Unbelievable quality, but issues with Windows 10
Reseñado en los Estados Unidos el 2 de febrero de 2022
I was sold on the UAD line for years, but only recently could I actually buy one the variants. I initially wanted to get a used UAD-1 or UAD-2 PCI Solo card, but as soon as the Apollo series was launched, I was drooling. I built a computer specifically for this device, picking a Gigabyte Gaming motherboard as that was the line that they claimed years ago was compatible. Since their information was outdated even then and motherboards continually are replaced with new ones, I went with the current Z270X Gaming 7 variant. This board also had Thunderbolt 3 onboard, so no need for an add-on.
The unit needs some software, such as the UAD console, to be installed. It claims to support WDM, but in my experience, it's not what you would expect from such an expensive product by such a legendary company.
On my first attempt to use it, I could here computer audio for half a second and then it would stop. In fact, if it was a Youtube video, the video would immediately hang after that half second of audio made it through. After troubleshooting, I realized that if you right-click on the volume control on the taskbar, then select "Sounds", then "Playback", I could disable the Apollo and reenable it and it would begin working uninterrupted, and the spinning Youtube video would instantly start playing again.
This was very odd, but there is a drawback to this "work around", there is intermittent noise and any inputs on the Apollo are destroyed by far more noise. Basically, it's unusable to record if you do the disable/enable trick.
That said, just turning it on and using Pro Tools, it works flawlessly. Essentially the WDM audio will not be available, but recording via the 2 inputs as well as the 8 ADAT lightpipe channels has none of the noise that occurs if you do the disable/enable trick.
Support is a bit of a joke if you want to speak to a human. Their website states that it's 4 days a week from 9am to 1pm PST, but that's not true, it's only 11am to 1pm—only 2 hours for 4 days a week! The person I spoke with was friendly enough, but he didn't even own an Apollo device himself. I'm awaiting contact from support for more troubleshooting, but I've disabled all the BIOS settings requested, set my processor to a static speed, and everything under the sun that is suggested on forums, but nothing has worked.
There are plenty of people complaining about Windows 10 support, so be aware of this.
All that said, it's still work it for me. This unit gives the ability to record 10 channels of audio (using the ADAT input for 8), supports Unison for real-time emulation of some preamps like Avalon, gives easy control of input, monitor, and phone levels, and comes with some of the most iconic compressor/limiters. This is what I was after all along, the ability to emulate multiple LA-2As and 1176s, rather than pay $2000 to $4000 for a hardware unit for only one channel.
I've since gone plugin crazy, thanks to the terrific holiday sales that were happening and acquired pretty much everything that I could want. Now, I can emulate awesome sounding bass and guitar amps, add some classic sounding reverbs, and even do some vocoding.
All in all, I couldn't be happier with the performance, but I do have a huge point of contention with the poor Windows 10 support. Still, the pros outweigh the cons, and my mixes are exploding with quality that I never could achieve before with knock off plugins like Reaper has built in. There is such a massive difference, I can't ever go back.
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