Apogee’s Boom audio interface makes DSP cheap

You may know Apogee because of the pocket or . Or maybe it is. But ask a bedroom manufacturer and most will tell you they know the company for its audio interfaces and software tools. Today the company presents ($300), a new 24-bit/192kHz desktop audio interface designed for both studio and mobile creators.

Like the popular Boom, it includes special hardware so it can run the Apogee Symphony ECS channel strip plug-in directly in the interface. This can help reduce the load on your CPU and also help reduce latency. DSP-enabled interfaces are not uncommon, but the Boom is significantly cheaper than most entry-level offerings with similar built-in hardware. A copy of the ECS plugin comes bundled with Boom via the companion software. You’ll also be able to pick up a “native” (separate/DAW-friendly) copy for half price – $50 – when you register the device.

The boom has a fairly standard 2-in/2-out configuration with one XLR-combo input and one 1/4-inch instrument input. For outputs, there are a pair of 1/4-inch outputs and a headphone jack on the back. The rear placement of the headphone connection always seems a bit useless as you fumble around trying to find the port, especially if you’re using your headphones for other things, so you end up doing this a lot. There’s a gap at the base of the boom that you can put the cable under, which makes things a bit neater, but the port on the front seems more practical.

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Fortunately, the Boom is powered by USB, so there’s no need for a separate power supply. There’s also iOS compatibility, but given that the USB port has a dual function for data and power, this is limited to the iPad Pro, as an iPhone won’t be able to handle it, even with a camera connection kit. Of course, a full-sized interface like this doesn’t make much sense for a phone anyway, but in case you were wondering, now you know.

Although there is only one XLR input, the preamps are plenty loud and can easily drive hungry mics like the SM7b. Using the Symphony plug-in’s EQ and compressor allows you to fine-tune that sound (whatever the mic/instrument). There are a bunch of presets that should cover the most popular recording scenarios, but obviously you can also EQ and compress things to your personal preference.

For musicians, this can really help you refine your mix without having to mess with any plugins you may have in your DAW. But for podcasters and streamers in particular, it means you can control how your voice sounds without ever running a DAW or other host application — your microphone just presents the EQ’d signal as standard output. For now, only Apogee’s ECS channel strip will work with Boom, although the company has confirmed that it’s entirely possible that its other plug-ins will be moved over to the DSP side of things.

Apogee’s desktop products often feature sleek designs, and the Boom is no different. The purple-colored steel body gives it a certain soothing weight, while the single rotary dial is a great solution for controlling multiple things (two gain channels and two effects).

At $300, that’s just above some of the more popular interfaces like the Scarlett 2i2 and UA Volt — both of which cost under $200. However, with this DSP, Apogee can present this as a simpler alternative to the likes of ($499) also from Universal Audio or ($595).

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