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I'm thinking of purchasing the UA Apollo, and run it using the optional Thunderbolt connection.

I currently am using a Mac Mini with Komplete Audio 6, which is a major step down from the Apollo, and sometimes it seems that it cannot keep up with the audio processing from multiple applications, and gets all digitally static-y and eventually breaks down the audio completely.

UA claims that specific UA plugins will run at realtime with the Apollo's built in DSP.

My question is, does using the Apollo help with processing and running multiple non-UA plugins, from companies like Waves or Native Instruments? Will my computer be able to handle more audio intensive tasks if I am using a better interface, or does it solely rely on the computer to process everything first?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is the case with many mid to high end audio hardware - the compute intensive tasks are handed off to processors on the card so that your CPU doesn't need to handle them.

For creating/mastering/mixing multilayer projects, especially those with plugins or real-time effects or transitions in any DAW I would recommend an external card to handle these tasks.

Where the card needs to work with specific plugins (in your case the link is with specific UA plugins) you will not get a benefit with other plugins. This frees up proceser resource for using native plugins that do not work with the card or for other tasks such as video playback.

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