Apogee Ensemble 30x34 Thunderbolt 2 Interface  From Apogee

The Ensemble Reborn with significantly better converters and Thunderbolt 2 Performance! 

Apogee Digital

$2,495.00

Retail:  $2,595.00

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What We Think

Apogee has taken the best innovations from their flagship Symphony system all the way down to the Jam (guitar DI interface) and combined them into the new 2014 Ensemble Thunderbolt 2 interface. I was a bit reticent about this interface because I was a little disappointed in the first Ensemble model Apogee released back in 2008. It just didn't have the world-class sound that I expect from an Apogee product. Thankfully this new iteration does not disappoint! They added four more mic pres (eight in all) and Thunderbolt interfacing to stay on the competitive edge, but most importantly the converters have that super open, detailed sound that has made Apogee the industry leader in converter technology.

 

When layering multiple tracks it really becomes apparent how detailed and gorgeous these converters sound. Adding a quality to my signal that is barely detectable in a single recorded track but is something I feel like I can now not live without when I hear multiple tracks mixed together.

 

This unit is packed with tons of useful consumer level features but is also the absolute closest thing I’ve heard to achieving that elusive “world-class” depth and detail that was previously only available in the Symphony systems. The best Apogee converters have a subtle, sweet coloration that is ever present and this new Ensemble has that along with the depth and dimensionality that solidifies it as the current best-in-class Thunderbolt interface.

 

Apogee Ensemble 30x34 Thunderbolt 2 Interface - Quick n’ Dirty

The Apogee Ensemble 30x34Thunderbolt 2 Interface is best-in-class and cutting-edge Apogee technology. With components carefully selected in critical listening tests and a highly efficient circuit design, Ensemble was built by Apogee engineers to make a difference you can hear. The Ensemble is available for SoundPure's Try-Before-You-Buy Program, so if you want to hear how it sounds with your gear, shoot us an email at ProAudio@SoundPure.com or call us anytime at 919.682.5552. Thanks for watching!

  • Signal Chain
    • Apogee Ensemble 30x34 Thunderbolt 2 Interface

Manufacturer's Description from Apogee

True Thunderbolt Performance
 
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 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*, 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.
 
* 96kHz / 32 buffer setting
 
Devours Bits, Sips CPU
 
Ensemble’s custom driver includes two innovative features to maximize 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 Thunderbolt™ 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.
 
A Difference You Will Hear
 
Apogee is an award-winning industry leader in digital recording technology with over 25 years of experience. Preferred by recording pros around the world, Apogee products like Duet, Quartet, the original Ensemble and Symphony I/O have been instrumental in creating countless GRAMMY® and OSCAR® winning recordings and have set the industry standard in professional recording for over two decades. Ensemble is built solidly on this reputation.From the mic preamps to the AD/DA converters and the clocking, Ensemble is best-in-class and cutting-edge Apogee technology. With components carefully selected in critical listening tests and a highly efficient circuit design, Ensemble was built by Apogee engineers to make a difference you can hear.
 
Measurably Superior A/D Conversion
 
Ensemble’s analog-to-digital conversion stage has been upgraded from previous generations of Apogee products such as Duet and Quartet to provide greater dynamic range, lower distortion and an almost non-existent noise level.
 
Dynamically Optimized Mic Preamps
 
Ensemble’s 8 uniquely designed mic preamps feature Apogee’s Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture™, in which the circuit is dynamically optimized 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.
 
ESS Sabre32 DAC Technology
 
ESS Sabre32 32-bit Hyperstream DAC with Time Domain Jitter Eliminator offers unequalled dynamic range, ultra low distortion, and unmatched audio clarity free from input jitter.
 
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 Cascaded power supply.
 
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 analog design prevents the digital clipping that causes distortion by instantaneously rounding off transient peaks before they hit the analog-to-digital converter. Soft Limit allows several more decibels of apparent level to be recorded while subtly providing an analog tape-like warmth to the sound.
 

Buy Apogee. Save Big on Waves Plugins!

Audio professionals and artists have chosen Apogee and Waves products to make countless hit recordings. Now when you buy Apogee ONE, Duet, Quartet or Ensemble, you also receive a discount code good for 25% off a single plugin or 35% off any Waves bundle plus an additional $100 voucher* that can be used towards your next Waves plugin purchase. These offers can be applied to any special deals from Waves, giving you the ability to save up to thousands of dollars. Apogee and Waves provide industry standard tools for recording, mixing and mastering audio and offer everything you need to complete your project on Mac, no matter what recording software you use.

Waves plugins are incredibly CPU efficient, allowing you to harness the power of your Mac to run more plugins at lower buffer sizes while still maintaining low latency monitoring through your Apogee audio interface. Apogee’s measurably superior mic preamps and transparent AD/DA conversion lets you get the best possible quality from your Waves plugins. With an open native platform and recording software like Logic Pro X, you are free to expand your studio capabilities by adding more plugins from any manufacturer.

Apogee Digital

About Manufacturer

Apogee was founded in 1985 and initially made its name designing filters. Later, Apogee's complete conversion systems pushed the envelope of digital audio quality and solved many of the early problems with digital audio technology. Apogee converters have become regarded as the reference standard for digital audio conversion. Products such as the award-winning Rosetta 800, AD16x and DA16x  have become the modern benchmark by which digital audio conversion is judged. A new generation of Apogee products including the revolutionary Symphony I/O, with its modular design and flexible connectivity,  promise to extend the Apogee legacy and further advance the art of digital audio.

Specifications

System Requirements

Mac OS:

  • 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
Compatible Software:
  • Any Mac Core Audio compatible application
  • Recommended apps: Logic, Pro Tools, GarageBand, MainStage, Final Cut, Ableton Live, Digital Performer, Studio One, Cubase, and Nuendo

Features:

  • Thunderbolt 2 Mac audio interface
  • Analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) for recording up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Proprietary Thunderbolt audio driver and ESS Sabre32 DAC offer full 32-bit playback
  • Groundbreaking low latency performance
  • Core Audio-optimized hardware engine frees your Mac CPU
  • 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:
  • Talkback mic (built-in or external)
  • Output settings such as speaker set selection, mute, dim, sum to mono Complete input/output control with Apogee’s Maestro software
  • Works with Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton and any Core Audio compliant app on Mac
  • Designed in California – Assembled in the U.S.A.

Analog Inputs:

  • 4 Combi mic/line/instrument inputs
  • 2 1/4″ balanced analog inserts
  • 4 XLR mic/line inputs
  • 2 1/4″ hi-z guitar/instrument inputs with Class-A JFET input stage

 Digital Inputs:

  • Optical IN: Supports ADAT, SMUX & S/PDIF
  • ADAT: 16 channels 44.1-48 kHz on 2 Toslink connectors
  • SMUX: 8 channels 88.2-96 kHz on 2 Toslink connectors
  • S/PDIF: 4 channels, up to 96 kHz on 2 Toslink connectors
  • Coax IN: 2 channels of S/PDIF, up to 192 kHz on 1 RCA connector
  • Word clock input on BNC connector

 Built-in Microphone:

  • Mono omnidirectional condensor capsule on front panel

Mic Preamps:

  • 8 Mic preamps
  • Gain: Up to 75 dB and advanced stepped gain circuit design
  • Selectable 48v phantom power, hi-pass filter, Soft Limit ̈ and polarity invert
  • EIN: 129dB (un-weighted) @ 60dB, 150Ohm input
  • Max input level: +20dBu
  • Input impedance: 3K Ohm

Hi-Z:

  • Max input level 14 dBu
  • Input impedance: >2MOhm

Analog Outputs:

  • 2 1/4″ balanced monitor outputs
  • 8 balanced outputs on 1 DSUB 25-pin connector
  • 2 independent 1/4″ stereo headphone outputs
  • 2 1/4″ dual-mode guitar/instrument outputs

Digital Outputs:

  • Optical OUT: Supports ADAT, SMUX & S/PDIF
  • ADAT: 16 channels 44.1-48 kHz on 2 Toslink connectors
  • SMUX: 8 channels 88.2-96 kHz on 2 Toslink connectors
  • S/PDIF: 4 channels, up to 96 kHz on 2 Toslink connectors
  • Coax OUT: 2 channels of S/PDIF, up to 192 kHz on 1 RCA connector
  • Word clock output on BNC connector

A/D conversion:

  • Max input level (+4dBu ref/Mic): +20dBu
  • Max input level (-10dBV ref): +6dBV
  • Input impedance: 5KOhm
  • Freq resp 20 Hz -20Khz: > +/-0.2dB (@44.1Khz)
  • Rel. THD + N: -110dB (@ 96Khz)
  • Dyn. Range: 119dB (A-weighted)

D/A conversion:

  • Max output level (+4dBu ref): +20dBu
  • Max output level (-10dBV ref): +6dBV
  • Line output impedance: 90 Ohm
  • Freq resp 20Hz -20 Khz: > +/- 0.05dB (@44.1Khz)
  • Rel. THD+N : -114dB (@96Khz)
  • Dyn Range: 123dB (A-weighted)
  • Front panel Guitar Output: impedance balanced/max level 14 dBu
  • Max output level headphones: 19dBu
  • Rel THD + N into 600 Ohm: -109dB
  • Dyn Range: 120dB (A-weighted)

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Thunderbolt Ensemble Highlights