In this article we take a close look at the new Orion 32HD Gen 3 from Antelope Audio. James Ivey and band ‘The Studio Rats’ use the Orion 32HD Gen 3 to record their new track ‘Falling Deeper’ featuring the voice of Abi F Jones.
The Antelope Orion 32HD Gen 3
The team at Antelope have been very busy updating the Orion 32HD to Generation (Gen) 3. From the outside you might think this unit is very similar in performance and specification to the Orion 32+ and that the only difference is it’s connectivity to your recording platform where the Orion 32+ supports both USB3 and Thunderbolt where as the 32HD supports USB3 and Mini Digilink to be compatible with the Avid HDX, HD Native and HD Thunderbolt Native systems. But the similarities are only skin deep, digging into the inner workings of the unit tells a different story.
The Tech Specs
A/D-D/A With its more than respectable, quoted 136dB of dynamic range, which has been measured at the mastering grade Monitor Outputs, the Orion 32HD Gen 3 offers some of what antelope claim to be “the industry's finest AD/DA conversion and with its HD, HDX & HD Native connectivity, the Orion 32HD | Gen 3 achieves super low latency”.
Clocking Antelope gear is respected by many for their internal clocking and Antelope’s next-generation 64-bit acoustically focused clocking technology and jitter management algorithm, which means your audio is given a stable platform from which to shine.
Effects Antelope have crammed the Orion 32HD Gen 3 with powerful and flexible FPGA processing giving you access to a fine collection of circuit-level emulations of studio classics which can run in real-time for tracking or mixing.
Once you get your head around the Orion 32HD | Gen 3's software control panel, you will find it to be one of the most flexible and agile systems offered by any interface manufacturer. You can even use multiple computers connected over the same network to arrange and configure the I/O and link to two systems at the same time for dual system recording of up to 64 channels of digital and analogue I/O all crammed into a single rack space.
The Orion 32HD Gen 3 offers up to 64 channels of simultaneous hight resolution 192 KHz 24 bit audio over HDX or USB 3.0. 32 channels of analogue I/O over 4 pairs of 25 pin D-Sub connectors. 2 pairs (16 channels at 44.1 and 48KHz) of ADAT optical I/O, an SPFID pair and MADI. Just configure your I/O however you need it using the software routing panel.
Another one of the brilliant things about the entire Antelope workflow is that you only need to install one software package, no faffing with drivers and controller software. You can chop and change between different Antelope devices with the Antelope Launcher software offering users the correct driver and software control panel for the device you have attached and it deals with all your software and hardware updates. It just works.
The best thing about the Orion 32HD Gen 3 is that it just gets on and does what you want it to do and that is sound great. The control software means that that actually you don’t ever need to touch the hardware, so it could be stashed in a machine room well out of the way. Not that it needs to be as there is no fan in the unit to cause any unwanted noise. Just hook up your mic preamps and active speakers or large format console and start recording.
James would like to think that the sound of the track speaks for itself. “The drums sound full, with a nice attack and plenty of stick definition. The bass sounds round and fat (or should that be Phat) especially when processed through my Warm Audio WA-2A and Warm Tube EQ (Pultec). I feel that the updates have been well worth it. The Orion 332HD Gen 3 makes lots of claims about improved dynamic range on the mastering outputs and improved AD/DA conversion but these things are so hard to test quantitatively and have it mean more than just numbers on a page of marketing blurb. What I can say is that I own the original Orion 32HD and I love it, but I think I love the Gen 3 more. It sounds more open and has more air. The sound of the track, even once it had been processed and mixed sound bigger. It’s so hard to do an A/B between the Gen 1 and Gen 3 but I have worked and lived with the Gen 1 for over 2 years now and I know how it sounds and to my ears the Gen 3 sounds bigger and better. However, check out my video of recording with the Antelope Audio Orion 32HD Gen 3 below.“
You can also check out the full length version of Falling Deeper by The Studio Rats featuring Abi F Jones in the video below.