The very heart of a desktop studio setup is the audio to computer interface, but many times that’s overlooked in importance. As a result, the audio quality suffers until one day the user knows that it’s just time to step up to something better. A viable upgrade alternative is the new Antelope Audio Zen Q Synergy Core, which supplies a host a features with a special focus on quality sound reproduction.
Zen Q Synergy Core is a Thunderbolt 3-based 14 input, 10 output interface that works at up to 192kHz/24 bit resolution. It features 2 discrete mic preamps along with impressive AD/DA convertors and Antelope’s 64-bit AFCTM (Acoustically Focused Clocking) technology and jitter management algorithm for great sonic detail. It also comes complete with a virtual library of 37 free effects with real-time effects processing powered by dual DSP chips and a specialized chip to deliver direct hardware monitoring with imperceptible latency.
The layout of the Synergy Core is simple yet surprisingly complete. On the top is a large backlit multifunction display that shows a different readout depending upon the function that’s addressed. Then there’s a large volume level knob and just three buttons. The Gain button flips between the mic inputs when depressed multiple times, HP/MON does the same for the dual headphone outputs and Monitor and Line Outs on the rear panel, and the Antelope button calls up the input and output meter screen.
The front panel has two hi-Z guitar inputs and two headphone outputs while the rear panel has the two mic inputs with combo XLR/phone jacks, the 2 monitor outputs, 2 line outputs which can also be configured for a second monitor out, S/PDIF input and output, and an ADAT input for connecting an additional set of outboard microphone preamps.
The unit is buss powered but can only be used with a computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port. Unfortunately it won’t work with a Thunderbolt 3 to 2 adapter. That said, there’s no power adapter needed, which is nice if you’re taking your studio traveling.
Synergy Core also comes with a software utility that allows you to control all its functions from your computer. It has a really intuitive user interface as compared to other interface manufacturers, with everything easily accessible in a way that won’t have you scratching your head.
The Antelope Audio Zen Q Synergy Core interface retails for $899, which gives you a bit more bang for the buck than other interfaces in this price range. It’s software works on both Mac and PC.
Find out more here, or watch the video below for more details.