Antelope Audio has announced that its Zen Studio+ portable professional audio interface will be making its debut during a must-see showcase at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2017, February 22nd-25th, Guangzhou (Canton), People’s Republic of China.
Incorporating the key features that made the original Zen Studio a force to be reckoned with — as a portable professional audio interface with the most competitive analogue and digital connectivity, including 12 inbuilt studio-quality microphone preamps and extensive I/O (seen and heard for the first time at Musikmesse 2014 in Frankfurt, Germany), Zen Studio+ steps up the technological pace by bringing additional ThunderboltTM connectivity and a powerful range of hardware-based Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) effects to bear upon the still-sleek, easy-to-carry box bearing a striking resemblance to its peerless predecessor.
“When Antelope released the original Zen Studio, the company redefined what was possible with a portable interface in terms of both audio quality and I/O count,” asserts Antelope Audio CEO Igor Levin. “Zen Studio+ takes things to a new realm by adding ThunderboltTM and incorporating Antelope’s amazing FPGA hardware effects modelling. These things make Zen Studio+ the ultimate next-generation tool for recording anywhere that sound carries you. We are pleased to debut this exciting new product at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou later this month.”
Zen Buddhism — emphasising the value of meditation and intuition, rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures — was introduced to Japan from China, so, product nomenclature notwithstanding, it is arguably all the more appropriate that Antelope Audio has chosen to debut the result of what could conceivably considered its latest quest for audio enlightenment at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2017. After all, there is more to Zen Studio+ than might first meet the eye as a portable professional audio interface; indeed, thanks to those fantastic FPGA-based effects, it is surely the ultimate portable workstation for on-the-go engineers and musicians needing access to all the tools of their (studio) trade. The hardware itself includes invaluable I/O options, such as a pair of dedicated re-amp outputs, headphone outputs, and mastering-quality monitor outputs, while with its 12 preamps — including hi-Z and line inputs — plus an additional eight inputs and outputs on standard 25-pin D-SUB connectors, Zen Studio+ is well equipped for multi-mic recording setups anywhere at any time, as well as being further extendable via ADAT or S/PDIF. Still further, a completely customisable routing matrix makes establishing exactly the right signal flow for the way that the user works simplicity itself, incorporating outboard hardware and FPGA effects easily. Enabling full control room capability at home or in the studio comes courtesy of built-in talkback.
That said, Zen Studio+ packs a veritable treasure trove of vintage outboard tone-shaping into its road-ready, yet travel-friendly ‘carry-on’ chassis, thanks to Antelope Audio’s cutting-edge FPGA technology. These hardware-based effects allow for near-zero-latency audio processing using detailed emulations of classic EQs, compressors, guitar amplifiers, and more — and all without taxing the connected computer’s CPU resources. Rallying onwards and upwards, Antelope Audio continues to expand its hardware downloads, now boasting a library of over 30 unique effects — each carefully modelled from the most coveted pieces of studio gear in recording history!
Antelope Audio’s industry-defining 64-bit AFC (Acoustically Focused Clocking) technology is vital to the incredible fidelity and imaging that Zen Studio+ serves up to its discerning users. Ultimately, of course, better clocking means better analogue-to-digital conversion and authentic sonic imaging, ensuring every signal chain detail is captured with integrity. It also allows for pristine digital-to-analogue conversion between the DAW and monitors or headphones, enabling users to hear greater detail and make better decisions when mixing. Moreover, word clock input and output enable Zen Studio+ to seamlessly integrate with other studio gear, and an atomic input is available for interfacing with, and upgrading to, Antelope’s state-of-the-art 10MX Rubidium Atomic Clock for the best clocking in the industry — think vividly real clarity, depth, width, and three-dimensionally distinctive analogue sound… a killer combo for sure!
Still further, in addition to making headway with hardware, Zen Studio+ is controlled via a powerful desktop application for OS X or Windows, allowing access to a fully-customisable signal routing matrix and up to four independent mixes for monitoring, as well as full control of its realtime FPGA effects. Even though front panel-controllable talkback is built into the Zen Studio+ hardware, helpfully Antelope Audio’s innovative iOS and Android apps add further flexibility with talkback also available through the hosting smartphone’s inbuilt microphone.
The Zen Studio+ will be demonstrated in Hall 5.2, Booth #A66 at Prolight + Sound Guangzhou 2017. The interface is scheduled to start shipping in mid-March 2017.