Au­di­ent iD44

Fea­tur­ing four high-qual­ity mi­cro­phone preamps and ex­tended dig­i­tal op­tions, Au­di­ent’s iD44 looks like great value – but is it? Jono Buchanan in­ves­ti­gates…

Future Music - - CONTENTS -

CON­TACT KEY FEA­TURES WHO: Au­di­ent WEB: au­di­ent.com Con­nec­tor: USB-C; 4x ana­logue preamps, 2x DI in­put chan­nels, 2x head­phone out­puts; Sam­ple rates: 44.1–96kHz; Dig­i­tal I/O: ADAT 16 chan­nels: 44.1-48kHz; ADAT 8 chan­nels (SMUX): 88.2-96kHZ; Stereo S/PDIF: 44.1-96kHz; Weight: 1.75kg Di­men­sions: 276mmx51mm x174mm (d); Mac OSX 10.7.5, Win­dows 7

The iD44’s full ca­pa­bil­ity is not im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent at first glance. De­signed to sit on your desk­top, its up­per sur­face is dom­i­nated by four preamp chan­nels, which use the same tech­nol­ogy as Au­di­ent’s ac­claimed ASP8024-HE.

Each chan­nel of­fers its own phan­tom power tog­gle switch, -10dB pad and a high-pass fil­ter, while a prom­i­nent Gain dial at the top ad­justs chan­nel sen­si­tiv­ity with up to 60dB of gain, with green and red LEDs dis­play­ing sig­nal present and peak warn­ings: a nicely ar­ranged sur­face.

On the right, there are two more ro­taries to con­trol in­de­pen­dent head­phone feeds and a larger one for out­put mon­i­tor lev­els. On­board Talk­back is pro­vided, while con­fig­u­ra­tion of cue mixes, chan­nel la­bel­ing and other tasks can be done within Au­di­ent’s iD Mixer soft­ware.

How­ever, it’s round the back where it be­comes ap­par­ent that iD44 packs a more sig­nif­i­cant punch. As per its name, it can sup­port 20 in­put and 24 out­put chan­nels and this po­ten­tial ex­pan­sion is largely of­fered via dig­i­tal con­nec­tions. Two in­de­pen­dent Op­ti­cal in­put/out­put con­nec­tors lie in wait, which sup­port both ADAT and S/PDIF com­pat­i­ble mic pres, of­fer­ing an ad­di­tional 16 chan­nels for larger record­ing tasks.

There are also four ana­logue 1/4” out­puts here, while the combi in­put chan­nels 1-4 are squeezed in too, with chan­nels 1 and 2 even man­ag­ing to of­fer an insert send and re­turn sys­tem, so you can fa­cil­i­tate your record­ings with your favourite hard­ware. For­tu­nately, the head­phone sock­ets are along the front edge of the unit as the power switch takes up the last of the rear-edge space. At the front, you’ll also find JFET DI in­puts, de­signed to model the in­put stage of a valve am­pli­fier; guitars or hard­ware synths can be con­nected here.

In use, the iD44 sounds won­der­ful and of­fers qual­ity com­pa­ra­ble with much more ex­pen­sive in­ter­faces. While the soft­ware helps con­fig­ure set­tings seam­lessly, the up­per panel de­sign means that for record­ings of up to four chan­nels, you can com­fort­ably run a ses­sion di­rectly from the in­ter­face with­out clut­ter.

If you have grander am­bi­tions, this in­ter­face is ready to re­spond with dig­i­tal ex­pan­sion aplenty. Note, though, that Au­di­ent and oth­ers cater for more mod­est re­quire­ments at cheaper price points. But with im­pres­sive stats through the mi­cro­phone pres and dig­i­tal con­ver­sion stages, flex­i­bil­ity while mon­i­tor­ing and more, iD44 of­fers high qual­ity at a ‘mid-range’ price.

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