Arturia’s AudioFuse range of interfaces has been almost universally well-received since launch. We are looking at the AudioFuse 8Pre, which is the rackmount/desktop model, and it’s stunning. Arturia’s DiscretePro preamps are worth the money alone, and the flexibility it offers is almost incomparable. Let’s find out why it’s such a great step from beginner/intermediate to a professional interface.
AudioFuse 8Pre overview
There is some talk amongst potential AudioFuse 8Pre users, wondering exactly what it is. Is it an audio interface or an ADAT expander? Obviously, it’s both, but just to be clear, it’s not just an ADAT expander that also acts as an average interface. It’s a very high-quality standalone audio interface.
On the front left, you have two XLR/TRS combo inputs for channels one and two. The first two channels are the only ones that can be used as an instrument (Hi-Z) input. All of the others are XLR or line input only.
Next, you have the individual controls for all eight channels. All of which are virtually the same, the only difference being that channels one and two have the extra input type (instrument). Each channel has a source input indicator light to tell you which kind of input is active. Below that is a gain dial and meter ranging from -50 dB up to 0 dB.
Underneath the gain dial are buttons for phantom power (48 V), a pad that is dim when off and bright when active. If you hold the pad button down when the channel is set to microphone, it will be illuminated in red and boost the gain. Lastly, the phase invert button to avoid any phase cancellation.
After the eight channels, you have the main section that contains the speakers and headphones volume controls. The speakers volume knob is larger than the rest, and beneath it is two buttons: one for mono, the other to alternate the source being played through your speakers. There are two headphone outputs, one 1/4″ and one 1/8″, which is great because you don’t always get that.
The clock section indicates the current sample rate, and the sync button lets you select the source for your sample rate. At the end of the front panel, you have a mode button to switch between USB interface and ADAT expansion preamp. Lastly, the Arturia button, which if pressed once, opens the Arturia Control software and acts as a power button if held down.
On the back, from left to right, you have the power connector with a locking nut and USB Type-C connector. Above that is a set of optical ADAT ins/outs to run the AudioFuse 8Pre as an ADAT expander or run some other preamps into the 8Pre as your main interface.
There’s a word clock in and out, followed by two balanced TRS monitor outputs. You also get eight additional outputs, then combo inputs for channels three to eight.
Now, is the really interesting part, the back panel finishes with combo inputs for channels one and two, but they both have a send and return so that you can route those channels to some outboard gear then back in.
The AudioFuse 8Pre delivers 24-bit audio with a sample rate of up to 96 kHz. The 24-bit analog to digital converter allows for a dynamic range of around 118 dB (A-weighted). That number is pretty impressive by any standards, but for an interface that’s still reasonably affordable, it’s great.
As we covered earlier, you can change the sample rate between 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, and 96 kHz.
My opinion of the preamps is that they are amongst the best that I have experienced in any interface that I’ve owned. They are certainly amongst the best in the price range. The DiscretePro preamps offer a max clean gain of around 72 db, which is insane for an interface at this price. They are incredibly clean and have an equivalent noise input of -129 dB or less.
The frequency response is listed at around +/- 0.07 dB in the audible range.
When you think about recording with the AudioFuse 8Pre, it’s not just the quality that’s impressive. You need to take into account just how flexible this audio interface is.
The Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre is a desktop or rackmount unit. The rackmount clips can be turned and used as feet for your desktop. Whichever way you set it up, the AudioFuse 8Pre is a fantastic looking unit.
If you are looking for a desktop interface, keep in mind that this one will be significantly bigger than some other options. So, you will need a larger desk space, although many people sit their laptop on top of the 8Pre. I don’t personally do that, so be careful of any additional heat.
The entire unit is made of metal, and it’s absolutely solid. It not only looks like a more expensive interface, it feels like one too. All of the knobs are rubberized, making them easier to adjust, and they have a perfectly smooth action. If you force the issue, you can get a little bit of wiggle from the knobs, but nothing too severe.
Overall, it’s hard to imagine anyone having complaints about the build quality.
The 8Pre comes with Arturia’s AudioFuse Creative Suite, and it’s one of the most professional bundles around.
There is a downside, and we will start with that; it doesn’t come with a DAW like many cheaper interfaces. However, if you are beyond the beginner interface phase and looking at the 8Pre, you most likely don’t need the free DAW.
You get a copy of Analog Lab Intro and Analog Lab Lite. Between the two, you get some of the most popular virtual instruments from Arturia’s longstanding Analog Lab collection.
Where this bundle really shines is in the effects plugins. Arturia released their FX collection containing emulations of some of the most iconic hardware ever, like the legendary 1176 compressor. You get a selection of effects plugins pulled directly from that flagship collection, along with a few others.
AudioFuse 8Pre vs. other interfaces
The Arturia AudioFuse 8Pre is a fairly big step up from the beginner audio interface range. So, before you buy, take a look at some other options with similar features or price.
Focusrite Clarett 8Pre
The Clarett 8Pre from Focusrite is a very popular choice, and on the surface, offers much the same as the AudioFuse. I find the AudioFuse to be the more refined professional option, but it’s a personal preference. See our Focusrite Clarett 8Pre review (coming soon)
Universal Audio Apollo Twin MkII
We included the Apollo Twin MkII purely because it should always be a consideration when you reach this kind of price bracket. As an interface, I prefer the AudioFuse overall, but the Unison preamps and UAD plugins may sway you the other way. See our Apollo Twin MkII review
Arturia AudioFuse Studio
The AudioFuse Studio provides a smaller desktop option than the 8Pre. Many of the main features are similar, but there are a few differences like the Studio version can run at 192 kHz. Both are awesome; buy whichever fits your desk/setup best. See our AudioFuse Studio review (coming soon)
It’s fair to say that the AudioFuse 8pre is one of my favorite audio interfaces at any price. It’s extremely hard to find fault unless you are hyper-critical. The preamps are absolutely outstanding, and it’s unlikely you’ll find better at a similar price.
- Amazing preamps.
- Flexible I/O configuration.
- Pads/boost per channel.
- ADAT expansion.
- Solid build quality.
- Send/return on channels 1/2.
- Pro-quality software bundle.
- Only one headphone output.