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Apogee Electronics Element 24

Apogee Electronics Element 24

4.85 4.85 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

What surprised me was the lack of user reviews on Apogee's element series. What motivated my purchase was the search for a mobile option to replace my Duet 2. What I discovered was a lack of higher quality options. If you're looking for a thunderbolt interface, this is the way to go.


22nd January 2017

Apogee Electronics Element 24 by Obagam

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Apogee Electronics Element 24

I read a lot of opinions here about the Element and not a whole lot of real facts. The first thing I kept reading in this forum was that they use the same converters found in Duet 2/Quartet. This is WRONG. They are the same components found in the new new Ensemble Thunderbolt and it has the same headphone output technology found in the Apogee Symphony Mk2 and Apogee Groove. So you get all this amazing technology at a lower price point because everything is controlled by software via computer or mobile app.

I like having a mobile option when I step out of the studio and to me the Duet 2 was perfect. It is showing its age and the Element was the next best option. I love being able to have super low latency using Thunderbolt. I can run plenty of channels and tons of plugins with no CPU lag or the usual crackles and pops on 32 buffer. My current go to plugins are by Acustica, Equilibrium EQ, Fabfilter, Waves and Slate Digital.

I have a pair of 600ohm Beyerdynamics DT880 modded with Mogami cable. The headphone output auto switches to 600 ohm and they sound absolutely breathtaking. If you have an interest in the Apogee Groove, it's an excellent choice. The Element, Groove and Symphony MK2 use the same headphone output technology.

The monitor output is the same as found in the new Ensemble Thundebolt and it sounds amazing. I appreciate the fact that you can stack units and build your studio out accordingly with the Elements.

The Element 24 is perfect for mobile use. It fits in my backpack and its foot print is smaller than my macbook pro 15".

My only gripes are the fact that it's not buss powered. Having to plug it in is very inconvenient. Thunderbolt 3 should carry more power so will this soon be a focus for Apogee? I was tempted to get the Zoom Tac 2R because of this. The mixer can also be confusing to work with in the beginning but after spending some time you get used to the workflow. I like how you can work with the hardware directly from Logic Pro X. The wireless control option through mobile app is a great feature! I wish it had DB25 for quick use with API lunchboxes but it's still usable. I'm also amazed the outputs are not DC coupled like the competing UAD Apollos.

Overall, I love the sound quality, the simplicity and the speed of thunderbolt. I'd like to hear a comparison with the new UAD Apollo but based on specs it looks like the elements have better AD/DA specs and headphone output. There's no in depth AD/DA specs from UAD which is pretty shady I think. You can only find them here: http://media.uaudio.com/support/down...are_Manual.pdf. Compared to the Element, they don't even come close. I highly recommend the Element series for seasoned studio veterans and anyone just starting to build out a studio.

  • 9
26th February 2017

Apogee Electronics Element 24 by Woodwindy

  • 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
Apogee Electronics Element 24

I own the Symphony (mk1) in my recording studio, and I really wanted to step up my game in my woodwind teaching studio. Because the quality of the Symphony is so high, I really felt that sticking with Apogee, especially at this price point, was a no brainer. I also decided to include the optional remote with my order. Both items were a good decision.
I will review a few key points here, but suffice it to say that I feel that Apogee made wise decisions on the quality and features for the price point they were targeting.

Converters:
Nice. I have not AB'd them with my Symphony or Mytek 192, but they are a HUGE improvement over my little Mackie Blackjack, as well they should be at this price and recent design. Much better sound quality in every respect.

Inputs/Outputs:
Exactly what you need in a 2 channel interface.

Headphone out:
More than adequate for most situations, however, in my teaching studio, I use phones a lot, and I have learned that a lot goes into powering headphones, so I ordered the Neve headphone amp and Sennheiser HD650's, and ran the 1/4" headphone out of the Element into the 1/8" input on the Neve. Immediately, the low end and transient response of the headphones came alive, in comparison to driving the phones directly from the Element. Not a knock on the Apogee, but just what happens when the headphone amp costs nearly as much as the interface.

Mic Pre's:
Huge improvement over the Mackie. And I'm confident that the quality of the mic pre's and just about everything on the unit is greatly increased by not making this thing bus powered. But, again, I'm pretty spoiled from the recording studio, so I got 2 Manley Core's and bypassed the pre's in the Element. Great addition, great improvement. But are the factory pre's in the Element of good quality, and can you make great sounding records with them? Absolutely.

Software:
Excellent. Killer. Love that you can change the input pad on the Element right there in the software, so if you're using separate pre's, just a mouse click on the +4 db and the XLR input is ready for action.

Remote Control:
This thing rocks. And at $199, it's a bargain. The Element software makes customizing the buttons a snap!
CAUTION: I couldn't find the included cable to connect the remote. After searching for about 20 minutes, I finally realized that there is a false bottom inside the box. There it was!

Build quality (of the Element and the remote):
Absolutely superb.

Apogee customer support:
Wow--I'm such a fan of the "Chat" button on the front page of their website. Links you straight to Tech Support, and response is very quick. Absolutely brilliant!!! Just that button is reason enough to buy Apogee.

I'd like to say again that adding a Neve Headphone amp and Manley Channel Strips are in no way a knock on the quality of the Element 24. Apogee has delivered more than you have a right to expect in a $595 2 channel interface. In order to create a significantly better box, they would need to at least quadripal the asking price. The Element 24 is at the heart of my teaching studio, and it performs admirably. Highly recommended!

  • 2
2 weeks ago

Apogee Electronics Element 24 by BeechRecordings

  • 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
Apogee Electronics Element 24

I was torn between buying an Element 24 and a UAD Apollo Twin MkII Duo. First, I contacted each company asking them why I should by theirs as opposed to the other. Apogee responded through their Chat Support within 10 seconds, and gave me detailed info on their Hardware Specs. UAD took 3 days to get back to me (email), and they were only trying to sell me on their plugins. When I asked for Specs, the UAD Pre-Sales/Tech Supporter got defensive while offering me NO details about their preamps, DAC's, or Headphone Pre's; again telling me that their plugins are the "best in the world", and again tried to sell me on their plugins... Apogee 1, UAD 0 (so far).
So, I went to my local Music Superstore, and they had an Apollo 8 hooked-up. I asked for an electric guitar, and started testing the Apollo 8, which is a far more powerful version than their Twins. I loaded-up the "Engl" Guitar Amp plugin, and great! I was rockin! So I tried to add some Reverb...and coudn't because the Apollo's DSP was Maxed-Out after the 1 Guitar Plugin!!! Hmmpphhh! (UAD Minus-1!) Not impressed! (Again, I was using a unit with MORE DSP than the Twin!). As for sound quality, nothing stood out. It was flat, even with the plugin.
So I went with the Apogee Element 24. Blindly (I can return it if I want). I got home, installed everything within 10 minutes, and WOW! The sound is incredible. The detail and sound quality is like nothing I've ever heard. First, I did the Headphone test, and I was hearing things I never had before: Shimmering reverb tails, panning that was fluid, percussive sounds have a great crunchy yet clear sound. Then next I hooked it up to my cheap, KRK Rokit5's. The DAC's provided such an amazing sound to such crappy speakers with their technology to deliver Output scaled to the Speakers response. Bass is solid and tight, Highs that are crisp and detailed. Playing some virtual instruments like Massive or Battery, Presets were jumping out with new life and energy, and detail. Listening to songs in iTunes was like hearing ReMastered versions - again I was hearing detail I had never heard before.
The Element Control Software is daunting at first, but with another quick Chat with Apogee tech support, I had Logic running into the Element hardware, which I could mix separately in the Element Software, and Track in real time WITH FX like reverb and Guitar Rig running on AUX Buses, again processed through the Element hardware. I could then Print my recording using the FX Send Outputs back into Logic, all the while the Element's DSP handled everything in pretty much zero latency. So even recording into Logic X, with "Direct Monitoring" enabled in Logic's Channel Strips, all sounds - live Guitar or Virtual Instruments, were fed into the Element's Hardware DSP for Gain-Stage matching, and I was amazed at the improved sound quality.
When they come out with their DualPath FX Plugins later this month, things will only get better (I can't see how they can improve on their sound, but tapping into the Element's DSP functionality is going to throw UAD's "Unison" Tech a good curveball).
I also saved $500 over the Apollo, which I plan on using to put towards better Monitors.
IMO, UAD is a plugin company that makes Audio Interfaces. Apogee is an Interface company that is coming out with plugins. I'd rather have my Horse before the Cart....
Summary: to utilize more than 1 or 2 of UAD's "best in the world" plugins on their Interfaces you'll need to upgrade it's DSP, probably a few times, making the price a couple thousand dollars. If money isn't an issue, well, have fun! With the Element, I was tracking in real time with many plugins (not UAD, but FabFilter, Waves, and N.I.), and it's only going to get better as Apogee's Engineers perfect their own version of "Unison Technology", but with far better Hardware specs that won't leave you needing to spend hundreds on UAD Plugins to achieve a desired sound - with the Element, their Hardware sounds great on its own without any plugins to depend on.

 
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