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Zack Rocket

Zack Rocket
June 19, 2012

Apogee One Review

Apogee ONE is a one channel interface that converts your analogue signal to digital so that you can record right into your computer via USB. Like the other Apogee products we have covered in the past few weeks this one is designed to work specifically with a Mac but that’s cool because it works with Core Audio Compliant. What that means is that Logic, MainStage, GarageBand, Final Cut Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools and many other software programs will recognize the Apogee One. The unit itself can record at 44.1 or 48kHz which is nice because I could really see editors using this unit as well as music producers. Come to think of it, they really should be marketing this thing to editors more, as an editor myself I would love to be able to just plug a mic in and start recording HQ sound. I couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and see what it was all about.

The box is pretty small, about the size of a computer game and once you slide it open it’s easy to see that the Apple vibe permeates every aspect of this product. It has a good weight to it and an incredibly simple design with just one big rotary encoder that clicks. The weight of the unit feels pretty good and there is a plastic build all the way around the product. The top is a bit shiny and semi reflective which we quickly filled with fingerprints. The LED indicators are super minimal and take the form of three dots in a vertical line. Just above the level indicators are four icons that display which function you are currently using.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the built in condenser mic located directly underneath the rotary encoder. When I first learned that there was a built in mic I immediately thought that it was going to be less than pristine in regards to audio quality but I was soon to be proven wrong. The microphone is so small that upon first inspection it looks like the same style mic that you would find in a laptop but once plugged in it becomes apparent that this is no ordinary mini condenser mic. Apogee really went out of their way to include a mic on the ONE that sounds really good and is true to life. They specially tuned the mic to sound great and with the built in preamp you get a extremely detailed sound. But seriously, THIS THING SOUNDS FREAKING AMAZING! You need to go to Apogee’s site right now and listen.  The built in mic has been tuned with something Apogee is calling Aperture Microphone Technology and although I have no concept as to what exactly that entails I am nonetheless enthralled by its existence. I could really see a market for Apogee by licensing their microphone technology to cell phone companies as well as laptop manufactures, I’m not joking when I say this mic sounds great.

On the front of the ONE you will find an 1/8th inch headphone jack for listening to your output. Apogee claims it to be studio quality output with the ability to connect to headphones or powered speakers. Connecting the ONE to powered speakers adds unprecedented layers of depth and complexity to the playback of your iTunes library so it’s quite refreshing to connect ONE to a laptop and finally hear how the songs are supposed to sound. I know what you might be thinking and it might be along the lines of, “Woah dude, how is this thing any better than my sweet 1/8th inch out on my MacBook Pro?”  The answer lies in the world famous Apogee analogue to digital converters and digital to analogue converters. Apogee has been in the game since 1985 when they made their name designing anti aliasing filters that solved many early problems associated with digital audio. Since then they have been pioneers in high fidelity audio processing. This means that day after day Apogee works hard to make sure that your digital signal is as true to life as it can possibly be.

When we tested the ONE we were hoping that it would pretty much be a plug and play affair but things generally don’t go as smoothly as the box says and this product was no different. We plugged it in and quickly learned that if you are unfamiliar with your input or output routing then there is going to be a lot of fiddling around to deal with. We initially had trouble changing functions using just the jog wheel but after a few tweaks in the software we managed to fix this problem. I was a little disappointed that switching between functions wasn’t instant and that even after switching to a mic or a guitar in I still had to go into the software and select the changed interface when I really wanted this to happen automatically. That being said, Apogee says that it can change functions automatically and I most likely bollixed up the installation process.

Overall the ONE is really a unit that is full of surprises. The mic alone makes the products value exceed its price and I would even pay the full asking price just to get a mic that sounded that sweet. Apogee really pulled out all of the stops to make sure that your captured sound doesn’t sound tinny or compressed and that was the feature that amazed me the most. It can be kind of hard to get excited about an audio interface as they essentially do all of the same things but the ONE stands out for its sheer brilliance with the inclusion of a built in quality sounding mic and Apogee electronics. I would recommend this to someone that is looking to do it all, from audio recording to podcast capturing this is a unit that is as diverse in function as it is powerful. If you are a true audiophile and believe that its 44.1 or 48kHz is not quite enough then I would recommend you purchase the Duet (also from Apogee) as it has two inputs and four outputs for more advanced audio configurations. Most mortals will find that the industry standard 44.1kHz (CD quality) and 48kHz (film quality) quality recordings to be enough and will have their needs met and expectations exceeded when working with this interface, I highly recommend it.

Peace and Love
Zack Rocket

Transcript

Hey whats going on guys my name is Zack Rocket with UniqueSquared.com and today we are checking out the One by Apogee. It’s a portable audio interface that’s small enough to fit in your pocket and it delivers great high quality sound. Let’s take a look.

The One by Apogee has got a really really simple layout. Up here on the front you’ll find an input for your line level or your mic and that’s where you plug your guitar into. And then you’ll find we actually have a USB in and out which will power the unit and on the very back we have an 1/8th inch stereo output for listening to your monitors. On the very top of the One you’ll find a little indentation here at the bottom which is actually a built in condenser microphone, which I’ll demo for you guys in a second, and then an endless rotary encoder that actually clicks and this controls the functions of the One. Just above that you’ll find three dots for your level indicators: green, yellow, and red for clipping and above that you’ll find 4 icons that each display what function the unit is doing at the time whether that’s operating on the internal condenser microphone, an external instrument, an external microphone, or just functioning as a sound card.

So the One by Apogee delivers great sound, it records at 44.1 or 48khz at 24 bits, and it’s just really high quality very true to life and it’s actually designed to work exclusively with Macs but specifically for Garageband, Logic, or any Core Audio compliant application.

So it’s one thing to talk about it but it’s another thing to hear how this thing sounds so I brought my harmonica along and i’m going to show you how it sounds when its running through a dynamic mic in the line in, and through the condensor mic onboard. Lets check it out.

Alright guys there you have it the One by Apogee and I got to tell you I really love this piece. Its really small really portable, and incredibly powerful. One of my favorite features is that it actually has built in phantom power so if you want to bring in a high quality condenser mic into this, it is not a problem.

If you guys have any questions or comments feel free to leave them in the comments section below. My name is Zack Rocket. Be you, be unique, at UniqueSquared.com.

Comments

  1. [...] our video to see the results. Recently, we’ve been reviewing a lot of Apogee products like the One, the Duet 2, and the GiO so we’ve come to expect a certain level of quality from anything [...]