Universal Audio Apollo Twin
£699

Universal Audio’s desktop Apollo Twin interface stands out from the rest of the options on our list for an obvious reason: all the Apollo interfaces include built-in UAD-2 processors, allowing you to run the company’s DSP-powered plugins.

Available with Thunderbolt or USB connectivity (aimed at Mac and Windows respectively), the Twin is the smallest interface in the Apollo range. Eight-channel and 16-channel options also available, but we’ve picked the Twin here because it offers a great introduction to the UAD platform for those just dipping their toe into the water, and the two-input configuration is consistently popular among electronic producers.

Of course, the basics are all in place before you even get to the DSP capabilities. The Apollo’s two mic preamps are clean and transparent by default (more of which later) and the conversion is equally impressive, but the DSP capabilities are where the Apollo really shines. UAD plugins, including the bundled Realtime Analog Classics collection, can be used during recording or monitoring, but the clever Unison feature also allows certain UAD preamp plugins (such as the bundled UA 610 emulation) to be used during tracking, simultaneously adjusting the input impedance and gain staging response of the digitally controlled analogue preamps. Overall, the DSP options add a huge amount of flexibility to the production process, from the very moment you start recording all the way through to the final mixdown.

The Twin isn’t cheap for a two-input interface (and the DUO version, with twice the DSP power, will set you back an additional £200), but the price premium is entirely justified when you consider how much you’d have to pay for a similarly high-quality interface plus, say, a UAD Satellite.

30th September, 2015

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