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.
REVIEWED: RME DIGIFACE USB AUDIO INTERFACE
Once again RME have gone out and shown us that they are not just purveyors of quality, but absolute innovators too. For those of you who need to regularly record with high track counts, it can be difficult coming up with an interface solution to meet your needs. Often when seeking more than 16 inputs, external preamps are utilised to bump up track counts, but an interface is still required to bring them all together. RME saw the need for keeping everything uniformed, and have presented a logical solution that allows you to bring up to 32 microphone preamps to the party and get them all into your DAW with one device. The Digiface USB is the solution for high track counts with external preamps; it’s just one little box, but can handle a lot.
REVIEWED: RME ADI-2 PRO ULTRA-FIDELITY AD/DA CONVERTER
When it comes to quality analogue-to-digital conversion, it really is hard to look past the masters of the clock at RME. Over the past 20 years I have seen them produce one quality product after another, always outdoing their already high standards with every new release. The ADI-2 Pro is no exception, as this takes the user into the world of sample rates beyond expectation. With this ‘ultra-fidelity’ 768 kHz AD/DA converter there is little left unheard, so you had better hope the rest of your signal path is up to scratch, otherwise the RME will leave you hearing all the faults.
REVIEWED: THE APOGEE ELEMENT 46 THUNDERBOLT AUDIO INTERFACE
I think it is safe to say that you’ve all either used or heard of Apogee interfaces at some point. These guys have been delivering quality audio interfacing for some time now and with their current Mac and Thunderbolt focus, Apogee are releasing some very flavoursome pieces of kit indeed. Whether it is a fully-fledged user interface, or a simple design with no bells or whistles, Apogee is sure to have something that suits your needs. For those looking for a little more than the standard two-in and two-out configuration, the Element 46 is going to be of interest. It has plenty going on, and at the same time, there is seemingly very little happening on the surface. Intrigued? Then read on.
REVIEWED: SE ELECTRONICS REFLEXION FILTER PRO
I have spoken at length about isolating your microphone when recording at home to reduce unwanted frequencies and standing waves within your room. This can be especially difficult when working in a home recording environment when the room isn’t ideal for recording to begin with. It is essential that you give your microphone the chance to properly capture the direct signal and not all the noise that bounces around the room. That is why the sE Electronics Reflexion Filter Pro is such an important tool in the as well as in and professional recoding setup. When your room is not acoustically ideal for recording, the smart option is to just treat the area around the microphone, rather than changing the entire room.