What We Like
What We Don't Like
Apogee says it tries to “challenge old paradigms” by innovating with audio devices. So let’s put the Apogee ELEMENT 24 audio interface to the test — does it challenge the norm and earn the title of “innovative”?
In terms of design, it’s no surprise this device is compatible only with Apple, a company known for simplistic design. The face of the ELEMENT 24 has only its name, two XLR/quarter-inch inputs, and a headphone jack. That’s it.
This interface is armed with world-class preamps for high-quality recording, and it comes with Element Control software as well as the Element Control mobile app for editing on the go. Instead of having analog gain controls, you control everything from your computer.
But if you like ease of use, this is your interface — it literally could not get any simpler. And its sturdy body can stand up to nicks and bumps, giving you confidence if transporting it is necessary. One issue with the design is that there’s only one headphone jack, which means you’ll need a headphone splitter if you’re going to record with another musician who needs to hear the monitor or playback. Also, the Thunderbolt cable is not included, so that’s an extra piece of hardware you’ll need to buy.
It’s nice to not be overwhelmed by so many knobs on the front of the interface, but if you were to have trouble with your computer — like slowness or stalling — then you wouldn’t be able to modify any gain controls because they’re all digital. Some recording artist may see this as a turnoff.
This little black box allows for AD/DA conversion so you can record up to 192kHz/24-bit and has a word clock that Apogee describes as “superior.” And the Thunderbolt connectivity is built to use less of your computer’s CPU power so you can record more audio in less time.
The biggest issue with this audio interface may be the price. It’s one of the simplest interfaces you’ll find online and yet it’s in the $600 range, not the price range of its competing interfaces. For that price, you’d expect to have more than two inputs and one headphone output (preferably that you can use simultaneously).
Additionally, this device will only work with Mac computers, so that alienates an entire population of PC users.
Overall, this audio interface works well, delivering crisp recordings and convenient use. Users have not reported many issues with this device, but many recording artists may not like having only digital controls. Some people just like to have physical knobs and switches.
The accompanying software is not much trouble to download. However, some users have reported issues with its compatibility with external plugins, so that’s something to keep in mind if that’s the route you’ll be going. Also, Element Control can be difficult to read as the onscreen design of it is a bit crowded.
But overall, this is a decent audio interface for simple recording projects.
For indie musicians with some flexibility in their budget who are looking to record from home, the Apogee ELEMENT 24 is a solid purchase. If it fits your specific needs and wants, this is a device you’ll want to consider.