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Digital Audio I/O
For budget-seeking producers, the Apollo Solo is a fantastic choice when I/O isn’t an issue. The unit has the same Hi-Pass filter as the more expensive Twin, similar plugins and Unison preamps, the option of LUNA on Mac, and even has the same input gain. One standout feature here is the option of bus power on the Thunderbolt variant, however, you can expect a few more features on the Apollo Twin. For the price, we give the interface a respectable 9.5 in the category.
The Apollo Twin is more suitable for larger studio setups with roughly twice the ports with optical expansion. You also get more headroom for DSP effects with a duo chip, which is often a limitation of the Apollo Solo. Plus, depending on the model, you get a bunch of extra software, and a talkback mic with LUNA for your Mac devices. You also get slightly worse connectivity and no option for bus operation. That considered, the Apollo Twin earns 9 in the category.
The I/O on the Apollo Solo is perfect for a small setup, consisting of a Hi-Z Instrument input, two XLR/TRS Combo jacks, a stereo headphone out, as well as two monitor outputs. We would have appreciated some headroom here, but for what it is, we rate it a solid 8.5 out of 10.
If you’re running a bigger recording setup, the Apollo Twin has you covered with its extra 1/4″ TRS Line Outputs. Additionally, the interface has the option of expansion with its optical ADAT / S/PDIF port for up to ten inputs and six outputs. This earns the Apollo Twin a perfect 10 in the category.
The Apollo Solo has perfect preamps for such a compact device. The audio is crisp and clear, with no hint of background distortion or hissing. The interface did well to drive our studio monitors and added another dimension to our recordings. UA’s LUNA was particularly helpful here, and allowed us to blend analog and digital sounds perfectly. However, with a single DSP chip, there weren’t enough tricks that could save us power when running effects. Overall, a solid 9/10.
The Apollo Twin is perhaps the best audio solution that combines high-fidelity sound and mobility. We used the interface for guitars, vocals, and analog synthesizers and we were very impressed with its AD/DA conversion and Hi-Z signals. There is zero noise whatsoever, and the analog sound processing bleeds through when recording. You get similar quality on each variant, but the MKII does enjoy tools from the LUNA software, which sounds amazing. That said, the Apollo Twin more than earns its 10 in the category.
The Apollo Solo is available in two different Connectivity options, USB-C and Thunderbolt. This is the gold standard for what you can expect from any audio interface, so the interface earns itself a perfect 10 in the category.
Surprisingly, the Apollo Twin has slightly worse options for host connections with its USB-B and Thunderbolt variants. If the interface had used USB-C instead, we’d rate it higher than 9.5, especially since that particular model doesn’t support macOS.
The Apollo Solo has a pretty decent set of features, including quality emulation with its Unison preamps, LUNA for Mac users, as well as a huge library of assorted plugins and instruments for any occasion. With the Thunderbolt variant, you also get the option of bus power, which you don’t get with the Twin. Factoring in its Hi-Pass filter and single DSP, it earns a total score of 8.5.
Whichever of the three available models you go for, the Apollo Twin at the very least offers its signature Unison preamps, a duo core DSP for FX, as well as a ton of bundled plugins and software. Of the variants available, the USB version doesn’t have anything more to offer, however, you do get the Heritage Edition software suite with the HE variant, and a talkback mic as well as LUNA on the Twin MKII. The interface earns 9 in the category.
From the results of our scoring model, the Apollo Twin ends up being the winner with a total of 9.5 points based on hardware, versatility, ease of use, and mobility. Our guitar records were far better than most standard preamps on similar interfaces, and the USB/TB connections minimize latency to near zero. In comparison, the Solo packs quite the punch, but between the sound quality and extra DSP core, the more expensive Apollo Twin is a clear winner.
The interface’s build quality is pristine as well. Apart from the too-stiff, clicky buttons, the device is made of metal and has solid construction with great handling and easy access to each control. One nitpick here is that the Twin doesn’t have the option to turn off direct monitoring on the input channels, you can only mute them.
Brushing past that, the software bundle adds great value to an already stacked interface, especially with Heritage Editions of both the Solo and the Twin. However, you can squeeze just a bit more with the Apollo Twin, especially with the MKII variant’s talkback and LUNA features.
With the Apollo Twin, you also get a lot more I/O with optical expansion, which makes it a better fit for larger studio setups. Although, the Solo does come with more modern host connections on the whole, so there is some compromise on the USB model. Regardless of the connection, you can expect a solid set of clear, warm preamps with phenomenal sound quality.
While it’s not the better value proposition, each part of its whole adds up to more value than the cheaper Solo. We highly recommend the Apollo Twin to all musicians, producers, and composers out there!