Element Series

Connecting Apogee Thunderbolt to Macs with USB-C ports

All Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces can be connected to Mac computers with USB-C Thunderbolt 3 using Apple’s adapter:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MMEL2AM/A/thunderbolt-3-usb-c-to-thunderbolt-2-adapter

Thunderbolt 3 is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 1 devices so any Apogee Thunderbolt device will work through this adapter with no reduction in performance, latency, or sound quality.

Note: Some 3rd-party venders sell a Display Port adapter. Though the plug is the same size and shape as Thunderbolt 2 & 1, these adapters do not support Thunderbolt.

 

How do I redeem my Eventide Ensemble bundle?

For a limited time (July 10th 2018 thru January 10th 2019)
Customers who buy a new Apogee Ensemble or Element Series Thunderbolt audio interface from an
authorized Apogee dealer get a Discount Coupon good for a free six-month subscription to the Eventide Ensemble bundle (a $180 value).

To receive this promotion,

  1. Purchase a new Ensemble Thunderbolt or Element 24,46 or 88 from an authorized Apogee dealer
  2. Register the product on the Apogee website and opt-in to receive your license code via email
  3. Use the link in the email to redeem your code from Gobbler.com (Each unique license is embedded in the link within the email. You cannot redeem the plugins unless you click through this link in the email.)
  4. Login to register your Gobbler account and click on ‘Redeem’
  5. Download and installer the Gobbler client
  6. Use the Gobbler client to download, install and activate the plugins.

For additional questions about this Eventide Ensemble bundle, please visit Eventide’s FAQ’s.

 

Volume and Gain are changing by themselves – Auto Gain Control

If your Apogee’s Input Gain or Output Volume are changing on their own, this may be caused by a 3rd-party program like Skype, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, and others.

How is this possible? All modern Apogee interfaces have input gain and output volume that are digitally controlled rather than an analog potentiometer that must be physically turned. The advantages of digital control are many:

  • Improved Sound Quality (turning the gain doesn’t cause a “scratchy” sound, and enables the advantages of our Step-Gain preamp technology)
  • Settings can be saved to presets that can be recalled later.
  • You can also control these settings directly from recording applications like Logic or Garageband’s Device Control feature instead of having to open a separate app.

Unfortunately, other applications are also able to take over these controls in an undesirable way. Most often the culprit are Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) applications like Skype or GoToMeeting, or video conferencing apps like Google Hangouts, as well as Video Podcast features like Facebook Live.

These apps want to optimize the sound as much as possible for phone & video calls or recordings. This feature is usually called “Auto-Gain Control” and is actually pretty great when the computer’s built-in microphone and speakers are being used. However it’s very disruptive when you want to manually set the levels of your own interface and have them stay there.

Sadly, many of these applications do not provide you with the ability to turn off this Auto-Gain Control feature.

There are many applications out there, but there are a few that are most popular that we’ll briefly cover:

SKYPE: Can disable auto-gain 👍

The more recent versions of this app provide the ability to turn off AutoGain Control. The example below shows the Mac version. The iOS app is restricted to only using the built-in iPad/iPhone mic and can’t use external sound cards.

Google Hangouts: Cannot turn off auto-gain 👎

On a Mac, Hangouts typically needs a Chrome or Safari browser extension installed. None of the settings menus provide an option to turn off auto-gain. Even worse: even if you are not in a hangouts session but your web browser is open, the hangouts plugin will still be active and can adjust the gain on you. If you are in a DAW or recording program at the time, this is obviously bad. Turn off or disable the extension to avoid this:

Safari Browser:
 

 

Chrome Browser:
 

 

Facebook Live: Cannot turn off auto-gain 👎

The Facebook Live interface only allows you to select your interface, there are no audio options beyond that so if it is adjusting your Apogee’s levels there is no way to turn it off.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes. At least on a Mac or PC there are 3rd-party programs that stream through Facebook Live, or Twitch, or YouTube, and has extensive audio features. Apogee does our Facebook Live streams using an open source broadcaster software called OBS. There are many other such programs out there so look around to find one that serves your needs.

On an iPad or iPhone, you are limited by the capabilities of the iOS operating system and the app you are using, so there are usually even fewer options to get around the auto-gain problem.

The ability to disable Auto-Gain should be added to these apps by the developer. Please contact the maker of the program or iOS app you use and ask them to add this feature in a future update. Getting many requests from customers is the only way developers will know there is a demand for this.

 

*If you know of a better way around this problem, please contact our Support Team and let us know!

Logic Direct Monitoring

What is Logic Direct Monitoring?

 Hardware – Software Requirements

  1. Element Series + Ensemble Thunderbolt with July 2017 software and firmware updates
  2. Requires Logic Pro 10.3.2 or greater
  3. Direct Monitoring feature enabled only with a single Apogee interface – Direct Monitoring is disabled when multiple Apogee interfaces are connected.

Setting up Logic Pro to use Direct Monitoring

  1. In Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio > General, check Software Monitoring.
  2. In the Logic Pro menu bar, choose Record > Auto Input Monitoring if the setting is unchecked.
  3. Configure Logic Pro for use with an Apogee Element Series or Ensemble Thunderbolt interface
  4. In Logic Pro, choose View > Show Mixer if Mixer isn’t displayed.
  5. In the Mixer pane, choose View > Channel Strip Components, then select Audio Device Control if it is unchecked.
  6. At the top of the Channel Strip, Audio Device and Monitoring controls should now be displayed.

Are Bus Sends active in Direct Monitoring Channel Strips?

Yes, Logic Pro Bus sends operate as expected when the Channel Strip is in Direct Monitoring mode, allowing the user to send the signal to a reverb or other effect. Note that the send is delayed in relation to the Direct Monitoring signal, but this delay is rather inconsequential in the context of a reverb send.

What about plugins?

Plugins appear active but aren’t processing the Direct signal. Plugins DO process the Bus sends (i.e. reverb sends). Also, when audio is played back from tracks through the Channel Strip, plugins process the playback signal.

 Can I engage Direct Monitoring on Multiple Channel Strips and mix them to one stereo output?

Yes, it’s possible to engage Direct Monitoring on as many Channel Strips as there are hardware inputs. For example, an Element 46 has 4 analog and 8 optical inputs – thus, it’s possible to engage Direct Monitoring on up to 12 Channel Strips and mix them to one stereo output.

Can I create create Direct Monitoring mixes for multiple hardware outputs?

Yes, it’s possible to create up to 4 stereo mixes using Ensemble Thunderbolt and 3 stereo mixes using Element Series interfaces. Note that it isn’t currently possible to route a hardware input to two different mixes. Also note that it’s not possible to route a Direct Monitoring mix to Element Series optical outputs.

How does Direct Monitoring interact with Apogee Control low latency mixers

  • Direct Monitoring mixers are in addition to Apogee Control mixers. Users may employ both if they so desire.
  • Apogee Control low latency mixers. This means that, practically, users should employ one approach or the other.

With 2 Elements, controls for Mixer aren’t working OR they’re controlling wrong Mixer

This post addresses possible issues when using 2 Elements at the same time and routing audio through the low-latency mixers in the Element Control app. If you aren’t using 2 Elements together or if you are, but you’re not using any of the mixers built into Control (Element latency is low enough, the majority of use-cases don’t require using these mixers), then this post does not apply.

Issue(s):

  • Audio not showing up on correct Mixer Master meters-OR-not showing up at all in the Mixer Master meters.
  • Mixer controls, such as faders, pans, mutes, and solos do not affect the audio
  • Mixer controls for one Mixer seem to be affecting another Mixer

 

Solution:

  • Assuming both units are showing up correctly in the Element Control software, verify that the input signal is showing up on the correct channel(s) meters at the top of the Control window.
  • The next thing to check would be the optical cables that connect the 2 units. These cables are essential for properly clocking the units together and transferring audio back and forth across the built-in low-latency mixers of each unit. If the cables aren’t connected properly, you could experience the issues above or even only one unit showing up on your Mac.
  • Double-check that you have connected optical cables from Unit A’s optical output(s) to Unit B’s optical input(s) and from Unit B’s optical output(s) to Unit A’s optical input(s). Remember that if you’re using 2 Element 88s, you will need 4 optical cables since there are 4 ports on each unit. Make sure that the cables are connected correctly. It is very easy to accidentally connect them in the wrong order.
  • If you need to disconnect/reconnect or switch around any optical cables, make sure to restart the Mac after doing so.

My Element won’t power on when connected to my display monitor or MacBook

Question:

My Apogee Element (24, 46, or 88) doesn’t power up when I connect it to my display monitor or my MacBook. What’s wrong?

 

Answer:

Thunderbolt devices such as the Apogee Element will only work when connected to true Thunderbolt ports. Be careful not to mistake a Mini-Display Port for a Thunderbolt 2 port or a USB-C port for a Thunderbolt 3 port:

  • If you’re trying to connect to a monitor display, confirm that the display has more than 1 Thunderbolt port. You can’t connect more than one 1-port Thunderbolt device in a Thunderbolt chain. The display will need an upstream Thunderbolt port to connect to the Mac or another 2-port Thunderbolt device in a chain and then it will need another Thunderbolt port for you to connect the Element to. A couple common mistakes people make are mistaking Mini-Display Ports with Thunderbolt 2 ports since they look exactly the same and confusing USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 ports since they look exactly the same. For example, the LG Ultrafine 5k monitors have 1 Thunderbolt 3 port and 3 USB-C ports. All 4 ports look alike, but only 1 of them is a Thunderbolt 3 port. You should always look for the Thunderbolt icon next to any Thunderbolt port. With the exception of the new MacBook Pros, any Thunderbolt port will usually have the Thunderbolt icon next to it. More information can be found here.
  • If you are connecting to the latest 12″ MacBook with a USB-C port, Thunderbolt devices will not work on this Mac because the USB-C port only supports USB devices, despite looking exactly the same as a Thunderbolt 3 port. More information can be found here.

Do Apogee Thunderbolt products (Element, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, Thunderbridge) work with the 2016 MacBook Pro?

Question:

Do Apogee’s Thunderbolt products (Element 24, Element 46, Element 88, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII Thunderbolt, and Symphony 64 Thunderbridge) work with the 2016 MacBook Pro?

 

Answer:

Yes. The 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, shown here, includes Thunderbolt 3 ports. You will need to use an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter to connect a current Apogee Thunderbolt device. As discussed in this post, you can NOT connect Apogee Thunderbolt devices to the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook because it only has USB-C and does not support Thunderbolt. It should be noted that Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly like USB-C ports and their cables also look similar. This can get a little confusing, so here are a few basic rules to help clear up any questions about connectivity:

  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the same-size port and the same-size connector for their cables. Since USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly the same, you will need to make sure your Mac has Thunderbolt 3 capabilities before using it with an Apogee Thunderbolt device and an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports, such as the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, can use it’s Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect to any Thunderbolt 3 device, USB-C device, and Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 1 device if you use the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with only USB-C ports, such as the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook, can NOT connect to any Thunderbolt device, even when using adapters. It can connect to USB-C devices and other types of USB devices, using the proper adapters.

 

Click here for more information on the differences between USB-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

 

 

 

 

Do Apogee Thunderbolt products (Element, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII, Thunderbridge) work with the latest 12″ MacBook?

Question:

Do Apogee’s Thunderbolt products (Element 24, Element 46, Element 88, Ensemble Thunderbolt, Symphony I/O MkII Thunderbolt, and Symphony 64 Thunderbridge) work with the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook?

 

Answer:

No. The 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook, shown here, do not include a Thunderbolt port. They only have a USB-C port. The Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapters will not work with these MacBooks, despite using the same-size connectors. Apogee Thunderbolt devices will work with the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, as discussed in this post. It should be noted that Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly like USB-C ports and their cables also look similar. This can get a little confusing, so here are a few basic rules to help clear up any questions about connectivity:

  • USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 have the same-size port and the same-size connector for their cables. Since USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly the same, you will need to make sure your Mac has Thunderbolt 3 capabilities before using it with an Apogee Thunderbolt device and an Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with Thunderbolt 3 ports, such as the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, can use it’s Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect to any Thunderbolt 3 device, USB-C device, and Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt 1 device if you use the Apple Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
  • A Mac with only USB-C ports, such as the 2015 and 2016 12″ MacBook, can NOT connect to any Thunderbolt device, even when using adapters. It can connect to USB-C devices and other types of USB devices, using the proper adapters.

 

Click here for more information on the differences between USB-C ports and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

 

 

 

 

Apogee Control Hardware Remote FAQ’s

Question – What controls are offered by the Apogee Control Hardware Remote?

Answer   – The hardware remote offers a large encoder knob (as found on Symphony I/O), three encoder focus buttons and 8 user-assignable buttons. The three focus buttons and encoder allow quick adjustment of all analog inputs and outputs, while the 8 user-assignable buttons offer a wide variety of controls:

 

  • Mute-Dim-Sum to Mono of any or all outputs
  • Set Reference Speaker Level
  • Toggle Speaker Sets (88 only)
  • Engage Talkback
  • Set Analog input parameters
  • Direct select analog inputs
  • Open Element Control

 

Question – Can the hardware remote control low latency mixers?

Answer   – The initial version doesn’t support low latency mixer control, though this may be added based on user feedback.

 

Question – Will the Apogee Control hardware remote be compatible with other Apogee products?

Answer   – As compatibility of the Element Control Mac application expands to other Apogee Thunderbolt interfaces, compatibility with the hardware remote will be included.

Apogee Control iOS App FAQ’s

Question – Is the iOS app free?

Answer   – Yes. There is a demo mode to try the app with “virtual” Element Series interfaces.

 

Question – How does the iOS app connect to the Mac?

Answer   – Both the Mac and the iOS device must connect to the same WiFi network. It’s possible to connect to a computer-to-computer network created by the Mac.

 

Question – How many iOS devices can be connected?

Answer   – It’s possible to connect as many iOS devices as are available.

 

Question – What iOS versions and iOS devices are supported?

Answer   – iOS version 9 and above are officially supported.

 

Question – Can the iOS app control low latency mixers?

Answer   – The initial version doesn’t support low latency mixer control, though this may be added based on user feedback.

 

Question – How far away can you be and still control an Element?

Answer   – This will vary according to the environment and is limited by the Wi Fi range of the iDevice you are using. Walls and obstacles will obviously be a factor in range. From our testing we were always able to control Element units from another room and outdoors from around 30 yards

 

Question – The iOS app doesn’t find my Element interface – what can I do?

Answer   – First, make sure that the Element interface is correctly detected in the Mac app. Next, make sure on your Mac to accept the invitation to connect the iOS device.

   Apogee Control uses the Apple Bonjour to connect to and control your Element interface over Wi-Fi. If the interface is recognized on the Mac but not by the iOS app,  then most likely the network ports required by Bonjour haven’t been opened by your IT manager. This is quite likely the case in a corporate environment where network security is a priority. See this Apple Support document concerning the open ports required for Bonjour.

 

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202944

To verify Bonjour functionality across your network, download and configure the free Apple Remote for iTunes app, which offers control of your Mac’s iTunes from your iOS device. Apple Remote also uses Bonjour.