There seems to have been a lot of confusion about Apogee’s Symphony system. It has been marketed as this great competitor to Digidesign’s Pro Tools HD systems, but it really is not an apples to apples comparison.
- The Apogee Symphony is far less expensive than a Digidesign HD system capable of the same amount of I/O.
- You get the same thing with a Symphony system as an HD system for less than half the price.
PRO TOOLS HD
First, lets look at the strengths of a Digidesign Pro Tools HD system.
- Versatility with interfaces and I/O configurations (one or multiple interfaces can be connected to the system for customization)
- Low latency operation when recording and mixing (tracks can be monitored through the software with nearly no delay)
- DSP based processing (plug-ins run on DSP from the installed cards and not the native processor providing higher resolution processing
The main feature that someone pays for in the large price of an HD system is #3 the DSP processing power. This is why HD systems are used in the big studios. They are very powerful and stable when running off of these DSP cards.
Now lets look at the strengths of an Apogee Symphony system.
Notice the difference. The symphony system has no onboard DSP. The system requires that you use a native-based system or other DSP-based systems such as Universal Audio’s UAD2 or TC Electronic’s PowerCore. Apogee’s argument is that native-based systems are getting so powerful that you don’t need any additional DSP processing. This is an argument for another article.
- Apogee does have a good point in that native-based systems are powerful and by adding I/O versatility and low latency operation you can create a pretty powerful system.
- Price comparisons between an HD system and a Symphony system are not fair because, as shown above, an HD system is also bringing DSP to the table.
- The Apogee Symphony is a very stable and versatile system capable of extensive routing options between multiple programs, very low latency operation, and rock solid performance.
The Apogee Symphony system is an incredible product with great potential. It has simply been deceptively marketed in an apples to oranges comparison to Digidesign Pro Tools HD systems.