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SSL Alphalink AX vs Antelope Orion 32 to expand RME UFX via adat?
Old 11th June 2014
  #1
SSL Alphalink AX vs Antelope Orion 32 to expand RME UFX via adat?

Hey guys,

I have an RME UFX and want to expand my AD/DA using the ADAT ports on the UFX.
I have a hybrid setup and outboard will be connected. Low latency is a factor in my decision (the RME is great in this area).

Currently deciding between the SSL Alphalink AX and the Antelope Orion 32.
I have read up on both units and they look great.
Any opinions here from current users that would help making this choice?



Another question, when expanding the UFX I have 16 channels using the two ADAT, however both these units provide more channels.
Is it possible to utilise the extra available ad/da not connecting through the UFX?
Old 11th June 2014
  #2
I am also considering the Apogee Symphony.

Originally wanted to stay with RME, but the price for the ADI-8QS was too much considering I would need at least two units just to get to 16 channels.

Any other suggestions also welcome!
Old 11th June 2014
  #3
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jimbridgman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
Hey guys,

I have an RME UFX and want to expand my AD/DA using the ADAT ports on the UFX.
I have a hybrid setup and outboard will be connected. Low latency is a factor in my decision (the RME is great in this area).

Currently deciding between the SSL Alphalink AX and the Antelope Orion 32.
I have read up on both units and they look great.
Any opinions here from current users that would help making this choice?



Another question, when expanding the UFX I have 16 channels using the two ADAT, however both these units provide more channels.
Is it possible to utilise the extra available ad/da not connecting through the UFX?
If you are thinking about these units, I would pick one and dump the rest. Having different units can become a real pia.

If you like rme grab an RME MADI rspe pcie card and use the Orion with it. This is very similar to my setup, except I use an SSL MADIXtreme card instead. Very good interface, it sounds amazing, I get very low latency with this setup and use a buffer of 64 in pro tools even when mixing with a ton of plugins.

Jim
Old 11th June 2014
  #4
Think i'd like to keep the RME as I use the advanced remote with talkback/monitor control, and also the on board preamps.
And totalmix is great.

Not really looking at madi at this stage, the pcie route would be expensive (im on a macbook pro)
purely looking for UFX expansion via adat with combination of quality ad/da, high channel count and good price
Old 11th June 2014
  #5
If I was to connect the Orion via USB, is it possible to have 16 channels linked to the UFX via adat (two ports) and the remaining 16 ins and outs running through the Orions USB?
Old 11th June 2014
  #6
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jimbridgman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
If I was to connect the Orion via USB, is it possible to have 16 channels linked to the UFX via adat (two ports) and the remaining 16 ins and outs running through the Orions USB?
You can probably do that. The Orion blows away the RME by a whole lot, though. So I would again rethink this.

You would be way better off just using the Orion via USB, and forgetting the RME. You can get great latency with a good computer. It is something like 6ms round trip, via USB, and you get 32 channels of stellar A/D and D/A. The only thing it does not have is preamps.

I personally thought the RME was cold and sterile compared to the Orion, and other converters. And with the Orion I can use whatever preamp I want to warm, or enhance the signal that way before going into the converter.

I think by using multiple converters you are asking for issues and odd things. I tried this for some time and had a bear of a time with a few interfaces feeding my console. That is why I went to the Orion, and I thought about the SSL, and the Burl MS too at that time.

I would sell the RME and get a few decent preamps.

Jim
Old 11th June 2014
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbridgman View Post
You can probably do that. The Orion blows away the RME by a whole lot, though. So I would again rethink this.

You would be way better off just using the Orion via USB, and forgetting the RME. You can get great latency with a good computer. It is something like 6ms round trip, via USB, and you get 32 channels of stellar A/D and D/A. The only thing it does not have is preamps.

I personally thought the RME was cold and sterile compared to the Orion, and other converters. And with the Orion I can use whatever preamp I want to warm, or enhance the signal that way before going into the converter.

I think by using multiple converters you are asking for issues and odd things. I tried this for some time and had a bear of a time with a few interfaces feeding my console. That is why I went to the Orion, and I thought about the SSL, and the Burl MS too at that time.

I would sell the RME and get a few decent preamps.

Jim


I would also need monitor control and talkback if I did that. Which the ufx does nicely.

And from what I've seen totalmix routing is superior to the antelope routing.
Old 11th June 2014
  #8
You would really say the Orion blows away the UFX in terms of conversion?
I haven't compared the two, but I've been impressed with the UFX.
Old 12th June 2014
  #9
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jimbridgman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
You would really say the Orion blows away the UFX in terms of conversion?
I haven't compared the two, but I've been impressed with the UFX.
Yes the Antelope orion in the same league as the higher end stuff, like Burl, SSL, Lynx, Prism, etc. The RME gear is great and all, but it is not even in the same league.

If you need a monitor controller, there are decent ones that will do a nice job and not break the bank.

I have used total mix, and most of the other "routing" software that is bundled with the interfaces out there, and none of them really are that great to me... It is sort of like a manufacturer throwing in the drivers for buying their device. It gets the job done, and you really do not spend all that much time in there, or at least you shouldn't.

If you base your purchase mostly on something like that then you should stop looking at all the higher end gear, because they all are not that great, in the software built for use with the interface/drivers, but again you should not be in there all that much.. Just set up your routing for the session and close the app. It took me about 10 min to figure it all out on the Orion and I had no issues what so ever with it, ever. It operates just like a patch bay and you drag inputs to outputs, and the section for monitoring works like the others I have used with faders and everything for monitoring. It is pretty intuitive. I never really got the whole I love totalmix thing that everyone raves about it, or any of the other ones for that matter.

I mean it seems to me, that you should grab another UFX and call it a day, it sort of sounds like that would fit what you are wanting, much better.

Jim
Old 12th June 2014
  #10
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jimbridgman's Avatar
Here is a review from our own George Necola:
review: Antelope Orion32 converter | GeorgeNecola.com blog

He compares it to the SSL and the mytek.

Here is another review comparing it to several other high end converters on price and sound:
Prosound Network: PAR Studio Review: Antelope Audio Orion 32 32-channel AD/DA Converter (Web Edition)

Here is a post on here comparing the orion to the apogee AD16x and DA16X:
Antelope Orion 32 vs Apogee converter shootout w samples

Jim
Old 12th June 2014
  #11
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skythemusic's Avatar
I would steer clear of the AlphaLink. They are next to impossible to setup without their help and I have been having serious problems with mine (complete distortion on inputs) and SSL does not even offer any repair services. I am likely going to have to buy a whole new setup unless I can find a tech who can figure it out.
Old 12th June 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
If you'd like to stay with RME, what's wrong with the ADI8 DS?
Old 13th June 2014
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
If you'd like to stay with RME, what's wrong with the ADI8 DS?
The amount of channels. I need at least another 16 i/o

I have also been strongly considering the Symphony
Old 13th June 2014
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
The amount of channels. I need at least another 16 i/o

I have also been strongly considering the Symphony
I believe the Symphony has a fan, in case you want to stay silent.

I am looking to add 16 inputs to a UFX via ADAT as well. I'm thinking of the Lynx Aurora 16. All of the test results I have seen make it very compelling as an I/O expansion. I'm sure the Apogee AD 16x would also be fantastic, and ADAT output comes stock with the unit.
Old 13th June 2014
  #15
I bought my Alpha Link from Warren at Zen Pro and he helped me set it up over the phone. It was simple and it has been rock-solid over the last five years. Replaced my Digi 192 and by comparison has a more robust voice. I run the buffer at 32 when recording.
Old 13th June 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
The amount of channels. I need at least another 16 i/o

I have also been strongly considering the Symphony
For the price of an Orion you can get two ADI 8 DS units.
Old 13th June 2014
  #17
I had a UFX and liked it, but I needed more inputs and replaced it with an Orion. I liked the UFX fine, but I really like the Orion a LOT. I have had no regrets at all...
Old 13th June 2014
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by climber View Post
I had a UFX and liked it, but I needed more inputs and replaced it with an Orion. I liked the UFX fine, but I really like the Orion a LOT. I have had no regrets at all...
Would you also have a similar opinion that the Orion blows away the UFX in terms of ad/da?


Right now I'm actually seriously considering selling the UFX and sticking with one unit...
It has come down to the Orion vs Symphony.
The Symphony is really ticking all the boxes..

The other issue I'm faced with is no monitor control and talkback.. But I might purchase a separate unit for that..
Old 13th June 2014
  #19
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jimbridgman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
Would you also have a similar opinion that the Orion blows away the UFX in terms of ad/da?


Right now I'm actually seriously considering selling the UFX and sticking with one unit...
It has come down to the Orion vs Symphony.
The Symphony is really ticking all the boxes..

The other issue I'm faced with is no monitor control and talkback.. But I might purchase a separate unit for that..
The Symphony is a great converter.

The Orion has a 3d sound stage, more so than the Symphony. With the Orion I could hear instrument separation in the mid range without needing any eq.

The Symphony had a "space" to it was almost like being in the same room as the performers, but I felt the highs were too "processed" sounding for my tastes, almost like a boost in the real high end was happening.

The Burl MS was also great and in another league from the Orion and Symphony, but it really sounded so much like tape, it was a great and awesome sound stage. The issue I had was that not all my clients would want that "tape" sound and transformer compression/distortion.

Those were my thoughts on these converters.

If there is any way you can get your favorite dealer to let you test them in YOUR place, I would highly recommend it. I say grab the presonus monitor controller to start with if you need that, and get a cranesong later on.

Jim
Old 13th June 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 

You need to be more specific with your needs. If you want to record at 88.2k or 96k sample rate then using the 16 additional ADAT channel I/O on the UFX will cut that total in half to 8 channels, it's just the ADAT protocol, as it's the same with all ADAT devices (most here still record at 44.1k or 48k sample rate though). If you go with the Orion via USB connection to the computer you get 32 channels I/O and conversion but no built in mic pres. It's software mixer and drivers will not be as good as RME's.

Define your EXACT and near term future needs first, along with determining a budget, THEN look at the available options and compare.
Old 31st August 2014
  #21
Here for the gear
 

In the exact same boat with RME - what did you do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post
Hey guys,

I have an RME UFX and want to expand my AD/DA using the ADAT ports on the UFX.
I have a hybrid setup and outboard will be connected. Low latency is a factor in my decision (the RME is great in this area).

Currently deciding between the SSL Alphalink AX and the Antelope Orion 32.
I have read up on both units and they look great.
Any opinions here from current users that would help making this choice?



Another question, when expanding the UFX I have 16 channels using the two ADAT, however both these units provide more channels.
Is it possible to utilise the extra available ad/da not connecting through the UFX?

I tried unsuccessfully to use the RME Fireface 800 as a 10 track AD converter slaving to a UFX via two Adat light pipes to make a 22 tracks when all is said and done. Very frustrated as even the same manufacturer has adat issues between two of its products. So I starting looking and found both SSL and Antelope as two great alternatives. I have great preamps and love the DSP options in the latest version of RME totalmix that takes advantage of the DSP chip on the UFX. For me it was going to be all RME for tracking and then summing through a Dangerous 2bus LT. So I gotta' ask, what did you do and are you happy with it?

Thanks
Old 1st September 2014
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianLeeBender View Post
I tried unsuccessfully to use the RME Fireface 800 as a 10 track AD converter slaving to a UFX via two Adat light pipes to make a 22 tracks when all is said and done. Very frustrated as even the same manufacturer has adat issues between two of its products. So I starting looking and found both SSL and Antelope as two great alternatives. I have great preamps and love the DSP options in the latest version of RME totalmix that takes advantage of the DSP chip on the UFX. For me it was going to be all RME for tracking and then summing through a Dangerous 2bus LT. So I gotta' ask, what did you do and are you happy with it?

Thanks

I ended up selling my UFX and buying an Apogee Symphony I/O with 16x16 analog card.
I have outboard pres so not having the UFX pres was not a problem.
Very happy! I am really impressed with the symphony.
I use a cranesong avocet for monitor control and talkback functions.
Originally I didn't want to let go of the UFX, but after researching and making the decision to change altogether I know I made the right choice
I didn't want the headache of chaining units together, and the problems that may have encountered. Plus the UFX still had decent resale value so the extra $ for the symphony wasn't too bad.
Old 7th September 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
if your doing more hard rock-modern metal stuff. get an apogee AD16X and call it a day. clock the ufx from the apogee and your good to go. just a thought.
Old 13th October 2014
  #24
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GYang's Avatar
I like Apogee sonics (and have few of their converters), but UFX is definitely same league with Symphony.
In same case I would pick Apogee and in some UFX, so no better-worse here.
RME has some nice features that I really appreciate and whole system (incl. no brainer software integration) is so rock solid that I see no point in improving that.
IMO UFX offers competetive interface+ package on par with any of top high-end contenders.
Conversion quality is excellent (I compared it also with UFX Black Lion Audio premium package), definitelly not harsh or sterile, but indeed high resolution and clean.
BLA upgrade is not improvement 'per se', it is different take to great sound and to some ears it migh be preferrable (like some people prefer Burl for its 'pleasant' nature which is actually departure from realistic).
So, I would leave choice more toward functional fetaures than pure sonic performances, as here is no chance that one ultimate truth will be result.
Old 13th October 2014
  #25
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dude24man View Post
if your doing more hard rock-modern metal stuff. get an apogee AD16X and call it a day. clock the ufx from the apogee and your good to go. just a thought.


I say that often.
Old 13th October 2014
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GYang View Post
I like Apogee sonics (and have few of their converters), but UFX is definitely same league with Symphony.
In same case I would pick Apogee and in some UFX, so no better-worse here.
RME has some nice features that I really appreciate and whole system (incl. no brainer software integration) is so rock solid that I see no point in improving that.
IMO UFX offers competetive interface+ package on par with any of top high-end contenders.
Conversion quality is excellent (I compared it also with UFX Black Lion Audio premium package), definitelly not harsh or sterile, but indeed high resolution and clean.
BLA upgrade is not improvement 'per se', it is different take to great sound and to some ears it migh be preferrable (like some people prefer Burl for its 'pleasant' nature which is actually departure from realistic).
So, I would leave choice more toward functional fetaures than pure sonic performances, as here is no chance that one ultimate truth will be result.

I can 100% say that after owning the UFX and moving to the symphony that I prefer the symphony. Wasn't really even a fair contest to me...conversion wise.
The UFX is a great unit, no doubt about that. But for purely a/d d/a the Symphony wins.
Like you said the UFX is great for an all round unit. But if you want pro conversion and have hardware preamps and possibly a dedicated monitoring/talkback solution like myself, it was a worthwhile upgrade.
I'm even using it as my main d/a over the d/a in my Cranesong Avocet. The low end punch and clarity is amazing.

My Symphony is 16x16 io. 100% satisfied with my purchase. And the UFX still got a good price on the second hand market
Old 14th October 2014
  #27
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GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DUB13 View Post


Like you said the UFX is great for an all round unit. But if you want pro conversion and have hardware preamps and possibly a dedicated monitoring/talkback solution like myself, it was a worthwhile upgrade.
I'm even using it as my main d/a over the d/a in my Cranesong Avocet. The low end punch and clarity is amazing.

My Symphony is 16x16 io. 100% satisfied with my purchase. And the UFX still got a good price on the second hand market
For many years and still I enjoy Apogee conversion.
I pick Apogee over Forssell for some tracks, although Forssell is undoubtedly more capable converter in resolution and depth department.

Without contradicting aforesaid UFX is absolutely PRO product sound-wise and for fantastic operating reliability/stability.
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