Apogee Ensemble 30x34 Thunderbolt Audio Interface
The new Apogee Ensemble is the first Thunderbolt™ 2 audio interface to offer superior sound quality, the lowest latency performance and the most comprehensive studio functionality all in one box.
- Thunderbolt connectivity for ultra-low latency
- 8 Mic preamps with up to 75 dB of gain and advanced stepped gain circuit
- 2 front panel Guitar I/O channels with class A JFET inputs
- 16 analogue outputs of premium Apogee conversion
- 10 separately assignable analogue inputs, with 2 PurePower headphone outputs
- Apogee Control software offers highly customisable workflow and Essentials Control Strip window
- Compatible with Apogee Control hardware remote studio controller
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The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt includes 8 Advanced Stepped Gain mic preamps, monitor controller functionality including talkback, front panel Guitar I/O, two headphone outputs and digital connectivity for a total of 30 x 34 I/O. Blending acclaimed innovations, groundbreaking new features and an effortless user interface, Ensemble empowers you to capture inspiration when creative lightning strikes.
Ensemble delivers the full potential of Thunderbolt 2 performance with the lowest latency, unmatched CPU efficiency, 2 ports for expanding your system and a revolutionary 32-bit playback signal path.
The latest Apogee Control Software adds new functionality and allows you to connect an additional Ensemble or Element interface to increase the number of Apogee quality inputs on your system. It also enables functionality for the Apogee Control Hardware Remote.
The Lowest Latency Of Any Audio Interface
Ensemble's proprietary Thunderbolt driver has been written from the ground up for Mac OS X Mavericks, resulting in unmatched performance and efficiency. Latency has been reduced to an astounding 1.1ms round-trip (with a 96kHz / 32 buffer setting), allowing you to monitor through your DAW, plug-ins included, simplifying your workflow and leveraging the power of your Mac. Even when your session's DSP demands require a higher buffer setting, Ensemble's ultra-low latency means no longer having to choose between power and speed. To accommodate different workflow preferences, Ensemble features optional direct hardware monitoring through Apogee's Maestro App with 0.6ms of latency.
Devours Bits, Sips CPU
Ensemble's custom driver includes two innovative features to maximise the performance of the software-hardware interface: a full 32-bit signal path from the output of your DAW straight to the high- performance ESS DAC, and a revolutionary Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine to more efficiently read and write data directly to Mac memory independent of the Mac CPU.
The DMA engine, running on Ensemble's hardware logic chip, reads digital audio data directly from your Mac's memory in a 32-bit format, increasing the driver's efficiency and providing the highest resolution signal possible to the DAC stage. This implementation allows the driver to crunch an enormous amount of data at an amazing speed, while making a very light demand on your Mac CPU. You benefit with lower latency, more plug-in power, and a transparent and encompassing listening experience.
Expanding Your System
Intel's ThunderboltTM technology was made for connecting multiple high bandwidth peripherals to your Mac. Ensemble includes two Thunderbolt™ 2 ports for conveniently connecting hard drive arrays, video capture devices and Thunderbolt monitors with up to 4k resolution from a single port.
Dynamically Optimised Mic Preamps
Ensemble's eight uniquely designed mic preamps feature Apogee's Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture™, in which the circuit is dynamically optimised to provide superior bandwidth, ultra low noise and nonexistent distortion across the unprecedented gain range
of 0-75 dB. Whether recording powerful drums, dynamic vocals or delicate strings, your recordings retain the full impact, intricate detail and lifelike dimension of the original performance.
Soft Limit For Protection From Digital Overs
An Apogee technology first introduced in 1992 on Apogee's AD-500 converter, Soft Limit can be heard on countless platinum selling records around the world. Once a technology exclusively reserved for Apogee's most advanced audio converters, Soft Limit is included in Ensemble and can be enabled in Apogee Maestro software.
This superior FET-based analogue design prevents the digital clipping that causes distortion by instantaneously rounding off transient peaks before they hit the analogue-to-digital converter. Soft Limit allows several more decibels of apparent level to be recorded while subtly providing an analogue tape-like warmth to the sound.
Custom Power Regulation for Ultra-Low Noise Performance
Ensemble's mic pre, A/D and D/A circuitry are powered by discrete, Apogee-designed power regulators for ultra-low noise not obtainable with off-the-shelf components. This design was first implemented in Apogee's flagship Symphony I/O's 3-Stage Cascade power supply.
Ensemble features four Combo inputs (XLR or 1⁄4 inch) and 4 XLR inputs for connecting up to 8 microphones or a combination of instruments, external mic preamps, and other analogue audio devices. Ensemble's analogue inputs now include a line level bypass relay for the purest unity gain signal path to the analogue-to-digital converter when the input source is set to line level.
Ensemble includes two balanced monitor outputs on 1⁄4 inch TRS connectors and eight balanced line outputs on 1 D-Sub 25-pin connector. These outputs can be configured for a wide variety of workflows, whether you're integrating Ensemble with an external console, mixing in the box, or any hybrid of the two.
With the kind of discrete transistor output stage found on power amps, Ensemble's two independently controlled front panel headphone outputs offer more pristine power than ever before. Drive high impedance headphones louder than you'll ever need while maintaining ultra low distortion throughout the level range.
Directly connect your guitars and other instruments to Ensemble using the two front panel 1⁄4 inch inputs. The inputs' Class A JFET circuits reproduce the feel and tone of a vintage tube amp for more realistic modelling and add harmonic character to keyboards and other electronic instruments. A 'bootstrapping' circuit design provides an ultra-high impedance load to the connected instrument to preserve its tone and high frequency response.
Connect your amp to either 1⁄4 inch output for effortless re-amping. Dual mode switching allows you to easily record your direct guitar signal while listening through your amp, then play the recorded signal back through your amp to refine amp settings and mic placement. You can also use the Guitar I/O inputs & outputs to insert stomp boxes into your session as an alternative to software plugins. Impedance or level mismatches are not a concern - these connections were made for any guitar gear.
Ensemble features the same high quality built-in mic capsule found in Apogee's ONE for iPad & Mac. Instantly capture your inspirations, keep an audio archive of the session, or record a 'crushed room' sound when tracking drums. Most importantly, the built-in mic may be used for talkback.
Analogue inputs 1 and 2 feature the ability to add a hardware insert between Ensemble's built-in mic preamp and analogue-to-digital converter stage. Easily integrate your favourite analogue compressor or EQ, in mono or as a stereo pair, into your recording chain with separate 1⁄4 inch balanced send and return connector for each channel.
As the centrepiece of your creative setup, Ensemble provides up to 18 channels of digital I/O, in ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF optical and S/PDIF coaxial formats, to easily integrate expanders, hardware synths and digital effects. Thanks to Thunderbolt's high bandwidth, all of Ensemble's analogue and digital I/O are available in your DAW simultaneously.
Ensemble provides Word Clock IN and OUT for syncing with other digital audio gear. Use Ensemble as the master clock to take advantage of Apogee's superior built-in clocking technology.
Dual, High-Resolution Displays Show All Input And Output Details
Two high-resolution OLED displays deliver all the visual feedback critical for recording and monitoring. Without looking at your computer, Ensemble lets you see metering, levels, grouping and polarity, muting, phantom power and Soft Limit for all inputs and outputs.
Input Control With Selection Buttons And Controller Knob
Ensemble makes it easy to access all important recording and monitoring functions. Simply press an input selection button on Ensemble's front panel to select a desired input and easily adjust your level with the input controller knob. All input selection buttons feature an LED highlight ring. The highlight ring of the selected input is brighter so you can see at a glance which channel is in focus. Press and hold the input select button to select and adjust different parameters for each channel such as input type, +48v phantom power, Soft Limit, grouping, polarity invert and hi-pass filter.
Ensemble's Monitor control provides everything you need to master your listening environment, without additional devices. Choose between the two 1/4 inch monitor outputs, one of three stereo speaker sets (depending on which is selected) or a 5.1 surround sound system. Set your speaker and headphone levels with dedicated front panel controller knobs, Maestro level controls or your Mac volume controls.
Four configurable buttons (labeled A, B, C, D) allow you to quickly access functions such as 'Engage Talkback', 'Mute Outputs', 'Dim Outputs', 'Sum to Mono', 'Clear Meters' or 'Engage Speaker Set'. Each function can be assigned to a button using a drop-down menu within Apogee's Maestro application.
When asked to identify his favorite microphone, one savvy producer answered 'the talkback mic!' Effortless communication enhances the flow of your session, so Ensemble includes flexible and convenient talkback functionality. Use either Ensemble's Built-in microphone or an external mic to communicate directly with the recording performers through both headphone and line outputs. Engage talkback from Maestro or from the front panel Assignable buttons. No other audio interface offers such a comprehensive talkback system.
Speaker Set Selection
Ensemble's assignable buttons can be configured in Apogee's Maestro software to switch between up to 3 pairs of speakers, allowing you to use Ensemble just like a standard monitor controller. Simply connect 1, 2 or 3 pairs of studio monitors and press the corresponding assignable button (A, B, C or D) to select which pair you would like to listen to.
Apogee Control Software
Apogee Control has been built from the ground up for Ensemble Thunderbolt, and delivers complete control functionality in highly customisable user interface. Apogee implemented innovative features like the simplified 'Essentials' control window and an FX Send mixer feature to simplify and speed up the recording workflow. Apogee Control brings together Ensemble Thunderbolt and Element Series interfaces allowing them to work simultaneously, giving you more premium sound quality and a seamless and powerful user experience.
Apogee Control Software Highlights
Streamlined new interface
Easily adapt layout to fit your workflow
Essentials control strip maximises screen space
FX send lets you use your DAW's effects with low latency monitoring
Use your Mac's Built-in mic for Talkback
Configure main output for multiple speakers and surround sound control up to 9.1
Apogee Control Hardware Remote
The Apogee Control hardware remote brings all of Ensemble's powerful front panel controls and more to your desktop. With the Apogee Control software and Apogee Control hardware remote you have instant access to input and output levels using the large Control knob and 3 control knob focus buttons, plus direct access to dozens of software functions using the 8 user-configurable hardware buttons.
Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt Specifications
Thunderbolt™ 2 Mac audio interface
Analogue-to-digital conversion (ADC) for recording up to 24-bit/192kHz
Proprietary Thunderbolt audio driver and ESS Sabre32 DAC offer full 32-bit playback
2 high-resolution OLED displays show levels and settings
Input select buttons and controller knob for convenient selection of parameters and settings
4 assignable buttons to control various functions:
Complete input/output control with Apogee's Maestro software
Works with Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton and any Core Audio compliant app on Mac
Computer: Thunderbolt-equipped Mac (iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Mac Pro)
Memory: 2 GB RAM minimum, 4 GB recommended
OS: 10.9.3 or greater
Connection: Any available Thunderbolt port on a Mac
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1 Recommended Accessory
Brand Apogee Condition New Minimum system requirements - Mac Computer: Thunderbolt-equipped Mac (iMac, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, Mac Pro)
Memory: 2 GB RAM minimum, 4 GB recommended
OS: 10.9.3 or greater
Connection: Any available Thunderbolt port on a Mac
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