Antelope Orion 32 HD

I just got one of these today, after some initial goofs getting it installed and set up, it seems to be really nice.
The setup instructions for the unit are missing a lot of information. At one point I thought I bricked it trying to do a firmware update, more on that in a bit.

Setup:

  1. The unit will start in authorize mode when the power is plugged in, you won’t be able to turn it off without unplugging it, the power switch doesn’t work.

  2. Initially I tried to use the USB 3.1 ports on the back of my computer but every time I tried, the unit messed up my bios and I had to reconfig my motherboard. ??? Use a USB 3.0 port and wait until you’ve started Windows to do it.

  3. Plug it in to a USB 3.0 port and install the driver.

  4. Reboot!

  5. Install the Launcher and start it. If the Orion has out of date firmware (highly likely), it won’t let you authorize the unit without reflashing. If you don’t get the authorization wizard right away, you will need to update the firmware.

In my case, I didn’t do step 4 and the firmware update failed. I thought I bricked the unit. The display read “Golden Boot” and the box was basically dead. When it failed, the Launcher launched another update window which failed and launched another update window… If that happens, uninstall the Launcher, do this: http://en.antelopeaudio.com/2016/08/how-to-perform-a-golden-boot/, reboot, and go to step 5 (make sure the unit is plugged in).

  1. Once the unit is up to date, the Launcher will finally start the authorization wizard and you should be good.

The Orion is the replacement for a UAD Apollo Quad Firewire which did not like Windows 10 at all (it had big problems with the FW interface, even using the recommended PCIe card). The Apollo worked fine on Windows 7.

Overall impressions:
It’s not a 32 channel I/O, it’s 64 in both directions (depending on your clock). More than enough expansion space. I maxed out the Apollo with external stuff, now I need to get a couple more db25’s.
It sounds good.
It makes ASIO almost as simple as Core Audio, just leave it in auto, relaxed.
A project I’ve been working on was hitting 75% on the Apollo, it’s running around 25% now.
Limited documentation resulted in panicked phone calls to Sweetwater demanding a replacement by Monday (I really need to call them first thing in the morning to say “Nevermind”).
It’s way better than I thought it would be.