The problems range from half-assed buggy software, to no sound, clicks and noises during recording, non functional DB 25 outputs, overheating, non-recognition by usb port and the list goes on.
I don't like the general attitude of Antelope at the forum, when people report the problems they always throw marketing BS or presumable success stories in the mix.
The original person reviewing the Antelope, who is also from gearslutz staff, received a non-functional Audio Zen, then he was telling that the fault was from the parcel delivery company and some posts later he changed the story to ''I had a beta unit for testing''.
I dunno, my impression after some threads is that Antelope seems a shady company. Now they are releasing some audiophile clocks for 5k. Again I have trouble trusting audiophile companies, especially when they release ''esoteric'' audiophile stuff.
Anyway I should have done my homework before considering the Audio Zen.
I could order and be lucky, but I don't know, the general feeling around them is unreliability.
As you probably are familiar with I am an Antelope Eclipse user.
I can't really comment on the Audio Zen, but what I can comment about it has a very good sound quality for its price and
you also get a lot of I/O and also DSP processing. I can't really comment on the drivers or software about the Audio Zen, but I would never consider using USB for DAW use, so the drivers are not hyper critical I use USB mosty for playback only when I am not using the DAW.
Well I can only agree about your observations regarding their attitude and PR people. Also their support have had varying quality , I have got a few incorrect answers from them which I also exposed on a forum, which then I got corrected, but since then I think they are irritated with me they do no longer answer my support tickets, I have had some problems that sometimes the power button does not work I have to unplug the power cable, it happens not often but they did not come up with a solution for it.
The software for the Eclipse is quite minimalistic it gives much to ask for, but it gets the job done, a few bugs.. but it seem the Eclipse drivers are not their priority now..I sent them an email a few days ago about windows 9 support no answer yet.. the release are not so many months away.
Regarding PR, the PR for Audio Zen is very different from their other products I think cause it is based for the more budget market... these consumers are easier to fool so they use all PR tricks necessary
So my experience with Antelope is mixed, I was very happy with the support sometimes but some people especially in the chat are not good.. email support is better..but to a certain point,some of the problems where left unsolved cause they had no idea.
They where nice until I did quote them on a forum where they did give me incorrect information regarding Audio Zen such as it has the same clock and monitor controlled as Eclipse (relay-controlled with stepped precision attenuator ) but for a fraction of the price, it would have been an insult to current Eclipse owners. Yeah so yeah I do not like their PR methods, regarding their clocks it seem more like some kind of esoteric art indeed they do not tell much secrets about it besides controlled jitter is used to create "positive" and controlled jitter which modify the audio waves in a positive and controller manner to give a more analogue sound, I have tried my Eclipse/Trinity clock with other clocks I have in my studio, my RME clock and my Eventide H8000FW clock, the Trintiy clock gives an extremly dramatic difference so yeah..very important part for sure...
It is not just a clock it an acoustic focused clock using jitter to manipulate the audio, which is a quite radicial concept which no one use since jitter is regarded as the biggest evil in audio in general..Antelope are the only company who use jitter intentionally to manipulate the audio in a positive manner. .
Regarding your set up it is quite complex decision, but the Audio Zen would be a good starting point I think, if you do not need the prees you could maybe consider the Orion, it is more highly regarded, it has from what I know a better clock it has more I/Os you could complete the monitor controller seciton with Drawmer MC2.1 which is on par with Dangerous Audio Source minus the DAC functioanlity . I do not remeber if you bought the Source already ? I think I recall you did in that case I would buy the Orion 32, you can probably find it used too..