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UAD Apollo 8P Quad VS Antelope Audio Orion Studio Rev2017
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  

Which thunderbolt ADDA/glorified iLok?
Universal Audio Apollo 8 quad Audio Interface
50%
 50%  [ 5 ]
Antelope Audio Orion Studio Rev2017
50%
 50%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 10

Author UAD Apollo 8P Quad VS Antelope Audio Orion Studio Rev2017
calaveras
Got another one of those middle class jobs that allows me to buy stuff.
Looking in to upgrading my signal chain.
The UAD interfaces are solid, and I'm sold on the plugins. I like the ability to plug my bass or guitar into a sim 'directly' from the hi-Z inputs. Also the current promotion nets me a Quad or Octo DSP box in addition to the duo or quad that comes with the interface. So the number of plugins is almost unlimited.

The Antelope has more inputs (12 vs 8) and a lot of plugins. 40? They are using FPGA instead of DSP to power their stuff. Not sure about the difference in execution. But if the plugins are basically free with purchase, the interface isn't a glorified iLok, it's doing something.

Can anyone comment on the sound of the Antelope plugs?
I know their conversion is top notch. However, I've heard some iffy stories about the reliability of their interfaces. As well as the customer service seems a bit understaffed.

I'm a big fan of solid reliable gear. Which is why I stuck with my MOTU stuff so long. It's not the greatest sounding, but I've only had a handful of hardware freezes on them. And the customer service is good.
calaveras
wat?
You guys really have no opinion on audio itnerfaces?
Sinamsis
calaveras wrote:
wat?
You guys really have no opinion on audio itnerfaces?



I always do.... with a Behringer ADA8200 you can cheaply expand your Apollo with reasonable quality. Not sure about the specific Antelope offering. I have two UAD Apollos (one older Duo and a newer Quad) and I love them. Why the 8P vs the regular Quad? Also check out ProAudioStar. They've always given me crazy deals on audio interfaces.

That said, I think I'm going to switch over to an Antelope Goliath. It's ridiculous. But I don't use a patch bay or mixer, everything goes direct in. Also looking at analog summing, which I need even more outputs for. And the reamping solutions really excite me. It's expensive AF. But if you look at what you get for the cash, it's a great value. Combine that with the fact that I can finance it through Sweetwater... no brainer. Ha, for me. For anyone with a brain, they'd probably say it's overkill.
calaveras
That is what I'm having a problem with. The Antelope are not cheap. But you it works out to roughly the same $100 per in/out pair that I paid for my MOTU 828MKII over a decade ago.
I also like the idea that the hardware accelerated plugins are just there. Not a thing you have to buy on top of the cost of the unit. However I do already have a dozen UAD plugins and a firewire duo.
And I do really like the sound of those plugins. I just need to get this 15 year old MOTU shit out of my signal chain so I can actually hear more of what is happening.

The only experience I've had with Antelope are their much more expensive converters in my professional engineer friends studio.
And they were mindblowingly better than the MOTU PCI system he had. (1224?)
If the Orion Studio or Zen Tour are anything like that I am sold. It was that kind of undeniable resolution where it sounds like it's not just flat from 20-20k, but from tectonic to ultraviolet laser.

I'd be totally sold on the Antelope if not for some of the sour reviews on Sweetwater regarding having to return several units before a good one showed up.
I'm not rich, but with a 3 pay or 6 pay plan I can easily stretch to the Antelope unit I want with as many inputs. The UAD aren't as generous with the inputs.

Sinamsis wrote:
Why the 8P vs the regular Quad?

The Orion and most of the other Antelopes have mic pres/line ins. As well. I don't do a ton of microphone stuff, but when I do I nerd out.

Also intruiged by the idea of modeled preamps (microphone or instrument.)



Sinamsis wrote:

That said, I think I'm going to switch over to an Antelope Goliath. It's ridiculous. But I don't use a patch bay or mixer, everything goes direct in.


I've been doing a similar thing.
I'd rather have all my stuff plugged in all the time, no mixer, no patchbay. No extra cables or terminations between my pristine converters and my sputtering old analog toys.

I'm working on building my own passive summing buss as well. I like the whole digital clarity thing, but I want more dynamics.
dkcg
Couldn't you always add more analog i/o using an ADAT AD/DA.

I normally wouldn't recommend Behringer, but the ADA8200 has been working pretty well with my RME interface. If you need a cheap solution for more channels, it's about as cheap as it gets. Just about disposable cheap, which is what I think of when I think Behringer. But it's working better than I thought it would.
criticalmonkey
they're both fine units -

front end (mixer/preamps/direct box/etc) into the adc and speakers and room after the dac will matter more

if you've got that already then you can't really go wrong with these options
calaveras
dkcg wrote:
Couldn't you always add more analog i/o using an ADAT AD/DA.

I normally wouldn't recommend Behringer, but the ADA8200 has been working pretty well with my RME interface. If you need a cheap solution for more channels, it's about as cheap as it gets. Just about disposable cheap, which is what I think of when I think Behringer. But it's working better than I thought it would.

The Behringer ADA is trash. It makes a sound, it lights up when you plug it in. But I ended up really hating the sound of those things. They are excellent at making complex sources sound like pink noise and making any project I record with one seem like it needs twice the EQ than if I'd used a less shitty converter.
I'm no golden ears. I played drums in punk bands so I can't possibly be!
But man, those things are just placeholders until you can afford a real converter.
calaveras
criticalmonkey wrote:
they're both fine units -

front end (mixer/preamps/direct box/etc) into the adc and speakers and room after the dac will matter more

if you've got that already then you can't really go wrong with these options

I've got some Summit, UA and modded Vintage Yamaha preamps. So I have front end colors to play with. Room acoustics are a constant battle for diehard apartment dwellers like me.
But I have a pretty good handle on how to supplement my near fields with cans to get a translatable mix. Or at least encounter less surprises!
It is tough when you are doing electronic, industrial, experimental type stuff.
What is your reference track? Your last good mix possibly.
calaveras
tok..tok..tok...this thing on?
Just checking. Surprised at so few votes on this opinionated board!
I have to say that I'd be on my way to buying the UAD Apollo 16 already if the damn thing only had mic or guitar level preamps on it.
Sure it has tons of inputs and outputs on DSUB. But you lose out on doing any of the neat Unison peramp modeling. (which I frankly have never seen in action, but it sounds like a swell idea).

I may not be selling my tube and vintage mic pres anytime soon, but I really like the idea of unison preamps for guitar, bass and keyboards. The UAD ENGL sold me on that. (not so much the AMPEG SVT).

One other thing I am not certain about. On some of the Antelope models they have a nifty Monitor A/Monitor B thing going on. So you can have two sets of monitors hooked up and I presume, toggle between them easily.
I've noticed the UAD Apollos have this strange thing;
Monitor out L/R
then ALT/Line out 1-4
then just line out 5-8.
So are those alt outs able to be configured as two more pairs of monitor outs?
Such that you can flip from your Genelecs to your Avantones to your JBLs and not have to fuss with things?

I tried to get something like that to work with Logic and my MOTUs and it was never clean and non-fussy. It would work in one session then completely implode the next.

Well that is enough coffee rambling. Time to go get a hair cut.
billyk419
I run two Apollos and have been pretty happy with them for the past three years or so. Never used any Antelope stuff so I'm probably a little jaded.

Either way, definitely a big fan of the Unison preamps/amp sims. It's kind of made owning my real amps hard to justify. Yes, the plug ins are expensive, but if you wait for sales (which seem to happen every month or two), it stings a little less.

And yes that is exactly how the ALT function works on the Apollo. Your main monitors would be hooked up to the L/R outputs and your secondary monitors to outputs 1/2. I'm pretty sure it only works with those outputs.
calaveras
Like I said. i'm sold on the plugins. I've been using a Firewire Duo for the last 4 years or so. In that time I've picked up most of the EQs and some of the amp sims, also some reverbs and the fricking priceless VOG.
(really, everyone get the VOG plugin or hardware. It rocks so hard)

I think I need to go into a music store that has both pieces and just do a short Logic session on each. Problem with that is, I'm going to buy it from Sweetwater or some other joint that will split up payments.
So it would be a shithead move to demo the gear at Phils Audio Gear and Tackle then go buy it online, right?

I may do the typical thing where I buy both and return one. That would be a big mess though.
drowld
Antelope is killing it. I have the zen tour. The plugins are top notch and free. Every upgrade is free.

I do like UAD stuff from the youtube vids i've seen but antelope is on paar on some of their offer. The compressors are amazing.

The build quality is also really good on the zen tour. I think the routing in the panel is easy. Apparently a vst/au plugin is coming to allow use of the plugins in the signal chain in the daw which seems really great.

If i was super rich and could afford all the UAD stuff i want i would buy UAD but a lot of the vst i use are actually equal or superior to me vs the UAD plugins and they are usually less expensive.

I think antelope is the way to go regarding price/functionality/quality
Sinamsis
I guess one thing I didn’t mention about UAD is the Console app. I find it so helpful. Keeps me from having to open a DAW every time I want to play a keyboard. Really easy routing. I also didn’t realize antelope plugins don’t have vsts. That’s a major down side for me.
calaveras
The Zen Tour is interesting. At first I wrote it off for only having 8 inputs. But then I noticed the two pairs of ADAT in's and outs.
I'm super tempted to nab the one that is on offer on local Craigslist for $900.
But then that seems like it would be a kind of unwieldy setup. A desktop box with cables coming in on 3 of 4 sides?
Likewise the Zen Studio with the 'almost rackmount' form factor is kind of odd. But at least that one has 4 more inputs

Also, what is this thing about VST/AU 'on the way'?
I was under the impression you could use the plugins from the DAW. I'm not averse to printing tracks with some effects. But especially when it comes to EQ, that is something I am going to wait until mixdown to do.
calaveras
So i went over to the other side and read a long thread on Gearsluts about the Orion Studio 2017. It essentially made up my mind for me.
I know that the conversion is likely much better on the Antelope stuff than the UAD. But the type of problems people are having with this unit has made me gun shy.
Now of course I know that the people who plug it in once and just get to work aren't posting as much as the frustrated guys who cannot get it to work. But the thing that stuck out was the firmware updates. It seems like a needlessly painful procedure where the user has to save their setup. Download the firmware. Do a hardware reset after the firmware download. Then re-load their routing setup. (and this thing of unplugging the power while it's powered up to do a hardware reset?)
All of this in order to get a few new FPGA effects.
I'd rather not put myself in the position of doing all that.
There are also a few folks that simply are not able to get their units to work via Thunderbolt. But can limp along on USB. Now I understand that this whole class compliant thing for USB allows manufacturers to bust out amazing feats of high sample rate/track count over USB. But I have had numerous bad experiences with USB buss arbitration problems. Stuff like zipper noise when you move your mouse. The mere spectre of such a situation has tipped the scales even more away from Antelope.

Then there is this thing where the effects on the Antelope stuff are basically like a multichannel effects box. So you either print tracks through them, or route tracks out to the box and back again. It's not an AAX/AU/VST. It's like having an Eventide with all digital in/out wired up to your interface.
Apparently the effects are very very good. But I am much more into the workflow of using plugins. Especially for equalizing, and compressing tracks.

I will be more than happy with a trebling of DSP cores if I get an Apollo DUO and the Quad core desktop unit (as part of the current promo). Plus the Apollo comes with 4 or 5 more effects I do not already have.

In any case it will be a step up from my ancient firewire MOTU+UAD system. Which will be going up for sale as soon as I get the Apollo cabled up! I've been able to get some decent work done on the MOTU 828MKII with Black Lion mods, but as I've improved the rest of my signal chain, it's become apparent that I am using 15 year old converters.

Now the last thing that has a question mark hanging over my head is from another brand entirely. The Sound Devices MixPre6 has 32 bit 192k conversion. With a 130db snr. I am not recording classical, but it has me wondering if there will be a next wave of converters in the near future, with manufacturers jumping to 32bit from the current 24bit. We have been at this 24 bit plateau for a good long time.
loydb
This thread has made me want to drop 5 large on the UAD next time I do an interface upgrade. I prefer its wider variety of plugins.
damase
Fwiw... I love the antelope plugins, the emulators especially blew my mind. I dont even record guitar amps anymore because they're noisey and i get a fantastic tone from the Antelope alone. Im incredibly excited to get the new microphones/emulators. They have a FX2DAW type thing coming out soon that the FX will be available as VST on the daw tracks, supposedly available for all of their interfaces. Like you said, its a bit of a hassle to route in and out of the daw and re-record just to get a vintage compressor sound... I will get a much better use of the plugins once available as a vst.

I've had a couple issues with my Orion Studio, some that came and went from firmware upgrades. Its not totally problem-free... Overall though, I got addicted to the sound of the interface so I cant really see going back to apogee or another brand anymore.
calaveras
The FX2DAW thing is intriguing, but I'm not rolling the dice on what might come out in an update at some point in the future.
I'm pretty burnt out on working my ass off to accommodate plug ins or VSTs that have the sound I want.
Or for that matter, the whole firmware update game they have us playing with our hardware synths these days. very frustrating
calaveras
50% vs 50% now eh?
I'd love to hear more from folks who have had smooth setup and install experiences with the Antelope stuff. It seems that is one place that their interfaces lack compared to UAD, Motu etc.
calaveras
fuck it. Ordered the Apollo 8 today.
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