The Apogee Ensemble builds upon their reputation for high-gain preamplifier design and improves upon their transparent analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion with the addition of an ultra-low latency 1.1 ms (96 kHz / 32 buffer) 32-bit playback Thunderbolt signal path.
For inputs, the 1U rack-mountable interface features eight microphone preamps with up to 75 dB of available gain using the company’s Advanced Stepped Gain Circuitry – four rear panel XLR-3F connectors and four rear panel ¼” TRS/XLR-3F combo connectors. The preamps include line-level Input channels 1 and 2 also included 1/4″ send and return loops.
The inputs include FET-based Soft-Limiting which can be enabled in the Apogee Control software and prevent digital clipping by instantaneously rounding off transient peaks before hitting the analog-to-digital converter. This allows several more decibels of apparent level to be recorded while also subtly proving an analog-tape-like warmth to the sound. Inputs can be selected using the front panel’s grid of soft LED illuminated buttons. Pressing and holding the input select buttons will adjust parameters such as input type, +48v phantom power, Soft Limit, grouping, polarity invert, and hi-pass filtering.
Software driver for ultra-low latency and unmatched CPU efficiency
The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt’s software driver utilizes a Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine that resides on the Ensemble Thunderbolt’s hardware logic chip to efficiently read and write data directly to your Mac’s memory. Since this happens independent of your Mac’s CPU, it doesn’t run out of resources, and the driver can crunch an enormous amount of data at blazing speeds. Featuring a full 32-bit signal path directly from your DAW’s output straight to its D/A converter, the Ensemble Thunderbolt’s driver also ensures that your audio doesn’t need further data processing before it hits your studio monitors or headphones. What does this mean for you? Well, in the real world, it means that you can monitor straight through your DAW in real time (even with loads of plug-ins) and that you’ll no longer have to compromise on speed when you need more power.
Converters provide exceptional-sounding audio, whether going in or coming out
The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt’s A/D conversion has received a significant upgrade over its predecessor, giving you greater dynamic range, lower distortion, and an almost nonexistent noise level. The icing on the cake; however, is the Ensemble Thunderbolt’s inclusion of an ESS Sabre32 32-bit Hyperstream D/A converter with a Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, providing you with unbelievably clear, jitter-free audio playback. When compared to older 24-bit technology, the ESS Sabre32 D/A converter’s 32-bit filter processing results in an astonishingly low THD+N specification and a large dynamic range, improving upon the audio fidelity and transparency for which Apogee is renowned. While already wildly popular with the audiophile community, Apogee is one of the first manufacturers to utilize the ESS Sabre32 D/A converter for pro audio applications.
Pristine preamps result in detailed, distortion-free recordings
Featuring eight uniquely-designed mic preamps, the Ensemble Thunderbolt utilizes Apogee’s Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture, which uses a dynamically-optimized circuit to give you superior bandwidth, ultra-low noise, and nonexistent distortion, for up to 75dB of clean, useable gain. Whether you mic up a manic drummer’s kit, record a dynamic vocalist, or capture delicate orchestral instruments, these pristine preamps will ensure that your recordings retain all of the focus, intricate detail, and 3-dimensional impact of the original performance.
Ample I/O and expandability provide lots of recording and monitoring options
The Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt gives you so much I/O, you’ll never find yourself coming up short, regardless of how you work. Featuring four combo inputs and 4 XLR inputs, the Ensemble Thunderbolt lets you connect up to eight microphones, external mic preamps, or any other pieces of analog gear. You also get ten highly-configurable balanced line outputs (2 balanced monitor outputs and eight balanced line outputs) that are designed to accommodate a wide variety of workflows. Whether you mix in-the-box or on an external console, the Ensemble Thunderbolt makes it easy to get to work quickly and efficiently. On top of that, you get two independently-controlled headphone outputs, two hardware inserts, 18 channels of digital I/O, and a word clock input and output. Need more I/O? Connect a second Ensemble Thunderbolt to your Mac to double your analog inputs and outputs, or expand your rig with any Apogee Element interface for Ensemble-quality I/O at an incredible price.
- Software driver and 32-bit signal path for ultra-low latency and unmatched CPU efficiency
- Converters provide exceptional-sounding audio, whether going in or coming out
- Pristine preamps result in detailed, distortion-free recordings
- Soft Limit prevents digital clipping that causes distortion
- Ample I/O provides lots of recording and monitoring options
- Class A JFET circuits preserve every drop of your guitar’s feel, tone, and harmonic character
- Hardware/software hybrid approach for a refined user experience
- Connect a second Ensemble Thunderbolt or any Element-series interface to expand your I/O
- Apogee Control software allows control via iOS remote app and Apogee Control hardware
- Direct monitoring feature in Logic Pro X eliminates recording latency
Computer Connectivity: Thunderbolt 2
Form Factor: Rackmount
Simultaneous I/O: 30 x 34
A/D Resolution: 24-bit/192kHz
Phantom Power: Yes
Analog Inputs: 4 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x 1/4″ ( Balanced Inserts), 4 x XLR (Mic/Line), 2 x 1/4″ (Guitar/Instrument)
Analog Outputs: 2 x 1/4″ (Monitor), 8 x DB-25, 2 x 1/4″ (Headphones), 2 x 1/4″ (Guitar/Instrument)
Digital Inputs: 2 x ADATF (Optical), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Digital Outputs: 2 x ADAT (Optical), 1 x S/PDIF (Coax)
Clock I/O: 1 x BNC (In), 1 x BNC (Out)
Dimesnions: 482.6 x 308 x 43.9 mm
Weight: 5 kg