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Using Analog Hardware in Your Home Studio! (Companion Article)

Apollo x4 Hardware Insert Setup for Pro Tools

If you found your way to the page, we’re willing to bet you’ve hit an impasse adding hardware inserts to your Pro Tools session while utilizing Universal Audio’s Apollo X4 interface. Don’t fret as we have got you covered! Just take a look at the instructions below, and before you know it you will have four mono inserts primed and ready for just about anything you place in their path!

*This article is only for the software setup. Physical connections are covered in the accompanying video, which is linked at the bottom of this page.

**This article assumes that the user has an understanding of UA’s Console software and Pro Tools. For further information on either of those products, please refer to their respective manuals.

Changing the inputs and outputs in the Console software that’s provided with your Apollo X4 is necessary before attempting anything else. We’re not going to assume that we know how your Console is currently set up, rather we are going to show you in the images below how they need to be configured. If you don’t do this first, the I/O setup in Pro Tools may be problematic.

1. Open the UA Console Settings and then click on the I/O Matrix. The inputs for channels 1 & 2 should be set to “OFFLINE”. Outputs 1 & 2 should be set to “MOL L” and “MON R” respectively.

2. Input channels 3 & 4 should be changed to “MIC/LINE/HIZ 1” and “MIC/LINE//HIZ 2” respectively. Output channels 3 & 4 should be changed to “Line 1” and “Line 2”


3. Input channels 5 & 6 should be changed to “MIC/LINE 3” and “MIC/LINE 4” respectively. Output channels 5 & 6 should be changed to “Line 3” and “Line 4” respectively.

4. Once you’ve completed these step, be sure to save your setup with a meaningful name. Maybe “Pro Tools Inserts Setup” or “Pro Tools Default”.

5. Now return to the Console window and mute the four analog outputs. This is required as not to double monitor the insert when engaged in a Pro Tools session. And for the sake of clarification - if the four analog inputs are not muted in the UA Console, not only will you monitor the output in Pro Tools, you will also hear signal pass through the UA Console software and the Apollo, which will create a slight delay/doubling when monitoring.

6. Now open your Pro Tools session. Once the session has loaded, it’s time to reconfigure your I/O setup. Venture up to the “Setup” menu and then select “I/O’.

7. Clear out all inputs, outputs, busses and inserts. Each of the aforementioned has to be cleared individually. To do this, click on the “Input” tab first, select all inputs, and then delete said inputs. The same activity will be repeated using the “Output”, “Bus” and “Insert” tabs. Once completed, click “OK” in the bottom right corner.

*Please note that any routing you had in your session will be deleted. If you already have complex bus assignments in your session, please be sure to take notes of your settings.

8. After the routing assignments have been cleared from their respective tabs, you need to enter their the default assignments. Once again, you will click through each tab, starting with the “Input” tab. Your inputs should still be clear, but that will soon change. Find the “Default” button on the lower left, click, and the inputs will auto-assign. Notice how the names of the inputs in the left column now reflect the names of the inputs in the UA Console software. Repeat these steps for the “Output”, “Bus” and “Insert” tabs. Once completed, click “OK” in the bottom right corner.

9. This next step is key to getting all of the former steps to have any meaning in this quest. When the inserts are set to their default state, they will not work properly as they will be misaligned.

10. The inserts must now be moved over two spots to the right. In other words inserts “1 & 2” should now be placed under channels “3 & 4” and inserts “3 & 4” should be placed under channels “5 & 6”. This sounds confusing, but take a look at the image below for clarification. The quickest way to achieve this task is by selecting all assignments and then moving them over collectively two spaces to the right. Insert designations after 3 & 4 will not work with the Apollo X4. Once completed, click “OK” in the bottom right corner.

11. The final step is to instantiate the hardware insert in your Pro Tool session. If everything has been setup correctly on both the hardware and software sides, audio signal should pass through the processor of your choosing and return back to Pro Tools. Place your cursors on the first insert slot, click on the slot, and then choose “I/o”, which should immediately expose

the mono inserts. Now select “Insert 1 (mono)” and start tweaking your hardware! If this goes as intended, then you still have three more hardware inserts to experiment with.

*Be sure to consult your Pro Tools manual for hardware insert delay compensation. This will have to be set up manually.

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