I've been a fan of Audient's interfaces for a while now. I reviewed and later bought an ID14, and I've tried out the ID22, so I was pleased when I heard that the ID44 was shipping. With four mic/line channels—two of which also have high-impedance inputs, an upgraded feature set and a revised software mixer—it promises to be a powerful contender in the crowded and competitive audio interface market. I will be reviewing the ID44 in an upcoming issue of Mix but thought I'd take this opportunity to give you a little preview.
Like the other interfaces in the ID series (the ID4, ID14 and ID22), the ID44 is equipped with the same preamps that Audient uses in consoles like its ASP8024-HE. According to the company, the converters in the ID44 are newly designed. Overall, my experience with Audient interfaces has been that they provide extremely clean sonics, and I don't expect the ID44 to be any different.
The ID44 features four analog inputs and outputs but augments them with two ADAT inputs and two ADAT outputs, bringing the total possible channel count to 20 in and 24 out. Why more outputs than inputs? Well, Audient appears to count the two stereo headphone outputs as equivalent to 4 mono outs. Personally, I've never been crazy about interface manufacturers including the headphone outputs in their output specs, and not all do, but, technically speaking they are outputs.
Like the ID22, each input channel features a gain knob, phantom power switch (yay, individually switchable phantom power, always the sign of a quality interface), a -10dB pad switch and a highpass filter, as well as signal-present and peak lights.
New on the ID44 are insert send and return jacks on channels 1 and 2, which let you connect outboard gear into the recording path.
In conjunction with the new version of the ID low-latency DSP mixer software, you can set up four separate monitor mixes, and you even get a talkback button. It doesn't feed a built-in talkback mic, but an external one of your choice. You can assign any mic connected to your Mac or PC to it, so you could use your laptop's built-in mic or a USB mic without having to use up an input channel.
You also get a button to turn on Scroll Control, a cool feature that will be familiar to users of other Audient ID interfaces. It lets you use the large volume knob on the ID44 to control scrollable parameters in your DAW, such as volume knobs, counters and so forth. You just hover the mouse over a control and turn the scroll wheel. I tried it in both Pro Tools and Digital Performer and was able to manipulate lots of parameters. I found it particularly useful for adjusting plug-in settings. The ID44 also includes a couple of other useful control room buttons: Dim and Cut.
I'll be using the ID44 in a lot of recording situations in the next few weeks, and I'll report on my findings in the upcoming review.