Apogee Quartet Overview w/ Miles Walker
The Apogee Quartet is a 4 in and 6 out audio interface built specifically for Mac computers and even works on your iOS devices like your iPad and iPhone. While the Quartet does have a large price tag, you are getting a lot of features that go beyond just a standard audio interface. Instead of just showing you all the Quartet has to offer, we decided to take it to Parhelion studios, put it in the hands of avid Apogee user Miles Walker, and give it a test drive. He not only takes us through the features in the video but also demos the sound of the mic preamps as well as the iOS connectivity.
Miles Walker is a music producer and engineer based out of Atlanta, GA. His work can be heard on the records for mega hit makers like Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Wiz Khalifa. If you want to know more about Miles Walker, his gear, and his studio setup, then check out our series of interviews with Miles on our YouTube Channel and Blog. Miles gives a wealth of information and perspective on the Apogee Quartet but we have also listed the specifications below so you can see all the great things the Quartet has to offer.
4 Analog Inputs:
- Combination line (balanced +20dBu max)
- Mic/Instrument (+20dBu/+14dBu max)
- 4 Microphone preamps with up to 75dB of gain
- Selectable 48v phantom power, Soft Limit and phase invert
- ADAT/SMUX Input, 8 channels, 2 Toslink connectors, 44.1kHz to 96kHz
- MIDI input (USB-A type connector)
8 Analog Outputs:
- 6 Balanced line outputs, +20 dBu maximum output level
- 1 Independent 1/4” stereo headphone output
- MIDI output (USB-A type connector)
- Word clock output on BNC connector
A/D and D/A conversion: 24 bit/192kHz
2 top panel high-resolution OLED displays
6 touchpads for direct selection of inputs and outputs
3 assignable touchpads to control:
- Mute Outputs
- Dim Outputs
- Sum to Mono
- Clear Meters
- Engage Speaker Set (allows monitoring of up to 3 pairs of speakers)
- EIN: 128dB (un-weighted) @ 60dB, 150Ohm input
- Max input level: +20dBu
- Input impedance: 3KOhm
- Max input level 14 dBu
- Input impedance: >2MOhm
- Max input level (+4dBu ref): +20dBu
- Max input level (-10dBV ref): +6dBV
- Input impedance: 5KOhm
- Freq resp 20 Hz -20Khz: > +/-0.2dB (@44.1Khz)
- Rel. THD + N: -106dB (@ 96Khz)
- Dyn. Range: 114dB (A-weighted)
- Max output level (+4dBu ref): +20dBu
- Max output level (-10dBV ref): +6dBV
- Line output impedance: 90 Ohm
- Max output level headphones: 19dBu
- HPH output impedance 30 Ohm.
- Freq resp 20Hz -20 Khz: > +/- 0.05dB (@44.1Khz)
- Rel. THD+N : -113dB (@96Khz)
- Dyn Range: 123dB (A-weighted)
As Miles mentions in the video, connecting your Apogee Quartet to the iPad is as simple as plugging in the cable. To get the cable, you will have to contact Apogee with your Quartet’s serial number and they will send you the cable in the mail. Once you have the cable, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to fumble through menus trying to select your audio device as your iOS device will immediately recognize it. Miles shows off the Auria app from Wavelabs but you can use it with other popular iOS apps like GarageBand too.
The obvious appeal of using your iPad and the Quartet for recording is that you have the ability to record on the go, but its also very easy to export those recordings and plug them back into your home studio.
The Apogee Quartet is a solidly built, high quality, USB audio interface for those using Apple products from the iPad and iPhone to Apple laptop and desktop computers. While we can tell you all day how cool, interesting, and useful the iOS connectivity is, the barometer for quality when it comes to interfaces will always be the sound. In that regard you can’t go wrong with the Apogee Quartet with its great analog to digital converters and fantastic sounding microphone pre-amps. While the Quartet might retail a bit higher than many other 4 in x 6 out audio interfaces, you are certainly getting what you are paying for.
The feature worth mentioning here is that you can add on to the Quartet through the optical connections so you can add more inputs down the road if you need too. The other great feature is the soft limiter which takes those nasty peak level spikes and brings them back down to a level that won’t distort your recordings. This is a great feature especially when recording vocals when you have the input level set just the way you want but those occasional spikes happen in the recording.
The Apogee Quartet has some great features that will likely make it the last interface you buy for a long time to come. If you have any questions about the Quartet, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
TranscriptHey it’s Miles Walker here at Parhelion Recording Studios and today we’re going to be looking at the Apogee Quartet. The Quartet is one of the newest interfaces from Apogee. It’s a really fantastic, 4 channels, 6 output interface as well as some cool optical connectivity that you can use as your mic preamp, your interface into your DAW whatever that is, and your monitor section for being able to listen to all of your speaker and headphone assortments you may have. For inout connectivity you have 4 analog in combo jacks. 6 out all quarter inch balanced. Additional optical I/O if you have another Legacy Apogee interface. The MIDI input for controller right there on the back as well as the USB connectivity to your iOS or your main DAW. There’s also some really cool software features in the mic section within the Maestro Software that runs with it where you can do mic gain groupings. You can group all the mic pres and move them up and down in perfect unison. Which is really great because if you had 4 separate mic pres, you might have to fidget a little on each one and your balances have gotten slightly off so it can be very helpful for coming up with a sound very quick and grouping them up and down. In addition to the fact that the quality is just great. It includes the soft limiter which is probably one of the very first things that drew me to the Apogee convertors. The soft limit is basically a digital software limiter that you can turn off and on each channel of the conversion. It can be a safe catch for if you are recording something like vocals where you have a great signal and then just maybe one quick little loud peak that will normally throw you into distortion, the soft limit can catch right there and takes care of all the work for you. When I first started thinking about the iOS connectivity with the Quartet and other products that Apogee has coming out I was like, “Oh cool. What a great gimmick. You know, this is fun and it’s something kind of different and quirky to do.” But then I really though about it and I was like, “There’s a lot of practical applications for this.” With the small footprint of the Quartet and how easy it is to carry around, and the smal footprint of an iPad, iPad mini, or the full sized iPads, you now have a fully mobile rig. With the iOS being relatively new, all kinds of third party app developers are working on fantastic software right now that integrates virtual synths, and other ways to make music and now to be able to record them with real acoustical signals like a voice or any other kind of live performance, right onto your iPad, or iOS device like an iPhone, is just phenomenal. So one of the DAW’s that I was looking at because you know being a Protools guy, I like a multi-functional, multi-track DAW, is one from Wavelabs called Auria. So let’s take a look at it. Here’s Auria right here. Auria automatically remembers the last session that you pulled up. And like I said it’s a multi-track DAW. This particular session we have 6 tracks. I went ahead and imported a little simple drum groove. Lets go ahead and give that a listen right now. So you can see it playing right from over here and all of the connectivity of the Quartet from the master volume, to the input of anything attached to it, in this case input 1 is our microphone that we’ll be talking to and recording into in just a minute, shows right up. You have all of the regular connectivity and talking about ease of use, I didn’t do a single thing when this plugged in other than attach this cable. It totally knew I wanted to use the Quartet as my interface, it totally knew that this rather was going to be my master volume control, and then all of the other regular features are just the same such as the mic input levels, mutes, and all the other functions that come right with it. We’re going to be able to listen to the lappel audio as well as the sound of the microphone preamp recorded through this. I guess it’s not a 100% fair shootout because it’s an 87 versus a lappel mic, but what I am really choosing to highlight is the great quality mic preamp and you can tell that it’s just really fantastic, super clean, super quiet, no noise in the preamp itself. The main thing that I really like about the Quartet is not only is it a great 4 channel convertor which is probably enough for most people who have a small studio who are doing vocals, maybe a couple keyboards, and simple overdub stuff. That’s plenty of input. The thing that’s great about it is physically built in all in one it’s also a monitor section which for people who don’t have a mixing console, that can be a way you control your volume, listen to multiple speakers, and sources all at one time, all in like the same handy box. Really nice small footprint. Totally could be portable but solid and robust enough to be a permanent fixture is someones studio. But to me audio recording equipment is like, why are you going to spend $20 million on a submarine and cheap out on the latch? If you’re not listening to your audio in the best possible source and that’s your conversion. On the way in and on the way out as you hear it, you know what are you doing. If you spend $10,000 on your software and your track and your mix and it’s so important and you can’t hear it at the absolute proper clarity that it’s working at, you’re missing the point. Hey so thanks for hanging out with me and checking out the Quartet, if you have any questions about all the Apogee products, you should check out UniqueSquared.com.