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Thread: Universal Audio sound card and amps for electric guitar recording and practicing.

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    Universal Audio sound card and amps for electric guitar recording and practicing.


    Hoping anybody reading has experience with Universal Audio sound cards and plugins.



    I was advised to get an Universal Audio sound card for electric guitar recording and practicing.

    I am looking to get the same quality and feel of having a "Fractal Audio Axe Fx2" or Tube Head sound coming from studio monitors with no lag at all!
    Can the Apollo Twin MKII QUAD Core and the amps collection, achieve that?

    I use windows and have thunderbolt connection. As i want a portable sound card, the Apollo Twin MKII QUAD Core seems the one to go for, correct?

    The plugins operate from the internal engine of the sound card, meaning even higher quality and no lag right?

    - Does the amps software offer the same gain stage as the real amps?

  2. #2
    imf
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    Not familiar with the Apollo cards but they are highly regarded. I have an older USB RME babyface and I get very low latency into logic and use those amp plugins. I would think Apollo is up to par, they claim under 2ms latency through the DSP plugins. I love the TotalMix FX on the RME stuff... killer. And their drivers are second the none (RME).

    For practice and recording, the amp software I'm sure is plenty fine on the Apollo. It's no cranked tube amp sound, but you can always re-amp the recorded line signal from the DAW track into whatever amp you choose then back into the DAW. That allows you to play with the amp settings and speakers options all day to get the best sound instead of being stuck with what you've recorded from amp speakers to a mic into the DAW, so I think it's a better way to record.
    Last edited by imf; 11-25-2017 at 12:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imf View Post
    Not familiar with the Apollo cards but they are highly regarded. I have an older USB RME babyface and I get very low latency into logic and use those amp plugins. I would think Apollo is up to par, they claim under 2ms latency through the DSP plugins. I love the TotalMix FX on the RME stuff... killer. And their drivers are second the none (RME).

    For practice and recording, the amp software I'm sure is plenty fine on the Apollo. It's no cranked tube amp sound, but you can always re-amp the recorded line signal from the DAW track into whatever amp you choose then back into the DAW. That allows you to play with the amp settings and speakers options all day to get the best sound instead of being stuck with what you've recorded from amp speakers to a mic into the DAW, so I think it's a better way to record.
    I heard about RME. Top stuff!
    What's the best sound card with the best guitar plugins with the lowest latency i can get? Is it the Apollo or RME cards?
    Money not an issue!
    Last edited by johnatanasoff; 11-25-2017 at 01:23 AM.

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    imf
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    Well the software amp simulators are ok to me for practice, but a decent solid state or tube amp does sound better. I haven't heard the UAD Apollo amp sims but I'm sure they are better than the logic amp sims which aren't great but are fine for me to practice... I'm not a tone snob while practicing. It's also fine to get a basic idea down on tracks, which could then be re-amped later if need be.

    While practicing, the benefit of the UAD guitar sim plugins are... they are on the hardware, so you are hearing it at the monitors with zero latency. However, when you record into DAW software though, there will be a few ms of latency but it's fine to me. The DAW programs have options to compensate for the slight latency, so it sounds real-time while you're recording.

    You can't go wrong with the Apollo stuff if you're ok with the money. There is something to be said though for just getting a lower watt practice/rehearsal amp... you just plugin and go without having to fuss with a computer... it depends on how you like to work, but eventually you'll want both if it's something you're serious about.

    You could go with the Apollo or something cheaper with decent latency and use other software amp sims and with the saved money get a decent little amp as well. It's up to you, personally i would go that route instead of going all out on the interface from Apollo... there are good cards for way cheaper like the focusrite stuff or a few others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imf View Post
    Well the software amp simulators are ok to me for practice, but a decent solid state or tube amp does sound better. I haven't heard the UAD Apollo amp sims but I'm sure they are better than the logic amp sims which aren't great but are fine for me to practice... I'm not a tone snob while practicing. It's also fine to get a basic idea down on tracks, which could then be re-amped later if need be.

    While practicing, the benefit of the UAD guitar sim plugins are... they are on the hardware, so you are hearing it at the monitors with zero latency. However, when you record into DAW software though, there will be a few ms of latency but it's fine to me. The DAW programs have options to compensate for the slight latency, so it sounds real-time while you're recording.

    You can't go wrong with the Apollo stuff if you're ok with the money. There is something to be said though for just getting a lower watt practice/rehearsal amp... you just plugin and go without having to fuss with a computer... it depends on how you like to work, but eventually you'll want both if it's something you're serious about.

    You could go with the Apollo or something cheaper with decent latency and use other software amp sims and with the saved money get a decent little amp as well. It's up to you, personally i would go that route instead of going all out on the interface from Apollo... there are good cards for way cheaper like the focusrite stuff or a few others.
    I know what you mean!
    Trust me, this is mostly because of portability. I am moving abroad to work and live, and until i am settled i want portability and few items to burden me. Otherwise i would have something like Factal FX2.

    My idea is to have a powerful laptop/screen monitors, Apollo card, small Genelec studio monitors, and my electric guitar.

    Having UAD guitar sim plugins on the hardware is a soundcard/effects pedal in one, which is exactly what i want; plus hearing it at the monitors with zero latency is perfect!
    About DAW; as long as i'm able to compensate for the slight latency i'm happy!

    So ye the big extra money is with portability and quality in mind. I am willing to do it for these reasons.

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    imf
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    I mostly play drums or sometimes bass when I jam with friends and when we jam, the guitarist uses his computer with an old m-audio interface into Guitar Rig into the PA and it sounds fine to me and everyone else. And when I play guitar or bass, like I said, I use an older RME babyface into logic and it's fine also... so really you don't have to go crazy with the Apollo gear to do what you want was all I'm saying. But... if you don't mind spending the cash for the Apollo you can't go wrong with that gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imf View Post
    I mostly play drums or sometimes bass when I jam with friends and when we jam, the guitarist uses his computer with an old m-audio interface into Guitar Rig into the PA and it sounds fine to me and everyone else. And when I play guitar or bass, like I said, I use an older RME babyface into logic and it's fine also... so really you don't have to go crazy with the Apollo gear to do what you want was all I'm saying. But... if you don't mind spending the cash for the Apollo you can't go wrong with that gear.
    Does your friend use his desktop or laptop? This is the future!

    There's no comparison sound wise between Apollo and the plugins, and M-audio and Guitar Rig. Its like comparing a Renault car (not sure u even have these in the US) with a Bentley.
    Ofc you can do stuff with m-audio/guitar rig, but in the end u wont have the same sound and feel.

    The cash will be well worth it!

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    imf
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnatanasoff View Post
    Does your friend use his desktop or laptop? This is the future!

    There's no comparison sound wise between Apollo and the plugins, and M-audio and Guitar Rig. Its like comparing a Renault car (not sure u even have these in the US) with a Bentley.
    Ofc you can do stuff with m-audio/guitar rig, but in the end u wont have the same sound and feel.

    The cash will be well worth it!
    You seem pretty set on the Apollo, go for it. Friend uses laptop, he has 2 combo amps but prefers the convenience of laptop+interface as it's just jamming... not a concert. I honestly highly doubt there is a HUGE difference in sound and feel between the Apollo and the cheaper stuff, most couldn't tell the difference between them in a double blind test, I'd put my money on it.

    IMHO... a main point is, if you're trying to create music, I don't think the sound quality difference between them makes any difference to the process, until it's time to record an album and present it in its best possible form. It's about being creative musically and writing songs in the end. You should be able to do that with any cheap gear. I'd spend more on the instrument themselves, the physical part of the chain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by imf View Post
    You seem pretty set on the Apollo, go for it. Friend uses laptop, he has 2 combo amps but prefers the convenience of laptop+interface as it's just jamming... not a concert. I honestly highly doubt there is a HUGE difference in sound and feel between the Apollo and the cheaper stuff, most couldn't tell the difference between them in a double blind test, I'd put my money on it.

    IMHO... a main point is, if you're trying to create music, I don't think the sound quality difference between them makes any difference to the process, until it's time to record an album and present it in its best possible form. It's about being creative musically and writing songs in the end. You should be able to do that with any cheap gear. I'd spend more on the instrument themselves, the physical part of the chain.
    As you said and well; where Apollo really wins is that it loads guitar sim plugins on the hardware, with zero latency! This is very important.
    The only way for me to know if m-audio and guitar rig would do same job as Apollo would be to hear it myself.

    There's one guy that is super honest in a music shop i usually call; from the capital. I'l check this with him. But electric guitar related, he said Apollo is the top.

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    imf
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    If you have a place that has the gear, definitely go check it out and hear for yourself. When I say zero latency, I don't think it's in actuality ZERO latency, but close enough. The signal still has to run through the sim software regardless of where it is. Good luck with your choice... I think you can't go wrong with any mid level interface up to something like the Apollo. The latency on any of it wont be much of a problem with the options talked about.

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    Cheers!

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