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Universal Audio Apollo Now Shipping: Audio Interface With Real-Time UAD Processing

Now shipping from Universal Audio (UA), the Apollo is a high-resolution audio interface that combines UA’s analog design with UAD Powered Plug-Ins in one compact recording system for Mac and soon, Windows. Universal Audio first announced the audio interface at Winter NAMM 2012. The company is currently showing the Apollo at Musikmesse 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Apollo features top-notch sound quality, low-latency recording through UAD Powered Plug-Ins, optional Thunderbolt I/O, and much more. With the Apollo, music producers and performers can track through UAD Powered Plug-Ins in real-time, via a professional 18 x 24 FireWire / Thunderbolt-ready audio interface that delivers 24-bit,192 kHz sound quality.

The audio interface features high-end mic preamps and converters to deliver the lowest THD and highest dynamic range in its class, according to UA. The unit's Core Audio and ASIO drivers ensure compatibility with all major DAWs, including Avid Pro Tools, Apple Logic Pro, Steinberg Cubase, Ableton Live, and more.

How the Apollo differs from other audio interfaces is its onboard UAD-2 DSP Acceleration -- processing that allows for recording through UAD-2 Powered Plug-Ins, with nearly instant sub-2 ms latency, allowing one to monitor, audition, and “print” audio using a wide range of analog emulation plugins from Ampex, Lexicon, Manley, Neve, Roland, SSL, Studer, and more. The onboard UAD-2 processors are also available for mixing and mastering, offloading processing from the host computer.

The Apollo is compatible with Intel’s new Thunderbolt technology, as found on the latest iMacs, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs. Available via a user-installable Thunderbolt Option Card (sold separately), Thunderbolt provides lower latency, reduced audio buffer size, improved performance at high sample rates, and greater UAD plugin instances versus FireWire.

Dedicated front-panel controls are present for the most common features, including preamp gain, channel selection, mic pad, +48V phantom power, low cut, monitor level, and dual headphone controls.

The Apollo interface’s connectivity includes four digitally controlled analog mic preamps, eight balanced line inputs and outputs, dual front-panel JFET DIs, digitally-controlled analog monitor outputs, eight channels of ADAT, two channels of S/PDIF, word clock I/O, FireWire 800 (standard), and a Thunderbolt expansion bay.

“Apollo is the culmination of 10 years of analog and digital audio development here at UA,” said Bill Putnam Jr., Universal Audio founder. “In many ways, it’s brought the analog and digital sides of our company together. With Apollo, we’re delivering the sound, feel, and flow of analog recording with all the conveniences of modern digital equipment, including next-generation Thunderbolt technology.”

The Apollo audio interface is now available in both Duo Core and Quad Core processing formats. The Duo processing model runs at $1,999 (estimated street price), while the Quad processing model is priced at $2,499 (estimated street). Apollo’s Thunderbolt Option Card will begin shipping in Summer 2012, and pricing will be announced when we get closer to its release.

Windows 7 support for the Apollo will also be available this summer.

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