Symphony I/O Mk II: Troubleshooting

The routing is incorrect/no audio in Pro Tools HD Native with Symphony I/O

There is a known issue when using Symphony I/O or Symphony I/O MkII in Pro Tools HD mode with a Pro Tools HD Native card or HD Native Thunderbolt. The routing will be incorrect and/or audio will not show up where expected when you connect 2 Symphony I/Os (MkI or MkII) and the 1st unit only has one I/O module installed. This only occurs with HD Native– not with HDX or the older Core/Accel/Process HD cards.

 

Solution:

Make sure the 1st unit connected to the HD Native card or HD Native Thunderbolt on Port 1 has 2 I/O modules installed if you have 2 units connected.

Input routing incorrect in ProTools HD when 2×6 module installed in primary slot

There is a known issue with the input routing in ProTools HD if you install a 2×6 module in the primary slot of a Symphony I/O MkII and any other I/O module in the secondary slot and use it in ProTools HD mode.

 

Solution:

If you are using a 2×6 module in combination with another I/O module in a Symphony I/O MkII in ProTools HD mode, make sure you install the 2×6 module in the secondary slot and the other module in the primary slot.

 

Supported 2×6 configurations for Symphony I/O MkII in ProTools HD mode:

Primary: 2×6
Secondary: none

Primary: 8×8 (any old or MkII 8×8)
Secondary: 2×6

Primary: 16×16 Analog In/Out (original or MkII)
Secondary: 2×6

 

2×6 configurations not supported for Symphony I/O MkII in ProTools HD mode:

Primary: 2×6
Secondary: 2×6

Primary: 2×6
Secondary: 8×8 (any old or MkII 8×8)

Primary: 2×6
Secondary: 16×16 Analog In/Out (original or MkII)

Note: the older 16 Analog In/Digital Out and 16 Digital In/Analog Out modules are not supported in Symphony I/O MkII regardless of what mode you’re using the unit in.

 

 

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.

When using Apogee interface with Cubase, Sonarworks, output volume level goes to max.

Symptom: When opening a session or selecting Apogee as the audio device, the output goes to full volume every time.

Solution: 

  • In Cubase, go to Devices > Device Setup > Control Panel > Core Audio Device Settings. Under Options, verify that set device attenuation to 0 dB is unchecked.

NOTE: In Cubase 10 and up, this setting is in Studio Setup > Control Panel

  • In Sonarworks, go to Systemwide settings and deselect the “Adjust output device gain checkbox.

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 the output volume directly from the Mac’s Keyboard, Touchbar, or Volume icon in the Task Bar.

Cubase:  In Cubase this is called “Device Attenuation.”  The intent of this setting is to attenuate, or lower your volume, so you don’t get blasted.  When selecting any audio device with this setting turned on Cubase sets the device’s output volume to 0, since most simple sound cards have 0 as the lowest value.  Since your Apogee is rating the Outputs in digital decibels, where 0dBFS is the highest value, this setting will have the unfortunate opposite result, maxing out the volume.  Be sure to disable this setting to prevent getting blasted.

Sonarworks Reference 4:  This is a sound calibration software that many customers may have and forget is even running.  It has a setting to Auto adjust output device gain, or volume.

Please remember, many other softwares not listed here have these types of settings so be sure to check all the softwares on your computer!

How do I set my software’s I/O buffer?

The I/O Buffer setting found in most audio software is one of the most crucial, but often ignored, settings in a Mac-based recording system. When choosing a buffer setting, a compromise between the latency through the application and the amount of computer processor power accessible to the application must be made.Latency– the slight delay between the moment you play a note and hear it in your headphones after conversion and processing.

A lower buffer setting results in lower latency but less available processing power. If the application can’t access enough processor power, processor overruns may occur, resulting in audible clicks and pops or error messages that interrupt playback and recording. A higher buffer setting, on the other hand, results in greater amount of accessible processor power (i.e. less chance of overruns) but increases the latency. Determining the best setting requires some trial-and-error in order to find the best compromise.

Keep in mind that as tracks and plug-ins are added to a software session, processor requirements increase. Thus, the buffer setting that works during the early stages of a session might result in processor overruns during later stages. The best strategy is to set the buffer to a lower setting during recording and accept certain limitations on plug-in usage, and then raise the buffer during mixing to utilize the computer’s full processor power when latency isn’t an issue. With the processing power of today’s Macs, you may find that adjustment of the buffer isn’t necessary, and you can leave it at a setting for low latency and still access a sufficient amount of processing power when adding tracks and plug-ins. If you do encounter clicks, pops or software errors, don’t hesitate to experiment with the buffer setting. Please consult the section on Working with GarageBand, Logic and Mainstage to determine how to se the I/O buffer setting is found in your audio application.

When recording, the input is delayed in my headphones

Decrease the I/O buffer size in your audio application. See “How do I set my software’s I/O buffer?” for more information.