I got my hands on the Zen Tour when Antelope Audio came to visit. The clean and detailed sound as well as the build quality meet the high standards I expect from Antelope, just in a smaller format. The guitar reamping connections also sent me to the moon. Playback through the amp sounds exactly like the live signal does during tracking. This allows me to remain in musician mode while I get my best take, and then tweak it all I want when I go into engineer mode. It's like they included me when they designed this interface.
This soundcard has everything, from the crystal clear pre's, an unique bundle and a REALLY quick technical support from the Antelope's HQ.
The best thing is that they constantly keep doin' major updates to expand the roaster of FPGA processor, for free wich is a major plus and with the new compressor's update they really pushed the envelope even further.
The first thing that you notice, if you're used to the vsts is the clearness and the 0 latency in the FPGA realm, those EQ's are cutting edge, especially the Lang EQ, witch blows away every other EQ i've ever heard on the air band.
For me the price is actually low.
Better than expected
Your entire rehearsal/jam session in a box. I couldn't ask for more. Class a conversion and preamping, more than satisfying reamping outputs, touch screen, an app for android/os for preamp control... Perfect. I simply can't find anything bad to say about the unit. Way better than any desk unit I've tried so far. Well done, Antelope!
Zen Tour the little beast of a box...
Rarely do I purchase something that FAAARR exceeds my expectations...This interface/clock is like giving someone glasses that didn't quite know HOW much they couldn't see..lol The sound field is wide as all outdoors and when listening to previous mixes done prior to it's purchase, I can hear sooo many flaws that got "smeared over"!! I can hear the dithering once applied. The sound is so precise..you can HEAR what the oven clocking system is doing. Setup is relatively easy as it not too much different from any DAW I/O routing scheme. Might take you a hot minute to wrap your head around it..but guess what? You WON'T CARE how long it took once you get all setup the way you want to work!!! Once I start tracking through the Onboard DSP powered plugins , it was ON LIKE DONKEY KONG WITH A MEGAPHONE!! lol EVERYTHING SOUNDS FANTASTIC!!! ESPECIALLY guitars & basses!
What I also love about this unit is you won't OUTGROW it because Antelope provides so many ways to expand your system. To a poor lil ole producer/engineer/writer such as myself this was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Little Big Boy Toy
Let me start by debunking some of these other reviews..let's start with the routing software most will lead your to believe that it's super complicated and hard to learn but I was able get it under control In not even 3 hrs secondly people say they have problems with drivers and getting it to work with older Macs ... not me I plugged right up to my mid 2011 iMac and was rocking with no ploblem o yea and DONT be afraid of USB it works just fine If you don't have the cash to run to best buy to pick up a Thunderbolt .. so get off the fence and buy buy buy you will have fun cause I do
The Right Choice!
With the help of Carson McClain my Sweetwater engineer, I feel like I made the right choice. I have a small home studio and wanted an interface that would provide me with a lot of flexibility and room to grow. Couldn't be happier.
A step up from my duet
Just got Zen tour, the interface is great!!!
works on my brand new mac pro through usb-c although you will need a thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter
also works on my older desktop mac via regular USB
This unit is so flexible! It even functions when the computer is off.
The built in effects sound great.
Definitely a great purchase
Better than expected!
I always been skeptical about all in one solution until I bought ZEN TOUR and spent few days with. Everything is great! Bravo, Antelope!
It Can't Be Beat
I bought this about a month ago and started of just mixing on it. The conversion is unbelievably clear and detailed. I didn't have a chance to try the preamps until a couple of days ago but wow! At first I was having a problem with the headphone volume so I sent Antelope support a message that night and had an email back from them when I woke up. I had also posted about it on the Gearslutz forum and Marcel from Antelope ended up answering my post on there with a solution to my problem. So far their customer service has been great.
Once I heard the preamps with the FPGA effects I was blown away. This little box sounds as good as gear I have in my studio that costs thousands of dollars more. Maybe even better. It's a monitor controller, premium A/D D/A converter and reamp box with four amazing built in preamps, FPGA effects that allow you to set up channel strips for tracking with some of the best sounding effects in the industry. The only thing more I could want is a few more compressor effects.
This thing is amazing and worth every penny! I also want to say that Brandon Eden and his guys are awesome. I had an issue with the shipping and they took care of me. You guys rock!
This is a Game Changer!
My project studio was due for a Interface upgrade after being served by Steinberg MI4 for 11 years. I had the choice between Apogee Quartet, Apollo Twin Duo, RME BabyFace and the Antelope Zen Tour. After watching several videos, reading countless hours, consulting with my friends, I decided to pick up this product. Let me tell you, This is a game changer!. I can even go to the extend of using this as a small live mixer for gigs (with Adat inputs and db25 outs). Stellar sound, Clean pres, Insane conversion, Onboard emulations, amazing software, Crazy routing capabilities..
Go for it ! You wont regret!
I just got this thing from Sweetwater last week and couldn't believe how it sounded after pushing play for the first time. The Duets & Apollo's of the world do not compare. This little box can replace any other brand of converters on the market. You actually get 8 analog ins right out of the box, two headphone jacks as well as two monitor outs which makes Zen Tour perfect for most. And the mic pre's coupled with the free BAE 1073 are great. I got rid of my Apollo/Apogee setup for this and have ZERO regrets.
I must confessed I was using the Digi 002 for more than 10 Years. So embarrassing i know. I was expecting to buy an Apollo or and apogee Ensemble but I'm start reading about this brand and I need it a portable Interface to travel with it. I've been in many studios with great interfaces and I have to say this machine sounds amazing. Whit this price you have so many inputs, two monitors outputs and even talkback. The pre amps sound really great. I'll give it a 5 stars definitely. Thanks Jason Koons at Sweetwater for this recommendation!
The best audio interface on the market in this price range.
Crystal clear converters.
I was always skeptical of guitars going directly into hi-Z inputs.
This machine makes them sound great.
Very versatile with many routing features.
Two headphone inputs are a winner also.
Sounds great and workflow is intuitive!
This unit sounds great, currently using on Windows 8.1, USB2 install and driver are working well and it has been stable.
The preamp sounds pristine. Mastering grade outputs are great.
Lots of i/o for a unit this "small" with a sound this big! I chose this over a lot of "tabletop" interfaces out in the market and I don't regret it.
Most importantly the workflow is very intuitive and hands on with this controller, you have a 2 in 1 interface even though its not advertised as such, it functions as a solid monitor controller, thanks to its Master knob, touch screen, and additional buttons including the function one which can be set to mono, dim, and other routing functions.
Lucky for me, this interface came out just as I was ready to upgrade my I/O count. Coming from the Duet I was hesitant to stray from Apogee but the features and reputation of Antelope peaked my interest.
The features are kinda crazy for the price. I was able to sell 4 pieces of gear after buying the Zen Tour. Obviously I sold the Duet once my concerns were laid to rest by the sound quality of this interface. But I was also able to sell my monitor switch and 2 reamp devices because the Zen Tour can provide these functions all-in-one. When the dust settled I only paid 1/3 of the price with 'new' money and the rest was covered by my own sales. Thanks Sweetwater 3-pay plan!
I am impressed by the sound quality. For me, it has a clearer sound than the Duet. The stereo image is more apparent and it can sure get loud on my JBL 305's. It is a winner.
The software didn't jive with me right away but after a month I am sold. The routing possibilities are endless. The ability to set-up presets for your different work flows has been amazing to me. I wont be using any of the plug-ins or modeling so I cannot speak to that.
Antelope support has also been great. They are fast with emails and even called me when I was really lost with the routing. "a click-and-drag patchbay" he said, and the light bulb turned on!
Other than that the design is inspiring. Very beautiful sounding and looking piece. Order it from Sweetwater if you want an ultra-smooth transaction. Thanks to Ed Needler for the top-notch support as always.
Never had so much fun
I absolutely love this interface. I had a persons firebox that with a few os updates became unsupported. Now after a couple years without I have the Zen Tour. An incredible device, once I wrapped my head around routing, it is very flexible and easy to route, with the molded guitar amps and cabs and the studio gear inside it is one intense little box. If you don't have the cash, or don't want to spend the cash, then don't try one, because if you spend any time with one you will forever want one!
Initial Impressions are incredible!
This small unit is capable of matching some seriously good studio gear. Setup took between 3-5 minutes after getting things out of the box. It was as simple as plug in, activate, and update. The whole process ran without a single hiccup. The amount of I/O and the sheer quality of the preamps and conversion are incredible and this tiny thing lives up to the Antelope name. Gain staging at above 75% of the maximum gain still gave no background noise, and the conversion is as crisp as what I heard in the bigger Orion Studio. The preamps are clean and powerful with almost zero background noise even at gains of +45dB. The touchscreen gives rapid access to many quick adjustments, like gain for inputs/outputs, and even more advanced functions like setting sample rates and choosing a clocking lock source. The interface will even run sample rate conversion allowing regular computer audio to run through the system even when running at 192kHz. The software is just as good, offering an immense amount of customization in routing, cue mixes, and the near zero-latency effects live up to their name, only 2 samples behind realtime. All in all, by sound, build quality, and customer support, Antelope has won me over as a customer with this unit!
Portable Premium Sound
I wanted a nicer interface than my Scarlett that I could use at my home studio but take with me when I am doing sessions at an actual studio. I also wanted something that fit my input needs now but would be expandable in the future. I had previously used the Antelope Studio and was blown away by it's transparent sound so the choice was fairly easy. This compact interface sounds incredible and is super easy to throw in my backpack with everything else.
The effects are great and while I had a few crashes with them at first, regular updates have been coming and I haven't had any issues in a couple months. I particularly like the vintage compression, EQ, and reverb. Another thing the updates fixed was a clicking sound it would send to the monitors when powered off.
The assignable button (I set to dim) and talkback onboard make this great for quickly setting up a vocal session which is most of my tracking work. Removes the need to set up a talkback mic, and a monitor controller.
Setup and general operation has been great on both my Win7 desktop and Win10 laptop.
I do have a few minor complaints. One is that the touchscreen buttons are a bit small. My fingers are fairly slender but I am sometimes pressing the wrong button. But I do still appreciate having it there, as it makes certain things a lot faster than opening up the software. No MIDI i/o but there are cheap devices for that. This interface does get quite hot already and I hope that adding 8-16 more channels thru ADAT isn't going to overheat it. I absolutely would not take this thing outside on a hot day.That's a little concerning as Antelope's warranty is only for 1 year.
BIG Tone from my Sub Phatty
Just received my Zen Tour today and I'm blown away by the build quality, the feel, the look, the touch screen, the volume knob, it all feels and looks professional from the get go. First thing I did was plug in my Les Paul and try out the onboard guitar effects. I'm used to playing through a Mesa Boogie so the onboard guitar effects sounded decent to me, but not like the Mesa. The clean guitar sounds were nice, but the distorted effects sounded thin to me. Hence the 4.5 and not 5 star.
BUT, where this thing really shone, from my point of view, was in the conversion and onboard EQ and dynamics. After putting the guitar effects through their paces, I plugged in my Sub Phatty. It sounded real nice just coming in clean, but when I created a basic channel strip in the Zen Tour software for tracking, this thing gave me a sound I have only dreamed about before owning this piece. I ran the BAE 1073 emulation into the FE76 and recorded the sub phatty through that chain and WOW did that little synth come to life. It had a presence and warmth to it that I had never heard before. It was incredible. Can't wait to try this out with my Virus as well and experiment with different EQ/dynamics chains.
Also, this thing is super portable, huge plus!
Antelope Zen Tour
I'll start with the small complaint, and why it's not a five star review: I had a bit of an adventure with support when I first received the Zen Tour, as thunderbolt didn't connect with my mid 2011 iMac(the first models to offer tbolt in that line). Both Sweetwater and Antelope's teams offered great support, but in the end the fixes weren't stable. I was already looking to switch to a Macbook Pro so I could more easily take my setup to sessions, so this just nudged me to do so.
There is a little learning curve that others have mentioned with the software routing, but once you get past that, this unit is pretty easy to work with. Antelope's team is also responsive to questions. As they are trying to attract songwriters, small bands, and non-engineers with this unit, I do think they should build up some more online tutorial content, sample routing schemes, etc. but all in good time.
Now for the positives: The biggest positive, and why I gave it 4.5 stars despite some issues, is the impeccable sound quality. The clarity, detail, and stereo image are three dimensional, open, and full. If you are coming from a lower or mid-level interface, it will feel like someone pulled cotton balls from your ears. Washy reverbs suddenly have dimension and detail, and transients come in to focus. Since I'm doing a lot guitar and bass work, I noticed a big difference, especially while using amp modelers. This is a huge plus for me, as some session situations there is not time to set up amps and dial in tones. Plus, I have the option to reamp later with the i/o on this unit.
Because I already have a lot of go to plugins, I have only dipped my toes into the FGPA processing on this unit. The eqs sounded nice, the reverb is fantastic(something vocalists will appreciate), and the amp modelers sounded reasonably good. I'm sure I'll make use of these more as I get to know the unit.
To sum things up, the sound quality alone is worth the price of admission. The amount of i/o, portability, DSP, nice touch screen, super solid build, and competitive price point make it another viable option next to UA Apollo and others, especially if you don't exclusively use UA plugins.
The Antelope Audio is a portable powerhouse with an insane amount of I/O and routing flexibility. The preamps are crystal clear and incredibly neutral, the headphone amps are killer, and the monitor outs are exceptional. The USB/Thunderbolt compatibility was very forward thinking on Antelopes behalf and allows me to work on basically any platform I choose to.
The onboard effects also sound great.
With this said, it's not perfect...but it's pretty close.
The routing software will take some time to get used to. In my case, the USB drivers aren't exceptionally stable and I'm required to run my Windows 10 Surface with Driver Signature Enforcement disabled in for the device to function.
Parts of the build, in my opinion, feel fairly cheap (the outside casing). I also hate the design of he volume knob. It's nicely notched, but it's too large with little to no grip around the outside edges. My fingers slide against the shark upper edge every time I attempt to adjust the volume.
The touch screen while gorgeous, isn't always the most responsive to sensitive movements or hard presses.
It also tends to get very warm after long periods of use.
Overall, I'm satisfied with my purchase and would recommend it to just about anyone.
ZenTour Portable 32-channel Thunderbolt/USB Audio Interface with 16 Digital Inputs, 4 Mic Preamps, Onboard FPGA Realtime FX, and Mac/PC/iOS/Android Control Software More Info...
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