Comparing pre-amps: UA Apollo Twin MKII vs...

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mike_ender
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Comparing pre-amps: UA Apollo Twin MKII vs...

Post by mike_ender » Mon Dec 17, 2018 2:20 pm

Hi all Apollo users! I’ve been wondering how exactly those things sound compared to other preamps I currently have available.

Gear context:
For the last 7 years I’ve been using a Roland Octacapture that to my ears sounds a lot better than the Presonus Firepod I had previously. I also have a Golden Age Pre73 Deluxe and a Summit 2ba221 that I run into 2 channels of the Octacapture (as well as a presonus eureka w a burr brown op-amp that also goes in through the Octacapture but which I rarely use). That’s at my practice space. At home I have a Steinberg UR22.

I generally record with mics like the following: AT4033, RE20, ATM-25, SM57s, Oktava MK-012s... things of that nature.

Usage:
At my space I typically record drums and guitars, bass, and vocals; at home I typically am demoing vocals and guitars but mostly recording analog synthesizers. Usually I'm recording noisy rock with lots of overdubs.

So:
What I think I want from preamps is increased clarity and a nice warm harmonic response. I want things like vocals and direct-recorded synths to sound better than they currently do. And I want my overdubs to stack nicely instead of accumulating mushy goo from using the same preamp signature multiple times over. So: if I get an Apollo Twin MKII, how will the preamps compare to those I currently have? Will it blow them out of the water? How do the preamps alone compare with using them with the Console stuff, if I choose to track with the pre emulations even if I don't track with the compressors?

How does the optical in work? Do you literally have extra input channels into your DAW, or does it just funnel them all through the 2 channel interface? I'm surprised at how difficult it is to figure that out from the manual, reviews, and documentation I've reviewed - it says everywhere "an extra 8 channels of digital input" but does that translate into now having 10 inputs into your DAW?

Also, simple side question: What happens in a session running Apollo-acquired plugs if you don't have your Apollo plugged in? Does your computer just try to run the plugins on its own built-in horsepower (and how does that fare usually)? Or does it mute em entirely?

Any other impressions you have of them would be welcome. Thanks!

kslight
moves faders with mind
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Re: Comparing pre-amps: UA Apollo Twin MKII vs...

Post by kslight » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:34 pm

Not an Apollo user but!

I don’t know how much the Apollo preamps on their own will impact your direct recorded synths....my guess is not a whole lot. Maybe if you track with the processing you’ll get closer to what you’re after.

You would need your Apollo plugged in (or another uad device) to use your uad plugins.

Optical in can add 8 ins at 48khz, 4 at 96khz...sometimes there are different implementations of this depending on the devices in question but this is normally how it works with adat.

mike_ender
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Re: Comparing pre-amps: UA Apollo Twin MKII vs...

Post by mike_ender » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:39 pm

Thanks for the preamp perspective. As for expansion...
kslight wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:34 pm
Optical in can add 8 ins at 48khz, 4 at 96khz...sometimes there are different implementations of this depending on the devices in question but this is normally how it works with adat.
I think I didn't ask my question clearly enough. What I mean is: if you add extra ins via optical in, do you then see extra selectable inputs in your DAW (so now instead of "apollo 1, apollo 2, apollo 1/2" maybe it also says optical 1, optical 2, or whatever... basically, you get all the optical ones too) for a total of 10, maximum, selectable inputs in the DAW? Or does the Apollo merely take those 8 additional inputs and functionally mix them down so it still hits the DAW as only 2 channels, and can still only select Apollo 1 or Apollo 2? That's the part I can't understand from the documentation.

Thank you!

kslight
moves faders with mind
Posts: 2533
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:40 pm

Re: Comparing pre-amps: UA Apollo Twin MKII vs...

Post by kslight » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:46 pm

mike_ender wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:39 pm
Thanks for the preamp perspective. As for expansion...
kslight wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:34 pm
Optical in can add 8 ins at 48khz, 4 at 96khz...sometimes there are different implementations of this depending on the devices in question but this is normally how it works with adat.
I think I didn't ask my question clearly enough. What I mean is: if you add extra ins via optical in, do you then see extra selectable inputs in your DAW (so now instead of "apollo 1, apollo 2, apollo 1/2" maybe it also says optical 1, optical 2, or whatever... basically, you get all the optical ones too) for a total of 10, maximum, selectable inputs in the DAW? Or does the Apollo merely take those 8 additional inputs and functionally mix them down so it still hits the DAW as only 2 channels, and can still only select Apollo 1 or Apollo 2? That's the part I can't understand from the documentation.

Thank you!

It should give you all inputs at once, not mix it down to 2.

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