Apollo Twin USB worth buying in 2020?

jlpete87

Member
Messages
6
I'm planning on replacing my Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen in the next few months. Is the Apollo Twin USB still worth buying for Windows users in 2020? I don't anticipate replacing my Dell XPS 15 9550 anytime soon and even if I did, it seems TB3 compatibility on Windows 10 has been problematic for the new X series interfaces (from the research I've done).
 

SideBMusic

Member
Messages
1,523
I don't know if this will be helpful in any way. I own a Mac and my Apollo Twin connects via Thunderbolt. I have had this interface for several years now and like it a lot. I have owned MAudio, Presonus, and MOTU UltraLite, and the Apollo is the best of them all. The converters are very good. I also like using some of UA's plugins.
 

Vcaster

Member
Messages
1,433
I'm planning on replacing my Scarlett 2i2 2nd gen in the next few months. Is the Apollo Twin USB still worth buying for Windows users in 2020? I don't anticipate replacing my Dell XPS 15 9550 anytime soon and even if I did, it seems TB3 compatibility on Windows 10 has been problematic for the new X series interfaces (from the research I've done).
I looked into this a couple of years ago. My conclusion then was "No." YMMV.

You may find more information here:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/
https://uadforum.com/forum.php

As for my experience. At the time, I had a newer Windows 10 box for general home computing and working remotely. Was considering using the PC with the digital audio workstation Reaper and connecting to a to-be-determined interface via USB, likely Focusrite.

Ended up with a dedicated iMac running Logic Pro X, and the Universal Audio Apollo Twin II QUAD Thunderbolt. Plus, now, other UA hardware and plugins. Very satisfied.

Hope this helps!
 
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makerdp

Member
Messages
529
I recently went through this. Here is the conclusion I came to:

Strictly speaking as an interface, it's a great interface. Great preamps, great converters, expandable with ADAT. What it really boils down to whether or not you want to buy into the UAD ecosystem. If you are already set-up with plugins that you are happy with and don't really plan on getting more then it's probably not worth the extra expense.

I decided to save a little bit of money and went with the Audient iD44. It is a little more expandable and has more I/O built-in. Also has some control-room functionality built-in. LOVING the preamps and DI too. More expansion than UAD Twin via ADAT available too.

Something to consider... before making my decision I purchased a used PCIe UAD-2 Solo card off reverb for only $105 + $7 shipping. I then demoed the crap out of the plugins I would be interested in (you have 14 days to demo plugins.) It does come with some free "legacy" versions of LA2A, 1176, Pultec, some other useful stuff. I figured it was a relatively inexpensive way to "test the waters" of the UAD ecosystem in a way I could recover my investment or continue to use if I decided to dive in deeper. I fell in love with the EMT140 Plate Reverb and just scored that on sale for only $99, so I am keeping it.

So, what I ended up with was an interface that suits my needs/wants a little better than the UAD Twin USB and some UAD functionality for only $112 extra.... both together about the same as or a little less even than the UAD interface. Yeah, only one SHARC vs the two on the Twin but for another $200 I can add two more on a used PCIe Duo card and have three.
 

the29band

Member
Messages
806
I recently went through this. Here is the conclusion I came to:

Strictly speaking as an interface, it's a great interface. Great preamps, great converters, expandable with ADAT. What it really boils down to whether or not you want to buy into the UAD ecosystem. If you are already set-up with plugins that you are happy with and don't really plan on getting more then it's probably not worth the extra expense.

I decided to save a little bit of money and went with the Audient iD44. It is a little more expandable and has more I/O built-in. Also has some control-room functionality built-in. LOVING the preamps and DI too. More expansion than UAD Twin via ADAT available too.

Something to consider... before making my decision I purchased a used PCIe UAD-2 Solo card off reverb for only $105 + $7 shipping. I then demoed the crap out of the plugins I would be interested in (you have 14 days to demo plugins.) It does come with some free "legacy" versions of LA2A, 1176, Pultec, some other useful stuff. I figured it was a relatively inexpensive way to "test the waters" of the UAD ecosystem in a way I could recover my investment or continue to use if I decided to dive in deeper. I fell in love with the EMT140 Plate Reverb and just scored that on sale for only $99, so I am keeping it.

So, what I ended up with was an interface that suits my needs/wants a little better than the UAD Twin USB and some UAD functionality for only $112 extra.... both together about the same as or a little less even than the UAD interface. Yeah, only one SHARC vs the two on the Twin but for another $200 I can add two more on a used PCIe Duo card and have three.
Good points. I think one thing you missed testing with the PCIe card vs getting an Apollo is recording with unison preamp. I am going down a similar path. I just picked up a used Apollo Twin Duo for a pretty good price and plan to do the same as you except compare preamps in recording via unison vs during mixing. I have only had it for 2 days and haven't tested it fully yet but so far am digging the recording via unison and the 610-B and Neve preamp modeling. Plan is to demo the other UAD plugins during mixing next. Having said that, I think Audient preamps are really nice.

Also, the no latency recording via Console is another added benefit.
 

makerdp

Member
Messages
529
Good points. I think one thing you missed testing with the PCIe card vs getting an Apollo is recording with unison preamp. I am going down a similar path. I just picked up a used Apollo Twin Duo for a pretty good price and plan to do the same as you except compare preamps in recording via unison vs during mixing. I have only had it for 2 days and haven't tested it fully yet but so far am digging the recording via unison and the 610-B and Neve preamp modeling. Plan is to demo the other UAD plugins during mixing next. Having said that, I think Audient preamps are really nice. Really at this class level of interface (RME, UAD, Audient) you are going to get great preamps either way. Unison is a cool feature, no doubt, but IMO that should not be the determining factor in an interface purchase decision... might tip the scales, but not the main thing.

Also, the no latency recording via Console is another added benefit.
Well, I queried about Unison vs. non on the UAD forums during my testing. People are pretty much split down the middle. There are a LOT of UAD users who don't print with the Unison preamps so they can change it up in the mix if they need/want to. I figure with the super-high-quality Audient pres as a foundation adding any preamp sim (I use Console 1) is simple enough and extremely flexible. Besides, I have really nice outboard pres for the "N-Sound" when I want to print that upon tracking.

I really don't see "no latency recording" as an issue. I've never run into a situation where latency was keeping me from recording what I need to record or from doing it well. But yeah, even with my PCIe card and no UAD Console app I can easily track vocals with the EMT140 plate as an insert or FX send - that's not happening with Abbey Road Plates! But then again, I don't record live drums or hardware synths either, so YMMV in that regard.

Have fun in your testing. It's always cool exploring new toys! errrr.... I mean TOOLS...
 
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Vcaster

Member
Messages
1,433
What it really boils down to whether or not you want to buy into the UAD ecosystem.
This ^ is a key takeaway!

I was already was using an iPad when I got a Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box as soon as they hit the market. So, going down the UA road was a good direction for me. YMMV.

Audient makes good kit.
 

philiprst

Member
Messages
737
I have an Apollo twin. There are cheaper options if you just want an interface and similar performance. The question is really how important hosting plug-ins is to you, especially since offloading plugins to the apollo is nice although doesn't add much processing advantage over a reasonably powerful computer running a DAW. The "killer" feature for me is the zero latency when tracking using hosted plugins, especially the guitar amp models. That's because I am very sensitive to latency when tracking but YMMV. Many people can cope perfectly well with a small amount of latency while tracking.
 

sacakl

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,274
I’m currently considering the same, although I run an older MacBook (2013). I’m currently using an Apogee Duet 2 USB.

I’m intrigued by the UA Apollo since it connects via thunderbolt and more importantly would take pressure off my laptop’s CPU. I’ve also heard great things about their plugins, but as mentioned above, seems I’d be limited to UA’s form factor while I enjoy using the plugins I already have.

Side note (and not relevant since you’re running Windows) — Hence I’ve been looking at Apogee’s Element series to utilize the thunderbolt and using other items directly into the MacBook’s remaining 2 USB ports, rather than having a powered USB splitter. It’s been a pain due to loss of signal from my midi-keyboard, disconnections to external drive, disconnections to the Duet. Maybe I simply got a cheap USB hub and need to replace.
 

the29band

Member
Messages
806
seems I’d be limited to UA’s form factor while I enjoy using the plugins I already have.
To clarify, you won't be just limited to UAD plugins. Not sure if you meant that. You can continue to use your other plugins. If you disconnect your UAD interface and connect another interface, you won't be able to access the UAD plugins.
 

Rogan1990

Member
Messages
1,422
I'm also looking into going down this path.

I recently have been recording guitar into my MPC to add bass and drums, and I've been using an old digidesign mBox 2, and it kinda sounds like **** compared to my real tone

So the UAD Ox and Apollo would make this setup exactly what I want it to be, but I'd have to invest about $2000 first
 

Lord N

Member
Messages
2,577
Anecdotal evidence: I run UAD Apollo Thunderbolt on Windows 7 and Linux successfully (The Linux part might not be relevant to most, i know).
Caveat: There are a lot of reports of problems with TB on Windows still though. So i couldn't say if these people either have the wrong hardware/software or i just got lucky.
When this Coronavirus sh*t is over i'll sadly have to upgrade to Windows 10 and really hope it will still work and i won't have to change since i like the Apollo interface very much.

If you are just starting out i wouldn't worry too much about UAD or other big name plugins, tbh.
 

Vcaster

Member
Messages
1,433
I'm also looking into going down this path.

I recently have been recording guitar into my MPC to add bass and drums, and I've been using an old digidesign mBox 2, and it kinda sounds like **** compared to my real tone

So the UAD Ox and Apollo would make this setup exactly what I want it to be, but I'd have to invest about $2000 first
@Rogan1990, I’ll refer you to a couple of my archived posts. And if you run a search here on TGP (or a search of Google referencing The Gear Page), you can read others’ opinions.
Mac or PC For Home Recording?

Apollo Twin USB worth buying in 2020?


When this Coronavirus sh*t is over i'll sadly have to upgrade to Windows 10 and really hope it will still work and i won't have to change since i like the Apollo interface very much.
@Lord N, best wishes for a smooth transition. The good news is Windows 10 was a terrific upgrade for me from Windows XP. Will be a massive change from Windows 7. Cheers!
 

Rogan1990

Member
Messages
1,422

makerdp

Member
Messages
529
I'm also looking into going down this path.

I recently have been recording guitar into my MPC to add bass and drums, and I've been using an old digidesign mBox 2, and it kinda sounds like **** compared to my real tone

So the UAD Ox and Apollo would make this setup exactly what I want it to be, but I'd have to invest about $2000 first
Yeah that's a hefty chunk of change right there. If you don't mind laying out that much cash (or worse... credit) you will have a very nice setup indeed, but you can get absolutely great results for far less money. Start with a Suhr Reactive Load instead of the Ox and then add whatever interface tickles your fancy. Apollo would be a great choice as would anything else in its category. Audient, RME, MOTU, UAD, others... all have offerings that will suit you very well and be a significant upgrade.
 

drunk

Member
Messages
33
Not too much to add, but every data point helps right? I was lusting after the apollo twin, but I got an Audient id14 last year for $220. Love it, and the pre's were a huge upgrade from the MOTU that I previously had. Spent the money that I saved on some fabfilter plugins.
 

sonic1974

Member
Messages
702
I'm also looking into going down this path.

I recently have been recording guitar into my MPC to add bass and drums, and I've been using an old digidesign mBox 2, and it kinda sounds like **** compared to my real tone

So the UAD Ox and Apollo would make this setup exactly what I want it to be, but I'd have to invest about $2000 first
Instead of the UAD ox, you might try out some amp sims. I've had really good luck with a tube preamp running into my interface using S-gear as a simulator.

It's around $75, and you can download a trial version. It's worth a shot.
 

jlpete87

Member
Messages
6
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone. I conveniently noticed a 20% off coupon in my inbox from Musicians Friend this morning, so I put it towards an Apollo Twin USB. Looking forward to getting it next week!
 




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