Inputs & Outputs
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.
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.
Use Ensemble as the master clock to take advantage of Apogee’s superior built-in clocking technology.
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.
The Lowest Latency of any Audio Interface
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.
To accommodate different workflow preferences, Ensemble features optional direct hardware monitoring through Apogee’s Maestro App with 0.6ms of latency.
* 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
Expanding Your System
Intel’s Thunderbolt™ technology was made for connecting multiple high bandwidth peripherals to your Mac. Ensemble includes two Thunderbolt™ 2 ports for conveniently connecting hard drive arrays, video capture devices and Thunderbolt monitors with up to 4k resolution from a single port.
A Difference You Will Hear
Apogee is an award-winning industry leader in digital recording technology with over 25 years of experience. Preferred by recording pros around the world, Apogee products like Duet, Quartet, the original Ensemble and Symphony I/O have been instrumental in creating countless GRAMMY® and OSCAR® winning recordings and have set the industry standard in professional recording for over two decades. Ensemble is built solidly on this reputation.
From the mic preamps to the AD/DA converters and the clocking, Ensemble is best-in-class and cutting-edge Apogee technology. With components carefully selected in critical listening tests and a highly efficient circuit design, Ensemble was built by Apogee engineers to make a difference you can hear.
Measurably Superior A/D Conversion
Ensemble’s analog-to-digital conversion stage has been upgraded from previous generations of Apogee products such as Duet and Quartet to provide greater dynamic range, lower distortion and an almost non-existent noise level.
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.
ESS Sabre32 DAC Technology
ESS Sabre32 32-bit Hyperstream DAC with Time Domain Jitter Eliminator offers unequalled dynamic range, ultra low distortion, and unmatched audio clarity free from input jitter.
Custom Power Regulation for Ultra-Low
Ensemble’s mic pre, A/D and D/A circuitry are powered by discrete, Apogee-designed power regulators for ultra-low noise not obtainable with off-the-shelf components. This design was first implemented in Apogee’s flagship Symphony I/O’s 3-Stage Cascaded power supply.
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.
Audio professionals and artists have chosen Apogee and Waves products to make countless hit recordings. Now when you buy Apogee ONE, Duet, Quartet or Ensemble, you also receive a discount code good for 25% off a single plugin or 35% off any Waves bundle plus an additional $100 voucher* that can be used towards your next Waves plugin purchase. These offers can be applied to any special deals from Waves, giving you the ability to save up to thousands of dollars. Apogee and Waves provide industry standard tools for recording, mixing and mastering audio and offer everything you need to complete your project on Mac, no matter what recording software you use.
These Waves special deals are only available to qualifying
Ensemble Thunderbolt users upon product registration
* Voucher may be redeemed for up to 50% toward any bundle or upgrade, or up to 25% toward any plugin, off the price at the time of redemption. This Voucher may not be combined with multiple plugin discounts. Vouchers can only be used for one order and do not carry a remaining balance. Multiple vouchers may not be combined.
“Stepped up from a Apollo twin and there’s definitely a big difference – you can hear so much detail and recording comes out crystal clear”
Phoenix from Florida
“I purchased the Ensemble Firewire interface 6 years ago from Sweetwater and it has performed well in my in home studio. After reading about Apogee’s new Thunderbolt version I contacted my longtime sales rep, Nate Edwards, to discuss the product. As usual, Nate provided a detailed first hand perspective on the Ensemble Thunderbolt and I decided to make the switch.
The Thunderbolt version is a significant qualitative step increase vs the Firewire version. Mic preamps, interface options, ease of use and conversion, latency elimination, etc, are all improved. However, the biggest difference/benefit to me are the results. Whether you are listening to the Thunderbolt in a live setting or its recorded output, the fidelity of the music is greatly improved. Transparency, soundstage, imaging, make this a true “prosumer” device at a reasonable cost. It is the most “analog” sounding digital recording interface I have heard outside of a professional studio.”
John from Chicago, IL
The New Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt.
“First off, I have have to say that I typically never write gear reviews. However, this has been the only piece of equipment that I had purchased recently that is worth mention. I have done an extensive amount of research before taking the plunge with this interface…The seamless integration between Pro Tools and Apogee have opened new doors to my sound quality as well as the ability to be mobile with the Apogee Ensemble that is (In my opinion) far superior to that of the Digidesign’s 192 A/D converters. My mixes have opened up and the 8 mic preamps sound fantastic. In fact, I even sold off my Focusrite ISA 828 that was light piped into the 192. The preamps sound crystal clear with TONS of head room due to its gain staging as well as a sweet top end that doesn’t have any harshness when tracking. This alone is well worth the money spent. I have been going back and forth between this and the UA Apollo but, in all honesty, I am glad that I made the decision with sticking to Apogee. The Apollo in its own right is a really cool interface. However, if you are anything like me, you will look past all of the gimmicky bells and whistles of the plugins that they make you believe that you are purchasing with the unit. Truth be told, you are only getting a very small taste of the plugins that UA offers and that by purchasing the Apollo, you are now committed to buying the “Higher End” plugins that you initially thought came with the interface. This is a great marketing gimmick as I feel that by dropping $2K-$2500 on an interface, it had better come with everything that is pictured on the box. Now that I got that rant off my chest…
It truly is a wonderful interface. Latency is almost non-existent and there is TONS of IO to keep the most demanding studio nerd at bay ( If IO is an issue, you can run up to 4 Thunderbolt Ensembles simultaneously!). Also, the added talkback mic is VERY underrated. It is the same exact mic that is integrated in the Apogee One. I’ve already used this handy little mic as an ambient room mic during a drum tracking session and squashed the crap out of it with my EL8X Distressor for an added effect and mixed it into the drum bus. I am not going to go into full detail about the specs as anyone with a brain stem can read the description section for themselves. At $2500, there really isn’t more that a project studio can ask for. If you are serious about your sound and stand behind your work (Pro or not), you can count on the Apogee Ensemble to deliver the goods.”
Mike M from S.F. Bay Area, CA
Performance, Reliability, and Quality.
“After weighing other options in this price range, for me it came down to three things: cleanest possible conversion, uncolored/honest built-in pres, and high performance (low latency). The UA Apollo line seems pretty decent at being both an interface and a DSP plugin engine; the Antelope Zen is an I/O monster. But what sets the Ensemble apart is that it doesn’t try to be too many things to too many people. It doesn’t have DSP plugins or 5000 inputs, but what it does offer is literally stunning performance and high reliability. This is what I wanted for my home studio. What I got is 8 of the cleanest pres I’ve ever heard, plus guitar I/O and re-amping that really does add value.
I researched THD+N and Dynamic Range, but I don’t care much about the science (and the Apogee comes out on top of everything but its expensive cousin, the Symphony, anyway). What really blew me away was my first mic test, recording an acoustic guitar with a U87 into one of the built-in pres. I couldn’t believe the headroom, clarity, and honesty of what I heard back in my headphones. And the latency doesn’t even exist. I stacked CPU-intensive plugins and ran at 32 samples, and CPU didn’t spike above 10%.
Bottom line, if you’re having a tough time choosing at this price point, go with this one if you want an interface that focuses more on top-quality conversion and performance.”
Jake from Philadelphia
Sounds Like Heaven!
“The Apogee Ensemble sounds amazing! It’s incredible how crystal clear it captures sound, the mic preamps are outstanding, love the high resolution OLED display (it shows the levels of analog inputs and outputs, including the headphones), ultra-fast latency in LOGIC thanks to the Thunderbolt connection. The monitor speaker outs and the two headphones sound loud and accurate, yet I haven’t had ear fatigue after long sessions. Has tons of expansion possible thanks to two ADAT ports (think 16 more input channels). It’s a joy to listen to and records with pristine quality. Love the Apogee Ensemble!”
Camilo from New York
Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt
“I have owned many interfaces and converters, including the AD/DA16X Series, Rosetta 800, as well as the original Ensemble Firewire. This unit is a game changer! 1.1 Ms round trip at 32 samples 24/96 is not hype, it is the real deal. The Converters sound like the Symphony series to my ears, and this box has ALOT of functionality. I could go on and on, but the reality is that track counts, plugin counts, etc are pretty much a thing of the past with this interface, and a powerful MAC (I am running the new Mac Pro 6 core with this…). I know it is alot of $$$, but worth it. You will not need anything else for a LONG time”
Brad Hagen from Carlsbad, CA