IK Multimedia has scaled down last year’s guitar-centric audio interface, the AXE I/O, to the less-extensive, less-expensive AXE I/O SOLO. This is a 2-in, 3-out USB interface equipped with the Italian manufacturer’s PURE mic preamp, an instrument input with the tone shaping facilities that made the AXE I/O stand out, an Amp Out for reamping DIs, and 24-bit/192kHz AD/DA conversion.
IK AXE I/O SOLO
The tone shaping controls are, arguably, what makes this interface stand out among countless competitors. First up, there’s an active/passive pickup selector switch to optimize the inputs for your guitar. Then there are the PURE and JFET circuits, offering clean and colored signal paths. Finally, there’s impedance adjustment for the instrument input so you can run it at higher impedance for a sharper sound or at a lower impedance for added oomph. Great for experimenting and seeing what impedance can do for your tone.
As for outputs, you get a pair of balanced outs, a headphone out, and a blend knob to mix between direct and processed signal for live monitoring. There are also two inputs for control pedals and switches, as well as MIDI I/O. These are probably meant to integrate with other IK products (or other brand equivalents) so you can control AmpliTube and other IK software.
Speaking of software, buying an AXE I/O SOLO nets you the complete AmpliTube 4 Deluxe which is really great if you need a strong amp modeling suite. There are also select T-RackS mixing and mastering plug-ins, along with a copy of Ableton Live 10 Lite.
Price and availability
AXE I/O SOLO will be launched after March, says IK, and priced EUR 250 sans tax. The interface is now available for pre-order. I’d say, with a copy of AmpliTube 4 thrown in, the interface definitely gives guitar and bass players their money’s worth. Though this is not a studio interface by any means, rather a hot-rodded PC-to-guitar, guitar-to-PC recording gadget.