In this article, I’ll be reviewing the M-Audio AIR 192|6 USB audio interface. This is a fairly popular choice in the budget-priced, entry-level range. Let’s take a closer look and see if its reputation has been well-earned.
About the author
Final verdict on the M-Audio AIR 192|6
The M-Audio AIR 192|6 is one of the most solid, all-around choices as far as budget audio interfaces are concerned. It has ample connectivity, solid preamps, and a durable build. While it’s somewhat middle of the road, it’s hard to knock it in any substantial way.
What I like
- Good audio quality.
What I don’t like
- Skimpy software bundle.
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I/O and controls
On the front panel, are two instrument-level TRS inputs, a switch to engage 48 V phantom power, as well as a 1/4-inch headphone output.
Over on the opposite end, on the rear, you’ll find two XLR/TRS combo inputs, two balanced TRS outputs, MIDI I/O, a Kensington security lock, and the USB port.
Looking down on the top, there are two gain control knobs, each with their own LED metering displays. You may be confused as to why there are only two gain controls for four inputs. To clarify, the instrument line inputs on the front are paired with the combo inputs on the back. So, you can only use one at a time.
Lastly, there is a massive monitor control knob, a knob to blend between your direct signal and your DAW, and a headphone volume control. There are also LED lights to indicate whether power, phantom power, or MIDI I/O are engaged.
The M-Audio AIR 192|6 has A/D resolution at 24-bit depth at a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz. This is fairly standard for the average audio interface, and is more than ideal for professional recording.
M-Audio has been rather forward about the performance strength of its Crystal mic preamplifiers. While the advertising has been heavy-handed, I can happily say that it’s not entirely off base.
The preamps are transparent and neutral. The dynamic range is 104 dB (A-weighted), and the gain range rests at around 55 dB. These specs are respectable, although it still might be a good idea to invest in a decent external preamp.
The AIR 192|6 is ideal for bedroom producers in need of a solid interface. It’s small and unimposing, and provides the barebones necessary for recording.
Due to its small size and light weight, the M-Audio AIR 192|6 can be perfect for engineers on the go. Throw it in your backpack and hop in the van.
The unit, encased in a solid metal chassis, is chunky, and durable.
The software bundle, although skimp, is very utilitarian. You receive access to Ableton Live Lite, as well as 20 effects plugins. This is more than enough to get you started.
Compared to other audio interfaces
M-Audio AIR 192|6 vs AIR 192|4
This comparison is fairly obvious, but it truly depends on your needs and budget. The 192|6 is nearly $170, but comes with more connectivity as well as MIDI I/O. If you can’t shell out the $50, the 192|4 is good enough to serve most purposes.
M-Audio AIR 192|6 vs Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Honestly, the M-Audio AIR 192|6 is probably the better deal. It’s less expensive and also provides MIDI I/O.
M-Audio AIR 192|6 vs Motu M2
Although the Motu is slightly more expensive, it provides all the same connectivity as with the AIR 192|6, but with even better A/D resolution and dynamic range.
Who is the M-Audio AIR 192|6 best suited for?
The AIR 192|6 is best suited for bedroom recording engineers looking for a solid and reliable interface. Professionals can also benefit from having one of these around for quick tracking, or mobile recording.