Distributed by: Studio Connections | Expect to pay: $375
Situated in a market that’s experiencing something of a renaissance, Audient’s EVO 4 SRB (Start Recording Bundle) is a stand out amongst the many home recording packages available today.
Read more Recording Interface reviews here.
The bundle itself is a value-pack, put together with the kind of essentials one should expect, ie. an audio interface, condenser microphone, shockmount, XLR lead and headphones, each of which prove to be more than adequate in their respective categories, providing beginner users quick access to an overall quality recording experience.
Audient has centered this package around the EVO 4 interface. The 14×6.7cm black box distinguishes itself with a presentation and feature list that can feel a cut above, or at least unique enough, to similarly priced alternatives, with a singular, forward-thinking aesthetic that more than separates it from many of its contemporaries on both a visual and workflow level.
Nowhere is this more evident in the EVO 4’s super intuitive single knob functionality, which is also home to the oft mentioned ‘Smartgain’ feature (which automatically sets input gain levels in relation to the volume of the mic’d source or DI’d instrument).
Suffice to say, this is a feature designed to make everyone’s life a little easier and there is something incredibly novel about sitting back and letting it do it’s magic, while enjoying the audible benefits and relative monitoring ease that comes with clean, distortion free, level matched recording.
The intuitive and organic way in which the ‘Smartgain’ feature actively promotes good audio practice, carries with it a unifying influence, really going a long way towards setting novice engineers on the right path (whether they are aware of it or not). I’m sure many a mix engineer will welcome the emergence of ‘Smartgain’ with open arms.
In contrast with the periphery of alternative audio interfaces, many comparable in size and pricing, the EVO 4 features a unique construction that may prove more intuitive to some: up-top surface controls, complete with an LED display function, monitor outputs and inputs (USB-C, XLR combo ports) in the back, and headphone and instrument input out front.
Being small and easy to manage, the EVO 4 encourages versatility and portability, as capable on the go as it is as a studio fixture. In terms of physical footprint and flexibility of workflow, you’d be hard pressed to find an interface that can do as much, with as little, with the single knob functionality and minimal enclosure taking up little in the way of prime desk real estate.
Contained in a sleek matte black presentation-looks wise, the EVO 4 is both minimalistic yet delightfully subversive in that it doesn’t really look like audio equipment at all, bearing more than a passing nod to the ‘Smart’ school of product design.
It’s an aesthetic that is sure to earn the EVO 4 many fans, especially amongst engineers who don’t want to share their living space with usual visual cacophony of cables, knobs and faders that are usually part and parcel the average home recording setup. By contrast, the EVO 4 is unobtrusive, stylish and self-contained.
For the itinerant musician, or for anyone looking to record a podcast or demo on the fly, then look no further. As far as audio quality, usability and portability are concerned, the EVO 4 ranks highly across all three and is a perfect option for anyone looking to record on the move.
A personal favourite feature of the EVO 4 is the Loopback function. If you’re wanting to use the EVO as a way to record podcasts over Discord, or maybe gaming content for YouTube or Twitch, it is so easy to get your computer audio routed through alongside your microphones
Despite the EVO 4 being the star, there is a consistent quality in the additional elements that make up the rest of the bundle.
Headphones can often be expected to take a hit in quality when it comes to packages such as these. Surprisingly, this isn’t the case here. The included closed back SR2000 Headphones deliver, and even after hours of frequent use, prove to be comfortable and light. In terms of isolation they also perform far and beyond expectations, attenuating outside noises while keeping headphone bleed to a minimum.
Likewise, the SR1 Condenser Microphone is a further testament to Audient’s overall consistency across this particular offering. The mic itself is both useful and useable, ensuring high quality recordings, with a nice upper mid-range bump that makes it a natural fit for capturing the precise detail sought by vocalists and podcasters alike. Its relatively tight super-cardioid pattern works nicely in cahoots with the enclosed headphones so as to not leak any noise and affect the final product.
The entry level price tag by no means should be taken interchangeably with the notion that this may be exclusively for those within the beginner margin. The bundle performs cohesively and results in a clear sound and quality recording experience.
Audient’s EVO 4 Start Recording Bundle ticks the boxes when it comes to an affordable price-point, making it ideal for those just starting out, or for any looking for a quality home recording or auxiliary, portable setup.