What: Guitarist-oriented USB interface/foot controller designed
specifically for the Mac (Intel/PPC G5, OS X 10.5.7) and is compatible
with Logic Pro 9, GarageBand ’09, and MainStage 2.
Yes, the footswitch button colors really do relate to the stomp box colors in Logic Pro and GarageBand. And the rear panel is simplicity itself: audio input, expression pedal in, USB in, stereo audio output.
Why: Including guitar-friendly audio I/O with Apogee-level quality,
along with a foot-controlled control surface, provides a onestop
recording solution for guitar players.
Installation: I was not able to install GiO with Euphonix’s Eucon
drivers present on my Intel Mac. Turning Eucon off wasn’t good
enough: I had to physically uninstall the software. (Apogee could
not duplicate this with current Eucon and GiO oftware; it seems
to be system-specific.) Once I got past that, GiO installation went
uneventfully. Also note that you must use the specified programs:
e.g., GarageBand ’08 won’t work.
Learning curve: There’s a 1:1 correspondence between the
various switches and the functions they control, so any learning
curve comes from figuring out how to configure programs to
work with GiO, which isn’t difficult.
Best bits: Guitarists have their hands full, so the obvious GiO
advantages are doing footswitched transport control, turning
up to five effects on/off like a regular floor footswitch
controller, hands-free recording/punching, and stepping up
and down through effects presets. The transport and effect
switches are independent—no double-duty operation, which
is a good thing. There are some additional touches, like
color-coding on the stomp box switches to match effects,
and an expression pedal input (check the Apogee site for
compatible models). Even the USB cable is an overachiever,
as it’s about 15 feet long instead of the usual 6 foot cable
packed with most gear. However, while the functionality is a
big deal, don’t overlook the audio. The high-impedance input
doesn’t load down your guitar, and Apogee’s converters
deserve their reputation for top-of-the-line performance.
Limitations: The interface is limited to 44.1/48kHz, so if you like
running projects at 88.2/96kHz to squeeze every bit of performance
out of amp sims, GiO is not the droid you’re looking for.
Also, the lack of control integration with non-Apple software, while
understandable, limits your options should you change platforms
or hosts (the audio I/O works with other programs, though). And
the stereo output jack makes sense for headphones, but if you’re
going into a real-world mixer, the included stereo-to-dual RCA
phono jacks cable requires adapters.
Bottom line: This is a classy piece of gear. The sound quality
is excellent, and the latency is low—Apogee has taken advantage
of tight integration with the Mac. Throw in the hands-free
control and compatibility with three common Mac music programs
used by guitarists, and you might find it easy to justify
adding this to your guitar gadget arsenal.
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