Apogee Symphony Desktop vs UAD Apollo Twin X Comparison

If you’re in the market for an audio interface, the Universal Audio’s UAD Apollo Twin X and Apogee’s Symphony Desktop are great choices. It’s important to realize that both are revered for their technological prowess, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, it can be hard to choose between them. While each company offers up a good option, one might suit you better than the other. Thus we will be breaking down the features of the Apogee Symphony Desktop vs UAD Apollo Twin X.

Firstly, the Apollo is already out while the Symphony Desktop won’t hit shelves until later this year. When it comes down to aesthetics, Apogee’s Symphony Desktop is more simplistic in its presentation. Its touch screen display is sleek and more modern compared to Apollo’s more vintage approach. Although they might look different don’t worry about portability, as both pieces of hardware can easily fit into your bag. Thus meaning they can certainly fit on your desk. Furthermore, the two interfaces are still pretty similar but with some differences that could sway you either way.

Apogee Symphony Desktop vs UAD Apollo Twin X Hardware Specifications

Apogee Symphony DesktopUAD Apollo Twin X (Quad or Duo)
Computer ConnectionUSB 2.0 over USB CThunderbolt 3 (USB C)
Simultaneous I/O 10 x 1410 x 6
DSPFPGA ProcessingUAD-2 Duo Core
or
UAD-2 Quad Core
Phantom PowerYesYes
Inputs2 mic/line combo:
XLR-1/4″
1 instrument (Hi-Z): 1/4″
2 mic/line combo:
XLR-1/4″
1 instrument (Hi-Z): 1/4″
Outputs2 Monitor 1/4″2 Monitor 1/4″
2 Line Out 1/4″
Headphones1/4″ and 1/8″1/4″
Digital I/O2 Optical Toslink
(ADAT, S/PDIF)
Input Only:
Optical Toslink
(ADAT, S/PDIF)
A/D & D/A Resolution24-bit/192kHz24-bit/192kHz
Dynamic Range129 dB127 dB
THD+N -117 dB-117 dB
Mic Preamp Gain up to 75 dBup to 65 dB
FXApogee FX Rack plugins
Mic Preamp modeling
UAD powered plugins
Unison Preamp technology
Apogee Symphony Desktop vs UAD Apollo Twin X Specifications

As I said before, both devices are very similar when it comes to hardware. Despite this, the Apogee Symphony Desktop boasts a slightly larger dynamic range (129dB) and mic preamp gain (75dB). Then again, with the Apollo Twin X‘s Unison-enable mic preamps, you can place one of the preamp plugins on your mic input to reconfigure the Apollo’s impedance. As a result, doing so will actually readjust the hardware to match the specs of traditional Neve, API, and Manley Preamps. Despite these differences, there are still some more notable ones: the output count, the software that comes with it, and full DAW integration.

Apogee Symphony Desktop vs UAD Apollo Twin X: Notable Differences

Software Integration

If you’re looking for more options to route audio then the Symphony Desktop might be a better option as it comes with 14 output channels compared to the Apollo’s six. Despite both interfaces being compatible with any DAW, the Symphony Desktop can be fully integrated with Logic Pro X. As a result, creating a more efficient workflow. On the other hand, the Apollo Twin is fully integrable with UAD’s own DAW: LUNA Recording System. To clarify, LUNA is built specifically for UAD hardware and is free for any UAD Thunderbolt Arrow and Apollo interfaces. In fact, LUNA has some of the best emulation on the market including built-in Neve console summing, Moog and Steinway digital instruments, and integrated multitrack tape for analog warmth. However, both programs are Mac exclusive, so if you’re a PC user you’ll care more about the plugins that actually come with the hardware.

Included plugins

We have now arrived at the most important sonic differences between these two incredible interfaces: the plugins. UAD is especially famous for its emulation of iconic hardware. The Apollo Twin X comes with some plugins emulating said hardware including (but not limited to) the LA2A, 1176, and Pultec Pro EQs. Despite being an emulation of classic pieces of hardware, they are still very versatile in the modern production landscape. In addition, having any UAD hardware opens the door to all of their plugins.

On the contrary, the Symphony Desktop includes mic preamps emulating the Class A Neve 1066 and Ampex 601. Consequently, you can switch between a more British tone or an iconic American sound. In addition, it also comes with some native plugins including the ECS channel strip (EQ, compression, and saturation) and Clearmountain’s Spaces reverb. The standalone hardware just comes with these native plugins but for an extra $100 you can have the Apogee FX rack bundle, thus adding five more Apogee plugins. This bundle includes three more EQs and two more compressors (one of them based on the LA3A).

Conclusion

In short, being a producer myself, I know I have spent countless hours determining which details mattered the most to me when it came to buying hardware. In fact, I have an Apollo Twin because I like the way it feels physically, and with the thunderbolt connection, it virtually has no latency. Then again I know many people with Apogee products that love the UI and the sound. All things considered, you can’t go wrong with either interface. However, more often than not, I’ve found myself making decisions based on price. When it comes out, the Apogee Symphony Desktop can come standalone at $1,299.00 or with the FX bundle at $1,399.00. The Apollo Twin X Duo comes in at $899.00 while the Quad is $1,399.00. Happy hunting!

Current Price and Availability

Because the prices are subject to change, you can always check the current price and availability of these audio interfaces at any time here:

Current Price and Availability
UAD Apollo Twin X (Duo)Check current price & availability
UAD Apollo Twin X (Quad)Check current price & availability
Apogee Symphony DesktopCheck current price & availability
UAD Apollo Twin X vs Apogee Symphony Desktop Pricing

If you can spend a bit more and want more connectivity options, the Apollo X4 audio interface from Universal Audio is worth a look.


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Will Gooding

I'm a Berklee College of Music graduate, currently residing in LA with my dog and chinchilla. With a degree in Electronic Production & Design I get to combine my two favorite things: Music and Tech!

One thought on “Apogee Symphony Desktop vs UAD Apollo Twin X Comparison

  • June 21, 2020 at 8:05 pm
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    Great article. The only two things I wish you had touched on is the DA conversion and that the Symphony desktop gives you the same sound quality and conversion as their flagship Symphony I/O Mkii. I believe the DA conversion dynamic range I saw for the symphony is 131db.

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