Element: General

Connecting Apogee Thunderbolt to Macs with USB-C ports

All Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces can be connected to Mac computers with USB-C Thunderbolt 3 using Apple’s adapter:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MMEL2AM/A/thunderbolt-3-usb-c-to-thunderbolt-2-adapter

Thunderbolt 3 is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 1 devices so any Apogee Thunderbolt device will work through this adapter with no reduction in performance, latency, or sound quality.

Note: Some 3rd-party venders sell a Display Port adapter. Though the plug is the same size and shape as Thunderbolt 2 & 1, these adapters do not support Thunderbolt.

It should be noted that Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly like USB-C ports and their cables also look similar. This can get a little confusing, so here are a few basic rules to help clear up any questions about connectivity:

  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the same-size port and the same-size connector for their cables. Since USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly the same, you will need to make sure your Mac has Thunderbolt 3 capabilities before using it with an Apogee Thunderbolt device and an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports, such as the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, can use it’s Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect to any Thunderbolt 3 device, USB-C device, and Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 1 device if you use the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with only USB-C ports, such as the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook, can NOT connect to any Thunderbolt device, even when using adapters. It can connect to USB-C devices and other types of USB devices, using the proper adapters.

How do I redeem my Eventide Ensemble bundle?

For a limited time (July 10th 2018 thru January 10th 2019)
Customers who buy a new Apogee Ensemble or Element Series Thunderbolt audio interface from an
authorized Apogee dealer get a Discount Coupon good for a free six-month subscription to the Eventide Ensemble bundle (a $180 value).

To receive this promotion,

  1. Purchase a new Ensemble Thunderbolt or Element 24,46 or 88 from an authorized Apogee dealer
  2. Register the product on the Apogee website and opt-in to receive your license code via email
  3. Use the link in the email to redeem your code from Gobbler.com (Each unique license is embedded in the link within the email. You cannot redeem the plugins unless you click through this link in the email.)
  4. Login to register your Gobbler account and click on ‘Redeem’
  5. Download and installer the Gobbler client
  6. Use the Gobbler client to download, install and activate the plugins.

For additional questions about this Eventide Ensemble bundle, please visit Eventide’s FAQ’s.

 

Volume and Gain are changing by themselves – Auto Gain Control

If your Apogee’s Input Gain or Output Volume are changing on their own, this may be caused by a 3rd-party program like Skype, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, and others.

How is this possible? All modern Apogee interfaces have input gain and output volume that are digitally controlled rather than an analog potentiometer that must be physically turned. The advantages of digital control are many:

  • Improved Sound Quality (turning the gain doesn’t cause a “scratchy” sound, and enables the advantages of our Step-Gain preamp technology)
  • Settings can be saved to presets that can be recalled later.
  • You can also control these settings directly from recording applications like Logic or Garageband’s Device Control feature instead of having to open a separate app.

Unfortunately, other applications are also able to take over these controls in an undesirable way. Most often the culprit are Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) applications like Skype or GoToMeeting, or video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts, as well as Video Podcast features like Facebook Live.

These apps want to optimize the sound as much as possible for phone & video calls or recordings. This feature is usually called “Auto-Gain Control” and is actually pretty great when the computer’s built-in microphone and speakers are being used. However it’s very disruptive when you want to manually set the levels of your own interface and have them stay there.

Sadly, many of these applications do not provide you with the ability to turn off this Auto-Gain Control feature.

There are many applications out there, but there are a few that are most popular that we’ll briefly cover:

SKYPE: Can disable auto-gain ????

The more recent versions of this app provide the ability to turn off AutoGain Control. The example below shows the Mac version. The iOS app is restricted to only using the built-in iPad/iPhone mic and can’t use external sound cards.

Google Hangouts: Cannot turn off auto-gain ????

On a Mac, Hangouts typically needs a Chrome or Safari browser extension installed. None of the settings menus provide an option to turn off auto-gain. Even worse: even if you are not in a hangouts session but your web browser is open, the hangouts plugin will still be active and can adjust the gain on you. If you are in a DAW or recording program at the time, this is obviously bad. Turn off or disable the extension to avoid this:

Safari Browser:
 

 

Chrome Browser:
 

 

Facebook Live: Cannot turn off auto-gain ????

The Facebook Live interface only allows you to select your interface, there are no audio options beyond that so if it is adjusting your Apogee’s levels there is no way to turn it off.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes. At least on a Mac or PC there are 3rd-party programs that stream through Facebook Live, or Twitch, or YouTube, and has extensive audio features. Apogee does our Facebook Live streams using an open source broadcaster software called OBS. There are many other such programs out there so look around to find one that serves your needs.

On an iPad or iPhone, you are limited by the capabilities of the iOS operating system and the app you are using, so there are usually even fewer options to get around the auto-gain problem.

The ability to disable Auto-Gain should be added to these apps by the developer. Please contact the maker of the program or iOS app you use and ask them to add this feature in a future update. Getting many requests from customers is the only way developers will know there is a demand for this.

 

*If you know of a better way around this problem, please contact our Support Team and let us know!

Logic Direct Monitoring

What is Logic Direct Monitoring?

 Hardware – Software Requirements

  1. Element Series + Ensemble Thunderbolt with July 2017 software and firmware updates
  2. Requires Logic Pro 10.3.2 or greater
  3. Direct Monitoring feature enabled only with a single Apogee interface – Direct Monitoring is disabled when multiple Apogee interfaces are connected.

Setting up Logic Pro to use Direct Monitoring

  1. In Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio > General, check Software Monitoring.
  2. In the Logic Pro menu bar, choose Record > Auto Input Monitoring if the setting is unchecked.
  3. Configure Logic Pro for use with an Apogee Element Series or Ensemble Thunderbolt interface
  4. In Logic Pro, choose View > Show Mixer if Mixer isn’t displayed.
  5. In the Mixer pane, choose View > Channel Strip Components, then select Audio Device Control if it is unchecked.
  6. At the top of the Channel Strip, Audio Device and Monitoring controls should now be displayed.

Are Bus Sends active in Direct Monitoring Channel Strips?

Yes, Logic Pro Bus sends operate as expected when the Channel Strip is in Direct Monitoring mode, allowing the user to send the signal to a reverb or other effect. Note that the send is delayed in relation to the Direct Monitoring signal, but this delay is rather inconsequential in the context of a reverb send.

What about plugins?

Plugins appear active but aren’t processing the Direct signal. Plugins DO process the Bus sends (i.e. reverb sends). Also, when audio is played back from tracks through the Channel Strip, plugins process the playback signal.

 Can I engage Direct Monitoring on Multiple Channel Strips and mix them to one stereo output?

Yes, it’s possible to engage Direct Monitoring on as many Channel Strips as there are hardware inputs. For example, an Element 46 has 4 analog and 8 optical inputs – thus, it’s possible to engage Direct Monitoring on up to 12 Channel Strips and mix them to one stereo output.

Can I create create Direct Monitoring mixes for multiple hardware outputs?

Yes, it’s possible to create up to 4 stereo mixes using Ensemble Thunderbolt and 3 stereo mixes using Element Series interfaces. Note that it isn’t currently possible to route a hardware input to two different mixes. Also note that it’s not possible to route a Direct Monitoring mix to Element Series optical outputs.

How does Direct Monitoring interact with Apogee Control low latency mixers

  • Direct Monitoring mixers are in addition to Apogee Control mixers. Users may employ both if they so desire.
  • Apogee Control low latency mixers. This means that, practically, users should employ one approach or the other.

Do Apogee Thunderbolt products (Element, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, Thunderbridge) work with the latest 12″ MacBook?

Question:

Do Apogee’s Thunderbolt products (Element 24, Element 46, Element 88, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII Thunderbolt, and Symphony 64 Thunderbridge) work with the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook?

 

Answer:

No. The 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook, shown here, do not include a Thunderbolt port. They only have a USB-C port. The Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapters will not work with these MacBooks, despite using the same-size connectors. Apogee Thunderbolt devices will work with the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, as discussed in this post. It should be noted that Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly like USB-C ports and their cables also look similar. This can get a little confusing, so here are a few basic rules to help clear up any questions about connectivity:

  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the same-size port and the same-size connector for their cables. Since USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly the same, you will need to make sure your Mac has Thunderbolt 3 capabilities before using it with an Apogee Thunderbolt device and an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports, such as the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, can use it’s Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect to any Thunderbolt 3 device, USB-C device, and Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 1 device if you use the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with only USB-C ports, such as the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook, can NOT connect to any Thunderbolt device, even when using adapters. It can connect to USB-C devices and other types of USB devices, using the proper adapters.

 

Click here for more information on the differences between USB-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

 

 

 

 

Apogee Control Hardware Remote FAQ’s

Question – What controls are offered by the Apogee Control Hardware Remote?

Answer   – The hardware remote offers a large encoder knob (as found on Symphony I/O), three encoder focus buttons and 8 user-assignable buttons. The three focus buttons and encoder allow quick adjustment of all analog inputs and outputs, while the 8 user-assignable buttons offer a wide variety of controls:

 

  • Mute-Dim-Sum to Mono of any or all outputs
  • Set Reference Speaker Level
  • Toggle Speaker Sets (88 only)
  • Engage Talkback
  • Set Analog input parameters
  • Direct select analog inputs
  • Open Element Control

 

Question – Can the hardware remote control low latency mixers?

Answer   – The initial version doesn’t support low latency mixer control, though this may be added based on user feedback.

 

Question – Will the Apogee Control hardware remote be compatible with other Apogee products?

Answer   – As compatibility of the Element Control Mac application expands to other Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces, compatibility with the hardware remote will be included.

Apogee Control iOS App FAQ’s

Question – Is the iOS app free?

Answer   – Yes. There is a demo mode to try the app with “virtual” Element Series interfaces.

 

Question – How does the iOS app connect to the Mac?

Answer   – Both the Mac and the iOS device must connect to the same WiFi network. It’s possible to connect to a computer-to-computer network created by the Mac.

 

Question – How many iOS devices can be connected?

Answer   – It’s possible to connect as many iOS devices as are available.

 

Question – What iOS versions and iOS devices are supported?

Answer   – iOS version 9 and above are officially supported.

 

Question – Can the iOS app control low latency mixers?

Answer   – The initial version doesn’t support low latency mixer control, though this may be added based on user feedback.

 

Question – How far away can you be and still control an Element?

Answer   – This will vary according to the environment and is limited by the Wi Fi range of the iDevice you are using. Walls and obstacles will obviously be a factor in range. From our testing we were always able to control Element units from another room and outdoors from around 30 yards

 

Question – The iOS app doesn’t find my Element interface – what can I do?

Answer   – First, make sure that the Element interface is correctly detected in the Mac app. Next, make sure on your Mac to accept the invitation to connect the iOS device.

   Apogee Control uses the Apple Bonjour to connect to and control your Element interface over Wi-Fi. If the interface is recognized on the Mac but not by the iOS app,  then most likely the network ports required by Bonjour haven’t been opened by your IT manager. This is quite likely the case in a corporate environment where network security is a priority. See this Apple Support document concerning the open ports required for Bonjour.

 

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202944

To verify Bonjour functionality across your network, download and configure the free Apple Remote for iTunes app, which offers control of your Mac’s iTunes from your iOS device. Apple Remote also uses Bonjour.

Element Control Mac App FAQ’s

Question – What’s new in Element Control with regard to Maestro?

Answer   – Element Control has been built from the ground up to provide a high degree of customization. We want you, the user, to adapt Element Control to your workflow (or workflows!) and not the other way around.

When you first launch the app, the Snapshot Template window offers a quick way to configure Element Control for a wide variety of workflows, from simple to elaborate.

With Element Control, you can select and set analog inputs and outputs directly from your Mac keyboard using the Arrow keys and Speaker volume keys.


Question – Can I save/recall software setups?

Answer   – Yes, it’s possible to save and recall “Snapshots” of any Element Control settings. The app also offers a “Snapshot Template” window, where users can choose a variety of common workflows as a point of departure.


Question – How many low latency mixers are available?

Answer:

  • Element 88 – 5 stereo mixers
  • Element 46 – 4 stereo mixers
  • Element 24 – 3 stereo mixers

Question – What is Autolaunch?

Answer   – Autolaunch is an Element Control preference that launches the app whenever an Element hardware interface is connected (including at Mac start-up). Autolaunch is especially useful to display the Essentials window every time you start your Mac, so analog input/output controls are instantly accessible.


Question – Is there any DSP in the app or interface?

Answer   – No


Question – Can I add reverb in the app?

Answer   – Element Control includes an “FX Send” mixer that makes it easy to route low latency mixer inputs to a plug-in reverb instantiated in your DAW. This approach offers the advantages that 1) only one reverb needs to be set up and adjusted for both low latency monitoring and playback 2) your highest-quality reverb plug-in is most likely in your DAW.


Question – Do I need to open the Element Control Mac app to use the iOS app? The Apogee Control hardware remote?

Answer   – It’s not necessary to launch the Element Control Mac app to use any other part of the Control ecosystem – iOS Control app, hardware remote or Logic Pro Audio Device Control.


Question – Will the Element Control Mac app support other Apogee products?

Answer   – Yes, Element Control will eventually support other Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces, though no timeline is available.

Element Series Interfaces FAQ’s

Question – How many Element Series interfaces can I connect to my Mac?

Answer   – It’s possible to connect any two Element series interfaces.

 

Question – Are there any limitations when connecting multiple Element interfaces?

Answer   –

 

  • Since Element Series interfaces have only one Thunderbolt port, the Mac to which interfaces are connected must have two Thunderbolt ports;

  • With multiple Elements interfaces, sample rate is limited to 96kHz and below;

  • ADAT I/O is not available, as it is used for inter-device clocking and bussing (see next point);

  • Both ADAT I/O must be interconnected between the two Element interfaces. This 1) provides a clock from the Master device to the second device 2) provides low latency mixer bussing, so analog inputs and outputs from both devices are accessible from all low latency mixers.

Question – Why only one Thunderbolt port?

Answer   – Our goal was to offer the fundamental elements of the Apogee flagship experience at an incredibly accessible cost. The additional cost of a two-port Thunderbolt implementation is significant and would increase the final cost a great deal. It should be noted that no Thunderbolt interfaces in this market segment include two Thunderbolt ports.

 

Question – Can I connect an Element Series interface with other Apogee interfaces?

Answer   – At the current time, Element Series interfaces aren’t compatible with other Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces (Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, ThunderBridge). Compatibility is planned for the future.

Currently, it’s not possible to run an Element Series interface and other Apogee Thunderbolt interface on the same Mac partition, i.e. it’s necessary to uninstall previously installed Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O Mk II and ThunderBridge software/drivers before installing Element Series software.

 

Question – Can I use an Element Series interface in Standalone mode?

Answer   – Element Series interfaces include a setting to route analog inputs to optical outputs. It’s necessary to connect Thunderbolt for control. Thus, it is possible to configure an Element Series interface to operate as an expander to other interfaces equipped with ADAT/SMUX inputs.

 

Question – What is the latency of the system?

Answer   – At 96kHz, 32 buffer setting through Logic Pro, latency is 1.4 milliseconds.

 

Question – What OS versions and Apple hardware devices are supported?

Answer   – Element Series interfaces are supported on OS X 10.10 and above, including OS X 10.12;

   Any Apple hardware with 1 or more Thunderbolt ports is supported.

 

Question – Is the Element Series Windows compatible?

Answer   – There are no current plans to support Windows.