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Orion Studio Synergy Core - A Signature Audio Interface with DSP & FPGA Fusio
Old 7th August 2019
  #1
Company Rep
 
Antelope Audio's Avatar
Orion Studio Synergy Core - A Signature Audio Interface with DSP & FPGA Fusio

The Orion Studio Synergy Core is the most powerful audio interface on the market that offers unprecedented FX processing power with 6x DSP & 2x FPGA processors. Designed to be the heart of your professional recording studio for years to come with the new future-proof Synergy Core FX processing platform, this updated Orion Studio is loaded with FPGA and DSP chips working in harmony to run Antelope's vast library of effects plug-ins. Its extensive connectivity, a landmark of the Orion series, is spearheaded by all-new discrete transistor mic preamps that honor the best of audio engineering history and certified Thunderbolt(TM) 3 connection for fast and stable operation. 50 of Antelope's top FX are bundled with the hardware, including spot-on models of vintage analog gear and a killer collection of guitar amp and cabinet emulations.



Key Features:
  • Thunderbolt 3 & USB
  • 2 FPGA & 6 DSP chips working in fusion with the new Synergy Core platform
  • 130 dB Dynamic Range measured on the monitor outputs (D/A converters)
  • 2 pairs of monitor outputs run concurrently or in A/B mode
  • 30 simultaneous inputs x 22 simultaneous outputs
  • DC-coupled I/O for CV control of analog modular synths
  • Direct In function that hard-bypasses the mic pres, directly sailing into the A/D converters with 124 dB dynamic range
  • Faster development for new effects thanks to the Synergy Core platform
  • Hand-built in Europe

With Thunderbolt 3 and USB connectivity, 12 of Antelope's Discrete microphone preamps, extensive analog and digital I/O, upgraded digital-to-analog converters with dynamic range up to 130 dB, and unprecedented FX processing power on board, the Orion Studio Synergy Core is a well-oiled machine -- up for any recording or mixing project your studio throws its way.

Synergy Core: FPGA + DSP = Future-Proof Effects Processing



With 6 DSP & 2 FPGA chips under the hood, the Orion Studio Synergy Core lets you offload effects processing to your interface by using Antelope's hardware-based effects -- freeing up your host Mac or PC to record and play back more tracks, and run CPU-hungry virtual instruments and native time-based effects. Take on big projects, build intricate mixes, reduce latency, shorten buffer size, and keep your system stable -- all thanks to Antelope's state-of-the-art Synergy Core dedicated FX processors. With massive processing potential on board, this Orion can grow with your studio.

Thunderbolt 3 & USB Connectivity



A cross-platform audio interface for Windows or Mac, Orion Studio Synergy Core offers both USB and Thunderbolt 3 connection to your DAW host computer. You can even power/charge your MacBook from the Orion Studio Synergy Core thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 port.

130 dB Dynamic Range D/A for Critical Listening

Why trust your projects to anything less than the best D/A converters? The Antelope Orion Studio Synergy Core delivers 130 dB dynamic range on both pairs of monitor outs -- which can run simultaneously, or in A/B mode.

12 Discrete Microphone Preamps & Direct Inputs



The Orion Studio Synergy Core gives you 12 mic preamps based on Antelope's ultra-linear Discrete MP standalone preamplifier, with 75 dB of pristine gain. Recording line-level signals? The Orion Studio Synergy Core's Direct In hard-bypasses the mic pres, directly sailing into the A/D converters with 124 dB dynamic range.

Digital Patch Bay for Pro Studios



Send audio anywhere you need it with the digital patch bay and latency-free mixer in your Orion Studio Synergy Core's software control panel. As the "brain" of your pro studio, this interface gives you robust, flexible tools for routing and monitoring.

50 Antelope FX Included

The Orion Studio Synergy Core unlocks 50 of Antelope's top real-time effects plug-ins. Right out of the box you get mic preamp emulations, compressors, EQs, reverb, and guitar amp and cabinet models to bring your tracks to life. And thanks to Synergy Core architecture, you've got the processing muscle to run all the simultaneous FX your sessions need.

Antelope's 4th Generation Acoustically Focused Clocking

Antelope Audio is renowned for building rock-solid digital audio clocks found in top recording studios and broadcast facilities around the globe. The Orion Studio Synergy Core wouldn't be an Antelope interface if it didn't deliver world-class clocking. With Word Clock I/O, the Orion Studio Synergy Core syncs up your studio with Antelope's 4th Generation Acoustically Focused Clocking, employing 64-bit DDS to keep your audio in lockstep at up to 192 kHz.

----------
Orion Studio Synergy Core is now being supplied to our dealer's network — keep an eye at Antelope Audio’s growing global network of authorised dealers (https://en.antelopeaudio.com/dealers/) for pre-order information. For more information, reach out to your dealer or to us directly at Antelope Audio | Digital clarity | Analog warmth

Last edited by Antelope Audio; 8th August 2019 at 02:29 PM..
Old 7th August 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
brucerothwell's Avatar
 

Is this going to be forever upgradeable like the Metric Halo interfaces?
Old 7th August 2019
  #3
Gear Head
 

what are the benefits of upgrading from an Orion Studio 2017?
Old 7th August 2019
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Very nice!

Any plans of upgrading the Zen Tour with TH3 to the synergy line?

Thanks!
Old 7th August 2019
  #5
Gear Nut
Quote:
Originally Posted by toneage View Post
what are the benefits of upgrading from an Orion Studio 2017?
Looks like more dsp chips, hard bypassing the mic pres for line in signals, slightly better monitor da which can run both a and b at the same time.

Looks really good to me and I have the 2017 version. Wonder how big of a difference the hardbypass on the mic pres make?
Old 7th August 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Is this finally the Antelope interface that will actually work as advertised? I've only had trouble with all of the interfaces I've tried in the studio and I've even been warned by some of the retailers here about the reliability of the products.. most citing the software/drivers as the main problem.

Edit: Toned down the post
Old 8th August 2019
  #7
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandal View Post
Looks like more dsp chips, hard bypassing the mic pres for line in signals, slightly better monitor da which can run both a and b at the same time.

Looks really good to me and I have the 2017 version. Wonder how big of a difference the hardbypass on the mic pres make?
I thought that the 2017 version also bypassed preamps if you use the jack input.

According to the website you would lose some comps, eq's, preamp models and the tapemachine too, unless you pay extra.
Old 8th August 2019
  #8
I’ve been tented to buy this interfaces a few times, but drivers nightmare stories keep me away.
Old 8th August 2019
  #9
It's such a shame that as nice as this is I don't trust this company to support this product for longer than a year or two.
Old 8th August 2019
  #10
Company Rep
 
Sam Antelope Audio's Avatar
 

Hi!
@ brucerothwell - we didn't plan to have upgradable boards, that's why we took a long time to make this an incredibly strong unit for years to come.
@ toneage - It is an entirely different interface as hardware. The new things are - 6 DSP chips and 2 FPGAs, better converters - 130 dB on the monitor outputs, the monitor outputs run concurrently or in A/B mode, previously you could only use them in A/B mode, DC-coupled I/O for CV control of analog modular synths, Direct In function that hard-bypasses the mic pres, Thunderbolt 3, 12 mic preamps based on the ultra-linear Discrete MP standalone preamplifier and something that is quite important is faster development time for effects (thanks to the new DSP chips). Almost everything is changed, the I/O is the same as amount, but what's behind it is totally different.
@ Garlu - I would definitely love to see an upgraded Zen Tour, but I don't have any information that it is being developed.
@ YOU could bypass the coloration of the preamp when using a TRS connector and line mode at 0dB. However, the signal wasn't going directly to the converter, so the signal went through the dynamic range and THD of the preamp and afterwards in the converter (again, without the preamp coloring the signal). This means that you lost around 4dB of dynamic range and had a higher THD compared to now, when you can go directly into the converter.

As for the effects - yes, we have included 50 effects with the interface, the other ones are available for purchase separately.
@ jordanvoth - We have worked for a long time to make this interface stay for long, getting the best processing power, the latest converters, as well as Thunderbolt 3. All of these design decisions and all of the features and the ones to comes are with longevity in mind.

If you guys have any questions - feel free to message me or reply.
Old 8th August 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Dear Sam,
please address the apprehensions people have expressed about driver issues. These interfaces have premium price tags so anything less than rock solid would be unfair to the buyers. Sadly, there are too many horror stories about the reliability of the Antelope brand. I would love to be a happy customer but i need that confidenxs when buying.
Best!
Old 8th August 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

It doesn't matter what he states, because, according to him, what an Antelope representative posts online is NOT official.

That said, the unit LOOKS like it has everything we've wanted.
Old 8th August 2019
  #13
Gear Nut
 
Succulence's Avatar
Looks amazing in terms of features. Fingers crossed that it's stable and has Thunderbolt driver for Windows.
Old 8th August 2019
  #14
Gear Addict
 
daaronhoffman's Avatar
I went with Apollo X even though this had the better features due to the horror stories I’ve heard as well about drivers...etc.

It’s sad, because this actually may be rock solid , but I can’t afford to be the beta tester.

Hope they get a better reputation soon.
Old 8th August 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 
b0se's Avatar
All the features in the world don't really matter if the driver/system/support isn't solid.
Old 9th August 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
 
daaronhoffman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
All the features in the world don't really matter if the driver/system/support isn't solid.
Agreed! Which is why UA got my money again. I was excited to try something different, but oh well.
Old 9th August 2019
  #17
Company Rep
 
Sam Antelope Audio's Avatar
 

Hi guys!

I strongly believe that telling you that issues like that are fixed is not right (because reassuring you with words shouldn't be a convincer) and it won't, and shouldn't change your mind.

Our dealers will have demo units or they will be able to provide you with such a unit by request. My advice is to get one unit (once they are available) when you have a day off and test it at your studio yourself. I will be more than glad to help out with arranging a demo unit to your local dealer and for you to test it, so we can see whether we changed your mind this way and collect your feedback.
Old 9th August 2019
  #18
Company Rep
 
Sam Antelope Audio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daaronhoffman View Post
Sam, I appreciate the response. I wasn’t trying to bash your product, but simply voice that I actually really wanted to get your unit. The overwhelming stories from fellow engineers and online that have had problems with your past drivers, tech support and product abandonment scared me too much. I’ve heard your units before and think they sound stellar when they work!

I’m sure you guys worked hard on this one and I really hope you worked out your hiccups. I think the community as a whole wants you to succeed.

Best wishes!
Hi!

Thank you very much for your comment, I appreciate what you are saying. I understand this very well and that's why I would love to arrange a demo unit through your dealer for you to test once it becomes available.

If you are interested - feel free to send me a message!
Old 10th August 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
 
andersmv's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Antelope Audio View Post
Hi guys!

I strongly believe that telling you that issues like that are fixed is not right
That's reassuring...
Old 11th August 2019
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b0se View Post
All the features in the world don't really matter if the driver/system/support isn't solid.
Exactly. Which is why RME is doing so extremely well. They were the first company to understand this.. and still also one of the very few that _truly_ support legacy hardware.

Thus RME is seen everywhere. Studios, live gigs, at home heck even in my local supermarket in the PA system (no idea what they use it for, it's an old Fireface 800!).

I just don't understand how most other audio companies are so blind to this simple fact: Software/drivers matter more than the hardware. We are living in 2019 and even the cheaper off-the-shelf chips are now at a stupidly high quality level. Building quality hardware with impressive specs is not all that uncommon any more. It's the _software_ side that matters now and this is where many fail big time. Ironically this is the side the customer will interact with the most and notice every single day.
Old 11th August 2019
  #21
I will write a lengthy article about my experience with Orion devices later, but here's a short list.

The software is not there yet, and there are multiple issues with the control panel that has been ignored for a long time.

- Preset loading/saving is unreliable, pans and bypasses are wrong a lot of times, you just cannot depend on it
- You cannot automate the mixer in any way
- Routing matrix is great, but sometime you have to do it twice, because it somehow doesn't update
- Slider resolution is not good, fine tuning is severely limited by 4db jumps, the only way to set finer values is typing it in, duh
(EDIT: I have been advised that with holding CTRL/CMD you can do fine adjustments on any slider/effect parameter. This is a great tip, although not documented anywhere. Also, in the case of the mixer levels there should be no reason to do 4dB increments by default, since there's enough travel with the mouse to adjust 1dB properly without any modifier key applied)

- Too much sliding animations on the control panel, it's really annoying, completely destroys an efficient workflow, it's also disorienting
- pops and clicks while adjusting mixer or preset parameters, you cannot use it as a "real" mixer while tracking etc.
- Metering is too slow for compressor effects, it's basically useless and rather becomes a distraction

Since the Control Panel is unified among all Orion devices, this just cripples the whole line.
If you want nice converters and clock, sure it's great, but everything on top of it will just result in frustration and disappointment.
Slowly but surely you will start to hate the device, and you will probably realise too late to return it.

It's really a shame because the concept and IO is very good, but I get the feeling Antelope has very low standards when it comes to software development:
- no changelogs
- no open bug-tracking
- problematic Q&A: lot's of bugs pushed out over the air etc.
- very bad usability and accessibility
- no transparency at all


Looks good on paper, but reality is completely different.
My suggestion is, don't buy it unless you are prepared to beta-test for free and loose uptime to unexpected issues or want to live with a half-baked software suite.
Consider the FPGA+DSP thing as something like a bonus, not a core feature no matter what the marketing material says.

Last edited by rmri; 12th August 2019 at 11:38 AM..
Old 12th August 2019
  #22
Here for the gear
 

OK GUYS, this is going to be long!!

To me, there are many types of users out there. Some prefer convenience over quality and are content. Some prefer the maximum in quality no matter what it takes. I for one have had my own experiences with the Antelope Orion Studio rev2017. It started a little rough but once I got my footing, it quickly became an amazing experience. Being an engineer for about 20 years now, literally starting with a little PC and Reasons 3.0, I've been able to experience both extremes in the evolution of technology. Over these years, Ive chosen the route of quality over convenience (Audio Quality that is). Ive gone from Digidesign HD converters to apogee, to retrofitting all my facilities to UA. Ive been using UA since the first generation apollos.

At the time of the release of the Orion Studio rev2017, I was running daisy chained UA apollos 8s for converters. I began running into some issues with UA in terms of clocking and decided to take a brief look at the Antelope product line for master clocks. I ended up with the PURE 2. We all know about that beast!! What stood out for me aside from the clocking were the mastering converters vs the converters that were in the Apollo 8s. Lets just say that the difference was apparent the moment I plugged my monitors in.

AT THAT MOMENT I began researching a little more in depth and ended up grabbing an ORION STUDIO REV 2017. Brought it into one of my labs where I have a hybrid analog setup that consists of 2 Apollo 8's, Dangerous 2bus plus, API Line amps, API EQ, And bus compressor. (I Normally use that set up if I need to mix without a console but still have the "analog" warmth and depth). I disconnected my apollos and hooked up my NEW TOY, which btw, was able to fulfill the duty of 2 units in 1, and I decided that I was going to do a REprint of some mixes that I had already printed through my apollos.

HOLY CRAP!!! Screw all these plugins, Screw mic pres, hell, screw it all!! Just the line output converters were worth the money!! The depth in the audio, the headroom, the clarity, and the space that came out of this thing BLEW ME AND ALL MY CLIENTS AWAY!

There's a reason why this company puts all their focus on the actual hardware, Its because in this industry it all about what you hear.

I mentioned at the beginning that it was a rough start with the REV 2017. It was a glitchy start with some AVID drivers that I had on that system, an issue with a screen saver setting on the unit, and then getting the unit to actually go through its required firmware update. But once I got over that hump. PURE BLISS. I've done a few mobile sessions with this unit as well. One of which you can find on youtube. I MUST Say. These pre-amps are legit! Did take some time to dial in levels cause of that 4db jump but it was just another thing i had to figure out. The music Ive made with this thing has already paid for the unit 20x over and I bought it MARCH of 2018.

I LOVE IT!

Link of us using it. Recorded, mixed and mastered on this unit!

https://youtu.be/h0GdmuPvjpM
Old 12th August 2019
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by VS Studios Miami View Post
OK GUYS, this is going to be long!!

To me, there are many types of users out there. Some prefer convenience over quality and are content. Some prefer the maximum in quality no matter what it takes. I for one have had my own experiences with the Antelope Orion Studio rev2017. It started a little rough but once I got my footing, it quickly became an amazing experience. Being an engineer for about 20 years now, literally starting with a little PC and Reasons 3.0, I've been able to experience both extremes in the evolution of technology. Over these years, Ive chosen the route of quality over convenience (Audio Quality that is). Ive gone from Digidesign HD converters to apogee, to retrofitting all my facilities to UA. Ive been using UA since the first generation apollos.

At the time of the release of the Orion Studio rev2017, I was running daisy chained UA apollos 8s for converters. I began running into some issues with UA in terms of clocking and decided to take a brief look at the Antelope product line for master clocks. I ended up with the PURE 2. We all know about that beast!! What stood out for me aside from the clocking were the mastering converters vs the converters that were in the Apollo 8s. Lets just say that the difference was apparent the moment I plugged my monitors in.

AT THAT MOMENT I began researching a little more in depth and ended up grabbing an ORION STUDIO REV 2017. Brought it into one of my labs where I have a hybrid analog setup that consists of 2 Apollo 8's, Dangerous 2bus plus, API Line amps, API EQ, And bus compressor. (I Normally use that set up if I need to mix without a console but still have the "analog" warmth and depth). I disconnected my apollos and hooked up my NEW TOY, which btw, was able to fulfill the duty of 2 units in 1, and I decided that I was going to do a REprint of some mixes that I had already printed through my apollos.

HOLY CRAP!!! Screw all these plugins, Screw mic pres, hell, screw it all!! Just the line output converters were worth the money!! The depth in the audio, the headroom, the clarity, and the space that came out of this thing BLEW ME AND ALL MY CLIENTS AWAY!

There's a reason why this company puts all their focus on the actual hardware, Its because in this industry it all about what you hear.

I mentioned at the beginning that it was a rough start with the REV 2017. It was a glitchy start with some AVID drivers that I had on that system, an issue with a screen saver setting on the unit, and then getting the unit to actually go through its required firmware update. But once I got over that hump. PURE BLISS. I've done a few mobile sessions with this unit as well. One of which you can find on youtube. I MUST Say. These pre-amps are legit! Did take some time to dial in levels cause of that 4db jump but it was just another thing i had to figure out. The music Ive made with this thing has already paid for the unit 20x over and I bought it MARCH of 2018.

I LOVE IT!
People are going to be curious that a first time poster. Get ready.
Old 12th August 2019
  #24
Gear Maniac
 

I sold my Zen Tour at a significant loss. These devices are expensive, but do not hold their value due to Antelope having such a bad reputation on the software and driver side.
This new line of interfaces will devalue the older interfaces even more as the current line will likely be rendered 'legacy' and no longer be supported. I am glad that I sold mine just before these new interfaces were announced.

My experience with the Zen Tour was an exercise in frustration. On the one hand, it had amazing sounding audio conversion and great quality preamps. The effects were ok, but nothing special. Decent enough for monitoring through. Lots of I/O.
On the other hand, the Windows USB drivers would crash frequently and were not stable and the software side was buggy and unreliable as well.
The Windows beta Thunderbolt driver development, while promising, proved to be taking way too long and updates were very frequently unreliable, breaking the TB functionality every other update, problems uninstalling, reinstalling, device disconnecting etc.

No off-line installer for the device drivers, control panel etc. takes away all control from the end user. Installing online with the 'Antelope Launcher' is now mandatory. To even launch the control panel for the device you need to start the launcher first.

The Zen Tour could have been a brilliant interface for me, but the continual issues, and Antelopes refusal to acknowledge those issues even in the face of hard evidence (so they can't/won't fix them). I just can't recommend this company at all, and would never buy from them again.
Old 12th August 2019
  #25
Gear Nut
I've had a fairly good experience with my Orion Studio Rev. 2017. I got it mainly for the 16 line outputs (Hooked into a summing mixer) which helped me consolidate my previous setup. I've experienced very minor glitches which are actually a result of my usb card that disconnects when my Mac Pro (Cheese Grater) goes to sleep. So when this happens I just need to power off and on the interface for it to be seen again. I don't see this as an antelope issue because I decided to install a separate card to give the antelope as much bandwidth as possible.

As far as the converters, I think it is a couple steps up from my fireface 800, I previously used, and on par, albeit different color, with my UA 2192.

I would love to jump to the Gen 3 version of the Orion Studio but I just bought the rev 2017 earlier this year and unless I can get a super good price selling my Orion I don't see much need to upgrade.
Old 12th August 2019
  #26
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarathonMan View Post
People are going to be curious that a first time poster. Get ready.
Link of us using it. Recorded, mixed and mastered on this unit!

It speaks for itself. If anyone wants the audio in its full hi-def resolution, I have no problem sharing.

https://youtu.be/h0GdmuPvjpM
Old 12th August 2019
  #27
Gear Nut
 

As an Antelope customer, I should be excited to see all these new hardware announcements... right? However we've been sitting on Antelope's Discrete interface that was promised AFX2DAW almost 2 years ago on PC.

I don't want to hear the same bull that Antelope has working hard over these last 2 years to "Do it right!!" Yes... your team of engineers have been pounding out 40+ hours every week for almost 2 years, just for us, your loyal customers. More to the point - actually work on it and get it done, we're not fools.

It's obvious its not being "done" at all, at the very least the lowest priority. Antelope can pay multiple engineers to develop and build and program 7+ hardware units and their software over the last 2 years, but won't put any resources toward writing a simple software wrapper to run your DSP fx on PC.

I'm beyond annoyed at Antelope, and until the few of us left who stuck with Antelope get what Antelope promised, I'll be making certain people know what to expect.
Old 13th August 2019
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by VS Studios Miami View Post
HAHAHA. I wish I were sponsored. But Im sure that if that were the case then Antelope Audio could create a video with much more higher quality then i created. For being such a major contender in this audio game, I'd personally expected better for marketing sake. Read the posts above, the journey is as transparent as could be. Antelope has not replaced my UA Apollo units in any of my labs but they did put up a fight and won!
No offense taken by your sock-puppet opinion, being thats just what it is. Y'all want the truth about my experience, or looking for someone else to join the BASH BAN-Wagon?!
I would be interested to hear about your experience saving and loading full mixer configurations as well as effect chains.

With my Orion Studio 2017 unit it just doesn't load what I saved (bypasses are wrong, reel2reel parameters are wrong, sometimes pannings are wrong) and when you spend hours to painstakingly adjust each parameter it's extremely frustrating.
I never heard anything so basic not working with UAD.

Fortunately some of my issues have been confirmed by Antelope itself, so I'm hoping it will get fixed very soon, but still this interface was released 2 years ago, they had plenty of time to fix it already.

It's dishonest to simplify it as a bash bandwagon, when there are actual hard facts, steps to reproduce the issues, and the issues getting ignored for years.

But I also believe your story, some features are not critical to your workflow or you just simply don't use them. Of course you will have a positive opinion then but that doesn't change the fact that these software features are advertised as integral part of the unit and thus should work flawlessly.

So I think this is an amazing piece of hardware and want to keep it and recommend it, but it's also severely limited by software bugs that should have been ironed out ages ago.
Old 13th August 2019
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Actually, I really rooted for the firm, and hope (eventually) they can sort out all their promises and make them into reality. I took few of their combos for a ride, in a hope of creating a live rig, but it was absolutely hopeless. Nothing was working as advertised. Great concept, great ideas but the implementation is very rudimentary and unreliable. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for the test. Saying that, I will keep an eye on the development, and will give it another try in a year, or so.
Old 15th August 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 
I.R.Baboon's Avatar
I avoid any driver problems there might be by using RME sound cards to interface with the computer, so in addition to using a Goliath & Orion 32+, i also use an RME HDSPe Madi FX and RME HDSP 9652 and the whole thing works pretty flawlessly i have to say.

If anyone is interested, i use the RME HDSP 9652 at it's lowest latency setting to interface with Cubase 9.5, so i have monitoring through VST FX with virtually no latency, then i copy those FX chains into Cubase 10 (running concurrently with 9.5) and place them on the recorded audio. So i never monitor through 10. The advantage of doing it this way is i can have 10 set to a higher latency amount (interfaced with the RME HDSPe Madi FX) for rock solid playback performance.

And i'd also mention that using the RME cards gives you extra options (like musician monitoring mixes) which wouldn't be possible using only Antelope interfaces.

One other point: the marketing for previous iterations lauded the pristine quality of the converters. But this new version has even better converters! So all of a sudden i guess those previous converters sucked!? Actually i bet that no one would be able to tell the difference in a blind test. Anyone remember that test someone did years ago where they sent some acoustic piano through a SoundBlaster soundcard AD/DA like 60 times, and it came out still sounding pretty decent!? So yeah, i take these claimed improvements with a pinch of salt!
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