AXE I/O Now Available

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AXE I/O Now Available

Postby Peter_IK » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:48 pm

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High-end sound meets best-in-class guitar tone

Since we created AmpliTube in 2002, IK Multimedia has spent tens of thousands of hours painstakingly measuring the interactions between instruments, pickups and amplifier circuits, not to mention working with the world’s most iconic guitar players, amplifier manufacturers, and engineers to study how to create and capture great guitar tones. We’ve put everything we’ve learned in that time into the new AXE I/O - a professional 2 in/5 out audio interface – and controller - designed specifically with the needs of the recording guitarist in mind.



Every element of AXE I/O has been designed for no-compromise quality and real-world usefulness. A triple-topology, fully discrete input circuit, with both PURE and JFET input stages, goes from transparent to tube-like with just a single switch. Its patent-pending Z-Tone™ impedance-adapting circuit interacts with your guitar's pick-ups to give you a massive range of tonal flexibility like you’ve never heard before. And a dedicated Amp Out makes it easy to process your recording with real guitar amps and stomps, without the need for a direct box, ground loop interrupter, or other equipment.

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In addition to the advanced instrument input, AXE I/O offers 2 PURE mic preamps, with 116 dB dynamic range and wide, flat frequency response, to perfectly preserve the character of acoustic guitars, pianos, or microphones. Outputs are just as high-quality, with 2 floating balanced outputs, 2 unbalanced and 1 floating unbalanced Amp out, a high-current headphone out (with independent volume for both) and a Monitor knob to easily blend direct monitoring and the audio from your computer for zero latency monitoring. And clear precision front peak meters let you visually monitor the signal.

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AXE I/O also lets you control your virtual rig, with an assignable preset knob and 2 inputs for single or double footswitches and expression pedals. The included AmpliTube 4 Deluxe will work immediately, offering over 140 ultra-accurate models of guitar and bass amps, cabs, pedals, mics and more. AXE I/O also offers 10 specially chosen T-RackS Singles and Ableton Live 10 Lite, giving you a professional guitar recording studio right out of the box.

AXE I/O is available now for $/€349.99. Order now and get free shipping through February 2019.

Click here to learn more about AXE I/O and to order yours today!
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby Burillo » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:30 pm

Looks very interesting!

A couple of questions.

I currently use a 4-input interface (2 guitars 2 mics), and i'm quite used to setting the input gain once and leaving it as is for months. This interface only has 2 channels, but has 4 physical inputs. I assume mic and instrument inputs share the gain knob?

The controller inputs - are they only expected to be IKMM controllers, or it can be anything as long as it's using a jack? How many buttons are supported? Are footswitches with built in pedals supported?

What's the roundtrip latency?
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby Soundwise » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:43 pm

Burillo wrote:
What's the roundtrip latency?

Good question! I second that.

Looks like a perfect AI for guitarists in every way. Only one thing is missing - built-in processing like in Antelope or Steinberg products for (almost) zero latency monitoring.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby ADHDguitarist » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:36 pm

This looks amazing! Question about the ztone section. Does it only effect the DI or will it also effect a mic plugged into the first mic section?
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby jwhipjr » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:37 pm

It'd be nice if they offered a slightly less priced version without software for long time customers who don't need the software. I don't need another version of amplitube 4 that comes with hardware.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby Peter_IK » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:09 pm

jwhipjr wrote:It'd be nice if they offered a slightly less priced version without software for long time customers who don't need the software. I don't need another version of amplitube 4 that comes with hardware.

Removing the software would not reduce the price. The price of AXE I/O is based on its high-performance audio interface functionality.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby carlaz » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:16 pm

Just saw this video with Warren Huart (Produce Like a Pro, etc.) and Davide Barbi from IKM talking about the AXE I/O at NAMM 2019:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyJIhe5K10M

It's a nice overall introduction and discussion of the device (drifting into wider IKM products on occasion -- but why not?).

I am really happy to see both phantom-powered mic inputs and an expression pedal jack on this thing. It really does look like IKM finally sat down and said, "Hey, let's build what that carlaz guy would need." :lol:

I don't really want my current interface to suddenly die (I only bought it a year or so ago! :shock: ), but when it inevitably some day does ... AXE I/O is already likely to be the obvious choice for the replacement. 8-)
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby allan.bourque » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:04 pm

I was trying my best to wait for some real world reviews of this, but I couldn't help myself and went out and ordered one. It should be here tomorrow. I'll post some thoughts later this week if anyone is interested.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby ChemaV » Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:05 am

Will it be available to connect to the iPad?
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby ADHDguitarist » Wed Jan 30, 2019 2:46 pm

allan.bourque wrote:I was trying my best to wait for some real world reviews of this, but I couldn't help myself and went out and ordered one. It should be here tomorrow. I'll post some thoughts later this week if anyone is interested.


can't wait to hear your thoughts. I'm fixing to drop a bunch on a new computer or I would have ordered one already.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby Peter_IK » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:31 pm

ChemaV wrote:Will it be available to connect to the iPad?

AXE I/O is not spec'd for iOS connectivity. You can read the full requirements/specs at https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/a ... hp?p=specs
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby allan.bourque » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:41 pm

ADHDguitarist wrote:
allan.bourque wrote:I was trying my best to wait for some real world reviews of this, but I couldn't help myself and went out and ordered one. It should be here tomorrow. I'll post some thoughts later this week if anyone is interested.


can't wait to hear your thoughts. I'm fixing to drop a bunch on a new computer or I would have ordered one already.


I have only had it for about an hour, but I'll tell you my initial impressions. Keep in mind it's new so a lot of this opinion could just be in my head, not sonically accurate. It's still shooting rainbows out the headphone jack right now :)

Size/Build

Very high quality build and sturdy construction. The knobs all have good resistance and I doubt they would ever accidentally get adjusted by a bump or a brush by. All the jacks and switches appear to be good quality. Size-wise, it's a big interface. I'm coming from a Focusrite 2i2 and if you put 2 of them back to back, that would be the approximate dimensions of the AXE. Same height, but deeper and wider x 2.

Latency

I set up the driver for 48K and my standard buffer size of 256 and had no problems with any latency. For reference I'm on Windows 10 Pro. I opened up Cubase 10 and it picked up the new driver/interface with no issues. Playback/record/etc all worked like a champ.

Sound

The headphone amp has more output than the 2i2, and initially even the output to my powered Presonus Eris monitors seems louder, but that could be because it's much quieter around my place right now.

Z-Tone does seem make a difference. To the left it opens the sound up and it just feels like you can dig in a little more and get a more response out of the strings. To the right and it is much more muted and less dynamic. The Pure/JFET switch didn't appear to make much difference, but to be fair I haven't played with it much yet.

Other Stuff

I appreciate the gain meter over the ring that Focusrite uses. It's easier to tell when you are getting close to clipping. The active/passive switch works as advertised. I'm not sure of the padding, but it took on my EMG loaded guitars with no problem. Shut it off and immediately clips as it should.

The monitor mix knob is nothing I would use, but I could see it being helpful in a lot of situations.

Preset knob is interesting. I'm not sure how much I would use it as I pretty much have my go to presets for every genre, but it's a nice option to have instead of mousing around to find your sound.

Tuner is pretty good and it can stay on all the time. If you are like me and run GTune on every guitar track this will save a little CPU power in your DAW.

I hooked up a Roland EV5 to the back and that works great. I've tested this in Amplitube and TH3 so far.

Sofware

The driver installed very easy and it leaves a little app running in the system tray.

Amplitube is Amplitube. I literally have every major amp sim and a few minor ones, so I doubt I will use it much but it's nice that it's there. Like Bias FX there's a little bit of upsell built in there. Some of the presets will prompt that you don't have that particular package which is a little irritating, but it is what it is. The TRacks stuff is nice though.

Reamp

I played around with reamping and it works as advertised. Only caveat is the manual won't help you with setting your DAW up. You'll need to assign a new buss for output 5 on the Axe.

Negatives

Right now the only potential negative is it generates some serious BTU's. It gets very warm on the bottom so make sure wherever you put it gives adequate clearance on the bottom for airflow.

I still have a lot to mess with but overall I'm pretty happy with it. It's just about everything a guitar based home studio would need. Is it worth the asking price? I think it's an easy sell if you are a guitar player looking for more control. If you are a turn everything up to 11 kind of player, it may not provide as much benefit, but it's still a very very nice interface.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby bart.childers » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:57 pm

How does it work with your DAW?

If you setup amplitube in a track can use the expression pedal to control the wah?
Can you record it? Does it record just the audio or does it record the pedal activity as MIDI CC events?
Can you scroll presets with the AXE I/O dial in Amplitube while it's setup as an insert on a DAW track?
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby allan.bourque » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:37 pm

bart.childers wrote:How does it work with your DAW?

If you setup amplitube in a track can use the expression pedal to control the wah?
Can you record it? Does it record just the audio or does it record the pedal activity as MIDI CC events?
Can you scroll presets with the AXE I/O dial in Amplitube while it's setup as an insert on a DAW track?


Hi Bart,

The actual operation will depend on the DAW I suppose, but yes, you can control the wah while recording Amplitube in your DAW. I don't know if this is exclusive to Cubase or not, but Amplitube VST does not recognize the midi input direct from the AXE. All I did was create a midi track and assigned the output to the audio track I had Amplitube on. From there it records the midi CC just like any other controller. The wah in Amplitube reacts live to the CC messages and records them. The only trick to remember is you need to arm both the audio and midi track to record. To caveat, I am not a midi nor Cubase expert so there may be an easier way to accomplish this, I just wanted to test it out for you.
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Re: AXE I/O Now Available

Postby bart.childers » Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:43 pm

That makes sense - thank you for the info!
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