Arturia’s AudioFuse range of interfaces has been almost universally well-received since launch. In this review, I’m looking at the AudioFuse 8Pre, which is the rack-mount/desktop model; and it’s stunning.
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Final verdict on the AudioFuse 8Pre
The AudioFuse 8Pre has honed in on all of what made the original great to begin with, while cutting the unnecessary fat of its predecessor. The unit is great for any professionals looking for a modestly priced unit, with some unbeatable gain range and EIN.
What I like
- Amazing sound quality.
- Powerful preamps.
- Sharp design.
What I don’t like
- Just one headphone output.
- Not iOS compatible.
I/O and controls
The Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre provides eight analog inputs and ten analog outputs. On the front panel, there are two XLR/TRS combo inputs and designated control stations for each channel.
Each of the eight channels has their own designated gain controls, phantom power control switches, as well as a pad switch, a phase switch, and numbered LED metering for proper gain staging.
The first two channels feature a switch to toggle to instrument level. The front combo inputs are duplicated on to the rear, and plugging something into the front will automatically override whatever is in the rear.
I find this to be particularly helpful, as you can easily record control-room overdubs without having to rewire the back of the unit in the rack-mount.
To the right of the gain controls, are two more rotary controls for your monitors and headphones, a 1/4-inch headphone socket, as well as switches to toggle to Mono, and another that provides two separate sources for the monitor output pair.
Lastly, there are buttons to set your clock settings, sync settings, power switch, and a button to go between USB and ADAT mode.
The rear panel shows all eight analog inputs, the ten outputs, WC Lock I/O, ADAT I/O, a USB port, and a 15 V DC jack.
The Arturia has some impressive specs, boasting a reported gain range of around 73-77 dB, as well as an EIN of between -128.3 and -129.5 dBu, unweighted.
In terms of its competition, you’d be hard pressed to find another interface that can match the AudioFuse at its performance and price. For instance, Focusrite’s Clarett+ 8Pre has a gain range of about 57 dB and an EIN of -129 dBu.
To find a unit with a comparable EIN, you’d have to spend some hundreds of dollars more. To match both EIN and gain range, now you’re looking at units that cost about twice as much or more than that of the AudioFuse 8Pre.
To unlock the full gain range available here, you’ll need to use the pad switch and the potentiometer. Press the former and a boost of 20 dB is engaged, but if you press and hold then you’ll get a boost of 10 dB.
Without beating around the bush, this unit puts out an enormous amount of gain. It’s essentially like having a FetHead preamp built in, which is more than ideal for recording quiet sound sources or with gain hungry mics.
This interface is one of the best performing USB interfaces I’ve seen in a long time, and it can be more than accommodating for a home studio. Mixing is also made easier by Arturia’s Control Center software, which is incredibly user-friendly and intuitive.
My only gripe here is that you can’t connect an iOS device to use as a remote control.
I wouldn’t recommend the AudioFuse 8Pre for mobile recording for a number of reasons. Firstly, its size and weight aren’t incredibly helpful in terms of easy transport. It certainly won’t fit in your backpack, and carrying it around on the train is rather burdensome.
If you’re looking to record with more sophisticated setups, it’s only natural that you’d want to hunker down anyways and not have to worry about rewiring and routing on the go. There are a number of cheaper audio interfaces that would work far better.
The Arturia feels incredibly solid and is shockingly heavier than it looks. The all-black finish is stylish, and all the buttons and knobs are firmly in their place.
The software bundle here looks somewhat modest. Besides gaining access to Arturia’s Control Center software, you’ll also gain access to Arturia’s AudioFuse Creative Suite software pack which contains 10 effects plugins. This is more than enough to get you started not shortly after pulling the unit out of the box.
Compared to other audio interfaces
The AudioFuse 8Pre is one of the best audio interfaces for serious music makers, especially for the price. But here’re a number of other interfaces to consider in comparison.
AudioFuse 8Pre vs Focusrite Clarett+ 8Pre
The AudioFuse 8Pre interface has way better preamps that it nearly dismisses the Clarett+ 8Pre completely.
AudioFuse 8Pre vs UA Apollo Twin Mk2
Despite being far more expensive, the Twin Mk2 offers roughly the same quality of performance as the Arturia. To its benefit, the Twin Mk2 also has amazing DSP capabilities. The AudioFuse 8Pre is more simplistic in comparison, but both are great choices.
AudioFuse 8Pre vs Audient ASP880
Again, the Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre outshines the ASP880 by the power of its preamps alone.
Who is the AudioFuse 8Pre best suited for?
The AudioFuse 8Pre is perfect for anybody who is serious about making music. For those of you who don’t want to worry about what preamps to buy, this unit scratches that off your list.Learn more at: Arturia