uadwindows

If you’re a Windows user who’s been jealous of Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin interface and audio DSP platform, times are about to change.

For those of you just joining us, Universal Audio’s box is special in that it’s a compact, accessibly-priced entry into the UAD line. As an audio interface, it’s just one of the better pieces of gear out there (in terms of fidelity and reliability). And it runs all UAD’s top-notch plugins, too, opening up a window to a lot of analog emulation.

The Apollo Twin is a high-performance box, but it demands Thunderbolt – and it’s OS X only. The Apollo Twin USB DUO works over USB instead. You need USB3, Windows 7 or 8.1 or later.

The DUO gives you the DSP horsepower you need, and the whole package has an estimated street of US$899. For that, you get two channels of mic/line inputs, one of which is a Hi-Z instrument in, and six channels of outs (monitor, headphone, line 3-4), plus ADAT and S/PDIF ins. The price tag is hefty by audio interface standards, but this is a high-end interface with excellent pre’s that also runs DSP for signal processing.

And that’s especially useful on the Apollo Twin, in that you can track in real-time through UAD’s plug-ins. That means for singers and instrumentalists the ability to use the Apollo Twin as a creative studio tool or even onstage, adding compressors, EQs, preamp and guitar amp models, and tape simulations while you play, with sub-2ms latency. To me, this is what moves the needle from “kind of annoying to need a DSP platform to add effects” to “oh, that’s what hardware DSP is for.”

apollo_twin_usb_back

As with the Mac edition, you get some plug-ins to get you started – legacy versions of the LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler, 1176LN Limiting Amplifier, and Pultec EQP-1A Program Equalizer, plus Softube Amp Room Essentials, 610-B. “Legacy” as these may be, they’re good stuff – though if you really want to use the UA platform, be prepared for a not-insignificant investment in more plug-ins, even with various bundles.

The UAD plug-ins as always work for various hosts, including Pro Tools – you get VST, RTAS, and AAX 64 on Windows.

Now, the bad news: the USB version works only on Windows. I had hoped the Apollo Twin USB would be a way to shuttle a mobile interface between machines – for instance, it’s great to go the PC route for a desktop computer and then plug into a MacBook on the road. That’s not an option here. And that means you should take a hard look at some other high-end interfaces: RME’s, for instance, are cross-platform.

UA tells CDM that they did this in order to focus on Windows performance on the USB model, and Mac performance on the Thunderbolt model, rather than commit extra resources to making them cross-platform.

More:

www.uaudio.com/TwinUSB

And the associated plug-ins:

uaudio.com/uad-plug-ins.html

Previously:

Universal Audioโ€™s Latest Audio Hardware, Software Comes of Age Nicely

  • What a ridiculous product policy. So, the Thunderbolt version is OSX only and the USB version is Windows only? They must be kidding. Also, how about two dedicated line-in jacks, please? This is a joke. Who needs 6 analog outs (ok, 4 plus phones, really) but only 2 ins?

    • Actually, that’s a pretty frequent I/O configuration. I think it’s about the mic ins and instrument ins – and if you’re a solo instrumentalist, that’s just fine. Once you start adding ins, then you really want more like the rack-mount Apollo.

      But I share your frustration on the Windows/Mac incompatibility. For one thing, if you dual-boot a single machine, this is a problem. What I don’t know is how many people fit that boat apart from me, which is what surely fed the development investment decision on their part.

      • Being “pretty frequent” does not make it any better, I’m afraid. I understand that there is a frequently seen use case with a singer/songwriter setup, where you would sing into a mic and play guitar (either plugged in or a mic’ed acoustic.)

        But I could imagine that the songwriter, who plays a keyboard and sings at the same time (like most of my project collaboration partners do, actually) would be restricted to record the keyboard in mono. That’s of course perfectly fine for preliminary demo purposes, but removes the option to actually use that keyboard recording in stereo in the actual production afterwards. And I would believe there are more than just two or three people out there facing this scenario.

        Anyway, apart from that (which would be a deal breaker for me and for everyone I could have recommended this device), there is a lot to like about it. Build quality (supposedly), DSP, mobility…

        But for a non-cross platform supporting device that price tag is still unacceptable.

        • genjutsushi

          Would be much better if the sockets could be switched between input and output on the back – that way Henry could roll with just two outputs and have 4 inputs instead.

          Work around this might be to use external gear with its own USB audio interfaces – such as Overbridge on the Elektrons.

          Work arounds of course but there are other options for people wanting more IO

          • Agreed, there are other options out there, which is why this device is not for me. I am just wondering about how the product designers make their decisions…

          • I can see making an argument for this I/O configuration, honestly. That’s the trick – you either cram things with I/O, and typically people leave a lot of it unused, or you make some decisions to take some things off. In the latter scenario, there’s just no way to cover all use cases.

  • What a ridiculous product policy. So, the Thunderbolt version is OSX only and the USB version is Windows only? They must be kidding. Also, how about two dedicated line-in jacks, please? This is a joke. Who needs 6 analog outs (ok, 4 plus phones, really) but only 2 ins?

    • Actually, that’s a pretty frequent I/O configuration. I think it’s about the mic ins and instrument ins – and if you’re a solo instrumentalist, that’s just fine. Once you start adding ins, then you really want more like the rack-mount Apollo.

      But I share your frustration on the Windows/Mac incompatibility. For one thing, if you dual-boot a single machine, this is a problem. What I don’t know is how many people fit that boat apart from me, which is what surely fed the development investment decision on their part.

      • Being “pretty frequent” does not make it any better, I’m afraid. I understand that there is a frequently seen use case with a singer/songwriter setup, where you would sing into a mic and play guitar (either plugged in or a mic’ed acoustic.)

        But I could imagine that the songwriter, who plays a keyboard and sings at the same time (like most of my project collaboration partners do, actually) would be restricted to record the keyboard in mono. That’s of course perfectly fine for preliminary demo purposes, but removes the option to actually use that keyboard recording in stereo in the actual production afterwards. And I would believe there are more than just two or three people out there facing this scenario.

        Anyway, apart from that (which would be a deal breaker for me and for everyone I could have recommended this device), there is a lot to like about it. Build quality (supposedly), DSP, mobility…

        But for a non-cross platform supporting device that price tag is still unacceptable.

        • genjutsushi

          Would be much better if the sockets could be switched between input and output on the back – that way Henry could roll with just two outputs and have 4 inputs instead.

          Work around this might be to use external gear with its own USB audio interfaces – such as Overbridge on the Elektrons.

          Work arounds of course but there are other options for people wanting more IO

          • Agreed, there are other options out there, which is why this device is not for me. I am just wondering about how the product designers make their decisions…

          • I can see making an argument for this I/O configuration, honestly. That’s the trick – you either cram things with I/O, and typically people leave a lot of it unused, or you make some decisions to take some things off. In the latter scenario, there’s just no way to cover all use cases.

  • What a ridiculous product policy. So, the Thunderbolt version is OSX only and the USB version is Windows only? They must be kidding. Also, how about two dedicated line-in jacks, please? This is a joke. Who needs 6 analog outs (ok, 4 plus phones, really) but only 2 ins?

    • Actually, that’s a pretty frequent I/O configuration. I think it’s about the mic ins and instrument ins – and if you’re a solo instrumentalist, that’s just fine. Once you start adding ins, then you really want more like the rack-mount Apollo.

      But I share your frustration on the Windows/Mac incompatibility. For one thing, if you dual-boot a single machine, this is a problem. What I don’t know is how many people fit that boat apart from me, which is what surely fed the development investment decision on their part.

      • Being “pretty frequent” does not make it any better, I’m afraid. I understand that there is a frequently seen use case with a singer/songwriter setup, where you would sing into a mic and play guitar (either plugged in or a mic’ed acoustic.)

        But I could imagine that the songwriter, who plays a keyboard and sings at the same time (like most of my project collaboration partners do, actually) would be restricted to record the keyboard in mono. That’s of course perfectly fine for preliminary demo purposes, but removes the option to actually use that keyboard recording in stereo in the actual production afterwards. And I would believe there are more than just two or three people out there facing this scenario.

        Anyway, apart from that (which would be a deal breaker for me and for everyone I could have recommended this device), there is a lot to like about it. Build quality (supposedly), DSP, mobility…

        But for a non-cross platform supporting device that price tag is still unacceptable.

        • genjutsushi

          Would be much better if the sockets could be switched between input and output on the back – that way Henry could roll with just two outputs and have 4 inputs instead.

          Work around this might be to use external gear with its own USB audio interfaces – such as Overbridge on the Elektrons.

          Work arounds of course but there are other options for people wanting more IO

          • Agreed, there are other options out there, which is why this device is not for me. I am just wondering about how the product designers make their decisions…

          • I can see making an argument for this I/O configuration, honestly. That’s the trick – you either cram things with I/O, and typically people leave a lot of it unused, or you make some decisions to take some things off. In the latter scenario, there’s just no way to cover all use cases.

  • Korhan Erel

    Stupid question that covers both USB and Thunderbolt models: the four outputs are actually same, right? I mean, I can play quadraphonically with this audio interface.

    • Yep, totally – nothing stopping you from doing that. And that with real-time DSP – so this is still a really useful box.

      • Korhan Erel

        Thank you Peter!

        Beautiful work with the iPad article. Thanks for that too!

  • Korhan Erel

    Stupid question that covers both USB and Thunderbolt models: the four outputs are actually same, right? I mean, I can play quadraphonically with this audio interface.

    • Yep, totally – nothing stopping you from doing that. And that with real-time DSP – so this is still a really useful box.

      • Korhan Erel

        Thank you Peter!

        Beautiful work with the iPad article. Thanks for that too!

  • Korhan Erel

    Stupid question that covers both USB and Thunderbolt models: the four outputs are actually same, right? I mean, I can play quadraphonically with this audio interface.

    • Yep, totally – nothing stopping you from doing that. And that with real-time DSP – so this is still a really useful box.

      • Korhan Erel

        Thank you Peter!

        Beautiful work with the iPad article. Thanks for that too!

  • poopoo

    “Universal” Audio.. what a bunch of asshats.

  • poopoo

    “Universal” Audio.. what a bunch of asshats.

  • poopoo

    “Universal” Audio.. what a bunch of asshats.

  • Polite Society

    Someone needs to combine this with the features of the iconnectaudio4+ to make the ultimate small form-factor interface. With the ultimate price no doubt, but yeah…

  • Polite Society

    Someone needs to combine this with the features of the iconnectaudio4+ to make the ultimate small form-factor interface. With the ultimate price no doubt, but yeah…

  • Polite Society

    Someone needs to combine this with the features of the iconnectaudio4+ to make the ultimate small form-factor interface. With the ultimate price no doubt, but yeah…

  • Guest

    What annoys me is the fact that my thunderbolt version means I’m tied into using Macs. Would be nice to have the option of using it with pc’s without needing to buy another unit if I ever chose to go that route. Don’t really understand the logic tbh

    • Well, the Mac is partly responsible here – and it might get worse, if Apple dumps Thunderbolt for new USB. That’s the other really unfortunate thing about the Apollo Twin USB here lacking Mac support – it won’t work on the new MacBook.

      So, actually, you’ll probably get your wish if Apple does start to put more weight behind USB and not Thunderbolt, because UA will be forced to write that driver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Guest

        That would be great but surely a thunderbolt to USB adapter would be needed, is that even possible?!

  • Guest

    What annoys me is the fact that my thunderbolt version means I’m tied into using Macs. Would be nice to have the option of using it with pc’s without needing to buy another unit if I ever chose to go that route. Don’t really understand the logic tbh

    • Well, the Mac is partly responsible here – and it might get worse, if Apple dumps Thunderbolt for new USB. That’s the other really unfortunate thing about the Apollo Twin USB here lacking Mac support – it won’t work on the new MacBook.

      So, actually, you’ll probably get your wish if Apple does start to put more weight behind USB and not Thunderbolt, because UA will be forced to write that driver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Guest

        That would be great but surely a thunderbolt to USB adapter would be needed, is that even possible?!

  • Guest

    What annoys me is the fact that my thunderbolt version means I’m tied into using Macs. Would be nice to have the option of using it with pc’s without needing to buy another unit if I ever chose to go that route. Don’t really understand the logic tbh

    • Well, the Mac is partly responsible here – and it might get worse, if Apple dumps Thunderbolt for new USB. That’s the other really unfortunate thing about the Apollo Twin USB here lacking Mac support – it won’t work on the new MacBook.

      So, actually, you’ll probably get your wish if Apple does start to put more weight behind USB and not Thunderbolt, because UA will be forced to write that driver. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Guest

        That would be great but surely a thunderbolt to USB adapter would be needed, is that even possible?!

  • ti mo

    How about multi-platform bus powered USB 3.1 twin?

    • Actually, that’s an easy one – I’m reasonably certain bus power isn’t enough to power the physical hardware on here.

      Multi-platform is definitely possible; they just chose not to do it.

      • ti mo

        I thought USB 3.1 could provide 100W of power? That’s not enough?

        • Yeah, but there’s a difference between the maximum power capabilities of the bus and what machines actually provide, I think.

  • perkele

    How about multi-platform bus powered USB 3.1 twin?

    • Actually, that’s an easy one – I’m reasonably certain bus power isn’t enough to power the physical hardware on here.

      Multi-platform is definitely possible; they just chose not to do it.

      • perkele

        I thought USB 3.1 could provide 100W of power? That’s not enough?

        • Yeah, but there’s a difference between the maximum power capabilities of the bus and what machines actually provide, I think.

  • perkele

    How about multi-platform bus powered USB 3.1 twin?

    • Actually, that’s an easy one – I’m reasonably certain bus power isn’t enough to power the physical hardware on here.

      Multi-platform is definitely possible; they just chose not to do it.

      • perkele

        I thought USB 3.1 could provide 100W of power? That’s not enough?

        • Yeah, but there’s a difference between the maximum power capabilities of the bus and what machines actually provide, I think.

  • Roger Pellegrini

    To put the price in perspective: (1) The UAD plug-ins are unsurpassed. (2) This new box includes 2 of the DSP cores required to run those plug-ins. (3) A PCIe card with JUST the two DSP cores costs $699, and is worth every penny.

    Therefore, IMHO this thing is a fantastic bargain. Just a personal opinion, having used their products for more than 10 years.

    Cheers,
    Roger

  • Roger Pellegrini

    To put the price in perspective: (1) The UAD plug-ins are unsurpassed. (2) This new box includes 2 of the DSP cores required to run those plug-ins. (3) A PCIe card with JUST the two DSP cores costs $699, and is worth every penny.

    Therefore, IMHO this thing is a fantastic bargain. Just a personal opinion, having used their products for more than 10 years.

    Cheers,
    Roger

  • Roger Pellegrini

    To put the price in perspective: (1) The UAD plug-ins are unsurpassed. (2) This new box includes 2 of the DSP cores required to run those plug-ins. (3) A PCIe card with JUST the two DSP cores costs $699, and is worth every penny.

    Therefore, IMHO this thing is a fantastic bargain. Just a personal opinion, having used their products for more than 10 years.

    Cheers,
    Roger

  • Ader Aster

    So when does it finally release? why the delay?

  • Ader Aster

    So when does it finally release? why the delay?

  • Ader Aster

    So when does it finally release? why the delay?