNARE, HI-HAT, OVERHEAD L & R, TOM, TOM & TOM/SNARE BOTTOM, you need to get a drum machine!

PLUS, the Ensemble will always be great for a quick interface on the go....shoot... a quickee recording gig with my only bringing my MacBook Pro (with CASE of course), a Rackmount (with my rackmounted gear as follows: Power Conitioner, Ensemble, Millennia, LA610, headphone amp, midi/usb interface & Glyphs) a Dolly, some mic stands, Mics, & a plug snake & cables..... that's a pretty darn good to-go menu! Shoot, how many ON LOCATION gigs have we done where this set up coulda been used! (Christmas CD's, choirs, Jazz Pianist, Voice overs).....let's just hope your client doesn't need NINE tracks recorded at once! yes, still bugged about that APOGEE!!!!!!

So there ya have it as far as my experience goes. I'll keep reporting back when I have more tastes of this 8 TRICK PONY ..... but what a pony it is!


Stay tuned.....
Old 3rd September 2008
  #9
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Hi Dan,

Nice rundown!

But I still don't understand, why can't you use the MOTU Pre via lightpipe again?

I just don't get it. I've never heard of lightpipe just not working and I find it very hard to believe that the Apogee would be any exception.

There must be some other issue involved here but Apogee's lack of response certainly doesn't seem to be helping. Have you tried contacting your dealer?

R.
Old 3rd September 2008
  #10
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DanRock101's Avatar
 

CLARIFICATION.............

Connecting my MOTU 8pre into the Ensemble via Lightpipe DOES indeed work...........

Setting up an Aggregate Device in Logic 8 to use the MOTU & the Ensemble DOES indeed work............

Here's the butt cheek clincher...........

YOU CAN'T USE THEM TOGETHER...... it's one of the other!......

YOU CAN NOT HAVE 16 CHANNELS OF INPUT (ie, the Ensemble's 8 & the MOTU's 8)............

You can use one or the other. For ME, why would I use the MOTU in lieu of the Ensemble......I'm not gana choose a Burger over a Ribeye! Even though the burger is tastey and will nourish me (yes the MOTU is a good little interface with good pres)....the Ensemble at 96K is EXCELLENT, bordering on great.

So, as I said above, I'm stuck with my Ensemble. Not a BAD thing though.

As for Apogee....I live in California just 45 miles from Apogee's Corp office. Would they turn me away at the door if I wanted to speak with a tech guy? I do gigs near Santa Monica (where they're located) all the time..... stay tuned............
Old 3rd September 2008
  #11
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post
CLARIFICATION.............
YOU CAN NOT HAVE 16 CHANNELS OF INPUT (ie, the Ensemble's 8 & the MOTU's 8)............
Hi Dan,

But this is what I don't get.

And please, I'm not trying to waffle on here, I'm only trying to figure this out just like you.

I far as I recall, and in my experience using my old-skool Apogee AD8000's via ADAT, you shouldn't need to create an aggregate device if you're only using the MOTU as standalone pre's into the Ensemble.

You don't need to tell OSX that there's another 8 inputs (by creating an aggregate device) because that's done via the Apogee and it SHOULD just show up in your software and as an extra 8in/8out.

Again, maybe it's I'm just too outta the loop here and this new-fangled hardware has just complicated matters beyond my comprehension but, like you, I would be extremely pissed off if I bought the Ensemble and I couldn't use the ADAT input/outputs. Extremely pissed off. Just like you and as I think lots of users would be so that's why I can't see why Apogee would let this go?

R.
Old 3rd September 2008
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Betsey View Post
Hi Dan,

But this is what I don't get.

And please, I'm not trying to waffle on here, I'm only trying to figure this out just like you.

I far as I recall, and in my experience using my old-skool Apogee AD8000's via ADAT, you shouldn't need to create an aggregate device if you're only using the MOTU as standalone pre's into the Ensemble.

You don't need to tell OSX that there's another 8 inputs (by creating an aggregate device) because that's done via the Apogee and it SHOULD just show up in your software and as an extra 8in/8out.

Again, maybe it's I'm just too outta the loop here and this new-fangled hardware has just complicated matters beyond my comprehension but, like you, I would be extremely pissed off if I bought the Ensemble and I couldn't use the ADAT input/outputs. Extremely pissed off. Just like you and as I think lots of users would be so that's why I can't see why Apogee would let this go?

R.
Exactly...the Apogee should be able to use the lightpipe and it's internal converters at the same time. If not...you've got something set up wrongly somewhere..maybe you need to enable the extra channels in Maestro? (does the ensemble even use maestro? I've only used a symphony system).
Old 3rd September 2008
  #13
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You can't enable the MOTU....I've tried.....

One or the other.............

My goal was to try to be able to have 16 channels recorded at once (8 from the Ensemble & 8 from the MOTU)....... The Ensemble DOESN'T support this!

Believe me, I understand that if it DID support this, it would be at a MUCH lower samp rate... meaning, the Ensemble & MOTU could be combined for a wopping 44.1k!!!!!!! So, I'm basically back to the quality of my Roland gear (no offense to Roland) , OR I'm on par with using a Fire Studio at 44.1k.


I GET IT! It's Firewire! You can only go so far with Firewire. I GET IT!

If I want to run 16 channels at 96k, I'd need to get some HIGHER END gear like the Symphony System; which would require PCI cards, MORE EXPENSIVE converters and MORE preamps. I GET IT! I got what I paid for really. I've resigned to that conclusion..... I've LET GO! LOL

Now, Apogee shoulda did their homework better. AND they should respond to tech questions with, "You know, we thought we could ___________, but we can't. Sorry."

I GET IT! What else is out their in the 8 Channel Firewire range that can beat this? Anyone? Presonus stuff? I know that my MOTU can be daisychained via Firewire and I can get 16 channels at once.... BUT, the quality in coversion, sample rate & latency WON'T be there! AND I'm stuck with MOTU's preamps....which are decent to good..... BUT, again, I'm back to the Roland world. Could I live with it? Hmmm, I suppose.

So..... I GET IT.....it's FIREWIRE! Apogee has found a way to use the BEST of what firewire can do..... 8 Channels at 96k with GREAT conversion, GREAT preamps, good (not great, not excellent) latency, and a very good interface...... IT'S FIREWIRE! I GET IT! Now, OWN UP TO IT APOGEE!!!!!!!!!
Old 6th September 2008
  #14
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Quote:
My goal was to try to be able to have 16 channels recorded at once (8 from the Ensemble & 8 from the MOTU)....... The Ensemble DOESN'T support this!

Believe me, I understand that if it DID support this, it would be at a MUCH lower samp rate... meaning, the Ensemble & MOTU could be combined for a wopping 44.1k!!!!!!! So, I'm basically back to the quality of my Roland gear (no offense to Roland) , OR I'm on par with using a Fire Studio at 44.1k.
Since this thread seems to have identical posts to another one...

Just because you're running at the same sampling rate as another device, that doesn't mean that you're at the same level quality-wise. I think you'd find that the Apogee at 44.1 kHz would sound noticeably better than the other converters you've mentioned, even if they were running at a higher sampling rate...
Old 6th September 2008
  #15
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This is something I've been trying to sort out for ages. I've gotten some degree of assistance from Apogee, the last call being answered by a super helpful guy, but still have yet to get it actually working. The one thing he did send me was a routing setup that needs to be done in Maestro to get things going. It's also neccessary to config the 2nd Ensemble as the slave, etc... This is the routing setup you would config on the slave Ensemble while it's connected to your Mac via Firewire. Supposedly it's possible to have both chained using FW, but it makes my system run very dodgy, so I just unplug FW from the primary Ensemble and then plug in the slave, config the device in Maestro and the unplug-->replug master Ensemble.

Here's the pic he sent on of the slave device's routing in Maestro:



Despite this assistance I was still unable to get things working. I can get the 2nd Ensemble to clock to the first (solid green light on slave ensemble) and can see input on the on-board LED's of the slave Ensemble, but see nothing in Maestro, where I should be able to see the inputs being routed on channels 10-18 of the mixer.

I need to follow-up with Apogee again, I just haven't had time with sessions running all week...
Old 6th September 2008
  #16
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swafford's Avatar
 

Wow. Have you considered jumping ship and going Metric Halo?
Old 8th September 2008
  #17
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I JUST MAY go to Metric Halo!
One thing, I hate to say....I can't see myself SELLING my Ensemble! It sounds too good and since MOST of my recording is SMALL ensembles (NO pun intended) or track by track guys, it works for 90% of my work....

NOW, to have a Metric Halo setup it would be the SAME money as the Ensemble ($1,900ish per unit for the 2882)....

One question about the Metric Halo 2882; is bypassing the pres WORTH IT? I mean, I'd like to plug in my preamps INTO the MH for the COLOR (which is why i bought my pres).....I'd be turning the gain of the pres on the MH to 0dB correct and just "piggy-backing", right? I wanna do this because the pres on the MH, as I've heard don't have alot of headroom and are NOISY on quiet sources; so, I can use the gain of my higher end pres, right? Or is this not a good idea?
Old 8th September 2008
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post
I JUST MAY go to Metric Halo!
One thing, I hate to say....I can't see myself SELLING my Ensemble! It sounds too good and since MOST of my recording is SMALL ensembles (NO pun intended) or track by track guys, it works for 90% of my work....
Why sell it? You can use them together (definitely via ADAT, and maybe via Aggregate Device).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post
NOW, to have a Metric Halo setup it would be the SAME money as the Ensemble ($1,900ish per unit for the 2882)....

One question about the Metric Halo 2882; is bypassing the pres WORTH IT? I mean, I'd like to plug in my preamps INTO the MH for the COLOR (which is why i bought my pres).....I'd be turning the gain of the pres on the MH to 0dB correct and just "piggy-backing", right? I wanna do this because the pres on the MH, as I've heard don't have alot of headroom and are NOISY on quiet sources; so, I can use the gain of my higher end pres, right? Or is this not a good idea?
This is a fine idea. Many, many people do this. The pres on the 2882 are utility pres. They sound good, but they only have about 42 dB of gain. It is not a question of headroom -- they have plenty of headroom. But depending on the source and the mic, you may not have enough gain to get good level, and if you can't get good level, you will run into noise floor problems. But the inputs are fully specified as line-level inputs and you can run an external pre into the 2882 -- there is no reason NOT to do this, if you have good external pres.
Old 8th September 2008
  #19
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Thanks as always BJ! You're always there ta help!
Now would connecting two 2882 require me to set up an Aggregate device in Logic 8 or would it automatically be recognized in the Metric Halo software?

Also, how would I connect the two 2882's? Via optical cable?
Old 8th September 2008
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post
Thanks as always BJ! You're always there ta help!
Now would connecting two 2882 require me to set up an Aggregate device in Logic 8 or would it automatically be recognized in the Metric Halo software?
Yes -- to use both at once in logic with all I/O, you would create an aggregate. You also need to connect the two units to slave one from the other (via WC, ADAT or AES).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRock101 View Post
Also, how would I connect the two 2882's? Via optical cable?
That's one way. You can also use WC or AES.

Finally, if you track with the record panel, then you don't need an aggregate device.
Old 9th September 2008
  #21
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Hey infiniteposse

WHO at Apogee did you talk to? One guy Bret, called me and said it WAS possible to hook up 2 Ensembles. I'm going to call him back today and have him EMAIL the directions AND request that they put the directions on how to this on the Apogee website under the SUPPORT / FAQ .

Rather than rely on a PHONE convo, shouldn't we be able to a REA solution via their website? If there WAS a solution, why wouldn't it be ON the website? THAT was one of the selling points and it's obviously something Ensemble users are asking... so why the not on the website???? I'll follow up here.........

BTW, gana track drums through the Ensemble tomorrow, I'll report back!
Old 10th September 2008
  #22
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DanRock-

I can't recall the gentleman's name, but he was very cool and I'm sure would have been perfectly happy to keep working on the issue. I just haven't had time. I'm doing sessions most days during the week and plugging and unplugging FW cables and config'ing and re-config'ing control panels takes more time and patience than I've got right now.

Re: documentation: I told him the same thing. 2 Ensembles working seemlessly together was promised from the word "go." Then they said that it wouldn't be possible through FW, but that you could use ADAT lightpipe to accomplish it, but there's still NO step by step documentation on how to do it. This is not a slam-dunk, "duh" kind of config here. There needs to be thorough documentation with screenshots every step of the way. The guy I spoke to agreed that it was strange they hadn't done it...

Please do request detailed docs/email from the guy you speak to and perhaps send him a link to this thread. They need to know that there's some very frustrated campers out here. I have a $2000 doorstop in my rack and can only track 8 tracks at a time. That's a problem for me.

Let us know what happens.
Old 10th September 2008
  #23
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Thanks again Infiniteposse,

I can get NO response via email NOR will they document it on the website.
I HATE being a PITA but I have NO CHOICE! I have 12 more days to return my Ensemble.... I SO don't want to! Again, I love the pres!

But, if I don't hear anything concrete this week, it's HELLO METRIC HALO from here!
Old 11th September 2008
  #24
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I use my Ensemble with all of it's analog and SPDIF I/O at the same time as 8 channels of MOTU into the Ensemble's lightpipes every day with Nuendo without any problem at all.
Old 11th September 2008
  #25
You cannot chain Ensembles together on the FW buss. You simply set the second unit up to stand alone and route all the analog to the ADAT, and the ADAT to route to the analog outputs. This is the only way to properly achieve two Ensembles with a single FW connection.
Old 11th September 2008
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by motown67 View Post
I emailed apogee regarding this issue here is what they had to say

If you want more I/O the best solution is the Symphony system. Symphony and Symphony Mobile will support channel counts up to 96 channels even at 192k. Symphony will also deliver the best latency performance of any native solution.
Symphony PCIe in a Mac Pro will achieve 96 I/O [three cards], while Symphony Mobile can achieve 32 I/O [one card].
Old 12th September 2008
  #27
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Thanks Roc Mixwell! I do agree that there IS a way to connect stuff. BUT, Apogee won't commit to it via support; not on their website, not in a NEW updated manual.

The tech support will talk you through anything.... all day. It's too unofficial. They're not really steaking their claim on anything.....the manual that is online is the same manual that us Ensemble buyers received, and it's more of an "Incomplete Quick Start Guide"......

In all fairness, my MOTU 8pre manual doesn't go through all the steps on how to hook up multiple units either. BUT, it DOES claim that it can be done..... I know, most people here on GS will say "RTFM" or "you can only know by real world experience"..... Well I HAVE RTFMAHFT and I HAVE been trying to use Maestro to reveal ANYTHING ...... what is next?
Old 12th September 2008
  #28
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Quote:
The tech support will talk you through anything.... all day. It's too unofficial.
What do you expect for a feature that's not officially supported? The fact that they'll even talk you through things is pretty impressive. Try calling Apple or Digidesign for help with any unsupported configuration...it won't happen (and the reasons why are certainly understandable)...
Old 12th September 2008
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duardo View Post
What do you expect for a feature that's not officially supported? The fact that they'll even talk you through things is pretty impressive. Try calling Apple or Digidesign for help with any unsupported configuration...it won't happen (and the reasons why are certainly understandable)...

So, is this a hopeless situation? Should I just give up on Apogee?
This really sucks...
Old 13th September 2008
  #30
I'm not really sure what to help you with here?

Are you saying you cannot make this happen?
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