Antelope Galaxy 64 Synergy Core 64-Channel Dante/HDX/Thunderbolt 3 Interface
2U audio recording interface and AD/DA converter featuring 64 channels of analog I/O, Thunderbolt 3, Dante, AES/EBU, HDX and MADI with Antelope's Synergy Core featuring 12x ARM DSP plus 2x FPGA units onboard
The Antelope Audio Galaxy 64 Synergy Core is a high-end recording system that connects your entire studio within a 2U rack space while providing high-fidelity audio and onboard plug-in processing for your most demanding projects. With Dante, HDX and Thunderbolt connectivity, the world’s first 64-channel AD/DA converter offers unbeatable flexibility when moving sound around your high-profile production facility, live stage, broadcast, or other enterprise applications. The interface is designed to be the hub of your entire recording environment that eliminates the need for any external modules & expansion cards, thus centralizing your entire setup.
Galaxy 64 Synergy Core is the only interface to offer two Dante ports for audio networking, four HDX ports for a full array of 128 channels at 192 kHz sample rate in Pro Tools as well as Thunderbolt connectivity. These options can be used simultaneously with multiple systems for easy adaptation to different workflows with preferred DAW applications. This is all made possible by utilizing Antelope’s exclusive FPGA configuration and advanced digital routing.
The interface comes with 36 real-time plug-ins in a collection largely composed of software emulations of vintage analog gear found in the world’s most renowned facilities. The onboard Synergy Core offloads all processing to the interface while allowing direct monitoring with plug-ins in real-time with no perceived latency – a feature widely used in live performances.
- 64 analog input channels over 8 D-Sub 25 connectors with AC/DC coupling switch (TASCAM standard)
- 64 analog output channels over 8 DC-coupled D-Sub 25 connectors (TASCAM standard)
- Dante audio over IP with primary/secondary port for audio transfer over long distances
- Four HDX ports (24-bit, 192 kHz): up to 128 channels I/O for Pro Tools HD / HDX integration
- Two Thunderbolt 3 ports with custom macOS & Windows drivers for native DAW application
- Digital I/O: AES/EBU, S/PDIF and 64 channels of optical MADI
Conversion & Clocking:
- AD converter: 124 dB headroom, DA converter: 128 dB headroom for artifact-free recording sessions
- Mastering-grade monitor converter with 130 dB headroom for critical listening without coloration or signal degradation
- Proprietary 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking technology & Jitter Management algorithm delivering increased width, separation, and detail in musical performances
Real-Time Plug-in Processing:
- Custom collection of 36 Synergy Core analog-modeled plug-ins
- 12×DSP, 2×FPGA Synergy Core proprietary onboard real-time plug-in processing platform
- Up to 256 plug-in instances per session loaded simultaneously on 64 individual virtual racks
- Advanced digital routing matrix that allows execution of complicated input/output routing with a simple drag and drop functionality
- 8 low latency hardware-accelerated 32-channel mixers that can be split into individual cue mixes and sub-mixes while applying pan, reverb, other plug-ins and stereo link
- Customizable presets complete with signal routing, level adjustments, mixer settings and sub-mixes
- Direct monitoring with plug-ins, processed in real-time with imperceptible latency
- Intuitive touchscreen interface with recallable hardware-based presets
- Daisy chain over Thunderbolt 3 & remote control over USB Type-C
- Option to work without being connected to a computer (standalone operation)
- Wireless control of software features from a separate computer connected to the same network
Included Onboard Plug-ins:
- 18 Equalizers (including BAE-1023, VEQ-STU 089, VEQ-4K BLACK & More)
- 12 Compressors & Limiters (including Stay-Levin, FET-A76, BAE 10DCF & More)
- 2 Preamps & Channel Strips (including BA-31, Gyraf Gyratec IX)
- 4 Special Processing Plug-ins (including Marble White AutoWah, Vari-Speed Tremolo, Master De-Esser, Auraverb)
Dante Audio Over IP
The audio networking choice of nearly all professional audio manufacturers, Dante audio networking uses standard IP networks to transmit high-quality, uncompressed audio with near-zero latency.
The ease of installation, affordable cabling and glitch-free transmission make Dante the optimal choice for installations, live events, production facilities and any situation where large volumes of high-definition digital audio must be reliably transferred over large distances.
Galaxy 64 Synergy Core joins the expansive Dante ecosystem with two RJ-45 ports, each carrying 64 channels of 24-bit/192 kHz audio. This configuration provides straightforward integration and reliable redundancy, with the secondary RJ-45 port serving as a backup 64-channel Dante route.
128 Channels in Avid Pro Tools
Galaxy 64 Synergy Core is the only interface to offer four HDX ports. Each a primary port, they enable interfacing to two HDX cards simultaneously for a primary/secondary recording setup or a full array of 128 channels ready to interface across multiple Pro Tools sessions through several hosts. What is especially impressive about Antelope Audio’s exclusive FPGA configuration is that it allows this channel count to be maintained at high sample rates such as 192 kHz.
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports and custom drivers for Windows and macOS guarantee optimal cross-platform operation for the Galaxy 64 Synergy Core. Developed from the ground up and field-tested for low latency and stability at high sample rates, the Antelope Thunderbolt driver works behind the scenes to carry 64 channels of 192 kHz audio wherever you want them to go – on both PC and Mac setups based around any market-leading DAW. The left Thunderbolt port enables USB-C connection to a secondary computer for remote Control Panel configurations. This is the first Antelope Audio interface featuring two Thunderbolt 3 ports that enable daisy-chaining.
High-fidelity Audio Performance
Galaxy 64 Synergy Core employs high quality converters providing low total harmonic distortion and signal-to-noise ratio. The numbers are at 124 dB of dynamic range on the AD stage, 128 dB at the DA stage and a dedicated monitor converter with 130 dB - the highest dynamic range in the system and in devices of this kind. The monitor converter is of the same kind as the ones built into specialized mastering converters. This way, the Galaxy 64 Synergy Core does not require external converters for monitoring and facilitates critical listening without coloration or signal degradation.
Internally, Antelope’s proprietary 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking & Jitter Management systems ensure the kind of audio quality that set apart the legendary Isochrone Trinity master clock - still employed in the most prestigious studios and production facilities.
Synergy Core Real-Time Plug-in Processing Platform
The Synergy Core real-time plug-in processing platform employs 12x ARM DSP and 2x FPGA processors in a custom configuration, engineered to process tens of input/output audio streams and hundreds of low latency plug-ins in real-time with imperceptible latency while placing zero load on your computer’s CPU.
A single Galaxy 64 Synergy Core can handle large sessions with hundreds of plug-in instances applied across 64 individual audio channels. Each channel strip can load up to 8 plug-ins at once in a “virtual rack” format, functioning as a standalone plug-in processor per single channel. This allows for 64 “virtual racks” at once, with different plug-in chains which operate simultaneously and enable multiple instances of your favorite signal processors.
There is no other singular platform that lets you place this many instances of legendary equalizers, compressors, Auto-Tune and other studio processors across this many audio channels. Galaxy 64 Synergy Core contains the audio and plug-ins processing power of a complex multi-rack setup at the potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchase, installation, maintenance and support bills.
36 Synergy Core Plug-ins Included
The interface includes a massive library of 36 real-time plug-in emulations of vintage analog gear found in world-renowned studios. Find not only the most reputed units of the industry, but also some of the rarer pieces of hardware that are difficult to find. Out of the box, this plug-ins library stretches beyond the essentials needed at any production stage, both studio and live. Need more plug-ins? Expand and customize your library with more plug-ins from Antelope Audio’s website.
|Computer Connection||Thunderbolt 3|
|Digital Format||ADAT, Dante, MADI|
Antelope Audio Galaxy 64 Review: So far so good on this 2U box, which has a lot of features. This unit is a replacement for Apogee Symphony v1 40 in 32 out system, which is currently only really working in a stable fashion with Mac OS 10.13.6 (which is quite a few iterations of OS back). I needed to upgrade to apple silicon, and for 64 I/O analogue (and a bunch of other digital inputs, check it out) the Galaxy 64 is a very good value. The sound quality is very good at 48/24 with the G64; it seems perhaps a bit flatter and more austere, compared to what I recall the Apogee System to sound like. I plan to do an A/B test of the two units soon, and maybe I can review that later as well here at this site.
(Sorry for the length of this review, but the Galaxy 64 is really checking out pretty well, and I hope this it is useful info.)
With the new unit I have done a live band recording session with 40 tracks rolling at once via analogue ins at 48/24 without a hitch. This was in Live Arrangement view, with different takes one after the other in one big session. I was not using any of the bundled plugins on the inputs...haven't gotten to that point as of yet. The system was stable without any dropouts for this 40 ch recording with about 90 minutes of recordings/takes.
I have used the AFX fx plugins on a vocal mic input for some overdubs, sending dry audio to the DAW and a compressor/EQ/auraverb block to the singer's headphones. I was able to get a good compressed classic rich sound out of those plugs (which were 1176 and BAE EQ clones) going into the headphones, which the singer liked.
Setting up: Was frustrating but mainly because I did not read the directions closely enough (gosh). One can register the device using the included USB cable, but that same cable will not work with a DAW on a Mac, as it is a USB cable and not a Thunderbolt cable. The trick here is that the included USB cable looks very much like a Thunderbolt cable, so don't fall into that trap. Once I obtained Mac certified Thunderbolt cables the Galaxy 64 software immediately recognized the unit, and I have had no further such problems. I did engage Antelope Tech support for this problem, and they were very helpful via email, and timely, giving East coast US to European time zone differences.
One really nice thing about this unit is that it is whisper quiet and can live in my recording/mixing space, rather than in my old machine room (so no long cable runs like I had to have with the Apogee Symphony I units). The Mac Studio I am using as well is very quiet. Being able to have the CPU and the Galaxy units within reach in my workspace if a fabulous benefit, for me anyway.
I have done one mix through a SSL 948, basically running those 40 tracks into the board in mono and stereo stems. The audio quality is pro level, with good punch and definition. Again, I plan to compare the Gal 64 with the old Apogees and I expect the Apogees to be a little warmer, but honestly for me, pretty deaf after years of Marshall amplifiers, the differences are subtle, and just different flavors, not a good or bad thing really.
I did have the opportunity to hear another engineer mixing a bit in the box in Protools. He used the Galaxy 64 unit to do this, which is another game changer for me and my studio... no way could a different engineer come in and use their laptop with the old in-house PCIe Apogee system. We were able to quickly get his laptop up and running with the Galaxy 64 via Thunderbolt, no worries. He was outputting to stereo in the box to the G64 then through a stereo bus on the SSL 948. I hung back in the studio and did some odds and ends in and out of the work space while he mixed, and the sound clarity of the stereo track was happening. All of this is subjective I know, but so far I am happy with the sound quality of the Antelope unit. (and I do like Apogee but they are very expensive...I think there are many of their units that do have Thunderbolt now and could be interfaced with different computers easily, so please take note)
The Galaxy 64 software UI takes some familiarization, but once one gets the concepts it gets easier. Essentially there are many In and Out rows that correspond with the staggering amount of hookups on the back. Of note, one can hide I/O on the UI that one is not using to clean up the visuals, which helps. Basically one drags with the mouse inputs and outputs to various locations to make connections. Examples given: Analogue input to Computer Record channels, AFX (fx) channels, Analogue outputs (eg, to create a set of monitor outputs for headphone mixer)..all at the same time(!). Computer Play outputs to hardware analogue outputs to run through the console, etc. It seems that I will be able to eventually render stems simultaneously by setting up the proper connections, but I am not there yet.
Some other caveats: The computer app outputs are fixed on analogue outputs 1 & 2 and are not configurable (eg, if one streams Spotify or whatever, it hits outputs 1 & 2, hardwired).
There seems to be a limited amount of Auraverb instances if one is using the AFX system (auraverb is the included reverb plug in the AFX system, which works and sounds good). So it seems at first examination that one could not have a reverb patch on every input. There is a fixed auraverb reverb Send and Return on Mixer 1 (the unit has a number of mixers that can create submixes for talent monitoring during recording or for stems, or so it seems).
One can turn the G64 unit on and off via the software on the computer; again another very cool thing for me after running in and out of my machine room from the mixing space for the last 12 years with the older PCIe converters in a mac pro.
There is a touch screen on the unit that works, though it is small and harder for those that have big fingers.
The Metering section in the UI is very helpful in the software for getting basic levels.
One can of course save Setups on the interface for different recording or postproduction chores. This works well. The G64 does remember the settings from the last session if one forgets to save the session settings, which is nice.
The manual is short and pretty much covers everything, and is not one of those week long deep dive reading affairs.
Summary: I was hesitant as there were negatives in reviews, mostly regarding the software UI. I had to try the Galaxy 64 as the price really outshines other pro grade units on a per track basis. The unit does indeed work, and seems stable on Mac M1 OS 13.0.1, and sounds pro level. I did engage tech support and they were timely, patient, and helpful, and stayed engaged via email after I had fixed my initial problem (of using the wrong cabling). I can recommend this unit! It actually was much easier to set up than my previous set of converters. Wish list (minor comments here as the unit does get the job done): 1. More capability for time based effects (eg reverb) if indeed that is a true limitation. 2. A cooler looking GUI. The current one is not bad but looks a little blocky and out-dated, compared to some of the newer music app graphics.
I purchased my Antelope Galaxy from Dave Fisk at Vintage King. First when I was looking for a new set of converters David was excellent in proposing several options. He spent time coming up with the best options for me within my budget. I work on an automated analog console so I needed lot’s of I/O and my options were fairly limited for staying within my budget. I decided to get the Galaxy and in my 2 months of using this device I have to say I am happy with this. The sound is excellent, and I’m using it with a focusrite rednet Dante PCIe-r card. The latency is virtually non existent. Also the Galaxy is family future proof since it gives to several interconnect options either thunderbolt, Madi or in my case Dante. They’re all included on the unit which was another plus.
The foundation of our Studio A along with our SSL Duality at Delta State University in the Entertainment Industry Studies program.
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