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UA Apollo or a Mixer with FireWire?
Old 10th September 2012
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
UA Apollo or a Mixer with FireWire?

Hi al,

I am setting up a home studio for myself and would like to know which would be the best option to go.
I was told by a sales engineer in a local shop that I could go with an interface like Apollo Duo which will be a great combination with my Logic Pro and its mixer while I will use a controller (maybe my iPad).
Before buying the Apollo, I wanted to make sure if that would be the best option for me to go ahead. Because I could also buy an Mackie Onyx-i series mixer with the FireWire which would do the same (?) I suppose.

Could someone please give me some advice?

Cheers
Old 10th September 2012
  #2
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Do you want an analogue mixer, or do you want to work ITB?
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
Do you want an analogue mixer, or do you want to work ITB?
Mate,
I haven't had any digitals in the past and I'm only relying on your comments.
I think analogue is easier... coz everything is handy (?) and also cheaper.

The Apollo will cost me around $2200; but I'm not 100% sure if I should spend that much or not. Maybe this Apollo is a great thing to have and if you experts agree onthis, then I will buy it!!
And if you think a mixer would do a better job and etc... I am keen to know.

Cheers
Old 10th September 2012
  #4
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Enlightened Hand's Avatar
 
16 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
It really depends on what you want to do specifically. "Is 'x' a good way to go?" is only answerable if you specify what exactly you'll be doing with it. Yeah, you can have a rig with an Apollo or whatever, or you can have a rig with just a FireWire mixer to a computer and DAW. But deciding which is right for your situation is all about the specifics.

For the record, the FireWire mixers don't exactly do the same things as an audio interface, with DSP built in (such as the Apollo). Sure, you can record with both and get some of the same kinds of things done. But the working method will be different and what you perceive as the unique advantages vary depending on your preferences.

What are you most likely to record? How will you be mixing? What workflow do you prefer to commit to?
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enlightened Hand ➑️
It really depends on what you want to do specifically. "Is 'x' a good way to go?" is only answerable if you specify what exactly you'll be doing with it. Yeah, you can have a rig with an Apollo or whatever, or you can have a rig with just a FireWire mixer to a computer and DAW. But deciding which is right for your situation is all about the specifics.

For the record, the FireWire mixers don't exactly do the same things as an audio interface, with DSP built in (such as the Apollo). Sure, you can record with both and get some of the same kinds of things done. But the working method will be different and what you perceive as the unique advantages vary depending on your preferences.

What are you most likely to record? How will you be mixing? What workflow do you prefer to commit to?
I have a music band which gig every now and then. I'm also building my home studio for my music recordings and productions in the future. I want to buy something which is going to be an investment and would last long enough to do the job.
By sounds of it you would recommend the audio interface rather than the mixer, am I right?

Cheers
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shahab ➑️
Mate,
I haven't had any digitals in the past and I'm only relying on your comments.
I think analogue is easier... coz everything is handy (?) and also cheaper.

The Apollo will cost me around $2200; but I'm not 100% sure if I should spend that much or not. Maybe this Apollo is a great thing to have and if you experts agree onthis, then I will buy it!!
And if you think a mixer would do a better job and etc... I am keen to know.

Cheers
The Mackie is more useful in other areas (you can use it as a standalone mixer for example, for gigs if you really wanted to) and it will mean you can "mix" using board EQ and faders, but in other ways it's a hindrance; you really need outboard compression and FX to properly "mix" this way (otherwise you're just EQing stems) and overall, the preamps and conversion will most likely be not as good as the Apollo (by reputation - I've not used the Apollo, although Mackie preamps are OK but nothing amazing).

My personal vote would be for the apollo if the choice is only between those 2, but I'm happy mixing with a mouse, I like hybrid working because I like recalls, and I don't like working on low end consoles. There are plenty of other options that are more "like for like" comparison with the Apollo, albeit without the built in plugins, over a wide price range. Including the Mackie Blackbird (Mackie pres and conversion without the desk).
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Enlightened Hand's Avatar
 
16 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shahab ➑️
I have a music band which gig every now and then. I'm also building my home studio for my music recordings and productions in the future. I want to buy something which is going to be an investment and would last long enough to do the job.
By sounds of it you would recommend the audio interface rather than the mixer, am I right?

Cheers
If you intend to gig with your band and use your own mixer to run your own sound from, then it might be the best idea for you to simply buy a FireWire mixer like the Mackie and use that. I don't necessarily advocate one course of action over the other. I have no idea what you'll like and how exactly you'll be working.

In general, an audio interface is a good idea if you're recording in a fixed installation. But it can also be useful for recording on the go, if you have your rig racked in cases and ready to pack at a moment's notice. But in general, they are not the best tools for running live sound through. If you want to run live sound, then you'll probably want a mixer, and a PA system, to work with.

Questions of reliability and/or longevity don't necessarily factor into the decision of either choosing an audio interface or a mixer. It depends on the quality of the specific products you choose. Nobody can say for certain that the Apollo is any good for longevity, even though it has been designed by a company with a good reputation for having quality products. The Mackie Onyx mixers have been around for several years and they are known to be relatively reliable. So if that's your biggest concern then perhaps that's the direction you might lean towards.
Old 11th September 2012
  #8
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RightOnRome's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
i have had a mackie onyx 1640 with card and it was awesome but i sold it to get a prosonus16.4.2 and it blows it out of the water..
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
The Mackie is more useful in other areas (you can use it as a standalone mixer for example, for gigs if you really wanted to) and it will mean you can "mix" using board EQ and faders, but in other ways it's a hindrance; you really need outboard compression and FX to properly "mix" this way (otherwise you're just EQing stems) and overall, the preamps and conversion will most likely be not as good as the Apollo (by reputation - I've not used the Apollo, although Mackie preamps are OK but nothing amazing).

My personal vote would be for the apollo if the choice is only between those 2, but I'm happy mixing with a mouse, I like hybrid working because I like recalls, and I don't like working on low end consoles. There are plenty of other options that are more "like for like" comparison with the Apollo, albeit without the built in plugins, over a wide price range. Including the Mackie Blackbird (Mackie pres and conversion without the desk).
Ok,

I'm more comfortable with an interface coz I can always hire a mixer for our gig's.
But would Apollo be the one to go with? The reason asking is because I live in Perth, Western Australia where the next civilisation is 4 hours flight and the variety of stock in shops is not as much.

What else I could consider? I mean other brands...

Cheers
Old 11th September 2012
  #10
Gear Addict
 
TexaCali's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Lots of options here, and you are getting some good advice from the above. Before you just plop down your hard earned cash based on what someone said, you owe it to yourself to get educated on the different possible paths and choose the one that is right for you.

ITB potentially gives you the smallest footprint, 100% recall, and great flexibility, but it ties you to the mouse and may be harder to get the sound you want. OTB is going to take a lot more gear if done right, makes recall more involved (may or may not matter), but may (or may not) give you a quicker path to the sound you want.

Live sound is another story. The Mackie could be used for live sound, and for recording you could use it just as an interface (but it doesn't come with the plug-ins the Apollo does) or to mix OTB (but you would still require compressors, reverbs, etc).

Personally, I don't think the Mackie is the best choice for live sound or for recording (either ITB or OTB). The Prosonus Studio Live (mentioned above) is a great live board (built in effects and you can recall the settings if you play the same place again), and a decent recording board (though I wouldn't use the effects for studio work). Another option is the Allen & Heath Zed R16. This is better recording board than the Studio Live, but not quite as useful for live sound (though perfectly usable).

Of course if you are adventurous, you could even use the Apollo for live. Search around and you will find a growing number of people who's live PA consists of an audio interface and their DAW! There are lots of potential pit falls here, but I've seen several reports of people having good results with this approach.

Nothing says you can't get a great interface (like the Apollo) and latter add an analog board and outboard gear to mix OTB (while still using your Apollo for conversion and some ITB plugs), or get a firewire board and only use it for an interface and live sound while mixing ITB. It all comes down to want works best for you.
Old 11th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by shahab ➑️
Ok,

I'm more comfortable with an interface coz I can always hire a mixer for our gig's.
But would Apollo be the one to go with? The reason asking is because I live in Perth, Western Australia where the next civilisation is 4 hours flight and the variety of stock in shops is not as much.

What else I could consider? I mean other brands...

Cheers
I wouldn't take out my studio gear to a live gig either.

Other options? about a million choices depending on what you want to spend.

Decide how many IO you want; check out models from RME, MOTU, Focusrite, Lynx, Apogee, Prism, Mackie, and anything else you see in webstores under the "interface" list. Compare reviews. See which is suitable for you. Double check here by SEARCHING to make sure you're not looking at a lemon. THEN ask for further opinions if you're still not satisfied.

Or - ask a local pro audio store. Assuming Perth is on the phone system, there must be someone in Aus! Or hire a consultant
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