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UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

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UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby jellyjim » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:31 am

Given that the DSP in UA’s interfaces do all the heavy lifting, the minimum recommended processor spec (https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/205152223-Apollo-System-Requirements) of a quad core i7, seems like a pretty high price of admission.

I was hoping to pair an Apollo Twin MKII Duo with a mid-2013 MacBook Air. Quite an elderly laptop I know, but it’s happily running Logic Pro and Mojave and more than meets my demands of it.

Specifically it’s a 1.3GHz Core i5 with 4Gb RAM … wow, now that I actually write that down it is pretty dated!

Anyway, will it play nice with an Apollo Twin and it’s Console software or is it too over the hill?
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Wonks » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:57 am

It does say 'recommended rather than 'necessary'.

I'd say that the Apollo will work OK, but that 4GB RAM isn't going to let you do very complicated work on the airbook. A Duo UAD processor is seriously lacking in processing power, so apart from running the pre-amp plugs on it, you won't be able to run that much else in mixing mode before the UAD maxes out. Probably why they recommend an i7 for brute native plug-in processing power.
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby jellyjim » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:03 am

Wonks wrote:It does say 'recommended rather than 'necessary'.

I'd say that the Apollo will work OK, but that 4GB RAM isn't going to let you do very complicated work on the airbook. A Duo UAD processor is seriously lacking in processing power, so apart from running the pre-amp plugs on it, you won't be able to run that much else in mixing mode before the UAD maxes out. Probably why they recommend an i7 for brute native plug-in processing power.

I'm confused

I thought all the UAD plug-in processing was hoofed over to the external boxes?
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:13 am

FWIW I have used an Apollo Silverface and a Twin mk I with a mid 2013 Macbook Air quite successfully for both recording and mixing in Logic, though not both at the same time and only running a couple of plugins. It's spec is 1.3 GHz dual core i5 and 4 gig of RAM, so not particularly fast (in fact, looking back at your original post it's the same spec as yours).

My own experience with Duo Apollos has actually been quite good. Admittedly I don't tend towards the really heavy duty UAD plugins but I rarely reach close to the limits of processing on a Duo. A reverb and some compressors, for instance, is not a problem.

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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:36 am

jellyjim wrote:I thought all the UAD plug-in processing was hoofed over to the external boxes?

It is... but I think the point Wonks is making is that your box, being a duo model, doesn't have a great deal of DSP power onboard (by modern standards).

The latest UAD plugins are very much more DSP-hungry than the early ones, designed with the mindset of taking advantage of the current octo processors. Consequently, you won't be able to run huge numbers of plugins (and especially not the latest beefy ones) on the octo.

Depending on what you want to do, that may or may not be a problem. I still use a quad board and it serves me very well, but I tend not to use a large number of plugins.

Also, the 4GB Ram in your laptop is on the small side by modern standards.... and may well restrict what the laptop can run -- or how fast and smoothly it can run -- just because so many OS and programs are very memory-hungry, and with a small amount of RAM the data will have to be moved to and from the hard drive a lot.

I think -- as CC's experiences show -- it should work fine but don't expect it to be able to handle 20 instances of the OceanWay plugin!

H
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:43 am

Well as I say it's down to what you're trying to do. If your demands are modest (tracking up to four tracks at once, mixing with a few plugins like, say, the LA-2A) this machine is fine. I've found that in combination with my Apollo Silverface and an ambisonic mic the Macbook Air is quite a neat live recording combo. Admittedly I'll move the whole project onto my main machine back here but I can certainly do preliminary editing on the Macbook without problem.

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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Sam Inglis » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:02 am

In my experience the UA Console and driver software is more demanding on the host machine than most audio interface control panel utilities. The actual audio processing is offloaded to DSP chips but the infrastructure that makes this possible is quite complex.
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby jellyjim » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:05 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
jellyjim wrote:I thought all the UAD plug-in processing was hoofed over to the external boxes?

It is... but I think the point Wonks is making is that your box, being a duo model, doesn't have a great deal of DSP power onboard (by modern standards).

The latest UAD plugins are very much more DSP-hungry than the early ones,

But they've only just released the MKIIs haven't they?! Solo, Duo, Quad, they all come with the same plugin bundle.
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:14 am

Doesn't mean you can run all the plugins simultaneously on all the versions!

There's a chart here which gives an indication of how much DSP each plugin requires --although it doesn't take into account the additional DSP load of the Apollo mixer, and this is for a 44.1 sample rate.

https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/215262223-UAD-2-DSP-Chart
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby jellyjim » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:15 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Doesn't mean you can run all the plugins simultaneously on all the versions!

There's a chart here which gives an indication of how much DSP each plugin requires --although it doesn't take into account the additional DSP load of the Apollo mixer, and this is for a 44.1 sample rate.

https://help.uaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/215262223-UAD-2-DSP-Chart

Thanks Hugh, that looks useful
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Wonks » Thu Jul 18, 2019 11:41 am

Yes. Some of the latest UAD plugs take up most of a core's processing, leaving almost no capacity for anything else. The UAD software doesn't share processing over multiple cores, so if you've got one plug that takes 65% of one core and you want to run another that takes 40% of a core, then you won't get them running together on that core.

The first tranche of UAD software emulations were much less processor intense, but in an effort to make them more realistic, they've become much heavier on % processor use. The Shark processors used by UAD are at least 10 years old now, so though the rest of the AI might be cutting edge, the plug-in processing isn't. So make sure you use a mono version of the plugs where appropriate to maximise the processing available.

Whilst you will be able to run some UAD plugs when mixing, you are still mainly going to have to rely on native plugs unless you invest in more UAD processing hardware.
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:10 pm

Whilst these comments are true, it’s worth noting that the Apollo ships with the legacy analogue classics bundle. These are the older and much less processor hungry versions of the plug-ins which are still very good indeed.

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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:57 pm

Bob's point is well made. You don't have to be using the latest and greatest and most cycle-hungry all the time. I really think from my experience with the 2013 Macbook Air that you can get a surprising distance with care and forethought. Longer term you'll want to move up to something more powerful, but then you'll want to do that anyway.

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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby johnny h » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:03 pm

UAD have some very loyal followers and good plugins but they are seriously limited by their reliance on ancient DSP technology. Even a basic macbook air will run rings around the most expensive UAD card currently on sale.
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Re: UAD Apollo min spec seems high given it's DSP anyway (quad core i7)?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 18, 2019 4:09 pm

Define 'seriously limited'! ;)

'Ancient DSP technology' it may be, but it doesn't prevent them from creating some remarkably powerful, accurate and superb-sounding plugin emulations. Plus, it provides a high degree of protection against piracy while simultaneously serving to maintain a large and loyal user base, and even encourage them to upgrade to extra or more powerful accelerator products.

Sounds like a very shrewd and effective business model to me.... :lol:
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