Ensemble: User Guides

Ensemble: Making Settings with Software Control Panels

All Ensemble settings are made from Apogee’s Maestro software Settings panel. Older versions of Logic Pro have a separate Apogee Control Panel. Certain settings can be also be made from OS X audio control panels. It’s possible to open multiple control panels simultaneously, as settings made on one control panel are mirrored on all others. Additionally, Mic Pre gain and Output level may be controlled from Ensemble’s front panel encoders, as described on the lower half of this page.

What is Maestro? – Apogee Maestro provides the most complete control of Ensemble, including control of all Ensemble parameters, store/recall of configurations, expanded routing and 2 low–latency mixers. Maestro may be used with any Core Audio compatible audio application.

The Logic Pro Apogee Control Panel, found in Logic Pro (9 and lower) under the Audio menu, provides control of all Ensemble parameters and store/recall of configurations.

Audio Midi Setup (AMS) – This OS X utility (found in the rootdrive/Applications/Utilities folder) provides control of Ensemble’s clock source, sample rate and output level.

To set Ensemble’s output level using the Mac’s menu bar audio fader, set Default Output (in AMS) to Ensemble; OSX audio faders (including the menu bar fader) will then control the output selected on Ensemble’s front panel. For example, if the front panel  LED is lit, OSX audio faders control the  output level.

Ensemble: Setting Clock Source

Ensemble’s clock source may be set from Maestro, Logic Pro’s Apogee Control Panel, or from OSX’s Audio Midi Setup utility.

When Ensemble is locked to an external source, Ensemble’s sample rate is still determined by the selection in software. Thus, the sample rate of the external source must be manually set to match the software sample rate. For example, if you want to open a session at 88.2 kHz but lock Ensemble to word clock from an Apogee Big Ben, you must manually set the Big Ben to 88.2 kHz.

Ensemble: How to record with the low latency mixer

1. Set the software application’s mixer output to Out 1-2 (Stereo Output).

 

2. Set the software application’s mixer output to Out 1-2 (Stereo Output).

In the Maestro Output Routing tab window, assign Mixer 1 to hardware output Line 1/2,

 

 

3. In the Mixer tab window, set the Software Return drop down menu, on both Mixer 1 and Mixer 2 (if desired), to Analog 1-2. Set both the Software Return and Mixer Master faders to 0dB.

 

Ensemble: Connections on the Rear Panel

 

1. MIC1–4 – These XLR connectors accept balanced mic or line inputs; input level is determined in software control.

2. INSERT SEND – RETURN (channels 1–2) – These TRS connectors provide balanced analog insert points before the A/D conversion stage; inserting a jack in the RETURN connector activates insert return.

• The insert send may also serve as a direct out: when only the insert send is connected, signal to the A/D conversion stage is not interrupted.

• The insert return may also serve as a balanced TRS line input.

3. HI–Z (channels 3–4) – These TRS connectors accept high impedance inputs for channels 3–4, similar to front panel HI–Z inputs.

4. ANALOG INPUT 5–8 – These TRS connectors accept line level inputs for channels 5–8; input level is determined in software control.

5. ANALOG OUTPUT 1–8 – These TRS connectors provide line level outputs for channels 1–8; input level is determined in software control.

6. S/PDIF – These coaxial connectors provide S/PDIF format digital I/O.

7. OPTICAL IN/OUT – These Toslink connectors provide S/PDIF, ADAT or SMUX format digital I/O; format is determined in software control.

8. FIREWIRE – These FW 400 connectors provide Firewire I/O to an Apple OSX computer. Stand-Alone Mode – If Ensemble doesn’t detect a valid Firewire connection, it will switch to Stand-Alone mode after a few moments. This is indicated either by a red STATUS LED (when the Firewire connection is present but not valid) or by a green LED (when there is no Firewire connection). In Stand-Alone mode, all routing, mixing and control settings made when the unit was last connected to a Mac are saved in Ensemble flash memory, thus allowing the use of the unit when not connected to a computer. Thus, it’s possible to use Ensemble as a Stand-Alone mixer or AD-DA converter.

9. WORD CLOCK IN/OUT – These BNC connectors provide word clock I/O.

10. WC IN 75 OHM TERM – This switch terminates the Word Clock input with a 75 ohm load.

11. AC IN – This IEC connector accepts AC input from 90–250 volts.

Ensemble: Navigating the Front Panel

 

1. Power Switch – Press this button to apply power to Ensemble. When Ensemble’s AC input is connected, the switch will light dimly to indicate that the unit is in Standby.

2. STATUS LED – This multi–color LED provides a quick visual indication of the status of various parameters.

• A solid blue LED indicates that Ensemble is locked to the clock source chosen in software control and that the Firewire connection is valid.

• A flashing LED indicates that Ensemble is not locked to the selected clock source. • A red Status LED indicates that Ensemble has not achieved a valid Firewire connection. After a few moments Ensemble will switch to Stand-Alone mode.

• A green LED indicates that no Firewire connection is present, and that Ensemble is operating in Stand-Alone mode.

• A flashing red LED indicates that both error conditions are present.

3. HI–Z Input 1–2 – These 1/4 inch connectors accept high impedance sources such as keyboards and guitars. When a jack is inserted in a Hi–Z connector, the input’s XLR connector is disabled.

4. INPUT Encoder Knob – When inputs 1–4 are set to Mic using software control, this knob controls the mic pre gain; To select the input being controlled, press the encoder knob until the desired PRE LED lights ; turn the encoder clockwise to increase level or counter–clockwise to decrease level. The LEDs encircling the encoder knob indicate the “position” of the knob, providing a quick visual indication of level in the same fashion as a traditional knob. If no inputs are set to Mic in software control, the en- coder has no function.

5. PRE LEDs – These LEDs indicate the selected channel in conjunction with the INPUT encoder knob.

6. 48V LEDs – These LEDs indicate that 48 volt phantom power has been engaged in software control.

7. Meters 1–8 – These meters display either analog inputs or analog outputs, as set in software control.

8. Meters D1,D2 – Meter D1 displays the presence of signal on either channel of the S/PDIF Coax I/O, meter D2 displays the presence of signal on any channel of the Optical I/O.

9. INPUT, OUTPUT LEDs – These LEDs indicate if meters are displaying input or output signals, as set in software control.

10. MAIN, Phones 1,2 LEDs – These LEDs indicate the selected output to be modified by the OUTPUT encoder knob.

11. OUTPUT Encoder Knob – This knob controls the level of the selected output as indicated by the MAIN, hp1 and hp2 LEDs. Operation is similar to that of the Input encoder knob as described above. If Main is set to None in software control, the encoder knob has no effect on the Main outputs.

12. Headphones 1,2 – These TRS connectors provide headphone outputs

Ensemble: Routing

Unless routing is modified in Maestro software, all Ensemble rear panel inputs are routed via Firewire to the Mac, while all rear panel outputs are routed via Firewire from the Mac, as depicted on the next two pages.

Input Routing Diagram

Output Routing Diagram

 

Maestro 2

Routing

The input and output routing control is accomplished across a combination of routing grids. With this release of Mae- stro 2 software, it is now possible to route individual stereo pairs from hardware inputs directly to hardware outputs while also routing other pairs through a DAW or other software.

Audio Routing is accomplished using the following three routing grids:

Standalone Routing – Route Ensemble hardware inputs to hardware outputs.

Input Routing – Route Ensemble hardware inputs to Mac audio software inputs.

Output Routing – Route Mac audio software outputs to Ensemble hardware outputs.

When using these routing grids, hardware outputs may only have one source, either a hardware input or a software output. Thus, once a hardware output is assigned in either the Standalone or Output Routing grid, it is removed from the other grid. Each pair of Ensemble hardware outputs may be freely routed in either the Standalone or Output Rout- ing grid.

To route a mix of hardware inputs and software outputs to a hardware output, use Ensemble’s low latency mixer in the Mixer tab window.

Input Routing

The Input Routing tab window determines how Ensemble hardware inputs are routed to audio software inputs.

1. Hardware Inputs Columns – The hardware analog and digital inputs of the Ensemble are displayed in these columns.

2. Software Inputs Rows – Available audio software inputs are displayed in these rows in pairs (1-2, 3-4, etc).

3. Software Input Labels – Once a connection has been made between hardware and software inputs, the software input label (consisting of the peripheral prefix plus the hardware input label) appears in these fields. For these labels to appear in your audio software input/output assignments, ensure that the software is set to accept labels transmitted through Ensemble’s Core Audio driver.

4. Reset Routing – This button will reset the Input Routing assignments to the default settings.

Audio connections between hardware and software inputs are made by positioning markers on the routing grid at the intersection of the desired hardware and software channels. By default, hardware inputs are routed sequentially to software inputs. Note that the movement of the markers is restricted based on the routing capability of the system. On the Input Routing page, one hardware input may be assigned to multiple software inputs (in effect splitting the signal) but multiple hardware inputs may not be assigned to one software input (an operation which would require the summing of input signals). Each marker’s range of motion is indicated by the horizontal shading as depicted above by arrows on the Input routing grid.

 

Output Routing

The Output Routing tab window determines how audio software outputs are routed to Ensemble hardware outputs.

 

1. Hardware Outputs Columns – The hardware analog and digital outputs of the Ensemble are displayed in these columns.

2. Software Output Rows – Available audio software outputs are listed in these rows in pairs (1-2, 3-4, etc).

3. Mixer Output Rows – The two low latency mixer outputs appear at the bottom of the Software Outputs list, and may be assigned to one or more hardware output pairs.

4. Software Output Labels – Once a connection has been made between software and hardware outputs, the soft- ware output label (consisting of the peripheral prefix plus the hardware output label) appears in these fields.

5. Reset Routing – This button will reset the Output Routing assignments to the default settings. In this case it will also remove any routing assignments that have been made in the Standalone Routing page. See Standalone Routing for more info.

Manipulation of the Output Routing Tab Window is essentially the same as the Input Routing Tab Window, with the important distinction that one software output may be assigned to multiple hardware outputs but multiple software outputs may not be assigned to one hardware output. Each marker’s range of motion is indicated by the vertical shading as depicted above by arrows on the Output routing grid.

Note that each marker represents an odd/even pair of audio signals – it’s not possible to route the odd and even sig- nal of a pair to different destinations.

 

Standalone Routing

 

1. Hardware Output Columns – The hardware analog and digital outputs of the Ensemble are displayed in these columns.

2. Hardware Input Rows – The hardware analog and digital inputs of the Ensemble are displayed in these rows.

3. Mixer Output Rows – The two low latency mixer outputs appear at the bottom of the Hardware Inputs list, and

may be assigned to one or more hardware output pairs.

Audio connections between hardware inputs and outputs are made by positioning markers on the routing grid at the intersection of the desired hardware input and output. Similar to the Input and Output Routing grids marker movement is restricted based on the routing capability of the system. One hardware input may be assigned to multiple hardware outputs (in effect splitting the signal) but multiple hardware inputs may not be assigned to one hardware output (an operation which would require the summing of input signals). Each marker’s range of motion is indicated by the verti- cal shading on the routing grid, as depicted above by arrows on the Standalone routing grid.

Ensemble: Maestro 2 Toolbar

Toolbar

The toolbar is reserved for system controls that must remain easily accessible.

 

1. Clear Meters – This button clears all held peak and over indications on all hardware and software meters.

2. System Status – This window displays the sample rate, clock source and system status of the currently selected system.

3. Toolbar Monitor Controls – These controls offer immediate access to a single deviceʼs speaker and head- phone volume controls, independent of the selection in the Devices Sidebar. When multiple devices are con- nected to your Mac, use the drop-down menu to choose which device’s controls are displayed. In most cases choose the device to which your speakers and headphones are connected.

Ensemble: Maestro 2 Input Tab Window

 

1. Analog Level – Use this menu to select the analog input format and nominal reference level for each channel. The choices are +4dBu, -10dBV, and Mic for Channels 1-4, and +4dBu, -10dBV for Channels 5-8.

2. Soft Limit – Use this menu to engage Soft Limit. Soft Limit is Apogeeʼs proprietary analog process for taming transients before A/D conversion. By gently rounding transients in a transparent manner, itʼs possible to maxi- mize level BEFORE the A/D conversion stage. Soft Limit is most effective with signals with large transients such as drums, percussion and plucked instruments. Soft Limit may not be the appropriate choice for signals such as bass or organ.

3. Input Level – When the Analog Level is set to Mic, the mic pre gain of each input is controlled with this soft- ware knob. The gain level is indicated in the value box below the knob and ranges from +10dB to +75dB.

4. Analog/Digital Input Meters – These meters display the level of the analog input after A/D conversion and the level of the digital inputs.

5. Group – The gain control of two or more mic pres may be linked by selecting the same group number in this drop down list on each channel you wish to group. Any gain offset present when channels are initially grouped is maintained after grouping.

6. Phase – Engage this button to invert the polarity of the input signal. Under certain circumstances, when two mics are used on one source, inverting the polarity of one mic may result in a fuller sound. For example, when top and bottom mic’ing a snare drum, a fuller sound is obtained when the polarity of the bottom mic is re- versed.

7. 48 V / Phantom Power – Engage this button for 48 volts phantom power on the XLR connections. Condenser mics require phantom power to operate.