Avid Omni vs UAD Apollo Shootout

UAD Apollo vs Avid HD Omni Shootout!

GI meets up with Brent Paschke (Guitarist for The Neptunes, NERD, Katy Perry, & Tricky Stewart) to decide which new system has the best sound quality for professional projects. Avid’s HD Omni w/ HD Native Thunderbolt, or UAD’s new Apollo Quad. After going back and forth on which system to purchase, GI & Brent decide to get them both and put them to the test.

Gear Used:
-Avid HD Omni w/ HD Native Thunderbolt
-UAD Apollo Quad
-2012 Macbook Pro Retina (2.7 Quad i7, 768GB Flash Memory, 16GB Flash Ram)
-Mackie HR824 Monitors
-Beyerdynamics DT880 Headphones (250ohms)

For this shootout we weren’t interested in which unit has more channels, more processing, set up, loop back tests, or any of the other things many forums have beat to death. We simply wanted to use our ears to determine which sounded the best, and if it was Avid’s HD Omni w/ HD Native Thunderbolt that is twice the price, would it be worth the extra cash. Here’s some opinions on what we found:

UAD Apollo Quad:
UAD’s Apollo Quad is UAD’s new flagship interface with built-in DSP processing via Shark Chips for UAD’s high quality plugins. 18in/24 out, firewire or thunderbolt connectivity (via optional $500 thunderbolt card module), and high quality converters all for $2500 & not to mention pretty damn sexy! But enough of the trinkets and shiny stuff, we want to know how does this bad boy sound.

We plugged up the Apollo via Brent’s FW-Thunderbolt adaptor into his new Macbook Pro Retina and loaded up some tracks. It sounded pretty damn good! Big clear lows, highs werent harsh or over exaggerated (though upper mids seemed just a smidge forward) which is why it was probably easier to hear mid details.

Avid HD Omni w/ HD Native Thunderbolt:
Avid’s HD Omni is their smaller HD interface with monitor and headphone controls with the same converters as their HD IO. There is no onboard DSP, bajillions of IO, or any super fancy features, but as I said before, our concern is sound quality for our intended purpose.

After switching from UAD’s Apollo to the Omni and hitting play, Brent and myself both looked at each other in awe and partial disbelief. The difference for us was more than convincing. The Omni w/ HD Native TB was much more open, especially in the highs and upper mids, more realistic imaging and defined bass, and a general pleasure in listening. Our first worry was that it sounded so good, it may not be suitable in showing all the flaws in tracks for mixing, so we loaded up some songs that we new could have been better mix or mastering wise. What we already knew to be “iffy” about the tracks was even MORE “iffy” and extremely obvious. No guessing, trying to hear better, turning up or down; simply screaming in your face “FIX ME!”. Recording Brent’s 57′ Strat and playing back was like listening to him still playing right next to me. You could practically hear “into” the guitar. The big word to describe what we heard and others are raving that makes the HD Omni different is DEPTH as in front to back details and placement.

Now you may be asking why do I keep including the “HD Native Thunderbolt” everytime I mention the HD Omni since it shouldn’t have anything to do with the sound quality; I beg to differ. The headphone amp on the HD Native Thunderbolt was something in another league. It brought my Beyerdynamic DT880′s to life and I heard things (good and bad) in our test songs that I just simply never heard before. With the DT880′s and HD Native Thunderbolt Headphone amp, over compression became obvious, distortion, clarity in highs and upper mids, delays and reverbs were so impressive we both swore that we could reach out and touch them. It was even more impressive that in drove my extremely hard to drive 250ohm DT880′s with extreme ease. This little addition is what truly sold me since I felt 100% confident I could do complete late night mixes in my DT880′s and HD Native Thunderbolt headphone amp without constantly feeling the need for speakers to check everything.

Conclusion:
Well, while the Apollo packs quite a punch in features, processing, price, looks, and even exceptional sound quality; it still couldn’t hold up to the D/A on the Omni and HD Native TB headphone amp. The Omni and Native TB Headphone amp’s clarity, openness, imaging, and ability to clearly point out flaws had us feeling like we had (in Brent’s words) “finally arrived”.

I think if features is whats most important to you; UAD’s Apollo takes the cake, but if sound quality for both recording and playback or mixing is what you want to invest in, Avid’s HD Omni and HD Native Thunderbolt is the clear answer. And for the skeptics who say they can’t hear that much of a difference, simply get the Apollo and be happy. For the rest of us that CAN hear a major difference that actually affects our workflow and product in a positive way, we know the clear choice. Happy gear lurking!

-GI

Brent playing on stage with Ryan Leslie for his “Ups & Downs” live music video from his new album.

kuk harrell

GI IN THE “CORNER OFFICE” ON PENSADO’S PLACE W/ KUK HARRELL!

This week’s episode is featuring Grammy Award Winning Songwriter, Vocal Producer, Arranger, and Engineer for such artists as Rihanna, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige – Kuk Harrell!!

Join GRAMMY Winning/15 time Nominee Mix Engineer Dave Pensado, Legendary Manager Herb Trawick, & our very own GI on the 87th episode of Pensado’s Place w/ Kuk Harrell!

“Corner Office” segment of the show w/ GI begins at 39:27.

Catch other episodes of Pensado’s Place & individual ITL’s on PensadosPlace.TV.

GI MIXES DRIICKY GRAHAM “SNACKPACKS & FASTFOOD” (PARODY)!!!

IAMGI Services very own GI does it again “SnackPacks & Fastfood” style for Intervision Studios, but this time it’s a hilarious parody remake of Dricky Graham’s “Snapbacks & Tattoos”.

“With the reaction and feedback of the last few videos, we contacted GI to once again work his magic and take our production and performance parody remake of Dricky’s “Snapbacks & Tattoos” to another level, and once again… he did just that. -InterVision Studios

You can check out more hilarious videos like these at InterVision Studio’s Youtube Page

InterVision Studios

Snack Packs & Fastfood (Parody) SNEAK PEAK!

Here’s a sneak preview of Intervision Studio’s newest project mixed by G.I. Its a parody of Dricky Graham’s “Snapbacks & Tattoos”.

“With the reaction and feedback of the last few videos, we contacted GI to once again work his magic and take our production and performance parody remake of Dricky’s “Snapbacks & Tattoos” to another level, and once again… he did just that. -InterVision Studios

You can check out more hilarious videos like these at InterVision Studio’s Youtube Page

MIKE SHIPLEY

GI IN THE “CORNER OFFICE” ON PENSADO’S PLACE W/ MIKE SHIPLEY!

This week’s episode is featuring the Legend behind the board for some of the greatest albums from acts like Queen, Keith Urban, AC/DC, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Tom Petty, Tim McGraw, Maroon 5, Faith Hill, Nickelback, Green Day, The Black Crowes, Alison Krauss, Papa Roach, My Chemical Romance … just to name a few – Mike Shipley!!

Join GRAMMY Winning/15 time Nominee Mix Engineer Dave Pensado, Legendary Manager Herb Trawick, & our very own GI on the 85th episode of Pensado’s Place w/ Mix Master Mike Shipley!

“Corner Office” segment of the show w/ GI begins at 45:00.

Catch other episodes of Pensado’s Place & individual ITL’s on PensadosPlace.TV.

Chica Ize

GI Co-Produces new Chica Ize single & Video “Voy A Mover Mi Cuerpo”

Engineer/Producer G.I. co-produces Chiza Ize’s new Latin crossover single “”. The song is hot, but the video is even hotter!

“With this Latin American production, we wanted to go for an Urban Hollywood sound and thanks to GI from IAMGI, the album was able to capture that concept… Thank you GI for making my dreams come true of combining my two cultures, Latin & American, into one musical production which in fact truly defines who I am and just taking it to a whole new level!” -

Chica Ize – “Voy A Mover Mi Cuerpo”

Stay up to date on new Chica Ize & GI collaborations by visiting Chica Ize’s Website.

InterVision Studios

GI Mixes Kanye West – “Mercy” (Parody) by InterVision Studios

Los Angeles mix engineer G.I. mixes InterVision Studio’s version of ” Parody about YuGiOh cards. Check it out!

“We’ve been working hard to get our parody of Kanye’s “Mercy”… and it is definitely something different. Special thanks to our good friend G.I. for mixing the final edit of the song for us. It just sounds Amazing!” -InterVision Studios

InterVision Studio’s “Kanye West – Mercy” (Parody)

You can check out more hilarious videos like these at InterVision Studio’s Youtube Page

Chris Lord-Alge

GI IN THE “CORNER OFFICE” ON PENSADO’S PLACE W/ CHRIS LORD-ALGE!

This week’s episode is featuring multiple GRAMMY Award-winning Engineer, Producer, and Master Mix Engineer, Chris Lord-Alge! Just a short list of artists Chris has worked with include: U2, Snow Patrol, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews Band, Savage Garden, Green Day, Whitney Houston, Alanis Morissette, Bon Jovi, Faith Hill, Melissa Etheridge, Tim McGraw, Fleetwood Mac, Pink, Foo Fighters, Black Eyed Peas, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, My Chemical Romance, Bad Religion, Nickelback, Daughtry, and many, many more… – Chris Lord-Alge!!

Join GRAMMY Winning/15 time Nominee Mix Engineer Dave Pensado, Legendary Manager Herb Trawick, & our very own GI on the 80th episode of Pensado’s Place w/ Mix Legend Chris Lord-Alge!

“Corner Office” segment of the show w/ GI begins at 44:12.

Catch other episodes of Pensado’s Place & individual ITL’s on PensadosPlace.TV.

GI in The “Corner Office” on Pensado’s Place w/ Charlie Clouser!

This week’s episode is featuring former Nine Inch Nails member, engineer, producer, mixer, and composer for such films as Saw, and the TV series Las Vegas (NBC) – Charlie Clouser!!

Join GRAMMY Winning/15 time Nominee Mix Engineer Dave Pensado, Legendary Manager Herb Trawick, & our very own GI on this week’s episode of Pensado’s Place w/ Charlie Clouser!

“Corner Office” segment of the show w/ GI begins at 55:45.

Catch other episodes of Pensado’s Place & individual ITL’s on PensadosPlace.TV.

IAMGI's Jaycen Joshua Larrabee Studio Pro Tools 10 HD install

IAMGI Installs Pro Tools 10 HD for Jaycen Joshua at Larrabee Studios!

IAMGI does Pro Tools 10 HD installation for Grammy Award winning Mixer Jaycen Joshua (Beyonce, Usher, P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, etc) at the legendary Larrabee Sound Studio in North Hollywood California.

IAMGI Installs Pro Tools 10 HD for Jaycen Joshua at Larrabee Studios!
Jaycen Joshua on his 80 channel SSL 9080 XL K-Series Console at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood, CA.

 

“After setting up the new Pro Tools 10 HD at Dave Pensado’s studio, he requested that I contact Jaycen Joshua to set him up with Pro Tools 10 as well. I went out to Larrabee’s, installed Pro Tools 10, and had the best time. It was a blast!” -G.I. of IAMGI

IAMGI handles Studio & Software Installations for Studios of all sizes. For more info on all of our Pro Audio services including Studio Installations, be sure to visit our Services page. http://www.IAMGI.net/services

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