Hardware DSP with native plug-in workflow
Apogee, a leader in digital audio, today unveils one of its most exciting and capable entry-level kits, the Apogee BOOM audio interface. While not exactly known as the most affordable solution, they are best known in professional circles for their high-end consumer recording studio models; the brand has also provided top-notch USB interfaces and mics to content creators over the past few years with gear such as its Duet line and MiC Plus. But things are getting really interesting today with the announcement of its most affordable dual-input BOOM interface. Having had the chance to work with a first production unit over the past few weeks, we’re ready to take a deep dive into this mighty little recording device.
Apogee BOOM Audio Interface Review
Apogee BOOM – the “first audio interface in its class to offer native hardware DSP + plug-in workflow” – is the brand’s most affordable two-channel model. This is a 2×2 audio interface for home music producers, podcasters, streamers and anyone who needs to connect an XLR microphone or instrument to a Mac, Windows machine, iPad or an iPhone. (An additional Lightning adapter is needed here as usual.) The new Apogee BOOM will retail for $299.
I/O and controls
Featuring a front-mounted combo mic/line/instrument jack, BOOM also features an additional 1/4″ instrument/line input. On the back you’ll find the 1/4-inch zero ohm headphone output and a pair of left-right speaker outputs next to the USB-C power/data port – this is a portable, bus-powered machine You’ll also find one of those Kensington lock connectors.
The front panel also houses a large multi-function control knob for adjusting input levels on both channels and speaker output volume. Simply press the button with a satisfying click to cycle through the various functions – a simple, intuitive and efficient way to control the interface’s most important features. It may not have the massive top-mounted, in-your-face control like its entry-level models of the past, but it still delivers much of that experience with the new setup.
For all the technicians, here are the technical characteristics of the microphone preamp, the Hi-Z input and the converters on Apogee BOOM:
- EIN: 128 dB (unweighted) at 62 dB, 150 ohm input
- Maximum input level: +18dBu
- Input impedance: 2.4K ohms
- Maximum input level: 18 dBu (active), 8 dBu (passive)
- Input impedance: 3.2K ohm (active), 1M ohm (passive)
- Max input level +4dBu: +18dBu
- Max input level (-10dBV ref): +6dBV
- Input impedance: 6.4K ohms
- Frequency response 20Hz -20Khz: > +/-0.2dB (@44.1Khz)
- Rel. THD+N: -100dB
- Dynamic range: 122 dB (A-weighted)
- Max output level (+4dBu ref): +15dBu
- Line output impedance: 100 ohms
- Max headphone output level: 15dBu
- Output impedance HPH 0.5 ohm
- Frequency response 20Hz -20 Khz: > +/- 0.05dB
- Rel. THD+N: -107dB
- Dynamic range: 117 dB (A-weighted)
Apogee has never been disappointed with the overall physical build of their gear for me, and the new BOOM interface is no exception. While the brand has moved away from the sort of desk-style top-mounted controls found on many of its entry-level devices of years past, it continues to offer a solid and sturdy enclosure that can manage road trips and looks. ideal in your home setup.
The kind of vibrant black and purple two-tone paint here screams Apogee around every curve of the more traditional form factor, while an almost floating angular bottom plate offers a more modern look and feel. This space along the bottom can also be useful for people looking to run cables through the back of the device. The subtle embossed logos on the top and front of the machine are also a nice touch.
Apogee BOOM is surrounded by the aforementioned purple metal chassis with rubberized padding at both ends resting against the tabletop. The large front-panel multi-function button, XLR combination, 1/4-inch input/output jacks, and built-in bus power/data connection USB-C port are all solid and free of this movement annoying loose that you might find on lower quality products.
Apogee BOOM Hardware DSP + native plug-in workflow
As we mentioned above, the Apogee BOOM offers what the brand calls the first and, currently, only interface in its class with hardware DSP and native plug-in workflow, according to the brand. What this basically means for the uninitiated is that you can use Apogee’s Symphony ECS multi-effects channel strip to apply and imprint effects on the recording path or enhance the sound of your vocals and other recordings afterwards as a typical plug-in. . Remember that you will need to buy the native version of the plug-in for your DAW afterwards. (It’s 50% off when you record your new BOOM.) It features a classic-style EQ based on vintage 1970s gear, compression with parameters tweaked by legendary mixer Bob Clearmountain, and d Particularly smooth overdrive to introduce everything from subtle warmth to full-on crunchy distortion.
Symphony ECS Channel Strip, the same one included with its much more expensive interfaces, is nothing the DSP space vets haven’t seen before, but it’s a prime example of those bread-and-butter multi-effects units. and sounds fantastic to my ears.
It’s also a solid option for first-time users that provides the subtle compression that most podcasters and content creators seek through an interface that won’t overwhelm people who don’t know or care about audio detection circuitry. sidechain, advanced attack/release settings, and the verbiage sometimes found on purist vintage compression emulation. The range of quick-select presets for everything from drums and guitars to vocals and more makes things even easier. The Mixing Console and Software Control Station is where you get virtual controls for things like input gain, Symphony ECS channel strip activation, and phantom power activation , among others. These and the quick-select presets are part of the experience here and are, unsurprisingly, solid integrations that enhance the overall experience.
From digital audio pioneers to state-of-the-art content creation platforms
For those unfamiliar here, Apogee is not only an industry leader in the digital audio space, but it was, in many ways, a pioneer in the global transition from purely analog recording. to digital workflows. It was founded in 1985 – initially to develop products such as its anti-aliasing filters to improve early digital recording devices from Sony, Mitsubishi and Yamaha – and, in part, set the standard for analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog technologies ever since. The brand has been arming professional recording studios around the world with its interface products for almost 50 years now, and in recent years has also launched products for home music producers, podcasters and creators. of content of all types with its Symphony and Duet interfaces as well as the Apogee HypeMic with integrated analog compression.
Enter Apogee BOOM
With its latest Duet 3 and Symphony Desktop interfaces, alongside the much more expensive high-end professional solutions, the brand has also entered the world of DSP processing, providing customers with world-class hardware effects to further enhance its mission to bring this. warm, professional analog sound to digital recording on Mac, iPad, iPhone and Windows machines. Before today, the entry price of this technology wasn’t exactly considered affordable by your average home studio owners, weekend recording warriors, or entry-level Internet streaming setups. But that’s where the new Apogee BOOM comes in.
Interfaces can sometimes be an expensive necessary evil for some people who want the sound quality of a proper XLR microphone as part of their setup. We’re not all audio gear geeks, and having to add that extra kit and the expense that comes with it is sure to have some content creators looking for the more affordable USB-C microphones, bypassing the interface entirely. However, for me, I like having a single interface that provides a hub for all audio coming in and out of my machine (not to mention a pair of physical 1/4-inch or XLR jacks to connect whatever I would consider suitable speakers), be it the iPad Pro or the Mac based desktop rig, for full control over my audio input/output devices.
While Apogee’s solutions have always topped my list of recommendations, not everyone is willing to shell out the cash for models that offer this feature. However, with the new digestible price tag and easy-to-use DSP sound enhancement features, everyone in the 2×2 sub $300 interface market should have the Apogee BOOM on their radar if you ask me.
Purchase the Apogee BOOM interface.
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