Review: Alesis IO|2 Portable 2-channel USB audio interface – Home Recording Solution For Musicians

Alesis IO|2 Product Angle Side ViewSo your sitting there, wondering, “Man, I want to record some music.” Ever happen to you? Most likely if you have ever played a musical instrument seriously, then you would’ve wanted to hear yourself play the instrument. Or perhaps, you wanna record some music and make an album. Or hell, your a freakin’ rockstar who wants to capture some random notes you threw together.

Now I have been a musician for many years, and I started doing covers for youtube, a couple years ago, and while some of them (my early stuff) was serious crap, the more recent ones, where I really sat down and said, “I wanna do this right”, was pretty well done, however, I had to use a make shift set up, but I recently decided to do a proper cover, so I went out and bought (after a long research process) an Alesis IO|2. While I haven’t put out a cover with it just yet, I have used it quite a bit.

Alesis Corp. LogoNow let’s get down to it. The Alesis IO|2 is a brilliant piece of equipment, perfect for anyone who likes recording music, whether your a guitarist, a vocalist or a keyboardist. The sound is absolutely truly clean, I just can’t believe it.

Alesis, based in Cumberland, Rhode Island, is a company that designs and markets electronic musical instruments, digital audio processors, audio mixers, digital audio interfaces, recording equipment, drum machines, professional audio and electronic percussion products. Alesis products are designed in America and manufactured in Asia.

The Alesis IO|2 is a 2-channel input recorder for Guitars, Vocals and keyboards (as well as what ever you have laying around that is electric that outputs to a 1/4″ line-in). The Alesis IO|2 has 2 XLR inputs for Microphones, with outfitted 48V Phantom Power (required for certain condenser microphones) 2 1/4″ guitar in ports, as well as 2 MIDI inputs for Keyboards. 2 1/4″ line-in ports for any additional instruments. There’s also a 1/4″ headphone jack with respective gain/mix knobs. There’s is also a switch for choosing Digital/Analog signals. What the Alesis IO|2 offers is pretty amazing.

Alesis IO|2 Product Angle Top ViewNow the construction of the Alesis IO|2 is impressive. Its a unique design, made of an aluminum frame and completely sealed. The box is impressively sturdy, so just in case it falls, you should be okay, not that’s it recommended. The knobs are all strong, and they all hold up pretty well, I have been screwing up with it for a long while, so It has already take a good amount of abuse. In addition there are LEDs to show you just what your using and if its working or not. The Alesis IO|2 is USB powered and is optimized for Laptop use, so it doesn’t drain the battery.

Now the actual sound is amazing, it is by far the most amazing clean sounding recording input I have ever owned. The input for my guitar captures everything, all the bends, the finger-tapping, the sweeps everything. This thing truly is amazing. Its picks up pretty well when using the guitar. From this I can only deduce that the mic sounds well, well that depends on the mic your using. Basically you get studio quality recording from the Alesis IO|2. All of the inputs are all Balanced. Which is good. It also features a 24-bit S/PDIF I/O for direct digital recording. All signals processed by your USB port. The Mic/Guitar channel is switchable so both channels can be either guitar or vocals. It also features Hardware Direct Monitoring, so latency shouldn’t be an issue. Some features pulled right from the homepage.

  • 24-bit, 48 kHz operation with high-end A/D and D/A conversion through integrated USB audio interface
  • 2 XLR mic inputs with 48V phantom power plus 2 1/4″ balanced line inputs that can accept guitar level signals
  • 1/4″ balanced main outputs
  • 1/4″ TRS inserts on input channels
  • 1/4″ TRS headphone output
  • Dedicated four segment signal/clip LED meter on both channels
  • Zero-latency hardware monitoring
  • 24-bit S/PDIF I/O for direct digital recording
  • MIDI Input/Output
  • USB powered—no external AC power supply necessary
  • Low power usage for minimal laptop battery drain
  • Bundled with Steinberg Cubase LE software
  • Class Compliant device: works with drivers which are built into Mac OS X, Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), and Windows XP

Alesis IO|2 Product Angle ViewNow here’s a few bad things. You can’t use the mic and the guitar inputs at the same time on the same channel, or else it creates distortion of the sound. The Alesis IO|2 also doesn’t come with any amp modeling software for you to use, which is unfortunate, but most likely if you play guitar, you would have an Amp Modeler somewhere on your computer. It come bundled with Ableton Live Lite. although I didn’t really use it. Its compatible with most, especially if you use it inside of a music production software (example: FL Studio, SONAR etc.) as an input. It even works with the Line 6 POD Farm (this is really fun), it works with Amplitube and Guitar Rig.

Look at this, it a brilliant portable recording device, honestly, Alesis is really going at it here. I recommend it, because it really is doing the job I bought it for, so if your needs are just like mine, a musician, a vocalist and a guitarist. It works. It sound amazing. And it allows for some serious customization of the sound. What else could I need? What Else Could YOU Need.

6 thoughts on “Review: Alesis IO|2 Portable 2-channel USB audio interface – Home Recording Solution For Musicians

  1. Pingback: Review: Shure PG 48 – Cardioid Dynamic Microphone | The Haphazard

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