Product Profile: Apogee Jam X iOS / USB Interface

Just released at the 2023 NAMM show, Apogee’s Jam X is a pocket-sized single channel USB audio interface capable of up to 24 bit / 96 kHz recordings. Apogee’s Jam X features a clever design that despite its micro size, incorporates some of the professional features found in Apogee’s more expensive audio interfaces. 

Jam X is the fourth generation of Jam, Apogee’s most portable and affordable audio Interface. Jam X replaces the current version of Jam, Jam +, and connects to your PC or iOS device via the supplied Micro-USB B to USB C cable. Windows users will also need to download drivers (compatible with Windows 10 and above) via the link provided. As was found on the previous version of Jam, the Jam +, the Apogee Jam +, Jam X features Apogee’s Pure DIGITAL connection for high-quality analog to digital conversion.

Like previous versions of Jam, Apogee’s Jam X has a single quarter-inch Mono input, which gives you the flexibility to connect Hi-Z instruments such as electric or acoustic guitar, bass, and keyboards. Jam X has a multifunction encoder which helps to set gain and change compression settings and a soft touch blend button to change between software monitoring and direct monitoring of the Direct input signal. On the back of Jam X is an eighth-inch stereo output to plug in a pair of headphones or powered monitors.

The built in Amp sim that was found on Apogee’s Jam + has been replaced by a built-in analog compression circuit that has three presets: Smooth Leveler, Purple Squeeze and Vintage Blue Stomp, the current selection of which is displayed on the front of the device. The settings were selected to create different levels of compression that are adaptable for different types of sources. An LED will display for one second to indicate which one of the available compressor presets is selected. The first two compression settings have been optimized for keyboard, acoustic guitar, and bass. The third setting, Vintage Blue Stomp, has been optimized for electric guitar and is modeled after a vintage C Boss pedal.

You can use the Input Level adjustment to control the overall audio input signal of whatever you are recording. When you first connect Jam X via USB, the blue light on the top of Jam X shows the device is connected to a computer but not yet active. Open a recording app and the display changes to green, then you’re ready to set your level on whatever instrument source you have plugged in. When the LED is green, it will pulse with the signal level indicating your input and gain levels are correctly set.

Use the input gain knob on the front of Jam X to control the amount of compression applied to the input signal. Jam X features a clipping indicator that will turn orange when your signal is too hot. Jam X also has a built-in soft Limiter which engages when the input level reaches 4dBfs; this setting is fixed and cannot be changed.

Apogee’s Jam X features a direct monitoring function called Blend mode, as was also found on Jam +. Push the blend button to toggle Jam X direct monitoring circuit on and off. When the Blend control is engaged, the quarter-inch signal from your Guitar, Microphone, etc. will be routed with the playback from your audio app and rioted directly to the headphone or speaker output, and allows you to record with near zero latency. When engaged, the Blend control lets you dial in for a direct signal that bypasses the monitoring functions of your recording software. 

Jam X comes bundled with an extended trial plug-in of Neural DSP’s Archetype, Tim Henson plug-in suite, which is available for download once you register your Jam X on the Apogee website. You also get, as part of your purchase, a full license to Ableton Live Lite.

Not much bigger than a USB thumb drive, Jam X is Apogee digital’s smallest, most affordable and most portable audio interface. The new compression circuit in Jam X makes getting professional sounding guitar tracks easier than ever before. If you are a guitar player looking for an ultra-portable professional solution for recording or just jamming along to your favorite tracks, Apogee’s Jam X is definitely worth checking out. 

Apogee’s Jam X is available now for MAP $199.

Find out more at apogeedigital.com/products/jamx