Audio equipment manufacturers ESI have launched two new products, both of which will appeal to fans of small things. The UGM96 is described as “one of the smallest audio interfaces on the market”, measuring around 7cm x 6cm and just over 1cm tall. It’s a simple two-input, two-output device that connects to a computer via USB.
Amazingly for its size, it’s got a mic preamp on one of the inputs (although there are no phantom-power facilities), and guitars can be plugged into either of the two inputs, which both use quarter-inch jack sockets. Two headphones outputs enable two artists to monitor the signal from a computer, and jam along simultaneously, and one of those outputs can be used to power line-level equipment.
Manual control over the UGM96 is limited, as expected on a device this small. There are just two switches: one engages the mic preamp, and the other boosts the input gain by 20dB. The device is compatible with Mac and PC, and comes with ASIO drivers for Windows XP and Vista, and Core Audio drivers for Mac OS v10.4 and higher. It costs £58.72 including VAT.
Also new (and small) is the Keycontrol 25XL. It’s a 25-note — two octave — keyboard that has full-size, velocity-sensitive, semi-weighted keys. It also has modulation and pitch-bend wheels, as well as a slider and four rotary encoders that can be assigned to any MIDI parameter.
Like the UGM96, the Keycontrol connects to computer using USB and is bus-powered, but there’s also a conventional five-pin MIDI port for linking to hardware instruments or computers with MIDI interfaces attached. Usefully, a sustain pedal can be used with the device, and it can be powered by an external 9V AC-DC adaptor, for when power isn’t attained via the USB port. ESI’s Keycontrol 25XL costs just £50 and is shipping now.
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