Antelope Audio Zen Studio

Portable USB Audio Interface with 20 Analog Inputs, 12 Mic Preamps, Onboard DSP Effects, Multiple Monitor Mixers, and Mac/PC Control Software
Antelope Audio Zen Studio image 1
Antelope Audio Zen Studio image 1
$1,795.00
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Antelope Audio Zen Studio
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Hear the Zen Studio in Your Studio!

Creativity on the Go

The core of your professional portable studio

Never has so much outstanding audio quality and useful functionality been engineered into such a compact package! The Antelope Audio Zen Studio gives you full-featured audio interface, clock, preamp, and monitor controller functions in a svelte, road-ready chassis. Featuring 20 analog inputs, 12 world-class mic preamps, Antelope's peerless conversion and clocking, onboard DSP effects, multiple monitor mixers, custom high-bandwidth low-latency USB, and Mac/PC control software, the sleek, back-packable Zen Studio houses the powerful core of your professional mobile recording studio.

Antelope Audio Zen Studio at a Glance:

  • Amazingly "analog-sounding" conversion
  • Comprehensive mic pre, hi-Z instrument, and line input options
  • Parallel DSP and effects processing
  • Rock-solid zero-latency USB audio interface
  • Extremely flexible routing and mixing capabilities
  • Antelope's acclaimed clocking technology
  • Zen Studio Sweetwater Overview
  • Zen Studio Set Up Out of the Box
  • Zen Studio Control Panel Tour
  • Zen Studio Recording Miles Mosley
  • Zen & the Art of Audio
  • AuraVerb Reverb

Hover over features below for a detailed description

4 front-panel Instrument/Mic Preamp/Line inputs offer convenient inputs for instruments, microphones, or line-level sources
Power button toggles standby/operation state
Stepped attenuator for headphone and main output volume
Multifunction scrollable display works with the 2 option buttons to display peak meter, preference options, and input trim state
2 option buttons allow you to scroll up and down between 5 different option screens
Illuminated headphone indicator lights to indicate which headphone outputs are active
2 independently assignable headphone outputs, selectable and controllable via the main volume control knob
High-speed Type B USB; Zen Studio operates at sample rates of up to 192kHz with Antelope ASIO on Windows and Mac OS X
DC power connection for use with Antelope's DC power supply only
25-pin D-Sub TASCAM analog outputs let you attach 2 breakout cables, each with 8 channels of I/O
Assignable balanced stereo outputs for left and right channels
75-ohm S/PDIF inputs for use with compatible equipment
BNC connectors for Word Clock output and reference input
8 combo XLR Class A mic preamps with phantom power; combo jacks accept line inputs
2 x 1/4" TRS insert points (L/R) for connecting analog gear such as dynamics processors or EQs before A/D conversion
ADAT Connectors — 2 inputs and 2 outputs (up to 8 channels per connector)
Convenient built-in carrying handle for easy grab 'n' go portability
Convenient built-in carrying handle for easy grab 'n' go portability
Routing view, with source (top) and destination (bottom) matrix

Zen Studio Software Control Panel

Intuitive control, right from your computer

Zen Studio's intuitive user interface includes tabbed views for Routing, Mixer, AFX, Meters, and Options, plus five Preset buttons. You drive Zen Studio from Antelope Audio's intuitive Mac/PC desktop app, which gives you flexible control over signal routing, DSP effects, custom presets, and more. Create up to four independent, zero-latency mixes, assignable to any outputs, including the headphone and monitor outs.

  • Tabbed views for Routing, Mixer, AFX, Meters, and Options, plus 5 Preset buttons
  • Flexible control over signal routing, DSP effects, custom presets, and more
  • Create up to 4 independent, zero-latency mixes

Onboard DSP EQ and Compression

High-quality Antelope FX at your fingertips

In addition to its outstanding audio quality, the Antelope Audio Zen Studio gives you a beefy DSP engine built on a field-programmable gate array IC with mammoth parallel-processing mojo, for eight times more DSP power than similar devices. This lets you enjoy rapid simultaneous processing of multiple effects, juicing your workflow like you won't believe.

  • Onboard DSP-powered EQ and compression
  • Beefy DSP engine built on a field-programmable gate array IC
  • Rapid simultaneous processing of multiple effects

Outstanding audio quality

The Antelope recipe for great-sounding audio

When it comes right down to it, all the flexibility in the world doesn't do you any good if audio quality is lacking; fortunately, Zen Studio's Acoustically Focused Clocking delivers the most analog-sounding audio conversion we've heard, with clean transients, stunning clarity, and detail that let you really hear the attack of instruments and vocals. Antelope's renowned clocking and conversion technology, together with the custom USB technology in the Zen Studio, are the same as in the acclaimed 32-channel Orion interface — a fixture in world-class studios and the playback rigs of top artists.

  • Acoustically focused clocking
  • Stunning clarity and detail
  • Renowned Antelope conversion

Perfect for Tracking, Too

Record a small band or complete drum kit

With its outstanding audio quality, flexibility, and portability, the Zen Studio is a natural for EDM producers who work in multiple studio facilities or challenging environments to use in place of a console, but its generous I/O, 12 great-sounding mic pres, DSP EQ and dynamics, and onboard monitoring facilities also make it a logical choice for tracking a small band or multi-mic drum setup. All the audio I/O is available simultaneously, for a total of 38 input and 32 output channels, plus 24 concurrent I/O channels via Zen Studio's 24-bit/192kHz custom USB.

  • 12 great-sounding mic preamps
  • Simultaneous I/O up to 38 inputs/32 outputs
  • 24 concurrent I/O channels via USB

Connectivity

Front

Back

Side

Zen Studio

The ideal interface for modern music production

Antelope scored a huge hit with their Orion interface, a Sweetwater best-seller found in countless top studios worldwide. The Zen Studio maintains that uncompromising level of audio quality while offering you true portability and genuinely useful features geared toward the way you make music today. What's not to love? We're mightily impressed with the Antelope Audio Zen Studio. We're confident you will be, too!

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Additional Media

Audio Interface Buying Guide
Zen Studio Portable Audio Interface Manual
Antelope Unveils Zen Studio+
Antelope Audio Updates Zen Studio with Five New EQs
Antelope Audio Introduces AuraVerb for Zen Studio
Hands On: Antelope Audio Zen Studio
How to Reset the Antelope Audio Zen Studio
Hands On: Antelope Audio Zen Studio
Antelope Audio Zen Studio Overview - Sweetwater Minute Vol. 229

Tech Specs

Computer Connectivity USB 2.0
Form Factor Desktop
Simultaneous I/O 24 x 24
Number of Preamps 12
Phantom Power Yes
A/D Resolution 24-bit/192kHz
Built In DSP/FX Yes
Analog Inputs 12 x XLR Combo, 1 x DB-25, 4 x DI
Analog Outputs 1 x DB-25, 2 x 1/4" TRS (Monitor)
Digital Inputs 2 x ADAT (8 Channels), 1 x S/PDIF (Stereo)
Digital Outputs 2 x ADAT (8 Channels), 1 x S/PDIF (Stereo)
Clock I/O 1 x Word Clock (In/Out)
Depth 5.8"
Width 16.8"
Height 1.8"
Weight 4.4 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number Zen Studio

Customer Reviews

4/5
Based on 28 reviews
Write your review
5/5

A ton of greatness with little compromise

I am quite impressed with the quality of the zen. In my own research and blind tests of any AD converter in this price range, the tastes are subjective but it's all a very close race and winner at the time depends on the material being ran through the units. I find the conversion to offer great stereo width, tight low end, focused clear mids and a high end that smooths out any harshness similar to running through a hardware console. Though I bypass the preamp stage when recording or using DI I have tried the units many preamp and DI inputs and they are great. The sound is very big and detailed and transparent. I had heard in the past of driver or software issues but Antelope must have cleaned those up as for me, everything was plug and play and over one year of usage I have not had one issue with the unit or drivers, nor have I had to reinstall drivers or software. The USB latency has been rather rock solid when recording and I do like the many I/O options that allows me to patch in hardware effects into the mix with ease. Antelopes proprietary software to control the units inputs and outputs is robust but has a learning curve to tackle. I personally do not use the on board DSP effects because of the separation between Antelopes software and the DAW but it seems you can either apply them in tracking or patch them in as if a hardware effect which is neat but I really wish they had vst versions instead.. they are very high quality but it just disturbs the work flow to have to use their console software outside the DAW. All in all, great unit.. I didn't even touch on the portability factor which just pushes this into its own league.
5/5

Still Loving It!

I`ve had mine for about a year now, and it`s crazy good. Never had any issues. I`m building up more of a hardware rack, and that`s where this shines vs. the Orion Studio. You see, this has 8 channels of D-Sub in, so you can use it as a converter-only. You cannot do this with the Orion Studio. Don`t get me wrong-the preamps are great, and I do use them. But sometimes you want a Neve or an API. The inserts are great too, for some light compression going in. For flexibility, this is much better than the Orion Studio.
5/5

Paradise Found

Thanks to Joe James at Sweetwater for steering me to the right tool. Joe gives up his time and imparts some great advice on what is currently the best going on to fit your needs. I do a lot of location recording and am always looking to lighten the load. He recommended this unit, and WOW was he right. My first use was doing a 7 track recording with a small orchestra and 2 different soloists. Easy to set up and plug into a macbook pro with my DAW. Worked flawlessly, sounds beautiful. I don't need the extra boxes and can depart with most of it now. I was worried about running long cables and how the phantom would work - no problems. Preamps are stellar on this thing. I wish it had more control on the box itself, but the software is pretty remarkable and no giant learning curve to understand. The amazing ins and outs makes this an all around tool for just about any engineer/recordist/artist/band. Really can't say enough good things about it.
5/5

Anything But Subtle

I don't have much to add to Ullanta's terrific review, but here goes: Normally, one considers swapping out a preamp, clock or converter to be an incremental upgrade; one expects subtle improvements over typical prosumer performance, beginning at about a thousand dollars per channel, but in upgrading all three at once with Antelope's USB 2.0 Zen Studio, I'm fully flabbergasted at the improvement in both the quality of my tracks and in my ability to hear them. The increase in focus, clarity and detail is simply stunning, even on virtual instruments and tracks recorded elsewhere. Then, when you consider that the Zen Studio features 12 preamps and can record up to 24 simultaneous channels; at under $100 per channel, it may appear foolish to buy anything else, IF you need this much horsepower, but there are a couple of caveats. First up, you can't rackmount it without an add-on kit, which takes up TWO rackspaces, because the unit runs very hot, possibly due to the hi-tech oven-controlled clock, and secondly there are some terrific extra features that are frustratingly difficult to access-a digital mixer with compression, EQ and even a great-sounding algorithmic reverb, all of which SO far can only be controlled with...a mouse. (and no scroll-wheel implementation,either) There is also no manual to speak of; basically just a quick start guide on Antelope's web site and mention of a DAW plugin that presumably will allow access to the goodies noted above from within your DAW, at some point. As of this writing, it's vaporware, so far as I've been able to determine. There is also no provision at present for managing any of this awesome firepower from a control surface, which is a doggone shame, because the unit itself provides a total of three buttons and one clickable knob, but as others have mentioned, many of these minor annoyances can and probably will be fixed in future firmware updates. Nonetheless, the Zen Studio's tremendous connectivity and awesome sound quality put it in a class all its own.
Music background: producer, audio engineer, composer
5/5

Wow wow wow!!

Man, this came today and I hooked it up and listened to some familiar music. Wow what depth and width! Super super clean! Call Parker Rousch! He recommended this to me. Wow... Again blown away
Music background: Session drummer, mixer

Sweetwater Advice

Cameron Wheeler

I use the Antelope Audio Zen Studio as the primary interface in my studio. I absolutely love it - it's very powerful, yet easy to use. Plus, the preamps are clean and sound incredible!

Mitch Gallagher

Antelope Audio is a company that specializes in amazing products. Their mastering-grade converters and super-accurate clocks are just two examples. Then there is the Orion 32, with its ground-breaking ability to route 32 high-resolution audio inputs and 32 high-res audio outputs over a single USB cable. Newest in the line of achievements from Antelope is the Zen Studio, a portable interface that brings together amazing mic preamps, high-quality audio I/O, monitor control, flexible routing, onboard DSP, and much more at a price that's unbelievable. I've been using a Zen Studio in my rig for several months, and here's what I've found. WHAT YOU GET The Zen Studio packs an astounding amount of simultaneously available I/O into a compact unit — up to 38 simultaneous inputs and 32 simultaneous outputs! The complement includes 20 analog inputs (12 with mic preamps), 16 channels of ADAT optical I/O, stereo S/PDIF I/O, word clock I/O, two stereo headphone outs, and two pre-digital-to-analog conversion analog inserts...enough to cover a huge tracking or mixing session. The unit itself feels solid, and is designed for portability. It has a built-in handle, and slides easily into a backpack or larger laptop bag. (Note: Antelope introduced a rackmount kit for the Zen Studio at this year's AES show.) The Zen Studio's front panel includes a power/standby switch, a display for metering and for viewing settings, two option switches, and two headphone outs. A single large knob near the center adjusts whatever parameter is currently being accessed. Everything else is handled by the included Zen Studio Software Control Panel for Mac and PC, which covers super-flexible I/O routing, hardware DSP-based EQ and dynamics processing, custom presets, and four independent zero-latency mixers. Resolution up to 24-bit/192kHz is supported. The whole thing is driven by Antelope's highly regarded Acoustically Focused Clocking. IN USE Setting up the Zen Studio is easy. Simply plug in the USB cable between the Zen and your computer, connect your mics and instruments, hook up monitors or headphones, and get rolling! The Zen Studio Control Panel can look daunting at first glance, but it's easy to figure out, and offers all the control you need for routing signals, applying EQ and dynamics, and creating mixes for the engineer/producer and talent. The ability to save and recall set-up presets is a real time saver. Make a preset up for writing sessions, one for band tracking, one for mix down, or whatever tasks you do frequently, and you're never more than a quick click away from being able to call up your preferred configuration and routing. THE SOUND I've used an Antelope Audio Orion 32 for a long time, and I've always enjoyed the sound. Clean, pristine, detailed, but never sterile. The best term I can apply is "real." With the Zen Studio you get that same quality, but with the bonus of 12 truly wonderful mic/instrument/line preamps onboard. Twelve channels is enough to cover a large session — and you can always connect eight more external analog preamps and up to 16 more ADAT-optical preamps for huge tracking sessions! The 12 onboard preamps are clean enough for classical and acoustic jazz, but also have enough vibe and punch for rock, EDM, or any other style; they're great all-arounders that sound excellent on any source. A STATE OF ZEN It's hard to imagine needing more than the Zen Studio offers in a portable interface — or for many studios, for that matter! The comprehensive I/O complement, the onboard DSP, four independent latency-free mixers..it covers a ton of ground for home, project, commercial, or remote recording rigs. And, amazingly it does it all via USB, leaving your computer's Firewire or Thunderbolt ports available for DSP accelerators or high-speed storage devices. Give the Zen Studio a definite look; it covers all the bases at a great price, in a compact package, with great sound, and flexible connectivity. A solid winner!
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Mitch Gallagher

Antelope Audio is a company that specializes in amazing products. Their mastering-grade converters and super-accurate clocks are just two examples. Then, there is the Orion 32, with its groundbreaking ability to route 32 high-resolution audio inputs and 32 high-res audio outputs over a single USB cable. Newest in the line of achievements from Antelope is the Zen Studio, a portable interface that brings together amazing mic preamps, high-quality audio I/O, monitor control, flexible routing, onboard DSP, and much more at a price that is unbelievable. I've been using a Zen Studio for several months, and here's what I've found. The Zen Studio packs an astounding amount of simultaneously available I/O into a compact unit -- up to 38 simultaneous inputs and 32 simultaneous outputs! The complement includes 20 analog inputs (12 with mic preamps), 16 channels of ADAT optical I/O, stereo S/PDIF I/O, word clock I/O, two stereo headphone outs, and two pre-conversion analog inserts -- enough to cover a huge session. The unit itself feels solid and is designed for portability. It has a built-in handle and slides easily into a backpack or larger laptop bag. And, Antelope introduced a rackmount kit for the Zen Studio at this year's AES show. A single large knob near the center controls whatever parameter is currently being accessed. Everything else is handled by the Zen Studio Software Control Panel: super-flexible I/O routing, DSP-based EQ and dynamics processing, custom presets, and four independent zero-latency mixers. Resolution up to 24-bit/192kHz is supported. The whole thing is driven by Antelope's renowned Acoustically Focused Clocking. Setting up the Zen Studio is easy. Simply plug in the USB cable between the Zen and your computer, connect your mics and instruments, hook up monitors or headphones, and get rolling! The Zen Studio Software Control Panel is easy to figure out and offers all the control you need for routing signals, applying EQ and dynamics, and creating cue mixes for the engineer/producer and talent. The ability to save and recall presets is a real time saver. Make one up for writing sessions, one for band tracking, one for mix down, or whatever tasks you do all the time, and you're never more than a quick click away from being able to call up your preferred configuration and routing. The 12 onboard preamps are clean enough for classical and acoustic jazz, but they also have enough girth and punch for rock, EDM, or any other style; they're great all-rounders that sound excellent on any source. A State of Zen It's hard to imagine needing more than the Zen Studio offers. The comprehensive I/O, the onboard DSP, four latency-free mixers...it covers a ton of ground for home, project, commercial, and remote recording rigs. And, amazingly, it does it all via USB, leaving your computer's FireWire or Thunderbolt ports available for DSP engines or high-speed storage devices. Give the Zen Studio a definite look; it covers all the bases at a great price, in a compact package, with great sound and flexible connectivity. A solid winner!
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See also: USB Interfaces, Antelope Audio, Antelope Audio USB Audio Interfaces