Symphony I/O

Setting up and configuring Symphony I/O for Pro Tools HD

A Symphony I/O in Pro Tools HD mode is compatible with the following:

  • HDX
  • HD Native PCIe
  • HD Native Thunderbolt
  • HD Core/Accel/Process PCIe


For the rest of the instructions, we will refer to whichever HD card(s) or HD Native Thunderbolt box you’re using as “the HD card”.


1.  Confirm that you have Pro Tools HD v8.1.1 or higher installed on your Mac or PC, along with the applicable HD driver (a separate install) and a connected iLok with HD license.


2.  If you’re using more than one Symphony I/O, make sure the unit that’s going to be connected to Port 1 has two I/O modules installed, as explained in greater detail here.


3.  Power up the Symphony I/O and make sure it’s in ‘Pro Tools HD’ mode by pushing in and holding on the right-side front-panel encoder and scrolling through the different modes until you get to ‘Pro Tools HD’ and then push in on the encoder again to restart the unit in ‘Pro Tools HD’ mode.


4.  You can not daisy-chain Symphony I/Os off of Avid interfaces or other Symphony I/Os. Since the Symphony I/O can contain 32 channels of I/O in one unit, it needs a dedicated port on the HD card. Connect the first Symphony I/O to Port 1 of the HD card (if you’re using an Avid or Digi interface and you already have it connected to Port 1, you can connect the Symphony to Port 2 of the HD card). Connect any additional Symphony I/Os to the next port on the HD card(s). Keep in mind that each Symphony I/O will need its own port on any HD card.


5.  If you are using only one Symphony I/O and no other Avid or Digi interfaces, you can skip to the next step. If you’re using multiple interfaces, you will need to connect them all via Loop Sync, using BNC cables. Connect the Loop Sync output of the 1st interface to the Loop Sync input of the 2nd interface.  Connect the Loop Sync output of the 2nd interface to the Loop Sync input of the 3rd interface and so on.  Once you come to the last interface in the chain, send its Loop Sync output to the Loop Sync input of the 1st interface.  If you’re using a Digi Sync I/O or an Avid Sync HD, you would do the same thing, except you would treat the Sync I/O  or Sync HD as the 1st interface and start by sending its Loop Sync output to the Loop Sync input of the 2nd unit and so on until you bring the Loop Sync output of the last unit in the chain to the Loop Sync input of the Sync I/O or Sync HD. Your Sync I/O or Sync HD must be connected to your HD card using the serial cable that was included with it to use it.


6.  Make sure all Symphony I/Os and any other HD interfaces are connected properly and powered up and then launch Pro Tools HD.


7.  After Pro Tools HD has launched, click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘Playback Engine’. Confirm that HD, HDX, or HD Native is selected as the ‘Current Engine’.  If it’s not, select it and click ‘OK’.  If it wasn’t already selected in the Playback Engine and you had to select it, you will need to quit/relaunch Pro Tools after doing so.


8.  Click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘Hardware’.  Confirm that the expected interfaces show up in the correct order under the ‘Peripherals’ column in the upper left-side corner.  Keep in mind that each I/O module in a Symphony I/O will show up as one Avid HD I/O.  Once you have verified this, click ‘OK’ to exit.


9.  If you are not using a Sync I/O or Sync HD, you can skip to the next step.  If you are using a Sync I/O or Sync HD, click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘Peripherals’ and go to the ‘Synchronization’ tab.  Under ‘Synchronization Device’, select ‘Enable Sync HD’.


10.  Click on the ‘Setup’ menu in Pro Tools and select ‘I/O’.


11.  Once the I/O Setup opens, select all of the channels in the left-hand column and hit ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.  After you’ve deleted them, click the ‘Default’ button in the lower part of the screen and confirm that the “Compensate for delays…” checkbox is checked. Follow the same steps for the input, output, bus, and insert tabs in I/O Setup. Once you have gone through these steps in each tab, click the ‘OK’ button to confirm changes and exit.


12.  You are now ready to use Symphony I/O with Pro Tools HD.

*  Keep in mind that the first 2 analog outputs of Symphony I/O will default to a -20dB level for using the Symphony I/O as a monitor controller. If you are using an external monitor controller and would like all of the Symphony I/O’s outputs to be at 0dB line level, first make sure your external monitor controller is turned down all the way.   There are 2 ways to set the main first 2 analog outputs to 0dB Line Level:  you can raise or lower the level of outputs 1-2 from the front-panel by using the left-side knob to set the control for speaker (the speaker icon will be visible) and then using the right-side knob to raise the level to 0dB (make sure you’re not setting the headphones to 0dB) or from launching ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder, going to the ‘Output’ tab, scrolling all the way to the right until you see the Main Output control knob (with the speaker icon), and clicking on the drop-down menu and changing the selection to ‘Line’.

*  If you would like to change the headphone routing on the Symphony I/O, you will need to launch ‘Apogee Maestro’ from your Applications folder and go to the ‘Output’ tab. Scroll all the way to the right until you see the 2 headphone level knobs.  Click on the drop-down menus next to them and you will see a list of all the available outputs you can send to the headphones.



How does the routing for the Symphony I/O 2×6 I/O module show up in Pro Tools HD?

When using a 2×6 i/o module in a Symphony I/O (MkI or MkII), the 2×6 i/o module shows up as a 16ch Avid HD I/O in Pro Tools HD. Here is how the I/O corresponds with the ProTools I/O (Note that PT inputs 3 through 6 are nothing. This is so all the input and output channel numbers line up with each other when using hardware inserts):


Pro Tools Inputs 1-2             Line Inputs 1-2
Pro Tools Inputs 3-4             N.A.
Pro Tools Inputs 5-6             N.A.
Pro Tools Inputs 7-8             AES Inputs 1-2
Pro Tools Inputs 9-16           Optical Inputs 1-8

Pro Tools Outputs 1-6          Line Outputs 1-6
Pro Tools Outputs 7-8          AES Outputs 1-2
Pro Tools Outputs 9-16        Optical Outputs 1-8




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.



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.

The input and output channels from my 2nd Symphony I/O module don’t show up

If you have installed a 2nd i/o module in your Symphony I/O and the input and output channels are not showing up in Apogee Maestro or in your DAW, there are a few things to check:

1. First, launch “Apogee Maestro 2” from your Applications folder. Go to the “Input Routing” and “Output Routing” tabs. Click the “Reset Routing” button in each of these tabs. Do the channels for the 2nd module show up now? If so, the issue is now resolved and you can ignore the rest of this post. If not, proceed to the next steps.

2. With your Symphony I/O connected to your Mac via USB, launch the “Symphony I/O Firmware Updater” app from Applications> Utilities. Check to see that all the versions are current. If it gives you the option to update, then update by following the instructions in this link: Updating firmware. If it only gives the options to “force-update” or “quit”, then confirm that the version for the “secondary i/o module” actually shows up and does NOT show “N.A.” or “0”. If it is showing the firmware version properly, quit the updater. If it shows “N.A.” or “0”, then quit the updater and proceed to the next step. Do not force-update.

3. You may need to confirm that the 2nd i/o module is connected properly to the Main board. If you feel confident opening up the unit, proceed with the instructions. If not, you will need to have an Apogee dealer do this or send it in for a repair.

Instructions for checking ribbon cable

Unplug power from SymI/O

Remove screws and lid from SymI/O chassis

Gently pull up a little with your thumbs on each side of the ribbon cable connecting the i/o module to the Main board until you’re able to pull the ribbon cable out. Do this to both ends of the ribbon cable and remove it from the connector.

Please note whether the ribbon cable is gray or black. If it is black, you will need to contact our Tech Support and request a gray ribbon cable.

If the ribbon cable is gray, carefully set the ribbon cable back into place, making sure to line up with the pins in the connector. Gently push on each end until the ribbon cable is FIRMLY in place… if it’s not pushed down all the way, the boards won’t power up correctly.

Put lid back on chassis and plug power back into unit.

Once the unit is powered up, launch “Apogee Maestro 2” from your Applications folder and click “Reset Routing” in both the “Input Routing” and “Output Routing” tabs.

The Symphony Source setting keeps getting set to the wrong Port selection

The port selection switching back to the wrong setting (port 1 if you’re trying to use 2 ports or ports 1-2 if you’re trying to use 1 port) is caused by a preference file getting corrupted. This can happen from using System Preferences Sound to make your audio selections. We recommend only using Audio MIDI Setup (Applications> Utilities> Audio MIDI Setup) from now on.

To fix this issue, please follow these steps in the exact order:

– Go to the following location:

MacHD> Library> Preferences> Audio

– Once you’re in the ‘Audio’ folder, there should be 2 files in there:

– Trash both of these files and empty the trash.

– If you still have the Symphony Release Installer package on your desktop or downloads folder, open it. If not, download it from our website and open it.

– Launch the Symphony Uninstaller and run it. Restart your Mac after the uninstall has completed.

– Open the Symphony Release Installer package and run the Symphony Software Installer. Restart your Mac after the install has completed.

– It’s a good idea to connect your Symphony I/O(s) to your Mac via USB and launch the ‘Symphony I/O Firmware Updater’ (Applications> Utilities> Symphony I/O Firmware Updater) just to double-check that your firmware is all on the current versions. If it’s not, update it. If it is, move to the next step.

– Launch Audio MIDI Setup (Applications> Utilities> Audio MIDI Setup). We recommend using Audio MIDI Setup instead of System Preferences Sound.
Make sure that ‘Symphony64′ (PCIe or Thunderbridge) is selected in the left-side column. In the ‘Source’ menu on the right, choose the appropriate port selection depending on how many Symphony I/Os you have. If you have 1 unit, choose ‘Port 1: 32ch’if you have 2 units, choose ‘Ports 1-2: 64Chs’. Quit Audio MIDI Setup and restart the computer.  Wait until the unit/units sync and stop clicking before launching Maestro. This can take a couple minutes if you’re using 2 Symphony I/Os.





What is ‘VBus’ and how do you use it?

Apogee’s VBus creates virtual hardware buses to allow expanded routing of audio within one application or between different audio applications. For example, it’s possible in Logic Pro to record a submix of multiple audio tracks onto a new audio track as described below. It’s also possible to route between two audio applications by selecting a VBus output in the source application and a VBus input in the destination application.

VBus is only available in the Symphony system. You must have either a Symphony 64 PCIe or Thunderbridge and at least one Symphony I/O, AD16x, DA16x, Rosetta 800, or Rosetta 200 to use it.


To use VBus:

If you have a Symphony system and everything is connected and configured properly, launch ‘Apogee Maestro 2’ from your Applications folder and go to the ‘System Setup’ tab.  Go to the right-side of the window and click the drop-down menu under ‘VBus’ to select how many channels of VBus i/o you would like to use.  As soon as you engage VBus, quit all open applications and restart your Mac.

In order for VBus I/O to appear in your audio application’s I/O list as VBus In 1-2, 3-4, etc, it’s necessary to specify the use of the Symphony driver’s names in the application’s I/O list. For example in Logic Pro X, open Mix>I/O Labels and option-click on all the I/O found under the Driver’s I/O Label column.

As an example of how to use VBus, let’s record a submix of drums onto a new stereo audio track in Logic.  In Logic’s Track Mixer, set the outputs of the individual drum audio tracks to VBout 1/2.  Create two audio tracks (or one stereo track) and set their inputs to VBin 1 and VBin 2. Record-enable the new track and commence recording. The new track will record the mix of the individual drum tracks.

What is the ‘A button’ (device ID) in Maestro for?

Most Apogee products that use the Apogee Maestro 2 control application will include a ‘Device ID’ button that can be found in multiple Maestro tabs under a graphical icon for the connected Apogee device. You will usually see this button as an ‘A’.

Here is an example of what it looks like when you have a Symphony I/O connected:



The purpose of this button is to quickly identify which Apogee device you’re adjusting parameters in Maestro for. When you click on the button, it will light up the front-panel of the corresponding Apogee device so you can see which device you are adjusting parameters in Maestro for. Click the button again and the device will no longer be identified.

Since multiple Apogee devices can be connected and appear in Maestro at the same time, it can sometimes be confusing to know which device you’re adjusting parameters for. Having more than one Duet or Quartet connected to a Mac may not be as common as having multiple Symphony I/Os or Ensembles connected, but the ‘Device ID’ buttons are there for each product, just in case.


A typical use-case:

You have 2 Symphony I/Os connected to one Mac and both are showing up in Apogee Maestro. You can go to the ‘Device Settings’ tab in Maestro and change the peripheral prefix of the 2nd Symphony I/O to ‘B’ (or any other letter you want). Now, when you click the ‘B’ button (Device ID) in Maestro, the 2nd Symphony I/O will become identified.  If you click the ‘A’ button, the 1st Symphony I/O will become identified.


Is Symphony Mobile still supported with current installers and Mac OS versions?

The Symphony Mobile is no longer supported with our latest Symphony System installers and current Mac OS versions.

The last Symphony Release Installer package that officially supported the Symphony Mobile card was Symphony Release 4.4.

This installer is compatible with the following Mac OS versions: 10.6.8, 10.7.5, and 10.8.5.  Anything after 10.8.5 is not supported.


Click here to download Symphony Release 4.4

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.



Connecting 2 Symphony I/Os to a Symphony 64 Thunderbridge or PCIe card

Before going through the setup steps, be sure to confirm that you have the matching software and firmware installed. Both units need to be on the firmware from the same installer release for them to sync properly. Connect both units to your Mac via USB (use a powered hub if your Mac has USB 3.0 ports), launch the Symphony I/O Firmware Updater from your Utilities folder and confirm that the firmware is up to date for each unit. Select ‘Symphony I/O 1‘ in the drop-down menu of the firmware updater app to check the 1st unit’s firmware versions. After confirming the firmware is up to date for the 1st unit, select ‘Symphony I/O 2‘ from the drop-down menu and confirm the firmware is up to date for the 2nd unit as well. When you’re finished, quit the firmware updater and follow the steps below.


To connect 2 Symphony I/Os to a Symphony64 Thunderbridge or PCIe card, follow the steps below in the exact order:



– Connect the Main Port of Unit A  to Port 1 (chs 1-32) of the Thunderbridge, using a PC-32 Symphony cable.


– Connect the Main Port of Unit B to Port 2 (chs 33-64) of the Thunderbridge, using a PC-32 Symphony cable.


– Use 2 BNC cables to connect the Loop Sync output of Unit A to the Loop Sync input of Unit B and the Loop Sync output of Unit B to the Loop Sync input of Unit A. Make sure you’re using the LOOP SYNC jacks and not the Word Clock jacks.


– On Unit A, press in and hold on the front-panel right-side encoder knob until you come to the Audio Mode menu. Scroll until it says ‘Symphony‘ and then push in on the encoder knob again to restart the unit in Symphony mode. Do this to Unit B as well.


– Launch Apogee Maestro2 from your Applications folder, go to the ‘System Setup‘ tab and make sure the  “USE LOOP SYNC” check-box is CHECKED. Quit Maestro.


– On your Mac, launch ‘Audio MIDI Setup’ (Applications> Utilities> ‘Audio MIDI Setup’). Make sure ‘Symphony64’ is highlighted on the left-side device column. On the right-side, set the ‘Source‘ to ‘Ports 1-2: Chs 1-64‘. Quit Audio MIDI Setup and restart the Mac.


– Once the Mac restarts, you need to wait until the units have finished configuring before launching Maestro or ANY other software. This can take a couple minutes. You’ll hear relays clicking back and forth and you’ll see the “!” icon on the front-panels appear and disappear. When this stops after a minute or so and both units are configured, Unit A should say ‘INT‘ and Unit B should say ‘LOOP‘.


– As soon as both units appear to be configured and Unit A says ‘INT‘ and Unit B says ‘LOOP‘, launch Maestro and confirm that both units show up as expected.