Here’s some early reviews for Antelope Audio’s brand new Zen Tour interface. This great little unit punches well above its weight in terms of clocking, converters and i/o. Throw in some re-amping and onboard amp & cab processing and you’ve got a great recording one-stop shop in a tiny desktop footprint. We’ve got plenty in stock here at Federal Audio and stay tuned for some upcoming specials.
Listen to what the experts say:
Antelope Audio is best known for its high-end audio conversion and digital clocking solutions, but its latest play is in the portable audio interface market. It looks like the company means business, too: the Zen Tour has a slick design and an impressive spec list.
Connecting over Thunderbolt or USB, the device offers eight analogue inputs (four switchable mic/line and four HiZ/Line) as well as digital ADAT S/PDIF connectivity. The eight outputs, meanwhile, have been configured with flexibility in mind. These include two independent headphone outs, dual monitor outs for easy A/Bing between different speakers, and dual reamp outputs that will doubtless appeal to guitarists.
In fact, guitarists are very much in Antelope Audio's target market here: the built-in DSP effects include guitar amp and cab emulations, as well as an EQ and reverb. Low latency performance is promised, with the guitar amps said to "respond with the immediacy of real tubes, carrying an authentic tone and realistic sound".
You can take control of the Zen Tour using the built-in touchscreen, dedicated mobile app or cross-platform control software control panel. In fact, multiple users can control it remotely, so long as their devices are on the same network.
"Antelope Audio has already established itself as the top choice for professional studios around the globe for audio conversion and digital clocking," says Antelope Audio's Director of US Sales Marcel James. "Zen Tour puts many of Antelope's innovations within reach of an entirely new audience of musicians, bands, and DJs - including our unparalleled and continually evolving DSP-based effects and amp simulations. This interface packs an incredible amount of utility and recording finesse into a small form factor, making it ideal for tracking, mixing, and creative processing."
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With products like the Apogee Quartet and Universal Audio Apollo Twin, there is a growing demand for the portable, high end audio interface. The tools need to be as portable as the modern content creator. Antelope Audio has introduced their portable desktop interface and it is quite the little powerhouse. The Antelope Audio Zen Tour Thunderbolt interface features 4 mic/line and 4 line/Hi-z line inputs, zero latency, and the ability to control the interface via networked connections like multiple computers or mobile remote apps.
You’re not going to find this many inputs on any portable device on the market, yet. Antelope Audio also uses the same Filed-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) that you can find on their other powerful devices like the Orion Studio. This technology allows for the interface to handle loads of processing while still providing the lowest latency levels on the market. A pretty outstanding feature for such a modest box.
There are onboard DSP effects as well as amplifier and cabinet simulators making direct guitar signals more creative and dynamic.
The rear houses 4 combination mic/line inputs as well as your S/PDIF input. You get two sets of monitor outputs, S/PDIF output, and an additional 8 lines of output over a standard D-SUB 25 pin connection. There is an A/B switch control on the interface so there is no need to get a separate monitor control box.
The unit has a brilliantly lit touchscreen so the requirement for external DC power makes sense. Their is a provided USB cable but you will definitely want to get yourself a Thunderbolt cable for the highest quality and fastest A to D transfer.
The front of the panel is perfect for the mobile producer. In addition to 4 high quality instrument inputs you have reamp outputs on the front of the unit. This allows you to get a great direct track while still allowing for the recording of an amplifier or stomp boxes, for more depth and character. Two headphone outputs make it easy to deliver custom mixes to multiple musicians and the ADAT I/O on the side allows for even greater expandability.
The Zen Tour's expandable connectivity, 8 total inputs, and touchscreen capabilities make it stand out amongst the crowd. If you want an interface that has portability but doesn’t skimp on quality and versatility, the Antelope Audio Zen Tour needs to be on your radar.The Touch Screen Control display is a nice touch (bad pun intended) with a nice bright screen and controls for every function on the device. There is also a handy talkback button on the device so you can chat with your artist. Lastly, a single large rotary knob will be your go to control for volume, gain staging, and the like.