A USB audio interface these days is about as exciting as a pair of knee socks, and unlike the latter, you don’t really need multiples. But this particular box is actually interesting.
Trio USB [Mindprint]
First, the Trio delivers all the hardware effects you’d need in a channel strip: mic inputs, low-cut filter, “vintage” 2-band EQ, compressor. And there’s plenty of I/O here, connecting via USB 2.0.
Second, this box has what’s missing on so many audio interfaces: three assignable speaker outs and two separate headphone outs with headphone amps.
Mindprint is marketing this as a recording solution, but I’m skeptical. Processing before recording can cause problems when mixing and mastering; better for those of us who don’t know what we’re doing as a recording engineer (I’ll hold my hand up here) to add effects non-destructively in software.
But as a live performance interface, this thing is brilliant. You can tweak the effects you need most, like compression on your vocals, and use them live in-hardware. And having separate headphone outs and speaker outs is perfect for setting up monitors or monitoring a laptop mix with headphones for cueing and the like. Finally, if you want to leave the laptop offstage, this functions in standalone mode.
Coming next month; US$549 – GBP 329 – EUR 449.