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Apogee Symphony vs SSL XLogic Alpha Link MADI AX vs Pro Tools HD Native
Old 14th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Apogee Symphony vs SSL XLogic Alpha Link MADI AX vs Pro Tools HD Native

I'm about to invest in a new I/O solution and I'm undecided between Apogee Symphony, SSL XLogic Alpha Link MADI AX and Pro Tools HD Native.

I have great preamps and all that, what I need is a minimum of 16 analog I/O that I can run with Ableton and Pro Tools under OSX Lion with minimum latency and maximum quality and reliability. I need to do latency sensitive overdubs in big sessions with lots of plugs and tracks as well as hardware inserts.

Any opinions?

Thanks!
Old 14th September 2012
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
I'm in the same boat for an i/o and been debating, symphony 16 anolog i/o is twice the price vs SSL 24 i/o ,
Is the quality of the sound of the converters worth the $3000 difference???? I need at least 16 output for summing OTB , thanks !!
Old 14th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I really like my Symphony unit, haven't used the others you talk about. You could get the symphony chassis and one 16 I/o with room to expand to 32 down the road. It's very stable. The symphony fans are loud enough they will be picked up in mics if you are recording vocals in the same room, so I moved mine into a "machine room".
Old 14th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwagner ➑️
I really like my Symphony unit, haven't used the others you talk about. You could get the symphony chassis and one 16 I/o with room to expand to 32 down the road. It's very stable. The symphony fans are loud enough they will be picked up in mics if you are recording vocals in the same room, so I moved mine into a "machine room".
I have the symphony io chassis with one card in it. The 16x16 analog.

It is not above anything hot in the rack. My racks are open back. I keep my room at 70 degrees and the fans are never on. Period.

I record in the same room. Quiet stuff even. Zero noise.

It is my understanding that if I was to put a second 16x16 analog card in it the fans would be on somewhat.

The conversion is AMAZING sounding. Very clear, deep, wide and natural. I love it.

It is noticeably better than 16x and Lynx Aurora 16 ...to me.

It is my understanding that the SSL uses some cheaper (less good sounding) components. This makes sense, as it is a lot cheaper!

I have not heard the SSL.

I use the symphony io as a PT interface (TDM) plus in USB mode plus standalone. Works GREAT!!!
Old 14th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Mine has two of the 16 I/O but it's been out of my room since I got originally with two 8 analog/8aes at that time it was too loud. Glad to hear they quieted it down.

It sounds fantastic and works great. Very happy with the purchase and would recommend it to anyone but I like to let folks know it's possible they might need it in another room. Would have saved me a lot of soldering if I knew my db25s needed to be longer than I originally built.
Old 15th September 2012
  #6
Here for the gear
 
Jeff Perkins's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'm currently running the SSL MADI AX with PT HD10 on a MacBook Pro over Thunderbolt. Not a lot of tracking time on it yet as the room isn't finished but no complaints so far :-)
Old 16th September 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Buy the Apogee Symphony. It is fantastic. I used mine with PTHD 9.
Old 16th September 2012
  #8
Gear Nut
 
HDaudioCoyote's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Really Curious About That Question Here As Well

also about the new XLogic Alpha-Link MX

I heard about the Alpha-Link (AX/SX) that it's a pain in the *** to set-up. (With the cryptical binary lights on the front, etc. etc.)
My belly tends also more to the apogee kind-athing as I am totally happy with their previous stuff I've used. -> But I am also hungry for another AD/DA that is maybe a little "cleaner". -> please also some comments on that. I was using the Apogee Ensemble so far and it works well but I had to get an extra DA (Mytek St-DA) for monitoring as well as I felt the need for a less coloured conversion for my work.

Never used the Symphony I/O so far. So any comments on that? Is it really "clean" or does it sound "musical" as the other apogee converters I've used tended to.

In comparison I've heard my Ensemble already in comparison with RME, Lavry-Blue AD/DA, Gold AD and Black DA.

Sitting here in the same boat. Want to upgrade my AD/DA-side for inserting more outboard in the ITB-sessions as well as having more channels for summing.

cheers,
CoYotE
Old 16th September 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
The Apogee is very simple to set up with Pro Tools. No hassles at all. I would describe it as very musical sounding. The low end is fantastic as are the mids and highs. When I has the Rosetta 800 192 and Digi 192 I always used to transfer mixes to a 2 track Ampex reel to reel recorder. No need to do that with the Symphony. It is sweet.
Old 17th September 2012
  #10
Lives for gear
 
andremattos's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
+1 Symphony I/O
Old 17th September 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I have the SSL Madi AX with the Madiextreme Card and I love it. It's super stable.
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDaudioCoyote ➑️
Really Curious About That Question Here As Well

also about the new XLogic Alpha-Link MX

I heard about the Alpha-Link (AX/SX) that it's a pain in the *** to set-up. (With the cryptical binary lights on the front, etc. etc.)
My belly tends also more to the apogee kind-athing as I am totally happy with their previous stuff I've used. -> But I am also hungry for another AD/DA that is maybe a little "cleaner". -> please also some comments on that. I was using the Apogee Ensemble so far and it works well but I had to get an extra DA (Mytek St-DA) for monitoring as well as I felt the need for a less coloured conversion for my work.
CoYotE
Yes it was very difficult to get the alphalink to work properly. SSL support was superb though and answered just in a couple of hours explaining with pics and everything. It should have been a better manual, didn't make much sense trying to get the Adat ins to work properly. And i would have never figured it out without the support help haha.

Great unit though, im super happy.
Old 17th September 2012
  #13
Gear Addict
 
soypancho's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I'm using the Alphalink MX 4-16 right now. It was easy to get up and running on a Mac with PT9. I'm very, very happy with the sound. The Symphony might be a small step up but nothing I'm missing as it. Keep in mind though that with the MX and the SSL PCIe card, you have no optical, AES, or spdif connections and I have not had any success running an aggregate audio device with the SSL. Also, if at some point I went to HDX or HD native, the interface to get it to talk with the Alphalink is darn near the extra cost of the Symphony which has it built in. In that case I would probably switch over to the Apogee but I have a feeling I'm going to be less excited about Avid after AES this year. I cannot speak for the AX, which does have a nice selection of digital IO.

SSL, if you're listening, an 8x8 analog IO with optical and AES would be huge for the MX series.
Old 1st June 2013
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
Tomiboy's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I have been using both the Symphony & SSL for a while & can honestly say, save some cash & get the SSL. The conversion is just as good and I actually think the SSL sounds more natural/less hyped than the Symphony. Both sound great but you could be pumping you cash into gear which would have a far greater impact on your sound quality. Hope this helps
Old 1st June 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Arichlsss's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I've got both as well, SSL is not as good as the symphony for sure. "But where is your weakest link" that's for you to decide

Alphalink is not bad especially with an a different clock like the BL micro just my opinion
Old 1st June 2013
  #16
Lives for gear
 
andremattos's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
+1 SSL is not as good as the Symphony (sound quality).

But, if more channels is needed($$$$) . SSL is good as Symphony.
LoL
Old 1st June 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
It is my understanding that the SSL uses some really inferior sounding (and cheaper) components, as compared to the Apogee Symphony IO.

that makes sense....

i mean - top quality components are going to make the unit cost more.

common sense.



I myself have not heard the SSL..... but.... I own the Symphony IO and I don't think it is 'colored' at all. That is a very old phrase that has stuck around.

I think it sounds really amazing.

and

I did some very careful blind, level matched comparisons from the Symphony IO to 16x and Lynx Aurora, and I think the Symphony IO sounds substantially better than those... and both of those (16x, Lynx) sound good to start with.

just my 2c.

Old 2nd June 2013 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by waldie wave ➑️
Buy the Apogee Symphony. It is fantastic. I used mine with PTHD 9.
Me too. It is fantastic. You will not suffer from post-purchase dissonance if you by the Symphony i/o.
Old 2nd June 2013
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Arichlsss's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
On the other hand I have a alphalink with a madi xtreme 64 card and black lion clock for sale , I'm about to put it on ebay
Old 3rd June 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
 
cowboycoalminer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mixerguy ➑️
It is my understanding that the SSL uses some really inferior sounding (and cheaper) components, as compared to the Apogee Symphony IO.

that makes sense....

i mean - top quality components are going to make the unit cost more.

common sense.



I myself have not heard the SSL..... but.... I own the Symphony IO and I don't think it is 'colored' at all. That is a very old phrase that has stuck around.

I think it sounds really amazing.

and

I did some very careful blind, level matched comparisons from the Symphony IO to 16x and Lynx Aurora, and I think the Symphony IO sounds substantially better than those... and both of those (16x, Lynx) sound good to start with.

just my 2c.

I wouldn't say it's "colored" but it does impart a sheen. I'd call it "mat" for lack of a better term. In a good way though such as fattening and tightening up transients. Symphony I/O is defiantly at the top of the heap right now IMO. Amazing converter that's deep and wide.
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