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Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO USB

Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO USB

3.9 3.9 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

A fantastic audio interface at a middle-tier price

16th November 2017

Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO USB by hyperstate

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 3 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO USB

Apollo Twin USB by Universal Audio

Retailing at upwards of £650, this audio interface certainly isn't the cheapest model around. But when we factor in the dual SHARC UAD chips included, it becomes clear that it's actually pretty good value. Considering most decent AIs retail for 150-300, and the price of two solo pci dsp cards would be around £700... AND the free plugins you get, it's great value for money.

Now, onto the interface itself. It's made of sleek, brushed metal; it's often warm to the touch, so try not to worry about that even if it gets hot (although if it becomes too hot to touch, then yes there's a problem). I contacted support to confirm and was told it's a very common question, and unless it's physically too hot to touch it's operating under normal conditions. Perhaps something to be aware of though if your studio gets hot.

At the front, we have line in for guitar; at the back we have an optical in, and two XLR ins that are both dual line / mic.

Again at the front, we find a port for the headphones. Incidentally, the Apollo features a dedicated headphone channel which is very useful if you want to put correction software on only the headphone bus. At the back, there are two stereo line outs, and the necessary USB / power cables go here.

Build Quality
I really can't fault the build quality; it's very sturdy being made of metal, and has a comforting weight which implies luxury. Not that you'd ever want to chuck an expensive bit of kit like this around, but it feels like it would survive a bashing.

The apollo comes with a fairly deep and complex 'Console' app. This lets you perform feats such as recording through the wide array of UAD plugins in realtime, allowing you to emulate expensive recording gear; and route channels through virtual channels for situations where you need more complicated routing.

Sound Quality
Let's be real, this is probably the most important factor when buying a soundcard. As you'd expect from UA, the ins / outs are pristine and the ASIO driver takes a lot of heat off your processor; plus once you start utilising some of the incredible UAD plugins, your mixes will thank you

All in all, I have no regrets about buying this interface. Highly recommended.

19th November 2017

Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO USB by andrew caramia

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.5
Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO USB

A friend of mine has this unit and the apollo thunderbolt rack.
We discovered very quickly that after hooking my API A2D via digital to both units, the UA just cannot compare. It was immediately obvious the API pres are more detailed and articulate with wonderful subtle colour on everything you throw at it. And the A/D converters are FAR superior. Captures transients with ease and oozes transparency. Everything you record has its own space... but without, the UA tracks merge into mud at high track counts. With the API, 'less is more'- but with just the UA you end up adding too much filler, eq and processing to make a track sound good to your ears.
So basically what youre getting is a flashy looking interface, with some lovely terms for its pres and converters, that dont match up to the hype. What you are paying for is the UA plugins... and youre locked into it. Very clever, UA!
Unfortunately the lack of wordclock and digital out restricts it even further. Luckily BLA can mod the converter, preamp and digital out problems that plague the unit, but again not to the level of the API.
Im not suggesting you cant make great records with the UA, but just dont expect it to sound vastly different to something like MAUDIO!
What youre paying big bucks for is the privilege of using their plugins. If the plugins arent a big deal to you and you dont mind seeking out all the similar plugins that are out on the market these days, give it a pass. Buy a budget interface, a used API A2D on ebay to bypass the interface preamps and converters, and call it a day. Youll get far more professional results.

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