Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

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mbene085
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Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mbene085 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:15 pm

I've been casually shopping for an interface to replace my old Apogee Duet, as I'll finally have a dedicated studio space in my new home so I'll finally be able to make use of more than 2 inputs, and "Black Friday-New Year's" is when the best deals can be had.

Antelope Audio interfaces have been on my radar because of their amazing conversion and quality preamps. Well, right now, all AA dealers are offering the following special on any "Synergy Core" interface (the ones with built-in DSP).

1) Free Edge Solo modeling LDC mic ($695 USD retail)
2) Free "Analog Curator FX bundle" - AA's Impresser, Comp-4K-bus, Blonder tongue audio baton, RD47, and Reel-to-reel plugins ($605USD total on their web site)
3) Free full license of the Bitwig Studio DAW ($399 USD retail)

That's $1700 (at base/full price, of course) of free stuff. The package is included with even the lowest-price Synergy Core interface, the Discrete 4 Synergy Core, which is a $999 4-in/10-out interface with 4 discrete preamps. Even if you don't intend to install or try the DAW, the free mic and plugins retail for more than the interface at full price.

I've been eyeing the $1495 Discrete 8 Synergy Core with its 4 extra mic preamps and 130dB dynamic range compared to the 121dB on the Discrete 4. I found a local retailer that's offering a $244 (CAD) discount on it, on top of the freebie package.

I really hope I'm not sounding like a shill, I'm just genuinely excited by this sale. Been keeping an eye on things for months waiting for the right time to jump on a new interface. If you only need 4 preamps, the Discrete 4 Synergy Core coming with freebies worth more than ~1.5x is retail price is probably the best deal I've seen on an interface, especially one as high-quality as an Antelope.

I know modeling mics are a controversial topic, but since I have no expectation for it to actually clone anything accurately, I figure that either it turns out to sound decent or it can be flipped to get a chunk of the interface's price back. The cheapest used one on Reverb is listed at $375 USD, so that's more than a third of your money back if you buy the Discrete 4 and flip the mic (or just under a third of my local Discrete 8 sale price).

FYI, Slate is offering a competing deal on their VRS8 interface with a $400 cash discount plus a free ML-1 modeling mic that retails for similar money to the AA, but their interface is missing a few features that I value a lot (namely an ADAT input for expanding the number of I/O and preamps, and a digital control app so that I can set my pre's via ipad instead of running back and forth when I'm recording by myself). It seems like a great interface as well though, so if you've been eyeing that one, now is the time to jump on it.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by marqueemoon » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:42 pm

My main reservation about stuff like this is I could see getting flustered by all the choices.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mbene085 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:31 pm

marqueemoon wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:42 pm
My main reservation about stuff like this is I could see getting flustered by all the choices.
Stuff like the modeling mics? Or the interface?

The mic is basically just a few presets that you'll try a few times and figure out something like "I usually like these two on male vocals, these two sound nice on acoustic guitar" etc.

The interface's DSP is more or less like using VST/AU plug-ins, just without the CPU utilization hit. The preamp models are like the mic models...inevitable that it boils down to a couple of favourites for any given scenario, found through trial and error.

I'm not new to modeling gear. My AxeFX has thousands of possible combinations of cabs and amps, but I just find a couple of favourites and stick to variations of those. It's not about using every option, it's about choosing from among those options and sticking to what works for you.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:17 am

Are you excited about Bitwig, though? I've been eyeing it for a while since I like Live, then I remember that I never really get anywhere with Live, tell myself I need to really focus on it, don't, and then the process repeats.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mediocreplayer » Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:53 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:17 am
Are you excited about Bitwig, though? I've been eyeing it for a while since I like Live, then I remember that I never really get anywhere with Live, tell myself I need to really focus on it, don't, and then the process repeats.
I am like that. I use Logic and every year I am tempted by the prospect of getting Bitwig for the $180 or whatever it costs with the education discount during the Thanksgiving-Christmas sale. But I come to my senses and realize that the combo of Logic and Reason is more than I ever need, especially that I only know how to use like, 5% of what they can do. With the Logic 10.5 update there is even less reason to get Bitwig, and the modular stuff is more fun in Reason. Reason is probably the most fun of all these DAWS, but it still looks like it was made in 2000. Being able to use Reason inside Logic as a VST though makes this combo sort of an end game for me. But who knows, I might just impulsively still buy Bitwig because why not.

That Antilope package looks like a crazy good deal though!

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mbene085 » Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:12 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:17 am
Are you excited about Bitwig, though? I've been eyeing it for a while since I like Live, then I remember that I never really get anywhere with Live, tell myself I need to really focus on it, don't, and then the process repeats.
To be honest, I'll probably noodle around with it and then forget about it unless it somehow knocks my socks off. My best music friend/collaborator with whom I'm likely to be shuttling projects back and forth digitally uses Logic, and while you can easily send bounces, it's much more powerful to share project files where we can mute/edit/flip things around, etc, so I have a lot of incentive to stick with Logic. Like you, I've eyed it because it seems pretty cool, but I have limited time and energy and learning new DAWs isn't something I'm super inclined to do unless it has a massive tangible benefit.

I presume the activation will somehow be tied to an Antelope account or something, but if they just straight up gave me a code, I'd probably try to flip it if I could figure out a way to do that safely.

I'm mostly excited about the interface. It's got crazy good converters, great preamps, and is a good price for the I/O I was looking for. The whole FGP/DSP thing intrigues me and is gravy at that point. You can basically run 64 plug-in instances off the unit via thunderbolt without using any of your CPU at all. If it doesn't disrupt workflow to use them, that's pretty great. You can also run 8 plugin instances per channel as you track, and monitor the wet signal in real-time (submillisecond latency), so it can behave like outboard gear in a lot of ways. It comes with a suite of 36 plus the $600 package from the bundle, so I don't feel like there will be pressure to buy more. If I can't make most of those 41 plug-ins sound good the issue probably isn't the plug-ins.

I'm also quite curious about the mic but I don't have any specific expectations. It's not like I was mic shopping and that I carefully chose it based on demos or something, it wasn't on my radar at all until I found the sale. If it's not great, it can be flipped for $400 toward a better one, but enough people seem to really like them that I'm reasonably sure I'll be able to put it to good use.

It comes with some preamp modeling plug-ins that I believe were designed specifically to interact with their modeling mic running through these specific hardware preamps, so I've got the whole hardware and software ecosystem. If the mic can sound good or reasonably model anything, this would be the setup where it could do that, so at least it'll be given a fair shot.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Dec 15, 2020 1:05 pm

I'll take a look into that Antelope unit, that's a lot of mic gain there.

I love Live, I've been using it since version 5. But I'm slow with it and the things that make it great don't really connect with me.
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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by marqueemoon » Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:40 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:31 pm
marqueemoon wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:42 pm
My main reservation about stuff like this is I could see getting flustered by all the choices.
Stuff like the modeling mics? Or the interface?

The mic is basically just a few presets that you'll try a few times and figure out something like "I usually like these two on male vocals, these two sound nice on acoustic guitar" etc.

The interface's DSP is more or less like using VST/AU plug-ins, just without the CPU utilization hit. The preamp models are like the mic models...inevitable that it boils down to a couple of favourites for any given scenario, found through trial and error.

I'm not new to modeling gear. My AxeFX has thousands of possible combinations of cabs and amps, but I just find a couple of favourites and stick to variations of those. It's not about using every option, it's about choosing from among those options and sticking to what works for you.
Yeah. That’s true, and that’s what I tend to do with sims too. I guess mic sims would not really be that much different in that respect.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by Larry Mal » Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:55 pm

If you do end up selling Bitwig, if it can be sold, maybe send a word my way.

I like spending time with different DAWs. When I was in school, the professors there took the idea that they weren't going to be some Pro Tools factory, and so any professor could have you use whatever they thought they taught well and what worked for the class. So there was the big Pro Tools rig alongside Radar in the main studio, the MIDI professor would have us use Digital Performer (fantastic), there was one class where they recommended we use Tracktion (now free) so I bought that, and so on. They would even have Nuendo around, and one of the professors still swears by Sequoia so we would have that around and Samplitude also. Great stuff- Windows only at the time.

You didn't have to purchase the stuff since it was available but I always did- well, not those Magix titles.

Logic and Cubase were never featured, though, I got to them later. I used to love Reason quite a lot.

And I want to support Bitwig, but I am not the man I used to be and learning a new DAW just seems to be something I don't have the time for these days. I know Logic well and for what I do it works perfectly. But if you end up passing Bitwig along, I'd have fun, if you end up using it yourself I'd be happy to hear what you thought of it.
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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mbene085 » Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:30 am

Sure, Larry, I'll keep you posted on what I decide to do, or if the license is even transferable in the first place.

I'll probably watch some videos of Bitwig in action to see if it appeals to me. I just pulled the trigger on the bundle yesterday but it won't be here for at least a couple of weeks because I went with a small(ish) store and the microphone is backordered.

I can totally see why it's great to be fluent in multiple DAWs. I'm at a place for the next while where I need to be focusing on developing a workflow again after so much time without a studio, so realistically it makes sense to stick to one DAW for the next while and put my energy elsewhere.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mediocreplayer » Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:06 am

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:30 am
...
I wanted to follow up on this thread. Did you get the interface/mic/bitwig? What are your thoughts?

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mbene085 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:47 am

mediocreplayer wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:06 am
mbene085 wrote:
Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:30 am
...
I wanted to follow up on this thread. Did you get the interface/mic/bitwig? What are your thoughts?
I did get them, as in physically receive the package, but haven't even opened it because it arrived about a day before I had to move out of my house and into a temporary rental as part of the process of selling my house. The mics were backordered at the dealer I bought it from so it took a while to ship out.

Because of the logistics involved in selling and moving houses during a provincial pandemic lockdown, I probably won't be setting up my studio until April at the earliest. The best I'm going to be able to do is to open it up and test it in a couple of weeks to make sure nothing is defective, but I won't have a space to properly set it up and evaluate it in terms of sound quality or workflow for a few months.

Sorry I can't be more helpful in terms of reviews right now. I'm excited to test it all out but this was me jumping on a deal while I could, since April doesn't tend to have sales like this.

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by mediocreplayer » Thu Jan 21, 2021 10:59 am

No worries -- best of luck with the move and the new house!

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Re: Ok, so the current Antelope Audio interface sale is too good for me to resist

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jan 30, 2021 9:03 am

I assume the Antelope is still boxed up and waiting for you to move into the new house? I'm a little intrigued myself.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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