Ensemble (Thunderbolt): Compatibility

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.

 

Do Apogee Thunderbolt products (Element, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, Thunderbridge) work with the 2016 MacBook Pro?

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 2016 MacBook Pro?

 

Answer:

Yes. The 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, shown here, includes Thunderbolt 3 ports. You will need to use an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter to connect a current Apogee Thunderbolt device. As discussed in this post, you can NOT connect Apogee Thunderbolt devices to the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook because it only has USB-C and does 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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Is Ensemble compatible with Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11)?

Yes! Ensemble Thunderbolt and Ensemble FireWire are both fully compatible* with Mac OS X El Capitan (10.11 to current).  Please be sure to download and install the latest El Capitan compatible software package for your product from Apogee’s site.

*  Although Ensemble FireWire is not “officially supported” after OS X 10.10.5, it is still compatible with OS X 10.11 and should work just like it did on OS X 10.10. You can download the latest installer for Ensemble Firewire and use it on 10.11 even though it says “Mac OS X 10.10 and 10.9 only”.

 

Click to find the latest Ensemble Thunderbolt Software Installer

Click to find the latest Ensemble FireWire Software Installer

 

Are Apogee products compatible with Pro Tools 12?

Yes!  The following products have been tested and are fully compatible with Pro Tools 12 (every version of 12):

  • JAM
  • JAM 96k
  • MiC
  • MiC 96k
  • Groove
  • GiO
  • ONE for Mac (old and new versions)
  • ONE for iPad & Mac
  • Duet FireWire
  • Duet 2
  • Duet for iPad & Mac
  • Quartet for iPad & Mac
  • Ensemble FireWire
  • Ensemble Thunderbolt
  • Symphony I/O (USB, Symphony, and Pro Tools HD modes)
  • Symphony I/O MkII (Thunderbolt and Pro Tools HD)
  • Symphony 64 PCIe
  • Symphony 64 | ThunderBridge
  • X-Symphony equipped X-Series and Rosetta Series Converters
  • X-HD equipped X-Series and Rosetta Series Converters

Power-up order for Ensemble Thunderbolt

When powering up the Ensemble Thunderbolt, it’s recommended to  always connect it to power first before connecting it to Thunderbolt.

 

– Connect Ensemble to power

– Connect Ensemble to Mac via Thunderbolt

– Power up Ensemble

The Ensemble is frozen in the middle of boot-up with the Apogee ‘A’ logo and/or 3 dots on the screen

If the Ensemble Thunderbolt ever gets in a state where it seems to be “frozen” and the front-panel display is stuck on either the Apogee ‘A’ logo with version numbers, 3 dots on the screen, or any other kind of half-loaded display, try the following steps below in this specific order:

– Quit all apps

– Unplug Ensemble from power and from Thunderbolt

– Connect Ensemble to power

– Connect Ensemble to Mac via Thunderbolt

– Power up Ensemble

– Launch the ‘Ensemble Thunderbolt Firmware Updater’ app (Applications>Utilities) and confirm that the firmware is up to date. If it’s not, run the firmware updater.

From now on, when connecting the Ensemble, always connect it to power first before connecting it to Thunderbolt as described in this article: https://knowledgebase.apogeedigital.com/ensemble-thunderbolt/power-up-order-for-ensemble-thunderbolt/

Does Ensemble Thunderbolt require a Thunderbolt 2 computer?

Ensemble Thunderbolt is compatible with any Thunderbolt equipped Mac computer.

Thunderbolt 2 is backwards compatible with the original Thunderbolt, and there are no limitations or restrictions when using Ensemble on a Thunderbolt 1 Mac.

If your Mac doesn’t have thunderbolt, you cannot use Ensemble. Old macs cannot have thunderbolt added later, it must be built-in from the factory.