Gear News: The Apollo x4 Has Been Announced

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

A couple of very interesting bits of new gear announced today.

  • PRS are updating the McCarty 594 range to sound bang-on like a vintage burst.
  • And UAD are releasing new Apollo desktop interfaces, including something I’ve always wanted: an Apollo x4.

Tim Pierce has a video up about the McCarty 594 changes:

Chicago Music Exchange has a great comparison too:

And Sweetwater has a good video about the Apollo x4 here:

The Apollo X4 Is A Missed Opportunity

Last year, UAD revamped their rack units, and introduced an Apollo x6. 4 Unison preamps + 2 more normal ones, and plenty of lines out. Pricing was too close to the old Apollo 8 units to bridge the gap though.

[The Apollo x6 actually has 2 Unison preamps, and 4 additional line-in-only preamps – Ed]

(It’s not just the hardware that’s expensive. You need to buy plugins from UAD to run on that hardware, and they’re not cheap either. They’re a fraction of what the actual outboard gear they’re emulating costs, but every UAD owner spends more on plugins than on Apollo hardware)

I’m sure I’m not the only UAD customer who told UAD in one of their surveys that I would love to buy a 4-preamp unit. Now it’s actually here, there’s a problem. It’s expensive. It’s practically Apollo x6 money. They’ve plugged the hardware gap, but not the pricing gap.

Actually, it’s worse than that. At least one UK retailer is listing the Apollo x4 for *more* than the Apollo x6 atm.

I’m genuinely gutted. I’ve been trying to justify an Apollo x6 to myself all summer. When we’re rehearsing, I record each session, and I could really use an extra preamp or two. Same when working with my Kemper, where I’m using multiple mics at once.

If the Apollo x4 had been priced in the gap, I’d have ordered mine first thing in the morning. But I’m not paying Apollo x6 money for one.

Gear News: The 2020 PRS McCarty 594s

This conversation was originally posted to my Twitter feed.

A couple of very interesting bits of new gear announced today.

  • PRS are updating the McCarty 594 range to sound bang-on like a vintage burst.
  • And UAD are releasing new Apollo desktop interfaces, including something I’ve always wanted: an Apollo x4.

Tim Pierce has a video up about the McCarty 594 changes:

Chicago Music Exchange has a great comparison too:

And Sweetwater has a good video about the Apollo x4 here:

The 2020 594’s Have A New Sound

I’ve mixed feelings about the updates to the McCarty 594.

As much as I adore the Les Paul, the 594 is simply a better designed instrument. Better intonation, better tuning stability. I would gig a 594 over a Les Paul every single time.

There’s two flavours of the 594: singlecut, and double cut (which is what I have). In my experience, they often sound quite different.

I like the double cut 594 because it doesn’t sound like my Les Paul. Yes, it’s vintage-voiced, with that emphasis on the upper mids. It has its own tone, and it suits me perfectly.

I literally spent a quarter of a century searching for that tone.

The singlecut 594 is different again … the best way I can describe it is to say it’s like a muscle car in guitar form. Big, deep tones. Some distance away from the sound of a Les Paul.

Singlecut 594s with ebony boards can get quite close to the Les Paul. The sharper attack and snappier top-end is just gorgeous. The only reason I don’t own one is that my hand sticks to PRS gloss necks 🙁

I can understand PRS wanting to revoice the singlecut 594 to sound like the holy grail of guitars: the vintage bursts. But I’m glad that I have one of the older doublecuts. And I’m sad that the 594 tone won’t be a thing in future years.