Lyrics by Lewis Noke Edwards
audio link | MSRP: $499
Music creation is becoming increasingly mobile as technology begins to catch up with our expectations. Bus-powered interfaces have evolved from low-cost products to small, professional-grade conversion powers both input and output. Gone are the days when you had to settle for below average quality outside of a more permanent setup, as products like the Apogee BOOM make strides for engineers and producers of all skill levels.
The Apogee BOOM is a two-input, two-output audio interface powered and connected via USB-C and small enough to take just about anywhere. There’s a single headphone output and two outputs for a stereo set of speakers. Clear metering covers part of the front of the unit, coupled with a ¼”/XLR combo input and ¼” input, perfect for instrument and vocal recording. The Apogee BOOM aims to be a mobile recording and monitoring solution and does just that. From budding producers extending their computer to an external sound card for the first time, to hardened professionals who have trusted Apogee since day one, the Apogee BOOM has something for you.
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The BOOM extends Apogee’s range to the smaller end, being a bus-powered interface with two inputs and two outputs, all of which can be controlled via Apogee’s Control 2 software, included with the BOOM. Ableton Live Lite and Apogee’s Soft Limit plugin are also included when recording, the latter being a great way to add saturation to your tracks as a mix bus solution or on specific instruments. BOOM’s mic preamps will hear everything from 20Hz to 20kHz and feature a dynamic range of 122dB (A-weighted), while the outputs are nearly 117dB (A-weighted) of dynamic range and plenty of power for the headphone output. at 15dBu/24mW at 30 ohms.
The BOOM itself weighs less than a kilogram, so it won’t add much to your carry-on while traveling. The mic preamp is clean and colorless, while the Hi-Z input allows crystal-clear recording of a guitar or bass straight into the BOOM. The chassis itself is lightweight aluminum, so it can handle being knocked over in a case or bag, and the absence of superfluous buttons and switches prevents dust from settling inside the circuitry. Finally, the BOOM is lockable via a Kensington security slot.
I had the Apogee BOOM setup in moments, my Mac recognized it immediately and offered it as a playback engine in Pro Tools. Apogee’s Control 2 software also worked without a hitch, quickly recognizing the BOOM and giving me controls to adjust gain, pad, phase, and phantom without touching the device. The single knob on the front of the unit can be pressed to switch between input gain for inputs one or two, or the main output. Once the gain is set, Apogee’s FX feature also lets you record through a virtual channel strip with extremely low latency and print it out on your DAW.
Convenient little LEDs on BOOM’s front panel let you know if FX is on or off. What is immediately noticeable is the sound quality the BOOM gives and takes. It goes without saying that Apogee is one of the biggest names in the conversion business and one that people like Bob Clearmountain rely on. The response is clear and provides a good gauge of stereo width and depth, allowing me to listen as critically as I would anywhere else. This applies to both the speaker outputs and the headphone output, quickly finding myself trusting what I was hearing and making mix moves that translated well on all systems – at least to my ears !
With hindsight, it really should come as no surprise that the Apogee BOOM is a total solution for recording and mixing on the go. The BOOM is simple, lightweight and bus-powered, meaning you don’t need much more than the USB cable (included) to get up and running. The preamps are bright and don’t give off much color unless you want them to bake with the FX channel strip option which prints your settings directly to your DAW. A single knob is handy for adjusting gain, but those better suited to a mouse can access a higher level of control via the Control 2 app which lets you access all of your preamp and output settings in well-designed software.
Specifications aside, the Apogee BOOM is simply a great piece of kit that would suit the professional who needs a mobile solution to cleanly monitor the mix away from home, or for the musician who just needs a few ins and outs. outs to record song ideas. and arrangements to show off their bandmates. It’s a great buy all round, because you’ll still need a handy little converter, and Apogee quality to boot!