Arturia's audio interfaces just keep getting better.
When it appeared in 2017, the Arturia AudioFuse was probably the most versatile desktop audio interface ever made. Not only did it combine mic and line-level audio I/O with digital inputs in S/PDIF and ADAT format, it also offered a blizzard of additional features. These included monitor control, talkback and a built-in USB hub, along with re-amping capability, insert points on both analogue ins, phono inputs and an earth terminal that could be used for connecting a turntable, mini-jack MIDI In and Out and both full-sized and mini-jack headphone sockets. The AudioFuse also sounded very good, thanks in part to Arturia's class-leading DiscretePRO mic preamp design.
This cornucopia of features was, however, accompanied by a few quirks. Some of these have been ironed out in firmware updates, but I never grew to love the AudioFuse's unusual hybrid direct monitoring system, its rather crowded layout, or its dependence on generic audio drivers. And, with my reviewer's hat on, I could never quite figure out what sort of user this incredibly comprehensive feature set was aimed at.
The AudioFuse remains a current product, and was joined last year by the AudioFuse 8Pre. The 8Pre showcases Arturia's mic preamps in a much more streamlined interface targeted squarely at bands, drummers and other people needing to record multitrack audio. By ditching some of the original AudioFuse's more unconventional features, simplifying others and repackaging the whole thing in a spacious and smart 1U format, Arturia really allowed its good qualities to flourish, and the 8Pre seems to me an extremely strong product.
This year finally sees the AudioFuse relinquish its crown as the most versatile desktop interface ever made, but only because Arturia have made one that's even more versatile. The...