Antelope Audio, makers of the Orion 32 that we reviewed in June 2013, have introduced a colourful new portable, professional audio interface called the Zen Studio.
The new interface features 12 mic preamps as well as Antelope’s Acoustically Focused Clocking that the company claim guarantees the most authentic analog sounding A-D/D-A conversion on the market. The clocking, conversion and low-latency USB 2 implementation are all taken from Orion 32. And, naturally, being part of the Antelope stable of products, sampling rates also extend up to 192kHz. To put it directly up against products from RME, the Zen Studio also adds on-board DSP.
Specifically intended for the modern-day producer or engineer on the go, the Zen Studio, has a carrying handle at one end and a lack of knobs that could get broken off in transit.
Each of the Zen Studio’s 12 mic inputs are instead digitally controlled through the control software (Mac and PC) and an extra eight analogue inputs are available on a D-SUB connection on the rear of the device. Digital connectivity is also provided with two ADAT ins and outs, for a total of 38 simultaneous inputs and 32 outputs. Users can create up to four independent zero-latency mixes assignable to any outputs, including the two independent headphone outputs and monitor outputs.
The internal DSP engine is based on a custom design with parallel processing capabilities that Antelope claim is eight times more powerful than the ones used in similar devices. This means you can place virtually as many EQs and compressors as you like on as many inputs as you want.
The Zen Studio can be used as a stand-alone device as well as in conjunction with Orion32. Zen is the response to a need for a studio-quality audio interface solution that can easily be taken with you, while your main interface remains in the rack. It is based on proven technologies used in Orion32, but where the rack-mountable Orion32 stands out with its MADI connectivity and unmatched channel count available over USB, Zen Studio delivers a more suitable number of mic pres and DI instrument inputs for a mobile-sized interface, along with monitoring and tracking DSP capabilities to be used on-the-go.
Antelope Audio plan to start shipping Zen Studio by the end of Q2 2014 with an anticipated price of $2,495.