Here it is, wish I had known before getting my 2 focusrites...
There's no doubt that Antelope makes some nice stuff. They have a solid reputation in the pro audio community as making very nice gear.
I don't personally own any of their products, but I'm pretty sure that Chris (audiokid) owns (or at some point has owned) Antelope gear, and there's one thing is for certain, he doesn't buy crap. ;)
I don't know how their mic pres compare to other manufacturers - like RME, for example - but I've read shootouts where Antelope converters came out very high in the ratings, although ...the downside with this particular model is that the USB connection is for the included remote software only, so you would still need an I/O of some kind to get the audio into a DAW. It appears as though the audio is output through 4 D-Sub connectors, (analog) which would then be sent to a converter.
Seems very reasonable at just under 3 grand for 32 channels of Class A mic preamps - that's under $100 per channel, which isn't all that much more expensive per channel than a mid-grade single channel pre.
I like the black triangle formed between the converter and preamp unit !! (must be my feminin side) ;)
I agree with the USB issue Donny. I was surprised to see it. However, as Chris and I have both said, the Orion 32 is awesome on our RME HDSPe cards over MADI. With that in mind, if you went one of these, just controlled the inputs via software (USB), then went out the DB25s to the Orion 32 (note cheaper price for current owners of Orion 32). You then basically rely on the Orion 32 / RME still in our case. And we are not alone, a lot of people went MADI.
DonnyThompson, post: 420035, member: 46114 wrote: I don't personally own any of their products, but I'm pretty sure that Chris (audiokid) owns (or at some point has owned) Antelope gear, and there's one thing is for certain, he doesn't buy crap. ;)
This looks like another smart move by Antelope. They are doing things we've all wanted for years. Kudo's.
But, could it be possibly boring sounding with a starved psu? I'm thinking there could be heat issues too but who knows. These products are a hell of a deal.
The Orion32 is excellent but keep it cool. I hope it remains consistent on all those channels for more than a few years. 32 channels on one single rack U with a tiny psu has got to have setbacks, which is why I think no one else has taken the chance to put their company name at risk.
I do know one thing for certain, my DAW and vsti react better when the Orion32 USB is completely disconnected from my computer.
That being said, of all the gear I've had for more than a weekend, the one product that stands out as a game changer for me is a stellar pre-amp. I'd rather have one Millennia M-2b over 32 boring SS. If you've never heard the difference, you don't know what you are missing, wow.
The difference between one stellar micpre is like comparing AM to FM. What goes in comes out beautiful full sounding. I need little EQ with my big rail pre. The sound is just so spaciously huge and sweet.
From a budget POV, this looks like the perfect companion for our Orion's. I want one regardless.
A bit off topic...
I guess I'm one of those guys who doesn't really mind a transparent preamp - as long as it's a good one - but I also agree that it's important to have choices, and having a stellar pre, either tube or SS - with some color - is probably the best scenario, that way you get the best of both worlds... you can take a transparent pre and add anything you want to it after the fact, or, you can also use something like a Neve or Vintech 73 if you are after more of a 'classic" sound.
It's a little similar to why I like having a variety of good mics at my disposal. Since my recording workflow involves using mics all the time, I like having a variety. My own favorite go-to, as I've stated here on RO many times before, is my vintage 1976 414EB with the original C12 capsule. It has a sound/texture that is incredible, and, unlike any other mic I own. That doesn't mean that I dislike my other mics - I also have a U87, a U89, an RE20 and an AKG Solidtube - but the 414 is my main studio vocal mic 90 % of the time - at least on my own voice. But, it's good to have those other mics, too... for options. It's good to have choices, and I feel the same way about having various pres.
There's no doubt that certain preamps have a jaw dropping wow factor. Over the years, I've heard and worked with several - from the classic 1073 to the Trident 80 Series, to several different Milennia, Great River and Avalon. With the exception of the Avalon I used, the sound on those other pre's are, in my opinion, unbeatable... not necessarily the same sound among them - but the same quality, and each has it's own thing going on that is wonderful to listen to.
But, like high quality mics, they aren't cheap... you do have to spend some serious jack to get into that sound.
Anytime you put more into something you lose something, it's a fact. The question is, with technology taking the leaps it has, how far is that limit now?. I know it's a said thing you get character from particular pre amps. I have experienced to a small extent. The one single preamp I have that is a single mono / stereo dedicated one is my Presonus RC-500. The RC-500 is a nice one, not sure how it stacks up other than reviews, shillings maybe.. I like it so far.
I just know from past experience that if Advaark (now Antelope) did things, it was above expectation. The one thing I do see (IMHO) as a compromise for cost, is the USB interface... as Chris (audiokid) has pointed out, USB can really drag things down. I would be curious after my experience WAY back with the Q10 from Aadvark, to see how this puppy behaves. I won't be personally testing it though :).
I wish everyone here owned one M-2b or similar build and one top level 2 channel converter, then, took the time to track and mix something with fresh ears and workflow. I'm convinced this would undoubtedly reduce the G.A.S. or P.A.S flow and most likely set a new path for them.
I never knew how great a simple "vocal take" could sound without anything more than a voice until I got into this level of gear. Cheaper gear seems to require more patch to smooth en out what was never part of the organic process (what we think is part of the recording, which it isn't, or the other way around, patching something that will never really improve).
If you are one of those people who is planning a long career and quite possibly has a workflow tracking 1 or 2 tracks at time, don't waste a dime on the budget pre's below this price line. Invest in at least one of the very best mic pre first, then, you will know what true sound is and reduce all the guessing and bad habits.
If I get to the day I loose my entire studio, thus resorting to the modest stuff again, this time I will at least know a rack of low end will never do what one top end piece or strip will do. Knowing and hearing it for myself years ago would have saved me oodles of time and so much money wasted from misinformation that never got me anywhere but frustrated.
The reward of knowing this now has stopped the nonsense of GAS keeping me focused on making music I am happy to live with or hear what not to do including not burning myself wondering why I can't get a mix to sound the way I know I should be able to do.
I have spent half my life striving for a sound that I could have gotten had I known of a few steps I completely missed or wasn't informed about.