Apogee have been consistently delivering professional-grade products since their Apogee Solo, Duet and Quartet burst onto the market. Since then, their flagship Apogee Symphony has become a staple of the most top tier studios of relevance, and the Element is undoubtedly bound to become the staple for mobile studios and/or travelling musicians. The Apogee Element 46 is a 12 in, 14 out interface with maybe the most simple design that I, and the market, have ever seen.
There’s four Neutrik combo XLR/1/4” jack inputs and two headphone outs on the front, while the rear features two XLR outputs for main monitoring, optical in/out, word clock in/out and that’s it. Designed to be as mobile as possible, the Element 46 is streamlined, slick and inconspicuous. Software assists in dialing gain on the four world-class mic preamps, or switching the phantom power in and out, all connected via Thunderbolt to your Mac.
Capable of recording up to 192kHz, 24-bit audio via the four analogue inputs, the Element 46 is a great option for musicians or producers on the go. The lack of knobs and pots make it extremely rugged and road worthy, as there’s not much to break off in the case of a fall or drop. Thunderbolt keeps the latency ultra-low, while ADAT, SMUX and S/PDIF connections are available via the optical I/O, as well as keeping your digital audio rig concise, clear and integrated through the word clock I/O via BNC connections. The two headphone outs are 1/4” jacks, and are controllable by the Apogee software, or by the Apogee app with an iOS device. The preamps and monitors are all controllable via this software as well. Alternatively, a hardware remote is available separately, with matching sleek looks that will look at home beside any interface in the Element series on your desk. For a bigger or smaller rig, the Element series ranges from the Element 12 (10 in, 12 out) up to the Element 88 (16 in, 16 out) with varying ins, outs and options, all via Thunderbolt.
In use, the Element 46 is simple and straight forward while remaining unassuming. This is the kind of product that is easily integrated into an existing rig, or used as the heart of your recording studio, and never produces an issue, always enhances creativity and never gets in the way or holds you back. The Element 46 is more or less set-and-forget, in the sense that once it’s set-up, it’ll do its job well and can be relied on gig after gig, session after session. The Element Series can fit in your backpack or a road case, without worry of knobs or external power cables etc. snapping off while in transit. The Element 46 is everything you need it to be, and that’s all. There’s bells, there’s whistles, but they’re all internal or integrated into the software.
Overall, the Apogee Element 46 is a complete solution for a producer on the go, with minimal external requirements, plenty of routing options, and maximum invisibility once integrated, allowing you to focus on music and not complicated interfaces and digital conversion. The unit can handle even the highest resolution audio, up to 192kHz @ 24-bit, with little latency and minimal round-trip latency when recording or send to external equipment. Low weight, high specs, consistent performance. That’s what the Element series is about. Smaller Element interfaces are a great introduction to Apogee that delivers for budding bedroom musicians to big budget producers, both of whom need a reliable system to record to.
Hits and Misses
No external buttons and knobs to be broken