How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

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DVISN
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How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by DVISN » Sat Sep 06, 2014 12:17 am

Hi There,

Have a Scarlett 212 interface right now, and am thinking about getting an Apollo. I hear the effects/plugins are pretty top notch. Just curious if any of you have any experience w/ one or the like, and if it's worth the purchase? Also, how much better is an apollo over using aftermarket plugins directly in Ableton?

Cheers!

taoyoyo
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by taoyoyo » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:50 pm

I bought an Apollo Twin Duo in March and love it. A quality unit and great for zero-latency audio recording (you monitor the recorded signal through the UAD software itself, not Live's audio channel)

As far as plugins go, it is easy to max out the CPU on the Duo with only a few choice plugins active (Lexicon Reverb, Roland Space Echo for example) so if you were looking to use a lot of UAD plug-ins in a session you would need to consider the Apollo Quad. It's nice to be able to offload some CPU onto the Twin and free-up some in Live though.

Quality of the plug-in sounds is (mostly) great (there are a few duds) and it can be a bottomless pit if you're not careful (they're generally more expensive than VSTs although they do have good sales twice a year)... best to demo thoroughly before buying any UAD plug-ins (you get a 14-day trial of them all each time you purchase a new plug-in).

Hope this helps.
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dewaldo
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by dewaldo » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:26 pm

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Last edited by dewaldo on Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

DVISN
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by DVISN » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:33 pm

dewaldo wrote:I have an Apollo Twin Duo and have mixed feelings. The preamps are very good, and live zero latency recording is nice. But i absolutely despise UAD plugins. Each UAD plugin you add as an insert to your session adds ~3-4ms of input delay (perhaps more if it is a processor intensive plugin). That just doesn't work if you are producing and mixing at the same time (which I do). Not to mention the fact that you will literally go broke if you like their plugins. I really don't understand the 'magic' that people ascribe to their plugins. If you know how to use stock ableton plugins and perhaps a few third party plugins, I have no doubt that you can accomplish the exact same thing as what you can with a UAD plugin.

Cool... thanks for that reply. Very informative. Any solutions outside of a UAD interface that will cover the zero latency issue? Im still at 4ms at 128. drives me nuts!

dewaldo
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by dewaldo » Sun Sep 07, 2014 4:19 am

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Last edited by dewaldo on Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

DVISN
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by DVISN » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:02 pm

dewaldo wrote:for live tracking of raw vocals/guitar with sub 2ms (essentially zero) latency, the uad apollo works great. I use mine for that purpose. but as another poster said you are basically tracking through apollo software, not ableton. this allows you to track and apply uad plugin effects 'live' with no delay. but this means you have to pretty much 'print' the effects you apply when you track live, once they make their way into ableton they will already have the effect on them. and it also means you can only track through UAD plugins to get that sub-2ms latency. if you have any ableton or vsts you like to track through (ie reverbs delays), forget about tracking at sub-2ms latency with those. just doesn't work. also if you want to apply UAD effects after you record (ie as inserts) forget about it, you will destroy your projects latency, all future inputs (ie midi) will be delayed by 3ms x number of UAD plugin instances.

I like my apollo for what it is: a high quality, nice sounding interface with good preamps and nice knobs. it's also good to track live vocals and guitar with, assuming you are recording with no effects. but it just isn't a great mixing solution due to the delay UaD plugins add (unless your job is literally a mixing engineer and latency doesn't matter). hope this helps man.
thx dewaldo! appreciate the help a lot. Also, didn't realize that UAD effects are applied as you record things into the actual set... so they don't actually act as native plugins in that you can change the effects down the line? E.g. if I was using a UAD reverb, could i turn it down later? I'm assuming the controls are virtual, no?

jlgrimes
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:33 am

Apollo has some great plug-ins.

In particular Apollo has great compressors and tape sims. Their preamp emulations are cutting edge. They make top notch effects.

That said Apollo is an expensive investment. Expensive hardware, expensive plugins, and high DSP use on the newer plugins.

Get a Quad card if you can afford it. Apollos IMO are more designed to complement native plugins not really replace them.

Also for a lot of their older plugins, a lot of native stuff IMO has surpassed them, but their stuff made from the last 5 years or so are usually top rated stuff.

jlgrimes
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Re: How good is an Apollo for Effects/Plugins?

Post by jlgrimes » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:36 am

DVISN wrote:
dewaldo wrote:for live tracking of raw vocals/guitar with sub 2ms (essentially zero) latency, the uad apollo works great. I use mine for that purpose. but as another poster said you are basically tracking through apollo software, not ableton. this allows you to track and apply uad plugin effects 'live' with no delay. but this means you have to pretty much 'print' the effects you apply when you track live, once they make their way into ableton they will already have the effect on them. and it also means you can only track through UAD plugins to get that sub-2ms latency. if you have any ableton or vsts you like to track through (ie reverbs delays), forget about tracking at sub-2ms latency with those. just doesn't work. also if you want to apply UAD effects after you record (ie as inserts) forget about it, you will destroy your projects latency, all future inputs (ie midi) will be delayed by 3ms x number of UAD plugin instances.

I like my apollo for what it is: a high quality, nice sounding interface with good preamps and nice knobs. it's also good to track live vocals and guitar with, assuming you are recording with no effects. but it just isn't a great mixing solution due to the delay UaD plugins add (unless your job is literally a mixing engineer and latency doesn't matter). hope this helps man.
thx dewaldo! appreciate the help a lot. Also, didn't realize that UAD effects are applied as you record things into the actual set... so they don't actually act as native plugins in that you can change the effects down the line? E.g. if I was using a UAD reverb, could i turn it down later? I'm assuming the controls are virtual, no?
Actually their plugins can be used in the DAW as well. It does add latency but if u go Thunderbolt latency isn't too bad. I get a little under 10 ms roundtrip at 48 k with Thunderbolt and I have no issues playing softsynths in realtime.

Some native plugins add just as much latency and some natives add even more (eg a lot of Izotope stuff adds huge latency too projects).

A lot of latency comes from up sampling and lookahead. Most newer UAD stuff up samples to 192k. Some native stuff can go higher.

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