We don’t have to wait for press releases around here; an enthusiastic Apogee employee (not from the sales and marketing end, he says) writes in to brag about Apogee’s support for the new Apple Mac Pro. Not only are drivers available today for using the Apogee Symphony PCI-Express audio card, but Apogee says the combination of Apple and Apogee hardware acheives an unheard-of 2ms latency. From Apogee’s official statement:

Apogee’s new Universal PCI-Express driver, in combination with the powerful Intel processors in the Mac Pro, lowers the latency of the Symphony PCI-Express card by over 50% into the 2ms range. This achievement is a significant increase in performance beyond other native solutions on the market and compares favorably to the latency on other hardware-based systems.

Symphony PCI Express Product Page

That’s impressively low latency for native-processed audio, and it makes native software solutions like Logic Pro, DP, and Live all the more appealing. I don’t want to get too overexcited based on marketing materials, though; anyone out there who’s lucky enough to get a Mac Pro and a Symphony card, I’m sure we’ll all be anxious to hear your real-world experiences.

Apogee’s Ensemble FireWire card also has drivers (in beta, but evidently useful) for all Intel Macs, in case you’re using that with a new Mac Pro.

If you imagine these cards are only being used in studios, think again. Via Apogee’s news page, the 16:9 Art Installation at IRCAM/NIME 2006 let visitors spatialize sound on 144 speakers, all using a visual, painterly interface. [Project page] The resulting sounds, using two Symphony cards for 64 channels of audio, include lots of happy gurgles:

happy gurgles

Ed. note: Apogee Digital appear to have crashed their server; I’ll update once it’s back up. Guess those Mac Pro users don’t want to wait for Digidesign and HD? -PK