We first learned of Antelope Audio via its word clocks, some of the first premium clocks found in pro audio. Then its converters became wildly popular, especially the Orion 32-channel A/D and D/A (at a market leading price). By these virtues, the new Pure2 deserves a close inspection as it combines two channels of A/D and D/A conversion, as well as a master clock, clock distribution and enough I/O to suffice as a studio’s sole DAW interface (at least for smaller systems).
The Pure2 offers all the normal connections you’d expect: clock I/O on BNC (eight outputs), analog I/O on XLRs, digital I/O on SPDIF/AES/USB/TOSLINK, main and monitor outs (on quarter-inch TRS) as well as a headphone amp. Like so many of its contemporaries, Pure2 will work in standalone mode, but is much more user-friendly when controlled via its app for Windows or Mac. Here’s the entire feature set and the many details: http://www.antelopeaudio.com/en/products/pure2-mastering-ad-da-converter-and-clock
After installing the app, I found myself able to operate the Pure2 intuitively, as it is indeed straightforward. Select a source for your main output, your monitor output, your headphone out and a source for your metering. The GUI is laid out well and easy to read at a glance. Unfortunately, the metering isn’t; there are enough increments and the proper green/yellow/orange/red colors, but the speed is too sluggish to provide much useful information.
I could tell right out of the gate that the Pure2’s D/A conversion was well-executed. The center image was strong (an indicator of a converter’s consistency and accuracy), imaging was right where I expected it (as noted on a very familiar piece of music I’ve been slaving on) with a big soundstage and the frequency balance struck me as lacking personality (a good thing for converters). When it comes to D/A, I’m tuned in to Apogee’s Symphony and Mytek’s Stereo96 DAC; comparatively, the Pure2 seems like the Symphony on the bottom (not as lean down low like the Mytek) and as sweet as the Mytek up top.
I then began using the Pure2 as my two-mix A/D for day-to-day mixing and found it to be well-paired with the D/A offering a similar frequency profile (totally flat or perhaps just a little plump through the low-mids), not at all harsh, but rather dynamic and noise free. I did hit the converter hard and got the soft-clipping to kick in. It did a fine job of slightly rounding off peaks and allowing significantly more level without any rudeness; it’s more growly than scratchy when pushed hard.
I must say that I am fond of the Pure2. It offers nice neutral conversion, solid clocking and distro, ample I/O and a good GUI: there’s a lot to like here. However, I don’t like the metering; the hardware’s metering is miniscule and the software’s metering is slow and jumpy.
Let’s add this factor to our study, too: Renowned mastering engineer Glenn Schick has abandoned working at his ample studio and now takes the Pure2, an Antelope Audio Isochrone 10M atomic clock (Antelope’s $5,500 flagship) and custom in-ears/headphones out on-location, where he masters at his client’s place. Excessively forward-thinking? Pure rubbish? Hardly—Schick has mastered thousands of songs this way in environs around the world, staying consistently booked and is reporting the best work of his career. In all, I’d say this Pure2 looks like a serious categorical contender, based on my usage and those considerably impressive successes.