Using Apollo with a Pro Tools HD System

Note: This article only applies to an Apollo FireWire, Apollo 8, or Apollo 8p.

Already own Pro Tools HD hardware but want to utilize an Apollo interface to gain access to Realtime UAD Processing and Unison plug-in features? This article will guide you through the process of setting up and using an Apollo interface as the front end for a PTHD system. 

Hardware Connections

Integrating an Apollo interface with your existing PTHD hardware only requires a few additional connections. The directions and diagram below refer to the Avid HD OMNI, however this setup will work with any PTHD interface that features optical ADAT input.

First, install and connect your Avid HD OMNI and Avid HD Native / HDX hardware as you normally would. Next, connect the Apollo directly to your host computer either via FireWire or Thunderbolt depending on the connections available on both the computer and your Apollo - this direct connection will provide control of the Apollo via Console. Next, connect an optical Toslink cable from the ADAT output of the Apollo to the ADAT input of the OMNI. At 2x sample rates (88.2 / 96kHz) two optical cables are required to maintain 8 channels of streaming, and at 4x sample rates (176.4 / 192kHz) only 4 channels are available. 

Note: While the diagram below shows XLR / microphone inputs being used, the 1/4" TRS line inputs (or a combination of TRS and XLR inputs) can also be used in this configuration. 

Recommended connections and signal flow for a combined PTHD / Apollo system

Software Setup

Next we'll route the Apollo's analog inputs to it's ADAT outputs using the Flex Routing feature in Console. Click on the OUTPUT field for ANALOG 1 (set to MONITOR by default) and re-assign the output to ADAT 1. Repeat the process for any additional channels you want to use, assigning each output to the next available ADAT channel.


Re-assigning the OUTPUT via Flex Routing in Console 2


The next step is to address clocking between the two interfaces. One option is to use the Apollo as the master clock and sync the OMNI to the incoming ADAT signal from the Apollo. For this option, leave the Apollo's Clock Source set to INTERNAL via Console, and set the OMNI to clock off of the incoming ADAT signal.

Another option is to connect a BNC word clock cable from the OMNI's word clock output to the Apollo's word clock input, and set the Apollo's Clock Source to WORD CLOCK via Console. In this scenario, the OMNI is used as the master clock.

In either case, the Apollo's Clock Source can be set either via the CLOCK menu at the bottom of the main Console window or via the CLOCK SOURCE menu at Console > Settings > Hardware.

4x Sample Rates

Note: The 4x sample rate setup described below requires cue sends, which are not available in Console 1 (except for Apollo 16). 

At 4x sample rates (176.4 / 192kHz) Flex Routing becomes unavailable in Console for technical reasons. As a result, you must use the CUE OUTPUTS to route the Apollo's input signals to it's ADAT outputs.

First, set your CUE SOURCE for "Cue 1" to Cue 1, and to "Cue 2" for Cue 2. Next set the OUTPUT field to ADAT 1-2 for Cue 1 and to ADAT 3-4 for Cue 2.

Setting up Cue Outputs for 4x sample rates

Next, select the SENDS view from the View menu in the top left of the Console window, then click the CUE 1 button below (under SHOW). Turn the Cue 1 send fader all the way up for channels Analog 1 & 2, then pan the Analog 1 send hard left and the Analog 2 send hard right. Click the CUE 2 button under SHOW on the left side to show the Cue 2 sends, and then repeat the same steps for the Analog 3 & 4 channels - turn the Cue 2 faders for both channels all the way up, then pan the Analog 3 send hard left and the Analog 4 send hard right. This will effectively route the Analog 1 channel to the ADAT 1 output, the Analog 2 channel to the ADAT 2 output and so on.

Configuring the Cue 1 sends for Analog 1 & 2 via the SENDS view


Configuring the Cue 2 sends for Analog 3 & 4 via the SENDS view

Console Recall

For convenience's sake, you can save the Console session for later recall by going to Console > Menu > File > Save. Alternatively, you can use the Console Recall plug-in within your Pro Tools session to have the Console session automatically recall with the PT session. 

Final Notes

Once the setup is complete, you can record input from the Apollo into Pro Tools by setting the Pro Tools track input to the corresponding ADAT input on the Avid HD interface. Console can be used to load UAD plug-ins, including Unison preamp and guitar plug-ins, on Apollo's input channels to effect the incoming signal in real time. Keep in mind that in this setup, only the first 8 input channels from the Apollo are being routed to the Avid HD interface (and only the first 4 at 4x sample rates), so any effects used on Console Aux channels will not be recorded into Pro Tools. 

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