Element 46

With 2 Elements, controls for Mixer aren’t working OR they’re controlling wrong Mixer

This post addresses possible issues when using 2 Elements at the same time and routing audio through the low-latency mixers in the Element Control app. If you aren’t using 2 Elements together or if you are, but you’re not using any of the mixers built into Control (Element latency is low enough, the majority of use-cases don’t require using these mixers), then this post does not apply.


  • Audio not showing up on correct Mixer Master meters-OR-not showing up at all in the Mixer Master meters.
  • Mixer controls, such as faders, pans, mutes, and solos do not affect the audio
  • Mixer controls for one Mixer seem to be affecting another Mixer



  • Assuming both units are showing up correctly in the Element Control software, verify that the input signal is showing up on the correct channel(s) meters at the top of the Control window.
  • The next thing to check would be the optical cables that connect the 2 units. These cables are essential for properly clocking the units together and transferring audio back and forth across the built-in low-latency mixers of each unit. If the cables aren’t connected properly, you could experience the issues above or even only one unit showing up on your Mac.
  • Double-check that you have connected optical cables from Unit A’s optical output(s) to Unit B’s optical input(s) and from Unit B’s optical output(s) to Unit A’s optical input(s). Remember that if you’re using 2 Element 88s, you will need 4 optical cables since there are 4 ports on each unit. Make sure that the cables are connected correctly. It is very easy to accidentally connect them in the wrong order.
  • If you need to disconnect/reconnect or switch around any optical cables, make sure to restart the Mac after doing so.

My Element won’t power on when connected to my display monitor or MacBook


My Apogee Element (24, 46, or 88) doesn’t power up when I connect it to my display monitor or my MacBook. What’s wrong?



Thunderbolt devices such as the Apogee Element will only work when connected to true Thunderbolt ports. Be careful not to mistake a Mini-Display Port for a Thunderbolt 2 port or a USB-C port for a Thunderbolt 3 port:

  • If you’re trying to connect to a monitor display, confirm that the display has more than 1 Thunderbolt port. You can’t connect more than one 1-port Thunderbolt device in a Thunderbolt chain. The display will need an upstream Thunderbolt port to connect to the Mac or another 2-port Thunderbolt device in a chain and then it will need another Thunderbolt port for you to connect the Element to. A couple common mistakes people make are mistaking Mini-Display Ports with Thunderbolt 2 ports since they look exactly the same and confusing USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 ports since they look exactly the same. For example, the LG Ultrafine 5k monitors have 1 Thunderbolt 3 port and 3 USB-C ports. All 4 ports look alike, but only 1 of them is a Thunderbolt 3 port. You should always look for the Thunderbolt icon next to any Thunderbolt port. With the exception of the new MacBook Pros, any Thunderbolt port will usually have the Thunderbolt icon next to it. More information can be found here.
  • If you are connecting to the latest 12″ MacBook with a USB-C port, Thunderbolt devices will not work on this Mac because the USB-C port only supports USB devices, despite looking exactly the same as a Thunderbolt 3 port. More information can be found here.

Do Apogee Thunderbolt products (Element, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, Thunderbridge) work with the latest 12″ MacBook?


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?



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.┬áIt 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.