Both the Audient iD14 and the Apollo Twin MKII (Solo, Duo, Quad models) interfaces are considered some of the best, or even THE best audio interfaces for home studios out there.
Now, there are some key differences between the two and in this post I’ll try to lay out these differences as best I can so that you can decide for yourself which one best suits your needs.
I’ll do a quick rundown of the general features of each interface as well as the specifications, etc. and at the end I’ll give you my opinion on which one you should go for in most cases.
Let’s get straight into it…
The Audient iD14 comes with the ASP8024 Class A Mic Preamp Circuit which is the same one used in the Audient consoles and it also has the Burr-Brown Converters.
These preamps are some of the best I’ve ever tried, especially considering the price of this interface.
The detail you get is just insane!
The construction quality is probably also one of the best I’ve ever seen on one of these small interfaces.
It’s made completely out of aluminum and feels very solid, plus the dials don’t feel cheap at all…
None of them, except maybe the big one, have any give or feel wobbly at all.
Let’s take a quick look at the inputs and the outputs of the Audient Id14:
Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS combo Jacks featuring their ASP8024 Class A Mic Preamps, one D.I. input, as well as an optical input.
Outputs: 2 x TRS outputs for your monitors, and the ¼” headphone output.
On the front of the interface you get the ¼” JFET D.I. Input as well as the ¼” headphone output which offers free latency monitoring.
On the back you’ll find the USB 2.0 connector, the ¼” TRS outputs to connect to your monitors, the two XLR/TRS combo Inputs, and lastly the optical input.
What is the Optical input used for?
The optical input allows you to connect a A/D and D/A converter to expand the channel count, which gives you an extra 8 channels of ADAT at 44.1kHZ or 48kHz, 4 channels of ADAT at 88.2kHz or 96kHZ, or 2 channels of S/PDIF between 44.1kHz and 96kHz.
Essentially, this means that you can convert the 2-input interface into a 10-input one.
On the top You’ll find the Mic Gain controls for both inputs, and a button to control your Speaker Output Volume, another one to control the headphone output volume, as well as the iD button.
When activating the iD button, you can use the big dial to scroll through- or adjust any settings in your plugins or DAW.
Lastly, the iD button can be programmed to perform different functions such as;
Scroll Control, mono summing, –15dB dim, Talkback, and more.
Other than that, the big dial allows you to control the volume of the outputs (Headphones and Speakers).
Note: Just like with the Apollo Twin MKII, the Audient iD14 doesn’t have MIDI I/O.
If you’re looking for interfaces which do have MIDI I/O then check out these two posts:
Lastly, this interface provides you with a set of indicator lights which work as a meter, ranging from -36dB to 0dB.
The Sample Rate and bit depth of this interface is 96kHz/24-db, which is more than enough to get excellent recordings.
- Console Style Monitor Control
- Free guitar and bass cab emulation
- Steinberg Retrologue 2 Synth
- Produce Like a Pro Mixing bundle
- Cubase LE and Cubasis LE 2
- And More…
Read more about the free software you can download here.
Let’s take a look at its performance;
As far as the sound quality goes, this Interface is just fantastic…
The preamps sound extraordinary, and I have to admit that the overall recording quality is better than the one on most small audio interfaces…
Especially the D.I. input, since it’s one of the best sounding ones I ever tried.
However, when compared to the Apollo Twin interfaces, even though this one sounds fantastic, it’s still not quite as good.
It provides you with a lot of headroom, and the signal-to-noise ratio is excellent!
The great thing about this interface is that it can be expanded, and since it sounds so good you probably will never need to upgrade from it…
Just purchase a converter to expand the channel count and you’re set.
What do you get in the box?
- The Audient iD14 Interface
- USB Cable
- Free Software Keys
- 10-in/4-out USB Audio Interface
- 2 x Class-A Audient Console Mic Preamplifiers
- High Performance Burr Brown AD/DA Converters
- iD ScrollControl Mode
- 1 x Discrete JFET Instrument Input
- Main Speaker Output
- Independent Class-AB Headphone Output
- Full Monitor Control Functionality (software controlled)
- ADAT Input for Expandability
- Low Latency DSP Mixer
- USB2.0 Bus Powered
- All-Metal Enclosure
- Free plugins and software with ARC
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can check the price and reviews of the Audient iD14.
Apollo Twin MKII (Solo, Duo, Quad)
The Apollo Twin MKII Audio Interfaces are definitely not geared towards the newbies of home recording for the simple fact that they are PRICY!
They are, however, the best audio interfaces for small home studios currently available, which means that if you are serious about home music production and want to achieve the best sound you possibly can, then you should consider them.
There are three different models available of this interface; The Solo, Duo, and Quad.
One would think that this just means that the interfaces each have one-, two-, or four inputs, however this isn’t the case.
It’s actually describing the number of processors which come built-in and which allow you to use plugins, which come included when you buy the interface, in real time.
The processing is done by the interface and not your PC, meaning that there’s absolutely no latency.
It’s literally in real time, as if it was being processed by the real hardware that’s being emulated.
The more processors the interface has, the more plugins you can simultaneously load.
This is one of the reasons why the Apollo twin MKII interfaces are so expensive, because it’s a feature unique to them.
However, their preamps are the absolute best you can find on an Audio Interface, and the A/D and D/A conversion is also of the highest quality you will ever find in an Audio Interface.
This is why the Apollo Twin MKII Solo, which is the most affordable model, costs about twice as much as the Audient iD14.
In regards to the plugins that come included I have to say that they are probably some of the best ones out there, and considering that each of them sells for about $200, getting a couple of them for free when purchasing the interface isn’t a bad deal at all.
The build quality is, as you would expect, fantastic.
The sample rate and bit-depth can be as high as 192kHz/24-bit, which is more than anyone could ever need.
The Inputs are: 2xXLR/TRS combo jacks with Burr-Brown preamps, 1xTRS Instrument input, and an optical input that allows you to add eight more inputs via ADAT.
The outputs are: 2×1/4” monitor outputs, 2×1/4” line outputs, and 1×1/4” headphone output.
Note: This interface uses thunderbolt 2 connectivity and you’ll need an adapter if you want to connect it to your PC via USB.
When looking at the top of the interface you’ll see a big Knob, which is used to control a bunch of things depending on what you choose, which I will describe now.
The “Preamp” button which allows you to control the preamp section, and the “Monitor” button which allows you to control the Monitor section.
When hitting the Preamp button, you can choose between the first or second preamp.
After this you can use the input selector to;
- Choose between mic or line level inputs.
- Enable a High Pass Filter.
- Enable +48v Phantom Power.
- Engage a PAD.
- Invert the Phase.
- …and link the Two channels.
When hitting the Monitor Button, you get access to;
- The “Talk Back” feature, which enables the little microphone built into the interface.
- The “Dim” feature, which lowers the level of the monitors to a set level when pressed.
- The “Alt” button which switches between the two sets of monitors.
- The “Mono” button which simply sums everything to one mono track.
- And lastly, the mute button.
Here’s an image of the controls I just described:
The Apollo Twin MKII come with a couple superb-sounding plugins for free, and like I mentioned earlier, if you were to purchase these plugins on their own, they would cost you a fortune.
However, as soon as you register your interface you get some special one-time offers trying to get you to purchase more.
I personally think that the included ones are more than enough, but you may want to get a couple extra.
Let’s take a look at its performance;
The Apollo Twin MKII Interfaces sounds absolutely fantastic.
The signal-to-noise ratio is excellent and they provide you with a lot of headroom.
You should never have any issues with the quality of your audio when recording with them.
What do you get in the box?
- The Apollo Twin MKII Solo, Duo, or Quad Interface.
- The Power Adapter
Note: It doesn’t come with the thunderbolt cable included, so you’ll need to get your own.
- Sounds amazing, with next-generation AD/DA for maximum fidelity
- Use outstanding UAD Powered Plug-ins for tracking and mixdown
- Preamps sound pristine, and Unison technology gives you spot-on emulations of classic preamps
- Includes Realtime Analog Classics plug-in bundle with accurate emulations of vintage analog hardware
- Thunderbolt gives you ultra-low latency and huge bandwidth for higher sample rates and track counts
- Compact design makes it perfect for mobile recording, mixing outside of your studio, and even performing live
- Hands-on control over your monitor outputs
- Cascade up to 4 Thunderbolt-equipped Apollo interfaces and 6 total UAD devices
Here’s a link to Amazon where you can see both the Price and the Reviews of the Apollo Twin MKII models.
Where the Audient iD14 and the Apollo Twin MKII differ the most isn’t in their sound quality or the number of Inputs/outputs, but rather in their Processing capabilities.
The Apollo Interfaces have built-in processors which allow the interface to run plugins on its own without using any of your PCs resources.
Which one should you choose?
To be completely honest, nine times out of ten I would recommend the Audient iD14 for the simple fact that it’s cheaper and the audio quality difference between the two is negligible.
The main reason why the Apollo Twin MKII is so much more expensive is because of the built-in processors, which are super nice and all but I don’t think that they are worth the price difference.
Now, if you want the best interface you can get then by all means, go with the Apollo Twin MKII models.
Both of these interfaces are excellent, and I mean excellent!
So, no matter which one you choose you know that you are getting an excellent interface that will provide fantastic recording quality and that can also expand its channel count…
Plus, both of them should last you for a very long time.
I hope this information was useful.
Have a great day!