Ensemble: Setup

Why are the input and output level/volume popup indicators not showing up?

Several Apogee products have pop-up level indicator graphics that will appear on the desktop of your Mac when the input and output levels are adjusted from the device or from the Mac’s keyboard volume buttons.


If the pop-ups aren’t appearing, there are a few things to check:

Launch ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ from your Applications folder, click on the ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ drop-down desktop menu and select ‘Preferences’. Confirm that the ‘Display pop-ups’ checkbox is checked. If you don’t see this option, then pop-ups aren’t available for the product you’re using.


If you’ve confirmed that the ‘Display pop-ups’ checkbox is checked and you’re still not getting the pop-ups, try the following:


– Unplug/replug your Apogee device

– Restart your Mac

– Launch ‘Activity Monitor’ (Applications> Utilities> ‘Activity Monitor’), click the ‘View’ drop-down desktop menu and select ‘All Processes’. Type ‘apogeepopup’ in the searchbar in the upper right-side corner of Activity Monitor. Once you see ‘ApogeePopup’ displayed in the list, highlight it and force-quit the process by clicking the ‘X’ button in the upper left-side corner of Activity Monitor. Wait a few seconds and you should see the popups again after adjusting input/output level.


*Note for Duet Firewire and Ensemble Firewire customers*

There was a known issue with pop-ups not working for Duet Firewire and Ensemble Firewire when using any version of Mac OS 10.8. It is recommended that you use either a version of Mac OS earlier than 10.8 or later than 10.9.



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)

Does the Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter work with Ensemble?

Yes:  The Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter works with Ensemble Firewire and the current Ensemble FW software release, found on Apogee’s website. There is no noticeable difference in quality or performance from using a built in FireWire port.

Note: This does not apply to Ensemble Thunderbolt. This adapter cannot be used to add Thunderbolt to a Firewire computer. You simply cannot use Ensemble Thunderbolt with a non-thunderbolt Mac.

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: Connections on the Rear Panel


1. MIC1–4 – These XLR connectors accept balanced mic or line inputs; input level is determined in software control.

2. INSERT SEND – RETURN (channels 1–2) – These TRS connectors provide balanced analog insert points before the A/D conversion stage; inserting a jack in the RETURN connector activates insert return.

• The insert send may also serve as a direct out: when only the insert send is connected, signal to the A/D conversion stage is not interrupted.

• The insert return may also serve as a balanced TRS line input.

3. HI–Z (channels 3–4) – These TRS connectors accept high impedance inputs for channels 3–4, similar to front panel HI–Z inputs.

4. ANALOG INPUT 5–8 – These TRS connectors accept line level inputs for channels 5–8; input level is determined in software control.

5. ANALOG OUTPUT 1–8 – These TRS connectors provide line level outputs for channels 1–8; input level is determined in software control.

6. S/PDIF – These coaxial connectors provide S/PDIF format digital I/O.

7. OPTICAL IN/OUT – These Toslink connectors provide S/PDIF, ADAT or SMUX format digital I/O; format is determined in software control.

8. FIREWIRE – These FW 400 connectors provide Firewire I/O to an Apple OSX computer. Stand-Alone Mode – If Ensemble doesn’t detect a valid Firewire connection, it will switch to Stand-Alone mode after a few moments. This is indicated either by a red STATUS LED (when the Firewire connection is present but not valid) or by a green LED (when there is no Firewire connection). In Stand-Alone mode, all routing, mixing and control settings made when the unit was last connected to a Mac are saved in Ensemble flash memory, thus allowing the use of the unit when not connected to a computer. Thus, it’s possible to use Ensemble as a Stand-Alone mixer or AD-DA converter.

9. WORD CLOCK IN/OUT – These BNC connectors provide word clock I/O.

10. WC IN 75 OHM TERM – This switch terminates the Word Clock input with a 75 ohm load.

11. AC IN – This IEC connector accepts AC input from 90–250 volts.

Ensemble: Navigating the Front Panel


1. Power Switch – Press this button to apply power to Ensemble. When Ensemble’s AC input is connected, the switch will light dimly to indicate that the unit is in Standby.

2. STATUS LED – This multi–color LED provides a quick visual indication of the status of various parameters.

• A solid blue LED indicates that Ensemble is locked to the clock source chosen in software control and that the Firewire connection is valid.

• A flashing LED indicates that Ensemble is not locked to the selected clock source. • A red Status LED indicates that Ensemble has not achieved a valid Firewire connection. After a few moments Ensemble will switch to Stand-Alone mode.

• A green LED indicates that no Firewire connection is present, and that Ensemble is operating in Stand-Alone mode.

• A flashing red LED indicates that both error conditions are present.

3. HI–Z Input 1–2 – These 1/4 inch connectors accept high impedance sources such as keyboards and guitars. When a jack is inserted in a Hi–Z connector, the input’s XLR connector is disabled.

4. INPUT Encoder Knob – When inputs 1–4 are set to Mic using software control, this knob controls the mic pre gain; To select the input being controlled, press the encoder knob until the desired PRE LED lights ; turn the encoder clockwise to increase level or counter–clockwise to decrease level. The LEDs encircling the encoder knob indicate the “position” of the knob, providing a quick visual indication of level in the same fashion as a traditional knob. If no inputs are set to Mic in software control, the en- coder has no function.

5. PRE LEDs – These LEDs indicate the selected channel in conjunction with the INPUT encoder knob.

6. 48V LEDs – These LEDs indicate that 48 volt phantom power has been engaged in software control.

7. Meters 1–8 – These meters display either analog inputs or analog outputs, as set in software control.

8. Meters D1,D2 – Meter D1 displays the presence of signal on either channel of the S/PDIF Coax I/O, meter D2 displays the presence of signal on any channel of the Optical I/O.

9. INPUT, OUTPUT LEDs – These LEDs indicate if meters are displaying input or output signals, as set in software control.

10. MAIN, Phones 1,2 LEDs – These LEDs indicate the selected output to be modified by the OUTPUT encoder knob.

11. OUTPUT Encoder Knob – This knob controls the level of the selected output as indicated by the MAIN, hp1 and hp2 LEDs. Operation is similar to that of the Input encoder knob as described above. If Main is set to None in software control, the encoder knob has no effect on the Main outputs.

12. Headphones 1,2 – These TRS connectors provide headphone outputs