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USB 1.1 and 2

January 3, 2007

USB interfaces tend to start a little cheaper and come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the notable ones include Mackie’s Spike system (£119) which offers SHARC processing (extra hardware clout) and software in the form of the rather great Tracktion 2. One of the better hardware/software combis is Steinberg’s System 4 (£199) which contains a USB MIDI/audio interface and Cubase SL3, a fully functioning sequencing package. For portability, Tascam’s US interfaces (starting at around £120) are very neat solutions, and also billed as a mobile solution is Lexicon’s Lambda (£149). One of the more unusual USB interfaces is M-Audio’s Black Box which has effects, amp modelling and drum tracks all in one unit, and is ideal for guitarists. The Edirol UA-4FX (£99) is a bit more standard but does feature some neat signal processing to help nudge up the quality of both input and output signals.

Native Instruments might be well regarded for their software but with Audio Kontrol 1 (£199) they are signalling a move into hardware. It’s a neat interface complete with three of the company’s software packages. E-mu are also well represented in this category with a couple of cost effective solutions in the shape of the 0202 and 0404 interfaces (£97.99 and £149 respectively). They are simple interfaces but feature quite a lot of hands on action and a great bundle of software.

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