The Universal Audio Apollo, announced at NAMM this week, is a little more "pro audio" than we tend to get into on The Verge, but we figured that we'd share. Also, if it works as promised, it's pretty, pretty cool.
Universal Audio, in case you forgot (or never knew, or never cared to know) manufactures hardware that uses its own processors to power the audio plug-ins in your DAW, freeing up your your Mac or PC to do... other things. The company's newest, Apollo, takes things to the next level by adding a 24-bit / 192 kHz audio interface to the mix. It features 4 analog mic preamps, 8 line inputs and outputs, dual front-panel DIs, analog monitor outputs, 8 channels of ADAT, 2 channels of S/PDIF, and FireWire 800. And with the Thunderbolt expansion bay — apparently this is the first Thunderbolt audio interface on the market — one could attach this to the MacBook Air they've been carrying around Anaheim for two days and instead of just bloggin' and cruisin' for animated GIFs, use the inputs and the extra processing power of the audio interface itself to record a quick demo for their friend's hardcore neo-klezmer band. We'll have to tell you how it works in practice once we get our hands on a review unit, but in theory the concept is pretty intriguing.
There are two versions slated for the first half of this year: two core ($1,999) and four core ($2,499). The Thunderbolt expansion should also ship the first half of this year, with a price to be determined.