Universal Audio has always been known for its innovation. From legendary mic pres and compressors to game-changing audio interfaces and software, the brand has truly helped shape the landscape of the modern recording industry.The Apollo interface series, which was first introduced in 2012, has played a major role in furthering Universal Audio's legacy. Now in its third generation, Apollo interfaces offer world-class conversion, amazing preamps, and on-board processing for near-zero latency when using Universal Audio's top-notch plug-in emulations.With the announcement of the new Apollo Solo and Apollo Solo USB, many potential interface owners may be asking themselves, "What's the right Universal Audio Apollo for me?" Throughout this Buyer's Guide, we will break down what makes each Apollo interface unique and offer some insight into how they will fit into your workflow.

How to Choose the Best UA Interface for Your Studio

Universal Audio's Apollo interface series has been a game-changer for home studio owners and professionals alike. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to choose the right interface for your needs. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of selecting the best UA interface for your studio.

Versions of the UA Interfaces

Before you dive into the technical specifications of UA's interfaces, it's essential to know the different versions available. Universal Audio offers two types of interfaces—rackmount and desktop. The rackmount versions come in a 1U or 2U form factor, while the desktop interfaces are more compact.

The rackmount interfaces include the Apollo x16, Apollo x8p, and the Apollo x8, all of which offer powerful processing and conversion capabilities. The desktop interfaces, such as the Apollo Solo and Apollo Twin X, as well as the Volt Series, are designed for small home studios and mobile recording setups.

The Variety of Inputs and Outputs

The next step in choosing the right UA interface is to consider the number of inputs and outputs you require. If you plan to record full bands or orchestras, you'll need an interface with multiple inputs, such as the Apollo x16, which has 16 channels of analog to digital conversion. The Apollo x8p and Apollo x8, on the other hand, have eight and four built-in preamps, respectively, making them ideal for smaller recording setups. And if you're just looking to record vocals and maybe an instrument or two, the Twin, Solo, and Volt Series interfaces are a great choice.

Budget & Price Comparisons

Your budget is another crucial factor when it comes to choosing the right UA interface. The price of these interfaces can vary significantly, with the Apollo x16 being the most expensive and the Volt Series being the most affordable.

It's important to note that while the rackmount versions of the Apollo interfaces are more expensive, they offer more inputs and outputs and powerful processing capabilities. However, if you're on a tight budget, the desktop versions may be a better fit.

UA Interface Comparison

Once you've determined your budget and the number of inputs and outputs required, it's time to compare the technical specifications of the various UA interfaces. The flagship Apollo x16 offers 24-bit/192kHz resolution via Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and features 16 channels of analog to digital conversion. The Apollo x8p features eight Unison preamps, while the Apollo x8 has four. Both interfaces offer HEXA Core processing and are Thunderbolt compatible.

If you're looking for a more compact interface, the Apollo Twin X features two Unison preamps and is compatible with both Thunderbolt and USB. The Apollo Solo and Apollo Solo USB are designed for small home studios and mobile setups and feature Unison preamp technology and Realtime Analog Classics UAD plug-ins. The Volt Series is perfect for creative collaborators who want to easily record audio projects with professional studio sound

Let's take a closer look at the Apollo Rackmount and Desktop interfaces, as well as the compact Volt Series.

Universal Audio Apollo Rackmount Interfaces

In 2020 Universal Audio introduced the Heritage Edition Series of their acclaimed audio interfaces. These versions include special plug-in bundles featuring 10 premium UAD titles. For those looking for UA's elite-class AD/DA conversion and UAD-2 processing power but without these additional plug-ins (and cost), Universal Audio has reintroduced their Apollo X interfaces in non-Heritage editions. Though these versions do not include Heritage Edition bundles, they still include the Realtime Analog Classics Plus software bundle, giving you everything you need to get up and running with UAD's renowned plug-ins! And, as always, if you need more, you can bundle all of that with 2, 3, 6, or 10 additional plug-ins, or with the LUNA Creator or Analog Essential bundles!

Universal Audio Apollo x16

The flagship of the Apollo line, the Apollo x16 is a 16x18 rackmount audio interface that features lots of connectivity, premium conversion, and unparalleled onboard processing power. A must-have for professional recording studios, the x16 will deliver up to 24 bit/192 kHz resolution via its high-speed Thunderbolt 3 connection.

With DB25 connection points on the back, the Apollo x16 offers 16 channels of analog to digital conversion and can support up to 16 line outputs for all of your routing needs. Connect outboard gear, route alternate monitors, bus channels, and more with the output functionality offered on the x16.

For this generation of rackmount Apollo interfaces, Universal Audio introduced HEXA Core processing. Each Apollo X interface features six powerful DSP processing chips that offer over 50% more DSP processing power than previous Apollos. This means you'll be able to run more instances of UAD plug-ins during recording and mixing with near-zero latency.

As always, Universal Audio gives studios the ability to expand on their rigs for more processing power, inputs, and outputs. Apollo interface owners can connect up to four UAD-2 devices, including UAD-2 PCIe cards, Thunderbolt-equipped Satellites and other Apollo audio interfaces for expansive functionality in studios of any size.

Another added bonus of purchasing an Apollo interface with Thunderbolt connectivity is that you will be able to use it with Universal Audio's new LUNA Recording System. This new recording production system goes beyond the boundaries of a typical DAW with impressive interface/software integration, software-based instruments, built-in summing mixers, and so much more.

All Universal Audio Apollo interfaces come with the Realtime Analog Classics Plus bundle of plugins, giving you access to the award-winning plugin emulations of some of the most sought-after outboard pieces. This package includes the Fairchild 670, Ampeg SVT-VR, 1176LN, Pultec EQP-1A, and many more.


Universal Audio Apollo x8p

For those looking to take advantage of Universal Audio's innovative mic pre/software technology, the x8p is where it's at. The 16x22 interface features eight built-in Unison preamps, which on their own have a brilliantly clean sound. However, when you pair them with any Unison-enabled plug-in, the impedance of the preamp is set to match the hardware being emulated in software form. This allows you to match the sweet spots and circuit behaviors of gear like the V76, Neve 1073, and UA 610.

Whether you're a budding engineer, working in a project space, or have a top-notch recording studio, the Apollo x8p will deliver impeccable A/D and D/A conversion, powerful on-board processing, and access to Unison technology. Let's not forget, just like the Apollo x16, you'll get instant access to the wonderful world of the LUNA Recording System and the plug-ins of the Realtime Analog Classics Plus bundle.

Universal Audio Apollo x8

Project studios and expanding recording operations have found the eight-channel Universal Audio Apollo x8 to be a great solution for their needs. It features the same fantastic conversion of the rest of the Apollo X line and HEXA Core processing in a 1U rack space interface with Thunderbolt connectivity. So how is the x8 different from the x8p? Let's discuss.

This 18x24 interface features four built-in Unison preamps, which allow you to start recording immediately, or use the inputs for line level conversion and connect up to eight of your favorite mic preamps. With up to eight line outputs, a set of monitor outputs, and the ability to cascade with other Apollo units, the x8 has plenty of tools for working in the studio. It doesn’t hurt that the x8 sounds excellent, right out of the box.

Universal Audio Apollo x6

The same great technology that makes up the aforementioned Apollo X rackmount interfaces can be found in the Universal Audio Apollo x6. Just like the x8 and x8p, you get eight channels of the crystal clear conversion, but the x6 stands out as it features two Unison mic preamps, leaving the other six channels open for connection with your mic preamp collection. For those looking for an eight-channel arrangement of conversion, but have their own outboard gear to bring to the table, the x6 is the solution. Fear not though, the two on-board Unison preamps are fantastic, whether you use them with preamp emulations or run them fully clean.

Universal Audio Apollo FireWire

While all of the Apollo X interfaces feature Thunderbolt connectivity, the Universal Audio Apollo Firewire is meant for use with FireWire-equipped Mac and Windows systems. This 18x24 audio interface features two FireWire 800 Ports for daisy-chaining with other FireWire devices. In terms of on-board goodies, the Apollo Firewire has four Unison mic pres, built-in QUAD Core processing (four SHARC DSP chips), and quality A/D and D/A converters.

Universal Audio Apollo Desktop Interfaces

Universal Audio Apollo x4

Intended for music makers creating in tight spaces, working on-the-go, and new engineers just getting started, Universal Audio makes several interfaces in a convenient desktop size. Let's start with the Apollo x4, a fan favorite since the interface made its debut last year.

The Apollo x4 features four channels of Unison-enabled preamps, QUAD Core processing, and improved conversion from the previous generation of Apollo desktop interfaces. As for the new converter particulars, this interface and the Apollo Twin X has a 127 dB dynamic range and -117 dB THD+N.

With the x4, all of the features come packaged in a robust, sleek housing that easily slides into a backpack or suitcase for travel needs. In addition to the aforementioned Unison mic pres, the interface features two easily accessible DI inputs, two headphone outputs, and one knob style monitoring that makes recording and mixing anywhere as simple as possible.



Universal Audio Apollo Twin X

The original Apollo Twin made headlines when it was first released and instantly became a bestseller. It was a simple, intuitive interface that you could take anywhere and know that your results were going to be extremely high quality. We're glad to say that Universal Audio has stayed true to the interface's original concept with the Apollo Twin X.

In a small, roughly 6”x 6” housing, Universal Audio has packed in the same great Unison preamps, conversion, and functionality that made the Apollo series famous. With a built-in DI input, familiar one knob controller, and LED monitoring, the Apollo Twin proves to be an excellent choice for those needing smaller I/O, while still wanting elite level sound quality. Available in QUAD and DUO (two SHARC DSP chips), one of the Apollo Twin Xs will definitely fit your needs in terms of processing power.

Universal Audio Apollo USB

If you're in love with the form factor of the Apollo Twin X, but primarily work on a system with USB connectivity, Universal Audio has a solution for you. The Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB is a 2x6 interface that is compatible with Windows-based systems. Much like the Apollo Twin X, the interface features a Hi-Z input and headphone output on the front of the unit, in addition to two Unison-enabled mic pres on the back. The Apollo Twin USB offers 24/192 kHz audio conversion and offers DUO Core processing for plenty of onboard processing power.

Universal Audio Apollo Solo

The newest addition to the Apollo line, the Apollo Solo is the smallest interface to date from Universal Audio. The compact interface will deliver ultra-high-quality conversion with its 24 bit/192 kHz capability via Thunderbolt 3 connection. Featuring the same preamp architecture found in other Apollo units, the Solo enables you to track up to two channels at a time, either using the pristine tone of the preamps or with the unmistakable sound of classic circuits like Neve and API via Unison modeling technology.

Music makers wanting elite sound quality, access to Universal Audio's plug-in platform, and a more streamlined feature set will find the Apollo Solo to be just right. This interface also includes the Realtime Analog Classics Plus bundle and will fully integrate with the new LUNA Recording System. That means you’ll be able to get to work with great plug-ins and the powerful Accelerated Real time Monitoring that the LUNA system boasts from anywhere you want.

Universal Audio Apollo Solo USB

In addition to the Apollo Solo, Universal Audio has introduced the Apollo Solo USB. As you may have guessed from its name, this interface features USB connectivity while still offering the same great conversion, sound, and clarity of the Thunderbolt version. Now, musicians and engineers working on Windows systems have the ability to take advantage of Universal Audio's onboard DSP, stunning microphone preamps, and plug-ins from anywhere you can connect to a laptop.

Universal Audio Volt Interfaces

The UA Volt series introduces a compact new lineup of USB audio interfaces for musicians, podcasters and streamers. Equipped with UA's industry-leading preamps and pristine 24-bit/192kHz resolution, Volt Series interfaces deliver studio-quality sound in a compact desktop package.

The UA Volt series features five interfaces; Volt 1, Volt 2, Volt 176, Volt 276 and Volt 476. Capture the rich, full sound of the renowned Universal Audio 610 tube preamp using Vintage Mode, which enables UA's exclusive tube emulation circuitry. Additionally, the Volt 476, 276 and 176 include a built-in analog compressor equipped with an innovative analog circuit inspired by UA's classic 1176 Limiting Amplifier. Presets for Vocals, Guitar and Fast make it easy to quickly dial in the right sound while tracking or mixing.

UA Volt Series interfaces also come bundled with an impressive suite of advanced production tools, virtual instruments and plug-ins to help you dial in radio-ready tracks. Stay inspired with software from Ableton, Celemony, UJAM, Marshall, Ampeg, and more. Plus, all Volt Series interfaces are compatible with Mac, PC, iPad and iPhone, so you can create studio-quality productions at home, in the studio or on the go.

Check out our video below for an overview of the entire UA Volt line and watch as we track using the Universal Audio Volt 276 audio interface.


Universal Audio Volt 1 Audio Interface

The UA Volt 1 is a 1-in/2-out USB 2.0 audio interface that is bus-powered and can be used to record with Mac/PC and iPad/iPhone. The interface features 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion, 1-in/1-out MIDI connection, a studio-quality headphone amplifier, 48V phantom power and microphone enabled with Vintage Mic Preamp mode.

Universal Audio Volt 2 Audio Interface

The Universal Audio Volt 2 builds on the platform of the UA Volt 1 with an additional mic preamp. This mic pre also features UA's Vintage Mic Preamp mode for capturing rich, full sounds with your interface.

Universal Audio Volt 176 Audio Interface

As mentioned above, Universal Audio has included an onboard 76 in the signal chain of three UA Volt interfaces, starting with the UA Volt 176 model. The compressor features three presets tailored to different sources that will allow you tame or add punch to your heart's content.

Universal Audio Volt 276 Audio Interface

The UA Volt 276 is a 2-in/2-out desktop interface just like the Volt 2, but both mic preamps feature the onboard 76 compressor. This means that when you're tracking two sources with the Volt 276, you can choose independent compression settings for each channel.

Universal Audio Volt 476 Audio Interface

Last, but not least, the Universal Audio Volt 476 is a 4-in/4-out audio interface with all of the bells and whistles of the models mentioned before and more. Users can take advantage of the two mic pres featuring Vintage Mic Preamp mode and the onboard 76 compressor, in addition to two 1/4" line inputs on the back. The UA Volt 476 also includes four line outputs and two monitor outputs.

What is the Heritage Edition?

One of the best parts of owning a Universal Audio interface is gaining access to the massive library of analog-inspired UAD plug-ins. That's why all UA interfaces include a basic bundle of plug-ins to get you started.

Universal Audio recently expanded their included plug-in collections with the new Apollo Heritage Edition bundles. In addition to the plug-ins in the original Analog Classics collection like the 1176LN and Pultec EQP-1A, all Universal Audio Heritage Edition interfaces come with Heritage Edition bundles include five or ten award-winning UAD plug‑in titles, including the full Collections from Teletronix, Helios, Pultec, and more. The number of plug-ins coincides with your interface purchase.

Apollo Rackmounts and x4 units now include the following plug-ins:
- UA 1176 Classic Limiter Collection
- Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection
- Pultec Passive EQ Collection
- Fairchild Tube Limiter Collection
- UA 610 Tube Preamp & EQ Collection
- Teletronix LA-3A Audio Leveler
- Helios Type 69 Preamp & EQ Collection
- V76 Preamplifier
- UA Oxide Tape Recorder
- UA Pure Plate Reverb

Don't worry! Desktop Apollo units still include the essentials. Here's what you get:
- UA 1176 Classic Limiter Collection
- Teletronix LA-2A Classic Leveler Collection
- Pultec Passive EQ Collection
- UA 610 Tube Preamp & EQ Collection
- UA Pure Plate Reverb

Universal Audio's LUNA Recording System

Released in 2020, Universal Audio's LUNA software is more than just a DAW — it's a full-blown music creation, recording, and analog-style production system. Available for free to Mac users, LUNA seamlessly integrates with Universal Audio Thunderbolt-equipped interfaces for ultra-low-latency recording and mixing. Paired with UA's analog-inspired plug-ins, LUNA puts the power of an analog recording studio at your fingertips.

Watch below to find out what can be done with the LUNA Recording System:



Ready to start recording and mixing in LUNA but not sure which Universal Audio plug-ins you should get? UA offers two plug-in bundles with all of the essentials for producers and engineers.

The LUNA Analog Essentials Bundle includes console emulation plug-ins for classic desks from Neve and API. Perfect for adding punch, presence and warmth to your tracks, the Neve and API Summing Extension plug-ins make it easy to mix and match classic sonic textures. For even more analog fatness, give your tracks the master treatment with plug-in emulations of the Studer A800 and ATR-102 tape machines.

The LUNA Creator Bundle includes the Neve Summing Extension plug-in and Studer A800 tape emulation plug-in from the Analog Essentials Bundle, along with two extra tools for creators: the Moog Minimoog, and Ravel Grand Piano expansions. The Minimoog plug-in is perfect for creating deep, rich synth sounds, while the Ravel Grand Piano expansion offers a hyper-realistic recreation of a Steinway Model B grand piano.

Akane NakamuraIf you have further questions about the right Universal Audio Apollo interface for you, we're here to help! Please contact a Vintage King Audio Consultant via email or by phone at 866.644.0160.