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Apogee Jam
4.75 4.75 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

A great sounding, portable guitar (and bass) audio interface for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.


31st December 2011

Apogee Electronics Jam by JoeSciacca

  • 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 Jam

When it comes to tracking ideas you just want something portable, easy to use, and of course good sounding. Since you never know when creativity strikes all of these requirements are mandatory. With today's technology these shouldn't be too difficult to realize, but many times with the consequence that the product becomes way too expensive.

With the Apogee Jam all of these requirements come to place. A tiny little box (portable), with great A/D converters (good sounding), with a minimal user interface (easy-to-use), at a reasonable price (not expensive).

I casually found the Apogee in the nearby Apple Store and since I've already had read and heard a lot of other praised Apogee Products (One, Duet, Ensemble, etc.), and the price (119 Swiss Francs, 99$) wasn't to outrageous I thought it could serve as a replacement for my good old Line6 GuitarPort, that unfortunately can't be connected to neither iPhone or iPad to do guitar idea tracking while on the road or at home.


Scenario 1: Guitar, Apogee Jam, iPhone 4, Garage Band

Since i've discovered Garage Band on my iPhone it has become my creative playground for collecting new ideas with the smart instruments. To be able to track guitar ideas alongside nicely completes the mobile studio and since the iPhone mic sounds useful there is just no more excuse to get rid of your Fostex four track cassette recorders.

You plug, you play. Just create a new Amp simulation track in Garage Band push record, and there you go. Set the level of your guitar with the turning wheel on the side of the Apogee Jam so that the control led don't start blushing (red) at you and you're fine. As for the latency the experienced among us will sense that slight lack of responsiveness, but that's not that much of an issue and completely gone if you plug into an iPad2 or iPhone 4S. - And yes, it work's with your bass guitar as well!

Conclusion: Go collect ideas for your next smash hit wherever you may are.


Scenario 2: Guitar, Apogee Jam, iMac 21", ProTools

Since Scenario 1 sounded too good to be true I took the ride to break some boundaries and connected the Jam to my iMac and instead of using Garage Band I fired ProTools 10 to do some Guitar Tracking with Eleven Free. Just to see if it would work.

Well this will require you to be more skilled in configure your DAW. Since the Jam has no monitoring output, you can't set it as the main playback engine like you would with Apogee One. Instead you use the ProTools Aggregate I/O and activate it there. Check the enclosed image to see what I mean. Despite this little setup detour the tracking in ProTools runs smoothly and rock solid with no clicks, buzzes, and other undesired artifacts.

Conclusion: The Jam sounded so great through the Eleven Free Plugin that I thought it would be nice if I'd let the music do the talking. Check the ApogeeJamMix in the Attachments.



Apogee Jam Mix Credits
- EZ Drummer (Standard) Plugin
- Cheap Bass Guitar (99$), through the Apogee
- Duesenberg Starplayer, Seymour Duncan Jazz-2, through Apogee
- Eleven Free Plugin, Vintage Crunch
- Guitars, Bass, Drums, Record, Mix by me (Joe Sciacca)


Enjoy,
Joe

Attached Thumbnails
Apogee Jam-protoolssetup.jpg  
Attached Files

ApogeeJamMix.wav (9.06 MB, 2116 views)

31st March 2012

Apogee Electronics Jam by spiral

  • 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 Jam

If you have an iPhone or iPad the Jam opens a whole world of recording and virtual amps. The Jam fits in your pocket and it literally is just plug and play. There is a multi-colored LED that shows you clipping and activity and there is a built-in preamp and volume adjustment which allows you to get the best gain staging for your guitar. The sound of the unit is pristine and what you would expect from Apogee. In GarageBand you just need to plug the Jam in and after a few seconds, it lights up and is recognized in the app. It is so magical to just plug something in and it works. There isn’t much to say about the functionality since it just works and stays out of your way to play music. I really enjoy using the Jam in GarageBand for practice. The unit is small and light enough that along with the iPad, it fits on my music stand. It allows me to have a little (battery powered) recording studio or a visual touch looper right next to my music.

This is an extremely useful tool for practice in Garageband or would be completely competent on stage with one of the many amp simulation / stompboxes now available. An extra bonus is that the Jam works on a Mac via USB. This is a marvel of technology and considering how inexpensive it is, every guitarist with an iOS device, or anyone who wants a minimal guitar Mac input, should own one.

 

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