Alternative to UAD Apollo

Meister67

New member
Hello Everyone,

I am helping a "tech challenged" friend with upgrading his interface from a Scarlett to something better. It has been a while since I've looked deep into current interfaces, but after some research I thought a UAD Apollo twin or duo would suit his needs, and I think the ability to have plugins run on the hardware while tracking would limit latency issues. He gets a bit frustrated with the tech side of recording (latency, compatibility issues, etc.), so I am trying to limit any difficulties.

He went to order an Apollo today and the sales rep at Sweetwater told him that Apollos don't play well with AMD Ryzen chips. He has Ryzen 7 chip. I did some research and found that UAD is stating that customers are complaining of issues.

From a Dec of 2020 support post at UAD. AMD Ryzen CPUs and UAD-2 PCIe Compatibility – Universal Audio Support Home

My friend has USB 3.1 on his motherboard and would be good to go accept for this known problem. I live too far away to work through any issues, so I'm looking for any ideas on a similar interface that is similar quality. I am aware of RME of course, but I haven't looked at anything new in about 3 years since I made my last purchase. Do any other manufacturers have an at least two mic input interface that has onboard effects like the UAD? If not, other than RME, what brands are know currently to make good quality interfaces under $1,000?

Thank for any recommendations you might have.
 

Chili

Site Moderator
The Apollo interface and the UAD-2 PCIe are different things. The Apollo is an audio interface and the UAD-2 PCIe card is a processing card. Does the AMD issue affect the Apollo Twin USB? It is not mentioned in the link you posted, only the PCIe cards. If your friend were to get the Apollo Twin USB interface, he would probably be okay.

Having said that, the UAD system of hardware and plugs is quite an investment. Once you lay down serious money for an interface or processing card, you're kinda locked in. Does your friend understand that? When you get an interface, you'll get a basic bundle of plug-ins for free, but you have to buy the rest of them.
 

Meister67

New member
Hi Chili,

The link I posted is something I found. I was wondering about the use of PCIE, but I couldn't find any PCIE cards on UAD's site, so I wasn't sure I had the right information.

The rep at Sweetwater did say they were getting complaints and returns from customers with Ryzen CPUs for the Apollo USB my friend was intending to buy. If it were me, I would likely get it to try, but I have experience with managing computer issues which my friend does not. I'm not going to have him struggling over a sound card when there are many options available.

The interface he was looking at came bundled with some basics, compressor, reverb, delay, etc, which is enough for him to have some real time effects while tracking vocals without having to eat up CPU while tracking. Also, I believe you can offload some of your CPU demands to the Apollo while mixing which isn't bad.

At this point, he is to unsure to buy an Apollo, so I'm just wondering what interfaces are out there that are price and quality comparative.
 

Farview

www.farviewrecording.com
The only plugins that you can offload to the Apollo are uad plugins. So in order to get the benefit, you need to use their plugins, which can be expensive and do not transfer to a computer that isn't using that interface. It is a proprietary setup.

I have the pcie cards and a bunch of the plugins, but I had a commercial studio and could spend that kind of money. It's a large investment in a proprietary system, but it is good quality.
 

Chili

Site Moderator
It's funny this thread came up because it's been in the back of my mind to upgrade my PC and I was looking at Ryzen processors and motherboards. Glad I didn't move forward with it.

If your friend purchases from Sweetwater, he shouldn't have any problems returning it. Sweetwater has the best customer service.
 

Meister67

New member
Thanks for the response Farview.

I've never operated a commercial studio, but I did begin self recording in 2003 with an M-Audio Omni Box and Delta 66, then moved to a Presonus FP10 to have more inputs. After having that for a few years I learned that spending the money on higher quality when it comes to recording is worth it. The latency and other issues with a "budge" interface just aren't worth it. I was so frustrated with it that when I lost my home and studio to a fire, I replaced what I needed with moderate to high quality gear to limit frustrations with failing gear. I needed many more inputs than my buddy, so my solution wouldn't be his.

I have discovered after making my original post that there is something of a void in price points. There are the bottom of the range with the Scarlett, Motu and similar up to about $300 with the Audient ID14. This is for 2 to 4 built in inputs. Then the price jumps to $800 to $1000 for RME Babyface or UAD. Before I make any recommendations, I was hoping to get some references on other options in that mid price point category.

Is Audient gauged to be reasonably quality?

The only plugins that you can offload to the Apollo are uad plugins. So in order to get the benefit, you need to use their plugins, which can be expensive and do not transfer to a computer that isn't using that interface. It is a proprietary setup.

I have the pcie cards and a bunch of the plugins, but I had a commercial studio and could spend that kind of money. It's a large investment in a proprietary system, but it is good quality.
 

Meister67

New member
My buddy's pretty jumpy about having computer connection issues. So much so that I don't think he would ever be confident that he wouldn't get screwed due to hardware at some point. He is a hell of an artist, but when it comes to tech, he might as well be a caveman trying to fly the space shuttle.
 

geotungz

Member
I have an apollo solo USB and run on a ryzen 5, I haven't experienced any problems whatsoever with it. Mind you, I only record vocals. So I run the Avalon preamp, a precision desser, pultec eq, and two compressors going in the box to get things under control, it is quite effective for my recording purposes. I operate with windows 10 and don't have any issues.
 

pipelineaudio

Well-known member
Thanks for the response Farview.



I have discovered after making my original post that there is something of a void in price points. There are the bottom of the range with the Scarlett, Motu and similar up to about $300 with the Audient ID14. This is for 2 to 4 built in inputs. Then the price jumps to $800 to $1000 for RME Babyface or UAD. Before I make any recommendations, I was hoping to get some references on other options in that mid price point category.

Is Audient gauged to be reasonably quality?
You need to define what you mean by "better".

To me, drivers are the primary determination of quality for an interface, as someone who actually tests apples to apples with real measurments, all of the major driver families, most of the USB devices out there, including Audient and SSL use the same TheSycon drivers that Behringer does. These have gotten better over the years, but I would put them below Focusrite in terms of reliability and especially responsiveness when there is an issue. Companies like UAD go to the very bottom of the list when it comes to responsiveness with driver issues.

At the top, you have RME and sometimes MOTU, though in the USB realm, MOTU can be worse than focusrite sadly

Check my own Round Trip Latency Roundup, or for a really deep dive, DAWbench's low latency performance database for apples to apples measurements of why we rate these things in this order



If you are talking about sound quality, you will see all sorts of people spout how much better one thing sounds over another, but never with any numbers to back it up. I did a whole series of apples to apples tests, running gear thru scopes and the truth is, most gear today is pretty damn good and the few times anyone who claims all the religious magic about one thing being so much better actually has the balls to do an ABX test, they end up picking the ARTs and the Mackie


The ONE issue you might see in the Reality Based Universe with Focusrite compared to the other non-RME interfaces is that their instrument inputs traditionally have not been able to handle really loud pickups. The 2nd gen improved this and the third gen seems to handle it ok, but still close
 
Top