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Antelope Orion 32 Multichannel Converter
Old 25th October 2012
  #1
Antelope Orion 32 Multichannel Converter

32 ch in/out,
USB/MADI interface
ADAT (16 ch.), SPDIF (2 ch)
4 WC outs
10M atomic input
software control panel routing
front panel and control panel metering
front panel control of definable presets
Streamlined analog circuitry offers incredible sound!
$2995



Marcel

Last edited by Clybourne; 16th December 2012 at 04:21 AM.. Reason: Updated Clips
Old 25th October 2012
  #2
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dlmorley's Avatar
Sounds interesting! Any rear panel images?
Old 25th October 2012
  #3
Gear Head
 

That has to be a typo!!!! $2995!!!!! for 32 Channels of Antelope Conversion! What an incredible deal!
Old 25th October 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
kuasalogam's Avatar
 

seriously?? $2995?!
Start saving x))
Old 25th October 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Looks like a good price point. Metering is real small considering the room there is on the unit for something more useful. Is the unit 32 channels ADA at 44.1k thru 96k and 16 channels ADA above that (what the Madi interface will do at 96k and 192k regardless)? I would love to see pics of the back as well, know what converter chips it uses, and see where it's positioned in the transparent to colored spectrum soundwise.


Picketl, you have to remember the high cost of Madi interfaces when figuring out total cost ($1800 for a RME Madi PCIe card). If you can team up a 32 I/O RME Raydat via ADAT connections and live with getting only the full 32 channel I/O count at 44.1k or 48k (ADAT standard) then you cut the interface costs by more than half.
Old 25th October 2012
  #6
Yes, $2995. Not a typo! :-)

Working on getting the rear panel pic to upload.

Metering is small on the front panel, large enough in the software. I find the front panel great just for getting signal right, though. It will do the job when setting up tracking levels.

The track counts are 32 i/o via USB on a Mac up to 48K for ADA. 16 ch at 96K, 8 ch at 192K. However, on the PC with our ASIO driver, it should be 32 ch at 192K. We're hoping Apple will update their packet transfers for audio over USB (not holding our breath). Otherwise, there is a limitation of the "full" potential on a Mac.

As for MADI, which has up to 64 ch, you can link a 2nd Orion for 64 ch up to 48K, 32 ch at 96k, etc etc. So, the idea about buying a MADI card to use with one or two of these is indeed a good one, although our USB worked well in my tests and what issues I did have are being corrected already.

The good news about using USB is that the unit will work with about everything and we expect it to even work with an iPad using a camera connection kit. Probably other pads too, for that matter...

As for the color to transparency question. I use an Eclipse, which I find to be the most transparent thing I've tried. That also held up in tests at Capitol and WB Mastering. The Orion has more "balls" for lack of a better term. It's VERY musical sounding and I think strikes a perfect chord for tracking, mixing and production in general. I even ran some masters through it and I plan to continue to do so on projects when I get back as a "playback/transfer" dac.. It's thick, but yet very clean in the mid-range and tonally articulate. (guitars, piano, synths sound especially great. I spent 5 hours just going through my old 70's and 80's music and haven't enjoyed listening to music this much in years!) I'd still rather monitor with an Eclipse when mastering and I love the monitor routing on it, as well...

I was telling Igor last night that it feels like the early days all over again when I just started hearing Antelope clocks. Like a new era just began. Can't wait to get these under the tree for some folks. ETA to ship is December.
Old 25th October 2012
  #7
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dbjp's Avatar
 

This is dirt cheap for an Antelope product.
Shame about the sacrifices in track count with USB.
Would have been nice to have had
a) HD i/o for PTHD
b) Thunderbolt i/o for full use of the bandwidth with full i/o count.

Still a great product though.
Old 25th October 2012
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbjp View Post
This is dirt cheap for an Antelope product.
Shame about the sacrifices in track count with USB.
Would have been nice to have had
a) HD i/o for PTHD
b) Thunderbolt i/o for full use of the bandwidth with full i/o count.

Still a great product though.
Part of the cost being low is due to the fact that we didn't pour resources into things like PT cloning or Thunderbolt. We have, however, due to our previous product development, a USB bit-perfect circuit that sounds better than going through PCIe cards, etc. Also our new ASIO driver for PC's. And our belief is that MADI is here to stay and a very cost-effective connection option.

There are Pro Tools MADI options from AVID and SSL. Not to mention the PCI to MADI options out there for native too. (gotta leave some room for others to sell things too) :-)
Old 25th October 2012
  #9
This is amazing. If this is even close to the quality of the other antelope stuff this is unbelievable
Old 25th October 2012
  #10
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dbjp's Avatar
 

Understood. Well, kind of.. Could you elaborate on how USB could possibly sound better than data going through PCIe? Do the 1s and 0s feel better inside USB cables?
Less bandwidth in USB = better sound? I don't get it.


I wish someone would develop a thunderbolt standard/card for audio I/o and license it to all the manufacturers.
Old 25th October 2012
  #11
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dbjp's Avatar
 

In fact, does this interface sound worse when using Madi instead of USB? Considering it has to be connected to a Madi interface mounted in a PCIe buss.
Old 25th October 2012
  #12
Gear Addict
 
mmahan40's Avatar
 

This looks amazing. Almost pulled the trigger on a symphony recently but this could be a great alternative, especially considering it works on win 7.
Old 25th October 2012
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbjp View Post
Understood. Well, kind of.. Could you elaborate on how USB could possibly sound better than data going through PCIe? Do the 1s and 0s feel better inside USB cables?
Less bandwidth in USB = better sound? I don't get it.


I wish someone would develop a thunderbolt standard/card for audio I/o and license it to all the manufacturers.
hahaha. I hear you man. I can only theorize, but when Igor looked at the USB bus, he saw some problems with how the packet transfers handle audio. That's why he took time to develop his own USB circuit for our products. I don't know why things don't sound as good via PCIe. It could have to do with encoding to the AES protocol, which is a digital "process". One thing that's become very clear to us is that "less is more" when handling audio, both digital and analog.
Old 25th October 2012
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbjp View Post
In fact, does this interface sound worse when using Madi instead of USB? Considering it has to be connected to a Madi interface mounted in a PCIe buss.
Not sure yet, but it will be interesting to listen through MADI. Just not gotten that far yet on the mastering rig, which does show some things audibly that aren't viewed in the lab.. At least that's my own take. :-)
Old 25th October 2012
  #15
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dbjp's Avatar
 

Thanks for your comment! Still can't understand the reasoning though!
Whatever the case, I'm sure it'll sound damn good.
Old 25th October 2012
  #16
I don't understand how a PC ASIO driver, can handle 32 ch at 192K, but MADI can only do 16 ch at 96!
What kind of latency numbers does it have?
Is there a near zero latency monitoring option through software?
I looks very good so far. I cant get to SF, how do we hear this in NY?
Old 25th October 2012
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by 100below View Post
I don't understand how a PC ASIO driver, can handle 32 ch at 192K, but MADI can only do 16 ch at 96!
What kind of latency numbers does it have?
Is there a near zero latency monitoring option through software?
I looks very good so far. I cant get to SF, how do we hear this in NY?
I don't believe I said that about MADI. :-)

MADI will do 64 ch up to 48K, 32 ch up to 96K, 16 ch up to 192K.
Old 25th October 2012
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Hi Clybourne, you mentionned 32 channels, does that mean 16 in and 16 out?

Thanks.
Old 26th October 2012
  #19
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clybourne View Post
As for MADI, which has up to 64 ch, you can link a 2nd Orion for 64 ch up to 48K, 32 ch at 96k, etc etc.
Sorry this is a little bit confusing. You get 32 ch at 96k with 1 Orion or 2 linked Orions ? both with OSX Mountain Lion & Windows 8 ?

As far as you know will the RME HDSPe MADI be compatible with the Orion ?
Old 26th October 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Most USB interfaces out there choke after 16 channels. If you are getting 32 channels with USB that's an accomplishment (USB3?), hopefully though its low latency at full load also. This is where the PCI/PCIe card interfaces shine, low latency at full load with very high track counts including expansion using multiple cards. I find it interesting USB is working out better for you than ADAT or MADI out to a PCI/PCIe interface card. When I hear the term "musical" used with converters I equate that to being in the colored camp. I'm sure more will be revealed as time passes.
Old 26th October 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Rob King's Avatar
This looks amazing! What a deal for 32channels Both ways! This paired with the Avid MADI interface is a strong contender for my upgrade to HDX. 2 of these and an Avid interface gives you 64 channels in and out of protocols for under $10k. That is pretty killer. I can't imagine these guys doing something that doesn't sound exceptional. Really looking forward to checking these out. Great design with the OLED meters too.
Old 26th October 2012
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr View Post
Most USB interfaces out there choke after 16 channels. If you are getting 32 channels with USB that's an accomplishment (USB3?), hopefully though its low latency at full load also. This is where the PCI/PCIe card interfaces shine, low latency at full load with very high track counts including expansion using multiple cards. I find it interesting USB is working out better for you than ADAT or MADI out to a PCI/PCIe interface card. When I hear the term "musical" used with converters I equate that to being in the colored camp. I'm sure more will be revealed as time passes.
Yes, this is my point. "Most USB interfaces" can't handle the higher channel counts. This is due to the off-the-shelf circuits not being optimized for audio. It's why we designed our own circuit.

We also have have a zero-latency mixer we're working on, in addition to the channel/format routing that is already ready (and quite simple to use, I might add).

Yes, I hear you about the "musical" part, but in this case I'm talking about accuracy in the way the mid-range is being represented. Things like harmonic overtones come through nicely. (the Bohemian Rhapsody solo sounds very present, w/o getting shrill, for example)

Hope this helps a little...

Marcel
Old 26th October 2012
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob King View Post
This looks amazing! What a deal for 32channels Both ways! This paired with the Avid MADI interface is a strong contender for my upgrade to HDX. 2 of these and an Avid interface gives you 64 channels in and out of protocols for under $10k. That is pretty killer. I can't imagine these guys doing something that doesn't sound exceptional. Really looking forward to checking these out. Great design with the OLED meters too.
Glad you're excited Rob. I live in Toluca Lake, so doing a demo won't be a prob..

Marcel
Old 26th October 2012
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan le View Post
Hi Clybourne, you mentionned 32 channels, does that mean 16 in and 16 out?

Thanks.
We actually mean 32 in and 32 out. Via 8 D-Sub connectors on the back (which I will have a pic of soon)
Old 26th October 2012
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Rob King's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clybourne View Post
Glad you're excited Rob. I live in Toluca Lake, so doing a demo won't be a prob..

Marcel
I'm gonna take you up on this brotha. please post some shots from the back of the unit. Cheers.
Old 26th October 2012
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Nowak's Avatar
So that's 32 analogue in AND out? CRIKEY!

Can this connect to PT?

S
Old 26th October 2012
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
joho's Avatar
 

4 World Clock outs - so it can basically serve as a master clock as well...
Old 26th October 2012
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowak View Post
So that's 32 analogue in AND out? CRIKEY!

Can this connect to PT?

S
Not directly. If you run PT Natively, you can use our USB. Or you could use a MADI interface (SSL or AVID) and connect that way. Or, we'll have ADAT (16 ch). We do ADAT well due to our clocking that fixes the light defraction issues that optical has.

Marcel
Old 26th October 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Helge's Avatar
 

Ehh - whatยดs that "Oven"-LED on the very left ?

How do you cool this beast down when processing 64 channels ?

Do you need a machine room for this ?

Thx
Old 26th October 2012
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helge View Post
Ehh - whatยดs that "Oven"-LED on the very left ?

How do you cool this beast down when processing 64 channels ?

Do you need a machine room for this ?

Thx
The oven houses the clock circuit and is very very small (it's the core technology we use in our master clock line too).

It doesn't get that hot. We wanted to put 32 ch in a 1U, so we had to use some new green technology techniques to pull it off. We ended up with fewer components in the signal path. End result, less heat, smaller size, higher track counts, and from our listening tests, better sound...
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