Steinberg Introduces AXR4 Audio Interface with USB-C

January 29 2020, 00:20
Steinberg presented its latest audio interface at the 2020 NAMM show in Anaheim. The new, rack-mountable AXR4U audio interface, provides a USB-C alternative to the already available AXR4T Thunderbolt 2 interface. Featuring the highest audio quality, DSP effects to monitor the sound with various signal processors alongside hybrid microphone preamps and Rupert Neve Designs SILK technology, the AXR4U audio interface provides USB 3.0 data transfer with USB-C connectivity.

Until the semiconductor companies start shipping the latest generation of USB4 chips (scheduled for end of 2020), that complements and builds upon the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 architectures and is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification, doubling the maximum aggregate bandwidth of USB and enabling multiple simultaneous data and display protocols, the audio industry will be perfectly happy to introduce USB-C solutions with USB 3.1 Gen 1 SuperSpeed at 5 Gbps.

Like the AXR4T (Thunderbolt 2) version, the AXR4U’s front side provides four easily accessible Neutrik combo inputs and two headphone outputs with individually adjustable level controls. The rear panel comes with eight TRS line inputs and eight TRS line outputs. Also available are two pairs of ADAT I/O doubling as S/PDIF, the second of which provides an alternative AES/EBU Sub-D connector. Overall, this counts to 28 channel inputs and 24 channel outputs. 

By also factoring in its MIDI input/output and word clock ports — featuring advanced SSPLL (Super Suppression Phase Locked Loop) jitter reduction technology — the AXR4U interface offers comprehensive input and output options that make it the perfect choice for musicians and project studios. And with Yamaha’s custom-designed SSP3 chip and the latest, most refined drivers, the AXR4U ensures high fidelity at a very low latency. 

The AXR4U connects to Cubase, Nuendo and other DAWs through a USB-C connector, providing reliable and seamless connectivity to both Mac and PC computers. The design of the AXR4U interface has been conceived in a way to deliver pristine audio quality, featuring 32-bit integer resolution as well as a maximum sample rate of 384 kHz. Its clear, natural sound comes from its balanced specifications and first-class components which include refined transformer circuitry and four digitally controlled hybrid microphone preamps — each with precisely modeled switchable Rupert Neve Designs’ SILK processing.

Taking a closer look at the SILK emulations reveals two choices: the red mode adds sparkling energy, while the blue mode provides solidity and power. The additional texture control adjusts the harmonic content of the source audio. All microphone inputs, either individually or globally, benefit from SILK’s signal processing function. 

On the front panel, the first element that catches the eye is the multi-color display, alongside its dial button, for configuring and using the AXR4U. The various press buttons provide easy control of various functionalities and lighten up when enabled.

The AXR4U houses DSP effects for latency-free monitoring. The Compressor 276 and the EQ 601 are based on Yamaha's VCM technology that models analog audio processors. Other effects included with the interface are the Sweet Spot Morphing Channel Strip and the REV-X reverb. These onboard DSP effects are also available as VST 3 and AU plug-ins. The VST 3 versions integrate easily into Cubase AI, also included with the AXR4U. 

By harnessing the power of the dspMixFx AXR mixing application, users of the AXR4U can set up a 28x24 matrix mixer for routing and monitoring audio signals.

“Releasing the AXR4U is the logical consequence after this year’s success of the AXR4T Thunderbolt interface. Its USB-C connectivity with USB 3 data transfer makes it extremely reliable and compatible with both PCs and Mac computers. Now every setup can benefit from the outstanding audio quality of the AXR4 interfaces,” comments Stefan Schreiber, senior marketing manager at Steinberg.

The AXR4U is available through Steinberg resellers and the Steinberg Online Shop. The suggested retail price for the AXR4U audio interface is $2,699.99.
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