After a long wait, Arturia’s AudioFuse interface has arrived. And on paper, at least, it’s like audio interface wish fulfillment.

What do you want in an interface? You want really reliable, low-latency audio. You want all the connections you need. (Emphasis on what you need, because that’s tricky – not everyone needs the same thing.) And you want to be able to access the settings without having to dive through menus or load an application.

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That last one has often been a sticking point. Even when you do find an interface with the right connections and solid driver reliability and performance, a lot of the time the stuff you change every day is buried in some hard-to-access menus, or even more likely, on some application you have to load on your computer and futz around with.

And oh yeah — it’s €/$599. That’s aggressively competitive when you read the specs.

I requested one of these for review when I met with Arturia at Musikmesse in Frankfurt some weeks ago, so this isn’t a review – that’s coming. But here are some important specs.

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Connections

Basically, you get everything you need as a solo musician/producer – 4 outs (so you can do front/rear sound live, for instance), 4 ins, plus phono pre’s for turntables, two mic pres (not just one, as some boxes annoyingly have), and MIDI.

Plus, there’s direct monitoring, separate master / monitor mix channels (which is great for click tracks, cueing for DJs or live, and anything that requires a separate monitor mix, as well as tracking), and a lot of sync and digital options.

It’s funny, this is definitely on my must-have list, but it’s hard to find a box that does this without getting an expansive (and expensive) interface that may have more I/O than one person really needs.

This is enough for pretty much all the tracking applications one or two people recording will need, plus the monitoring options you need for various live, DJ, and studio needs, and A/B monitor switching you need in the studio. It also means as a soloist, you can eliminate a lot of gear – also important when you’re on the go.

Their full specs:

2 DiscretePRO microphone preamps
2 RIAA phono preamps
4 analog inputs
2x Mic/Instrument/Line (XLR / 1/4″ TRS)
2x Phono/Line (RCA / 1/4″ TRS)
4 analog outputs (1/4″ TRS)
2 analog inserts (1/4″ TRS)
ADAT in/out
S/PDIF in/out
Word clock in/out
MIDI in/out
24-bit next-generation A-D/D-A converters at up to 192kHz sampling rate
Talkback with dedicated built-in microphone (up to 96 kHz Sample Rate)
A/B speaker switching
Direct monitoring
2 independent headphone outputs
Separate master and monitor mix channels
USB interface with PC, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux compatibility
3-port USB hub
3 models: Classic Silver, Space Grey, Deep Black
Aluminum chassis, hard leather-covered top cover

Arturia also promise high-end audio performance, to the tune of “dual state-of-the-art mic preamps with a class-leading >131dB A-weighted EIN rating.” I’ll try to test that with some people who are better engineers than I am when we get one in.

Also cute – a 3-port USB hub. So this could really cut down the amount of gear I pack.

Now, my only real gripe is, while USB improves compatibility, I’d love a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C version of this interface, especially as that becomes the norm on Mac and PC. Maybe that will come in the future; it’s not hard to imagine Arturia making two offerings if this box is a success. USB remains the lowest common denominator, and this is not a whole lot of simultaneous I/O, so USB makes some sense. (Thunderbolt should theoretically offer stable lower latency performance by allowing smaller buffer sizes.)

audiofusetop

And dedicated controls

This is a big one. You’ll read a lot of the above on specs, but then discover that audio interfaces make you launch a clumsy app on your PC or Mac and/or dive into menus to get into settings.

That’s doubly annoying in studio use where you don’t want to break flow. How many times have you been in the middle of a session and lost time and concentration because some setting somewhere wasn’t set the way you intended, and you couldn’t see it? (“Hey, why isn’t this recording?” “Why is this level wrong?” “Why can’t I hear anything?” “Ugh, where’s the setting on this app?” … are … things you may hear if you’re near me in a studio, sometimes peppered with less-than-family-friendly bonus words.)

So Arturia have made an interface that has loads of dedicated controls. Maybe it doesn’t have a sleek, scifi minimalist aesthetic as a result, but … who cares?

Onboard dedicated controls that don’t require menu diving include: talking mic, dedicated input controls, A/B monitor switching, and a dedicated level knob for headphones.

And OS compatibility

This is the other thing – there are some great interfaces that lack support for Linux and mobile. So, for instance, if you want to rig up a custom Raspberry Pi for live use or something like that, this can double as the interface. Or you can use it with Android and iOS, which with increasingly powerful tablets starts to look viable, especially for mobile recording or stage use.

Arturia tell us performance, depending on your system, should be reliably in the territory of 4.5ms – well within what you’re likely to need, even for live (and you can still monitor direct). Some tests indicate performance as low as 3.5ms.

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Plus a nice case and cover

Here’s an idea that’s obviously a long time coming. The AudioFuse not only has an adorable small form factor and aluminum chassis, but there’s a cover for it. So no more damage and scratches or even breaking off knobs when you tote this thing around – that to me is an oddly huge “why doesn’t everyone do this” moment.

The lid has a doubly useful feature – it disables the controls when it’s on, so you can avoid bumping something onstage.

Dimensions:
69*126*126 mm.

Weight:
950 g

I’m very eager to get this in my hands. Stay tuned.

For more:
https://www.arturia.com/audiofuse/details

  • Greg Mubali

    With Arturia products, I like to wait a while to make sure their build quality is solid. I had many issues with the Beatstep Pro and ended up selling mine off after getting a 3rd one from the manufacturer.

    One question, are the outputs dc coupled? Can I send cv to my modular without having to use silent way’s ac converter or similar to do the same? Also the price tag is competitive indeed, however I’m curious about whether or not the audiofuse will include a power supply that would power the usb hub aspect of the device. I would assume so, since some folks have more than 3 midi controllers or might want to connect their ipad.

  • chaircrusher

    Lot’s o’ Fancy! But LET ME, AS IS MY WONT, THROW COLD WATER ON THIS.
    1. Is it $450 better/more functional than a Novation Audiohub?
    2. Is it $370 better than a NI Audio Audio 6?
    3. Not portable but a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 can be had for $250 these days in the US, and has loads more IO.

    Unless this thing sounds like Jesus’ own audio interface, this feels like a price point with no niche.
    And it’s a good job it has a cover for the knobs & such because it has a ton of controls you don’t want to bump while you’re playing live on a dark stage.

    As for build quality, it’s probably fine, but the Native Instruments audio interfaces are built like a tank, and they’ve never let me down.

  • alamilla

    I would like to see some independent RTL figures with a few DAWS at various sample rates.
    Focusrite’s 2nd Gen Scarlett range can be had at several price points boasting lower than 3ms latency!

  • Freeks

    Best comment from last Sonic Talk:
    Doorstopper. 🙂

    Not enough inputs, but two monitor outs. And made by company that is not known from high quality products.

    Brave early adopters needed 🙂

  • aaron

    Delta 1010 and the original 410 based on the 1010 still own everything. Thank god for backwards compatibility with PCI slots and drivers that have stood the test of time (can’t say the same for the post Avid-era). I know, useless feedback… just suddenly felt like praising these old workhorses.

    • poopoo

      I’m still rocking a 1010 but I wouldn’t say it own’s everything. The inputs are so damn noisy!

  • Florian Krause

    Mmh, “aggressively priced”…I don’t know. It is almost double the price of a Focusrite 18i8, which has double the amount of mic preamps, double the amount of line inputs, more dynamic range…The phono input is a nice idea though, but since there is only a single line/phono input on this thing anyway, one needs to put a mixer in front of it anyway, in order to have all synths connected, which probably also allows to connect a turntable.

  • FS

    how much did they have to pay for the ‘My Girl’ sample in the video song?

    i would have rather had 4 XLR / 1/4″ inputs instead of the phono, most folks that would use a record player have a mixer. too bad they didn’t make every single person in the world happy with every single feature. 😉

    • viridisvir

      This (having balanced and unbalanced lines in) was a big one for me too, esp. with the use of old analog hardware. Yes, there are ways around it: no, I don’t want to f*** with them right now.

  • Lindon Parker

    Yes build quality will be a big issue – I have had problems with Arturia hardware. The (agreed at times subjective) quality of the DA/AD and pre-amps is for me a big factor in selecting any interface. I’m really happy with the build quality, I/O, converters and preamps in my Audient iD22 which is portable and has a street price of £300+ It seems to me to be a better buy by far.

  • Foosnark

    As a partially modular, partially software musician, this is my interface wishlist:

    — 8 or more analog inputs, with level controls, than can handle line or Eurorack levels
    — stereo pair of analog speaker outputs with volume control
    — headphone output with independent volume control that doesn’t cut out other outputs
    — 4 or more *other* DC-coupled analog outputs
    — MIDI in/out
    — low latency
    — good drivers
    — good form factor (honestly a 1U rack mount might be ideal for me now)

    I don’t need mic pres (I’ve got that in Euro) or anything fancy in terms of monitoring.

    What I’ve got now is a Komplete Audio 6, an awkward DI box, a small Behringer mixer, and a two-channel analog to SPDIF converter that screws up the clock rate in other applications when I sync to it so I always keep the KA6 driver window open to flip the clock between internal and external. I can’t use Silent Way or Reaktor for CVs, so I’m limited to the 4 CVs and 12 gates my MIDI-CV converter sends.

    Anyway, point is this interface is mostly the opposite of what I need 🙂

    • tommy

      -> Motu 828 or equivalent newer model

  • 1 kg audio interface… At least, you’ll get stronger.

  • Florian Krause

    I was wondering how the device is a 14 inputs audio interface. No matter how I counted, I could only get to 12 inputs (4 analogue, and max 8 digital – since you cannot use ADAT and SPDIF at the same time). Then I read the manual. Turns out the device sends the built-in talkback mic to the computer twice (channels IN 4 and IN 5). That is why it is a 14 inputs audio interface 🙂

  • leolodreamland

    nice lid!