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Apollo Twin USB vs Thunderbolt [In-DEPTH Compatibility Review]

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Are you confused between Apollo Twin USB vs Thunderbolt for your audio requirements? Follow this article to learn more about these two audio interfaces and how you can get the most out of them.

Setting up a recording studio for personal or professional use can sound exciting, but what goes into creating one is the tricky part.

You have to select the best equipment to accomplish a smooth workflow, especially with audio conversion interfaces like the Apollo Twin USB and Thunderbolt.

After spending hours on both these interfaces and working on multiple projects, we will help you understand their sonic performance, I/O, and general functionalities.

Furthermore, this article will also answer some burning questions content creators might have regarding the Apollo Twin USB and Thunderbolt audio interfaces.

Apollo Twin USB vs Thunderbolt comparison

FeaturesApollo Twin USB (Heritage Edition)Apollo Twin X (Thunderbolt)
ConnectivityUSB 3Thunderbolt 3
Maximum Sampling Rate92 kHz/24-Bit192 kHz/24-Bit
Processing outputUAD-2 DUO DSPUAD-2 QUAD or DUO
Microphone Preamps22
Plug-insRealtime Analog Classics UAD bundle25 UAD plug-ins
Additional features2 line outs, headphone output, analog monitor, and classic stompboxes1 Hi-Z input, Talkbalk Control, expandable DSP, Mac recording software, and 1 headphone output
Build qualityExcellentExcellent
PlatformWindows onlyMac and Windows (using drivers)

The comparison table clearly indicates that both Apollo Twin USB and Twin X offer identical features. However, Apollo Twin USB only supports Windows-based computers, and you cannot use it on Mac.

On the other hand, you can use the Apollo Twin X with both Windows and Mac devices using drivers. However, the Apollo Twin X is more expensive than the Apollo Twin USB, especially when you choose the QUAD UAD variant.

Apollo Twin X Thunderbolt vs. Apollo Twin USB for high performance

Using the right audio interface can increase your productivity. However, amateur recording artists often find it confusing when comparing Thunderbolt or USB-based audio interfaces.

Apollo is one of the best manufacturers of audio interfaces and offers products for both Windows and Mac platforms. For instance, the Twin X Thunderbolt audio interface is perfect for Mac users, while you can use the Twin USB for Windows.

Let’s look at both these audio interfaces in detail.

Apollo Twin X Thunderbolt

The Apollo Twin X is a powerful and efficient audio interface that uses Thunderbolt 3 for seamless processing.

This interface employs 192 kHz/24-Bit conversion, offering high-resolution and crystal-clear mixing and recording with low distortion.

The system comes with multiple input and output lines and features various UAD emulations (analog preamps) to ensure better output from old equipment.

The user interface is simple, and you can start working on your next project with minimal effort.

We loved the QUAD processing power that allows you to record and monitor your progress using easy-to-use analog emulations.

Furthermore, the near-zero latency ensures that there is a minimum burden on your Mac by offering in-built features like drag-and-drop and channel-strip functionalities.

One of the most significant advantages of using the Apollo Twin X is its compatibility with both Windows and Mac-based computers, allowing enthusiasts to work with their preferred platform.

Additionally, this audio interface is compatible with various audio tools like Luna, Logic Pro and Ableton Live.

However, the Apollo Twin X is more expensive than the Apollo Twin USB. But the amount of functions and speed that a Thunderbolt interface provides justifies the price tag.

In short, picking the Apollo Twin X over the Twin USB would be ideal if you want a future-proof audio interface.

Apollo Twin X Thunderbolt features:

  • Near-zero latency Thunderbolt 3 connectivity
  • 2 Mic preamps
  • Talkback control and monitoring
  • Expandable I/O and DSP
  • Realtime UAD processing (DUO and QUAD core)
  • 4 monitor out + 1 headphone out
  • 192 kHz/24-Bit audio conversion
  • Multiple UAD plug-ins

Apollo Twin USB

Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB Heritage Edition
  • A special edition of UA’s esteemed Apollo Twin USB interface — with a premium suite of 5 award-winning plug-in titles from Teletronix, Pultec, and UA — a $1,300 value
  • UAD DUO Core Processing for tracking through vintage compressors, EQs, tape machines, mic preamps, and guitar amp plug-ins with near-zero latency
  • World-class Apollo A/D and D/A conversion and USB 3 connection for modern Windows systems
  • USB 3 connection for modern Windows systems

The Apollo Twin USB is a class-leading audio interface for Windows-based computers that offer 192 kHz/24-Bit conversion. 

This audio interface comes with elegant features, including two mic preamps and monitors. Furthermore, the advanced system ensures full audio resolution and multiple digital inputs using optical connections.

The Apollo Twin USB features Real-time UAD processing powered by a UAD-2 Duo DSP, ensuring smooth performance and seamless mixing and recording power.

Furthermore, the presence of vintage compressors, tape machines, and EQs makes the Apollo Twin USB a delight for content creators.

Besides offering a lot of inbuilt functions, the Apollo Twin USB features a user-friendly analog design and premium construction.

In short, you can use this audio interface for hours without worrying about damage or overheating issues.

We loved the seamless USB 3 connectivity, allowing you to connect multiple input devices with near-zero latency.

The Real-time UAD processing ensures that you have all the best classic tones at your disposal, enhancing your productivity and performance.

However, the only downside of the Apollo Twin USB is its limitation to Windows computers, as future updates to Mac devices may force you to change your audio interface.

Apollo Twin USB features:

  • 192 kHz/24-Bit audio conversion
  • Multiple stompboxes and classic mic preamps
  • UAD-2 DSP processing (DUO)
  • 2 mic preamps + 1 Hi-Z instrument input
  • Easy-to-use analog monitor
  • Realtime UAD processing
  • Classic UAD plug-in bundle
  • High-speed USB 3 connectivity

In short, the Apollo Duo USB vs Thunderbolt interface is entirely based on technical connectivity and compatibility. So picking one over the other can be challenging as both these audio interfaces offer identical features.

However, you can opt for the Apollo Twin X if you want a powerful and future-proof audio interface that will serve you for years.

Does Apollo Twin work with USB?

The Apollo Twin is one of the best audio interfaces in the market with best-in-class features. This audio interface is popular among Mac users and offers top-notch UAD plug-ins, enhanced fidelity, near-zero latency, and analog emulation.

However, the Apollo Twin does not support the Windows platform as it requires Thunderbolt connectivity and OS X to operate. In short, many Windows users couldn’t use this amazing audio DSP interface because of the incompatibility.

Thankfully, Universal Audio released an Apollo Twin version with USB 3 connectivity for Windows. This audio interface works on USB 3 and supports Windows 7 or later.

The Apollo Twin DUO offers a reliable DSP horsepower and comes with multiple mic inputs, including a Hi-Z instrument. You also get six output channels and lots of UAD plug-ins like EQs, guitar amp models, and compressors to aid your content creation.

However, the new Apollo Twin USB works with Windows-based computers only, and you have no option to connect it with a Mac. In short, the Apollo Twin USB may not be an ideal option if you look to shift to a Mac device in the future.

Can you use Apollo Twin without Thunderbolt?

According to the official guide provided by Universal Audio, a host computer must have a Thunderbolt 3 port to use Apollo Twin.

For instance, some Windows 10 systems come with Thunderbolt connectivity, making them compatible with the Apollo Twin audio interface.

However, if your computer lacks a Thunderbolt port, you cannot use Apollo Twin. Furthermore, you have to use the external power supply to use the Apollo Twin on your PC.

Here are the scenarios where you can use Apollo Twin on Windows systems.

With Windows 10 or later

Apollo Twin is compatible with Windows 10 or later systems that have thunderbolt support.

For instance, a Windows PC running the latest operating system with Thunderbolt 3 will support the Apollo interface. Likewise, PCs that come equipped with Thunderbolt 4 can also run Apollo Twin with minimal effort.

However, PCs with Thunderbolt 1 or 2 may not support the Apollo Twin audio interface and may require qualified adapters. Furthermore, PC systems running on 32-Bit architecture are not compatible with Apollo Twin.

Using qualified adapters

Besides having inbuilt compatibility for Thunderbolt ports, you can use qualified Thunderbolt adapters to use Apollo Twin on your Windows PC.

For instance, the Sartech Thunderbolt 3 adapter offers seamless connection and near-zero latency for your projects. This adapter also comes with compatible connectors for Thunderbolt 1 and 2 devices.

Likewise, you can also use the Kanex Thunderbolt adapter with your Windows PC. However, these adapters only work with Windows 10 or later and will require authentic cables to provide the best output.

Can you use Apollo Twin USB on Mac?

As mentioned earlier, the Apollo Twin USB is compatible only with Windows systems. So you may have to get a different audio interface like the Apollo Twin MKII or the Apollo Twin to work with Mac.

For instance, the Apollo Twin is compatible with all Mac computers that come with Thunderbolt 1, 2, or 3 ports. Likewise, you can use the Apollo Twin MKII with both Windows and Mac devices as it supports both platforms.

Thankfully, newer Mac devices come with USB-C connectors that can help you to connect Apollo Twin USB with your Apple computer.

To do this, you will need a qualified Thunderbolt adapter that can transmit the signals from your audio interface to your computer.

However, you will require authentic Apple cables and peripherals to establish the connection between your Mac and the audio interface. Furthermore, your Mac must have the system requirements to complete the connection.

In short, you can use Apollo Twin USB on Mac provided that your system meets the required specifications.

Does Apollo Twin work with Thunderbolt 4?

Apollo Twin is an excellent audio interface that comes with lots of features for content creators.

For instance, the Apollo Twin USB version works seamlessly with a Windows system with USB 3 connectivity, while the Apollo Twin X is ideal for Mac users with a Thunderbolt 3 port.

However, newer Mac or Windows systems feature Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, and many users have thronged the internet to find answers to whether their Apollo Twin will work with Thunderbolt 4.

Thunderbolt 4 is the superior version of Thunderbolt 3, offering better speed and performance to your system.

While it is the next iteration for near-zero latency, your Apollo Twin audio interface might not work with a Thunderbolt 4 port.

However, Mac users may use Thunderbolt adapters to solve the problem and create a seamless connection between their audio interface and computer.

Furthermore, you can try the Thunderbolt 4 port first before investing in an authentic Thunderbolt adapter.

On the other hand, Windows users must examine their motherboard and locate a PCI slot to install a Thunderbolt 3 port.

This modification will help you connect your Apollo Twin without going through the complexity of finding the right hardware for the job.

However, Windows systems running on Windows 10 or later with Thunderbolt 4 are compatible with various UAD products. So connecting an Apollo Twin audio interface via the Thunderbolt port should not be an issue. 

Furthermore, you can also employ authentic adapters to establish a connection or alter your motherboard to install a Thunderbolt 3 slot.


Do you get a Thunderbolt cable with Apollo Twin Duo?

Besides offering a premium build quality and superior components, the Apollo Twin Duo comes with a 2-meter authentic Thunderbolt cable.
You can use this cable to establish a connection between your audio interface and computer without breaking a sweat.

Can you use a Thunderbolt to USB adapter on Mac?

The USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter allows you to connect external devices like Apollo Twin using the USB-C ports. You can experience identical speeds and performance using the adapter.

How to connect Apollo Twin with Macbook Pro?

Here are the steps to connect Apollo Twin with Macbook Pro:

Connect Apollo Twin and power it on
Download and install the UAD software
Register and authorize your Apollo Twin

After completing the authorization, you can use your Apollo Twin with your Macbook Pro.

Apollo Twin USB vs Thunderbolt – Final Thought

Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin is a must-have audio interface for every recording and mixing artist.

Although Universal Audio offers different versions for contrasting computer systems, Apollo Twin features an identical set of functionalities and features on both Windows and Mac.

While the Apollo Twin USB is the perfect choice for Windows users, the Apollo Twin X can be the ideal audio interface for Mac owners.

In short, both Apollo variants are equally well-equipped, and choosing one over the other depends on personal choice and preferred operating system.

Here’s another comparison of Apollo Twin X and mkii