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 bass)
  • It has an internal condenser mic, so you can record on the go even if you don’t have a mic handy
  • It has a stereo output for headphones or powered monitors
  • It has a nice big, shiny knob and lights for levels.
  • It’s really small.

Apogee’s converters are some of the most respected in the business. If this is up to their usual quality, that could make this a really special box – as a basic audio interface or an addition to your gig bag. This interface does 44.1/48kHz, 24-bit.

And it plugs in via USB with USB power support, so if you got one of Apple’s FireWire-less MacBooks — before the recent refresh returned FireWire — you can actually use this.

There is some bad news. This is really a single-input box; you can’t even use the instrument in and the mic in (even the internal mic) at the same time. That seems an odd choice, as it wipes out a whole bunch of singer-songwriters. The output, likewise, is unbalanced and out of a single 1/8″ jack, which isn’t always what you want out gigging. And the ONE, pretty as it looks, has some stiff competition in the affordable USB market. On the other hand, if these specs do fit what you need, the ONE’s stablemate Duet had fantastic quality and uncommonly plug-and-play operation and Mac OS integration, making this really appealing for the Mac crowd.

And you’ve got to love that optional mic stand mount and design. It’s also really, really small – 4″ W x 6.3″ L x 1.5″. Apogee says “pocket-sized” which is a stretch unless they mean overalls or someone’s metric conversion is off, but it is nonetheless very portable.

Now, Apogee, if we could just get a ONE AND A HALF for people who like this but want balanced 1/4″ outs and two simultaneous ins instead of one… (Yeah, I know, you can’t please everyone.)

The ONE ships in late July.


Thanks to Kevin Vanwulpen for the tip!

  • So this is like a smaller version of the Duet at about half the price. Hmm…interesting. I need Apogee quality for my iMac and have been holding out on the Duet.

  • It is indeed, though you get slightly more flexible breakouts on the Duet and two inputs instead of one. And the Duet doesn't have a mic.

    The Duet is also unbalanced on its outs, though with dedicated dual 1/4"… depends on how you're using it how important that is, of course.

  • that's awful expensive for what it is … I don't care HOW nice Apogee's D/A converter is. Are you *really* going to notice when you're just plugging your instrument directly into it? When you can't even record in stereo?

    You know … maybe I'm a noob or whatever but I call "monster cable" on this.

  • it's really nice and all, but in that price range i would recommend the lexicon alpha.

    but that's just my two cents…

  • I've been looking into getting a Duet, but if this has the same converters as the Ensemble (like the Duet has), then I'm sold.

  • Ernie Jackson

    I always applaud a company that provides options. Someone somewhere needs an option like this.

  • bliss

    Well, they definitely don't expect people to use ONE live. Because if they did, they'd have provided two INPUTs. And I really don't understand why centuries old balanced OUTPUT tech wasn't included. It's like Re-Apple. Since Applogee didn't include balanced OUTPUTS on the Duet, they continue the design shortcoming with the ONE. The ONE is clearly Bluepill material.

  • I love the idea of 1/4" balanced outs, particularly the idea that I could roll into a gig without the need for DI boxes (provided I brought the proper TRS 1/4" to balanced mic cable ends). But, I don't know many sound guys who really trust the balanced outputs of gear they've never heard of, and would likely rather have you just run a basic 1/4" out to their DI boxes they trust.

    Granted, this isn't the only application of having balanced outputs (powered studio monitors being another obvious use) – what I'm getting at is that Apogee probably realizes that this isn't exactly the kind of product you'd use to heavily gig with *and* would likely not be your *only* soundcard. It seems to be there to supplement say, a less mobile studio setup.

  • Well, yeah, I agree. I think for the discriminating Apogee customer, this is not going to be the main audio card – no way. (I'm sure they hope you have an Ensemble in the studio and a ONE or DUET on the go.)

    Now, I do expect they'd also love to sell to more entry-level consumers, too, and for those folks this probably will be the primary card. But Joshua's point on the balanced outs is reasonable. Like I said, it all depends on the application – which is why we have so many choices in audio interfaces. On the other hand, that also explains the appeal of some of the RME, MOTU boxes, etc., even with added cost and size — because they do prepare you for a wider range of circumstances.

  • zenzen

    Behringer's FCA202 had balanced/unbalanced outs, if you get my drift.

  • cubestar

    I think it's kind of crap that they wouldn't give you firewire or stereo ins.

    Basically, anyone who buys it will soon be upgrading…

  • Onyxmizer

    line 6 tone port. $60.

  • Pingback: Apogee ONE : The capslock means it's serious | Key Of Grey()

  • John

    Onyzmizer… and it sounds like $60 too.

  • Mitchell Kehoe

    Apogee interfaces are kind of in a different league from mackie or line6…

    If you want stereo in and firewire, that's what a duet is for. I have one and I love it. The quality is just miles above M-Audio and the like, it's portable, it's durable, it's ultra-low latency… I'm kind of interested in how good the built in microphone on the ONE is… If It's at least in the realm of a $100 condenser mic (and I have no reason to think it won't be, from apogee) it could be the interface I recommend to all my friends (well, the mac using ones).

  • Machines

    This looks like a great solution for someone like me who uses the laptop mainly for sketching ideas or rough mixing. A little boost beyond the standard headphone jack and not having to disconnect my MOTU (no matter how small) from my main rig would be awfully nice.

  • Detroiter

    How is this Apogee mONEygrabber any better than CEntrance's MicPort Pro or AxePort Pro? They're clean, quiet, raved about and 24-bit/96khz. Plus CEntrance's drivers will allow you to aggregate them, if you have a USB port for both.

  • I really like this too. I teach guitar lessons, and have had trouble recommending interfaces to my students because either a) they sound terrible, b) the software is potentialy unreliable, c) the good ones cost too much.

    I also try to never recommend items to my students that are going to just be considered “junk” when the next version comes out. This is a nice change, because I have no doubt that at the $250 cost for very sparse features, the quality of the analog components and converters is going to be at least average, and hopefuly a little bit better. Sure, like any consumer oriented interface, it will not be worth anything in a few years, but it should definitely retain its value better than a cheaper brand, and give you some decent quality In/Out in the meantime

    I would think about picking one up for myself too…, I have MOTU interfaces (896HD in the studio, Ultralite at Home) that I use all the time, and this would be a perfect, actually “portable,” one to keep in the laptop bag.

    And like a previous commenter said, if the omni mic in it is at all decent, it will be really awesome.

  • jonathan adams leona

    You guys must have missed the other product they announced. Its called the Apogee ZERO, costs $200 and you get nothing. But officially this nothing is supported in OSX 10.5.7 and has its own control panel in Logic, which is nice.

    Seriously, price per input here is expensive. Since this will only work on Apples, then they can focus on Apple compatibility and performance. Though given that Apple does not standardize its hardware and you never know what chipsets/ports the new laptops will have, this looks like a crapshoot to me. Apogee drank the Apple juice, and Apple only cares about looks so compatibility on future models will be risky. Its too bad Apple's only really interested in consumer audio.

    On the other hand, I sent in notice of the RME FirefaceUC to CDM and still see no mention here. Its not Apple only and specifically RME conceived this new device with a specially designed firmware to offer the widest range of compatibility, with performance comparable to PCI devices in terms of latency – which the beta testers can so far confirm.

    The point is innovation and offering more, for less. In this economic climate it is amazing to see Apogee attempt the inverse.

    Phantom power off the mac USB bus? Right! So much for those converters and faux-fi.

  • brad

    Johanthan, have you lost your mind? More for less? Add a friggin zero to the price of the ONE, divide by two. How is 1200$ less money than $250? And please tell me you're going to throw one of those in your laptop bag. Look, I have not tried the apogee. However, I firmly believe none of you have either. You also have never tried the other gear you're comparing it to. My mac has a great sound card and the alesis io14 I just received is even better. Noticeably. If the duet is as much better it's worth it just for the sound. And any decent low-mid-grade condenser mic is 150$. So if this mic is decent, the interface is actually only 100$. Tell you what. I'll buy one. I'll ask my buddy in Nashville to check it out next time he's down and then I'll post a review. Here's his gear list: Mine is not as extensive and costs 1/1000th of what he's spent. So the two of us will give you a good opinion. You people who just want to talk trash about gear you never have used aren't helping. Go write reviews on musiciansfriend.

  • brendan

    Balanced Outputs?!?! I want to run Mainstage on my Mac Book pro to a sound system.. Why couldn't they just put Balanced Outs on the Duet?!? Why? why?