Ensemble: How To's

Gain Staging – How to set proper levels with your Apogee product and recording software

Use the following steps to set input and output levels on your Apogee interface. 

Before launching your recording software:

1. Turn down the speaker/headphone output level of your Apogee interface.

2. Connect your audio source to your Apogee interface. Make sure to use the proper inputs.

• If you’re using a microphone, plug the microphone into the XLR input.

• If you’re using a guitar, bass, or other high impedance instruments, plug them into the 1/4″ instrument input.

• If you’re using an external mic-pre or another piece of line-level gear, use the XLR inputs.

Quick Tip: Some keyboards and synths can be plugged into either the Instrument or XLR inputs. You might have to experiment with what sounds better.

3. Launch Apogee Maestro and go to the input tab. Make the appropriate selection in the Analog Level drop-down menu for the input channel you are using.

• Microphone (Mic) – depending on the Apogee interface you are using, you would choose Ext Mic/Ext Mic 48v (ONE) or Mic (Duet, Quartet, Ensemble, SymphonyI/O with MicPre module). You will need to engage the 48v button for if you’re using a mic that requires phantom power.

• Instrument (Inst) – Guitar/Bass/some keyboards

• Line Level (+4dBu/-10dBV for balanced/unbalanced connections) – This setting is used when connecting external microphone preamps and other line-level gear.

NOTE: If you have the ONE, a line-input is accommodated by choosing Ext Mic and turning the input gain all the way down.

4. Set the input gain of your Apogee interface.

There are two ways you can adjust your input gain:

• By adjusting the input software encoder in Maestro

• By turning the physical knob (encoder) on your Apogee interface (make sure you’ve set the knob to control the input channel and not the output level. See your User’s Guide for more information on setting this).

Quick Tip: Ideally, the level in the input meter should be as high as you can get it without hitting an “over”. If you see red in the meter, you know you need to turn the input gain down. In some cases you may need to adjust the output of the audio source you are using. You may need to move your microphone closer to the sound source or further away. You may need to turn the level of your guitar or keyboard up or down.

Launch your recording software, create an audio track, and put the track into input or record mode. It is a good idea to leave the fader of the track you are recording and any Master Fader for the mix set at their default setting.

5. Adjust the output level of your Apogee interface.

• Gradually increase the output level of your Apogee interface so you can hear what your input source sounds like in the speakers or headphones.

• After you get the output set to a comfortable listening level, listen for any distortion in the input audio.

• If the audio sounds bad, you may have something set wrong. Go through steps 2, 3, and 4 to trouble-shoot the problem.

Note: Two common issues are that the sound is too quiet or that it’s distorted. It may be a simple case of needing to turn the input gain up and the output level down or the input gain down and the output level up.

How do I know what version of Maestro is installed on my Mac?

To find out what version of Maestro you have installed:
  • Open Maestro 2 (found in your Mac’s application folder) and click on the “Apogee Maestro 2″ menu in the upper left-hand corner of the desktop menu bar
  • select “About Maestro 2″. This will bring up a window showing you which version you have installed (see example below)

How to do parallel drum compression in Logic?

Part 1


Part 2

Ensemble: Making Settings with Software Control Panels

All Ensemble settings are made from Apogee’s Maestro software Settings panel. Older versions of Logic Pro have a separate Apogee Control Panel. Certain settings can be also be made from OS X audio control panels. It’s possible to open multiple control panels simultaneously, as settings made on one control panel are mirrored on all others. Additionally, Mic Pre gain and Output level may be controlled from Ensemble’s front panel encoders, as described on the lower half of this page.

What is Maestro? – Apogee Maestro provides the most complete control of Ensemble, including control of all Ensemble parameters, store/recall of configurations, expanded routing and 2 low–latency mixers. Maestro may be used with any Core Audio compatible audio application.

The Logic Pro Apogee Control Panel, found in Logic Pro (9 and lower) under the Audio menu, provides control of all Ensemble parameters and store/recall of configurations.

Audio Midi Setup (AMS) – This OS X utility (found in the rootdrive/Applications/Utilities folder) provides control of Ensemble’s clock source, sample rate and output level.

To set Ensemble’s output level using the Mac’s menu bar audio fader, set Default Output (in AMS) to Ensemble; OSX audio faders (including the menu bar fader) will then control the output selected on Ensemble’s front panel. For example, if the front panel  LED is lit, OSX audio faders control the  output level.

Ensemble: Setting Clock Source

Ensemble’s clock source may be set from Maestro, Logic Pro’s Apogee Control Panel, or from OSX’s Audio Midi Setup utility.

When Ensemble is locked to an external source, Ensemble’s sample rate is still determined by the selection in software. Thus, the sample rate of the external source must be manually set to match the software sample rate. For example, if you want to open a session at 88.2 kHz but lock Ensemble to word clock from an Apogee Big Ben, you must manually set the Big Ben to 88.2 kHz.

Ensemble: How to record with the low latency mixer

1. Set the software application’s mixer output to Out 1-2 (Stereo Output).


2. Set the software application’s mixer output to Out 1-2 (Stereo Output).

In the Maestro Output Routing tab window, assign Mixer 1 to hardware output Line 1/2,



3. In the Mixer tab window, set the Software Return drop down menu, on both Mixer 1 and Mixer 2 (if desired), to Analog 1-2. Set both the Software Return and Mixer Master faders to 0dB.


Ensemble: Setting Sample Rate

Setting Sample Rate

To set Ensemble’s sample rate, choose the desired rate in your Core Audio compatible software application; Ensemble will set itself to this rate.

If the application has no sample rate setting, open the OSX utility Audio Midi Setup.

  • Select Ensemble in the column on the left
  • In the details on the right, change the Format field to the desired sample rate

Using 176.4–192 kHz Sampling Rates

To operate Ensemble at a sample rate of 176.4-192k, a change must be made to the I/O Allocation setting:

  • If using Apogee Maestro 2, select the Device Settings tab
  • Change “I/O Allocation” to either 10×10 or 8×8.
    • NOTE: As Optical I/O is not supported at these sample rates, their associated Firewire paths are disabled to conserve CPU bandwidth.
  • After changing I/O Allocation, it’s strongly suggested to re-boot the computer and power the Ensemble off and then on.


  • If using Apogee Maestro 1, go to the Tools menu at the top of the display and select “Maestro Control”.
  • In the Control window, select the Setting tab
  • Change “I/O Allocation” to either 10×10 or 8×8
    • NOTE: As Optical I/O is not supported at these sample rates, their associated Firewire paths are disabled to conserve CPU bandwidth.
  • After changing I/O Allocation, it’s strongly suggested to re-boot the computer and power the Ensemble off and then on.

How do I use the custom I/O labels in Logic?

For Logic 9 and lower:

With your Apogee devive selected as the input/output in Logic’s Audio Preferences, go to the “Options” menu and select “Audio” and then “I/O Labels”. Now you can select the custom Apogee labels for your device.

For Logic X and higher:

  • Go to Logic’s Mix menu at the top of the screen and select “I/O Labels…”
  • There are several columns: Channel, Provided by Driver, User, Long, & Short.
  • To use the labels provided by the Ensemble:
    • Click the button in the Provided by Driver column.
  • To enter your own custom label:
    • Click the button in the User column.
    • Double click the “-” in the Long column, type in a new name, then press Return on your Apple keyboard

Here’s a video showing this process: https://apogeedigital.com/blog/apogee-element-tutorial-enable-logics-io-labels