Antelope Audio Discrete 4 Microphone Preamp/Audio Interface
The Antelope Audio Discrete 4 is a four-channel preamp with 16 channels of digital audio transmission over Thunderbolt that models classic preamps and other studio gear in real time.
The goal of Antelope interfaces is to enable you to create and record commercial-quality music wherever you are. Igor Levin took his inspiration from, believe it or not, coffee shops equipped with WiFi, where people of the modern age take their laptops and go to work remotely (while drinking coffee . . . lots of coffee). Of course, taking a world-class studio to a coffee shop, apart from the number of tables you’ll take up, is little more cart > horse than practicality would allow. Well, at least one would think, but that’s exactly what you get with the Antelope Discrete 4 audio interface. The Discrete 4 gives you four console-grade discrete preamps, Antelope’s renowned clocking and conversion, and real-time emulations of vintage gear. Not only can you track with high-quality preamps, their remarkable transparency comes in handy for real-time tracking with stunning emulations of iconic gear from Lang, Gyraf Audio, FET, and BAE. The Discrete 4 also includes Antelope’s Accusonic 3D microphone and preamp models, guitar amps, transformer and tube FX, plus a wide selection of classic vintage gear.
Antelope Audio Discrete 4—Just the Facts:
- Four console-grade, Class-A mic pres with discrete transistor design and precise digital gain controls
- Real-tracking through mic preamp models turns the Discrete 4 mic pres into a selection of classic units
- Real-time FPGA effects including BAE, Grove Hill, Gyraf Audio, and Lang classics for use in the Easy Panel or in any DAW
- Rock-solid, 4th-generation 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) technology
- Create multiple mixes with FPGA effects and send them to headphone or monitor outputs
- Remote-control access to all Discrete 4 features via intuitive Easy Panel or download the free iOS and Android mobile apps
Antelope Discrete 4—Under the Hood
Console-grade, fully discrete preamps
Antelope Audio’s Discrete 4 microphone preamp comes with four console-grade, 6-transistor discrete preamps, featuring conversion with a 121dB dynamic range and Antelope’s industry-renowned clocking.
Of special note are the preamps. After extensive research into the circuitry of microphone preamps that have stood the test of time, Antelope developed the Accusonic preamp. Not only do the Discrete 4’s Accusonic preamps sound great on their own, they can also “get out of the way” and take on the sonic characteristics of other preamps via the Antelope Audio FPGA engine, which transforms them into a variety of classic units depending on the model you choose. Plus, it happens in real-time and with as authentic a response as possible.
Why use discrete transistor circuitry?
As we mentioned, the Discrete 4’s preamps have to “get out of the way” for the FPGA models to work to their maximum capability. In order to achieve that, the best possible noise and distortion performance is essential. Discrete bi-polar transistors can outperform IC op-amps (integrated circuit chips), particularly with low source resistances. The open-loop gain (for linearity) and load-driving capability provided by op-amps may have less than respectable performance specs, which ties into the second requirement of low distortion. Most op-amps have Class-B or Class–AB output stages, many of which show crossover artifacts on the distortion residual. A discrete op-amp (transistor) can dissipate more power than an IC chips, and thus can have a Class-A output stage, avoiding the crossover issue entirely.
In essence, discrete transistor circuitry offers the lowest noise and distortion specs possible, enabling the FPGA FX preamp models to shine through without any uncharacteristic noise and distortion, which are also modeled to provide the true performance of the modeled preamp. Additional noise and distortion would turn the model into a different preamp, and not necessarily a better one. (Too much information? We at Pro Audio Design think not.)
Real-time FPGA FX models
Discrete 4 features premier real-time FPGA FX modeling of iconic gear from BAE (British Audio Engineering, formerly Brent Averill) makers of authentic Neve 1073 reproductions; rare Lang Pultec-style, solid-state equalizers, Gyraf Audio’s vintage tube designs, and an FET compressor modeled after the famous UA 1176.
The sound of serious studio gear for your DAW
Now, about that portable world-class recording studio we were talking about. The secret to Antelope Audio’s real-time physical modeling effects rests in their proprietary FPGA platform. To the uninitiated, FPGA or Field-Programmable Gate Array is a chip that allows designers to customize effects processing, with 8 times the processing power of ASIC (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) processors. FPGA technology enables Antelope to provide authentic, circuit-level emulations of classic studio hardware.
Rather than "describe" circuitry in abstract DSP code, the chip is dynamically reconfigured to behave exactly like the circuits and components of analog gear. This process can recreate rare vintage equipment on an actual hardware circuit (the FPGA), piece by piece, literally taking on the personality of the same circuitry and components that forged the sounds of classic records. The results are emulations that sound and behave with incredible realism—all happening in real time within the Discrete 4. You can access the FPGA FX in the included EasyPanel control software, which enables you to perform and record either with FX or use them in post-production.
The Antelope Audio AFX collection (Premium FX Pack)
The ever-growing Accusonic FX collection comprises an equalizer, compressor, the PowerGate noise gate, the AuraVerb reverb, 21 vintage EQs, 13 vintage compressors, 10 guitar amps and 10 guitar cabinets. Additionally, the mic emulations currently number 11 models for the Edge large-diaphragm modeling mic, and 5 models for the Verge small-diaphragm modeling mic. The number of effects you can apply simultaneously depends on which Discrete 4 bundle you purchased. Here's the breakdown:
Includes Discrete 4 Premium FX Pack:
Four channel strips with 4 FX instances each and up to 16 channel strips using the AFX2DAW plug-in and all 50+ Antelope Audio real-time FPGA FX emulations plus Mic Emulations.
Discrete 4 Basic FX Pack: (Optional)
Two channel strips with 2 FX instances each and all 50+ Antelope Audio real-time FPGA FX emulations Mic Emulations.
Transform Edge and Verge microphones into vintage replicas
Inside the Discrete 4 FPGA Accusonic 3D modeling engine you can transform both Edge and Verge microphones into vintage replicas, which give you complete control over proximity effect and even allow you to change polar patterns during or after recording. Choose from a collection of coveted microphones and track the results as you monitor live. Now you can find the mic that best complements any singer’s voice without the time-consuming, tedious, and muse-killing process of setting up and tearing down mics until you find the winner.
Proprietary jitter management technologies
Along with its 4-channel preamp, audio interface, and real-time effects, the Discrete 4 is also a rock-solid clocking solution. It comes with Antelope’s proprietary clocking technologies, including their 4th Generation 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC) found in Antelope classics, such as the high-end Trinity, OCX HD, and Pure2. On the theoretic side, AFC is not a math-based process, as there are no determined specifications on jitter or universal measurements on sound quality. As its name implies, AFC is based on the actual acoustic properties of sound in the conversion process. On the practical side, the Discrete 4 has two word clock outputs that allow you to distribute clock signal to your other digital gear.
Create multiple cue mixes and exchange presets
For tracking, the Discrete 4 has a flexible monitoring system that lets you create up to four individual cue mixes. You can send them to headphones or monitor outputs with or without FPGA comfort effects, including dynamics and EQ. By recording with real-time FPGA compression, not only do you improve the signal-to-noise ratio but also it makes it easier to judge overdubs in their proper dynamic perspective.
By including vintage EQs, compressors, and authentic guitar amp emulations, you can provide an inspiring sound as close to the final product as possible—great for enabling vocalists to perform at their best. With Discrete 4, users can save and load AFX presets and exchange settings with all Antelope Audio FPGA-equipped interfaces. Share your own FX settings with other devices and users.
Control Discrete 4 with free desktop and mobile apps
If you’re like the typical rogue cop or superhero who prefers to work alone, there are free remote Apps you can download that allow you to adjust all microphone input levels, plus monitoring and headphone volumes. Musicians can control their own headphone volume through their smartphones.
Discrete 4 Remote features:
- Preamp gain control and type
- Volume control
- Stereo link selection
- Clock source and sample-rate selection
- Headphone volume control
The Discrete 4 Remote control app is specifically designed to work with the Antelope Audio Discrete 4. The app will turn your Android or iOS device into a professional audio interface remote control, allowing you to manage nearly all Discrete 4 functions, providing both producers and recording artists with fast and easy access to Discrete 4’s features. To use Discrete 4 Remote Control, both your computer and mobile device must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Antelope Discrete 4 key features and tech:
- Real-time 3D mic modeling via FPGA engine
- Over 50 premier real-time FX, also accessible in DAW
- Four console-grade Class A mic pres with discrete transistor design
- Precise and recallable stepped gain control
- 4th Generation 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking
- FPGA FX models of BAE, Grove Hill, and Gyraf Audio classics
- Four analog inputs on combo XLR connectors (2 mic/line; 2 Hi-Z/mic/line)
- Four analog Line outs on TRS connectors
- Thunderbolt 2.0 and USB connectivity
- A pair of Monitor outs on TRS connectors
- Four stereo headphone outputs
- Two word clock outputs
- Additional digital connectivity via S/PDIF and 2x ADAT
- Up to three individual monitoring mixes with FPGA FX
- Create and share custom presets
- Intuitive EasyPanel software control
- Remote iOS and Android compatible app
- Basic FX pack—use two channel strips with two instances of all FPGA FX
- Premium FX pack—use four channel strips with four instances of all FPGA FX
The Antelope Discrete 4 lets you record and mix with studio-quality sound and processing wherever the muse (or an Uber) takes you. For more information, call or chat online with your PAD Professional today.
- 2 x mic/line inputs
- 2 x mic/line /Hi-Z inputs
- 1 x monitor out on TRS 1/4 Jacks, +20dBu max
- 4 x line outs on TRS, +20dBu max (DC-coupled)
- 4 x stereo headphone outputs
- EIN: -128dBu (A-weighted)
- Dynamic range: -121dB (A-weighted)
- THD: -106dB
- Max input: +18dBu
- Max gain: 65dB
D/A monitor converter
- Dynamic range: 124dB
- THD + N: -100dB
- Dynamic range: 121dB
- THD + N: -112dB
D/A converters (line out)
- Dynamic range: 118dB
- THD + N: – 100dB
- Discrete JFET design
- Maximum input: 14dBu (At min. gain)
- Gain range: 0-40dB
- Input impedance: 1M ohm
- Output level ( unloaded ) 20dBu max
- Output impedance 120 ohm
- Dynamic range: 121dB
- THD + N: – 100dB
- Recommended HP Impedance 16 to 600 ohm
- 1 x ADAT (up to 8 Ch.)
- 1 x S/PDIF
- 1 x ADAT (up to 8 Ch.)
- 1 x S/PDIF
- USB 2.0 Hi-speed; data stream up to 480Mbits/192kHz, 16 channels I/O, type B
- 1 x Thunderbolt, 16 channels I/O
Word clock outputs
- 2 x outputs @ 75 ohms 3Vpp on BNC 32 – 192kHz
- 4th Generation Acoustically Focused Clocking
- 64-bit DDS
- 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz
- 0-50°C, 32-122°F
- 7 lb. (1.7 kg)
- 10-13/64" x 1-45/64" x 8-13/64" (261 x 44 x 208 mm)
- 15 watts
In the Box
- Discrete 4 interface
- Quick-start guide
- External power supply unit
- USB cable
- Warranty card
- OS: Windows 10
- Disk Space: Minimum 1 GB available disk space
- USB: 1x USB 2.0 Port
- CPU: Intel or AMD equivalent CPU with at least 2GHz operating frequency
- Memory (RAM): 4GB Minimum (8GB or more Recommended)
- OS X: 10.11/10.12/10.13 (Sierra Recommended)
- Disk Space: Minimum 1GB available disk space
- USB: 1x USB 2.0 Port
- Thunderbolt: 1x Thunderbolt
- Memory(RAM): 4GB Minimum (8GB or more recommended)
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo (Minimum) Intel Core i3 or higher (Recommended)