The Apollo line of audio interfaces has revolutionized home and professional recording.
With world-class preamps and top-of-the-world playback (monitoring) functionalities, the Apollo Twin embodies that much-coveted professional sound in its small and compact shell.
Although being a high-end (expensive) audio interface for music producers, musicians, and recording engineers that can afford it, it is always a game-changer and worthy addition to the studio.
However, as prestigious as this audio interface might seem, there is always a concern about the cable compatibility.
It is rather unfortunate that Universal Audio as a brand hasn’t created much awareness about this aspect of the interface.
There is a case where a beginner audio engineer nearly bought an Apollo Twin that has a thunderbolt connection, whereas his computer doesn’t have a thunderbolt port.
Universal Audio is yet to live up to the “universal” part of its name by creating a truly “Universal” Apollo Twin.
For some people, the thought of researching the right cable before buying discourages them from even buying the Apollo.
Come to think of it, it would have been just awesome if you didn’t need to worry about cable compatibility before buying. In this article, we will try to simplify and let you know which cable is compatible with each Apollo Twin.
We know that some Apollos are compatible with thunderbolt 3, while some work with thunderbolt 2, and some work with USB-C.
To know which cable to use for your Apollo is quite simple. All you have to do is read between the lines in the description section of your Apollo interface before you make that purchase.
You will also see that some are clearly labeled “thunderbolt 3,” while some are labeled “thunderbolt 2.”
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Which Models of Apollo Twin Use Thunderbolt 2 and 3?
It is important to note that there are currently three models of the Apollo Twin, each with a different type of connectivity:
Apollo Twin MkII Duo
The world’s most well-liked professional desktop recording interface, the Universal Audio Apollo Twin DUO MkII offers great audio conversion with the sound, feel, and flow of analog recording.
This 2×6 Thunderbolt audio interface for Mac and Windows uses Thunderbolt 2 connectivity, has Unison(TM) technology, UAD-2 DUO processing, and the most recent A/D and D/A conversion.
Apollo Twin MKII Quad
The desktop Apollo Twin MKII QUAD Thunderbolt 2 audio interface from Universal Audio is equipped to serve as a mobile setup hub or home studio.
With powerful QUAD Core real-time UAD processing and a substantial package of 14 top-notch UAD plug-ins, it replicates the feel, sound, and flow of analog studio recording.
The Apollo Twin MKII QUAD offers the considerable benefit of clean, high-resolution recording and mixing with minimal distortion and expanded dynamic range to musicians, producers, composers, and audio engineers.
Apollo Twin X
Apollo Twin X is a desktop Thunderbolt 3 audio interface for Mac and Windows that offers first-rate A/D and D/A conversion, preamps with Unison support, and the choice of two versions, DUO or QUAD Core real-time UAD plug-in processing.
It makes it simple for musicians and producers to track, overdub, and mix music.
Thunderbolt users can increase their I/O and DSP without abandoning the Apollo Twin X QUAD thanks to the combination of up to four Apollo interfaces and six UAD-2 devices.
However, when using a suitable adaptor, the Thunderbolt 3 port is backward-compatible with Thunderbolt 1 and 2 which are available separately.
Which Model of Apollo Twin Uses USB-C?
The Apollo Twin X is an Apollo Twin model that connects through USB-C. It is a high-performance desktop audio interface featuring UAD processing in real-time and two Unison-enabled preamps for recording or mixing music on a Mac or PC.
USB-C, or Type-C, is a 24-pin USB connector system with a symmetrical connector in both directions.
Type C is used to send power, data, and audio signals. A USB 3.0 SuperSpeed cable is required for the Apollo Twin USB. USB 2 cables are not permitted.
The Apollo Twin X’s USB-C connector is a Thunderbolt 3 connection that offers high bandwidth and low latency performance, with a maximum throughput of 40 Gbps.
USB-C cables are typically compatible with Thunderbolt ports, and Thunderbolt ports are typically compatible with USB-C cables. It makes it easier than ever for computer users to use the best cable accessible to them.
While these connectors are both called USB, they are technically very different; therefore, USB-C Apollo interfaces will only work with USB-C ports, and Thunderbolt Apollo interfaces will only work with Thunderbolt or USB Type-C ports.
Apollo Twin works with any Apple Mac computer with a Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, or Thunderbolt 3 port.
A Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt adaptor is necessary for Mac laptops that support Thunderbolt 3 through USB-C. However, The PC must meet the system specifications.
The USB-C connector supports fast data transfer and minimal latency, making it an excellent choice for professional recording and mixing applications.
Overall, the Apollo Twin X with USB-C is a powerful and adaptable audio interface that is excellent for professional recording and mixing applications in a home studio or a commercial setting.
Can You Use the Apollo Twin if Your Computer Doesn’t Have a Thunderbolt?
The Apollo Twin is a Thunderbolt audio interface made exclusively to connect to Computers having a Thunderbolt connection.
The interface and computer can transfer audio data with minimal latency and great bandwidth thanks to Thunderbolt technology.
Therefore, you can only directly connect the Apollo Twin to a computer with a built-in Thunderbolt connector (chip) and Thunderbolt firmware to the motherboard or add-in card.
Even so, a Thunderbolt add-in card is typically made to run in a Computer (or motherboard) that supports Thunderbolt and, as a result, may only function on a PC with Thunderbolt support.
There are certain solutions, nevertheless, that you might want to take into account:
Upgrade your computer: If you need Thunderbolt connectivity for audio production, consider switching to a computer with integrated Thunderbolt connectivity.
Apple Mac machines with a Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, or Thunderbolt 3 connector are compatible with Apollo Twin.
All UAD Thunderbolt devices are compatible with Windows 10 PCs with built-in Thunderbolt 3 as of UAD v9.0.0 for Windows 10. It’s the only way to connect your Apollo Twin MkII with Thunderbolt to a Windows Computer.
Change your motherboard: You can change your motherboard to have the Thunderbolt connector in your system.
One of the best motherboards with Thunderbolts is the GIGABYTE DESIGNARE Z390, and it has not only one but two fully functional Thunderbolt ports.
It’s important to note that adapters only allow you to connect to computers with Thunderbolt ports.
For example, Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter allows Thunderbolt 2 devices, such as the original Apollo Twin, to have a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port on your computer.
In conclusion, using the Apollo Twin with a computer that lacks a Thunderbolt connector is technically undoable.
Either get a new computer that will support a Thunderbolt connection, modify your current computer to accommodate Thunderbolt, or purchase an alternative audio device that operates on USB.
Can You Use a USB-C Cable in Place of Thunderbolt 3 on the Apollo Twin?
Since the Apollo Twin is a Thunderbolt 3 audio interface, a Thunderbolt 3 connection is necessary for its operation, and Thunderbolt 3 cable is used for Thunderbolt 3 devices.
Thunderbolt 3 has the same physical connector as USB-C. However, Thunderbolt 3 cannot be used in place of USB-C.
Still, not all USB-C cables can be used with Thunderbolt 3, and some can only be used with USB-C or other data protocols.
The following are a few reasons why a USB-C cable cannot replace a thunderbolt 3 cable:
Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C employ separate protocols to transport data, whereas USB-C employs the USB protocol, a more versatile standard for connecting various devices.
Thunderbolt 3 uses the PCIe protocol, a high-speed serial communication system for high-performance devices like audio interfaces.
Compared to USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 has a higher bandwidth, which enables faster data transfer and lower latency.
High bandwidth is necessary for the Apollo Twin audio interface to enable high-quality audio recording and processing.
The Apollo Twin’s functionality would be substantially reduced, and its speed would suffer if you used a USB-C cable.
Different physical connectors are used by Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C. However, not all USB-C ports are Thunderbolt 3.
The Apollo Twin may fit in the Thunderbolt 3 port on the audio interface using a USB-C cable, but the connection will not function because the protocols are incompatible.
Does your Computer USB Connector Support Thunderbolt?
Physically, the connector looks identical to a miniDP (DisplayPortTM) connection. Look for the Thunderbolt sign next to or above the port or connection to make sure your computer has a Thunderbolt port.
Check the paperwork: Checking the paperwork from the computer’s manufacturer is the simplest way to determine if your device supports Thunderbolt.
In the specs or documentation, search for information about your computer’s USB-C port type. It will often be listed as “Thunderbolt 3” or “Thunderbolt 4” if it supports Thunderbolt.
Verify the system details: You may check the system details on your computer to determine if it supports Thunderbolt.
Use a Thunderbolt device: You may also test if a Thunderbolt device, such as the Apollo Twin, is recognized by connecting it to your computer’s USB-C connection. If so, Thunderbolt is probably supported by your machine.
Do You Need a Particular Brand of Thunderbolt Cable to Connect the Apollo Twin?
No specific brand of Thunderbolt cable is required to connect the Apollo Twin audio interface.
The Apollo Twin should function with any Thunderbolt 3 cable that complies with the requirements since Thunderbolt 3 is an industry-standard connectivity technology.
Any Thunderbolt 3 cable, as long as it is approved by Intel to support Thunderbolt 3, can be used with Thunderbolt 3-equipped hardware.
Apple, Belkin, Startech, and Anker are reputable companies producing Thunderbolt 3 cables.
You should choose a cable from a reputable brand and read customer reviews to ensure it is dependable and suitable for your Apollo Twin.
The Apollo Twin audio interface has various connecting possibilities depending on your model.
Two analog inputs (through combination XLR/TRS connectors) are provided on all Apollo Twin versions, along with two analog outputs (by 1/4″ TRS jacks), which may be used to connect studio monitors or headphones.
All versions also have a high-quality headphone amplifier with a separate volume control.
Digital inputs and outputs are also available on the Apollo Twin. The number of accessible inputs and outputs can be increased by connecting additional ADAT-capable devices using the ADAT optical input included in all versions.
A S/PDIF input and output is also available on some versions for connecting digital devices.
The Apollo Twin’s built-in DSP processing capabilities, which enable real-time processing of UAD plug-ins, further improve communication.
It implies there won’t be any monitoring delay when using the Apollo Twin to record with UAD plug-ins in real-time.
It’s important to use a Thunderbolt cable that works with your computer and the Apollo Twin and choose a cable length that fits your needs.
Getting the right Thunderbolt cable ensures the Apollo Twin works well and stays connected to your computer.