Distributed by: Studio Connections | Expect to Pay: $539
Affordable high quality recording equipment has become increasingly accessible over the past decade, leading to a saturated market of all things home studio. The abundance of small format high functionality recording interfaces has manufacturers fighting for your attention and ultimately, your hard earned cash.
In a dizzying market of desktop recording interfaces it’s easy to succumb to option paralysis when researching a new centerpiece for your home or mobile recording studio. Audient’s latest offering in the ID14 MkII may have just make that choice easier.
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On face value, the ID14 MkII looks as though it’s just another small offering in the way of desktop recording interfaces, though don’t be fooled by its sleek minimalistic design. Packed into its compact chassis is an impressive feature set which can serve as the centerpiece of any flexible home recording studio.
The ID14 MkII is a 10in/6out USB–C interface which includes two microphone preamps that share their design with Audient’s flagship ASP8024 heritage edition large format console. These preamps offer a very strong likeness to the input stage of the ASP8024HE, providing a pleasingly transparent yet not sterile 58dB of gain.
Along with the two combo XLR/ TRS mic/line amplifiers are four line line outputs for your studio monitors or connectivity to an extra headphone amp, two dedicated headphone outputs via 1⁄4 inch TRS and mini jack 3.5mm (extra handy for when you misplace those mischievous adaptors), JFET instrument input, and a optical ADAT/SPDIF input.
The addition of the ADAT/SPDIF input significantly expands up the input abilities of this interface, allowing you to add up to eight more channels up to a sample rate of 48kHz. This will certainly come in handy for any mobile producer in need of a high-quality interface for on-the-go recording, with the ID14 MkII being easily expanded via ADAT to accomodate more inputs should the need to track a drummer or small live ensemble arise when you’re away from the studio.
Perhaps the most clever feature of the ID14 MkII is the large rotary encoder dial. The primary function of the rotary encoder is that of your typical monitor controller. Switchable between monitors and headphone outputs it gives you the ability to boost or attenuate the level of your monitoring system.
Complemented by the accompanying ‘ID’ button, it’s possible to put the encoder into Audient’s ‘ScrollControl’ mode which allows the user to use the dial as a tactile interface for changing values within the Digital Audio Workstation. This effectively works as the mouse wheel in your session, simply mouseover the function you wish to adjust in the DAW, and scroll control gives you a more authentic tactile interface to change panning, EQ settings, compressor thresholds and even volume automation (DAW dependent).
The ‘ID’ button has further functionality which is user programmable via the included ID mixer software. This allows the user to Dim the monitors, engage the talkback function, sum the mix to mono, and sum the mix to mono with polarity inverse.
In use, the ID14 MkII ticks all the boxes for an interface of this calibre. The addition of the Hi-Z JFET instrument input on the front of the interface is a simple and effective way to track electric and bass guitars, with the clean nature of the preamp resulting in a crisp sound quality. There’s a tonne of headroom to play with here, and if you’re the kind of player who just likes to plug straight in and bring up a virtual amp emulator to lay down guitar tracks, this will suit your workflow perfectly.
On the inverse, the two XLR/TRS combo inputs on the back of the ID14 MkII go above and beyond in regards to quality. These preamps sound crystal clean and ultra quiet, ensuring that recording with either a dynamic or a condenser microphone – made possible by two switchable 48v phantom power controls on the faceplate – works a treat. Should you please, you can also link up both preamps to use in stereo for recording electric keyboards or synthesisers, and the freedom of being able to record both sources simultaneously will be appreciated by those from the self- accompanied singer-songwriter school of music.
The Audient ID14 MkII packs a real punch for an interface at this price point. Brilliant sounding microphone and instrument inputs, a transparent monitor path and loads of expandability options all put this interface in a weight class well above its small footprint. Functionality aside the ID14 MkII is well constructed – the chassis is tough and feels like a high quality piece of kit.
The switches, dials and encoders all give a satisfying tactile response. It’s clear that Audient’s design team have thought beyond functionality creating a high quality and satisfying user experience. All in all, another hit for the Audient product range, and a clear indicator that this company are doing all the right things for the modern audio consumer today.