IK Multimedia Reveals AXE I/O - Audio Interface With Unique Advanced Guitar Tone Shaping

IK's latest hardware interface for guitarists is an all-in-one solution for recording, routing and tone shaping. Here's everything you need to know about its specs and software bundle.

To its already impressive range of interface hardware, IK Multimedia has added a bigger family member -  AXE I/O. This high-end audio interface and controller is available now, and delivers premium sound and innovative features designed for guitarists seeking the perfect way to record with world-class tone and professional techniques.

The new 2 In/5 Out AXE I/O offers guitar-centric features such as adjustable impedance, streamlined re-amplification functions and a variety of instrument input circuits, plus a wealth of recording options including high-end mic preamps, top-of-the-line converters, 192 kHz operation, a wide dynamic range, an extended frequency response and more.

AXE I/O also doubles as a controller that allows guitar and bass players to record and perform with real-time effects like wah and volume, offering hands-free control over their preferred guitar-friendly software.

The inclusion of an unrivalled plug-in selection of more than 150 guitar and outboard effects from IK's leading AmpliTube and T-RackS packages makes AXE I/O an ideal solution for producing top-quality tracks out of the box.

The high-end audio interface guitar players have been waiting for
Unlike most desktop audio interfaces that offer mostly identical feature sets, AXE I/O offers unique guitar features not found anywhere else - allowing users to sculpt guitar and bass sounds never heard before - along with top-of-the-line sound comparable to devices costing much more.

Tone and feel like never before

AXE I/O offers a highly flexible input path for guitar and bass, with features that aren't available anywhere else. The main input channel offers both a fully discrete Class A PURE circuit for pristine, uncoloured sound, as well as a JFET circuit for harmonically rich recordings, to go from transparent to tube-like within a single device. A unique pick-up selector also offers an ACTIVE mode that bypasses unnecessary gain stages for use with active pick-ups, keeping the signal path as direct and clean as possible.

In addition - for the first time in an audio interface - a new patent-pending Z-Tone™ impedance-adapting circuit allows users to adjust the input impedance of AXE I/O to interact with their electric or acoustic guitar's pickups in a unique new way. This enables changes to tone, transients, dynamics and more, for a massive range of tonal flexibility never heard before.

These AXE I/O input stages offer a superior 117 dB dynamic range to ensure the cleanest possible signal, while the extended 3 Hz - 32 kHz frequency response preserves the full sonic impact of any instrument and all its harmonic content, going beyond the 20Hz-20kHz response of traditional audio interfaces.

For added sonic flexibility for guitar and bass players, AXE I/O offers a streamlined re-amplification setup in a single box, allowing users to easily integrate real-world gear into a recording setup without the inherent noise or hum typical of these connections. A dedicated Amp Out enables using real amplifiers and stompboxes without the need for an external signal conversion box or other accessories (or having to unplug existing connections). Conveniently placed on the front panel, it eliminates ground loops to keep even high-gain re-amplification as quiet as possible.

PURE mic preamps for transparent recording

For recording with microphones, AXE I/O offers two hi-quality PURE discrete Class A preamps designed for transparent and clean sound. These mic preamps offer a wide, flat frequency response of 5 Hz to 32 kHz, to avoid unwanted colouration and perfectly preserve the sonic character of vocals, pianos, acoustic guitars or any other instrument, and maintain the character of any microphone plugged in. Their 116 dB of dynamic range provides ultra-quiet sound that's perfect for recording everything from the most delicate instruments to the loudest amp stack.

Convenient connections, zero latency

AXE I/O provides two Hi-Z front panel ¼" inputs for guitars and basses, two rear combo inputs with phantom power to connect mics and line instruments, and bright multi-segment LED VU meters to accurately monitor input signal visually. Two floating balanced outputs, two unbalanced and one floating unbalanced for Amp Out plus a high-current headphones output allow users to connect up to two pairs of monitors, mains and headphones, with independent volume for both. A Monitor knob makes it easy to blend direct monitoring and audio from a computer for zero latency monitoring. AXE I/O's 24-bit, 192 kHz conversion and ultra-stable, low jitter internal clock ensures the highest fidelity, whether recording vocals, acoustic instruments, amplified guitar or just a direct signal.

Seamless software integration - for AmpliTube and more

Rarely found on audio interfaces, two dedicated back panel controller inputs enable AXE I/O to double as a software controller and provide connection for two expression pedals, single or double switches. An assignable data knob with push encoder on the front panel also allows switching presets and controlling AmpliTube or any other software in real time, directly from the device. Full-size MIDI IN/OUT connectors are also available to plug-in floor controllers or to control rackmount gear, keyboards or any other MIDI compatible device. A convenient front panel chromatic tuner offers lighting-fast tuning at the press of a button.

Advanced digital control & routing

AXE I/O features a powerful and convenient software control panel application to manage inputs and outputs, and assign routing and controller inputs. It encourages a faster, freer workflow by letting users stay focused on their music instead of adjusting settings on the unit itself. The software allows active audio I/O to be selected digitally from the front to rear panels, enabling users to leave all devices connected and switch between them from any computer. Users can also control gain, meter behaviour, and more for both inputs and outputs, without ever needing to touch the physical unit. In addition, the software offers control over the preset knob and 2 controller inputs. Set behaviour, MIDI channel, MIDI CC #, minimum and maximum values, and more, to dial in the best settings for each application.

A full-blown in-the-box studio - out of the box

Included is a massive bundle of over $/€1,000 of software and plug-ins that includes everything needed to track, mix and master right out of the box. The Bundle features IK's AmpliTube 4 Deluxe and a selection of 10 popular processors from T-RackS 5 for recording, mixing and mastering, plus Ableton Live 10 Lite.

Pricing and availability

AXE I/O is available immediately from the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide for only $/€349.99.

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by Bob Moog Foundation

"Hollin Jones was classically trained as a piano player but found the lure of blues and jazz too much to resist. Graduating from bands to composition then production, he relishes the chance to play anything with keys. A sometime lecturer in videographics, music production and photography post production, Hollin has been a freelance w..." Read More


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