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Antelope Orion 32HD (Gen2) Experiences

Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
77
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro
I'm shopping for a new set of converters for my studio workstation. I have an Antelope Orion 32 HD (Gen2) on loan from my local music store. I'll be posting my experiences with it here on the following setups:

System A: (Home Workstation):
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
i5-4690K
24GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB
UAD2 Quad Satellite (Firewire)
macOS High Sierra v. 10.13.6
Pro Tools 2019.6
Ableton Live 10.1
Connected via USB 3.0


System B: (Studio Workstation)

ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-F Gaming
i7 8700K
EVGA 1050 SC 4GB
32GB 2400 MHz DDR4
Avid HD Native PCIe
UAD2 Quad Satellite (Firewire)
macOS High Sierra v. 10.13.6
Pro Tools 2019.6
Ableton Live 10.1
Connected via USB3.0 and DigiLink (Avid HD)

Additionally, I'll be upgrading my System B with the following components and testing compatibility:
Gigabyte Z390 Designare
Sapphire Pulse RX580 8GB



A little more info about my use-case:

I'm a freelance studio engineer working in music, voice-over and occasionally game-audio. At home I do lots of editing, music production and sound design. I go to a studio to record and mix. In both settings I'm using Hackintosh workstations assembled and maintained myself, with the helpful guidance of other users here on tonymacx86. I used to use a 2011 Mac Pro but performance was starting to get disappointing during insert-heavy mixes and the chassis wasn't sufficiently expandable. The value proposition of the 2013 Mac Pro was just not acceptable, and neither was the limited expandability.

At the studio I've been working on an older Digidesign 96 i/o converter set at the studio,Connected via DigiLink to an HD Native PCIe card. Stability in Pro Tools has been excellent (save for the dreaded Error -9173). Unfortunately, trying to run Ableton with the Avid Core Audio driver has been a serious pain in the ass. I don't think this issue is specific to my Hackintosh setup as I've seen lots of users report the same problem over at the Avid DUC. One reason for trialing the Orion is to see whether a more modern interface might address this. I suspect the problem has more to do with the HD platform/driver but as the Orion also promises to connect via USB3 that should be good enough for sequencing/producing in Live.

Furthermore, the old Digidesign converters just don't sound that good and I'm due for an upgrade.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
77
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro
So far I've only had the opportunity to test with my System A (home workstation). After installing and updating the drivers/launcher, USB3.0 is working. One thing I've heard about these interfaces is that they may frequently lose connection to the software mixer over USB so I'm keeping an eye out for this.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
77
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro
Thanks for following up, NoiseCoalition.

I'm waiting until my weekend sessions are over before I do anything to disrupt my currently stable system. Will return with some details mid-week.

My feeling right now though, is that I'll probably go with a Lynx Aurora(n) because I don't need 32 channels of i/o and the Orion is more expensive.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2016
Messages
77
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD3H-BK
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro
And finally, I gave up on the Orion.

I had USB driver issues with the Orion. Whenever the USB3 connection was active it would break a piece of software that's key to my workflow: Keyboard Maestro. Honestly, KM is worth more too much to me to let any piece of kit disrupt it.

Its developer had this to say on the KM support forums:
My guess would be that the device is flooding the system with USB HID packets.
If you disable all USB Device Key triggers, then that will probably stop it affecting Keyboard Maestro, though it will still be putting a load on your system and the solution is probably a fix in the device firmware.
Another issue I had with it is I couldn't use the HD Core Audio Driver in Ableton Live, which mean I had to stick with USB3 or figure out another way of interfacing with the card such as MADI. Too much hassle. Too much expense.

That said, performance in Pro Tools was excellent communicating over the HD Native card. And the converters sound fantastic. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Orion 32 HD to anyone with a Hackintosh and a Pro Tools HD setup.

In the end I bought a Thunderbolt 3 interface to go along with my upgraded motherboard, the Gigabyte Z390 Designare. It's a UAD Apollo x8 and I think this was the right choice for me. The 32 channels of i/o from the Orion were overkill for my mix room. The Apollo adds 6 additional cores of UAD2 DSP processing to my setup. Plug and play. Out of the box, into the TB3 port on the back of the motherboard and I was good to go. Huzzah!

I think that's all I have to say about this. Hopefully this is helpful to someone mulling the same high-ticket gear purchases I was.
 
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