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Apogee Symphony USB
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #391
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I was hoping someone else had gotten one by now, but it looks like I may be the first to post! I actually got it yesterday from Sweetwater in the mail (I'm in Los Angeles) and installed today. I can't say much yet except that it appears to play very well with Pro Tools 2020. I just upgraded from a Duet 2, so the touch screen controls make sense to me. It's as slick as I expected it to be, though I'm not sure how much improvement the D/A is at this point. I should probably set up 2 systems to A/B the two, but I'm not really that guy. It's not radically more open, cleaner, etc. but it sounds a notch better so me using a very familiar session so I'll probably leave that experiment to someone else.

My big concern is that the unit got very hot after only about an hour or so of use, and I wasn't even using the preamps. I was wondering if any early adopters are seeing this with their units.
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #392
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kay ➡️
I was hoping someone else had gotten one by now, but it looks like I may be the first to post! I actually got it yesterday from Sweetwater in the mail (I'm in Los Angeles) and installed today. I can't say much yet except that it appears to play very well with Pro Tools 2020. I just upgraded from a Duet 2, so the touch screen controls make sense to me. It's as slick as I expected it to be, though I'm not sure how much improvement the D/A is at this point. I should probably set up 2 systems to A/B the two, but I'm not really that guy. It's not radically more open, cleaner, etc. but it sounds a notch better so me using a very familiar session so I'll probably leave that experiment to someone else.

My big concern is that the unit got very hot after only about an hour or so of use, and I wasn't even using the preamps. I was wondering if any early adopters are seeing this with their units.
Interesting! Please come back with more reports on how it’s working out for you. The heat. The sound. Stability etc! Thanks!
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #393
Lives for gear
 
MichaelDroste's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kay ➡️
I was hoping someone else had gotten one by now, but it looks like I may be the first to post! I actually got it yesterday from Sweetwater in the mail (I'm in Los Angeles) and installed today. I can't say much yet except that it appears to play very well with Pro Tools 2020. I just upgraded from a Duet 2, so the touch screen controls make sense to me. It's as slick as I expected it to be, though I'm not sure how much improvement the D/A is at this point. I should probably set up 2 systems to A/B the two, but I'm not really that guy. It's not radically more open, cleaner, etc. but it sounds a notch better so me using a very familiar session so I'll probably leave that experiment to someone else.

My big concern is that the unit got very hot after only about an hour or so of use, and I wasn't even using the preamps. I was wondering if any early adopters are seeing this with their units.
Yes please keep us updated as to the stability heat sound and any other issues thank you best wishes Michael
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #394
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quick initial reaction...........

Box is pretty and not an unreasonable size.
Screen is pleasant but I prefer the Quartet.
Menus are slightly finniky and swiping left and right is a bit hit or miss - sometimes you end up with a control opening on the existing page, rather than getting the next page to the left or right.
Main volume control is good to turn and press, but accelerates in a really bizarre way - that's a software thing and could be changed.
Software download is ~900MB for Mac, which is absurd and shows how poor their programming is. There is lots of fiddling around to do to get the right firmware installed on the device (has to be done by USB key) and then the Mac. Multiple installs needed on the Mac for Desktop Control (doesn't do anything yet but has to be installed for the device to work), ECS (channel strip), Clearmountain's odd reverbs (one each of Spaces and Domain) and the Apogee FX.
ECS is included, Spaces is included, Domain is separate and FX is a paid-for add-on. These all seem to be iLok based.
I haven't tried the mic pres yet - will do that tomorrow - but the controls are straightforward to choose either the default or one of the two emulations (Neve or Ampex). The emulations have an input and an output control within the strip - only the input control can be adjusted from Logic (unless I've missed something). ECS, Spaces, Domain and FX all exist only as plugins in the DAW.
And here's where I have a problem. To operate the whole thing, you need to be fiddling with the screen on the device and with the plugins in the DAW. You can't run EQ or compression or reverb on the DSP and you can't control the mic pres from the DAW. So the integration isn't there yet, and I'm not sure it will be.
In contrast, my usual arrangement of RME Babyface Pro fs and RME-ADI2 Pro fs have a software installer which is less than 10MB, both have onboard EQ and the Babyface has onboard reverb. The menus on the ADI2 are a nightmare, and the Babyface is similarly impossible to navigate using the weird combination keypresses on the device, but the TotalMix software and RME settings panel give you full control of everything on the Babyface.

How does it sound? Just as background - my room is a living room, 24' x 12' but entirely dedicated to music. I have a pair of Tannoy Eaton Heritage (the new ones, called Heritage for extra confusion) driven by a Nord Three 1ET400A Stereo Amplifier (400w per channel, Class D) and a Genelec 7070a sub.

I matched levels at 200Hz and 1KHz with a test tone to within 0.1 and 0.2 dB respectively. Peak volumes were ~70dB for the initial run and ~84dB for a second run.
I couldn't do a blind test as I have no one here to help and the cabling had to be shifted between devices. So this is a subjective assessment.
I used Qobuz through Audirvana for the bulk of my listening, mostly albums I already know very well, but also the new Lianne La Havas album, which is well worth a listen!

D/A on the main Apogee outputs sounds nice, but not quite as nice as my RME-ADI Pro fs. I preferred it to my recollection of the Apollo X8P, but I never got on with the UAD Apollo's D/A. There was a mid-thickness in the Apollos which I didn't like - every volume level felt wrong. In contrast, the Apogee sounded very pleasant at quiet and loud levels. I had no complaints about it. The RME ADI2 Pro fs simply sounded clearer without being brighter. Stereo image was slightly wider and bass was less obvious but seemingly cleaner. These are all subtle differences. Would I be happy with the Apogee if I hadn't heard the ADI2? Yes, I think I would. It's on a par with the Babyface Pro fs, which is surprisingly good. The RME sound in general just seems slightly cleaner, but the Apogee and the Babyface are both good. There's just a delicacy in the sound of the ADI-2 which is really amazing and the reason why I have it inconveniently (and expensively) hanging off the Babyface via a digital cable.

Given the earlier report of the Apogee getting hot, I didn't notice a problem after an hour (just warm) so I cranked both headphone outputs to the max (but with nothing connected) and both mic inputs to the max (input and output on an emulation, which also uses the DSP) and used it to play music from the main outs for an hour. It didn't get hot, so I don't know why the previous poster's one did.

I'll try the pre-amps and headphone outputs tomorrow and report back.

At the moment I'm undecided. There are some good things but the lack of sufficient DSP and software to run comp/EQ and reverb on the device puts me off, as does the clumsy and incomplete plugin implementation. Reliability is ok so far - two glitches, both possibly my fault - the volume output did not respond to Mac keyboard commands to start off with, but that may be because Audirvana and the Babyface both use those, so there may have been some contention. Also, the Apogee screen went off and froze after I played with some plugins in the DAW, but that may have been the sleep timer (coincidentally) and the fact that the screen doesn't come back on when you turn the volume knob, only when you tap the screen. So, probably best to disregard both as user error. There was one other 'delay' to starting sound output that may have been an Audirvana+Apogee issue - it doesn't happen with Audirvana+RME, but Audirvana is a bit rough round the edges, so I won't blame Apogee. Once it was playing, there were no issues.
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #395
Gear Addict
 
play.exe's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominicperry ➡️
Quick initial reaction...........

Box is pretty and not an unreasonable size.
Screen is pleasant but I prefer the Quartet.
Menus are slightly finniky and swiping left and right is a bit hit or miss - sometimes you end up with a control opening on the existing page, rather than getting the next page to the left or right.
Main volume control is good to turn and press, but accelerates in a really bizarre way - that's a software thing and could be changed.
Software download is ~900MB for Mac, which is absurd and shows how poor their programming is. There is lots of fiddling around to do to get the right firmware installed on the device (has to be done by USB key) and then the Mac. Multiple installs needed on the Mac for Desktop Control (doesn't do anything yet but has to be installed for the device to work), ECS (channel strip), Clearmountain's odd reverbs (one each of Spaces and Domain) and the Apogee FX.
ECS is included, Spaces is included, Domain is separate and FX is a paid-for add-on. These all seem to be iLok based.
I haven't tried the mic pres yet - will do that tomorrow - but the controls are straightforward to choose either the default or one of the two emulations (Neve or Ampex). The emulations have an input and an output control within the strip - only the input control can be adjusted from Logic (unless I've missed something). ECS, Spaces, Domain and FX all exist only as plugins in the DAW.
And here's where I have a problem. To operate the whole thing, you need to be fiddling with the screen on the device and with the plugins in the DAW. You can't run EQ or compression or reverb on the DSP and you can't control the mic pres from the DAW. So the integration isn't there yet, and I'm not sure it will be.
In contrast, my usual arrangement of RME Babyface Pro fs and RME-ADI2 Pro fs have a software installer which is less than 10MB, both have onboard EQ and the Babyface has onboard reverb. The menus on the ADI2 are a nightmare, and the Babyface is similarly impossible to navigate using the weird combination keypresses on the device, but the TotalMix software and RME settings panel give you full control of everything on the Babyface.

How does it sound? Just as background - my room is a living room, 24' x 12' but entirely dedicated to music. I have a pair of Tannoy Eaton Heritage (the new ones, called Heritage for extra confusion) driven by a Nord Three 1ET400A Stereo Amplifier (400w per channel, Class D) and a Genelec 7070a sub.

I matched levels at 200Hz and 1KHz with a test tone to within 0.1 and 0.2 dB respectively. Peak volumes were ~70dB for the initial run and ~84dB for a second run.
I couldn't do a blind test as I have no one here to help and the cabling had to be shifted between devices. So this is a subjective assessment.
I used Qobuz through Audirvana for the bulk of my listening, mostly albums I already know very well, but also the new Lianne La Havas album, which is well worth a listen!

D/A on the main Apogee outputs sounds nice, but not quite as nice as my RME-ADI Pro fs. I preferred it to my recollection of the Apollo X8P, but I never got on with the UAD Apollo's D/A. There was a mid-thickness in the Apollos which I didn't like - every volume level felt wrong. In contrast, the Apogee sounded very pleasant at quiet and loud levels. I had no complaints about it. The RME ADI2 Pro fs simply sounded clearer without being brighter. Stereo image was slightly wider and bass was less obvious but seemingly cleaner. These are all subtle differences. Would I be happy with the Apogee if I hadn't heard the ADI2? Yes, I think I would. It's on a par with the Babyface Pro fs, which is surprisingly good. The RME sound in general just seems slightly cleaner, but the Apogee and the Babyface are both good. There's just a delicacy in the sound of the ADI-2 which is really amazing and the reason why I have it inconveniently (and expensively) hanging off the Babyface via a digital cable.

Given the earlier report of the Apogee getting hot, I didn't notice a problem after an hour (just warm) so I cranked both headphone outputs to the max (but with nothing connected) and both mic inputs to the max (input and output on an emulation, which also uses the DSP) and used it to play music from the main outs for an hour. It didn't get hot, so I don't know why the previous poster's one did.

I'll try the pre-amps and headphone outputs tomorrow and report back.

At the moment I'm undecided. There are some good things but the lack of sufficient DSP and software to run comp/EQ and reverb on the device puts me off, as does the clumsy and incomplete plugin implementation. Reliability is ok so far - two glitches, both possibly my fault - the volume output did not respond to Mac keyboard commands to start off with, but that may be because Audirvana and the Babyface both use those, so there may have been some contention. Also, the Apogee screen went off and froze after I played with some plugins in the DAW, but that may have been the sleep timer (coincidentally) and the fact that the screen doesn't come back on when you turn the volume knob, only when you tap the screen. So, probably best to disregard both as user error. There was one other 'delay' to starting sound output that may have been an Audirvana+Apogee issue - it doesn't happen with Audirvana+RME, but Audirvana is a bit rough round the edges, so I won't blame Apogee. Once it was playing, there were no issues.

That's a bummer that comp/eq/reverb don't work on the DSP. Please let us know how the Mic Pre emulations sound. If someone could upload samples of them in action, that would be great.
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #396
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominicperry ➡️
I'll try the pre-amps and headphone outputs tomorrow and report back.
PLS compare headphone output power and quality of symphony vs babyface pro! It is important for me. which is louder and more pleasant to listen to? thnx!
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #397
Here for the gear
I'm looking forward to comparing the ASD to a similarly appointed Apollo Twin (Twin X Duo with a few plugins or Quad is about the same price).

I think the lack of DSP power on the Apogee isn't necessarily all downside - since their plugins can be run native. So there's a trade-off of less on board DSP vs being able to use your computer's. Given that computing power is artificially high with UAD, this could be a feature in the Apogee, not a liability. It depends on if you need them to track.

If the ECS channel strip (and a little Buss reverb) is sufficient to track with and the other plugins can then run natively, I could see that being a good workflow, all other things being equal.

For me the three big things I'm going to be scrutinizing are the quality of the pre's and emulations, the D/A conversion, and the overall UX (integration with Logic, the interface, touch screen, etc). If it wins on those, it's a keeper. Otherwise I'll be eyeing the Apollo again.
Old 16th October 2020 | Show parent
  #398
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddamanix ➡️
I'm looking forward to comparing the ASD to a similarly appointed Apollo Twin (Twin X Duo with a few plugins or Quad is about the same price).

I think the lack of DSP power on the Apogee isn't necessarily all downside - since their plugins can be run native. So there's a trade-off of less on board DSP vs being able to use your computer's. Given that computing power is artificially high with UAD, this could be a feature in the Apogee, not a liability. It depends on if you need them to track.

If the ECS channel strip (and a little Buss reverb) is sufficient to track with and the other plugins can then run natively, I could see that being a good workflow, all other things being equal.

For me the three big things I'm going to be scrutinizing are the quality of the pre's and emulations, the D/A conversion, and the overall UX (integration with Logic, the interface, touch screen, etc). If it wins on those, it's a keeper. Otherwise I'll be eyeing the Apollo again.
There's some DSP spare in the Apogee, it just isn't being used. The 'future releases' include the dual path monitor which will allow plugs to work on the DSP, but it isn't included yet. Don't hold your breath - what have they been doing since this product was announced, due for early this year? I understand supply chains are difficult with Covid19, but they could have written a lot more code in the mean time. Instead they release a product 6 months or more late, and the software is only 33% complete.
ECS doesn't run on the DSP at the moment. And there's no direct monitoring in Logic yet either, as well as limited control over input levels.

In truth, the UAD Apollos don't have a lot of DSP - their Sharc chips are very old and slow. But, at the moment, you can load up a bunch of pre-amp emulation and comps and EQ (and guitar sims) etc and only add a few ms delay to the monitoring path. You can't do any of that with the Apogee yet.

My biggest problem with the Apollos, as I've already mentioned, is the D/A. The Apogee beats it at that in my opinion. The rest of the Apogee offering is immature at the moment.
Old 17th October 2020 | Show parent
  #399
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm expecting (hoping?) that the future updates (firmware/software) add the functionality to the DSP that we are all hoping for.

I didn't have any of the installation issues that dominicperry had, but I do agree that the volume knob behavior is not calibrated in a way that I find pleasing.
The screen scrolling is also not perfect, but I also expect that to be updated. Given the delay of this item, it's obvious that Apogee did what they needed to get it out the door, and left more than a few things to be updated later remotely. Personally, I'm fine with that, but I can understand some users' frustrations.
Old 17th October 2020 | Show parent
  #400
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dominicperry ➡️
My biggest problem with the Apollos, as I've already mentioned, is the D/A. The Apogee beats it at that in my opinion.
Apogee claiming the converters to be Symphony MK2 level, I would expect as much.
Old 17th October 2020 | Show parent
  #401
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Kay ➡️
I'm expecting (hoping?) that the future updates (firmware/software) add the functionality to the DSP that we are all hoping for.
Have a look at the history of the Element boxes and the FX Rack and Dual Path software.
Apogee FX Rack - Limited Initial Release Now Available

To cut a long story short, promises followed by silence followed by promises followed by delays followed by silence followed by dodgy releases, followed by dropping the Element line. It's about as bad a story as you can hope for outside of a failed kickstarter project. Totally disgraceful. If you still feel confident about upcoming software releases for the Sympohony Desktop after that, I will be impressed with your other-worldly optimism.
Old 18th October 2020
  #402
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Apogee Quartet vs Apogee Symphony Desktop Comparison Classical PIano

Hello
I just got my new Symphony Desktop yesterday and was able to sit down and do a quick comparison with my old Quartet.
I am a classical pianist not a recording engineer so please excuse the buzz and the other noises... wanted to just do a quick and easy recording to compare.
Microphones are Shoeps MK6 Stereo placement about 6 feet above the curve of the piano, no processing, EQ, nor sound treatment was used. Piano is a Kawai RX6 7 foot grand, at my living room which is not the ideal placement for the instrument...
I hope the quality is not too deteriorated in the downgrade to MP3
Very interested in your opinion.
I hear quite an improvement in the quality of the sound, detail, airiness, nuance.
Both recordings done at 192.
Thanks in advance!
David
Attached Files
Old 18th October 2020 | Show parent
  #403
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Took delivery Friday.

First impressions:
  • DSP not yet implemented, This is a colossal disappointment and in my view, "FU," on Apogee's part. I have never owned a piece of Apogee gear before. (Always too expensive for my home studio.) However, based on my extensive research on this unit before I bought it, my understanding of this company is that they were very tightly tied to the professional recording community and a real customer-oriented and -friendly company. What company like that announces a product at Winter NAMM one year (for first quarter delivery) and then finally releases their almost vaporware in the middle of three quarters later. Even if I cut them some slack over the hardware (Covid-19 and all), the software miss is unforgivable. This unit was simply not ready to be, and never should have been, announced and sold when it was (I pre-ordered mine from Sweetwater 4/13).
  • When I am trying to switch between preamp modes, the touch screen sometimes does not respond. I have to exit out of that mode to another and then go back in order to get the touch screen to bring up the list of mic emulations when I press the icon. In my view, another unforgivable fail.
  • Comment following in brackets is my bad. Forgot to check the impedance setting. Noise went away when I set the channel to Lo Z. [I am getting a lot of what I would call "room noise" when I use my Ashton Origin mic (and my Avantone pencil mic I use for acoustic guitar—though not as pronounced with the Avantone). I would characterize this as white noise that sounds like an air conditioner running (though the mini-split unit in my studio is turned off and when I just listen to the room through "naked ears", I can not hear this sound). I have never noticed this sound through the SSL 2+ I have been using while I waited for the Symphony Desktop (as I sold my Focusrite ISA 428 and Manley Variable MU compressor/limiter in anticipation of taking delivery on and using the Symphony Desktop and its DSP processing to do pre-DAW compression). Maybe the Ashton is picking up my refrigerator (which is down a flight of stairs in my kitchen) or the downstairs whole house AC, but I doubt it. Tomorrow, I am going to turn those off and see/hear! BTW, this noise is there in all three mic modes. Anybody have any thought on this noise issue?]
  • Not to pile on, but I found one more thing to hate: If you want to use the front-of-the-unit instrument 1/4" input, you must disconnect the channel 2 XLR from the back of the Symphony Desktop. I don't know about you, but my experience is, the more you connect and disconnect cables, the sooner something breaks—either cable or input jack. Accordingly, I have most things in my studio as permanently connected as possible. For instance, I have an XLR patchbay. I plug mic, etc. cables into that and it is connected to all audio device inputs (like the Symphony Desktop). Lot cheaper to replace the patchbay if an input jacks breaks (like one did last week after many years of use) than an expensive audio device like a preamp, compressor etc. Surely Apogee could have built a sensor in that defeats the channel 2 XLR circuit when a 1/4" cable plugged in.

In sum, as of right now, I am pretty disgusted with this whole $1400 beta-testing experience. I will add more as I work through these various issues. (I will note that I did an on-line chat with Apogee, the gist of which was "Hey, where the hell's the DSP". The rep was very solicitous and very helpful. So at least the Apogee customer care rocks. BTW, he said the DSP stuff will get added via a software update which should be available in a few weeks. We'll see.)

Last edited by rhymedawg; 19th October 2020 at 02:51 PM.. Reason: Added another point/Noted user error on my part
Old 18th October 2020 | Show parent
  #404
Lives for gear
 
DownSideUp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhymedawg ➡️
Took delivery Friday.

First impressions:
  • DSP not yet implemented, This is a colossal disappointment and in my view, "FU," on Apogee's part. I have never owned a piece of Apogee gear before. (Always too expensive for my home studio.) However, based on my extensive research on this unit before I bought it, my understanding of this company is that they were very tightly tied to the professional recording community and a real customer-oriented and -friendly company. What company like that announces a product at Winter NAMM one year (for first quarter delivery) and then finally releases their almost vaporware in the middle of three quarters later. Even if I cut them some slack over the hardware (Covid-19 and all), the software miss is unforgivable. This unit was simply not ready to be, and never should have been, announced and sold when it was (I pre-ordered mine from Sweetwater 4/13).
  • When I am trying to switch between preamp modes, the touch screen sometimes does not respond. I have to exit out of that mode to another and then go back in order to get the touch screen to bring up the list of mic emulations when I press the icon. In my view, another unforgivable fail.
  • I am getting a lot of what I would call "room noise" when I use my Ashton Origin mic (and my Avantone pencil mic I use for acoustic guitar—though not as pronounced with the Avantone). I would characterize this as white noise that sounds like an air conditioner running (though the mini-split unit in my studio is turned off and when I just listen to the room through "naked ears", I can not hear this sound). I have never noticed this sound through the SSL 2+ I have been using while I waited for the Symphony Desktop (as I sold my Focusrite ISA 428 and Manley Variable MU compressor/limiter in anticipation of taking delivery on and using the Symphony Desktop and its DSP processing to do pre-DAW compression). Maybe the Ashton is picking up my refrigerator (which is down a flight of stairs in my kitchen) or the downstairs whole house AC, but I doubt it. Tomorrow, I am going to turn those off and see/hear! BTW, this noise is there in all three mic modes. Anybody have any thought on this noise issue?

In sum, as of right now, I am pretty disgusted with this whole $1400 beta-testing experience. I will add more as I work through these various issues. (I will note that I did an on-line chat with Apogee, the gist of which was "Hey, where the hell's the DSP". The rep was very solicitous and very helpful. So at least the Apogee customer care rocks. BTW, he said the DSP stuff will get added via a software update which should be available in a few weeks. We'll see.)
Sorry for your experience mate, I didn't wait that long or even pre-order, and I quickly went away seeing it wasn't out. Your experience seem frustrating !

"software update should be available in a few weeks" well that might certainly not be 2, but 4, 5 or 10 ? indeed unacceptable.

If you can send it back, I can confirm I got a Metric Halo 3D, they still had an early access price, but they're coming at the end of a solid beta testing. Impressive product, MIO console a la RME, and plugin pack on dsp.

I checked also the Anubis ( being one hour away from the factory- and they had a demo deal) but it's a Ethernet card and has a reputation to have driver problems, a complicated installation process ( some day they will make a USB version and this might be one of the most impressive little interface ever IF drivers are right). And it has no ADAT expandabitliy. Ethernet all the way, extensions and Dante: $$$



Stability, features and a seemless software experience are integral part of audio interface. RME and a few others just rule that game. Pretty sorry for Apogee, I was excited to have a Logic Pro dedicated interface.

good luck with your choice !
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #405
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhymedawg ➡️
Took delivery Friday.
...In sum, as of right now, I am pretty disgusted with this whole $1400 beta-testing experience. I will add more as I work through these various issues. (I will note that I did an on-line chat with Apogee, the gist of which was "Hey, where the hell's the DSP". The rep was very solicitous and very helpful. So at least the Apogee customer care rocks. BTW, he said the DSP stuff will get added via a software update which should be available in a few weeks. We'll see.)
Well this sucks. While waiting for "just another week or so" for months on end, I had to return the Apollo unit I wanted to compare this to. Looks like I should have just kept it.

I'm told the unit is going to ship to me this week. But what happens if the return period ends before the product actually works as advertised?

Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #406
Gear Addict
 
play.exe's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by buddamanix ➡️
Well this sucks. While waiting for "just another week or so" for months on end, I had to return the Apollo unit I wanted to compare this to. Looks like I should have just kept it.

I'm told the unit is going to ship to me this week. But what happens if the return period ends before the product actually works as advertised?


I've been reading about the Apogee Element fiasco with their Dual Path Technology. This seems like history repeating itself. Apogee releases another unfinished product.
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #407
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by play.exe ➡️
I've been reading about the Apogee Element fiasco with their Dual Path Technology. This seems like history repeating itself. Apogee releases another unfinished product.
Element has worked for me for 4+ years with zero problems, not sure why you are bagging Apogee on that one. If this thing (symphony) does work solidly with ios, consider me a buyer. There are no interfaces that sound as good and run on both ios and Mac platforms.
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #408
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play.exe's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by littledoodler ➡️
Element has worked for me for 4+ years with zero problems, not sure why you are bagging Apogee on that one. If this thing (symphony) does work solidly with ios, consider me a buyer. There are no interfaces that sound as good and run on both ios and Mac platforms.
I never said it didn't work.
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #409
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcesarblock ➡️
Hello
I just got my new Symphony Desktop yesterday and was able to sit down and do a quick comparison with my old Quartet.
I am a classical pianist not a recording engineer so please excuse the buzz and the other noises... wanted to just do a quick and easy recording to compare.
Microphones are Shoeps MK6 Stereo placement about 6 feet above the curve of the piano, no processing, EQ, nor sound treatment was used. Piano is a Kawai RX6 7 foot grand, at my living room which is not the ideal placement for the instrument...
I hope the quality is not too deteriorated in the downgrade to MP3
Very interested in your opinion.
I hear quite an improvement in the quality of the sound, detail, airiness, nuance.
Both recordings done at 192.
Thanks in advance!
David
Definitely an upgrade to your Quartet, to my ears. Found myself listening/enjoying your playing more than thinking about the gear after the first 20 seconds. Good purchase!

Folks noting the DSP/Software and shipping delay are duly noted. Agreed, that's wonky.

Looking forward to reactions to the sound, especially compared to comparable desktop interfaces, Apollo, etc. For reference, I currently have an Apollo Twin X and really dig it. Bit the bullet and bought a Symphony 2X6SE a month ago which, as with most things this year, was delayed until this week. Hope it's better than the Desktop! haha...
Old 19th October 2020
  #410
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Outside of the stated problems above, how are the preamps and emulations?
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #411
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Itachi1701 ➡️
PLS compare headphone output power and quality of symphony vs babyface pro! It is important for me. which is louder and more pleasant to listen to? thnx!
I did a comparison of these three:
Apogee Symphony Desktop ("... two completely independent ultra low impedance headphone outputs that are individually routable, equipped with dual-sum ESS DACs. Output power range is tailored to the expected type of headphones: the front panel output can drive virtually any headphones, while the rear panel output is specifically designed for high-efficiency headphones." - 520mW into 30Ohms, 90mW into 600Ohms)
RME Babyface Pro fs (2 dissimilar headphone outs, but on the same D/A and mix, one 90mW, one 60mW)
RME ADI-2 Pro fs (two, independant, identical headphone outputs, each 1500mW per channel. Can also do 2900 mW per channel in balanced mode, combining both headphone outputs, but I didn't do this).

Headphones - AKG550 Mk1 (32 Ohms) and Sennheiser HD650 (300 Ohms).

I tried both headphones in both sockets of both Apogee and Babyface, and in just one socket of the ADI2 (as they are identical in every way).


The caveats here are:
  • I'm old, I can't hear above 13.5KHz.
  • I don't like headphones and rarely use them.
  • This was a subjective test, I have no way of doing a double-blind.
  • My impressions are based on a comparison of what I hear through my speakers (Tannoy Eaton Heritage and Genelec 7070a sub).

The long and the short of it is that the Apogee and the Babyface sound very similar. The AKGs sound a bit harsh but adequately loud through both. The Sennheisers sound smoother and slightly muddy through both. Volume was acceptably loud without distortion on both sets of headphones on both interfaces out of both sockets.
The differences - the Apogee feels like it has more 'in reserve' using the 6.5mm output than the Babyface. But good luck turning the volume up and down with Apogee's nutty volume-control acceleration curve.
At high volumes (the kind you would need when tracking) the AKGs are getting a bit nasty, but it's hard to tell if that's the harsh high frequencies or distortion at high volumes. It's not nice on either. I would feel happier tracking with the Apogee than the Babyface, but there's not a lot in it. I wouldn't want to listen casually to music with either interface, not with either set of headphones.
I made the assumption that all the failings described above were due to the headphones, given how similar the problems were between the two devices (and given the supposed reserves of power on the Apogee) until I tried the ADI2. I'm sorry to say that it made both sets of headphones, but particularly the HD650s sound much more pleasant and controlled and both went louder in a more easy-to-listen to way, which I'm assuming is less distortion.

Just as a final comment, unrelated to the headphone outputs, I tried a recording of a synth using a pair of TS cables (one left, one right) into the Apogee, and had to use the 'instrument' input setting (DI), as the line level setting is only available if you are connected via XLR. It still allowed me to use the mic-pre emulation but I wasn't able to get a good sound; I'm certain this was user error, I simply didn't have the time to get the input and output levels right on the emulation.

Either way, in my case, I value the extra pair of inputs on the Babyface (it has 4 ins). I would prefer it to have a pair of independant headphone outputs like the Apogee does, but I can work round that more easily than the 2 vs 4 inputs.
The sound quality of the Apogee D/A is comparable with the Babyface but the software is unfinished and that bothers me, especially the scrolling, which I can't seem to get right, and the volume-control acceleration. So, even setting aside the lack of Dual Path (onboard EQ/comp/reverb), I'm not happy with the software as it currently stands, and have little or no faith that Apogee will deliver. If they do, then that's good for everyone.

So, I will be sending my Apogee back. Unfortunately, my desire for a single portable box that does everything is once again defeated, primarily by just how awesome the ADI-2 Pro fs is. Taking that out of the equation, I'd be very happy to own the Apogee if I didn't already own the Babyface, but for twice the price (in the UK) it doesn't give me anything I really need.

One further point - someone mentioned that the Apogee is the only device for Mac and iOS. This isn't true - the Babyface has a Class Compliant mode which allows it to be used (with external power) on iOS. And of course it works on MacOS and Windows too.

I didn't get to try the mic pres, and for that I apologise. I'm not really the best person to judge them anyway - I could never hear the differences between Unison pres on the UAD Apollos. Perhaps my lack of high frequency hearing masks the main differences.
Old 19th October 2020
  #412
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjari ➡️
Outside of the stated problems above, how are the preamps and emulations?
The preamps, emulation , and conversion are awesome. Everything I could have wanted and expected.
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #413
Gear Maniac
 
Bosskitty's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcesarblock ➡️
Hello
I just got my new Symphony Desktop yesterday and was able to sit down and do a quick comparison with my old Quartet.
I am a classical pianist not a recording engineer so please excuse the buzz and the other noises... wanted to just do a quick and easy recording to compare.
Microphones are Shoeps MK6 Stereo placement about 6 feet above the curve of the piano, no processing, EQ, nor sound treatment was used. Piano is a Kawai RX6 7 foot grand, at my living room which is not the ideal placement for the instrument...
I hope the quality is not too deteriorated in the downgrade to MP3
Very interested in your opinion.
I hear quite an improvement in the quality of the sound, detail, airiness, nuance.
Both recordings done at 192.
Thanks in advance!
David
Theres a huge volume difference between the two. Cant say I dont like the Symphony regardless of this quip.
Thanks so much for taking the time out to share.
Old 19th October 2020 | Show parent
  #414
Lives for gear
 
DownSideUp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcesarblock ➡️
Hello
I just got my new Symphony Desktop yesterday and was able to sit down and do a quick comparison with my old Quartet.
I am a classical pianist not a recording engineer so please excuse the buzz and the other noises... wanted to just do a quick and easy recording to compare.
Microphones are Shoeps MK6 Stereo placement about 6 feet above the curve of the piano, no processing, EQ, nor sound treatment was used. Piano is a Kawai RX6 7 foot grand, at my living room which is not the ideal placement for the instrument...
I hope the quality is not too deteriorated in the downgrade to MP3
Very interested in your opinion.
I hear quite an improvement in the quality of the sound, detail, airiness, nuance.
Both recordings done at 192.
Thanks in advance!
David
Thanks for that ! could you give a link to download the raw wav files ?

I usually like to blind A/B in my daw. cheers
Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #415
Gear Head
This thing rocks

So, I've been doing a bit of testing on my end.

Symphony Desktop obviously sounds very robust and is a huge improvement to Element 88 and Duet that I've used for years.
One particular improvement that I enjoy very much is the headphone outputs. It is so brutally honest that when I listen back to my mixes done with Duet and Element, I can't help but cringe and throw up hahaha.
At first, I thought this was just wrong, so I checked my reference tracks, and they sound just as good, if not better.

I have tried all three preamps (Symphony, Neve, and Ampex).
They are very different, but I like all three. I've been pushing them to the extremes to get the most dramatic sound I can get from them.

Attached is a short clip I recorded with Symphony Desktop's two mic inputs - through the Neve preamp emulation.
I typically have a kick mic and an overhead for two mic drum recordings (thanks to Bob Clearmountain & Matt Chamberlain for this amazing video)

But this time I wanted to try a fancy mic.
I put Royer SF12 (stereo ribbon) between ride cymbal and kick, pointing towards snare (note that SF12 has a symmetrical figure-8 pattern, so it's picking up a lot from its sides).
After that, I tried my best to make push the audio to the extreme and make it sound "competent" enough for pop release.

I've been very much enjoying the unit, the touch screen works very well, and I really really dig the headphone outputs!
Attached Files

Audio 1_01.wav (15.36 MB, 2791 views)

Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #416
Lives for gear
 
MichaelDroste's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Very nice thanks for sharing
Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #417
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by etorfox1 ➡️
So, I've been doing a bit of testing on my end.

Symphony Desktop obviously sounds very robust and is a huge improvement to Element 88 and Duet that I've used for years.
One particular improvement that I enjoy very much is the headphone outputs. It is so brutally honest that when I listen back to my mixes done with Duet and Element, I can't help but cringe and throw up hahaha.
At first, I thought this was just wrong, so I checked my reference tracks, and they sound just as good, if not better.

I have tried all three preamps (Symphony, Neve, and Ampex).
They are very different, but I like all three. I've been pushing them to the extremes to get the most dramatic sound I can get from them.

Attached is a short clip I recorded with Symphony Desktop's two mic inputs - through the Neve preamp emulation.
I typically have a kick mic and an overhead for two mic drum recordings (thanks to Bob Clearmountain & Matt Chamberlain for this amazing video)

But this time I wanted to try a fancy mic.
I put Royer SF12 (stereo ribbon) between ride cymbal and kick, pointing towards snare (note that SF12 has a symmetrical figure-8 pattern, so it's picking up a lot from its sides).
After that, I tried my best to make push the audio to the extreme and make it sound "competent" enough for pop release.

I've been very much enjoying the unit, the touch screen works very well, and I really really dig the headphone outputs!
what cymbals are you using? i ask because that sounds great. everything does
Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #418
So close to just getting the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R. I was mad hyped about the Symphony Desktop because I use Logic extensively (studio to live shows with FX). So far the consensus seems to be a disappointment...

I have a few months until I take my shot and get an upgraded interface. If Apogee doesn't fix all bugs and make the Symphony Desktop to the best it can be, it's RME time for me
Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #419
Here for the gear
 
https://youtu.be/U-uaZaf7CNM

Unboxing video

https://youtu.be/YQcfNCf0j3I

”First look” video
Old 20th October 2020 | Show parent
  #420
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faceless98 ➡️
So close to just getting the RME ADI-2 Pro FS R. I was mad hyped about the Symphony Desktop because I use Logic extensively (studio to live shows with FX). So far the consensus seems to be a disappointment...

I have a few months until I take my shot and get an upgraded interface. If Apogee doesn't fix all bugs and make the Symphony Desktop to the best it can be, it's RME time for me
You shouldn't think of these two interfaces as equivalent, functionally.
The ADI-2 Pro, critically, has no internal DSP mixer, and Matthias at RME has made it very clear that it never will. This means that input to output latency is always going to be much higher than the Apogee (or something like the Babyface). Secondly, the ADI-2 Pro has no mic pres.

Dominic
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