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Zoom AMS-22, 24 & 44

USB Audio Interfaces By Robin Vincent
Published April 2023

Small (129 x 74 x 46mm), smaller (94.5 x 74 x 46mm) and smallest (68 x 57.7 x 46mm).Small (129 x 74 x 46mm), smaller (94.5 x 74 x 46mm) and smallest (68 x 57.7 x 46mm).

Zoom’s AMS interfaces are small, simple, and extremely tough.

The Zoom AMS devices are utility‑styled plastic boxes that are the most likely audio interface in your bag to survive a stage dive intact. They’d almost be adorably tiny if they weren’t so funny‑looking. The AMS‑22 is the tiniest, and it’s not much bigger than a fidget toy. It’s barely bigger than the XLR combi input jack and twin TRS jack output sockets. It could go anywhere, in anything other than your jeans pocket, where it looks a bit lumpy.

The larger AMS‑24 fits in your hand like a square plastic hand grenade, and the larger AMS‑44 is a bit more like a walkie‑talkie. They all share the same design concept of low‑profile knobs and extended ears that keep the body off the floor and protect the knobs from taking a whack.

They are plastic, lightweight, and will tip over when you plug in cables. However, they have some very grippy strips on the bottom of the ears that will keep them from moving around once you’ve balanced your arrangement of cables. They are surprisingly robust. I have stood on them, kicked them around and they seem unlikely to crack open. The knobs are unbothered. Of course the flip side of the unbotherable low‑profile knobs is that they are fiddly to use. Who was it who said design is compromise?


The AMS‑22 has a single XLR/TRS combi input for mic or guitar with a fiddly gain knob, a stereo line input, a mini‑jack headphone output, and those impressively shiny full‑sized jack outputs on the back. You can use the left side of the line input at the same time as the XLR to squeeze two inputs out of it at once, but essentially the 22 is a solo device. The slightly larger knob controls the level of both headphones and line output.

The 24 ups the game to a pair of XLR/jack combi inputs that can handle microphones or line levels. A switch on the top turns the first input into a Hi‑Z input suitable for a guitar. You have separate fiddly gain knobs for each channel and a switch to combine them into a stereo input. We now have two headphone outputs, A and B, each with its own volume control. The outputs are independent. Output A covers the outputs on the back and the first headphone socket. The second headphone socket, output B, is treated as a separate output by your DAW.

The 44 is the same as the 24 but with four XLR/jack combi inputs on the front, although only the first one can be switched to Hi‑Z guitar mode. Inputs 1+2 on the 22, and 3+4 on the 44, have a stereo switch to turn them into a combined stereo input.

Zoom AMS-22, 24 & 44


On the right side of each box are a couple of switches. One to turn on direct monitoring and another to enable loopback. Loopback is a handy streaming‑friendly function that will route the output of whatever is coming out of your computer or device, straight back into the input. This enables you to record the output of the software you’re using back into another piece of software, or, perhaps, stream through your video streaming software. On your phone, a simple scenario would be that you could play back a track, sing over the top with a mic plugged into the AMS‑22 and have the combination of your voice and the playback streamed over your favourite social media platform. And all it takes is a switch on the interface to make that happen.

The AMS‑24 and 44 have an additional switch on the top to swap between ‘Music’ and ‘Streaming’. In Music mode it works like a regular audio interface, with inputs 1‑4 appearing as mono inputs to your DAW, and outputs A and B appearing as separate stereo outputs. In Streaming mode all the inputs are mixed to stereo. So everything can go straight into your streaming software without you having to set up a monitor mix or do any other messing about. As a bonus, outputs 1+2 are now routed to both output A and output B, so the headphone outputs mirror each other, which is what you want if you are podcasting or jamming with someone.


For interfaces designed to be portable, the question of powering can be an important one. All three can be bus‑powered via USB from a regular laptop or computer. No problems there. But when it comes to mobile devices such as phones and tablets, it can get a bit odd. In the manuals Zoom have gone to great lengths to state that for phone/tablet use, the interfaces must be powered from another source. All three interfaces have a second USB‑C port expressly for power. However, on the website for the AMS‑22 there’s a video of a young chap playing guitar on a balcony with a single USB cable connecting the interface to his phone. This shouldn’t work. Neither should a photo further down of it being used with a tablet, with a single cable. However, when you get to the Power Options part of the web page, it states that it must use external power with phones and tablets. There’s also a photo of our guitar‑playing friend who now has a power cable plugged into the AMS‑22.

The AMS‑24 and 44’s battery power makes them truly portable interfaces.The AMS‑24 and 44’s battery power makes them truly portable interfaces.I’m pointing this out because I absolutely would have assumed that the AMS‑22 could be bus‑powered by a mobile phone. In testing it out, I did actually get my iPhone X to power the AMS‑22 via the camera kit adaptor. However, it only worked once, and I can’t get it to do it again. So, you will have to carry a USB power pack if you want to stream with the AMS‑22 while you’re out and about. The strange thing is that once it’s powered and connected to your phone, you can then remove the power, and it will continue to work fine. So it feels like the AMS‑22 was designed with the intention to use bus power from phones, but the technology is just not very reliable. This seems true of nearly all audio interfaces that can run with phones.

However, Zoom had a moment of clarity when it came to the larger AMS‑24 and 44. If all it really needs is a bit of a power boost to get it running with phones then why not build in a battery compartment? And that’s what they’ve done. Stick in a pair of AA batteries, and you’ve got a properly mobile audio recording solution with a single cable to your phone or tablet. It’s a shame that it doesn’t extend to the AMS‑22, but there’s just no room.

I think the sweet spot lies in the AMS‑24. It can do a bit of everything. You can sing and play guitar, you can podcast or jam with a friend, live stream, loopback, and run it all through a phone with a couple of AA batteries.

In Use

Plugging them into a computer is a breeze. Of course, there’s a driver to download for Windows, but it’s a quick install, and you’re off. There’s no monitoring or mixing software, but if you dig around in the old Windows Control Panel, you will find a place where you can adjust the buffer size and sample rate. This will also come up under ASIO settings in your DAW. Zoom have chosen to put all the functionality on the box itself, making it very easy to use. If you want to change the gain, stream in stereo, engage loopback or direct monitoring, then you’ll find a switch for it. I like the neatness and the lack of complexity.

When running with a desktop DAW the buffer size could be taken down to an ambitious 16 samples. In real terms, that gave a very workable and glitch‑free 1.86ms input and 4.33ms output latency. Easing off to 128 samples gave a very respectable 4.40ms input and 6.96ms output latency. A round‑trip latency of approximately 10ms at a regular buffer size is pretty decent in my view, and at no point did it feel laggy or troublesome.

The interfaces are 24‑bit, up to 96kHz, and report an Equivalent Input Noise of ‑120dBu at +54dB/150Ω. There is a bit of noise if you crank up the inputs, but it’s not noticeable when you have a dynamic mic or guitar set to an appropriate gain.


Zoom have thrown a bunch of cheap and cheerful audio interfaces into a very crowded marketplace in the hope of making a splash. I think they get more right than wrong, and they could be the perfect choice for people wanting something simple on the go. The shared single mic/guitar input and the unfortunate need for external power when using a phone takes the wind out of the AMS‑22’s sails. However, for a laptop DJ, either live or streaming, it is a perfect little nugget of an audio upgrade.

I think the sweet spot lies in the AMS‑24. It can do a bit of everything. You can sing and play guitar, you can podcast or jam with a friend, live stream, loopback, and run it all through a phone with a couple of AA batteries. There’s no complicated setup or fiddling around on your computer. It’s simple, small and untroubled by whatever device you want to run it with. Stick it in your bag and it will survive any environment and work in any scenario. If you need a couple more inputs, then there’s the AMS‑44.

They are not going to look impressive on your desktop or your Instagram account. There’s no delightful metering beyond a single LED, and the knobs are not fabulous. But these are about doing the job with the minimum of fuss, and I think they do that very well.  


  • Compact.
  • Robust.
  • Simple to use.
  • Battery powered (except AMS‑22).
  • Portable.
  • Loopback and instant streaming mix.


  • Fiddly knobs.
  • A bit ugly.
  • AMS‑22 isn’t quite as portable as the others.
  • A bit too simple for some.
  • No monitoring/mixing software.


Three remarkably robust, lightweight and simple audio interfaces from Zoom that hide their beauty on the inside, along with the battery power on the larger two.


AMS‑22 £69, AMS‑24 £99, AMS‑44 £140. Prices include VAT.

AMS‑22 $79.99, AMS‑24 $119.99, AMS‑44 $169.99.