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IK Multimedia Axe I/O

USB Audio Interface
By Paul White

IK Multimedia Axe I/O

IK's Axe I/O could be the perfect audio interface for recording guitarists.

IK Multimedia were one of the first companies to get into serious guitar amp and effects modelling software, and they've since built up a catalogue of over 400 modelled pieces of gear. However, the way the guitar interacts with the input stage of an amplifier is also important for achieving both the right sound and playing feel, so they've studied that too and put the results into practice in their new Axe I/O USB audio interface. And the results are just as applicable to bass players as to guitarists.

Axe Machine

The Axe I/O, which comes with an external PSU, is configured as a two–input/five–output audio interface and controller. A Control Panel is installed when you download the necessary drivers, and this lets you organise the I/O routing and controller inputs, and activate phantom power, set ground lifts, change the sample rate and so on.

The Axe I/O is designed specifically to woo the recording guitarist and has what IK describe as a triple-topology for channel 1. Options one and two comprise a fully discrete instrument input circuit combining both 'Pure' and JFET input stages, to offer a choice of clean sound or valve-like warmth. Option three bypasses part of the input gain stage for use with instruments that have active pick-ups. The proprietary Z‑Tone impedance-adapting input circuit on channel 1, adjustable from 1MΩ down to 2.2kΩ, mimics the interaction between a passive guitar pickup or a lower–impedance pedal and a valve amplifier input stage. Channel 2 is more conventional.


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Published July 2019