by Steve Cunningham
It just so happens that I’m currently evaluating audio interfaces for use in the 25-seat Macintosh computer lab at the university where I ply my trade, and where we teach audio recording and editing using Macs and Pro Tools (as well as several other multitrack programs). We’ve used various incarnations of the Avid (nee Digidesign) mBox for nearly a decade, from the original vertical Mbox 1 up to and including the current Mbox 3. Our experience with the latter, known today as just the Mbox, has been less than satisfactory from a reliability standpoint; never mind that the newer model uses a different driver that the older models, so both drivers have to be installed and the correct one must be selected for things to go well (which they sometimes don’t with noob students). So rather than replacing the defective units while still supporting two drivers, a decision has been made to buy new. Hence this month’s review of the Apogee Quartet audio interface.
Apogee has long had a reputation for high quality audio converter boxes, designed exclusively for Macintosh computers. Their large scale Symphony I/O series of multi-input and -output interfaces have been the first choice of high-end music studios who want to upgrade Avid’s Pro Tools HD interfaces. On the other end of the price scale, the company’s Duet and One interfaces have upgraded many a desktop recording rig at a cost that while not cheap, can be considered moderate and a good value for the performance (the One was reviewed in the May 2010 issue of RAP). The Apogee Quartet occupies a comfortable middle ground between those two price categories.