Michael “Fish” Herring (guitarist for Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey) was reportedly shocked when he first heard the tone of the new guitar amps that Antelope Audio have added to the Orion Studio audio interface. Apparently he felt that the sounds reacted more like an amp than a plug-in – I’m assuming this is a good thing.
In cooperation with Overloud Audio Tools, Antelope has created a whole bunch of amp and cabinet simulations that can be run on the hardware. Antelope stress that the Orion Studio does not contain a DSP like other units, this is a Field Programmable Gain Array (FPGA) with algorithms and parallel processing that offers an uncommonly low level of latency and processing power. This makes the Orion Studio ideally suited to guitar recording and processing. There are a number of vintage models and you have control over mic type, placement and EQ. All the previously available effects can be utilised and Antelope will be augmenting them with more guitar and studio effects as time goes on. The effects can be loaded and stacked into the Orion’s software mixing console and include all the classic and contemporary type amps and cabinets you’d expect to see along with dynamic, condenser and ribbon microphones.
The Orion Studio features both Thunderbolt and USB interfaces and is unusual in having 12 mic preamps as opposed to the usual 8 you find on most 1U audio interfaces. And the more interesting features don’t end there. Along with dual headphone outputs there are two reamp outputs that can take a guitar signal back out at the right level and impedance to run through external guitar amps and processors. They also have a comprehensive iPad app which gives you control over the mixing and effects which is ideal for someone carrying a guitar.
These updates are available for free for any Orion Studio owner and if these features tempt you this direction then you can pick one up for the princely sum of $2795, €2795 or £2225.