Apogee firewire

Rexinator

New member
I'm a newcomer to this great site, so I apologize if I am asking redundant questions that have been hashed out ad nauseum. I've been looking at interface options for my home system. I'm mainly running a Mac G5 with ample RAM and with Logic Pro software (also with a Waves bundle and various other plug-ins). I've been using the M-audio "Project Mix" as my interface (i.e., a gooey, much like a Digi002, with sliders and transport controls for that "hands-on" experience). Reckoning with the likelihood that the preamps on the Project Mix and its AD conversion are not high quality (this unit cost ~$1,000, with Protools included), I'm looking at options for upgrading the interface. I rarely record more than two channels at a time, except for drum tracks, but I feed the drum mics through a Mackie mixer with Onyx pres and go audio out in to the Project mix, and this sounds OK for drums. So I'm really looking for better fidelity on the vocals and other instrument tracks. The Apogee Emsemble has caught my eye, with 8 channels of AD conversion and 4 supposedly fine preamps. It features S/PDIF, ADAT and optical digital I/O options, so I could take two channels of S/PDIF into the Project Mix (as a possibility). But it looks like the main interface with the computer is via the firewire (bypassing the Project Mix). I have heard that the Apogee firewire has some latency issues (like a other firewire routing), and friend has been telling me that I'd be much better off with a Motu AD converter (e.g., the 12-channel HD192), because apparently Motu's proprietary firewire is faster, with zero latency. But there are no preamps on the Motu, and I don't really need 12 channels. I'm tempted by the Apogee Emsemble, but I noted that Musician's friend is dumping these units at a reduced price, and so I'm leery of possible latency or other quality issues. Any helpful insights and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I also should add that I have a Yamaha 24-track "studio in a box" (AW2400) that I use for recording live performances of my band and occasionally for tracking at home, and this has a 2-channel S/PDIF input. So I could potentially interface the Apogee with my Yamaha and bypass the cheap AD converter and pres on the Yamaha. decisions, decisions!! [Sorry about the long message]
 

KineticSound

The VOICE
I have heard that the Apogee firewire has some latency issues (like a other firewire routing), and friend has been telling me that I'd be much better off with a Motu AD converter (e.g., the 12-channel HD192), because apparently Motu's proprietary firewire is faster, with zero latency.
I've not heard of any latency issues on the Ensemble units. What you're really getting in the Apogee is a much higher quality of preamp and A/D converter. IMHO, Apogee's A/D is better than Motu's, but others may disagree.

One thing you mentioned... about feeding your AW-2400 with the Ensemble: Keep in mind that the Apogee units (Duet and Ensemble) are designed to be controlled by your Mac. If you are using an Ensemble as simply a preamp/converter, many of its functions will only be available if you bring along a MacBook to control its software panel. (The Duet does not have this capability as it can only be powered via FireWire.)
 

Rexinator

New member
David,
Thanks for that feedback. For use with the AW2400, I was hoping that perhaps I could preset the appropriate parameters in the Emsemble while it is connected to my G5, and then it would operate in stand-alone mode without needing the Mac controls. But if that's not the case, I can certainly bring a MacBook.

Since you've been so helpful, perhaps I could pose another question: The perfect set-up for me would be 8 channels (or more) with great preamps and AD conversion to primarily interface with Logic, and with at least 2 channels of S/PDIF out so that I could enable the AW2400 option. I'd be willing to spend up to ~$5K for that arrangment. Any suggestions?
 

KineticSound

The VOICE
Funny, I had a similar conversation with someone recently on the topic:
Absolute Best Interface for Logic?

There are other good options out there (Mackie Onyx, TASCAM US1641). A Saffire Pro might work well if you picked up the ADAT card for the AW2400... 8 channels of Focusrite preamps with FireWire and ADAT I/O connections. But, IMHO, there's not much in that range that can touch the Apogee preamps and converters. It's a bummer the Ensemble units don't have 8 preamps in them. :(
 

Rexinator

New member
David,
I have heard that it is possible to link multiple Ensemble units within Logic, so that I could expand later (assuming that information is correct). Thanks again.
 
Last edited:

KineticSound

The VOICE
David,
I have heard that it is possible to link multiple Ensemble units within Logic, so that I could expand later (assuming that information is correct). Thanks again.
I cannot confirm this. I did find the following statement in Apogee's original press release for the Ensemble:
The following configurations and features are NOT supported with Beta FireWire Audio 2.0.0b13-e8:

*Any FireWire audio device other than the Apogee Ensemble
*Sleeping the computer and waking the computer up from sleep
*Hot-plugging (connecting the Ensemble to the computer while the computer or the Ensemble is powered on)
*Multiple Ensemble setups
*Setups with any FireWire device connected other than the Ensemble including FireWire hard drives, FireWire cameras, and other FireWire audio devices
*Audio sample rates of 176.4kHz and 196kHz

For more information, visit their web site at www.apogeedigital.com.
However, that information is a couple of years old. Before you plunk down the cash, best to contact Apogee and pose the question directly to them.
 
Top