Review: Audient EVO 16 USB Interface

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Review: Audient EVO 16 USB Interface

evo 16
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Studio Connections | RRP: $799

To put it plainly, Audient don’t always receive the recognition they deserve in the pro audio world. Working tirelessly to make products for the working creative, their designs are functional and expandable, while offering professional-level quality and sleek looks. 

While the last few years have seen them offering more accessible and entry-level equipment, these pieces feature the same design methodology as their high-end consoles. Audient takes what we’ve learned from about a hundred years of recording and design equipment to harness that in increasingly accessible ways with modern routing, aesthetic, and function. You could run an entire recording signal chain of Audient from preamp to converter, and rest assured that you’ll have access to that signal at high quality via auxiliaries, sends, and returns. 

Read more gear reviews here.

They extend this to their rapidly growing EVO series of interfaces, designed to be super simple to use so you can focus on the recording and music making rather than the routing, gain staging, and playback. The Audient EVO 16 is a 24 in, 24 out audio interface with award-winning EVO preamps and Audient conversion. The EVO range offers something for every-level of recording engineer, and gives access to the same high-quality preamps, conversion, and routing options.

The front of the EVO 16 features two combo XLR/jack inputs (with JFET transistors no less!) for easy recording direct when you need to. The back of the unit features another six inputs, all with the same combo XLR/jack configuration, and additionally, there’s up to 16 channels of input via ADAT. There’s ADAT outputs as well, making up the advertised 24 inputs and 24 outputs available on the EVO 16. The EVO 16 also has eight line outputs, the first two of which are dedicated for monitors and controlled via the front control panel with a handy and classily lit control to adjust your monitor output. 

The EVO 16 also features two independently controlled headphone outputs on the front faceplate, both of which are rated for <50Ω so you can send that drummer plenty of signal without a worry. There’s a dedicated world clock out, as well as USB-C connectivity, and a handy screen that shows your input level on the first eight inputs. The EVO 16 is a handy 355mm wide, so it can fit easily into a laptop-sized bag or sleeve, but rack ears are also available if that’s more convenient! For added convenience, the EVO 16 features Audient’s low latency software mixer for routing and sending signal without reaching for the unit itself.

In use, the EVO 16 is great. The EVO preamps are clean and clear, offering 58dB of gain. The black chassis of the EVO 16 is well built and can handle being travelled with if need be, while the clearly labelled gain control selection allows you to toggle 48V phantom power or mic/instrument control. Audient EVO 16 also features the Smartgain algorithm, a unique program that quickly analyses and adjusts gain to the perfect level. While creativity can take over and different signals can be pushed or pulled while recording, the Smartgain is a great addition for quickly setting yourself up with a starting point. Smartgain uses peak analysis to quickly adjust gain to optimal levels for recording, both avoiding massive spikes and allowing enough dynamics to avoid that noise floor.

Once the signal has passed through the preamps, the converters themselves sound great. No colour, just 121dB of dynamic range allowing you to listen critically and helping your monitors sound the best they can! The EVO 16 helped shift my focus from routing, setting gain, and monitoring to just hearing the performance played back. When working alone, it was ready to go when I was, allowing me to capture whatever fleeting creative moment I was having, and in a session it would be just as ready. The routing is simple, and a clearly laid out faceplate makes for easy control, while high quality preamps allow for the capture itself.

Audient are a company who are so focused on creating products that benefit the user, they may be overlooked. From their tiny, bedroom-producer-focused interfaces, to rolling consoles with more channels than you know what to do with, they make products for the music makers. They’re a company giving access to better quality products at better prices, while also making intuitive designs that offer everything you need to quickly make either critical mixing decisions, or broad strokes while recording. 

Even when they’re not bringing anything sonically, their simple-to-use products make the set up faster and more efficient. The EVO series as a whole exemplifies this, and the EVO 16 leads that charge with all guns blazing. 

Eight EVO preamps on board, with space for an additional 16 preamps via ADAT, while also offering 16 additional ADAT outputs to accompany the eight line outputs on the back, easy to read graphics, easy to navigate controls; the Audient EVO 16 makes most other products feel a clunky mess, and we can do away with that kind of energy when creating.

Head to EVO for more information. For local enquiries, reach out to Studio Connections.