The quest for the ultimate computer audio interface is ongoing, just like the search for the surfer’s perfect wave. There are so many good to great ones now available that it’s difficult to choose something bad, so now it’s best to concentrate on features that work best for you. If you’re a songwriter or band who just wants to get to work as fast as possible, one to consider is the new Audient Evo 16.
Lots Of Features
Evo 16 is a 24 input/24 output interface, although most of that is via external ADAT connections. The unit itself has 8 mic inputs on XLR/TRS connectors and 8 outputs along with two independant headphone outputs. Two mic inputs on the front panel can also be used as instrument inputs. There’s also a wordclock input for when you do connect those outboard I/O extenders, and a USB-C socket for connecting to the computer.
Accessing various functions on the interface is well thought out and centers around a 240×240 multi-color TFT display and a large multi-function control wheel. There are 8 numbered buttons that will either access the status of the various inputs or mute the channel with a long press. A dedicated 48V phantom power switch and mic/instrument switch for the front two inputs round out the left side of the device.
On the right side there’s a speaker button that turns the control wheel input a monitor volume control for outputs 1 and 2, although the other outputs can also be accessed by pressing the number buttons on the left of the front panel. Below that is a Function button that allows you to toggle between Dim, Mono, Alt Speakers, and Talkback modes. Just to the right are the two headphone output jacks with buttons above for control.
Then There’s Smartgain
By far the most unique feature of Evo 16 is Smartgain, which analyzes the input signal and automatically sets the gain on all 8 channels or as many channels as you want selected. This is engaged by the large Smartgain button below the phantom power switch, which glows red while in listening mode, and then green when the gain is adjusted. This takes about 20 seconds, but it means that you can get on doing what you’re doing without having to worry about setting the right level. That said, if Smartgain does fail for any reason it will automatically indicate the channel with the problem on the status display.
Of course, Evo 16 comes with a software package that allows you to control the unit from your computer. This includes a mixer, routing and controlling “loop-back” channels to monitor audio from your DAW.
Perhaps the best thing about Evo 16 is that it’s only $499, which is quite reasonable considering what it has to offer. It can work at 96kHz/24 bit and has optional rack ears available for rack mounting.
You can find out more here, or watch the video below.