Reviewed: Apogee Quartet Professional Audio Interface

Amber Technology | ambertech.com.au | Expect to pay: $2,299

Apogee are the consistent underdog of professional audio. We’ve reviewed their Element series of interfaces before here at Mixdown, and the Apogee Quartet described here features many of the same options that really make their interfaces stand out, from the tiny Jam all the way up to the mammoth 32 I/O Symphony I/O.

The Apogee Quartet sits pretty in the middle tier of the manufacturer’s interface range, yet retains the inconspicuous looks, quality preamps, good routing options, futuristic touch pad and backlit metering that Apogee adhere to. The Quartet, as the name suggests, has four combo XLR/jack inputs, six analogue outputs and two optical inputs. There’s a bunch of input and output options using the touchpad ‘buttons’ on the hardware itself, besides the Apogee Maestro mobile app for further control.

 

 

In use, the Quartet is easy and doesn’t get in the way. It connected instantly via USB 2.0 and I had immediate access to the four professional preamps via 1/4” jack or XLR cable, and phantom power and solo functions are available within the Maestro software. There’s a universal mute that is accessed by depressing the large wheel for volume control. Controlling the preamps is easily done by selecting a channel via touchpad and using that same large wheel to dial in the gain for the selected channel, so you can record clean signal with AD/DA conversion for recording up to 24 bit, 192kHz resolution. The six analogue outputs offer this same resolution and can be used as either a monitor controller with three stereo outputs or six mono outputs for outboard gear, and any combination of the two. A touch pad toggles between A (1-2), B (3-4) and C (5-6) stereo outs for monitor control. The nicely backlit screen offers professional looking and very accurate metering, slowly turning to yellow when the signal is optimal, through orange and finally red when the signal clips. You can dim and mono the output from the hardware, which is endlessly handy when checking mixes. In addition to the four inputs and six outputs, the Quartet itself also features two optical inputs to expand your number of preamps via another interface. There’s a word clock In/Out to keep your digital system clean and concise.

 

Furthermore, I had no issues connecting or powering up the unit, and my Mac recognised it instantly. Windows compatibility is a new branch for Apogee, so it's always a good idea to check on your system compatibility before upgrading to a Quartet for your PC. The touch pad is classy, elegant and professional, and the buttons bring a sense of the future to your monitoring and recording. Hardware controls can be toggled via the software and vice versa, and so can input and output levels, as well as mirrored metering. This unit is plug-and-play at its finest, and I experienced zero issues integrating it as the heart of my little home studio. Connectivity allows it to be a monitor controller or auxiliary interface for a bigger studio’s requirements, offering more ins if required. What’s more, the Quartet can be connected easily to an iPad for recording on the go, either professionally or as a place to organise ideas when inspiration strikes. This is also controlled via the Apogee Maestro app.

 

 

Overall, the Quartet is a total solution or a great addition to a studio of any size. It’s practical, easy to connect and simply features everything you need without any tricks. Some parameters are mirrored in the Maestro software, some aren’t, but all are easily accessible, clearly labeled and even more clearly demonstrated regardless of how you’re metering. The preamps have clean combo inputs which scream out for some colour, and the output options can assist the Apogee in serving you however you may need it to. Apogee make products for professionals and don’t need flashy extras to impress the working musician. They do what they do and they do it well, without compromise and without the glitz and glamour of some interfaces. You need the heart of your studio to work precisely, reliably and to be easily integrated into your system. Apogee always have, and will undoubtedly continue providing pragmatic products for working businesses or individuals.

Hits and Misses

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Plug ’n’ Play

Hardware and software integrated

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Check your system is compatible before pulling the trigger

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