Seems this has gotten a bit heated. I felt I’d chime in. I own an AXR4U (usb c version) as well as an Antelope Goliath HD, and I have a commercial studio which runs PT HDX1 with Merging Converters (the best available imo based on rigorous shootouts).
The latency on the AXR with DSP is very close to zero. However, there are two “DSP” bars in the control panel. One appears to be for the 276 comp and neve style EQ. You can use two total instances before it’s full, so you could use an EQ and Comp on one channel, or an EQ on two different channels, etc.
The other DSP handles the morphing channel strip, and seems to be able to do about 10 of them (so you could have a more vanilla EQ and comp on quite a few channels. It may also handle the reverb, which if I’m remembering correctly uses about 1/4 of that chip and as an aux effect, remains the same no matter how many channels you send through it.
Steinberg recommended the USB-C version to me and said they had had issues with Thunderbolt drivers on Win10, although that may be worked out at this point. Sadly, I can’t chain two of them as I probably would if I could, but I am using a Win10 PC and don’t want to struggle with Thunderbolt on it at this time.
I find the sound to be excellent and better than most out there. The latency through the drivers / DAW is higher than I’ve experienced on RME interfaces, although much lower than very inexpensive interfaces I’ve tried long ago like Presonus and Focusrite.
I also have a good amount of experience with UAD, including the Apollo X16 (their flagship). I’m not that impressed with the sound of conversion, and my Goliath HD beat it easily in a dry recording shootout on many instruments. I haven’t shot out the Goliath and AXR4U.
All of these companies have fanboys and haters. As far as customer service, Antelope gets a bad rap, but has been FAR better than Avid to deal with, and somewhat better than Steinberg (although I haven’t had to deal with Steinberg as much). Avid has been a nightmare and currently my PT Dock just doesn’t work at all, and I had a console designed around using that, so my whole life is at a standstill because of Eucon and Avid being absolutely horrible in so many ways.
So if you want a lot of channels, I think a Goliath HD could serve you well. They have roundtrip latency of 0.6ms on Thunderbolt, OSX and Win10, with an astounding amount of DSP. You can run 16 compressors and EQs of EACH type, and there are tons of them. You can literally run over a hundred plugins with no latency.
These plugins don’t really come into the picture when it comes to mixing, so you have to just consider them available for headphone feeds only imo or it will be frustruating. But you can create 4 independent stereo headphone mixes with reverb and essentially unlimited effects with no latency. The plugins are comparable to UAD in quality.
Antelope is kind of a bad company as well and updates products way too often, devaluing the used price. They will update one tiny little thing like the monitor output converters getting a 3% increase, and then release that as a new product, making it seem like their stuff is throwaway to them. However they do offer a 5 year warranty on hardware which is excellent.
I’m also curious if you were to chain 2-3 AXR4Ts, would you have 3 reverbs, or at least be able to do 6 of the analog emulation plugs and additional channel strips.
Currently I’m between keeping the AXR4U and Goliath HD for home. I got the AXR for the Nuendo integration and 352.8k sample rate support. I wanted to experiment. I’ve determined it’s really tough on the computer and so many things become unavailable (collaboration, 80%+ of plugins, transmitting audio over AES/ADAT, etc) that I’m going to run 192k, which makes the converter decision tougher.
Both of these interfaces sound very very good and imo significantly better than anything UAD has ever made. The preamps on the AXR are definitely better than the Antelope, but the converters I’m not sure yet. Antelope has higher specs and lower noise floor, but Steinberg offers 32 bit integer (only interface that has this as far as I know and I haven’t tested enough to see if it makes any difference whatsoever).
The other big deciding factor for me is if I want to have like 7 times as much I/O and leave everything plugged in, the Antelope is a better option for me, while I’ll need to incorporate a patchbay with the steinberg.
The DSP and routing on the Antelope stuff has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s really pretty easy if you watch a few videos and it’s very flexible and powerful.
Let me know if you have any questions.