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Antelope Audio Orion Studio vs Universal Audio Apollo 16 Audio Interfaces
Old 20th July 2018
  #1
Gear Head
 

Antelope Audio Orion Studio vs Universal Audio Apollo 16

Hi all! Looking to upgrade to a new interface (I've been rocking the internal AD/DA on a Mackie 1640i for some years now) and considering both the Antelope Audio Orion Studio (either the original or the newer rev 2017) or a Universal Audio Apollo 16. Any thoughts on what you'd prefer? Both would be Thunderbolt connected to my mid-2015 MacBook Pro.
Old 20th July 2018
  #2
Lives for gear
 

GO with the one with the better reliability and after sales service track record
Old 22nd July 2018
  #3
Lives for gear
Agreed. At the end of the day, reliability is what you are going to count on. UA has been around a long time, is stable and rock solid, and sounds awesome. Can't go wrong.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #4
Here for the gear
 

A vote for Antelope...

There is no denying that the UAD product is an excellent piece. The after sale value with Antelope is substantially better in terms of bang for the buck. The audio quality wins hands down in my book, and yes, I have tried Apollo, Antelope and Focusrite, all recently. I also came from a using a Mackie 1640i, which was dead reliable, for many years, and sounded good enough though it didnt win awards for DAC. The Antelope Audio enhancements are coming from a different place than the DSP based FX that UAD offers, at a rather stiff price. The FPGA hardware models are authentic recreations of some rather highly prized EQ's and Compressors, and you won't be disappointed. Given the way that many of the retailers work now, you can try them both, and return the one you don't want to keep. I have run every audio test by the Apollo 8, the Goliath HD, Focusrite Clarett 8X, and am firmly convinced that the Antelope was so much better that the other options sounded thin to my ears, while the Antelope Goliath HD was on another level. When Antelope adds a new effect, it is free, and of substantially excellent quality, while you will pay for every DSP based plug in, and can run out of processors quickly. With the FPGA based model, you will run a good number of instances before you run out of instances. Worth looking into and letting your own ears decide. Having worked with Antelope for quite some time, they are plenty responsive when problems arise, and the warranty is rock solid. As with all things YMMV, but it comes down to what you want out of the unit. For me, the Antelope answer was the best one, and I went through a good number of options that were all highly rated. For you, only you can answer what you must have out of the unit.
Old 2nd August 2018
  #5
Gear Head
 

Great response! Thanks!
Old 2nd August 2018
  #6
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bigbone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timguitartaylor View Post
There is no denying that the UAD product is an excellent piece. The after sale value with Antelope is substantially better in terms of bang for the buck. The audio quality wins hands down in my book, and yes, I have tried Apollo, Antelope and Focusrite, all recently. I also came from a using a Mackie 1640i, which was dead reliable, for many years, and sounded good enough though it didnt win awards for DAC. The Antelope Audio enhancements are coming from a different place than the DSP based FX that UAD offers, at a rather stiff price. The FPGA hardware models are authentic recreations of some rather highly prized EQ's and Compressors, and you won't be disappointed. Given the way that many of the retailers work now, you can try them both, and return the one you don't want to keep. I have run every audio test by the Apollo 8, the Goliath HD, Focusrite Clarett 8X, and am firmly convinced that the Antelope was so much better that the other options sounded thin to my ears, while the Antelope Goliath HD was on another level. When Antelope adds a new effect, it is free, and of substantially excellent quality, while you will pay for every DSP based plug in, and can run out of processors quickly. With the FPGA based model, you will run a good number of instances before you run out of instances. Worth looking into and letting your own ears decide. Having worked with Antelope for quite some time, they are plenty responsive when problems arise, and the warranty is rock solid. As with all things YMMV, but it comes down to what you want out of the unit. For me, the Antelope answer was the best one, and I went through a good number of options that were all highly rated. For you, only you can answer what you must have out of the unit.
Can i ask, please, what kind, or style of music your record or played ?

thank you
Old 2nd August 2018
  #7
Lives for gear
I would also say that the UA line up is a great product line. Their product is certainly aligned for using their plugins which are excellent but can represent a significant ongoing expense.

I came from Analog tape -> Every AVID HD/HDX system -> ULN8 -> Ensemble TB -> ZenTour and Orion 2017. At every point I ever experience an increase in audio quality and in the move to Antelope gained in conversion quality again and most important for me got tracking latency below 0.5ms for audio tracks with built in AFX. This is huge and was a 1/2 of what I could do with HDX.

I bought into the Antelope line for conversion quality - latency and tracking with built in FX. The fact that these sound excellent is wonderful. That they can also be used for mixing is very nice but not important to my workflow - I like all FX in DAW to be plugins that can render at whatever speed my DAW can do and require no hardware attached unit. I do many 2 hour long renders - takes <10min - not real time!

There certainly has been much posting on reliability issues recently. IME (2 units over 2.5 years) I have had issues with updates a few times. The second to last update for Orion was the worst and almost resulted in the unit having to be serviced. Was down for 2 days working it out. Tech support was always helpful. FWIW I can only update from USB though I use TB all the rest of the time. At this time there is no other unit I could get that does all the Antelope ones are doing for me.

As always I suggest you buy both from a retailer with a return policy and decide which works better for you.
Old 3rd August 2018
  #8
I still have the Mackie Onyx1640i that I only use for extra preamps to my system ... I am also a UAD user but the core of my system is the Apogee Symphony ...

It really comes down to what you're looking for ... if you're into Live recording .. You better get the UAD Apollo and benefit from the Unison Preamp technology... If you're into pure mixing and recording as a plus .. You definitely have to check Apogee Symphony or Ensemble for their DA/AD Converters which for me are the best out there in the market ... As for Antelope I have no idea because I never tried it but I read a lot of positive reviews of their Antelope Orion ...
Old 3rd August 2018
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbone View Post
Can i ask, please, what kind, or style of music your record or played ?

thank you
Jazz, Rock, Opera, are the formats I record in primarily. I've been doing digital audio since the days of a Mac II FX, and have had quite a few systems come and go, and each one is a little better in the digital world. One cannot always say that about the analog world!
Old 3rd August 2018
  #10
Manufacturer
 
Universal Audio's Avatar
 

grahambo!
Let me know if you have any specific questions I can help answer.
Old 3rd August 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Universal Audio View Post
grahambo!
Let me know if you have any specific questions I can help answer.
I do have a question please ....

I have an Apogee Symphony as a Main Interface and I am a heavy user of UAD plugs through a Thunderbolt Satellite ...

I noticed that some of the plugins I bought were "unison" plugins and it says that the UAD Arrow, Twin or Apollo offer Unison Preamps ...

It is clear that if we Track and Record Using any of the UAD Interfaces above and insert a UAD Unison plugin that we would get a sound very similar to the hardware emulated by the plugin ...

Let's say I Recorded a dry vocal using a Focusrite ISA2 Preamp and then added a unison UA plugin to the dry vocal recorded ... would it give me the same outcome as if i was recording using a UA interface and adding a Unison enabled plugin ?

Kindly advise
Old 3rd August 2018
  #12
Lives for gear
 
bigbone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by timguitartaylor View Post
Jazz, Rock, Opera, are the formats I record in primarily. I've been doing digital audio since the days of a Mac II FX, and have had quite a few systems come and go, and each one is a little better in the digital world. One cannot always say that about the analog world!

Thank you.The reason i did ask that question is i found a lot of Antelope user
are doing EDM and DJ's music, and the need aren't the same depend of the
style of music you are doing.The need arenT the same if you record accoustic
instrument VS Virtual instrument.
Old 3rd August 2018
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbone View Post
Thank you.The reason i did ask that question is i found a lot of Antelope user
are doing EDM and DJ's music, and the need aren't the same depend of the
style of music you are doing.The need arenT the same if you record accoustic
instrument VS Virtual instrument.
Recording Acoustic Instruments VS Virtual Instruments mainly require 2 variables: Number of Preamps and AD/DA Converters ....

UAD And Apogee are the leaders in terms of AD/DA conversion ... then the rest comes along
Old 4th August 2018
  #14
Manufacturer
 
Universal Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Bechara View Post
Let's say I Recorded a dry vocal using a Focusrite ISA2 Preamp and then added a unison UA plugin to the dry vocal recorded ... would it give me the same outcome as if i was recording using a UA interface and adding a Unison enabled plugin ?
No, because at that point it's already "line level". Unison by definition involves mic or instrument level signals.

You can of course run your vocal through a 1073 for example, and it will take on some of the color of the line amp and EQ, just like if you were mixing on a desk with 1073s. But it wouldn't be the same as tracking through that desk.

Hope this helps.
Old 4th August 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Universal Audio View Post
No, because at that point it's already "line level". Unison by definition involves mic or instrument level signals.

You can of course run your vocal through a 1073 for example, and it will take on some of the color of the line amp and EQ, just like if you were mixing on a desk with 1073s. But it wouldn't be the same as tracking through that desk.

Hope this helps.
So basically if I purchase a UAD Arrow and connect it to my setup:

I have few questions:

My main setup is the Apogee Symphony
Let's say I chose to go with Pro Tools Aggregate Device would that cause a lot of latency ?
Orelse I can simply Use the Arrow as a main interface in let's say Logic and then Export the recorded tracks to Pro Tools where my main interface is the Apogee

If I got a Beat Solo Wireless Headphones ... How can I hook it up with Arrow ? No Jack needed ...

Finally, do you think there will be a Dual Processor Arrow Release ?
Old 7th August 2018
  #16
Manufacturer
 
Universal Audio's Avatar
 

Answered on UADForum.
Old 13th August 2018
  #17
TNM
Lives for gear
Just note that if you use any of the newer plugins in console, apollo latency is ALOT higher than using the FPGA effects on Antelope.. and antelope RTL through the mixer is faster to begin with (Console is ~2.1ms RTL at 44K without any effects, and stays at that figure if you use zero latency fx but none of UA's plugins since MK2 are zero latency).

That said, UAD is rock solid.. still to this day i never had a single crash since i started using it 3 years ago, and i can't say that for any other interface over the years.. it just works.. and there is a little plugin you save with your song so console always loads up correctly.. As far as i know it's the only interface to have this sort of automatic feature for it's dsp mixer.. The others you will have to save "scenes" and recall manually.

Antelope converters are a bit better but apollo sounds good enough for almost anyone for any genre of music.

i would say UAD simply because it is so rock solid and "just works". Just be aware of the latency limitations and that the zero latency tracking thing through DSP is pretty much BS when you start buying the newer UA made emulations (distressor, api, etc). All the included plugins are zero latency and are good enough for many people for tracking. My UA general console setup is over 8MS at44K latency to get the chain I like, so the only bonus is it's not using native CPU, but i can feel the latency.. a unison slot will add even more to that.. I tried to bring this up at uad forums but was attacked by the mods and told I was a troll even though universal audio support confirmed it to me via email, and also confirmed to me that what is playing in console in realtime, will be out of time with the DAW project playing back (VI's and audio tracks).. granted 8ms is not the end of the world and everything can be recorded to audio to line up... but facts are facts.. and the fact is that UA console latency is higher than a low latency native interface through the DAW when using all 4 channel insert slots with majority of UA plugins. I also still can't understand to this day why there is no master channel with inserts...

Personally I am giving it all up and getting 2 presonus quantums both with 2 adat for 48 inputs total and going native.. A quantum at 32 samples will be way faster than my setup in console, and i can put 10 native zero latency plugins if i want and the latency will stay the same. At 64 samples, 44/48K, it's still under 5ms RTL, performance stabilises and that's STILL faster than the way I use console, but the DAW takes care of everything on playback with latency compensation. With Apollo i have to currently record all 32 inputs to audio just like analog mixer days...

Of course, this is all moot if you are happy using the zero latency mk1 plugins in console, or brainworx plugins which are almost all zero latency. Some softube ones too.
And you can do all that with even a weak cpu.. with my pathetic i7 2600 I have 32 channels streaming into console at all times, all with effects, and zero hit on the system. Nada.. This is why i am investing in a killer system and going all native.. it's just easier to have everything all going through the DAW. It was a tough decision but I want everything under 5MS total rtl at all times...

FWIW i finally got a chance to play with a friend's orion and yes the sound was amazing, but i found the dsp mixer and routing setup to give me a headache and make my eyes twitch trying to work it out.. I also experienced some instability....

In a nutshell, apollo sounds great, around presonus quantum levels if you have heard one of those, and has ROCK SOLID drivers and if you want dsp and low latency, especially if you work at 96K, you can use it and save every console dsp session with just one plugin with your daw and have complete recall on project load..
If you want the latency however to stay under 4MS rtl at all times, you are limited to which plugins you use. If 4MS is still too high you are *really* limited with which plugins to use.

With antelope, from what i understand, the latency stays at basically almost nothing through it's dsp mixer no matter what..I certainly couldn't feel any latency at all playing through it.. and the plugins are FREE.. so even though the interfaces are really expensive, the dsp additions are free. I personally don't think the emulations are a patch on the UA ones, and there are still many types of effects missing, and only ONE reverb available.. and for me at least, not intuitive to use as a platform in any way.. so between that or UA, i choose UA.. I have also never read as many complaints about driver issues as I have read with antelope, so, YMMV.
If you have a mac with thunderbolt, any mac from TB1 to TB3, UA will simply work, and also on many windows 10 machines.. and the drivers themselves are still very low latency if you want to bypass console completely.. but that sort of misses the point about the whole system
Old 13th August 2018
  #18
Ive no experience with anything other than the Apollo interfaces. I have had an apollo 8 for about 2 years now. It has been very reliable, there are occasional quirks or glitches, but nothing I could ever pin on UAudio as a defect. My feelings towards the UAD platform have varied over time. Currently, I feel that they have made some mis-steps with regards to the pricing, marketing and sales of the plugins. I will own up to my part in this in that I didn't have to have GAS and feel obsessed with all of the plugins that I didn't own and spend a large chunk of change acquiring all of the UAD plugs.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way- here is what bothers me most about UAD:
I am not quite liquid enough to have just purchased the everything bundle, so like most folks I bought a few at a time, usually at full price. However it was a kick in the nuts to see them make all of their in house(and some of the external) plugins 40-60% off at the end of the year last year. UAudio is hardly the only guilty party in this respect(Waves anyone?) but damn, it sucks to look at my purchase history and see that I easily spent thousands too much on plugins that were hardly essential to my work. Then I was not all that happy with the "complete your bundle" offer they had. Instead of considering your total spend, they just offered a flat price to complete it. So really if someone had purchased all of the plugins during the end of the year sale, and then completed their bundle they would have saved a big chunk of change compared to me.

The pricing structure of the bundle should allow for those who want to get their feet wet on UAD the chance to buy a'la cart and when they decide they want them all, you should be able to spend the same amount as someone who bought the bundle from the get go. Further- If I buy a plugin (say for example the Helios 69), and then you decide to release a new version, I should not have to buy it again. The "legacy-ing" of the plugins is maddening. Granted I like the original Helios and it still works, but seriously Im not buying the other version on principle.

As for latency, Im happy with the performance Ive gotten. I record at 44.1, and over TB on my iMac pro i get about 5-7 ms round trip as reported by Logic, Reason, and FL Studio. The Unison plugins work as advertised, but you are "printing" audio when you use them, so its a trade off I suppose. The plugins that are unison enabled is also a limited subset of the entire UAD effects. In general, they are among the best sounding plugins available, but Im disappointed that most of them are EQ, Compressor, reverb. I am also guessing that there is a technical limitation preventing them from creating synthesis plugins on the UAD platform as well, since its been around for decades and there have been none developed. I would really like for UAD to prove me wrong on this

My last gripe is that the entire range of plugins needs to be updated to allow gui scaling. The LA-3a is comically small on a 5k screen.

As I re-read this it seems to be a mediocre review of the Apollo, but all told I am glad I own it and don't really have any desire or plans to divest myself of it. I can see that my complaints may come off as entitled/whiney, but I think the pricing structure is jacked up. On the plus side the hardware is solidly built and looks nice. I even considered buying a second Apollo 8/16 since they have a 20% off sale going on right now. The prospect of not needing a mixer for all my gear sounds awesome.
Old 14th August 2018
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by S_A_P View Post

Now that I've gotten that out of the way- here is what bothers me most about UAD:
I am not quite liquid enough to have just purchased the everything bundle, so like most folks I bought a few at a time, usually at full price. However it was a kick in the nuts to see them make all of their in house(and some of the external) plugins 40-60% off at the end of the year last year. UAudio is hardly the only guilty party in this respect(Waves anyone?) but damn, it sucks to look at my purchase history and see that I easily spent thousands too much on plugins that were hardly essential to my work. Then I was not all that happy with the "complete your bundle" offer they had. Instead of considering your total spend, they just offered a flat price to complete it. So really if someone had purchased all of the plugins during the end of the year sale, and then completed their bundle they would have saved a big chunk of change compared to me.
I like a lot of UAD users, have worked out that the best and cheapest way to buy UAD plugins, is to be patient and just wait for the sales. I rarely pay the full price for any and I have quite a few now. Also typically when you buy, they send you vouchers, so I usually save that up and use it in a sale too. They tend to do something every month, but sometimes you got to wait for your fav plugs to get discounted.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
Here for the gear
 

Love my Orion Studio rev 2017. I've been using it for months now with 0 issues. I'm using it with an iMac 2017 model with i5 cpu and 8gigs of ram. Antelope stuff sounds amazing!!!!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #21
TJ5
Here for the gear
I can only comment on UAD as I have the Apollo Twin Quad. Like others have said, it is rock solid and I have never had an issue with it for the past 4 months. I also have the Softube Console 1 which really helps with the workflow and is well integrated with most of the UAD plugins.

I know the plugins are expensive but I also figured out about how to buy them at the right times along with coupons to minimize the total cost. The quality of the plugins is excellent compared to other plugins I own (Waves, Softube, iZotope, NI, Eventide, Metric Halo, Klanghelm, PSP, Audified, Valhalla, and Air). I'm looking at adding an Apollo x6 or x8 at the right time if they offer a free UAD quad satellite with the purchase.

So although the cost seems high, the reliability and overall quality is worth it in my opinion.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #22
I recently added an apollo x8p to my apollo8 and not using a mixer has easily doubled my productivity. I can now use my mixer for the individual outs on my 808, sp-16 and hopefully soon sp-1200....
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