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Thunderbolt 3 or 4 and USB-C may share similar physical attributes, but they operate on distinct protocols, each serving different purposes. Here's a breakdown of the key differences and considerations between the two:

USB-C Connector

USB-C serves as a versatile connector type utilized across various USB protocols, including 2.0, 3.1, 3.2, and 4.0. Despite its widespread adoption, USB-C itself does not determine the protocol being used.

Thunderbolt Connector

Thunderbolt 3 and 4 cables also utilize the USB-C connector but are distinguished by the presence of the Thunderbolt lightning symbol on them.

Port Distinction

When assessing ports on your computer, it's crucial to differentiate between USB-C and Thunderbolt-enabled USB-C ports. While Thunderbolt-enabled ports often feature the lightning symbol, newer Mac computers may lack this distinction, as all USB-C ports are Thunderbolt-enabled.

General Rules

1. Antelope Devices with USB-C Ports - These devices can seamlessly interface with Thunderbolt 3 or 4 cables when utilized as USB devices, leveraging our USB drivers for connectivity.

2. Antelope Devices with Thunderbolt 3 Ports - These devices cannot function with standard USB-C cables. Thunderbolt-specific cables are required for optimal performance.


The Antelope Audio Orion 32+ Gen4 presents a partial exception to the standard rules. Despite featuring a Thunderbolt 3 port, it can be connected to a computer using a standard USB-C cable. In this scenario, the Orion operates as a USB device, albeit with a reduced number of available I/O channels.

For further insights into Thunderbolt technology, including bandwidth specifications and use cases, refer to authoritative sources such as Thunderbolt Technology

Understanding these nuances ensures proper compatibility and optimal performance when integrating Antelope devices with Thunderbolt and USB-C connections into your setup.

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