It is with great pleasure that I can finally get my hands on one of these, it’s been a very long time coming thanks to the headache of Apple/Intel’s strict approval process of Thunderbolt devices and it’s still quite a rare sight to see Thunderbolt in the world of professional audio. Previously the Universal Audio Apollo or Pro Tools HD Native had been the only Thunderbolt capable interfaces.
This thing is very solidly built, the metal chassis has a bit of weight to it and it feels like an Apogee made product. To my surprise it comes packaged in a nice little hard case, something that is very important to me keeping in mind that my recording rig has always been designed to be mobile.
The first thing I tested, as you can see in the photo below, is the ability to run external displays through the ThunderBridges daisy chaining and it works 100% perfectly, you won’t have to worry about your devices that are already occupying your Thunderbolt port.
Getting down to crunch time, I ran a couple of basic tests. My rig consists of a 2.6gHz quad-core i7 loaded 2012 MacBook Pro, loaded with 16gb of ram and running Pro Tools 10 HD.
There appears to be an extraordinary difference in the way it handles large track counts at 96kHz. Here is an example of me recording all 16 analog inputs simultaneously with a sample buffer size of 64 and not a CPU overload error in sight.
I hadn’t recorded more than 10 channels at once through USB mode before, always through 44.1kHz and even at buffer sizes like 128 or 256 the system would occasionally decide to stop recording mid-track.
It appears 100% compatible with all major DAW softwares including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Cubase 7 and Ableton Live 9. I hope to perform more extensive testing as I get the time.
The Symphony 64 system is designed to run in a similar way to Pro Tools HD Native, here is a useful diagram from Avid that shows the office latency specs for a number similar solutions to the Symphony 64.
In summary, the ThunderBridge is everything I had hoped it would be and well worth the extra investment to complete an already state-of-the-art system. Given that the majority of users are turning to MacBooks or iMacs instead of the quite noticeably neglected Mac Pro (previously the only way of running Symphony 64 mode through the PCi card), I think this brings new
The Australian RRP is $1299.00, check out our website for our current sale price.
Please don’t hesitate to give me a call in-store if you want to ask any questions about the ThunderBridge. You can now order the ThunderBridge through our online store here.