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Avid Carbon VS Apollo

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Comparison Table

Ironically, Pro Tools Carbon, a new hardware product, is a return to the original features that made Pro Tools popular in professional music studios. It could be their most important hardware release in years.

Whereas Apollo is a stylish rackmount Thunderbolt 3 audio interface for the Mac or Windows that enables music engineers and project studios to track, overdub, and mix with professional-grade A/D and D/A conversion.

Avid CarbonApollo
Sound qualitySlightly brighter soundLight sound than avid Carbon
Recording systemThe new Hybrid Engine for a better recording systemHEXA Core processing and hybrid engine used for recording system
CostThe new Hybrid Engine for a better recording systemLess expensive
Thunderbolt adapterFor Apple Thunderbolt 2 and thunderbolt 3 for Macs only.For Apple, Thunderbolt 1 and 2 connections are used. Whereas on a pc, Thunderbolt 3 port is used.

Pro Tools Carbon’s “32-bit float precision the first in the industry” and “uses a unique version of AVB to ensure a superior link into Pro Tools. 

In reality, it doesn’t support networking with other devices over Ethernet; it simply connects to a single computer. 

At least until Avid creates a specific driver for Windows, it continues to be Mac-only. It should function properly as long as you never take it outside of the studio or there is no need to enlarge it.

Pro Tools Carbon costs $3,999 USD, including a one-year Pro Tools membership and plugins. On the other hand, the Apollo is a Thunderbolt 3 audio interface that can be placed on a rack and features real-time UAD processing.

It is intended for use by audio engineers, producers, and musicians in mobile production rigs and studios of any size to record and mix music at high quality.

Avid Carbon VS Apollo – The Ultimate Comparison

The standout feature of Apollo is real-time UAD Processing, which enables users to use the entire library of UAD plugins with almost zero latency.

Apollo comes with the real-time Analog Classics Plus plugin collection, allowing users to record and mix using the only genuine Teletronix LA-2A and Fairchild compressors in the world.

Whereas on the avid carbon side, the Producers and artists may now utilize Avid’s well-known near-zero latency studio technology using Pro Tools Carbon, a clean audio production interface. 

However, software implementation could be more restrictive for a pricey product that is exclusively accessible to Mac users.

We will compare both in terms of their features, telling you about the differences and similarities. So, let’s begin!

Sound quality – Avid Carbon VS Apollo

Both instrument inputs make effective sound filters and colorators. They are particularly useful for reducing harshness on impedance-matching ribbon mics or DI guitar and bass amplifiers.

A loudness-matched listening test between Pro Tools Carbon and Apollo reveals that Carbon sounds slightly brighter than its rivals.

Recording system- Avid Carbon VS Apollo

Pro Tools with Carbon powering it is unmatched when it comes to recording. The new Hybrid Engine for the Pro Tools mixer is responsible.

Unlike previous engines, the mixer now runs natively on your PC, switching to DSP only for songs that can be recorded. 

This implies that the benefits of extremely low latency and AAX DSP plugins in the monitor pipeline only apply to tracks where audio is actively being recorded.

At the same time, Apollo’s integrated HEXA Core processing uses six DSP chips to provide classic analog emulation and almost minimal audio monitoring and recording latency.

DSP acceleration- Avid Carbon VS Apollo

With the help of the brand-new Carbon audio interface, studio users may now afford the potent HDX DSP technology.

It combines the user’s native CPU power with HDX DSP hardware acceleration, making it what Avid refers to as a hybrid audio production system. It offers direct interaction with Pro Tools. 

Minimal latency is a major advantage when using the vast array of AAX DSP plugins on Pro Tools. Same in the case of Apollo but with minor changes.

Preamps- Avid Carbon VS Apollo

Preamps and converters have the comparable audio quality to other devices in their price range and offer good audio performance.

Up to three stereo speaker sets, four pairs of headphones, mute, dim, and a built-in talkback microphone can all have their volume managed from the front panel. 

This gives it the adaptability to function as a true studio focal point or a semi-portable recording interface.

The new Carbon audio interface boasts an integrated talkback microphone, four headphone outputs for broadcasting bespoke monitor mixes, eight preamps shared with 16 channels of ADAT inputs, and more. In contrast, Apollo has 8 Unison-enabled Mic Preamps.

Analog workflow- Avid Carbon VS Apollo

Apollo Twin USB offers a variety of amazing analog emulation plugins out of the box, including the only genuine Teletronix LA-2A in the world, the 1176LN, Pultec EQs, and the UA 610-B Tube Preamp that supports Unison.

Pros and Cons of Avid Carbon

In Pro Tools, the quickest method is to avoid lag.Unable to grow at this time
Excellent quality and designSome consumers may still be deterred by the cost
Amazing sound qualityHDX AAX plugins must be used for DSP; it is incompatible with previous Macs
Good connectivityWindows is not supported
Pro Tools included one-year membership, then drops to a perpetual licenseNo views of the global hardware settings
Allows for 192 kHz audio.

Pros and Cons of Apollo

You may utilize Console’s interface with any app.DSP is required for all of its plugins.
Luna provides a wonderful integrated method for recording.Primarily calls for a closed system of plugins that may be installed via UAD.

Can Carbon Be Run Simultaneously With UAD Satellite?

This has little chance of succeeding. Comparing the UAD Satellite to an Apollo interface, it already has a large latency.

However, there isn’t a ton of DSP in the Carbon, so for large or sophisticated mixes, adding DSP from the Carbon will probably not offer much capacity. 

However, if you utilize DSP for mixing or a combination of native and DSP, that is accurate. It’s improbable that this will succeed.

  1. When contrasted to an Apollo connection, the UAD Satellite currently has a large latency.
  2. Round-trip delay for the Carbon isn’t really a problem since utilizing a PT plugin directly (i.e., on the computer) needs a round-trip from Carbon to the desktop and again to Carbon. That’s not especially quick. The plugins used while the Carbon hosts monitoring on the DSP in the Carbon (just the Carbon AVB round trip is about 6ms minimum).

Therefore, you will experience both the Carbon AVB delay (since the Carbon needs to hand the screen message to the computer in sequence to get to the UAD box) and the UAD Satellite round journey if you wish to document a powerful real-time voice with a solitary AAX-DSP plugin on the Carbon and a single UAD plugin on the Satellite.

Mic->Carbon (with AAX-DSP plug)->AVB->Computer->PT->Thunderbolt->UAD Satellite->Thunderbolt->PT->AVB->Carbon->headphone/monitor output

Comparatively, consider using only Carbon and AAX-DSP plugins. Headphone/monitor output: Mic – > Carbon (AAX-DSP plugs).

Based on sampling frequency and the inserts you select, and supposing your desktop is quick enough, I estimate that the first string will take between 10-15 ms, and the 2nd chain will take only 1-2 ms (the Carbon-only situation doesn’t depend on computational power, so only sampling frequency and selection of plugin affect the round-trip time).

That is not to suggest that using a UAD Reverb or other comparable effects is impossible.

All of the concerns mentioned above tracking; using native plugins in PT and UAD on the antenna shouldn’t provide any issues for mixing.

Irrespective of whether UAD is being used, DSP plugs shouldn’t typically be used when combining on the Carbon. The Carbon’s DSP is just meant for monitoring.

Is Avid Carbon A Competitor To Apollo/Luna?

Yes, there is no UAD comparable to Carbon’s change feature between native and DSP, but it is a good feature anyway. Software like Pro Tools is currently more functional and far more developed than Luna.

It can be compared to a single, independent Apollo that is capable of running HDX plugins. It can’t possibly hold a candle to the UAD ecology.

Carbons can not be daisy-chained. Four racks of mount Apollos can be daisy-chained together thanks to UAD.

HDX PCIe cards cannot be integrated with Carbon. The seamless integration of UAD Apollos, satellites, and PCIe devices increases the number of DSPs.

No other AVID hardware integrates at all with Carbon. All of the UAD Apollo equipment can be combined, but only up to four Apollo 6, 8, or 16 or a single Apollo 1, 2, or 4.

The wonderful UAD plugins are not accessible to Carbon because it does not run UAD software. On the plus side,

Although it is good, there is no UAD counterpart to the swap capability that Carbon has among DSP and native. Software like ProTools is far more developed than Luna and today offer much more capabilities.

Is The Apollo Audio Interface Worth It?

The Apollo Solo, in my opinion, offers good value. Although it costs much more than a basic audio system, it is also worth the extra money. It is of a quality that you can never outgrow. It is a lot in terms of plugins.

The two constraints are the number of inputs and outputs and the processing capabilities. The quantity of I/O connections will be a constraint for some musicians. If so, you might want to consider a larger UAD interface. 

However, you may always purchase a separate UAD Satellite to execute your plugins if you need additional computing power. That will probably be my next significant buy.

The Apollo Solo delivers superb audio performance. Additionally, the processing restrictions have been noted. 

While you will undoubtedly need to find ways to get around these restrictions, I believe it still has sufficient processing capacity to handle most of your needs, especially when used in conjunction with other plugins powered by your computer.

The latency of the Apollo Solo is outrageous. When using the interface to observe, latency is essentially imperceptible, even when using complicated guitar amp sim plugins.

It is so sensitive that playing the guitar over an amp actually seems to be what you are doing.

Avid MTRX Studio Vs. Carbon

For the creation of music, Carbon features an all-in-one interface with HDX DSP acceleration.

The MTRX Studio, on the other hand, is modular and built for maximum performance, enabling music and audio post professionals to complete their most challenging projects. Both of them feature hybrid motors.

MTRX Studio

Music and audio post professionals can complete their most demanding tasks thanks to modularity and the best performance design.

Studios and audio post-production resources. Intended for the most difficult musical and post-production jobs. It has an expandable, flexible DSP and I/O. This one has am 18 HDX DSP processors.

An additional display controller is not necessary. Your demands for signal routing are met by MTRX Studio. To streamline your process, create fold-downs and monitoring settings.

And you may switch between various speaker sets using the DADman software that comes with it or the control interface for your Avid.


All-in-one interface designed for music creation with inbuilt HDX DSP speed. Industrial companies and private individuals. Built with the intention of recording music. 

This one has an 8 HDX DSP processors engine. In addition to 8x preamp inputs (Variable Z on combo mic inputs 5-8).

To be fair, though, Pro Tools Carbon is more than just a fresh audio interface. In actuality, it consists of a software interface and hardware bundle.

This is included with Pro Tools 2020.11, according to Avid, which also “brings a new stunning black themed UI that’s elegant, inspirational, and easy on the eyes – especially in reduced light conditions. 

The ability to analyze sound and express it as MIDI notes also offers new possibilities for developing ideas.

Avid Carbon Issues

It’s really frustrating. I also have an open ticket. I applaud the prompt response from AVID, but the ticket has been grouped in with a few similar others, so I doubt the session I supplied will be looked at.

However, they did make one sensible but unworkable recommendation: don’t let any aux receive a signal from anything that isn’t hybrid-enabled when anything hybrid-enabled is supplying it. Not conceivable. Only 54 hybrid outs are accessible.

Anyone else? Does the recording appear to be out of sync with the timeline? Mine are 1200 to 1900 samples ahead of schedule.

Every shot After my next session, I’ll devote a little more time to it, but it is packed with sessions all day, and I’m already feeling anxious. Everything has passed its time.

I’ll either have a solution in place or Carbon is no longer an option. I can’t afford to put in more hours as it will make the actors feel rushed during every playback.

My set-up is really simple: main, with a headphones mix device powered by auxes. Investigations are being done on various audio problems that Avid reported with Carbon.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Which is more costly avid Carbon or Apollo?

Avid Carbon is undoubtedly more expensive than Apollo’s due to the pro tools added to its features.

Which is more recommendable for a musician’s avid Carbon or Apollo?

Carbon only functions with Pro Tools, but Apollo is compatible with every daw. Because of the price and Apollo’s various I/O versions, they essentially perform the same functions.

Is the front panel enough in Avid Carbon?

The front panel is the sole location where you can check the state of the majority of the hardware settings when it comes to the information provided by the display.

Most expensive interfaces come with a control app. The hardware state, including phantom power, input switching, etc., is also reported in these control programs.

What function comes under the front panel of Apollo?

Convenient front panel monitoring features include assignable Dim or Mono, Talkback mic, and Alternative Speakers.

What is the difference between Apollo features in MAC or PC?

The features for Apollo MAC are   Thunderbolt 1, 2, or 3 ports. The Apple is required for Thunderbolt 1 and 2 connections. Whereas on a pc, capabilities like a Thunderbolt 3 port and Windows 10 Fall Creators Update are available (64-Bit Edition).

Can Pro Tools Carbon be used with other DAWs?

Yes, Like Pro Tools Carbon, which can be used for system sounds, and with DAWs other than Pro Tools, almost everything is accessible from the front panel.

We have concluded that Avid Carbon Pro Tools are far more feature-rich and superior to Apollo. There are other issues with avid Carbon as well, but their excellent quality and intriguing features make up for all of the shortcomings. 

Avid Carbon is a new dramatic dark-themed UI that is elegant, motivating, and easier on the eyes, especially in low light. With the ability to analyze audio and present it as MIDI notes, it also offers new possibilities to produce and advance ideas. 

Pro Tools 2020 for audio post-production offers native integration to export ADM files, a new space clips tool that allows you to arrange a large number of clips in a short amount of time, and it reintroduces the ability to bounce sessions to QuickTime formats.