It was back in January 2017 that I first heard about, then very soon after, got my hands on an Orion32HD by Antelope Audio. Very rarely does a product come along and scream this is the product that you have been looking for but in the case of the Orion32HD, it's like the team at Antelope had gone inside my head and designed the perfect audio interface for my needs.
Lets set the scene. In December 2016 I decided to purchase a 24 channel Audient ASP8024HE analogue mixing console. I had been running my Pro Tools HDX rig with 1 Avid HD 16x16 I/O and 2 older Digidesign (Blue face) 192s but I was never 100% happy with the sound. Yes, I know these are good units but they were getting a little long in the tooth and I had been getting better results with non-HD kit. I had tried, and reviewed much of the Antelope range and had been very impressed. But, I have no need for microphone pre-amps. The console has these and they sound great. I need line inputs and outputs and lots of them.
How I Use The Antelope Orion32HD
Tracking And Mixing Out Of The Box
My normal everyday workflow is almost entirely out of the box, so for tracking and mixing the combination of the Orion32HD and the 24 channel Audient is perfect for me. But surely 32 into 24 does not go.
As you might expect I connect the 24 buss outputs from the console to the inputs 1-24 on the Orion32HD. I then connect the outputs from my Radial 8 slot 500 series chassis to inputs 25 - 32 on the Orion32HD. This gives me my maximum analogue input count to my Pro Tools rig.
I connect outputs 1 - 24 from the Orion32HD to the 24 tape returns on the console. I then connect the final 8 outputs to the Audients patch-bay. These then get routed to the 8 group channels insert returns thus giving me the ability to mix on 32 faders across the console.
Mixing In The Box
For an "In The Box" project, I simply route my final master fader to the main outputs, these are normally A1-2. The Orion32HD has a pair of dedicated mastering grade monitor outputs. I route these to a pair of monitor section inputs on the console so I can hear what is going on. Its simple, but it works.
When I am not working on audio projects I am normally working with video in Adobe Premier. The Orion32HD not only has connectivity to my Pro Tools HDX card but it is also a USB-3 interface. Again using the monitor outs I can change the output routing, which I have saved to 2 of the preset buttons on the front of the Orion32HD to switch between HDX and USB monitoring paths.
As you may know, I am running an HDX card inside my HP Z840 Windows PC. I have more than enough power to record many more audio tracks if the needed arises. One of the main features I love about the Orion32HD is that is had MADI ports as standard. I have tried a number of different MADI mic-pres and A/D converters this year and I had a great deal of success with the stunning sounding DirectOut Technologies Andiamo MC this gave me an extra 32 channels of I/O over MADI taking my input count to 64. Enough for the most demanding of projects I think.
A Happy Ending
Sadly, as happens to most of the kit I get to review the time came for the Orion32HD to go back to Antelope. Once I returned from the NAMM show I contacted my local dealer and ordered an Orion32HD and paid with my own hard earned cash.
The Orion32HD has had a major part to play in almost every project that has left my studio in 2017 and I don't see that changing in 2018 and beyond. You can check out my review of the Orion32HD below.