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Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2

Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2

4.7 4.7 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

Customer support, work flow and high quality add-ons, will push you towards the product.


10th December 2015

Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2 by mamabuna

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2

Hello everybody ,
I want to post some impressions about the Apollo. I am folk singer/writer, one man band. My sound was my main concern starting with the microphone and ending up with the converters. I have always been a Motu fan. They were not the best in terms of conversion or preamps but definitely they where musically very close to what I want and very very stable with an outstanding customer service.
For last 2 years or so I made some money out of music (yea I know I was surprised too) and I wanted to upgrade my audio interface. I bought the following: Lyra Prism One, Antelope Pure 2 and Apollo 8 Quad blackface.
These are my impressions:

Lyra Prism – outstanding sound in-out, dead quiet but also with a very unintuitive mix software, a real pain to use. To me the sound was top notch, but not to my taste. I can not describe, it was just ..boring. Of course you can color with outboard gear and that is fine. One thing worth mentioning is that as expensive as it was the main volume knob was cheap plastic and the front LEDs were just some lights for indication of music, nothing that you can rely on.

Pure 2 – most beautiful converter/audio interface. I liked the sound of this one the most. They have done something to this unit. You can overload the converters and have a very pleasant recording almost like a tube saturation. Very nice interface software, beautiful design, all around. The bad ? There are little annoying things that makes you think about the price you paid like: change the recording frequency you would have to restart the unit. I had different sessions a different with different recorded freq and so the unit would just freeze. Main volume know had a click sound that I didn’t like, latency issues, especially if you run VI. That was a big one for me. And then from time to time the unit was not shutting down properly, just staying in some limbo mode. Other times the USB port would not recognize the unit. Antelope knowledge base is non existent, and so you have came here to ask questions. The online help chat is not that useful. True in fact is you that you can write to the support team and then in the next 24 to 48 h you can get a response. I was not ready for this. Motu does a better job.

Apollo- beautiful hardware and software, quite heavy and big, good connectivity, nice materials on the main knobs, easy to work with. They say the unit is transparent I would say it is on the warm side. It is not that quiet especially on the headphones output, this is in respect with Pure 2 and Prism, otherwise I would not consider this as an issue. Outstanding integration with the UA plugins. The 610 unison is probably the best emulated plugin. I could not tell the difference between the hardware and the software one. The Neve and Api unison plugins in my opinion are not good impersonations of the real thing. They do sound good but there are not close to their real counterparts. Same goes for the Manley Variable Mu. I had this unit for good amount of time and I believe that the plugin is way off. However the plugin itself adds a very nice warm character to the mix or track. I would recommend this plugin to everyone. It glues everything together without effort. Just like the Manlu Mu you just cant make this plugin to sound bad… maybe this is where the two resemble.
Sound wise Apollo ? love it. Compared to the Pure 2 and Prism is just a different flavor of the same good sound quality.
I kept the Apollo because of the work flow, connectivity and plugin integration. In my opinion at this level the sound is trivial. Any unit in this price range will sound just as good. However I still believe that Pure 2 had the most pleasing flavor sound wise.
At the end of the day I think customer support, work flow and high quality add-ons, will push you towards the product. All other technical aspects are mature enough. As of now with Apollo you get probably the best plug-ins on the market, additional hardware (satellite quad ) and the same good sound as all other big guys on the market. I have seen now that Apogee is offering Waves plugin bundles along with their product line.
This is my personal experience and it should not be seen as “the rule to follow”. For you it might work in a different way. I posted because maybe others are going through the same decision struggle as myself.

take care everybody

  • 4
31st January 2016

Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2 by richie0801

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2

First, let me say that the sound quality of this is so much higher than other interfaces I have experienced. What is interesting is that my last interface was a Focusrite Forte. Although when you look at the specs that contribute to sound clarity, this isn't much of an upgrade at all, the sound quality sounds drastically clearly, lower floor noise, and full. I love it. I can't stress how much of a step up this is.

It is also nice to have so many plugins at my fingertips (or rather my bank account!!). That is a great feature to be able to play with, especially as a musician with little space for recording. I enjoy so many of the plug-ins, especially tape emulators, which really add a richness to the sound that digital doesn't naturally have. Even without the plugins though, this interface does capture a rich, clear sound.

The downside.. In ads, it said that it had less than 2 ms of latency, and I haven't seen that at all. I even called UAD to get it figured out, and the lowest I could get it was 4ms, and that's really not that much faster than my focusrite forte usb. It hasn't been an issue, and won't be. I just want what is advertised.

Would I buy it again? I bought it when I was able to get the quad satellite free, and in that case, I still would. However, the price is a bit steep if it hadn't been for that deal. Still, UAD has great deals on plugins. They give you almost monthly coupons, insane specials during xmas and black friday, and the price of the plugins are a lot cheaper than the gear, so that's a trade off.

If you have the money, I say do it. It's great. I'm recording a CD now with it, and plan to use it exclusively for the CD, so connect with me at my website, or follow me on facebook to see what it sounds like!

31st January 2016

Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2 by nielsd

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2

This device brought my semi-pro studio onto a new level. Advanced with an Audient AS 800 over lightpipe it gives me enough channels for my analog synths, DSI Tempest and Roland TD-30 E-Drum system.

It offers a very clean and dry sound which is important for the different possible mic pre emulations , but may distract typical users which just look for a "musical sounding preamp" which do not load any much pre or channel in it when comparing to other ADs.

The Console application is my substitute for a automated mix desk. It would be nice to get my presonus Motor fader working with it, but UAD seems working on that (Mackie, HUD).

For harder usage for cores are small - i.e. i like the API vision strip onto the inputs and have to disable components to have enough capacities on the DSP/FPGAs. Dinge i have another quad UAD 2 satellite stacked to it and have my Opfer Firewire Quad Satellite for DAW (non realtime) usage this works like a charm.

The Bass AMP simulations are really cool with HiZ.

The most UAD2 plugins are world class and stand for itself.

The knobs are rastered, but feel a bit cheap for my taste.

2nd July 2016

Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2 by PistolP

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
Universal Audio Apollo 8 QUAD - Thunderbolt 2

I recenty upgraded from RME Babyface to UAD Apollo 8 Quad. Here are my impressions so far

DA
The quality of the converters is a big step up from the Babyface. The stereo opened up, everything became more 3d, there is so much more detail, definition and separation. Songs that sounded mixed and ready on the RME did not sound ready with the Apollo at all.


AD
The preamps and the converters are really really good. Clean and open with the option to crank up some distortion or other colors with the optional plugins.

The best about this interface is the synergy that its cparts bring to the table. After demoing the unit I cancelled my plans to get a Prism or Grace Design interface and went for 'all in one' solution. It is so comfortable to record vocals - first the quality, optional preamp colors but also an easy way to send reverb to the singer during the recording and the possibility to crank the headphones while recording.

Super happy apollonaut

 
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