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Review: Apogee Symphony Control Software

I don’t mean to harp on details—well, actually yes, I do.

I don’t mean to harp on details—well, actually yes, I do. You see, I just upgraded my 24 channels of Symphony I/O conversion to Apogee’s new Symphony Thunderbolt I/O and that is working out just fine. I swapped out the converter PCB-cards “no problem” and its Thunderbolt interfacing is proving to be stable, easy to implement and able to help decrease latency.

That’s where the details of using the new Symphony Control software come in. Symphony Control replaces last-generation Maestro software and is compatible with Apogee’s new Control hardware remote control. New features include talkback implementation (including use of your Mac’s internal mic), an effects send in the mixer(s), and an “Essentials” mini window that users can conveniently place and have access to all the typical and “essential” controls. Control of headphone output, three monitor outputs, stereo or mono inputs and clock source are all supported.

Via Control’s four virtual mixers, users can create some nicely balanced cue mixes, route them directly to analog hardware outputs, and enjoy some oh-so-close-to-zero latency: a mere 1.35 ms, using pre-DAW direct monitoring.

But isn’t the latency performance good enough with Thunderbolt? That depends on who you ask. I abhor any little bit of latency when tracking or overdubbing, and some (but not all) of my clients are the same way. So, I find this direct monitoring option to be much more than mere detail. It’s one thing if you know you’re going to snap to grid, but if you’re pursuing some “interacting players making musical magic” then true and responsive timing accuracy is paramount.

The software is well laid out, easy on weary eyes and simple to use with ample level control of I/O sensitivity, savable and recallable snapshots, nice metering, pans/mutes/solos on mixer channels, a scribble strip, FX sends and tremendous flexibility. Users can route their choice of direct inputs, computer playback, or a Symphony Control mixer output to any of the analog outputs.

After all is said and done, Symphony Control helps me keep the talent happier—easier than ever—and I need this kind of valuable help, even if the software is free.


Rob Tavaglione owns and operates Charlotte’s Catalyst Recording and has been a long-time Studio Contributor.