Apogee ONE

Video: Apogee ONE Review

We’re experimenting with video in the Oh Drat studio, as we’re really close to bringing you the introduction to the Oh Drat Music Production Tutorial Series (the title’s still on the drawing board).

this video should quench your thirst for knowledge

If the full review and photography on the Apogee ONE wasn’t good enough for you, or if you want to get some more up close and personal with the unit, then this video should quench your thirst for knowledge… Enjoy, and please let us know what you’d like to see more of from our videos…

Apogee Duet 2

Apogee Announce Duet 2

Apogee’s new product announcements this year, Jam and Mike, have been focused on providing mobile markets with low cost, single input interfaces – until now, with the unveiling of the two in, four out Duet 2.

The Duet 2 takes Apogee’s beautiful design ethic to a new level with its sleek black and aluminium looks, and a full colour OLED display which shows off metering, grouping, muting, limiting and phantom power status. The large front encoder is now complemented by two touch sensitive pads, assignable in the newly updated Maestro software.

Redesigned converters and preamps that take advantage of Apogee’s research in their top end Symphony system now support ultra high quality 192kHz sample rate

Beauty’s only skin deep, of course, so it’s just as well that Duet 2 features totally revamped inner workings. Redesigned converters and preamps that take advantage of Apogee’s research in their top end Symphony system now support ultra high quality 192kHz sample rate, soft clip limiting promises to smooth out hot signals and provide warmth instead of nasty digital clipping, and fully balanced outputs.

Two final upgrades to the initial incarnation of the Duet may be of particular interest to music producers and live musicians; the interface has changed to USB2 from FireWire400, and yet achievable latency has been decreased, and outputs have been increased to allow a separately adjustable headphone output. A review of ONE is in the works, which will be shortly followed by Duet 2 – keep your eyes peeled! (until then, head over to the Apogee site for more information…)

Mike

Apogee Announce Mike

Hot off the heels of their recent JAM announcement, Apogee have unleashed another new product – the adorably named Mike, the USB microphone. Finer technical details are thin on the ground for now, but Mike promises to deliver Apogee’s PureDIGITAL technology for professional quality recording quality to iPhone, iPad and Mac, all via its diminutive 4.5″ frame.

Mike promises to deliver Apogee’s PureDIGITAL technology for professional quality recording quality to iPhone, iPad and Mac

Mike looks like it could be the ideal tool for field recording, podcasting, and no nonsense multi purpose recording with its plug and play design and iOS ready connectivity. Tech specs and price are yet to be unveiled, but if JAM is an indication of the price/performance ratio that Apogee are aiming for with their ultra portable range then then Mike could be a must have for the on-the-move recordist…

 

iPad 2

Apple Announce iPad 2 – What Does it Mean for Music Production?

When the iPad was released in April last year, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it took the world somewhat by storm. Despite not being the first to do a lot of the things it was lauded for doing (companies like Jazz Mutant were releasing multi touch screens for musicians much earlier, for instance) it was certainly the most conspicuous; perhaps the iPad’s greatest feature was the way it opened peoples’ eyes and imaginations to the realities of the progress of consumer level technology. Whilst the traditional keyboard and mouse paradigm of computing is some way from being shaken out of its position as the power user’s choice, light, touch friendly apps on the iPad are capturing peoples’ imaginations.

light, touch friendly apps on the iPad are capturing peoples’ imaginations

The way I see it, there are two main barriers to the adoption of the iPad (or of course any other multi touch tablet – right now the focus is on Apple because I genuinely think they’re the only ones doing it right at the moment): power and connectivity. There’s a possible third, too, and I’ll get onto that later.

When it comes to power, even computer nerds are starting to find it difficult to keep up with the colossal speed at which progress is being made. We’re a long way from the simpler times when a bigger number meant a faster processor, and what with multiple chips, cores, faster buses and all the other wizardry that’s being squeezed out of silicon, the number of mHz written on something isn’t really relevant anymore – especially where custom chips built for bespoke computers with matching software are concerned. No, the reality is that technology is moving forward at such a frightening rate that in less than a year, processing power of the iPad 2 is reportedly double that of its predecessor. iPad was already fast enough to run software like Korg’s iElectribe, a very convincing virtual remake of one of its most successful groove boxes, and Akai’s SynthStation, a full studio in a box tool that really proved that iPad meant business when it comes to audio.

When iPad 2 is launched, GarageBand for iPad will follow shortly.

When iPad 2 is launched, GarageBand for iPad will follow shortly. New hardware, from Apogee’s JAM to Alesis’s StudioDock and the Akai SynthStation 49 are all pieces in the puzzle that provide solutions to connectivity issues of such a standalone piece of equipment, with more, I’m sure, to follow.

Predictions? A future update of iOS will improve app to app interoperability, increasing the practicality of investing in the burgeoning iOS synth market and paving the way for Apple to release an iPad version of Logic with a plugin system. Propellerhead, one of the kings of the studio in a box world, will bring out their own studio in a box iPad app and Imageline, the other king, will up their game after testing the water with their recently released ‘in name only’ FL Studio. I’d also be surprised if Akai weren’t to bring out an MPC like sampling workstation and pad controller with audio input for sampling.

But what does that mean right here and now? The truth is, iPad 2 still doesn’t have the power to compete seriously with a desktop operating system when it comes to the kind of quality and quantity we’ve come expect from home studio software. However, it’s more portable, more tactile, and has a much shallower learning curve – if you already own both a computer and an iPad and want to simply enjoy yourself with music, then the iPad 2 is beginning to look like it might be an even better choice than traipsing through the minefield of computer software decisions. And, one day soon, we won’t even have to choose…

Intel Thunderbolt

Apogee Announce Thunderbolt Product Development

The new Intel Thunderbolt interface is one of the most promising new technologies to be announced in years – true bi-directional 10Gbps bandwidth, which equates to roughly 20 times that of USB2 each way, daisy chainable, and combined with DisplayPort compatibility (well, it is Apple co-developed) – and according to Sean Mcarthur, Apogee’s Head of Marketing, “Thunderbolt will take the confusion out of choosing a professional connectivity standard for audio production.”

“Thunderbolt will take the confusion out of choosing a professional connectivity standard for audio production.” Sean McArthur, Apogee

With the brand new MacBook Pro models already supporting Thunderbolt, and many other models (presumably the new iMacs will sport a connection, and maybe even the new Mac Mini, who knows?) and hardware manufacturers – PC included – following soon, Apogee’s large studio scale power is going to be available to even laptop users, with a single connection. Exciting times are afoot…

jam-gain-control-knob

Apogee Announce JAM

Apogee make some gorgeous audio interfaces. From the studio level I/O and quality of the Symphony series to the refined, minimalist features of the ONE and Duet, their A/D converters are some of the crispest on the market. Until now, though, they’ve commanded a premium that’s placed them out of reach for some.

we’re reaching the level of technology where professional level recordings can be made anywhere

Enter JAM – a sleek single channel audio interface featuring Apogee PureDIGITAL converters, designed not only for Mac but for iPhone and iPad, too. Better still, it’s $99USD. This is potentially a very exciting release, especially when twinned with Apple’s impending iPad 2 (in fact, there’s a JAM in the premiere video for iPad 2); we’re reaching the level of technology where professional level recordings can be made anywhere, affordably.

The JAM has been designed for electric guitar and bass, but it will of course accept any similar input source. One thing is it tied to, however, is Apple. Mac, iPhone, and iPad are supported, but in grand Apogee tradition Windows is left out in the cold. JAM launches on the 31st of March, and I’ll be getting my hands on one to test the quality in due course…

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