Universal Audio Apollo SeriesBuying Guide

Explore the different versions, variations, and feature sets of Universal Audio's mega-popular Apollo series of audio interfaces.

Universal Audio's Apollo Series of audio interfaces has become an industry standard for professional engineers and home recording enthusiasts alike because they're easy to use, sleek, and absolutely feature-packed. And with so many models in the series available at a variety of price points with varying feature sets, any engineer can find the perfect audio interface to suit their individual needs.

Before you buy, though, there are a few things worth considering that can help you make the right decision. Read below for more information and to see each of the lines in the Apollo Series.

What to Consider Before You Buy

Version

  • Universal Audio is now on its third iteration of the Apollo series, the Apollo X line. Setting the Apollo X line apart from its predecessors—the original Apollo series (Silver) and the MKII Apollos (Black)—isn't just the models' new dark charcoal color. The Apollo X line also has UAD-2 HEXA DSP, allowing you to power a higher count of UAD plugins simultaneously in your DAW. Additionally, the models also employ lightning-fast Thunderbolt 3 connectivity that can be used universally with both Mac and PC operating systems, upgraded A/D conversion, slightly larger dynamic range, and native surround capability.

  • That said, the original silver Apollo series and the black Apollo MKII series are both still stellar options and fantastic-sounding interfaces, and may even be a better choice for you if you're on a tighter budget or working on a computer that only has USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt 2 connectivity available.

Number of Inputs & Outputs

  • Are you a singer/songwriter that only needs a couple inputs and a few outputs? Perhaps you're only looking to mix your tracks using your Apollo? The Apollo Twin series is clearly the choice for you. Are you a drummer looking to track a full drum kit using multiple mics? Then it may be worth shopping around for an 8p or x8p, which boast 8 mic preamps in a single, 1U rack space.

  • It's also worth noting that you can daisy-chain multiple Apollo units together and use their combined number of inputs and outputs to increase your number of available channels. Want to record a full live band? If you grab two 8p or x8p units, for example, you'll have a whopping 16 inputs with 16 mic preamps to work with.

A look at the Apollo Series specs.

SOLO, DUO, QUAD, or HEXA?

  • One of the many reasons so many engineers, producers, studios, and musicians are moving toward the Apollo series is Universal Audio's extensive collection of plugins that have been meticulously modeled after studio gear that most engineers can only dream of owning. In the UAD world, SOLO, DUO, QUAD, and HEXA refer to the amount of DSP processors that each interface contains. SOLO is one, DUO is two, and so on.

  • But no worries—if you buy an Apollo interface and want to add more DSP power later, you can always add a UAD-2 Satellite unit to your rig in order to expand it.

Do you need Mic Preamps?

  • Many engineers have mic preamps and outboard gear that they already intimately know and love using. In this case, it'd be best to opt for either the Apollo 16 or x16.

  • However, for those looking to expand their available number of mic preamps, harness the power of Universal Audio's extensive collection of renowned mic preamp emulations, add Hi-Z instrument inputs and headphone outputs to their rig, or simply for an entire recording setup in one box, it may be better to shop around for another option in the vast array of available Apollo units. Whatever your needs are, there truly is an Apollo interface that's perfect for you.

The Apollo Twin

For the engineer on the go.

This series of endlessly popular Apollo desktop units are packed with all of the features that an on-the-go engineer, producer or musician could ever need.

Two solid mic preamps allow you to capture your ideas anywhere you may find yourself demoing new tunes, and onboard UAD-2 QUAD, DUO, or SOLO Core processing allows mix engineers to use their UAD-powered plugins at their kitchen counter, in their hotel rooms, or on a plane headed home for the holidays.

The Apollo 8, 8p, x6, x8 and x8p

Full-featured recording machines in 1U rack spaces.

Designed to be an entire studio in a box, these full-featured rackmounted (1U rack space) Apollo interfaces are the perfect solution for anybody looking for a one-stop-shop for capturing their music.

Each variation in this series has a slightly different feature set, with the main differences being in the number of Unison-enabled mic preamps, I/O, and the amount of UAD-2 DSP processing power. But all of them come with at least some mic preamps, Hi-Z instrument inputs, headphone jacks, comprehensive input and output metering, and a super-satisfying, stepped monitor volume control conveniently located on the front panel.

The Apollo 16 and x16

Large-format I/O for pro studios, serious enthusiasts, and outboard gear collectors.

The name of the game here is I/O. Boasting a whopping 16 analog inputs and 16 analog outputs in a single 1U, 19-inch rack space, the Apollo 16 and Apollo x16 are wildly popular—especially with larger recording studios looking to harness the power of Universal Audio's pristine A/D and D/A conversion for getting the most out of their outboard mic preamps, compressors, EQs and large-format recording consoles.

The 16 and x16 are the perfect solution for any engineer who already has mic preamps and headphone monitoring setups, and doesn't necessarily need those features from their interface.

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Editorial content by Matt Jordan