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Universal Audio Apollo X16 Review

Pushing it into the cable has the advantage of cable specific designs based on length. For example, we use active fiber optic cables in our studios to make the distance between our control and live rooms. It’s a flexible choice, but does push cost into cables.
Yes, necessary for optical fibre, and that is part of the TB spec, but it seems odd for copper.
 
One benefit this interface has over others for musicians and studio people is the processing power and access to UAD plug-ins, which sound fantastic especially if you're trying to move from classic hardware to software. In many cases, their emulations have been the ones to beat for over 10 years now.
 
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Yes, necessary for optical fibre, and that is part of the TB spec, but it seems odd for copper.

Keep in mind TB3 supports 40Gbps in a single lane. Most current PHY standards max out at around 25Gbps on a single passive copper pair (typical 100Gbps PHYs are usually run on four pairs).
 
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Rack mounting and power brick? What?

Where to put the power brick?

Stationary devices should not have power bricks. You'd think they could make it internal and isolate it, but maybe this was the easiest way out.
 
I tend to have mixed feeling about power bricks in racks. For a complex audio device like this a power brick is probably the best answer. By complex I mean the amount of cabling that is in the rack behind the device. And sensitive cabling you want to keep away from mains runs. An already clean DC power feed to a captive plug in the back of the device is always a good start. Captive plugs are important too - even if you do have a mains run via an IEC plug, you want the socket to have a captive clip. Better would be a PowerCon socket.
But what I always like to see is a power brick that has some design elements that make it easier to manage in a rack. Wall warts are awful, you end up will all manner of stupid problems. A brick with its own removable power cord is almost mandatory. One that is designed with tie down points is fabulous, but you almost never see that. Sometimes one can install the power brick in the side of the rack, but a tray in the bottom of the rack with the bricks all tied down to holes in the tray works well. Then one can manage the power neatly. For really tall racks sometimes trays top and bottom.
One of the problems with power runs to devices is that there is no standard for which side the power comes in. So it is really hard to manage separation of cables. Great if the rack is full of the same device, or devices from the one vendor that shows some consistency in design.
The absolute best is of course a rack mountable power system that feeds the devices in the rack. I've only seen that with some supercomputers.
 
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It is most definitely the bog standard Minimum Phase Fast filter, which is generally used in studio/pro applications for the lowest latency.
Compare with this graph, it's the exact same (filter 3 here: )
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Oh, the start levels of dx7 and x16 are different, therefore the bottoms are the same actually.....
 
Since everyone has a graph to post I’m going to join in!
 

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United Recording Electronics Inc.
Back in the past, I liked repairing the Teletronix LA-2As, (Teletronix was bought by UREI) and even worked on a couple of the original Teletronix LA-2s. Classic stuff. UREI did a re-release of the LA-2A around this time, mostly staying true to the original circuit.


I believe Universal Audio was the working name they put on some of the gear, EG: The Universal Audio 1176, for instance. I was the northwest rep for them at the time. ('79 until they were buried by Harman).

By whatever name, they were fun to work with and for. From their website, a paragraph confirming UA as one of their trade names from the sometimes confusing history of the company's naming practices. :
Link



As I'm confident you know, there were a number of name changes or usage through the years, from the somewhat confusing "Teletronix" (which as you point out was really the LA2/LA2A only) to Putnam's original outfit which I think was Universal Recording (Electronics) as you mention but eventually it all morphed to UREI although particular products still carried different names that referred to their origins. The best example of that is of course the LA2 which was Teletronix. But several different names were used, sometimes on current goods, over time. UREI remained the working name after Harman acquired them. I think that's the right order but won't swear to it! It's not really important to me. What is, is that we both were there which proves memories are (at least in my case) guaranteed to be old! I've never met Bill Jr. but I knew his father who I met after I became their rep in 1979.
 
They're not. TB cables are always active, AFAIK. USB-C is a port/connector design, and Thunderbolt 3 just so happens to use a USB-C port and connector. Previous generations used mini DisplayPort.

That is correct.

Putting it simple, USB-C is just a connector design (like the USB "A" and USB "B") that allows both Data and Power to be transmitted, while allowing the manufacturer dynamic data/power ratio (a device can transmit 0.5A@5V or 5A@20V) and the round shape and mirrored/inverted pins also allowing the connector to fit and work properly in both orientations (a godsend, if you ask me).

Now, as far as I know, Thunderbolt is a physical layer standard developed by Intel, and can support many different protocols and uses (Audio/Video, Data, Power). You can pass DisplayPort, HDMI, USB and other protocols through this standard.

Both TB 1.0 and TB 2.0 uses the DisplayPort Mini (which is open, unlike HDMI) as standard connector. TB 3.0 uses USB-C as standard connector.

Intel gave the Thunderbolt license and rights "for free" to the USB Forum, and the new USB 4 protocol will use a implementation of Thunderbolt (which is being called TB 4.0, but have the same specs as TB 3.0) as the physical layer for transportation.

As of now, USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 are the same thing, and they only gonna use the USB-C connector. The USB "A" (small rectangle) and USB "B" (big square) will not be used in USB4/TB4.
 
As of now, USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 are the same thing, and they only gonna use the USB-C connector. The USB "A" (small rectangle) and USB "B" (big square) will not be used in USB4/TB4.

I wish it were that simple. USB4 doesn't require all of the pieces that Thunderbolt provides; many are optional, including PCIe. Many Thunderbolt devices are using PCIe, so it's probably going to be a bit of a nightmare for a while.
 
I wish it were that simple. USB4 doesn't require all of the pieces that Thunderbolt provides; many are optional, including PCIe. Many Thunderbolt devices are using PCIe, so it's probably going to be a bit of a nightmare for a while.

Mea Culpa, I intendent to write "the same thing", but for some reason I forgot to. :(
 
Didn't mean to nit-pick, by the way. I'm just keyed into that as I mentally prepare for how annoying that is going to be. USB Type-C is bad enough...
Instead of talking about TB compatibility and future USB standards, regular PC motherboards still have PCIE slots, right? UA also sells PCIE accelerator and the size is considerably smaller than for example, Pro Tools HDX cards. So it is always possible to make a PCIE card + breakout box solution, right? The reason of not doing this is because the majority of your customers use MACs, but many last gen MACs don't have PCIE slots, and they have to use something like external TB enclosures to accommodate the PCIE cards?
 
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Instead of talking about TB compatibility and future USB standards, regular PC motherboards still have PCIE slots, right? UA also sells PCIE accelerator and the size is considerably smaller than for example, Pro Tools HDX cards. So it is always possible to make a PCIE card + breakout box solution, right? The reason of not doing this is because the majority of your customers use MACs, but many last gen MACs don't have PCIE slots, and they have to use something like external TB enclosures to accommodate the PCIE cards?
While the studio and home people might be using desktops, a number of people need to be able to use this interface with a laptop on location, which requires using a built-in connection standard.

It just stinks that if you're in the Windows world, the cheapest motherboards and laptops with TB3 are still in the higher price ranges, and even if you get one it's not necessarily guaranteed to have a good implementation or to be compatible with Thunderbolt audio equipment. The ASUS ThunderboltEX motherboard add-on cards are examples of that -- might work, might not, costs a few hundred dollars with an ASUS MB and expansion card to find out.

I'm hoping either TB3 eventually trickles down to budget equipment or a new low-latency connection standard emerges.
 
While the studio and home people might be using desktops, a number of people need to be able to use this interface with a laptop on location, which requires using a built-in connection standard.

It just stinks that if you're in the Windows world, the cheapest motherboards and laptops with TB3 are still in the higher price ranges, and even if you get one it's not necessarily guaranteed to have a good implementation or to be compatible with Thunderbolt audio equipment. The ASUS ThunderboltEX motherboard add-on cards are examples of that -- might work, might not, costs a few hundred dollars with an ASUS MB and expansion card to find out.

I'm hoping either TB3 eventually trickles down to budget equipment or a new low-latency connection standard emerges.
So this Thunderbolt thing is exactly giving a finger to desktop PC users as you have to use another internal card anyway, in order to use an external interface. Before this there was ExpressCard which was much more common in the PC market.
 
So this Thunderbolt thing is exactly giving a finger to desktop PC users as you have to use another internal card anyway, in order to use an external interface. Before this there was ExpressCard which was much more common in the PC market.
Not necessarily, there are a number of PC motherboards with built-in TB3. But they tend to be the most expensive models, and unless you dig in to each specific model you don't know what you're getting -- 2-lane vs. 4-lane or whether or not it will work with your TB audio interface. I just brought up ASUS because they tried to solve the problem with an add-on PCIe card and it was hit or miss.

But yeah, Thunderbolt and Mac, you're golden. Thunderbolt and PC is a minefield.
 
So this Thunderbolt thing is exactly giving a finger to desktop PC users as you have to use another internal card anyway, in order to use an external interface. Before this there was ExpressCard which was much more common in the PC market.

Not quite. Although TB3 is very present on Macs and Laptops, it will be theoretically on every PC that support USB 4.

Remember when Desktop PCs were literally everyones Personal Computer? Yeah, times changed, and your PC is now your mobile. Desktop in general are ultra niche these days, mostly used for Gaming or Heavy Workstations, and even for these tasks some laptops are stepping in.

Almost all my friends do audio/video editing on their laptops now, and two of them are using a Mac Mini as their studio machine, and the performance is amazing.

Considering my Interface is portable and powered by USB-C, my current desktop may be my last. Heck, my phone have 16GB of RAM.
 
Not quite. Although TB3 is very present on Macs and Laptops, it will be theoretically on every PC that support USB 4.

Remember when Desktop PCs were literally everyones Personal Computer? Yeah, times changed, and your PC is now your mobile. Desktop in general are ultra niche these days, mostly used for Gaming or Heavy Workstations, and even for these tasks some laptops are stepping in.

Almost all my friends do audio/video editing on their laptops now, and two of them are using a Mac Mini as their studio machine, and the performance is amazing.

Considering my Interface is portable and powered by USB-C, my current desktop may be my last. Heck, my phone have 16GB of RAM.
But how portable is an Apollo x16? The onboard processors use a lot of space anyway.

There were something like these, and they are protable PCI cards:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/echo-indigo-io

...and PCIE adapters which can be used with the same series of breakout boxes.
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/en/products/hdspe_expresscard.php
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/en/products/hdsp_pci_e_interface.php
https://archiv.rme-audio.de/en/products/multiface_2.php
 
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