Renowned brand Antelope Audio introduced two brand-new audio interfaces today. The Discrete 4 and Discrete 8 target the plus/minus $1000 price segment that’s been of interest to manufacturers like PreSonus and MOTU this year. As expected, the Discrete interfaces carry traditional Antelope features like shiny metal construction, specialty pre-amps, elaborate word clocking, and heaps of software effects – including mic and mic preamp modeling.
Designed for home studios and mobile recording, the Discrete 4 is a desktop interface that features 4 combo mic/instrument inputs with Accusonic pre-amps powered by Antelope’s FPGA engine. The built-in DSP is able to mimic the sound of tube, transformer, and FET pre-amps in real time, thanks to digital modeling. This way, producers can choose between pre-amp models in the mixing stage while also experimenting with over 50 simulated effects, such as guitar amplifiers, compressors, and pieces of vintage gear.
Connectivity-wise, the D4 is laid out as a 14in/20out interface with 4 analog inputs and outputs, 2 stereo monitor outs, 4 headphone outs, 2 reamp jacks, S/PDIF and ADAT. The interface connects over Thunderbolt and USB. No MIDI is present on the unit – it’s a purely recording-focused interface.
Additionally, the Discrete 4 features Antelope’s 4th-gen 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking tech as incorporated in higher-tier interfaces like models from the Orion, Zen, and Goliath series. Two word clock outputs are available for syncing the AFC to other gear you may have hooked-up via ADAT and S/PDIF.
Antelope Audio also implemented a comprehensive monitoring and talkback section that lets one put together as many as four individual monitoring mixes with FPGA effects and send them to the 4 headphone outs. That’s enough monitoring to dispense with an additional mixer when, say, recording your band with a laptop. The front panel’s assignable monitor volume knob allows for control over both Stereo Outs and Headphone Outs. This is facilitated by the added metering on the front panel display.
Price and availability
The AA Discrete 4 is available from the brand’s distributors for $899. In our eyes, it has the potential to become a very serious threat to UA’s Apollo line of interfaces, thanks to the extensive connectivity, proven AA sound quality, and on-board DSP effects.
The Discrete 8 is an expanded variant of the Discrete 4. The 28-in/32-out interface is in a rack format and comes equipped with 8 of Antelope’s six-transistor mic pre-amps. There’s a word clock input in addition to an extra WC output. You can also expand the available line outs with an external module. This about sums up the differences between the Discrete 8 and its little brother.
Price and availability
The Discrete 8 is available now from Antelope’s distributors, priced at $1300. It might be a viable alternative to the PreSonus Quantum and MOTU 828 ES in case you are looking for more powerful functionality in exchange for significantly less (though still abundant) inputs and outputs.