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Antelope Audio Orion 32+

Antelope Audio Orion32+

4.65 4.65 out of 5, based on 4 Reviews

32-channel, 192kHz Thunderbolt/USB AD/DA Converter with Proprietary DSP Effects, 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking, and Mastering-grade Monitor Outputs - Mac/PC.

28th January 2016

Antelope Audio Orion32+ by TheDawg

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.5
Antelope Audio Orion 32+

Sound Quality:
I've found the sound to be very natural, pristine, and detailed sounding. Coming from a 1st gen Apollo, its a very audible upgrade in terms of sound and AD/DA conversion. One big feature in the 32+ is in the mastering grade dedicated output on the unit, something the original 32 didn't have. It's said to have come from Antelopes Pure Mastering converter which is top notch so that's a nice added feature.

Ease of Use:
In terms of connecting the Orion 32+ with cables and hardware, its pretty simple. Where its not so easy to use is with the software matrix program. It will take some time to get used to how to configure it to patch the channels I/O's to do what you want the unit to do. There is room for improvements in the implementation of the software matrix program. The upside is that this can come in future software updates (and hopefully they do). Outside of the software, the unit is pretty simple to use once it's up and running.

This is where, and why, the Orion32+ stands alone in the AD/DA interface category. For its price point, you get 32 I/O's now over Thunderbolt with dedicated mastering grade outputs, and all of the usual digital I/O's, WC, etc...You really get the most bang for you buck on a per channel conversion with its quality of sound. The Thunderbolt implementation is rock solid in my use of it and really was the deciding factor in getting this unit. There's very low latency, to the point that its really negligible. Also added in the Orion 32+ is Antelopes new built-in DSP effects which I haven't bothered to use yet so I can't really add input on that now. I'm guessing the longterm play is to take a piece out of the UA Apollo playbook here with real-time effects processing on tracking.

Bang for buck:
Excellent! In my opinion there isn't another unit on the market that gives you everything I mentioned above with excellent sound quality for the $3,495 price tag. If you tried to piece together units that equaled what the Orion 32+ has, you'd easily pay more.

  • 6
4th March 2016

Antelope Audio Orion32+ by engineroom

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
Antelope Audio Orion 32+

I just purchased a new Antelope 32+ to replace my aging RME FF 800 (Mk I) and my Apogee DA16x. I had been happy with the previous rig as I function mainly as an overdub mix studio and need only a few ins, while more to feed most of my 32-channel summing box. Things are changing and I will be doing more and more live band and drum session in the near future so I need to expand my inputs and have the same, or more outputs in as small a footprint as possible. I also want to move into Thunderbolt soon... and to leave the outdated firewire protocol.

I was interested in Lynx, SSL, and RME convertors and stumbled across the Antelope here on GS. But nothing had the features at this price point... and housed in only one rack space.

After opening the box and screwing into the rack spaces, I spent about 20 minutes getting all the cables and rack real estate straightened out, then connect the interface via USB (I'm on an old 2010 Mac Pro at the moment). After downloading the drivers, updating the firmware, and opening the routing software I was ready to organize my workflow. The routing software is a little more complicated as other posters have mentioned (especially coming from TotalMix) but after a few video tutorials helpfully prepped by Antelope and some trial and error, I got all of my routing taken care of, saved as a new preset, and got into Protools and a recent hardcore/metal mix.

To put it bluntly... The sound quality in this box FAR surpasses what I was getting out of my previous combination. The only word I can use to describe the change is clarity. Everything opened up and I felt it helped me make easier decisions regarding EQ and verbs/delays and I could tell right away I had a clearer picture of my mixes. It was an immediate difference.

After just over a week of daily work on this machine it has changed my workflow and my mixing. All of the outs run to my patchbay, and I am able to patch in my few select hardware pieces in any way I need to, and then right into my Equinox summing mixer. Outstanding connectivity and easy to use in a mix. For tracking... recording overdubs in Protools is similar to my previous setup and latency over USB is very low... (again, 2010 Mac Pro with 12 GB of Ram and a 2.8 Quad core CPU). However, I have yet to record more than two tracks at once.

I have no negative comments at this point, other than the mix software takes some getting used to. But in that vein... I saved my main mixing and tracking presets, and I am done with it for the most part... easy to recall with one click/button. Kudos to Antelope for such a fine product and for thinking very cleverly to get this into a 1-u space.

  • 4
10th November 2016

Antelope Audio Orion32+ by Dowsed

Antelope Audio Orion 32+

Interface: Orion 32+
Manufacturer: Antelope Audio
Price: €2,995 (on sale from €3,434)
Website: Antelope Audio Orion 32+

After reviewing the Antelope Zen Tour interface recently, I was excited to try the Orion 32 +. As a user of the standard Antelope Orion, it seemed the next logical step to integrate the FPGA effects I was using on the Zen Tour into a version of the Orion. This is precisely what Antelope have now done but they haven’t stopped there, Antelope have also innovated and listened to user feedback to also include extra features, which make the Orion 32+ a significant step up from the normal Orion model.

Firstly, the Orion 32+ is compatible over USB or MADI like the Orion 32, but also adds Thunderbolt compatibility, which allows for greater I/O (and potentially more stable for some users) than over USB. It includes some extra I/O in the form of mastering grade monitor outs on TRS.

Please note however, that these monitor outs don’t increase the I/O of the unit, they simply offer an alternative set of outputs for speakers, which can be routed through the Orion 32+ software.

As well as this the software mixer has been redeveloped to make it similar in design to the Zen devices and the front LED panel is significantly more sleek and “expensive” looking.

To anybody unfamiliar with the specs of an Antelope Orion, here are the I/O specs for the Orion 32+:

Analog Inputs
4 x D-SUB 25 (32 channels total), +20 dBu max, 11.2 kOhms
Digital Inputs
1 x Fiber Optic MADI (up to 64CH)
2 x ADAT (up to 16CH)
1 x S/PDIF
Word Clock Input
1 x Input @ 75 Ohms 3Vpp on BNC 32 – 192kHz
Atomic Clock Input
1 x 10M Input @ 75 Ohms 1Vpp on BNC
Analog Outputs
4 x D-SUB 25 (32 channels total), +20dBu, 56 Ohms
2 x Monitor Outs on TRS 1/4 Jacks
Digital Outputs
1 x Fiber Optic MADI (up to 64CH)
2 x ADAT (up to 16CH)
1 x S/PDIF
Word Clock Outputs
2 x Outputs @ 75 Ohms 3Vpp on BNC 32 – 192kHz

Just like my experiences with the Zen Tour, the installation procedure was a breeze. It flashed the firmware straight away and installed all necessary updates.

Once set up via USB. I endeavoured to use the Orion 32+ along with my standard Orion via MADI using my SSL MadiXtreme for 64/IO. I’ve also read in the Antelope press release that Thunderbolt will be able to handle 64 I/O in a forthcoming free update.

Expanding the IO using MADI, was the first time I had any problems, whereas with the Zen tour or the Orion via USB, the number of I/O options meant that the routing colour coding and the drag and drop working method seemed manageable. Trying to change the routing to expand to 64 I/O it became much more confusing to get this routed correctly. This was the first time in the setup process where I had any headaches, although, admittedly the confusion was mostly due to having two different software panels (one for the Orion 32 and one for the 32+), a situation which I am sure Antelope didn’t specifically plan for. That said, I am sure that most users wanting more than 32 I/O would not be worried about having monitor outs, thunderbolt capabilities and the FPGA effects on both units, so a Orion 32 and Orion 32 + combination might prove to be a popular choice. With this in mind, it would be great if future updates software updates, could include a few “standard setup” presets to assist users. After setting up the MADI I/O, I felt reluctant to use the FPGA effects for the fear of inadvertently messing up the I/O, all in all trying to chain a standard Orion with an Orion 32+ didn’t feel as simple as it could be.

The sound of the unit is exceptional, anybody familiar with other Antelope products won’t be disappointed and it’s all at a price point that is reasonable to anybody even half serious about pursuing music production as a career. So with a tick next to the sound quality box, how is the stability? Pleasingly it is just as good as its sound quality. Since I’ve been on MADI I haven’t had a single drop out. Just like when I use my Orion 32 over the inbuilt USB bus of my 2008 mac pro in-built USB there was a few drop-outs when using increased in/outs via USB but this is a problem with the speed of the macs USB bus rather than a fault of the Orion, if you find this problem a PCI/e USB card should be the solution to your problem. On later Mac Pros there isn’t an issue.

Now onto the FPGA effects, anybody that read my review of the Zen Tour will know that I think highly of their in-built digital effects. They all sound fantastic, are free with the interface and all future updates are also free. In time for this review is a major update to the list of effects. This latest update, includes several new EQs, meaning it now consists of:

BAE 1073
Pultec-style EQ's 3 types
4K series Black, Brown, Orange, and Pink versions
Helios 69
NEU (German EQ's) 3 types
55A Vintage EQ
Lang PEQ2

However, it is definitely worth mentioning that with the Orion 32+ you do not get all of their FPGA effects. Missing from this package seems to be all the guitar amp emulations and the FET-A76 (1176 blackface) emulation. I can only assume the omission of the guitar amplifiers is due to the fact that the Antelope team feel that anybody wanting to buy an interface consisting of mainly convertors (no pre-amps/line-inputs) would be in a position where they would have plenty of guitar amps to record with. I’ve also been told by Antelope that the FET-A76 is on its way to Orion 32+ shortly as will a number of other vintage compressors, hurray. Regardless of the reasoning it does feel a little stingy to not include all the effects on one of their more expensive interfaces.

Sound Quality (5/5)

Just as good as any other Antelope product, no faults here. It really is a fabulous device.

Ease of use (4/5)

Installation was a breeze, as are automatic updates. Usage in more standard set ups is easy enough. It becomes more of a headache on more convoluted set-ups especially when using FGPA effects on top of that.

Features (5/5)

USB, Thunderbolt and MADI support, incredible amount of I/O and included FPGA effects. Full marks again.

Bang for buck (5/5)

The extra features, effects and thunderbolt support make it a worthy upgrade from the standard Orion 32. The only slight question mark for me is over the decision to not include all FPGA effects.

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