IK Multimedia Launches Compact Guitar Interface With Tone-Shaping and Re-Amplification Features

July 16 2020, 00:35
IK Multimedia, the Italian computer music technology and consumer electronics powerhouse, continues to show a unique ability to design and quickly bring to market innovative solutions. And that's not easy to do in a crowded category such as USB audio recording interfaces. With the AXE I/O SOLO, IK Multimedia expanded its range of AXE I/O high-end guitar interfaces with advanced tone-shaping features, while offering a more budget-friendly, mobile format. The little unit also offers IK's proprietary Z-Tone impedance-adapting circuit and powerful guitar recording tools.

The new IK Multimedia guitar interface is apparently similar to many budget-friendly USB recording interfaces in the market, but with a differentiator that relies on the combination of attention to detail and actual unique features. The AXE I/O SOLO is a compact, bus-powered 2-in/3-out USB audio interface that features IK's high-end PURE microphone preamp, an instrument input with proprietary tone-shaping options, and an exclusive Amp Out to incorporate the musician's own amp and processing audio chain into a recording setup. For guitar and instrument recording, this 24-bit/192kHz USB 2.0 interface couldn't be simpler, but its converters are optimized for a wide dynamic range, allowing pristine recordings.

The unit's high-definition, Class A PURE mic preamp was designed for transparent and clean recording. This allows capturing the natural frequency response of musical instrument with all its dynamics, and capturing the full tonal range of voices and instruments without coloring the sound. The dynamic range is also essential for ultra-quiet recordings done directly with the AXE I/O SOLO.

And things start to get exciting when we learn that the AXE I/O SOLO can also act as a controller for use with IK's included AmpliTube or other guitar-friendly modeling or effects software, offering a complete, affordable solution for players who want the best possible tone for their tracks. Besides, the AXE I/O SOLO already offers proprietary tone-shaping options that let users dial in the perfect settings for their instruments or coax a wider range of tones from a single instrument.

First, an active & passive pickup selector adapts instantly to any instrument. The active channel bypasses unneeded gain stages, ensuring the signal is always as direct and uncolored as possible. Next, the AXE I/O SOLO offers both the mentioned PURE circuit for a transparent sound and a JFET circuit for adding warmth and harmonics, all within the device.

Finally, IK's proprietary Z-TONE impedance-adapting circuit lets users adjust the input impedance to interact with their guitar's pickups: at the maximum impedance, sounds are tighter, sharper and more precise, and at lower impedances the sound becomes thicker and bolder. These controls give guitars even more sonic character - with just a few minutes' experimentation, users can dial in a perfect sound.

Another interesting feature in the AXE I/O SOLO is the re-amplification option. A front panel Amp Out lets guitar and bass players incorporate real amplifiers and stompboxes without the need for an external conversion box. This low-noise out also eliminates ground loops, to keep even the highest-gain re-amplification as quiet as possible. 

The 1/4" balanced outputs and a headphones out complete the usability of this compact unit, with a final nice touch that is a "blend" knob to mix the direct and processed signal for zero-latency monitoring. In addition, the AXE I/O SOLO also features two dedicated inputs for controller pedals and switches, plus MIDI In/Out, offering a range of options for real-time control over amp modeling plug-ins or recording software.

And, as always with IK Multimedia products, there's loads of extra value in bundled software. The AXE I/O SOLO comes bundled with AmpliTube 4 Deluxe, IK's powerful guitar and bass tone studio for Mac/PC, as well as a suite of T-RackS mixing and mastering plug-ins and Ableton Live 10 Lite recording software.

The AXE I/O SOLO is now available from the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide for $/€249.99 (excluding taxes).
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