Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt - 30 IN × 34 OUT Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface
Made for the Professional Home or Commercial Studio.
The Apogee Ensemble is the first Thunderbolt 2 audio interface to offer superior sound quality, the lowest latency performance and the most comprehensive studio functionality all in one box. Ensemble includes 8 Advanced Stepped Gain™ mic preamps, monitor controller functionality including talkback, front panel Guitar I/O, two headphone outputs and digital connectivity for a total of 30 x 34 I/O. Blending acclaimed innovations, groundbreaking new features and an effortless user interface, Ensemble empowers you to capture inspiration
when creative lightning strikes.
Launched in 2007, the first Ensemble re-defined the possibilities of the personal studio interface, setting new standards of quality, simplicity and value. Winning that year’s TEC Award for Digital Audio Technology, Ensemble went on to become the preferred interface for thousands of hit-making producers, engineers and artists. Now, with 30 years of digital audio expertise and the latest technological innovations, Apogee has re-built Ensemble to introduce the next generation of music creation technology.
Apogee Ensemble Highlights
- 8 Mic preamps with up to 75 dB of gain and Advanced Stepped Gain circuit
- Thunderbolt connectivity for ultra-low latency (1.1ms round trip with Logic Pro X)
- Front panel Guitar I/O with Class A JFET inputs, dual mode re-amp outputs
- Includes Waves Gold Bundle (reg. $800) – 35 audio plugins
- Talkback functionality with built-in mic and control button
- 2 PurePower headphone outputs
- 10 separately assignable analog inputs
- 16 analog outputs of premium Apogee conversion
- Core Audio optimized DMA engine frees up Mac CPU for plugins and software instruments
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.
Inputs & Outputs
Directly connect your guitars and other instruments to Ensemble using the two front panel ¼” inputs. The inputs’ Class A JFET circuits reproduce the feel and tone of a vintage tube amp for more realistic modeling and add harmonic character to keyboards and other electronic instruments. A “bootstrapping” circuit design provides an ultra-high impedance load to the connected instrument to preserve its tone and high frequency response.
Ensemble Thunderbolt Close Up Guitar InputsConnect your amp to either ¼” output for effortless re-amping. Dual mode switching allows you to easily record your direct guitar signal while listening through your amp, then play the recorded signal back through your amp to refine amp settings and mic placement.
You can also use the Guitar I/O inputs & outputs to insert stomp boxes into your session as an alternative to software plugins. Impedance or level mismatches are not a concern – these connections were made for any guitar gear.
Ensemble features 4 Combo inputs (XLR or ¼”) and 4 XLR inputs for connecting up to 8 microphones or a combination of instruments, external mic preamps, and other analog audio devices. Ensemble’s analog inputs now include a line level bypass relay for the purest unity gain signal path to the analog-to-digital converter when the input source is set to line level.
Ensemble includes 2 balanced monitor outputs on ¼” TRS connectors and 8 balanced line outputs on 1 D-Sub 25-pin connector. These outputs can be configured for a wide variety of workflows, whether you’re integrating Ensemble with an external console, mixing in the box, or any hybrid of the two.
With the kind of discrete transistor output stage found on power amps, Ensemble’s two independently controlled front panel headphone outputs offer more pristine power than ever before. Drive high impedance headphones louder than you’ll ever need while maintaining ultra low distortion throughout the level range.
Ensemble features the same high quality built-in mic capsule found in Apogee’s ONE for iPad & Mac. Instantly capture your inspirations, keep an audio archive of the session, or record a “crushed room” sound when tracking drums. Most importantly, the built-in mic may be used for talkback.
Analog inputs 1 and 2 feature the ability to add a hardware insert between Ensemble’s built-in mic preamp and analog-to-digital converter stage. Easily integrate your favorite analog compressor or EQ, in mono or as a stereo pair, into your recording chain with separate ¼” balanced send and return connector for each channel.
As the centerpiece of your creative setup, Ensemble provides up to 18 channels of digital I/O, in ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF optical and S/PDIF coaxial formats, to easily integrate expanders, hardware synths and digital effects. Thanks to Thunderbolt’s high bandwidth, all of Ensemble’s analog and digital I/O are available in your DAW simultaneously.
Ensemble provides Word Clock IN and OUT for syncing with other digital audio gear. Use Ensemble as the master clock to take advantage of Apogee’s superior built-in clocking technology.
Sound Quality- The Apogee Advantage
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.