Thunderbolt means serious I/O for UA's DSP-based processing on the Apollo card - even on a lowly Mac mini. Image courtesy Universal Audio.

The Thunderbolt Age Dawns: UA Ships Thunderbolt on Apollo; More to Come – Where it Makes Sense

Universal Audio is first out of the gate with an audio interface add-on that uses Intel’s Thunderbolt bus, the high-performance, low-latency connectivity option on current iMacs, MacBook Pros and Airs, and Mac minis (though, conspicuously, not the ever-more-outdated Mac Pro). The solution isn’t the most elegant – you need to add in an option card with an included tool – but once installed, Thunderbolt appears right in the box (see image below). And what can you do with all that extra bandwidth? On the Apollo, you get better performance even as you push the envelope with sample rates, and more …

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USB 3.0: Backwards Compatible in Theory, But Some Audio Drivers Aren’t Cooperating

One of the handful of USB 3.0 devices currently available: the new “SuperSpeed” port on a Verbatim hard drive. Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND) auxo.co.kr. “SuperSpeed USB” or USB 3.0 offers major forward advancement for hardware ins and outs, with faster throughput (yielding up to ten-fold speed gains over USB2), improved overall performance, and lower power consumption. That should be good news for music and motion users, who make heavy use of bandwidth for audio, storage, video, and other media applications. Real-world usage, though, has been scarce. The specification is nearly four years old, but extensive experimentation using USB 3.0 in the field …

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Music from Nature Crafts Organic Rhythms, And More Sounds Made Music by Diego Stocco

We’ve passed from Record Store Day to Earth Day – and here’s the perfect segue. Having ventured into the woods to find a music release, now we can hear trees transformed, by way of sampling, into catchy rhythms. Our friend Diego Stocco, that evergreen source of creative timbres, now makes everything from trees to beans into sounds that are subtle and complex, full of personality and uniquely tied to their origin materials. There’s no real violence done to nature, either; you can make all of these noises with little more force than a small thundershower. Remarkably, the video – shot …

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Symphony I/O: Next-Gen Apogee High-end I/O, Works with Any Mac DAW Via USB

Looking for all the world like a high-end audiophile stereo radio receiver as much as pro audio equipment, the shiny, new Symphony I/O has arrived from Apogee. It’s a top-of-the-range audio interface designed for low latency, high-quality digital-to-analog conversion, and quality clocking, as well as flexible input and output, coming from a company known in the category. With Pro Tools HD support, it’s also a rival to Avid’s own audio interfaces, while also working with all major Mac DAWs – even Ableton Live. You’re talking an investment of a few grand here, depending on configuration, so this isn’t likely to …

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Apogee GiO: Foot Control, Audio for GarageBand, Logic, MainStage

The market is clear: guitarists (and other instrumentalists) want to plug in a piece of hardware, fire up their Mac, and start playing with GarageBand right away. The announcement of Apple’s new Logic Studio 9 last week coincided with the release of new hardware from Apogee, the audio vendor that has gone Mac-only and Apple-centric. Today during a meeting with Apple, I got my first in-person look at the GiO (pronounced “Geo,” like the compact car, not G.I.O. as would rhyme with G.I. Joe). A number of impressions that I didn’t get from the press announcement:

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Apogee ONE: USB Interface with Internal Mic, Guitar, Mic In, $249

What do most musicians really need out of an audio interface? The answer to that question can vary wildly, but for a whole lot of people, it’s as simple as wanting to get an instrument and/or vocals in, and a basic, high-quality stereo mix out. That’s it. That’s part of why Apogee’s new compact ONE audio interface could be a huge hit on the Mac. Let’s reduce its specs to the basics: It lets you plug in a mic, with a preamp and phantom power It lets you plug in an instrument (high impedance — so think your guitar or …

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Apogee Dumps Windows, Tells Users Macs are Better

Maybe it was aesthetically incompatible with ugly PCs. Apogee Electronics has just announced they’ve dropped support development for Windows. Now, that’s their prerogative – not least because customers who prefer using Windows can simply choose to buy their competitors’ products. But in a press release entitled “Apogee Discontinues Windows Support,” “Apogee Discontinues Windows Development,” Apogee decides to tell you why, if you’re using Windows, you’re using an inferior platform. Correction: Apogee just sent an updated press release. ATTENTION ALL RECIPIENTS: Correction to Apogee’s most recent press release titled “Apogee Discontinues Windows Support”. IMMEDIATE: Please revise headline to read “Apogee Discontinues …

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Apogee Confirms Compatibility with MacBook Pro FW800

As I’ve noted, unlike the new MacBook, the MacBook Pro revision retains FireWire, in the form of a FireWire 800 port. This does represent a switch to an NVIDIA chipset, so there may be new performance wrinkles with some interfaces. But it’s not the FW800 port per se you have to worry about. It gives you one less physical connector (previous MBPs had both a FW800 and FW400 port), but even the earlier models had just one bus for FireWire, shared between those two ports. There is a little bit of inconvenience there in that you need an adapter cable …

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NAMM: Apple + Apogee Use ExpressCard to Take Pro Studio Audio Mobile

There’s a certain company — don’t want to name names, but it makes very popular products and rhymes with “Migidesign” — that sells decent audio converters and DSP systems at very expensive prices. They lock you into a single software solution, and when you want to go mobile, you have to give up all the pro-level audio equipment or lug studio-size gear with you. Native alternatives have always let you choose your audio system, and that’s a good thing. This year, Apple worked with Apogee to allow users of Logic and other native platforms to use what most people feel …

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Mac Pro Watch: Apogee Syphony Drivers with 2ms Latency; 64-Channel Surround Installation

We don’t have to wait for press releases around here; an enthusiastic Apogee employee (not from the sales and marketing end, he says) writes in to brag about Apogee’s support for the new Apple Mac Pro. Not only are drivers available today for using the Apogee Symphony PCI-Express audio card, but Apogee says the combination of Apple and Apogee hardware acheives an unheard-of 2ms latency. From Apogee’s official statement: Apogee’s new Universal PCI-Express driver, in combination with the powerful Intel processors in the Mac Pro, lowers the latency of the Symphony PCI-Express card by over 50% into the 2ms range. …

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