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Customer Reviews 6 Reviews

3.17 out of 5 stars

by T. Murfee (7/25/2014):

The Thunderbolt Option Card may be the most excited I've ever gotten over an accessory! I was h ... Read more

2 Reviews
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Overview

Thunderbolt Option Card

Key Features

  • Enables Thunderbolt technology for Apollo DUO and QUAD Audio Interfaces on Thunderbolt-equipped Macs
  • Provides greater UAD plug-in instances, improved performance at higher sample rates, and reduced plug-in latency versus FireWire
  • 2 Thunderbolt ports supply bus power for convenient daisy-chaining of peripherals
  • Easy user installation – tool and instructions included
  • Requires Apollo audio interface available from authorized dealers worldwide
  • Thunderbolt cable sold separately

A Bandwidth and Connectivity Boost for your Apollo Audio Interface.

The Thunderbolt™ Option Card for the Apollo and Apollo 16 audio interfaces provides greater UAD plug-in instances, improved performance at higher sample rates, and reduced UAD plug-in latency versus Apollo’s standard FireWire connection. Compatible with Intel’s new Thunderbolt technology on the latest generation of iMacs® , MacBook®  Pros, MacBook Airs®, and Mac minis, the Thunderbolt Option Card offers unrivaled bandwidth and next-generation connectivity for the Apollo interface.

The user-installable Thunderbolt Option Card includes two Thunderbolt ports, and easily slides into the expansion bay of the Apollo. Bus power is provided to all downstream Thunderbolt devices, allowing music producers to connect peripherals in series with the Apollo interface — including hard drives, processors, and computer displays.

* For compatibility and system requirements, please visit the Thunderbolt support page.


FAQ

Thunderbolt Option Card Basics and FAQ

What are the advantages of using Thunderbolt as opposed to FireWire?
In general terms, Thunderbolt has 12 times more bandwidth than FireWire 800, and 20 times more bandwidth than USB 2. Thunderbolt support gives Apollo ultra-fast UAD-2 PCIe performance running through a cable with no noticeable bandwidth limitations. So, in simple terms, you’ll be able to run many more UAD plug-ins inside your DAW versus FireWire. Additionally, the minimum processing buffer of 512 samples for UAD plug-ins streamed via FireWire no longer applies, so latency is reduced for UAD plug-ins used in the DAW.

How do I add Thunderbolt to Apollo?
First, make sure you are running the latest Apollo software on a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac. Next, purchase the UA Thunderbolt Option Card (sold separately). The card is easy to install — simply remove two screws with the supplied hex wrench, remove the blank plate, and slide the Thunderbolt Option Card into the guide rails. Once properly inserted, simply replace the two screws and you’re good to go.

Does the UA Thunderbolt option card supply bus power?
Yes, the Thunderbolt Option Card supplies bus power to downstream devices. This enables you to connect numerous devices in series with the Apollo interface — including hard drives, processors, and computer displays — all with fast, flawless performance. It does not power Apollo.

So, since Thunderbolt is here, are you going to discontinue UAD-2 Satellite?
Absolutely not. FireWire is still a widely used protocol, and will be for many years to come. There are also FireWire-to-Thunderbolt adapters available on the market that will enable you to use the UAD-2 Satellite on computers even if they only have a Thunderbolt port.

Can I switch (hot plug) Apollo from one computer to another?
Yes, you can hot plug from one computer to another with no issue on the system level. However you should not plug Apollo into the same computer with both FireWire and Thunderbolt, connect two computers simultaneously to one Apollo unit, or attempt to hot plug Apollo while a DAW is running.

Can I use the second port on the Thunderbolt Option Card to attach FireWire devices such as the UAD-2 Satellite or external hard drives?
Yes. FireWire devices can be attached to the second Thunderbolt Option Card port by using the Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter.

Where can I find detailed technical information about the Thunderbolt Option Card?
Complete technical details and the latest bulletins about Thunderbolt Option Card compatibility and operation can be found on the Thunderbolt support page.


Reviews

Reviews

1 of 19
  • Mick Guzauski

    (Daft Punk, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton)

    "[The Apollo] has probably some of the better preamps I've ever heard -- a lot of headroom and very quiet at high-gains. Also the converters; they're really just sweet sounding."

    Andrew Scheps

    (Adele, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Duke Spirit)

    "Holy sh*t! The Apollo is a motherf***er!"

    Hugh Robjohns

    (Sound on Sound)

    “…The Apollo is a very attractive proposition with no direct competition. It was well worth the wait…”

    The Glitch Mob

    "The Apollo is arguably the best I/O we've ever used, and we've tried them all. It has an incredibly clean, transparent and accurate sound."

    Fab Dupont

    (Jennifer Lopez, Santigold, Mark Ronson)

    "I knew about the ingredients of Apollo, but this is truly a special dish. The Apollo just set a new standard of excellence for audio interfaces, in terms of both its sound and its feature set."

  • Justin Niebank

    (Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts)

    "The build on [the Apollo] construction-wise is unbelievable. It's head and shoulders above all the other interfaces that I've used in the price range, or even more expensive."

    Ariel Rechtshaid

    (Vampire Weekend, Usher, Plain White T's)

    "[The Apollo] allows me to record anywhere and get the funky analog sound that I love from traditional studios, in far less traditional locations."

    Michael Romanowski

    (Jacqui Naylor, Third Eye Blind, Pat Monohan)

    "I know that all the hardware, the mic pres, and the converters that back [the Apollo] up are top quality and I can count on the sound. I know what I'm getting and I can appreciate that a lot."

    Buddy Miller

    (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, ABC's "Nashville")

    "[The Apollo] sounds great and the low latency is a big deal. I like being able to record through the UA plug-ins because they sound like the hardware.”

    Eli Janney

    (Jet, Ryan Adams, Wilco)

    "[The Apollo] is one of my favorite pieces of gear that's come out in the past few years really. Now you have, in this one unit, so many features that people normally would have to buy multiple units for."

  • Joey Waronker

    (Atoms for Peace, Beck, Other Lives)

    "The Apollo's ability to do low latency; I mean that's the whole ballgame right there."

    Neal Cappelino

    (Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Joan Osborne)

    "The idea that I can bring [the Apollo] with me and always have reliable mix platform is important to me."

    Pro Audio Review

    “Apollo is, by all accounts, elite analog hardware wrapped around UA’s beloved UAD Powered Plug-ins.”

    Darwin Grosse

    (Recording Magazine)

    “I can’t imagine anyone not finding the Apollo a great upgrade to an existing system. It’s solid, flexible, and sounds great regardless of the source material….Universal Audio gets an “A” grade in my book, and the Apollo is an easy recommendation.”

    DJ Richard Devine

    “I am totally blown away by the Apollo. Its stunning sound quality and the way you can use the UAD plug-ins in real-time is pure genius. It’s going to be the centerpiece of my new studio.”

  • Ronnie Vanucci

    The Killers

    "The UAD plug-ins allow us [The Killers] to get into the wheelhouse of the sounds of yesteryear. It's another instrument in the band these days."

    Jim James

    My Morning Jacket

    "The UAD Powered Plug-ins collection is such a great tool kit. So many tools under one roof and all at your fingertips in a fraction of a second."

    Craig Anderton

    Electronic Musician

    "…With seriously excellent build quality and sound quality, and it’s no wonder that Apollo has gotten so much attention from the cognoscenti.”

    Gareth Jones

    (Depeche Mode, Erasure, Grizzly Bear)

    "Along with the Apollo Interface, the Sonnox Oxford EQ allows me to do valuable sound sculpting when tracking. Thanks for another great tool."

    Greg Walker

    Audio Technology Magazine

    “The Apollo is a great standalone recording solution that gets high marks for its preamps, converters and groundbreaking combination of input Console and UAD-2 plug-in software."

  • Mark Cousins

    (Music Tech UK)

    “…The Apollo is easily the most inspiring audio interface we’ve ever used…”

    Ivan Barias

    (Musiq Soulchild, Faith Evans)

    “The UAD-2 is the 21st century musician's best friend."

    Darrell Thorp

    (Beck, Radiohead, Charlotte Gainsbourg)

    "Knowing the abilities of the DSP and the incredible quality and tonality of the plug-ins, the UAD-2 has become such a first response tool in my everyday recording and mixing."

    Peter Kirn

    Create Digital Music

    "It’s difficult to describe UA’s plug-ins until you’ve tried them. It’s a bit like having chocolate sauce at your disposal, sonically speaking."

    Garrett Haines

    (Tape Op Magazine)

    "Universal Audio’s achievements in capturing the sonics of equalization, transformers, and control interaction need to be recognized. This goes beyond software models; they’re getting to the heart of the gear."

  • Matt Knobel

    (Lenny Kravitz)

    "The family of effects that I have with my UAD-2 is incomparable with any other when it comes to working in the box yet having an 'out of boxy experience'."

    Garrett "Jacknife" Lee

    (R.E.M., The Cars)

    "I @#$%ing love my UAD-2 card! Doing my first proper mix [The Cars] with it. Wow! How did i do without it?"

    Paul Moak

    (Third Day, Matthew Mayfield)

    "The flexibility is priceless and has won me over on UAD for life. Thanks for making a great product!"

    Jose Cancela & Amy Marie Beauchamp

    (HBO Sports, NFL, NBA)

    “The UAD-2 has time and time again given sterile samples warmth, depth and brilliance."

    Hank Shocklee

    (Public Enemy)

    “I like to use the UAD plug-ins to their extremes and push them to get the crazy sound I use to set my productions apart."

  • Greg Parkin

    (Capitol Studios & Mastering)

    “It is fitting that UA continues to provide a platform for our engineers to innovate."

    Jono Buchanan

    Future Music (UK)

    "The accuracy & quality of [UA's] recent additions [shows] their recreations of classic hardware are only improving."

    Ivan Barias

    (Keyshia Cole, 2Pac)

    "Before UAD life in the studio was like television before HD. Everything sounds incredibly detailed now."

    Ivan Barias

    (Musiq Soulchild)

    "UAD is my new secret weapon in the studio. I get everything to sound the way I always wanted, way before the mixing."

    John Paterno

    (Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt)

    "This [UAD-2] is a 'game changer' for me ... The sound, responsiveness, and detail [of the plug-ins] are great!"

  • Nathaniel Kunkel

    (Lyle Lovett, Nirvana)

    "With the UAD-2, UA has provided something that I have been missing from my plugs for a long time: inspiration."

    J.J. Blair

    (Rod Stewart, George Benson)

    "I was never into mixing completely in the box until I started using UAD cards ... I'm loving it more and more."

    Jim Dalrymple

    (The Loop)

    "[I use] the Fairchild Compressor, Neve 1081, Neve 1073, LA-2A and the 1176 Compressor. They all give you something different."

    Eli Janney

    (Wilco, Wheat)

    "I’m heavily into the [UAD-2] cards. They just sound really, really good ... the new cards give you a lot of horsepower."

    Jim Dalrymple

    (Macworld)

    "While there are a lot of plug-in choices [on the market], I have found none better than Universal Audio."

  • Vance Powell

    (The Raconteurs, Jars of Clay)

    "The UAD-2 is the first plug-in set that replaces gear I own, hardware-wise, and that's a big deal."

    John Baccigaluppi

    (TapeOp Magazine)

    "[With the UAD-2] ... everything worked perfectly with the sonic quality we’ve come to expect from the UAD series."

    Rik Simpson

    (Coldplay)

    "The sound of the UAD software is the closest thing in analog modeling ... it actually sounds like the real gear."

    Frank Filipetti

    (Carly Simon)

    "I go to my UAD plug-ins just as naturally as I do any hardware ... UAD is now an essential part of my mixing arsenal"

    Ryan West

    (Kanye West, T.I., T-Pain)

    "I'm not sure what mathematical voodoo they do over there [at UA], but I like it and I won't mix without it."

  • Elliot Mazer

    (Neil Young)

    "I can mix anyplace with my UAD-2 SOLO/Laptop. I get to use the same UAD plug-ins on my portable that I use on my big MacPro."

    Nathaniel Kunkel

    (James Taylor, Lyle Lovett)

    "The thing that I feel no one's really talking about is that this [the UAD-2] is a paradigm shift."

    Ulrich Wild

    (Pantera)

    "The new UAD-2 cards are extremely powerful ... I completely abandoned analog gear for mixing and I rely heavily on this system"

    Frank Filipetti

    (Carly Simon, Korn)

    "I don't need anything else to mix with, other than the UAD plug-ins. Everything else I use is hardware."

    Frank Filipetti

    (James Taylor, Rod Stewart)

    “I wish more companies paid attention to what you guys are doing at UA ... it's right on the money."

  • Charlie Clouser

    (NIN, "Saw" Soundtracks)

    "The UAD-2 provides so much DSP that I can really lay the plug-ins on thick without giving it a second thought"

    Nathaniel Kunkel

    (Sting)

    "I use my UAD cards every time I mix ... the quality of the plug-ins make mixing 'in the box' not only easier, but really fun."

    Hank Shocklee

    (Public Enemy)

    "I can surely say that working with the UAD family of plug-ins has greatly increased the sound of my projects"

    David Grissom

    (Mellencamp, Buddy Guy)

    "The UAD-2 plug-ins have become the backbone of my mixes ... I've been able to eliminate my console altogether."

    Stuart Price

    (The Killers)

    "You judge [the UAD-2] by how many people you recommend it to, and everyone I have worked with has now gone and got one."

  • Gavin Monaghan

    (The Twang)

    "I'd never even think of tackling a session without UAD plug-ins."

    Sound On Sound Magazine

    “The UA Apollo is a powerful beast when connected via the Firewire 800 port...The option card will allow you to use even more UAD plug-ins at once, with lower latency and improved plug-in performance at higher sample rates.”

    Mark Cousins

    (Music Tech UK)

    …A completely integrated solution for recording and mixing powered by some of the best plug-ins money can buy.”

    Paul Moak

    (Third Day, Matthew Mayfield)

    "As an analog junkie and an audiofile, this [UAD-2] is the best of both worlds for me."

    Ryan Hewitt

    (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

    "So now I have my UAD on everything, and I'm using the EMT 140 and the EMT 250 as effects. It's so much easier."

  • Neil Mclellan

    (TapeOp)

    "I've recommended the UAD platform to all of my friends, and once they heard it, there was no looking back."

    John Paterno

    (Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt)

    "The sound of these [UAD Powered Plug-Ins] will definitely change the way I approach mixing in the computer."

    D. James Goodwin

    (The Bravery)

    "I decided to sell my hardware SPL TD4, and my vintage dbx 160 rack, because the UAD became my go-to choice. Bravo to UA"

    Ed MacFarlane

    (Friendly Fires)

    "[I use] the 6176 as my preamp & compressor, and I've been using the UAD plug-ins once the track's in the computer."

    Paul White

    (Sound On Sound)

    "[Cooper Time Cube, EMT 250, or FATSO] ... for the real vintage character, I don't think UA have any rivals at the moment."

  • D. James Goodwin

    (The Bravery)

    "UAD plug-ins are my new benchmark for how processors should sound, look, and function.”

    D. James Goodwin

    (The Bravery)

    "When I finally decided to try the UAD platform, I was immediately floored by the realism. These things sounded amazing."

    Paul White

    (Sound On Sound)

    "UA has given their UAD-2 platform extra appeal with yet more accurate recreations of classic studio hardware ..."

    J.J. Blair

    (Rod Stewart, George Benson)

    "Way to go, Universal Audio! Thanks for helping me achieve the sounds in the box that I really want to hear."

    JR Hutson

    (Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild)

    "[Once] I got the UAD Powered Plug-Ins, I can get things so much closer to what they're supposed to sound like."

  • Jim Dalrymple

    (The Loop)

    "I find that the UA plug-ins allow me to control that [dynamic] range of frequencies better than anything else."

    Roy Davis Jr.

    "A mix is not complete without UAD Powered Plug-Ins on it!!!"

    Justin Niebank

    (Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts)

    “[W]hen you came out with the UAD-2, I jumped on that, even before the software came out. I adore it.”

    Frederick Norén

    (Sound on Sound)

    "[For DSP-based systems]...the UAD2 platform is a good alternative, with great-sounding, humanely priced plug-ins."

    Eli Crews

    (Electronic Musician)

    "With the UAD-2, Universal Audio has made one of the most attractive plug-in families even harder to live without."

  • Cian Ciaran

    (Super Furry Animals)

    "[With the UAD-2] It's like having the right tools to do the right job ... Because you know all the gear's quality."

    Jason Blum

    (Remix Magazine)

    "The only thing better than UAD plug-ins is more of them."

    Craig Anderton

    (EQ Magazine)

    "The UAD concept [is] the 21st century equivalent of a rack of special-purpose processors ... maybe even an entire mixer."

    Mike Senior

    (Sound on Sound)

    "Universal Audio are a force to be reckoned with in terms of the quality of their audio processing"

    Craig Anderton

    (Keyboard)

    "The UAD-2 is much more powerful than the original ... the UAD concept is no longer to just replace a few cool pieces of gear"

  • Paul Vnuk, Jr.

    (Recording Magazine)

    "The UAD-2 ... is a huge improvement over everything that made the UAD-1 the leader in its class."

    Mike Senior

    (Sound On Sound)

    "UAD-2 is an enormous leap forward from the UAD-1"

    Rob James

    (Resolution Magazine)

    "[UAD Powered Plug-Ins] have more character than many native or TDM plug-ins, while being a great deal more affordable."

    Craig Anderton

    (EQ Magazine)

    "It's the strikingly realistic, and musical, emulations of vintage (and not so vintage) gear [that hooks people on the UAD-2]."

    Barry Rudolph

    (Mix Magazine)

    "The UAD-2 breaks all the UAD-1's limitations ... it's a dream come true for all DAW users.”

  • Future Publishing

    (MusicRadar.com)

    "Offering several times the power of the UAD-1, this powered plug-in system is very impressive."

    Andy Hong

    (TapeOp)

    "I'd have to say that the UAD plug-ins blow similar TDM plug-ins out of the water"

    Jono Buchanan

    (Future Music UK)

    "It's now possible to turn your DAW into a full Neve console, for a fraction of the cost of a real desk."

    David Riggs

    "There is a God and he uses the UAD plugins. The best set of plug-ins anywhere. Period."

    Matt Boudreau

    (Keith Urban)

    "The bottom line is, it's got so much more power ... it allowed me to use whatever plug-in I wanted, whenever I wanted"

  • Carmen Rizzo

    "I make a living with the UA plug-ins, because I use them every single day on every session."

    Geoff Sanoff

    (Pro Sound News)

    "I keep saying to people that plug-ins are only going to get better, and UAD keeps proving me right."

    Matt Knobel

    (Lenny Kravitz)

    "With the UAD-2 , you put it on and it sounds like a Fairchild. It makes it so much easier to get what you're looking for."

    Mike Senior

    (Sound on Sound)

    "The UAD-2 gives access to some of the best-sounding analogue emulation plug-ins available ... a mouth-watering prospect."

User Ratings

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Average Rating (6 Reviews)
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    This is a must for low Buffer Size Recording
    by T. Murfee (Friday 25 July, 2014)

    The Thunderbolt Option Card may be the most excited I've ever gotten over an accessory! I was having an issue using the firewire port with the Apollo Quad recording at a Buffer size of 64 in Ableton Live. For some reason the firewire port would kick my cpu to 70% with just one LA-2A Silver. My compu … Read More

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    Finally my problems with UAD plugs went away
    by C. Alexander (Friday 18 April, 2014)

    Well the reviews are not great, but man has my system been stable since receiving the thunderboltcard. I had errors all day long with the stock firewire connection, but ever since I god the thunderbolt card, I have not had ONE SINGLE DROPOUT! So I am guessing this the Apollo soon will come with … Read More

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    Pretty Disapointed...
    by M. Johnson (Thursday 20 June, 2013)

    I was there at AES during the launch of the Apollo and I talked to several UA staff members about the Apollo and the capabilities of the Thunderbolt option. I was also one of the first people to buy a Apollo for my home project studio that I consider to be very professional. I bought the Thunderbolt … Read More

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    Thunderbolt option card?
    by R. Amarell (Wednesday 12 June, 2013)

    Right name for this card: "UAD-PlugIn section Thunderbolt Option Card". The audio I/O is still at FW800 speeds even with this card installed. On the UA homepage there is' nowhere a clearly reference on that fact. (only clever circumscribed) When I buy a "Thunderbolt option card" I expect a Thunderb … Read More

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    a little pricy
    by P. Cowan (Sunday 10 November, 2013)

    i like this interface but in truth i have realized no real gains from my old saffire pro26i/o and there is a latency issue. i am a drummer and things like that bother me so when i record real audio i move it over so it is in time . a pain in the ass but some of the ua plug ins are nice … Read More


Artists
  • Vampire Weekend Production Goes Mobile with Apollo

    Ariel Rechtshaid and Rostam Batmanglij produced Vampire Weekend's latest album with Apollo and UAD-2. Read More


Docs

Installation & Setup Guide


Corning Thunderbolt Promo