Reviewed: Focusrite Scarlett Solo Studio
Focusrite are the makers of some of the world’s most revered preamps and channel strips. Their Red series and ISA rack models can be found in top studios the world over. It goes without saying that they know a thing or two about great front end audio equipment. This puts them ahead of the pack when it comes to building audio interfaces, as they already have a stable front end to build off. And of course, the reputation of the Red series is what Focusrite has banked on with their Scarlett range of budget audio interfaces. Targeted at home studio to intermediate users, the Scarlett series offers a wide range of recording solutions. The most versatile for a musician looking to start recording would probably be the Scarlett Solo Studio bundle.
Reviewed: Focusrite Red 8Pre Thunderbolt Interface
It’s been a while since I have had my hands on some of the higher-end Focusrite interfaces. I see and use Scarlett models all the time, so it makes for a pleasant change to get this beauty on my desk this month. Allow me to introduce the new Red 8Pre from Focusrite. For those of you looking for a serious track count, Focusrite quality microphone preamps with digital control and ProTools HD compatibility, you can find it all in this one very sleek and very stylish unit. This is a little bit of a number of Focusrite units from recent years all brought together with some clever engineering to create a single rack space or I/O heaven.
Reviewed: PreSonus Studio 26 USB Audio Interface
PreSonus offer a range of products to cater for different needs, but they are mostly known for their audio interfaces, in particular the AudioBox. PreSonus have taken the simplicity of that unit and delivered a new USB audio interface that offers quality audio and a very workable hardware interface that will certainly feel right at home with so many compact recording setups looking for style and sound quality. The new Studio 26 USB is here to offer that little bit extra in the same compact housing.
Reviewed: Avid Pro Tools Eleven Rack
This is not the first time I have gotten my hands on the Eleven Rack. My first foray with it was back when it existed only as a plugin for guitar amp modelling within Pro Tools, but since then I have been able to use one a number of times as a recording tool for quality guitar tones. But I haven’t overlooked the treasures this holds as a live guitar tool too. Avid’s Pro Tools Eleven Rack ties it all together to give users not only the flexibility they have demanded, but the quality and stability that they need both in the studio and on stage.
Reviewed: Softube Console 1
For a lot of musicians, nothing beats the tactile experience of a physical mixing board. Of course, that’s not always possible, practical or affordable, especially in a home studio. We try to make do with plugins, but we miss the interactivity of actually grabbing a control knob and twisting it until something magical happens. The Softube Console 1 tackles this in an extremely elegant manner. It’s a hardware control surface that gives you hands-on access to EQ, compressor, gate, volume and pan on all your tracks, and while it’s always possible to map controls like that onto any MIDI controller with enough knobs and buttons, this device doesn’t require any MIDI mapping. Everything is labelled, and it’s designed with incredible forethought as to how it would be used in the real world.
REVIEWED: TWO NOTES AUDIO ENGINEERING TORPEDO STUDIO DIGITAL LOADBOX
So much of modern technological innovation is devoted not to pushing sound to bold new frontiers, but to using technology to make it easier and more affordable to get classic sounds. The Two Notes Torpedo is built on the premise that you have an amp that you love the sound of, and it’s at its best when cranked, but it acknowledges that most home studios don’t have the space, soundproofing or understanding neighbours to allow you to hit that sweet spot.
REVIEWED: RME ARC USB CONTROLLER
There have been plenty of RME users waiting for this one and now it is finally here, the much anticipated update to their ARC controller has arrived in the ARC USB. This encompasses the same concept as the previous ARC, or Advanced Remote Control unit, but it has seen an upgrade in the features and a downgrade in the overall size. What results is a very useable device that doesn’t clutter up your benchtop and allows a faster and more streamlined workflow with RME audio interfaces and the combined TotalMix FX bridging software.
REVIEWED: RME FIREFACE UFX II AUDIO INTERFACE
RME have set out once again to prove that they are the masters of multichannel audio recording with their new premier audio interface the Fireface UFX II. This is the newest, upgraded version of their flagship Fireface UFX and really sees them needing to change the name with this now being a USB 3 compatible device and no longer requiring FireWire connections for any computer or task. It’s the latest in RME’s futureproofing designs to ensure that when you invest in a quality audio interface you will be able to grow with it rather than having it left behind as your needs and computer system change. With up to 30 input and output channels into your DAW via a range of analogue and digital connections, this is a beast that will be able to handle just about any workload you can offer it and do so in stunning RME audio quality.