Apollo 8 & Apollo 8p Thunderbolt Connection Info

Connecting Apollo to the computer via Thunderbolt

  • On Windows 10 systems:

    - The host computer must have an available Thunderbolt 3 port.
    - A qualified Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt adapter is required. For details, see this article.
    - UAD devices with Thunderbolt 1 or Thunderbolt 2 connections may be mixed and/or matched.
  • Apollo cannot be bus powered via Thunderbolt. The included external power supply must be used.
  • See the Apollo 8 & Apollo 8p Multi-Unit Cascading article for specific instructions on how to connect and use two or more Apollo units together.
  • Universal Audio Thunderbolt devices are tested with authentic Apple Thunderbolt Cables and Thunderbolt Optical Cables by Corning. Using off-brand cables may cause unpredictable results.

Connecting additional Thunderbolt peripherals

  • Thunderbolt peripheral devices may be serially connected (daisy-chained) to Apollo's second Thunderbolt port.
    Note: Apollo must be powered on for the computer to recognize the daisy-chained device.
  • Per the Thunderbolt specification, bus power is supplied to downstream (daisy-chained) peripheral devices.

    Note: Apollo must be powered on for the daisy-chained peripheral to receive Thunderbolt bus power.

  • Universal Audio Thunderbolt devices are officially certified as Thunderbolt compliant and are therefore compatible with other certified Thunderbolt devices when used in the same chain (this includes docks).
  • The Startech Thunderbolt Docking Station is tested in-house and is known to be compatible with UA Thunderbolt devices. This device has an HDMI display output which can be used for an external display to free the second Thunderbolt Option Card port for other devices.
  • All UA Thunderbolt devices must be connected to the same Thunderbolt port on the computer.

    Note: Apple MacBook Pro models (2016 and later) with four Thunderbolt 3 ports have two separate Thunderbolt buses — the two ports on the left side are one bus, and the two ports on the right side are a separate bus.

  • The Thunderbolt protocol supports a maximum of six Thunderbolt peripherals per Thunderbolt bus.

Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort

  • For general information about Thunderbolt ports and displays, see Apple's Thunderbolt ports and displays FAQ.
  • Apollo cannot be used by connecting it to a Mini DisplayPort connector. Although Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort devices have the same physical connector, the underlying communication protocol used by these devices is different.
  • The type of device port can be determined by the icon next to the port. Thunderbolt ports have a "lightning bolt" icon, while Mini DisplayPort ports have a "display" icon. The difference between these ports and icons is shown in the illustration below.

Port Icons

Thunderbolt PCIe audio drivers

  • UAD Thunderbolt software uses Thunderbolt PCIe audio drivers for all audio I/O and UAD plug-in processing with all Apollo models. PCIe audio drivers provide high-bandwidth, low-latency Apollo performance with Thunderbolt-equipped Mac & Windows systems. 

All Apollo Thunderbolt connections are compatible with both Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 Mac Systems

  • Apollo 8 & Apollo 8p can be connected to Macs that have Thunderbolt 1 or Thunderbolt 2 ports.
  • Thunderbolt 2 technology is designed for backwards compatibility with Thunderbolt 1.

Thunderbolt 2 compared to Thunderbolt 1

  • The primary benefit of Thunderbolt 2 is to facilitate the use of 4K video displays. In general practice, there are no other operational advantages.
  • Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 1 have the same total amount of bandwidth (20 Gbps). Thunderbolt 1 has two 10 Gbps lanes while Thunderbolt 2 has one 20 Gbps lane.
  • 4K video requires more than 10 Gbps (but less than 20 Gbps) at video refresh rates higher than 30 Hz. Thunderbolt 2 enables the increased bandwidth needed to deliver 4K video resolutions at 60 Hz refresh rates.
  • Adding a Thunderbolt 1 device to a Thunderbolt 2 chain will cause subsequent Thunderbolt 2 devices in the chain to use Thunderbolt 1 protocol.
  • In general, if 4K resolutions at high video refresh rates aren’t required, Thunderbolt 1 bandwidth is more than capable for even the largest audio production needs.


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