Although many of you would find that two inputs is sufficient most of the time, I am sure you all have those moments when you know you could make better use of a couple of extra inputs, or even a spare pair of outputs on your audio interface. This is exactly the concern that Avid and Apogee have addressed with the Avid Pro Tools Quartet. Taking the Apogee Quartet interface and bundling it with Pro Tools software is one thing, but making it available to both Mac and Windows users really turns this into a versatile tool for home and professional studios alike.
Like with the Avid Duet, Apogee have produced this interface to the same specifications as their standard Quartet, but it bears the Pro Tools branding and works on the Windows platform as well as Mac. What the Quartet offers is the ability to extend your recording capabilities when you most need it. Four analogue inputs on combination XLR/TRS connectors allow you to truly make the most of your intimate recording sessions. But, if that wasn’t enough, you have two optical inputs as well. This means you can use external preamps and run them via light-pipe into the Quartet for further inputs. Depending on the sample rate you are working on, you could run up to 12 simultaneous inputs with both ADAT connections giving you four inputs at 96 kHz. That makes for a pretty awesome input device for its size and price.
THE FLIGHT DECK
Offering more inputs means a bigger hardware device, obviously, so the Quartet has a little more space on the somewhat imposing case to offer additional control. You get a single rotary encoder/ button for volume control and data entry but additional functionality is also added with three configurable touchpads. You can easily select between speaker and headphone monitoring too and quickly jump from one input to another with the touchpads located below the LED monitoring section.
My only real gripe is the lack of a physical DIN MIDI connection on the device. Although, in this day and age, with most new MIDI devices are heading towards a USB interface, it is still nice to be able to easily connect legacy hardware up to your interface to keep it all running through one device. That said, it is a minor issue and anyone running serious outboard MIDI gear probably has a dedicated I/O device for this purpose anyway. So, that aside, this all comes together as a powerful recording system. With the Pro Tools iLok included so you are ready to go after installing the software, high quality home recording and production is now so much more of a reality.
Hits and Misses
Serious home studio front AD/DA
Wide range of I/O including word clock output
Easily expandable inputs with two optical ins
Slightly imposing desktop design
MIDI connection by USB only and no DIN connector
- Pro Tools activation card included
- AAX plug-in bundle
- 24-bit/192kHz sound resolution
- Four combination mic/instrument/line inputs
- Eight channels of ADAT/SMUX input via Toslink
- Six 1/4” balanced line outputs for three speaker sets or 5.1 monitoring
- Stereo headphone out
- USB MIDI I/O for MIDI keyboard or DJ controller
- Premium Apogee AD/DA conversion
- Optimized mic preamps provide up to 75dB of transparent gain
- Soft Limit distortion and clipping protection
- OLED display