Gear of the Year 2016 – The Best Interface/Mixer of 2016

We’ve decided to merge the mixer and interface categories, as there are so many products now available that blur the lines between the two. More often than not, interfaces feature multiple ins and outs plus mixing software or conversely, mixers feature USB connectivity and double up as interfaces. This year we’ve seen quite a few stunning interfaces and hardware mixers but here’s what yourselves (and our experts at MusicTech) agree were the strongest…

Highly Commended Interface/Mixer – RME Babyface Pro

highly commended interface RME

Details
Price £579
Contact Synthax – 01727 821870 –  info@synthax.co.uk
Web www.synthax.co.uk, www.rme-audio.de

The 24-channel Babyface Pro audio interface from RME is the deserved winner of the Highly Commended Award, being compact, sturdy and usable with computer or iPad.

“The Babyface Pro is a fine unit,” we said in our review. “It’s not the cheapest interface around, but it screams quality in terms of components, flexibility, sound, routing and physicality. You just feel you can trust it to go pretty much anywhere with you.

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“It also ticks the right boxes in a world where we’ve gone looks-mad, but its design is also thankfully about being practical, so while it looks and sounds the part, it’s also aimed at the real world.”

We concluded: “The Babyface Pro is robust, compact, easy to use and install. It sounds great and has loads of routing options. A great mobile interface.”

Winner – Focusrite Red 4Pre

Best interface Red 4Pre

Details
Price £2,269
Contact Focusrite – 01494 462 246 –
Websales@focusrite.com – uk.focusrite.com

We’ve decided to merge the mixer and interface categories, as there are so many products now available that blur the lines between the two. More often than not, interfaces feature multiple ins and outs plus mixing software or conversely, mixers feature USB connectivity and double up as interfaces.

As we said in our intro we’ve looked at some incredible models this year and have been particularly impressed by the Allen & Heath QU and ZED ranges (in fact, the MusicTech studio features one of the former models) and the Soundcraft Ui16, which doubles as a great live interface and mixer.

Focusrite has the winner in the category this year, though, in the form of the Red 4Pre. Mike Hiller was at the controls for the review.

“The Red 4Pre interface combines the Red-series styling with an almost encyclopedic collection of interfacing options,” he said.

“If you’re just starting out, the Red 4Pre and the bundled plug-ins give you everything you need to track and mix your music, but the DAW itself. It could be argued that the Red 4Pre is overkill for someone starting out, but it’s exceptionally high quality, and expandable, which means that you won’t want to upgrade for a long time to come, and when you do, you can add to your existing system rather than scrap it entirely.”

He concluded: “It’s an incredible audio interface worthy of its position at the top of Focusrite’s family.”

Check back tomorrow for the next category!

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