There are a number of devices available that allow musicians to connect a guitar to a computer, enabling home recording of riffs and chops, access to more digital effects than you can through a pick at, or a combination of both. But IK Multimedia says its Axe I/O is the high-end audio interface that guitar and bass players have been waiting for.

IK says that the Axe I/O offers musicians a unique feature set that's unmatched in the instrument interface marketplace. Its main Hi-Z input channels rock both a discrete Class A circuit for tone purists and a JFET circuit for a little more harmonic color. Players using guitars with active pickups will appreciate the special mode that cuts through unnecessary gain stages for a clean signal path. Input levels can be visually monitored on the Axe I/O itself thanks to multi-segment LED VU meters to the front.

The company tempts players with a wide 117 dB dynamic range for signal clarity and extended 3 Hz to 32 kHz frequency response to preserve "the full sonic impact of any instrument and all its harmonic content." There's adjustable impedance courtesy of something called the Z-Tone circuit, allowing guitarists to experiment with the device's input impedance in relation to an instrument's pickups, promising the potential for "a massive range of tonal flexibility never heard before."

Re-amplification modes allow for the pain-free integration of "real world" music hardware into the recording setup, should you prefer your own amp, rack effects or pedalboard to those offered by plug-ins loaded into the recording software running on the USB-connected laptop or computer.

IK has allocated two discrete Class A preamps for microphone input via the XLR inputs around back (with phantom power for studio mics), which have the same frequency response as the main input channels but have a dynamic range of 116 dB.

The Axe I/O can be used as a controller for real-time effects in music production software, with two controller inputs to the rear allowing for expression pedals to be cabled in. The interface also has full-sized MIDI in and out connectors for use with MIDI compatible hardware.

Audio conversion can be cranked up to 24-bit/192 kHz for release-ready resolution, and there's a built-in chromatic tuner too.

The Axe I/O guitar interface comes with a software bundle that includes the company's tone-tastic amp and effects package – AmpliTube – as well as 10 T-RackS processors and a copy of Ableton Live 10 Lite. It's available now for US$349.99, the video below has more.

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