Universal Audio just announced two new desktop audio interfaces for music production: the Apollo X Twin and Apollo X4. Both interfaces allow you to access the world of Universal Audio powered plugins called UAD plugins, which are extremely detailed software plugin emulations of iconic vintage recording and production hardware. In short, you’re able to get pro studio sound in your DAW at a fraction of the cost.
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The Apollo X Twin is the latest version of the Apollo Twin interface (now on its third iteration) and it features two combo mic/line input preamps that are Unison-enabled. That means you can use plugin emulations of vintage preamps from studio greats like Neve, API and SSL, giving you the sound of legendary consoles without taking out a second mortgage. It’s also got a Hi-Z input in the front for connecting a guitar, a 1/4″ headphone jack, a pair of 1/4″ line out jacks, and 1/4″ monitor outputs for hooking up your speakers.
The Apollo X4 doubles the connectivity of the Apollo X Twin by having four Unison mic/line preamps, two pairs of line out jacks, two Hi-Z guitar inputs and two headphone output jacks.
Both Apollo interfaces feature an endless rotary encoder knob on their faces for controlling volume output and input levels, plus buttons for toggling settings on and off as well as monitor sources.
We’re massive fans of Universal Audio interfaces and UAD plugins: my first encounter with the UAD system was way back in 2009 when I was still running my recording studio full time. It was a way for me to add some analogue heat in my productions across multiple channels without going broke. Fast forward to today: we’ve reviewed the Apollo Arrow, used the Apollo Twin for years (it’s our go-to monitor controller and portable interface), and have since been using the Apollo X6 exclusively here at our DDJT production lab.
Who’s it for?
The Apollo X Twin will be enticing for bedroom producers looking to step up their game and want a foot in the UAD door, while the Apollo X4 will be for home studio owners who are interested in tracking larger, more advanced projects, or for those with an extensive hardware synth collection and want them hooked up and ready to go.
These interfaces are not cheap, and the plugins can be pricey, but you do get what you pay for (sound quality, reliability) and you don’t need to buy them all: even just using the stock plugins included in the Realtime Analog Classics Plus is enough to add some warmth and analogue character to your productions. By the way, the bundle includes the LA-2A, 1176 and Fairchild 670 compressors, the hardware versions of which cost over US$2000 (and more if you’re buying vintage).
Check out the promo videos and photo gallery below.
• The Apollo X Twin comes in at $899 (Duo core processing) and $1399 (Quad core), and the Apollo X4 at $1799. Check the Universal Audio site for more details.
What interface do you use for producing at home? Want to add one of these to your set-up? Let us know below.