Orange Amplification OMEC Teleport by Arthur Stone
Beam me up Scotty:
The review process is a shared journey: the gear and me, transcending musical time and studio space. Orange's newly-released OMEC Teleport – a 1-in, 2-out, guitar-friendly USB audio interface in a small, easy-to-use pedal format that promises to teleport your music.
Is Orange's claim legit? Will the OMEC Teleport transfer matter or energy between two points without traversing the physical space between them? Will space fold?
Almost. In a manner of speaking.
A more accurate description of the OMEC as 'teleport' would be as a telecommunications port. Audio signal in (and buffered thru in bypass) as an electrical control voltage e.g. electric guitar or bass output; then onboard conversion of the audio-in to a digital signal fed to a computer or device via USB; then digital audio is returned from the computer via USB, converted back to an analogue signal in the Teleport and available on two jack outputs (configurable for stereo; dual-mono; wet/dry).
In use, this teleport hub provides a wide-range of possible applications in the studio or for performance. The OMEC works on just about any source but you might need to use some everyday studio gear (e.g. preamps/small mixer) to do full song tracking with all instruments and vocals.
Being Welsh, initially I confused OMEC with the OLMEC, an ancient Mexican civilization who built pyramids and dragon-powered spaceships. The Teleport is a little less complicated than the OLMEC tech and the manual is a paper booklet (or online) rather than a stone carving.
Paired with the first-rate Amplitube4 Orange Edition software from IK Multimedia, the OMEC Teleport offers good value, great sounds and a unique take on studio connectivity for guitarists, bassists, synthfolk and more.
The Teleport is well-built using quality materials; whatever the specs it sounds great specifically for guitar use. I did need to add an external pre for mic. Used alone, the Teleport was stable on floor or desk with all the cables attached; cable logistics will require a bit more thought for busy pedalboards (but that's all part of the fun eh?) and the computer/device will need to be within a USB cables length.
The 44.1/48kHz 16-bit audio is more than fit for purpose and sounds great; the only issue is likely to be using the Teleport in existing DAW sessions at higher sample and bit rates but there are workarounds.
The Jam Origin MIDI Guitar is a pay-for software app that converts your guitar to polyphonic MIDI...which sounds like a lot of fun.
Not much else to say about the specs – the Teleport inspires confidence in it's design and build.
Glitch in the Matrix:
Yes, latency is a small delay incurred through the conversion process, USB and software processing - a gap in a continuum. That latency, the difference between when a guitar string is plucked then heard, can make or break ones enjoyment of playing. At sea-level, sound travels at roughly one foot per thousandth of a second (or, 1ft per millisecond); so margins are tight. No-one wants an amp a quarter of a mile away...except, perhaps, Sylvia Massy.
We're fortunate to have plain-speaking, knowledgable commentators at gearslutz.com; with the OMEC the big concern is obviously latency and it's potential effect on performance mojo, especially in comparison to a real analogue amp. In some sense this is dependant on the computer device doing the processing (given the mere femtoseconds the Teleport adds).
The good news is that on my 10 year-old i7 Windows 7 PC I could enjoyably (with self-adjustment) play electric guitar, bass and electro-acoustic at the lowest latency in stand-alone mode (using the Orange drivers) – 256 samples. I checked with Rob the Guitar (who dislikes any latency) and he thought it was good but quite noticeable. At 128 samples (w/ASIO4ALL) Rob could still notice some latency but it didn't hinder our musical intention or enjoyment. If your device will do 64 samples then it's pretty instantaneous.
Another 'slutz question will be about interaction or feel or playability: that kind of dynamic relationship – a causal bond between guitar and guitarist and amp; the immediacy of the sound that emerges from the loudspeaker when, for example, performing unison bends with the amp starting to drive and squeal on demand. A deep transcendental connection. Dasein.
Of course, latency and interaction are irrelevant if the sound is wrong. A plausible sonic character helps to create the illusion of a real amp along with unnoticeable latency or even 'compensational latency' (that the performer can reasonably adapt to without changing the musical intention), The physical/sonic feedback loop, transmitting with the fingers and receiving with the ears, is reliant on plausible sound too; a good test of this is to close ones eyes whilst playing and ask: does the amp sound like it's in this room or some other room? Can I feel it in my gut? In my blues bones? Does my spirit resonate with it? Can I slay orks at midnight?
Installing the software was a bit fiddly but it was worth it given the audio quality and range of tones available especially the Amplitube Orange edition which covers many of their amps and some cabs. The general control fascia is: part-browser, part-plug-in control and part-recorder/looper/mixer and this gives stand-alone mode some appeal; the whole operation can be run on an independent PC or device in the sense that an amp/FX rig is an independent instrument. Equally the plug-in worked well in a normal DAW session albeit via ASIO4ALL (which Orange recommends).
The small downside of the software package is that many of the Amplitube4 presets aren't available as part of the Orange custom shop...you can buy them. On many presets a pop-up invites the user to purchase online and then the preset is activated without the unbought components. Given that there are some long and complex presets/patches, it can produce a loud sound. I get that in time the user will learn which Amplitube4 presets are available and which aren't but it takes a little polish off the appearance and can be confusing. Some presets are blanked out (e.g. 'name' fx pedals) and others are not. There is also a online link-up to 'Custom Shop' but I couldn't get this to function despite several re-installs. A load of IK Multimedia VST plug-ins were also installed to my DAW folders but again most of these need to be activated at cost.
In general I think things could be improved by clearer instructions about exactly what the OMEC Teleport software package consists of, and a little less emphasis on selling extras.
In use: After overcoming the set-up I finally got down to testing the playability and sonics. In general use I experienced pops and glitches at playable latency levels under ASIO4ALL in a DAW session and preferred to run in stand-alone mode (especially for recording, for which I used two PC's).
When I found a sweet spot from guitar to software to monitor, I finally began to enjoy the experience. Like many mass-produced gear manufacturers IK Multimedia have a 'house sound' – a very subtle character that is present across all instances - and IME, every manufacturers 'house sound' is slightly different and unique. Of course, my own gear and set-up can add to this impression. It's not a criticism as all this gear/software sounds awesome; for example, I think Moog has a 'house sound.'
The interesting thing is that IMO IK Multimedia have nailed the Orange sound character too. The have successfully-modelled Orange's 'house sound.' I like that, a lot, and my immediate impression was that the Orange amps were amongst the best 'amp sims' I've used. I liked the tone and dynamics and I think the reactive impedance/buffering of the OMEC Teleport interface, was adding to my enjoyment in terms of feedback and dynamics. It felt like a real amp and for a 'sim' it had nailed the Orange sound. It was exciting to play and this spurred me on.
I noticed too that the INIT preset stock Fender amp sounded very natural and from my stage monitor very convincing, especially the tonal region from clean to thick which seemed to deeply resonate the body of the imaginary Fender amp.
In general, as with a real amp/rig, I sometimes struggled to match amps, cabs and fx with my guitars – one could say, too realistic – but IMO, that is what makes the difference when the guitar/amp/fx are in the sweet spot. I found myself struggling with noise, hiss and gates. Not all the available sims worked for me (in the short review period) but I was impressed with the goodly amount available; I'm sure there's enough to cover all bases and more available to buy online at the click of a button should a specific amp or fx pedal be needed.
In addition to the guitar rig sims there are: complete channel strips; a multi-track recorder; a looper (as a paid-for extra).
I liked the ergonomics and general workflow of the software: two chains available, each with an fx pedal section; heads or combos; cabinets; mics and then a studio-style outboard rack with some powerful and effective dynamics, eq and fx units. I did feel a lot like prepping a live rig except that here we have all the advantages of software e.g. presets, easy automation, component-swapping, etc...and...err, less weight...less cost..and fewer repairs.
OK sure! I'm a Gearslut. I want the real amps. They sound and smell fantastic...but, in reality, I can make the Teleport/Orange combo kick some a** like a mule. It'll even sound plausible. Very plausible.
The OMEC Teleport will also function as a general audio interface (either with the Orange or ASIO4ALL/aggregate drivers) and, besides Amplitube, can work with most stand-alone amp sims or DAW's. It isn't limited to guitars and bass either; I incorporated it into my analogue rig and recorded a Moog Subphatty and (SM58 and PG58 dynamic mic) vocals with some gain help from Audient preamps. For the guitars; rhythm and backing was recorded direct to DAW via the Teleport.
The track is available here: https://mediakit.gearslutz.com/wp-co...%20version.wav
Sound quality: 5/5 Stellar 44.1/48kHz 16-bit audio; fit for purpose. Prone to glitches/drop-outs/noise at lowest latency on sub-par computer devices (but that's true of all devices).
Ease-of-use: 5/5 Once the latency/performance sweet spot is found it's a cinch to use. Despite an initial difficulty, the Teleport was easy and straightforward to use.
Features: 5/5 MIDI only with Jam Origin software but a simple yet effective feature set.
Bang-for-buck: 5/5 Excellent value with good quality hardware and software. Whole lotta fun (and quality) for the money.
I think the OMEC Teleport will fulfil a variety of roles in different rigs. It's a good gateway box linking guitar or keyboard with computer/tablet/phone – good value access for hobbyists or tinkerers who don't want to go full hybrid studio, and although there are other product routes (of varying price and quality) that can achieve the same ends, the OMEC Teleport does it neatly and efficiently and my experience is that the buffered input, trickle-down Orange know-how, gives this an edge especially for guitarists.
It's not all roses though if you have a meh computer device; I was kinda OK at 256 samples latency setting in stand-alone but I'm OK with an amp 10ft away too. ASIO4ALL saved the day and Orange recommends this; at 128 samples it felt OK and normal and enjoyable; if your device can comfortably run at 64 samples then you'll be rewarded with an 'immediate sound' as if an amp was direct and close-by.
The other point to be aware of is that I tested with a well-powered older PC and not devices such as phones or tablets; my instinct tells me that as a new device, the Teleport will have been designed with modern handheld, portable devices in mind.
Despite the slight initial annoyance of the 'preset not available' pop-ups, the Teleport is a segue into the wonderful world of IK Multimedia and it's impressive hardware/software network; if you're a starter-outer, then it's a great 'system' to buy into. The Orange edition software is a valuable addition to any existing collection and will also work in any DAW with your usual drivers and independently of the Teleport. Equally, the Teleport works independently of the software package.
OMEC Teleport does bend space and time, plausibly, for £99.
Video review here:
The history of the OMEC Teleport – Orange Amps
Teleportation - Wikipedia
Ground station - Wikipedia
Official Orange video: how to set up your OMEC Teleport: https://youtu.be/i95Zvqr-MzU
Photos used property of Orange/IK Multimedia; additional photos by Arthur Stone.
(ccy2) Photo of La Venta Stela 19, the earliest known representation of the Feathered Serpent in Mesoamerica. (1200–400 BC) By Audrey and George Delange, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7798853