June 16, 2012

Apogee GiO Overview

Apogee recently released an effects pedal-board interface called the GiO, which lets you record hands free.  The GiO has footswitches to let you Record, Go to Beginning, Rewind, Fast-Forward, and Play/Pause so you can focus all of your attention on practicing and recording that one lick flawlessly.


The GiO comes with a 10-foot USB cable, a ¼” to dual RCA phono cable, and a CD with drivers and a PDF manual. Just install the driver, launch your music application, and then hook it up via USB. There’s no need for power cables because this unit is bus powered. Then plug your guitar into the ¼” instrument in, add some headphones  through the ¼” output, and add an expression pedal through the dedicated ¼” jack. The GiO supports sample rates of 44.1 and 48kHz , at 24-bit resolution. NOTE: when you are setting up the GiO, make sure you launch Garageband before hooking the GiO up to your computer. If you try hooking the GiO up before opening Garageband the device may not be recognized.  

So now you’re recording, but you just got to the part of your track where you need to lay down a solo and you want to change up your tone. You don’t have to stop the recording or take your hands off the guitar. The GiO lets you toggle between all the different virtual stompbox effects that many applications like GarageBand, Logic, or Mainstage have to offer. You have Previous and Next buttons to switch between pedal board configurations and five foot switches to turn individual pedals within that board on and off. Above each of the five foot switches is a colored light, which corresponds with each pedal that’s activated. For example, if you had a red fuzz pedal, an orange filter pedal, and a blue delay pedal all turned on, you would see a red light, an orange light, and a blue light shining directly above the corresponding footswitch.


The GiO is 18 inches long, 7 inches wide, 2.5 inches tall making it easy to pack up and take with you.  This thing is built like a tank. The casing is solid metal and most of the buttons are metal as well, so it can withstand the wear and tear of the road.

The analog purist might not want to use this in a live setup. If you already have a Mac laptop and you’re looking to invest in a full pedal board, this is actually a great option. I can’t stress enough how much tonal range this gives you when using the virtual pedals in Garageband.  While you can’t use the expression pedal within Garageband, both Logic and Mainstage 2 give you that functionality. When you buy the GiO you get a free download of Mainstage 2.  Also, if you have Logic Studio, Mainstage 2 is included in that package.

My Two Cents

First of all, this is a no brainer if you spend a lot of time in a personal home studio and efficiency is important to you. You will save a lot of time by eliminating all the hands on work you would normally have to do to start, stop, and resume recording in your workspace. The ability to change the tone of your guitar on the fly further simplifies the recording process. The only thing you can’t do with this device is setup your custom virtual pedal-boards. You must go into your software to set that up. If you only intended to use the board in a studio setting, you would want a couple more footswitches to handle that functionality. But in a live environment, extra buttons and knobs would clutter the board. Ultimately it’s probably best that Apogee left them off of the board. A mic input would have been a nice addition for recording vocals simultaneously with guitar, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Mainstage 2 gives you seemingly unlimited possibilities for your guitar tone. If you wanted to build your pedalboard the traditional way, you could easily spend the $395 (the price tag on the GiO), and you would only have a fraction of the pedals that come with Mainstage 2. One thing to note is that the GiO does not have a pair of balanced outputs. If you want to connect directly to a PA system, you may encounter some noise interference when running to the mixing board, so we recommend you don’t do it. Some players would not have a use for the balanced outs but it would have been nice to have the option.

Although a virtual pedal board is an untraditional method for guitar tones and effects, there are many benefits to be had by the brave pioneer that forges head first into of the audio-digital world.  Even if you don’t plan on using this tool in your live setup it’s a good investment because in the long run it will save you a lot of time in the studio. If you are a Mac user and a guitar player I would recommend that you give the GiO a try.


Chris: Hello this is Chris Showalter with unique and today I’ve got the GiO by Apogee. Now this is a digital foot pedal that will let you control your DAW with your Mac. Lets Check it out.

Chris: So in your DAW you can  go in and create as many pedal board configuration as you want. They also have a lot of nice presets for ya and you can switch between those using the previous and next buttons on the GIO. Then withing each configuration you can toggle each effects pedal on and off with one of the five foot switches located on the bottom as well. Then you have your ¼ in your ¼ out. You have a dedicated expression pedal and then this thing is bus powered which is really cool you don’t have to bother with power cables, you just plug this into your laptop or computer and you’re going.

Chris: One of my favorite features is the transport and record buttons located on the top so I mean you just stop this pedal and you’re recording. so when you’re recording yourself, you want to be able to  take your hands off your mouse take your hands of your keyboard and focus on playing guitar and that’s why I love the GiO because it does just that. It also lets you get so creative with all the different sounds you can really just fine tune how you want your sound to be in the studio and this thing is built very solid so once you find that sound you can take it with you on the road, on the stage, you’re good to go.

Chris:  There you have it. this is the Gio by Apogee. it does only work with mac computers but if you’re like everyone else out there and you record onto a mac your gonna love this and it will be a great addition to your setup.


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