Do you travel a lot? Do you like to work outside of your own home?
If you’re that type of person, and you’re a musician or a music producer, you might be in search of a portable audio interface.
If so, the Apogee One might catch your eye; small and sleek, portable, and ideal for MAC OS or Windows!
Think this may be for you? The review below may provide the answer.
What is the Apogee One?
The Apogee One is a portable USB audio interface built to be portable and meet your on-the-go recording needs.
Apogee themselves dub it “The Swiss Army Knife for… audio production.“
It promises audiophile-quality sound with a quality preamp for the best recording and audio playback experience that can fit in your pocket.
It even has a built-in microphone!
Connect the Apogee one to your Macbook or Windows laptop, and you’ll be ready. After that, you can plug your instrument in, plug in your mic, and you’ll be ready to go.
It is that easy!
Apogee One Overview
So there’s the Apogee One in a nutshell.
But for those with a scrutinizing eye, that’s not enough information to ascertain whether they need this or not.
So we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of the Apogee One’s features, specifications, and highlights.
The Apogee One (for MAC and Windows) sports a 2 input x 2 output configuration and uses a USB connection.
Through the USB, it can provide 24-bit/96kHz AD/DA conversion. You can also directly monitor your inputs and outputs through Apogee’s Maestro software.
Speaking of control, it has a big round control knob for ease of adjustment.
In the spirit of portability, it also has a built-in microphone if you’re not keen on allowing extra space in your bag for a separate external microphone.
It is also compatible with iPads or iPhones equipped with a Lightning connection.
All this is encased in a small, portable die-cast aluminum chassis.
This all comes in with a price of roughly 300 USD per unit.
- Clean audio quality synonymous with the rest of Apogee’s products
- Has a built-in mic
- Mac and PC compatibility
- Lacks features compared to a desktop audio interface
- Pricey, you pay mainly for the portability it offers
Let’s take an even closer look and break down the Apogee One into tiny bite-sized portions for those searching for specific components in an audio interface.
Ease of Use
The ease of use should be in your mind.
You don’t want to be caught in a tight spot because your interface lacks certain capabilities at a crucial time.
So let’s look at what the Apogee One can offer in this regard.
As mentioned earlier, you can use the Apogee One for MAC or PC operating systems!
It can also work for iOS, but you have to buy the appropriate cable types separately.
Instrument Input and Output
This unit is equipped with 2 instrument inputs.
But where would you put an instrument input in this small form? The USB port on the Apogee One serves as the microphone and instrument input.
Connect the USB cable included in the box. The breakout cable allows an external mic and an instrument to be plugged in.
The microphone input allows for XLR input microphones.
Also, be careful because it’s not easy to find a new breakout cable if you lose yours. Take special care of your breakout cable.
A 1/8″ stereo output also serves as a headphone output and a speaker output. You can use this to connect headphones or speakers to monitor your recordings.
If you don’t have space for an external mic, then…
The Apogee One also has a built-in omnidirectional condenser in its chassis. The built-in mic is the little black dot right there near the top.
Apogee also includes a mic clip in the box. You can mount your unit onto a mic stand/mount and use the internal mic as comfortably as you would an external microphone.
It’s perfect for PORTABILITY since you don’t need to bring a mic around!
You can use the built-in mic for your voice-overs, acoustic guitar recordings, interviews, or song ideas on the go.
Speaking of ease of use, there is a controller knob right in the middle of the device. You can easily select functions and set the input and output levels as you see fit.
Sound quality is probably one of the most, if not the most, important things to consider when buying a new audio interface.
So let’s walk you through the sound quality you can expect from the Apogee One.
The converters here are top-notch and live up to Apogee’s reputation. One’s AD/DA converters boast the highest quality at 24-bit/96kHz.
You can listen to your recordings with great sound quality. You can also record yourself and confidently say, “That sounds great!“
It can provide the cleanest sound and as little noise as you need during recording and listening.
Apogee boasts that it can also double as a headphone amp and DAC, so you can also accurately mix while enjoying your Mac iTunes library.
Apogee wouldn’t skimp on their mic preamp technology, either.
It boasts a gain range of 0 to 62 dB to dial in your ideal gain level for any mic, any situation.
The mic preamp found in the device is compatible with a wide range of microphone setups.
It also comes with 48v phantom power for your microphone.
The mic preamp can handle dynamic, condenser or ribbon microphones while providing clean, noise-free recording!
Build and Design
A portable USB audio interface needs to withstand wear and tear from the constant transportation it will be subjected to.
Rest assured, the Apogee is safe and sound encased in a solid die-cast aluminum chassis!
If there’s any part you may want to look out for, it’s the knob. It sticks out and may get hit by random things in your bag and might get loose as time passes.
The Apogee One comes with Apogee’s Maestro software and is available for Mac, PC, or iOS. The software is included in the installer suite for Mac and PC.
The iOS version is also available for FREE in the App store!
Maestro provides low latency monitoring of your recording.
It also gives you access to the many settings you can fiddle with through the software.
- Within the software, you can configure mic gain, output volume, etc.
- It’s convenient if you’re looking to configure many settings without fumbling with the single knob on the device.
Logic Pro X Integration
There is also seamless Logic Pro X integration for those who use it in their workflow.
Like with Maestro, you can EASILY control the mic gain, phantom power, input selection, etc., of the Apogee One through Logic.
You can also use the Logic Remote app to wirelessly adjust your settings if you have an iOS device.
There is no need to be next to your computer to make sure your recording goes as planned!
Alternatives to Apogee One to Check Out
The Apogee ONE is just ONE (heh, get it) USB audio interface of many options!
More choices out there may better suit you, your use case, and, most importantly, your budget. To help out with your search, check out these alternative suggestions.
Apogee Jam Plus
The Jam Plus is the most portable audio interface we can include here, even more than the ONE.
If you’re a fan of recording with your phone, this is your interface!
You can connect this to your iPhone seamlessly and be able to record with no problem! You can also hook it up to a Mac or Windows laptop effortlessly.
It also has a stereo output for headphones if you want to monitor your recording. It also provides 96kHz/24-bit quality sound for your music projects.
All this for around 180 USD.
What’s the difference?
It only has an input for instruments. There is no built-in microphone, phantom power or mic preamps. So you can’t record vocals with this interface.
Audient EVO 8
This is another USB audio interface that’s compact and portable.
If you don’t want to risk the breakout cable getting potentially lost and want more outputs and inputs, this is a good one!
- The Audient EVO 8’s input/output setup is a 4×4, way more than the ONE has.
- More stereo output? Speaker output? This has it.
- Do you somehow need two headphones plugged in? It can do that too.
- Who needs a built-in mic when you have potentially FOUR microphone inputs?
On top of that, they’re more robust than whatever input was attached to that USB cable on the ONE.
All this for around 200 USD. It’s way cheaper than the ONE, but it has its own drawbacks.
It’s less portable, and the smooth compatibility with MAC devices isn’t there, unlike with Apogee products.
Universal Audio Apollo Solo Heritage Edition
We’ve discussed products that are cheaper than the One. But what about an option for those looking for more and are willing to spend more?
We have the perfect suggestion for you too!
Universal Audio is an iconic manufacturer of interfaces. Their clean, quality sound is hard to top.
On top of that, the Apollo Solo has a DSP. This means you can add EFFECTS to your instruments/microphone with little to no latency.
This also takes the processing burden away from your laptop/desktop, so your computer doesn’t have to chug along trying to process all the effects you’re putting on.
This interface, however, doesn’t support a USB cable connection unless you upgrade to a higher-priced model. It does fully support MAC Thunderbolt 3.
It has a 2×2 I/O setup and can adequately support on-the-go recording.
The price of the Apollo Solo is 600 USD for the Thunderbolt 3 version and 700 USD for the USB-supported version.
Other Apogee products to check out include:
- Apogee Duet
- Symphony Desktop
USB Audio Interface on Par With the Apogee One?
So that’s a lot of interfaces, but which one of these would you recommend as a replacement or even a direct competitor to the Apogee One?
To be honest, all of these interfaces can be a good match for the Apogee interface. And all of them can shine depending on what you’re looking for.
- Are you looking for something cheaper but even more portable? Don’t need to record mics? The Jam Plus is right up your alley!
- Don’t mind sacrificing the portability for more I/O? Don’t work with a Mac? And more importantly, costs 100 USD less than the One? The Audient will serve you just fine.
- Looking for the BEST and don’t mind sacrificing portability? UA Apollo Solo is a great choice.
As with many buying decisions, it’s all up to your personal use case and budget!
Final Verdict: Is it Worth It?
YES! It is a no-brainer that it is worth it!
The One is perfect for the on-the-go musician, voice actor, podcaster, etc. It offers great utility and sound while maintaining a tiny form.
That’s our review for Apogee One for Mac and Windows PC. Was this interface the ONE for you? Or did you find yourself gravitating to the other suggestions?
Just remember to keep in mind what’s best for YOU!