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REVIEW: APOLLO TWIN AUDIO INTERFACE

A soundcard that any producer would be happy to take into battle...

Universal Audio are a company that have a legendary reputation within the studio industry thanks to equipment like their Pultec EQs and LA-2A levelling amplifier. Built in the '50s and '60s respectively, they are still some of the most sought-after pieces of kit known to man, taking pride of place in most of the world's top-end studios. 

As is so often the case, the original Universal Audio came to an end in 1985 when the owner Bill Putnam sold up and retired, but they reemerged in 1999 when his son re-founded the organisation with the aim of recreating his father's work faithfully in the digital realm. Reputations take years to build but are quickly lost; thankfully the modern Universal Audio has more than lived up to the original reputation and has gone from strength-to-strength.

A case in point of this amazing combination of product design, faithful recreation of original analogue equipment and cutting-edge digital processing — which has won Universal Audio many fans in recent years — is the Apollo Twin Audio Interface, a smaller version of Universal Audio's award-winning Apollo Audio Interface, which is perfect for project and mobile studios. As some of the more astute readers will no doubt have guessed by now, the Apollo Twin also has a rather clever trick up its sleeve, namely the ability to run and process UAD plug-ins at near zero latency.

VERSATILITY
Put simply, the Apollo Twin is one of the most versatile audio interfaces on the market that, thanks to the stunning job done by Universal Audio when designing this box of tricks, fills the roles of a top-notch audio interface, complete with high quality microphone pre-amps, studio monitor control system and an external DSP effects unit that runs UAD plug-ins without adding any processor load on a computer running a DAW such as Logic, Cubase or Pro Tools.

The Apollo Twin comes in two flavours, the Twin Solo and the Twin Duo, which indicate the amount of DSP processing power that each model has rather than the amount of audio inputs and outputs on offer. The Twin Duo offers twice the processing power of the Solo, making it able to run twice as many mouth-wateringly yummy UAD plug-in instances.

The build quality and industrial design of the Apollo Twin are of the highest we have seen in a long while, every detail is perfect and this device is small-but-perfectly-formed, making it ideal for even the most cramped studio spaces. The metering is also just right, with inputs, outputs and level indication constantly on display, and the spacing and design of the control surface is a work of art.

GREAT PLUG-INS
When it comes to sound quality the Apollo Twin is no slouch, with world-class 24-bit 192 kHz audio conversion on offer, digitally controlled analogue monitor outputs and fantastic quality mic/line preamps, plus front-panel instrument input (perfect for guitars) and a headphone output. The microphone inputs can also be modelled on classic microphone preamps using Universal Audio's new Unison technology.

Of course what sets the Apollo Twin apart from the competition is the UAD plug-in support, which opens up a studio to some of the best-sounding plug-in emulations of classic gear available today. Universal Audio have been very generous indeed when it comes to plug-ins that are included with the Apollo Twin, with classics such as the famous Pultec EQP-1A & MEQ-5, Teletronix LA-2A levelling amplifier, 1176SE/LN limiting amplifiers, 610-B Tube Preamp and EQ, CS-1 Precision Channel multi-effects and mixing package, RealVerb Pro and Softube Amp Room Essentials guitar amp emulations all on offer and included in the purchase price of the Apollo Twin.

These plug-ins are the perfect tools for those looking to take their project studio sound quality and production levels to the top of the game, and will just as easily sit comfortably beside the other equipment and software on offer in the main rooms of the biggest and most expensive studios.

The Universal Audio Apollo Twin is an absolutely amazing device and given the versatility, amount of features on offer and the outstanding audio quality it becomes a no-brainer purchase decision for anyone who is looking for a top-notch audio interface for their studio.

There is however one big problem with the Audio Twin — that is the fact that this is a Mac-only device, and it can only be used via Thunderbolt connection, so PC users and Mac users without a Thunderbolt connection are well and truly out of luck. A massive shame, as this is a seriously desirable piece of studio equipment. Put simply, we cannot recommend the Apollo Twin highly enough.

£669

uaudio.com

BUILD QUALITY 9
EASE OF USE 9
FEATURES 9
VALUE FOR MONEY 9
SOUND QUALITY 9

Hype
Top-notch mic preamps and audio quality, UAD plug-in processing and a studio monitor controller.

Gripe
Only Apple users with a Thunderbolt connection can use the Apollo Twin.

Summary
Universal Audio's award-winning Apollo audio interface has been shrunk down into a compact all-in-one studio centrepiece complete with a tasty bundle of UAD plug-ins, all for a very modest price.

9/10 DJ Mag Star Product Award

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