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Prism Orpheus vs UA Apollo for Classical Piano Audio Interfaces
Old 30th July 2013
  #1
Gear Head
 

Prism Orpheus vs UA Apollo for Classical Piano

I am in the process of setting up a recording room, and with the help of the friendly people on this site am very close to finished. At this point I have narrowed down my audio interface choice to these two options, with the RME UCX in third if for some reason neither works. The trade off between the two units is pretty clear -- greater value + plugins from the Apollo vs superior sonic quality from the Orpheus. I will probably test both units in my room when I can, but I would nevertheless be interested in hearing opinions on these units for this purpose. Particularly, thoughts on the applicability of the Apollo's real time UAD tracking would be helpful. While there is a 'cool' factor, realistically I'm not sure it would be useful.

A quick aside: I also do orchestral composing with MIDI, and apparently the Apollo is able to apply real time UAD affects to virtual instruments as well. I'm again not sure how useful this would end up being, though theoretically I can imagine scenarios where it would be nice to have (tweaking the tone of the violin in my concerto as I play the passage in real time). The only issue would be any latency introduced -- I cannot deal with latency over 5 ms. Should I factor this into the decision?
Old 2nd August 2013
  #2
Gear Head
 

I also should add that my room, while fully treated, is quite small. I do wonder if the difference in A/D quality would be lost on me, at least partially, due to my sup-optimal room. I suppose it comes down to just how big the difference in quality is. Again, any input would be appreciated.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debussy13 View Post
The trade off between the two units is pretty clear -- greater value + plugins from the Apollo vs superior sonic quality from the Orpheus.
Hi, I don´t own neither interface, but I think what you say above is right.

If you value most workflow and mixing, I would go for Apollo, but if you favour top quality conversion I would go for Orpheus, but, I guess, you already know that.

If you want both aspects, my choice would be UAD card + Orpheus, that in case you can afford it.

Also, if you already own enough quality plug-ins, again Orpheus.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
I own an Apollo 16, and it's quite nice sounding. That being said, I've never used the Orpheus before, so I couldn't care to comment upon it. If you get the chance to work with both, take it, then make your decision after. It would be best if you could convince your friendly neighbourhood gear dealer to let you try both at the same time, so you get an apples to apples comparison, rather than an apples to memory of apples, as it were.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #5
I want to hear the orpheus pitched agains the apollo BLA mod. but i can't here in the uk. If anyone can arrange this comparsion please do
Old 2nd August 2013
  #6
Gear Head
 

I'd be interested in the BLA mod as well, haven't seen or heard much about it but it sounds promising. Really anything about the Apollo with classical in general would be great.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
Hi, I don´t own neither interface, but I think what you say above is right.

If you value most workflow and mixing, I would go for Apollo, but if you favour top quality conversion I would go for Orpheus, but, I guess, you already know that.

If you want both aspects, my choice would be UAD card + Orpheus, that in case you can afford it.

Also, if you already own enough quality plug-ins, again Orpheus.

Be careful of comments like this. This guy admits to be basing his opinion on what he/she has read, and not heard.


Ive heard both, Ive used an Orpheus in the past (mixed a few songs with one) and I now own an Apollo.


Get the Apollo.

The sonic qualities of both are soooooo similar you will be hearing the price tag and not any actual differences. They both use the EXACT same converter chip..... granted its not all about the converter chip but its a pretty HUGE part.

More importantly, they both sound amazing! Conversion on both is top notch.

I honestly dont know where the Apollo gets this "rep" for having lower quality converters. Is it because it doesn't have a weakness at its price point, that people that dont own it need a reason to justify it to themselves that they dont own one or that their own gear is better?
Seems like that to me.

The Orpheus is old technology. 6/7 years old. It is only natural that the same parts found in a launch priced $4K box would be now found in boxes half the price and lower. Thats technology pricing for you!

For the money, the Orpheus is WAY over priced. Get an apollo and with the cash left over get yourself a decent mic.

I wouldnt touch an Orpheus at this stage....the market has surpassed it at this point IMHO.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Be careful of comments like this ?
Old 2nd August 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
Be careful of comments like this ?
Sorry, no offence meant, but basically if I were the OP Id just be wary of people who havent actually heard either units and are giving advice on it.

Hearsay and conjecture are one thing, but they quickly lead to innacurate information being given as "fact".
Especially in this industry where the term "subjective" is all too relevant
Old 2nd August 2013
  #10
Gear Head
 

I have no doubt that the Orpheus is better, and I don't put too much stock into the idea that the newer tech is inherently better. After all, the standards in most mastering houses from what I've read are older Prisms and Lavry golds, both of which are older than the Orpheus (and to which I have heard the Orpheus compared). The question to me is how much better is the Orpheus, and is that difference worth it for me specifically. Obviously you're in the 'no' column drumdrum, and I appreciate the feedback. While I have been leaning toward Orpheus, I do have this little voice saying its more than I need. I'd appreciate any other opinions, the more feedback the better.

Also, I will add that Red Baron's comments were fine since he clearly stated that he hadn't heard either unit, he was just offering general advice and encouragement. He essentially confirmed that I was asking the right questions.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debussy13 View Post
Also, I will add that Red Baron's comments were fine since he clearly stated that he hadn't heard either unit, he was just offering general advice and encouragement. He essentially confirmed that I was asking the right questions.
Oh I agree, good questions to ask, but just be prepared for answers you may not like and /or agree with.

Perosnally, I dont think the Orpheus is better than an Apollo at all. Just because one box has extra features, doesnt mean that its inferior to a box with less features but a higher price tag. Hear the sound, not the price tag!

"Conversion" is highly overrated anyways. There are way more important elements to get right first, namely your monitoring situation. No point having the greatest "converter" quality in the world if you're sitting in the middle of a room node! If you have a top room, then you may be in a position to actually hear the converter differences. Most of the converters these days use top notch tech already and the difference between an Orpheus and a Mbox is not always that obvious. We like to THINK we can hear the difference, but blind tests often prove otherwise...

The reason mastering houses have Lynx and Orpheus is because, true, at one point they were the best you could get. They built up a reputation (rightly so) and hence sold. But why should a mastering studio buy another box if their engineer(s) know the sound and can work with what they have? Otherwise they are spending money on gear that they dont need....it would be a very poor business decision. These mastering studios dont just buy every new item that comes out if it is better....otherwise they'd have no money left!

If you "have no doubt" that the Orpheus has better conversion, then it sounds to me that you have already answered this question for yourself.


Anyways, back on topic:

Essentially, let me give you another way to look at this question:

If you got the Apollo, would you plan to track with the plugins live, or purely use the plugins for mixing?
If the answer is "for mixing" then you'd probably be better served with a UAD PCI or satellite card and a different converter box.
TBH, if you want just "top conversion" for lesser cost than Orpheus, I'd look at the Lynx Hilo.Lynx Hilo | Sweetwater.com
Old 2nd August 2013
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debussy13 View Post
I have no doubt that the Orpheus is better, and I don't put too much stock into the idea that the newer tech is inherently better.

Then thats your choice, but it dosnt make you right.

Newer tech will always be better than the older stuff. Its how we progress technologically.

People often crave after the older "analog" sound, but from a technical perspective, even your humble mbox (which are actually really good units these days) has more fidelity in in than the desks of old on paper.

BUT....

The human ear is not linear. It is not robotic or digital.... it is organic and these sonic "imperfections" of the older days are actually quite pleasant to our ears.
Hence why some, like yourself perhaps, prefer older technology to newer tech. Personally, I'd LOVE an original Neve 1073 but I can dream....
Old 2nd August 2013
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Debussy13 View Post
I have no doubt that the Orpheus is better, and I don't put too much stock into the idea that the newer tech is inherently better.
You don't know until you've tried it. And new technology might be improved.
The only way to really know is try both interfaces.
Or you could save and buy a more expensive converter that really delivers clean, high-end conversion.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
Be careful of comments like this ?
Well yes. You admit to having not used either unit, but then go on to draw definitive conclusions.
Unfortunately there is a lot of commentary at Gearslutz based on guesswork and 'the word'.
Better to comment on stuff you've used or at least tried.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
You don't know until you've tried it. And new technology might be improved.
The only way to really know is try both interfaces.
Or you could save and buy a more expensive converter that really delivers clean, high-end conversion.
This +1.

If you can afford it, or arrange with a shop to try both with the definite chance to return one for a refund, then try both!

Only way you'll know whats best for yourself.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debussy13 View Post

Also, I will add that Red Baron's comments were fine since he clearly stated that he hadn't heard either unit, he was just offering general advice and encouragement. He essentially confirmed that I was asking the right questions.
Happy to help

------

Of course, it´s better to try both and compare.
Old 2nd August 2013
  #17
Gear Head
 

I certainly agree that trying out both units would be ideal, and I'm hoping I can make it happen. It should be noted, however, that the impressions you get using a unit for a week or two can only take you so far, especially in my currently less that optimal listening environment. One of the things which appeals to me about the Orpheus is that it's a top of the line unit that I can build around for years. Perhaps I don't hear the difference yet, but in 3-5 years when I'm in a new studio trying to record a publishable track, the difference could be more significant. I find it hard to believe that the Apollo would be extremely close to the Orpheus for a solo acoustic instrument in a great space, where nuance of tone is everything.

Then again, I guess I could be psyching myself out -- in that situation I could always sell the Apollo and move on to whatever Prism has since come out with (or whatever else is great at that time). Ideally I would like a future proof option, but perhaps that isn't realistic, as even the Orpheus will be improved upon eventually.
Old 3rd August 2013
  #18
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Debussy13, if you have the chance of trying both units, please, post your opinion and your choice, thanks.
Old 3rd August 2013
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Baron View Post
Debussy13, if you have the chance of trying both units, please, post your opinion and your choice, thanks.
Yeah I will for sure.
Old 3rd August 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Debussy13 View Post
Yeah I will for sure.
I just wouldn't close your mind off to these 2 units. The apollo fills a certain niche in the market, but the Orpheus just does what a lot of other boxes do.

I've read people preferring they lynx Hilo here, which is supposed to be the one to beat. If that's the case, it's better and cheaper than the Orpheus. Maybe with looking into. You could spend the rest on a uad card or a Mic or something.

Anyways, best of luck with your gear hunt! It's not the easiest thing to commit so much cash to a unit... Fair play!
Old 3rd August 2013
  #21
Not knocking the Orpheus, but it's FireWire isn't it?
It's also been around for years. I'm not sure you'd want to build your studio around it or years to come.
Old 3rd August 2013
  #22
Gear Addict
I've had an Orpheus great sounding piece but In my opinion it's a bit overpriced will you hear a difference ahhh maybe slightly but not worth 2 thousand more. I think the Apollo is a great buy. Uad plugins and a great sound card all in one. I actually own an Apogee Symphony and love the sound but I would be happy with an Apollo.
On a side note the Orpheus was a pain the ass due to it being FireWire. I would constantly have to restart it if I plugged in a USB key or another peripheral. Super annoying!!!!!
Old 3rd August 2013
  #23
Lives for gear
 

Where did you read orpheus has superior sound quality?

IIRC they are about equal and that means equally invisible.

Orpheus has terrible latency though according to the LLP thread here. Worse than a lot of low end interfaces.
Old 3rd August 2013
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oden View Post
Where did you read orpheus has superior sound quality?

IIRC they are about equal and that means equally invisible.

Orpheus has terrible latency though according to the LLP thread here. Worse than a lot of low end interfaces.
I dint think superior, but to be fair to the Orpheus, there is a reason it was the standard bearer a few years ago.

Great unit, but way overpriced in today's market imho.

Still all these boxes are subjective, so the only way you can know what suits you is to try both...
Old 7th August 2013
  #25
Gear Head
 

Just a quick update: I have ordered the Apollo, it should be here in a few days. My room isn't quite ready, but I can still tinker with the plug ins and real time tracking and such. Whether I get an Orpheus in to demo is still far from certain unfortunately, we'll see how the Apollo works out first.

One other option I've been thinking about is getting a Lyra now, then expanding it to 4 channels with a stand alone a/d later. Essentially it gives me a bit more expansion flexibility than the Orpheus, less eggs in a single basket so to speak, and I'm only paying for what I need -- 2 channels. Does anyone have any experience with the stability and midi latency on the lyra?
Old 7th August 2013
  #26
If you only need two channels and ultimate quality is the main priority, I would go with a two channel interface.
The other issue is connectivity.
I bought Apollo because it was TB compatible, and i was having trouble with my Aurora over Firewire. Apple are going away from Firewire. Not an issue i guess if you are going to use a PC.
But you need to look at all the ways you can connect your interface choice to your computer - dedicated card, USB3, ADAT, TB?
Old 7th August 2013
  #27
Gear Nut
 
missswan's Avatar
 

I have an Orpheus + UAD card set up, 18 months into it. Initially I had some problems with it but it was due to my own ignorance. I won't trade it for anything else on the market, ok maybe a lynx auroa , but certainly not an Apollo! No!!! Especially after getting a taste of their mediocre plug-in. I would rather stick with "old" technology than falling for some gimmicky "package" deal. You better off getting an RME, and just burn the rest of the cash on an AKAI MPX, killer plugs like soundtoys or steven slate, some nice mics and outboards...UAD plugs=not worth it. can't comment on Apollo though, never used it.
Old 7th August 2013
  #28
You have a UAD card, that along with your Orpheus, you wouldn't trade for anything. And yet the UAD plug-ins are 'mediocre'?

I have an Apollo and an Aurora. They sound roughly the same. Apollo has been more stable, as my Aurora didn't like 96khz over Firewire.
Old 7th August 2013
  #29
Gear Head
 

I should be sticking with pc for the foreseeable future, though I guess you never know for sure. Still, I know Orpheus is fully compatible with the thunderbolt adapter from what I've read. It may not be ideal, but I'm not going to avoid the unit on the basis of that alone.

While it is true that I only need two channels now, I will almost certainly want 4 in the future. That's why I was thinking an Orpheus or Apollo made sense -- I could get the unit and have all the i/o and preamps I need. However, there is also a trade off: I am paying for i/o that I won't need. With the Lyra I'm paying for what I will use only, plus I have the flexibility to add on 2 additional channels later on with whatever current gen tech is available. As has been mentioned, the Orpheus converters are quite old, and I'm sure Prism has a second generation in the works. With the Lyra incorporating that or other interesting looking new products would be easy, whereas with the Orpheus I would already have more i/o than I could use, so adding more would be hard to justify.
Old 22nd May 2014
  #30
Here for the gear
 
rubenmarcano's Avatar
Orpheus & Apollo

I own both units, The Orpheus has served me well for some years and i have been very happy with it. I started looking at the Apollo because its functionality and I must confess i was expecting a huge difference in sound due to the price difference.

I talked to my favorite dealer and they accepted to lend me an Apollo for testing and i invested in a split box (ART S8) to make an objective comparison.

After making 7 different takes with different Mics and sources, I made a friend play them in random order and we made 6 listening rounds, so statistically talking if they had same quality it would be 3-3, slightly different 4-2 and a dramatic difference from 5-1 to 6-0. After the test I returned the unit that was lent to me and i ordered a new one immediately.

I will be posting samples as soon as i sell the Orpheus so i will let you be the judge but the truth is THERE IS NO WAY anyone could tell the difference in a consistent way in a blind listening test. If you say you can tell the difference it is because your takes are not leveled one is probably louder and whichever it is the louder one that is the one that sounds better.

Apollo is a great product and offers a functionality you wont find anywhere else, i LOVE the Orpheus, it is a solid unit and it sounds amazing, but you wont find any reasonable argument to justify the price difference other than your ego.
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