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MF MD HG01 Electric Guitar Month 06-19-18

Open-Box Ensemble Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface Condition 1 - Mint

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J13660 004000000
Product Price $2,195.60
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New $2,495.00

Apogee Ensemble is one of the the first Thunderbolt 2 audio interfaces to offer superior sound quality, the lowest latency performance and the most c...Click To Read More About This Product

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This gear was returned in mint condition. If you're looking for a virtually new instrument in possibly less-than-perfect packaging, this is a great value.

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(Open Box) 30 in x 34 out Thunderbolt 2 audio interface.

Apogee Ensemble is one of the the first Thunderbolt 2 audio interfaces to offer superior sound quality, the lowest latency performance and the most comprehensive studio functionality all in one box. Made for the professional home or commercial studio, Ensemble features legendary Apogee AD/DA conversion, eight Advanced Stepped Gain™ mic preamps, monitor controller functionality including talkback, front panel Guitar I/O, two headphone outputs and digital connectivity for a total of 30 x 34 I/O.

True Thunderbolt Performance
Ensemble delivers the full potential of Thunderbolt 2 performance with the lowest latency, unmatched CPU efficiency, 2 ports for expanding your system and a revolutionary 32-bit playback signal path. Ensemble’s proprietary Thunderbolt driver has been written from the ground up for Mac OS X Mavericks, resulting in unmatched performance and efficiency. Latency has been reduced to an astounding 1.1ms round-trip*, allowing you to monitor through your DAW, plug-ins included, simplifying your workflow and leveraging the power of your Mac. Even when your session’s DSP demands require a higher buffer setting, Ensemble’s ultra-low latency means no longer having to choose between power and speed. *Logic Pro X at 96kHz / 32 buffer setting

Devours Bits, Sips CPU
Ensemble’s custom driver includes two innovative features to maximize the performance of the software-hardware interface: a full 32-bit signal path from the output of your DAW straight to the high-performance ESS DAC, and a revolutionary Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine to more efficiently read and write data directly to Mac memory independent of the Mac CPU.

The DMA engine, running on Ensemble’s hardware logic chip, reads digital audio data directly from your Mac’s memory in a 32-bit format, increasing the driver’s efficiency and providing the highest resolution signal possible to the DAC stage. This implementation allows the driver to crunch an enormous amount of data at an amazing speed, while making a very light demand on your Mac CPU. You benefit with lower latency, more plug-in power, and a transparent and encompassing listening experience.

Soft Limit for Protection from Digital Overs
An Apogee technology first introduced in 1992 on Apogee’s AD-500 converter, Soft Limit can be heard on countless platinum selling records around the world. Once a technology exclusively reserved for Apogee’s most advanced audio converters, Soft Limit is included in Ensemble and can be enabled in Apogee Maestro software.

This superior FET-based analog design prevents the digital clipping that causes distortion by instantaneously rounding off transient peaks before they hit the analog-to-digital converter. Soft Limit allows several more decibels of apparent level to be recorded while subtly providing an analog tape-like warmth to the sound.

Dynamically Optimized Mic Preamps
Ensemble’s 8 uniquely designed mic preamps feature Apogee’s Advanced Stepped Gain Architecture™, in which the circuit is dynamically optimized to provide superior bandwidth, ultra low noise and nonexistent distortion across the unprecedented gain range of 0-75 dB. Whether recording powerful drums, dynamic vocals or delicate strings, your recordings retain the full impact, intricate detail and lifelike dimension of the original performance.

Inputs & Outputs

Guitar I/O
Directly connect your guitars & other instruments to Ensemble using the 2 front panel ¼” inputs.

8 Analog Inputs
Connect up to 8 microphones or a combination of instruments, external mic preamps, and other analog audio devices.

10 Analog Outputs
2 balanced monitor outputs on ¼” TRS connectors & 8 balanced line outputs on 1 D-Sub 25-pin connector.

2 Headphone Outputs
Drive 2 sets of high impedance headphones louder than you’ll ever need.

Built-in Microphone + Talkback
Instantly capture your inspirations, keep an audio archive of the session, or record a “crushed room” sound when tracking drums. Most importantly, the built-in mic may be used for talkback.

2 Analog Inserts
Easily integrate your favorite analog compressor or EQ, in mono or as a stereo pair, into your recording chain with separate ¼” balanced send and return connector for each channel.

Digital I/O
Up to 18 channels of digital I/O, in ADAT, SMUX, S/PDIF optical and S/PDIF coaxial formats, to easily integrate expanders, hardware synths and digital effects.

Word Clock
Use Ensemble as the master clock to take advantage of Apogee’s superior built-in clocking technology.

Audio Quality
  • Max bit depth: 24-bit
  • Max sampling rate: 192kHz
  • Total inputs: 30
  • Analog inputs: 10
  • Digital inputs: 20
  • Mic preamps: 8
  • XLR/TRS combo jacks: 4
  • XLR only jacks: 4
  • 1/4” only jacks: 2
  • S/PDIF in: 4
  • ADAT/optical in: 16
  • RCA in: No
  • MADI: No
  • Total outputs: 32
  • Analog outputs: 12
  • Digital outputs: 20
  • XLR out: 0
  • 1/4” out: 4
  • S/PDIF out: 4
  • ADAT/optical out: 16
  • RCA out: 0
  • AES / EBU DSUB: 8
  • MADI: No
Other Connectivity
  • Connections: Thunderbolt 2
  • MIDI I/O: Yes
  • Headphone output(s): 2
  • Word-clock I/O: Yes
Onboard Features
  • Computer platform: Mac
  • Phantom power: Yes
  • Direct monitoring: Yes
  • Onboard DSP: Info not available
  • Metering: OLED display
  • Display: Yes
  • Latency control: Yes
  • Monitor control: Yes
  • Headphone control: Yes
  • Width: 21.5"
  • Height: 6.25"
  • Depth: 16.13"
  • Weight: 13.6 lb. 
  • Rack-mountable: Yes
  • Included software: No

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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
ApogeeEnsemble Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface

(based on 1 review)

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Reviewed by 1 customer

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(3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


Expensive but worth it.

By Senes

from Surfside Beach, SC

About Me Professional Musician

Verified Reviewer


  • Clear Sound
  • Durable
  • Easy To Use
  • Versatile


    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface:

    I was previously using a Focusrite Scarlett 8i6, which isn't a bad unit at all - for the price it's actually a pretty good deal.

    Everything just sounds cleaner, though, with the Apogee. Superior converters make a difference - even for something as mundane as playing MP3 files - there's an audible difference in clarity and punch.

    My only use, so far, with this unit is recording guitar tracks. I run two mics on a Marshall 4x12 in my iso booth as well as recording a direct signal for later reamping if necessary. Before jumping on my current project I tested the reamping functions of the unit and it performs exactly as advertised. The sound of a recorded direct track fed back into my Marshall sounded exactly the same as me plugging directly into the Marshall. I recorded the reamped track, then a-b'd them with the original mic'd signal and the sound was exact - I couldn't hear any difference.

    Speaking of amp modeling, I haven't done a whole lot of testing but I did plug in and Load BIAS Plugin - I'd previously used it with an Apogee Jam - results with the Ensemble are similar, maybe a little more authentic but I can't say for sure.

    As I've only done some guitar recordings I can't comment a whole lot on the Preamps of this unit, other than to say what I've recorded has come out sounding quite a bit better than my previous stuff. I can't put my finger on it but the guitar tracks sound more 'real' if that makes sense.

    I use Apple's Logic Pro X as my DAW and the Ensemble incorporates nicely with it. I especially like having Gain controls for the Mic Pres right in my DAW interface. Very convenient.

    I use this with a 2011 Mac Mini Server w/2.0 GHz Quad Core i7. Testing the unit at 96k/24Bit i/o at 64; Logic showed my roundtrip latency at 1.8ms. Unfortunately my little Mini has a hard time keeping up with 96k so I had to bump the I/O buffer to 128 samples. Still very low latency.

    Fantastic piece of gear!

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