Apogee Ensemble
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Apogee Ensemble

Ensemble, FireWire audio interface from Apogee in the Ensemble series.

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jarvis_steven 22/09/2014

Apogee Ensemble: Produktbewertung von jarvis_steven (content in English)

"Great Conversion! Silly Software! Kind of Expensive!"
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The Ensemble is a sleek firewire interface that was tailored specifically for Logic Pro users. It has four built in microphone preamps that have channels for sends and returns. After that, it has four coinciding HI-Z line ins. Aside from the Firewire output, it also has eight Hi-Z line outs that are labeled as analog outputs. On the front of the interface it has two 1/4" headphone outputs and an additional couple of HI-Z inputs.

I personally use it for it's conversion.
I use one of two separate preamps with the ensemble (the pre's on the Mackie Onyx 1620 or a Peavey PV 2.6C poweramp). The sound seems relatively warm in comparison to a lot of other interfaces on the market. This can be for better or for worse if the built in mic pre's are the only amps being used.



UTILIZATION

My first experience with the ensemble was actually in a friend's studio and I was originally blown away by the ease of use. I basically learned what I know about mixing in the box while using the Ensemble for inputs as well as monitoring and therefore have a great love for this machine.
The drivers have been very stable as long as I have owned it. I have heard, however, that with particular OS updates for the Mac the Interface control software has had problems with crashing.

The interface control software is called Maestro and it is a pretty cool way of controlling certain aspects of the Ensemble. It has gain controls, Hi pass filters, phantom power toggling, etc. That being said, the only complaint is that some of these controls cannot be toggled without using Maestro.
I remember running into a problem involving the Phantom power being switched off in Maestro and then trying to use the Ensemble with a different set up in a place that I couldn't download or re-download Maestro in order to turn it back on. I was so frustrated and still to this day cannot understand the thought process behind something like that.

GETTING STARTED

No compatibility issues with Mac or Apple or Logic. It was designed specifically for these things. The manual is simple and elegant and It is essentially plug and play as long as you are using Apple products.
As far as use with other DAWs, I have no personal experience but I can't imagine it being difficult at all.
As far as using it with anything other than Mac OS', I have no experience but I feel like some issues will have to arise due to it's manufacturing specifically for Mac/Apple.

OVERALL OPINION

Pros:
-I personally love the sound. It is warm but not overly so.
-Rack Mountable
-Runs Smoothly with Mac
-Sturdy casing. It is tough metal and seems quite durable.

Cons:
-A bit of a latency issue on occasion. Not bad enough to REALLY matter, but it exists.
-Made for Mac. Not PC.
-The Mic Pre's do have a pretty specific sound that could be hit or miss depending on what it is that you are looking for.
-Firewire is becoming outdated.

Better interfaces are certainly available. This is a quality interface that will not do you wrong.
But only in a few years and only after they lower the price, would I recommend it as a top notch choice.
The sound is good standing alone.
The sound is great when coupled with other gear.

If you can save up a thousand bucks, go on and save up a little more and get something else.
If you can wait for the price to go down, do that and buy one of these bad boys second hand.

I love Apogee. They have great products.
I like the Ensemble but it didn't blow me away.