Audio interfaces are usually more about utility than excitement, but Steinberg's AXR4 is something else — it combines design expertise from Steinberg, Yamaha and Rupert Neve Designs, and packs an incredible amount into a 1U rack space. It's a low-latency, 32-bit integer, 28-in, 24-out audio interface capable of handling sampling rates of up to 384kHz, with a colour display for metering plus MIDI and wordclock, two indpendently adjustable headphone outs and twin Thunderbolt 2 connections taking audio to and from the attached recording system. Steinberg's product video below helps to get all of these features clear in your mind.
The first four input channels (the first two of which can be switched to accommodate high-impedance guitar signals) are accessed via front-panel Neutrik XLR/TRS Combi jacks with 48V phantom power and Yamaha's high-quality AXR mic preamps. Also assignable to those first four inputs are two types of Rupert Neve Designs' Silk processing, a digital emulation of the sonic qualities of classic Neve input modules. Somewhat inscrutably labelled Red and Blue, the first of these apparently emphasises second harmonics for top-end sparkle, while the latter makes more of low end and percussive, transient-heavy tones. That's not the end of the processing options, either: a suite of Yamaha DSP effects, including compression, EQ and reverb, is also built in.
A further 16 channels of I/O are accessed via twin s-PDIF/ADAT connectors on the AXR4's rear; eight of these channels can also be accessed via an AES/EBU D-connector. The remaining eight I/O channels are on the rear-panel quarter-inch jacks. If that's not enough, you can daisy-chain up to three AXR4s via the Thunderbolt connectors. And still there's an expansion slot to further expand the number of channels in future.
With all these channels, routing might have been complex, but it's all taken care of in the attached computer via an on-screen matrix, making everything straightforward. Unsurprisingly, integration with Cubase is designed to be seamless!
The ARX4 is due to ship in the Spring, initially only with Mac drivers. Windows users will have to wait until Summer.
SOS's Sam Inglis visited Steinberg's booth on the last day of Winter NAMM 2019, and talked to Greg Ondo from the company about the AXR4's amazing features. You can see their conversation in the video clip below.