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Antelope Announces Zen Studio (complete interface solution) now shipping Audio Interfaces
Old 5th August 2014
  #361
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Just a random voice in the crowd - Here's hoping a nice delay would not be too far off. Delays are key for rhythmic guitar parts and latency with going into the DAW software can really mess with these.
Old 6th August 2014
  #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clybourne View Post
The eta for a reverb is about 1 month. Not sure about delay, but I know it's coming at some point, as well as amp simulation. Igor talks about this in his interview.

Regards,
Marcel
Thanks Marcel!!

Alright I'll hold my breath & pocket $$ for a little time and check this out in a month and hopefully by then I'll make the move. Now i think i'm between Zen or continuing the legacy with my beloved RME relationship & get the Fireface802.

Torn between I must admit ;-)
Old 6th August 2014
  #363
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Thanks Marcel!!

Alright I'll hold my breath & pocket $$ for a little time and check this out in a month and hopefully by then I'll make the move. Now i think i'm between Zen or continuing the legacy with my beloved RME relationship & get the Fireface802.

Torn between I must admit ;-)
By chance do you have any outboard reverb that you love to use? If so, the Zen's DB25 I/O works great for sends+returns for tracking purposes when you want to monitor with effects without having to print them (or you can also print them while tracking if you prefer). The Zen's routing is crazy versatile and easy to configure. I've been using the Zen's DB25 I/O for my 500 rack and it's awesome. Practically no latency either. I do a lot of guitar work that requires re-amping so the Zen's routing is awesome for tracking and re-amping...

I usually go:

Guitar > RadialDragster > LittleLabsRedeye3D > ZenStudio Mic Pre > DAW (LPX on MBP) to-catch-direct-guitar-signal > send direct guitar signal back to one of ZenStudio's DB25 outputs > LittleLabsRedeye3D > Amps/Pedals > IsoSpeakerCab > 4Mics > Outboard Pres (or Zen pres) > Zen inputs > Zen DB25 outputs > Outboard Radial PhaseQ 500 alignment modules on three of the four mics > back to Zen DB25 inputs > And then monitor and/or track those four mics in DAW in realtime...

The Zen's latency with all of this is next to nothing. I run Logic's buffer at 64 samples and this routing set-up is as quick and responsive as any good amp sim plug-ins I've ever used. It's ridiculously efficient. Plus once I get some crazy routing scheme set up the way I need it, I just give it a name and save it as a preset. Very convenient and hassle-free when firing up the studio every day. Saves me a ton of time.

So all that being said, if you have some favorite outboard reverbs, etc, then needing the Zen to provide its own reverb may be a moot point for you. The Zen's routing is so wicked fast you may find that using outboard effects versus DSP effects is really just six-of-one-and-half-dozen-of-the-other. Food for thought... :-)
Old 12th August 2014
  #364
Gear Nut
I find using reverb in the daw via pre faded send , then back out does the trick fine. Especially if the buffer is 128 or lower.
Old 12th August 2014
  #365
Gear Nut
I find using reverb in the daw via pre faded send , then back out does the trick fine. Especially if the buffer is 128 or lower.
Old 12th August 2014
  #366
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Hi @mauvehead

Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply ;-) To answer your question, no I do not have an external reverb or delay unit. All ITB ;-) Thanks really for the additional infos on how you go about to use ZEN Studio in your daily basis production/work. Really cool. But note that I'm planning now to be using some Outboard 500 series either Comp - Eq - Channel Strip etc.. etc..

For me the time is really approaching and since now 2 serious days I've been digging and reading all the Threads about ZEN Studio & Fireface 802 because these are both the two Soundcard I came down to a conclusion that I'm going about. Of course the ZEN is way expensive than the RME F802 because more inputs, better clock etc.. and it's not a question about MONEY but still, up here in Canada the ZEN is @ 2800$ thats almost 3K. The F802 a little less but everything about the F802 is from the get go ROCK SOLID in every aspect and point (referring from setting it up - drivers etc...) and I know so cuz I've been using RME for years still have my Hammerfall Multiface rock solid.

Now in regard of Zen Studio, those who had the unit working (maybe not straight away from the box from the posts I've read here, there's a long one and don't worry guys I'm not the type to just go buy because of HYPE or not to buy because some are bashing the product etc.. not my style, I know enough to trust my instinct and what I want for my needs) that they're blown away of the top audio quality aside the little glitches with Drivers or stability issue with clock, I'm gonna name them all, it's not the point...

But to be honest, I'm kind of afraid because when (like myself) you've been working with a Sound card (forget about the brand name) that always has been ROCK SOLID in every aspect even if it's an old version and the brand ha release newer version, and when I see a product like Antelope has manage to build but seem from real world experience who's got the product and does still seem to have big some setting up issues, it really makes me think twice because I'm not in a position where I need when I'll go and place my order for a new soundcard to come to the studio and have to worry about something not working or having to deal with customer service while time is passing. In other I can not allow myself to waste time because I'm in middle of finalizing an album production & mixing.

And also reading posts from people including those who have taken the plunge to buy Zen and be part of the troubleshooting users, there's a question that came to my mind... is Antelope going to really take the time to solidify the drivers of Zen studio to a point where it becomes unquestionable and delivers the goods like (additional DPS's as they talked about & promised they are on the work) or in two years from now we might have a surprise and see the release of the Zen Studio 2? And this one will of course have everything fixed up and rocking rolling????

I personally ( and never have because this is my everyday job) don't want to spend $$$ just because on a soundcard that indeed has every aspect features many wishes (besides the fact that I as well would have love to have a desktop rackmountable version) but that would become obsolete. I don't like the fact that some have returned their soundcard after having hopes that they were going to grab that Magic full featured soundcard they were after.. if you know what I mean??? Again, not saying anything negative here about the Zen.. just questioning myself because I need to take a decision and go upgrade for the reason that I want a NEWER soundcard with the Built-In DSP with the new bells and whistles rounting capabilities that 10 years back we did not have..


I swear i'm really this close, but really this close to pull the trigger for the ZEN but maaaan and on top of that i'm on Windows and also read the fact that the Zen USB can come and bypass or take over some of existing USB in order for it to work perfectly and my USB ports are used for external HDDs and so far never an issue ;-) I still do have some open ports for a hardware etc....

Again really curious and gotta ask question before I take the jump ;-) ayayayiiii
Old 13th August 2014
  #367
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As I'm about to update to a newer soundcard with more features & Outputs mostly for summing out channels during mixing and doing more research to know what the Zen has to offer and to really know whats the antelope is about and it's capabilities in terms of number of I/O etc.. etc.. check this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRiFqAXK2qE. I think this video hasn't been shared here yet

Hope this help ;-)

Best
Old 18th August 2014
  #368
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Hey folks!

I believe everybody's out on vacation as haven't seen any Zen users or Antelope product rep shimming in in response to my post ;-) I even Pm Marcel & sent him out an email since last week and haven't heard anything back. Oh well would have to hear back from them to be honest ;-)

All that being said, i've ordered one Zen and should be arriving sometime this week and i'm crossing my fingers hoping that the setup by now and it's drivers have been taking care of, tweaked for Win7 x64 bit and ALL will go Smoothly. I'm not worrying about Sound Quality of the Unit . At least, the great news is that I got the guaranty from the store that if in 30 days there's any issue or not liking any behavior I can return it immediatly and take another soundcard.

Wish all a fabulous week ;-)
Peace
Old 18th August 2014
  #369
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Hey folks!

I believe everybody's out on vacation as haven't seen any Zen users or Antelope product rep shimming in in response to my post ;-) I even Pm Marcel & sent him out an email since last week and haven't heard anything back. Oh well would have to hear back from them to be honest ;-)

All that being said, i've ordered one Zen and should be arriving sometime this week and i'm crossing my fingers hoping that the setup by now and it's drivers have been taking care of, tweaked for Win7 x64 bit and ALL will go Smoothly. I'm not worrying about Sound Quality of the Unit . At least, the great news is that I got the guaranty from the store that if in 30 days there's any issue or not liking any behavior I can return it immediatly and take another soundcard.

Wish all a fabulous week ;-)
Peace
@ Solar...Sorry for the extended radio silence of late. I've been either swamped busy or else away from the desk and haven't been online much these last couple of weeks.

Am hoping that the Zen cooperates with your OS and that you don't experience too many hiccups. Be prepared to do a couple firmware updates as soon as you plug the Zen in as they've released a couple since the first Zen's hit the shelves.

Sound-wise I doubt you'll be disappointed as this is where the Zen shines the most. It's really in a league of its own when compared to other similar interfaces.

Looking forward to your feedback once your new Zen arrives and once you've had some time to play with it. Have fun and best of luck!

Todd
Old 19th August 2014
  #370
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Hey folks!

I believe everybody's out on vacation as haven't seen any Zen users or Antelope product rep shimming in in response to my post ;-) I even Pm Marcel & sent him out an email since last week and haven't heard anything back. Oh well would have to hear back from them to be honest ;-)

All that being said, i've ordered one Zen and should be arriving sometime this week and i'm crossing my fingers hoping that the setup by now and it's drivers have been taking care of, tweaked for Win7 x64 bit and ALL will go Smoothly. I'm not worrying about Sound Quality of the Unit . At least, the great news is that I got the guaranty from the store that if in 30 days there's any issue or not liking any behavior I can return it immediatly and take another soundcard.

Wish all a fabulous week ;-)
Peace
I didn't see your PM and will look through my emails again.

But, my reply is that I'm the wrong person to ask about Windows. We have others that specialize in PC's. I'm a mac guy for several years now, sorry.

I hope it all works out for you. I'm an end-user also and couldn't be happier with my Orions and Zen.

Best,
Marcel
Old 20th August 2014
  #371
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauvehead View Post
@ Solar...Sorry for the extended radio silence of late. I've been either swamped busy or else away from the desk and haven't been online much these last couple of weeks.

Am hoping that the Zen cooperates with your OS and that you don't experience too many hiccups. Be prepared to do a couple firmware updates as soon as you plug the Zen in as they've released a couple since the first Zen's hit the shelves.

Sound-wise I doubt you'll be disappointed as this is where the Zen shines the most. It's really in a league of its own when compared to other similar interfaces.

Looking forward to your feedback once your new Zen arrives and once you've had some time to play with it. Have fun and best of luck!

Todd
Thansk a lot @Todd for taking the time to reply and no worries about the delay mate ;-) We all got different agendas. And will make sure to update all the firmwares before even using the Soundcard with my DAW and so forth ;-)

Will repot back, can't wait by the end of this week I should get the call to go pick it up

Thanks for your feedback as well

Cheers ;-)
Old 20th August 2014
  #372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clybourne View Post
I didn't see your PM and will look through my emails again.

But, my reply is that I'm the wrong person to ask about Windows. We have others that specialize in PC's. I'm a mac guy for several years now, sorry.

I hope it all works out for you. I'm an end-user also and couldn't be happier with my Orions and Zen.

Best,
Marcel
Thanks Marcel for replying and looking forward to hear from you still about my email I sent you as I got some questions there even though you're a Mac user ;-)

Looking forward to give the unit a try & really hoping as (Todd mentioned) that after all the drivers firmware updates, everything will work without issues ;-)

Best,
Old 20th August 2014
  #373
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Alright folks!

Really excited to get my hands on the Zen Studio. Here are some pics ;-)

You'll see here how it is packaged etc..











Stay tuned for more in a few....
Old 25th August 2014
  #374
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Will report back, can't wait by the end of this week I should get the call to go pick it up
Hi Solar , Looking forward to your users reviews on the Zen both initially , and also after you have been through the zens learning curve and are confidently familiar with and using your Zen.

..., Like you were ..., I,m sitting on the fence still and waiting for a few more opinions before making the leap

(thank you kindly for all those who currently are giving feedback ) ....,

I am currently deciding on a few interfaces , but (slightly) leaning towards the Zen.

..., but some points you and others have reported / bought up about other interface competition (which I,m also considering) ..., is that are all have reportedly worked perfectly straight out of the box (but with 8 pre-amps and not 12 like the Zen), which some reports so far say that the Zen is not (well not straight away anyway)

I too would really like to know that the Zen development will be ongoing as you mentioned and not abandoned down the track for a new Zen2 - ie; before all the bugginess of the current Zen is sorted out (hopefully very soon) - as some users have been reporting in these threads.
Old 25th August 2014
  #375
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Coming from the Mac camp here (latest OSX, etc), the Zen has been completely stable since I initially got the Control Software software installed correctly. There have been two firmware updates since I first bought the Zen and everything has been rock solid with each update. The Zen has not crashed on me yet and runs steady all day long without any weird hiccups or naughty behavior. Very dependable thus far... :-)
Old 26th August 2014
  #376
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Alright folks!

Here I am with my first impression of the ZEN Studio by Antelope. But before I go on (because this will be a detailed feedback that will have both Positive and negative impressions. Note that the negative points, I'll bring them up so HOPEFULLY Antelope Dev Team will read, listen & try to improve quickly these points in order to make the UNIT THE BEAST or best Sound card with best features.

And finally I want to have your attention that in NO TIME whatever might be my input : Positif or Negatif, it won't be to hype up about the unit or brand or to talk bad about it. Only constructive ones feeedbacks.

So my impressions and feedbacks are based on my experience. I'm not for or against the Unit or Company etc... Just pure INPUTS in action. And remember I'm on Win 7 x64 on a very very good machine

Thank you for your attention and here we go:


To put you in context, I've been using an RME Multiface 1st generation for over 10 years. Yes you're reading correctly and through out the years, believe it or not, I never, not once had ANY issue with my RME unit in terms of stability, drivers, playback, monitoring none whatsoever. Matter of fact, I never since I've owned my RME, had to submit a ticket or call up support. So that explains everything k?

Now let's move to the ZEN STUDIO:

POSITIVE FEEDBACKS:

I posted some pictures of the Unboxing as you saw above and let me tell you that this UNIT is Rock SOLID BUILT. Nothing to say about it, so THUMBS UP to Anteliope on this

Hooking up the Zen, Installing the drivers & getting it to run was EASY (really I'm honest).

Sound card was recognized automatically by my DAWs (S1 - Reaper no issues)

Aiso Driver under Window works perfectly in terms of playback (but there's a BUT when it comes to playback and I'll explore this further later). Just want to name the Positive stuff first.

Playback Sound Quality: Wooooooow, maaaan this baby and I'm not exagerating a word, but this soundcard sonic engine is simply amaaaazing. Just like others have mentioned in this thread, the sonic claraity, the tightness of the low end, the beautiful highs and stereo image is SUPERB. Thumbs up to Antelope and to be honest didn't expect less especially when you hear feedback praise about their other products.

Pre-Amp Input quality: Again simply BEAUTIFUL, Clean A1 quality Pre's. I have to agree with the other who's tried this unit before me. I conquer, you can even forget about your Mic Pre if you want and you'll get a stunning recording source. And of course as always if you send to these amazing Built-in Mic Pre (of the Zen) your signal passing thru a great External Pre-amp such us Manley etc.. man, the quality will be super extraordinary. And thats what I did try recording some vocals from my Mic to Manley to Built-in Mic Pre... results WOOOOOOOOW I could (to be honest) mix the vocal in a mix without even adding any Eq or Tape sat whatever additional plugin. Thats indeed how good the Built-in Mic Pre of Zen are. So I say Thumbs up to Antelope again ;-)

About the Software Control Panel:

The overall layout is good. Everything is accesible, right at your fingertips. The Routing is good to, it does what is supposed to do but it can be misleading or I would confuse. I'll explain more in details too in "Negative section". But All the Parameters react and response as it should, controlling the Input Volume or each Preamp section, activating 48V, putting the Unit to Stand by mode and by the way (regarding the standby mode) for those who mentioned about the Unit getting really HOT during usage (I myself wonder why) but one good thing is that when you're not using the UNIT, simply put it in Standby mode and the heat will slowly go away...So the software works good but there are big BUT for improvement that I thought they would have been added during first release so workflow could be much better for the user.


NOW LETS JUMP TO THE NEGATIVE POINTS: (or not so well thought or integrated or stuff that as a power user, I was expecting to see these features already IN but they're not etc...etc..)


Back to the Control Panel Software: As I was saying it can mislead or confuse you because it ain't that CLEAR when you connect the source (FROM) - to where you want to send the signal (they call it: TO). WHat I mean here is the DRAG and DROP routing is nice but the downside is that lets say you connect FROM Pre A1 TO USB Rec 1. Normally and logically if I want to go and check out where I connected my Pre A1 (from) to, when I select the Pre A1, I should see a diagram showing me where I did send Pre A1 to right? Because I can send Pre A1 to USB Rec1, to Adat Out 1, to AFX1, to Mix 1CH 1 etc... it's endless but I can not see that thoses connections made FROM TO. So in other word, I have to always keep a Visual KODAK picture and try to remember that "Ohhh Tru I did connect A1 to USB Rec1 and A4 to USBRec 1 & USBREC6 etc.." you're following me right? Alread I can feel you getting confused.

Here's a screenshot:

Another little things about the Control Pannel Mixer and Pre-amp Volume Knobs, Pan etc: If you go and move a fader in the MIXER or change the value input Volume of a Preamp or Pan. You would expect a simple feature in case you want to go back to initial, to where the Channel Mixer Silder or Pan or Parameter knob, you would expect to be able to SIMPLY hit CTRL + Mouse click to bring the value to ZERO right? Well that does NOT happen in The ZEN Control Panel. You have to MANUALLY go and with your mouse bring things back to where they were. I understand that you can NOT do this with the Monitor Vol, Headphones slider and Brightness but still, you should be able to

Let me push the example a little further, you CAN NOT even double click in the mixer channel slide to put a VALUE with your keyboard number pad. Screenshot



Also, in the ControlPanel, the BRIGHTNESS slider, I know what it is supposed to do but an't working. I slide it down to see if it will dim the brightness of the ControlPanel immediately and IT DIDN't. Then I say lets try the following: I slide it down and quit the CTRLP and Re-open it and STILL NADA.

And to be honest in this regard, I'm not a little disappointed but very disappointed especially that in 2014, I was expecting something more thought about, very intuitive to make the workflow of the end user less convoluted. Amd say that I am able to do this with my 10 years old and more RME soundcard with its DSP MIXER.

So final thought on the ZEN CTRLP, I believe like some has mentioned here (and this is not a negative comment to or bringing down the ZEn UNIT) but I believe indeed that it feels like they development of the Software was RUSHED. Because the POTENTIAL and the idea behind is superbe, brilliant but there are some BASIC FEATURES such as being able to CTRL+ MOuse Click to Default a channel Slide Mixer or to Zero a knob parameter in today's software technology that are essential and A MUST HAVE from the get GO and they MUST WORK. It's like in today plugins development a WET/MIX knob has become a default feature. So when a reknown company like Waves or Soundtoys etc.. releases a great plugin without that Wet/Mix knob, our first reaction is that "great plugin but..." or Can't Mouse + CTRL to zero the value etc...

So I think and I hope Antelope need to put their Software DEV TEAM in a BOOTCAMP (and take the feedbacks from their BETA TESTERS but I would say more from the end USERS because it looks to me like they haven't GONE really far in terms on testing the small basics features on the software otherwise, I wouldn't be talking about this) and make it happen ASAP, fulfill these basic but yet so IMPORTANT features for BEST WORKFLOW and on making their product a MUST HAVE.


Let's Talk about the PLAYBACK of the ZEN with DAWS:

As I mentioned earlier, overall playback is GREAT, where the problem occurs or where I noticed a playback issue is when I go to switch BUFFER SIZE. I remember with my undying rock solid RME soundcard, I could on while i have my DAW opened, running with a session, change the Buffer size on the FLY without having to CLOSE ANYTHING nor restart the DAW and everything weither I'm mixing, composing, recording, playback just works.

In other hand with Zen unit, I noticed that when I go and change the BufferSize while my DAW is opened or running session already, and then start playback, thats it: little audio hicups, crackles etc...

Another thing when CTRL+SAVE in the fly while playingback, I hear like as you see the SAVE Progress bar doing its thing, I do hear a Zzzzzz sound almost like the audio is being frozen and then let go once its done. So to get around this, I have of course to QUIT the session, re-open my DAW (and by the way it could be S1 or Reaper or whatever, same issue). Was really surprised because I've done this many times with my RME thru the years and never experience such, never have to restart my DAW .. NADA

I guess there's something going on with the ZEN ASIO DRIVERS.

If I recall correctly reading in this forum, many Mac users are not experiencing much issues or trouble. Most audio related issues are coming from Window7 users. And i got the feeling that the Windows Zen Audio Asio Driver are not yet well polished and far to be rock solid. At least from my experience so far.

And last, about the playback audio Buffer issue, I heard that it might be caused if lets say you have your DAW opened session and then decide to quickly listen to an mp3 reference with a little app like VLC or WinMediaPlayer etc... Antelope is suggesting to not make ZEN STUDIO the Default Device Communication in your Windws Sound Settings. I found that a little weird because I don't want to use 2 soundcards: 1 for my DAW and one for Playinback mp3 or internet Youtube playback etc.. With my RME I could do ALL AT ONCE , open 6 different application that running audio, no issues at all.


So all that being said folks, this sums up my 1 week experience with the ZEN UNIT.

Now, Am I impressed with the unit?

Sonically = BIG YES, nothing to say, ALL POSITIVE

Software Features existing & to come = YES but need to revisit it to make the basic features working and keep on enhancing like: showing Diagram connecitivties so we don't have to guess, Make it possible to be able to DISCONNECT, something like Mouse+Right Click on a source shows you where its connected but you can Click Disconnect too. If I was Antelope, I would revisit the COMPLETE ROUTING SECTION and OVerhaul it for better use

In terms of Soft GUI =it's GOOD and workable but it's not the Woow GUI. Written Characters could be a little bit accentuated for ease of read.

Unit Built: Rock Solid, amazing look. Wish they would've delivered rackmountable version for Studio Mix engineers - Music producer - musicans but I'm pretty sure when Zen2 will be out thats whats gonna happen.

Am I GOING to keep the UNIT???

To be HONEST, I don't know. I know so far that since I've ran into these issues, I've contacted Antelop thru submittnig Ticket but the first time I was on their Live chat business and not even a minute after I had Andrey who called me up and man, hwas really helpful and gave great support and so forth. Been in touch with them adressing the issues I'm experiencing and Andrey's always there to help out. And for that I have to SAy big Thanks to Andrey, great support.

Now, I know that Andrey told me that they are working hard to correct, enhance, fix issues etc.. to make the UNIT the best unit with the best rock solid drivers so the USER can simply enjoy making music instead of Troubleshooting or spending time sendinig tickets and I'm hoping that thats what they are working at as I'm typing this, as I said, I hope they put their Software TEAM in Bootcamp because the simple example I can give is the following: Imagine I bring you a beautiful Ferrari, has all the possible features but: engine sometimes works but you have to shutting down time to time and restart it back or doors are closing but the lock gets stuck sometimes or can't open your door from inside, you have to bring down the windows in order to etc.. etc... I think I would rather run a Toyota that is fully fonctional then flash with a Ferrari that have problems.

In other word, can I work without the ZEN sound quality and Mic Pre?? Answer is YES, I did before and can still do it today.

Do I want to work without it = NO, I would loooooove to keep it and make it my main soundcard.

AM I ready to struggle with issues while they fix things? Not really because If I would have to experience the audio issues i've mentioned above in Session with Clients assisting, mhmmhmh I would look really Un-Professional and will waste their time. But will mostly depend how fast they are at work making things happen so we the USER (especially when doing this for living & don't have time to waste) don't have to experience these things

So what am I going to do?

The beauty of things is that the Local Store where I bought the UNIT, I have a 30 days guaranty for me to use the UNIT and if in a way or another I'm not satisfied with the workflow, or got into some issues that are not making my studio work job done flawlessly like I used to, or driver stability issues etc.. etc.. Then I can simply call them up and bring the UNIT back and pick up another one. And if, if that is going to HAPPEN, I know for sure that I'll be going back to RME (we all know for those who've used RME products) where stability never been an issue from the get go and pick up the RME FF802.


There you have it, hope my feedback will only serve to the ones who wish to get their hands on a Zen Studio unit under Windows OS. To be really honest, you SHOULD ONLY if you're ready to LIVE and Troubleshoot etc.. or maybe on your side you won't experience this, if thats the case then You'll be a LUCKY ONE and all you got to do is use your unit and wait for Firmware and software updates with features enhancement etc..

And hopefully that my feedback will have an ECHO to Antelope DEV TEAM to just do whats needed to be done to make their UNIT the BEST and not in BODY wise but the SOFTWARE & DRIVERS because thats where the MAGIC operates to my experience. Also note that everything I mentioned here has been reported to Antelope DESK.

And if Antelope Team don't have enough Windows Beta Tester to tackle the biggest and sometimes the smallest issues and needed feature in today's music technlogy, i'll be glad to help in one condition if they will going further and fulfil the best in software features for the Zen Generation1. Because as I mentioned one my concerns earlier in this thread (And not Antelope Rep has answered), I'm also worry that it's mostly the second generation of Zen (II) that will benefit of all the issues fix, software tweaks, enhancements instead of the Zen I. And I hope that it won't be the case as Mr Andrey told me because that would occur to be, it would be a shame cuz in order for them to succeed on a second Generation ZEN II, ZEN ONE must be almost full featured working software, unquestionable and rock solid drivers all the way through.

That' it folks for today. I'll continue working with the Zen and see if fix will be made before my 30 days deadlines and the rest of my decision only time will tell.


Peace & enjoy making music.
Old 27th August 2014
  #377
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Alright folks!

Here I am with my first impression of the ZEN Studio by Antelope

There you have it, hope my feedback will only serve to the ones who wish to get their hands on a Zen Studio unit under Windows OS. To be really honest, you SHOULD ONLY if you're ready to LIVE and Troubleshoot etc.. or maybe on your side you won't experience this, if thats the case then You'll be a LUCKY ONE and all you got to do is use your unit and wait for Firmware and software updates with features enhancement etc..

And hopefully that my feedback will have an ECHO to Antelope DEV TEAM to just do whats needed to be done to make their UNIT the BEST and not in BODY wise but the SOFTWARE & DRIVERS because thats where the MAGIC operates to my experience. Also note that everything I mentioned here has been reported to Antelope DESK.

And if Antelope Team don't have enough Windows Beta Tester to tackle the biggest and sometimes the smallest issues and needed feature in today's music technlogy, i'll be glad to help in one condition if they will going further and fulfil the best in software features for the Zen Generation1. Because as I mentioned one my concerns earlier in this thread (And not Antelope Rep has answered), I'm also worry that it's mostly the second generation of Zen (II) that will benefit of all the issues fix, software tweaks, enhancements instead of the Zen I. And I hope that it won't be the case as Mr Andrey told me because that would occur to be, it would be a shame cuz in order for them to succeed on a second Generation ZEN II, ZEN ONE must be almost full featured working software, unquestionable and rock solid drivers all the way through.

That' it folks for today. I'll continue working with the Zen and see if fix will be made before my 30 days deadlines and the rest of my decision only time will tell.
Wow Solar ..., What a superb, and detailed real users review ..., and complete with screenshots too .

You have really excelled here Solar by telling it how it is , and also by not bagging out the Zen - but providing only real constructive criticism on things that urgently need attention from Antelope , as these points are very concerning IMHO

I will be interested to hear about any differences or changes of your opinion regarding the Zen at a later date , ie; when your get more accustomed and settled into working with the Zen

I was really happy to read about your views of the sound quality of the zen and is "inline" to what some other users have reported so far



I am currently a windows 7 user myself (but soon switching to Mac) , and some of the points you made on the negative aspects you found with the Zens software etc , have generally turned me off buying the Zen until your warranted concerns are rectified by Antelope and some of the software improved as you mentioned.



How it sounds is a Major Selling Point , but so is workflow and reliability ..., and customer service/ tech support, but you cannot have one without the other to make a product complete IMO.



Your review Solar gives me a better insight into the Zen . I am sold already on the Sound quality as you and others have reported, but I HAVE to know I will be getting a complete package with the Zen .

Ones worst fears could be forking out the $$$ for the zen , only to have a Zen2 released with everything that "should have been fixed and improved on the Zen - but wasnt ......................., ?




- I would LOVE a response from Antelope to hear exactly how and when they intend to deal with these issues that you have initially discovered in your first use with the Zen ?


- I would also love to have an exact comparison of ALL the constructive criticism points that you have bought up with Windows 7 use of the Zen >>> Vs. Using the Zen on a Mac ?

(..., as others have commented the Zen "likes" Mac more than Windows ...., I'd like to know exactly how much more & in what ways ?)
Old 27th August 2014
  #378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Alright folks!

Here I am with my first impression of the ZEN Studio by Antelope.....
Hi Solar,

Thank you very much for your well thought out and passionately written review. We share your desire to see Zen Studio evolve into a product that people will look back at in 10 years and talk about how it positively shaped the music they created. We are well aware of the way the RME software has evolved over the past ten years and acknowledge that their customers highly regard this software. The fact is we are both among the few Pro Audio companies developing for both Mac and PC platforms and we are rapidly making strides with our own fresh approach for interface control software. Some of the suggestions you pointed out are already in the works in an upcoming update, while others may take a little longer. The Zen Studio just began shipping less than two months ago and in my view, it was released in a much more advanced state than any such revolutionary interface I can remember (often other devices have entire features not even activated upon release). At Antelope, we strive not just to provide innovation, but also the evolution of our products. This is why we built-in the easiest method in our industry of updating both our Control Panel software and the Zen’s Firmware. We believe you will be very pleased with the updates for Zen Studio and your experience with it will only continue to get better.

Whenever discussing new product features or updates, my saying is “Always err on the side of the best sound”. It is after all paramount to creating amazing audio recordings. Sound quality and stability are essential partners in the studio world. I am extremely proud to be associated with the incredible sound quality that our team of R&D specialists are creating. We are all also very pleased to hear your kind comments about not only the converters and mic preamps inside Zen Studio, but also your very positive experience with Andrey and our Support team. They are working very hard to keep all of you up and running and making the music we all want to enjoy.

We are in contact with our customers constantly and our Mac software and stability has been exceptional. Apple now employs the use of over 20 Orion32’s, which use the same driver as Zen Studio, so this is a clear testament to our success on that platform. Mac users currently comprise roughly 70% of our customers. The other 30% are Windows users, which is a platform we design products on ourselves. We have overall, also excellent success on the Windows side too, however it’s always a harder platform to develop for, thanks to the huge amount of variations of motherboards, drivers and 3rd party peripherals. But, issues via Help Tickets we receive are extremely low on both platforms. We are even way ahead of where we were last year with our Orion release, which has become as close to a perfect USB product as anyone could have envisioned.

So, what it boils down to now is fine-tuning the new Control Panel user experience. We accept this challenge and as I said, we are adding several great updates very soon and more to follow later. I am certain that Zen Studio is going to be a serious contender in the Audio Marketplace for many years to come. Such updates will make an incredible sounding audio product only improve for both early and future customers of the Zen Studio. I can only guess what such a post about our software might look like in 5-10 years from now. This is the history we are busy writing and creating today. Exciting times indeed here at Antelope Audio.

Kind Regards,
Marcel James and the entire Antelope family
Old 27th August 2014
  #379
naming presets

A couple other things about the Solar review.

Inputs are colored by type and can also be named, making it clearly visible where each input is routed, both in the routing software and also the mixers.

The Brightness slider controls the Front Panel brightness, so that part must just be a misunderstanding.

Thanks,
Marcel
Old 27th August 2014
  #380
Lives for gear
 
Solar's Avatar
 

Hi @Marcel

First let me thank you a bunch for taking the time to respond and elaborate more about the Zen Studio future development and software fix, features, updates to come. I really appreciate it and it re-assures me a little more then few days ago knowing that this UNIT (aside its amazing features) will continue to grow and stay in the market for a little time. Because to be honest thats where my concern is the most. And again I know and i'm well aware that comparing RME versus Antelope when comes to Drivers development etc.. yes indeed RME has been there and they proved themselves unquestionably. And I also know that Antelope has an amazing route with excellent sounding product that you guys have developed from the ground up (from Clock source, Sonic Quality products, your own USB protocols etc.. etc..) and thats what first pushed me and gave me that extra trust to go forward and order your product.

Reading your answer also I'm gonna be honest, assures me that you guys (at antelope) are there working, engaging and listening to the users. I sincerely hope and cross finger that it is the case and will prove me wrong as time goes on taking away all little questions or doubts that might occurs in my mind and that the results will speak louder for future upgrade, updates from Drivers stability, Software features, enhancements etc. etc.

Also regarding Inputs colours making it clearly visible where each input is routed, I totally AGREE with you and know about that and that is amazing. What I meant to share with Antelope Soft Dev Team is that it would be good to see an overall DIAGRAM showing the wiring FROM - TO. Reason being simple: Some people work better with Colours, some with Schematics etc.. etc.. So always giving the option to the end user is always an appealing and attracting feature to users or potential future Zen or Antelope Owners.

And thanks, got it now for the Brigthness = Front Panel of the Physical Unit not Software ;-)


Finally, I'm going to hold on to the Zen Unit for a little long more, see what's to come and only my experience (although share with other Zen Win or MacOS users), exchanged for future updates, enhanced features etc.. etc.. with the Zen Dev Team will settle my decision ;-)

Thank you very much Mr Marcel for shimming in ;-)

P.S Talking about Zen Dev Team, just got a Support ticket answer, gotta go check that out :-)
Old 28th August 2014
  #381
Lives for gear
 
Solar's Avatar
 

By the way, is there any Studio One user here who has the ZEN UNIT around here??
Old 31st August 2014
  #382
Solar, I want to ask you (and anyone else who wants to chime in, really) about how you feel about the digitally controlled pres?

I purchased a babyface about a year ago for mobile work and it was a big step for me to have pres controlled by that big knob. I REALLLY don't want to move to entirely mouse controlled pres but the Zen looks perfect for me in every other way.

Have you gotten used to them? How ergonomic are they?
Old 31st August 2014
  #383
Gear Addict
 
mauvehead's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simultaneity View Post
Solar, I want to ask you (and anyone else who wants to chime in, really) about how you feel about the digitally controlled pres?

I purchased a babyface about a year ago for mobile work and it was a big step for me to have pres controlled by that big knob. I REALLLY don't want to move to entirely mouse controlled pres but the Zen looks perfect for me in every other way.

Have you gotten used to them? How ergonomic are they?
No problems or hindrances to the workflow on my end due to using the Control Panel screen to adjust mic pre trims (or any of the Zen's other input trims for that matter). For me it's easier to get my head around what's going on when I can see all incoming signal levels simultaneously on a big screen while tracking (versus only seeing one mic pre's level at a time using one knob and scrolling through layers of pages on a tiny display screen). I've probably become lazy in this area over the years since the advent of computer recording, but I rarely miss menu diving on rack gear anymore. YMMV

Also, regardless of your workflow you'll need/want to have the Zen's Software Control Panel just a click away from your DAW as that Software Control Panel is really where the Zen's power and versatility shine through. Once you've become accustomed to it then everything is pretty quick and straightforward and gets the job done without too much hassle. There was a small learning curve for me whenever I first started using the Software Control Panel but since then it just seems to make sense to me on a basic level. Per the Zen's big knob, I rarely reach for it unless I want to mute the entire system. I pretty much do everything else via mouse as it just seems quick and easily accessible.

One last thought/opinion here...the Zen sounds so stupid good that it'd be worth tolerating/dealing with a mouse even if you're more of a knob guy. It really does have something special going on sonically speaking. Worth every penny in that regard...
Old 31st August 2014
  #384
Lives for gear
 
Solar's Avatar
 

@Simultaneity, to reply to your question about the Digitally controlled Pre's, I honestly could copy & paste @Todd's response. I personally loooove it and really responsive and works very well. And as I mentioned, the Pre's in this unit are seriously amaaazing, clean.

The only thing I'm having issues right now is when Recording Vocals in a project that already have VI tracks loaded, Audio tracks, Fx running etc.. and when recording vocals (sure would have been the same if I was recording instruments), I still hear some Audio cliks, hicups here and there and it's reaaaaaally reaaaally annoying to say the least. But io'm in touch with Antelope's support and we're working to figure things out. And hopefully I get to settle and fix these Monitoring Recording audio clicks before my due date or see Software /Asio drivers to fix this issue as the same Buffer size I'm using with the Zen studio is equivalent to the one I was using with my RME and never had any audio glitches issues.

Other then this annoying issue, I have to agree and confirm like @mauvehead said, the ZEN UNIT Sonic Engine is stupidly very very goooooood. It's STUNNING ;-)
Old 2nd September 2014
  #385
auto correcting?

I find the fact that in the recent two posts the word d.u.e. (i'm adding the punctuation so that the auto-correction doesn't change it) and it becoming the word D.u.e.t. (with a link to the interface) to be highly annoying and make it look like this thread is about another company's interface.

Seriously, Gearslutz, please fix this in your "auto-correction" software.

Thanks,
Marcel
Old 2nd September 2014
  #386
Moderator
 
Tim Farrant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clybourne View Post
I find the fact that in the recent two posts the word d.u.e. (i'm adding the punctuation so that the auto-correction doesn't change it) and it becoming the world D.u.e.t. (with a link to the interface) to be highly annoying and make it look like this thread is about another company's interface.

Seriously, Gearslutz, please fix this in your "auto-correction" software.

Thanks,
Marcel
I have reported this to the power that be, thanks.
Old 2nd September 2014
  #387
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Farrant View Post
I have reported this to the power that be, thanks.
Thanks Tim!
Old 2nd September 2014
  #388
OK we are on the case..

Old 5th September 2014
  #389
Gear Maniac
 

Color options ?

I just saw a video (from musikmesse 2014) of the zen

....., and it showed 3 antelope zens being in 3 different colors (about 53 seconds into the video) ..., those being ; Red (as we know it) , but also a zen in yellow , and another in Black

Are these 3 color options actually available for the zen ...., or were they just demo prototypes in that video ?

link to video ; Antelope Audio Zen Studio by Rock oN - YouTube
Old 5th September 2014
  #390
Quote:
Originally Posted by seafoam_green View Post
I just saw a video (from musikmesse 2014) of the zen

....., and it showed 3 antelope zens being in 3 different colors (about 53 seconds into the video) ..., those being ; Red (as we know it) , but also a zen in yellow , and another in Black

Are these 3 color options actually available for the zen ...., or were they just demo prototypes in that video ?

link to video ; Antelope Audio Zen Studio by Rock oN - YouTube
Those were prototype samples. After consulting with customers and dealers, we opted for one color, red.

Kind Regards,
Marcel
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