Arturia Audiofuse 8Pre USB-C Audio Interface
Arturia racks up a bigger AudioFuse with the same thoughtful practicality of the original.
AudioFuse was an outstanding maiden interface for Arturia. Wrapped in a futuristic design and several thoughtful features were squeezed into the desktop package.
Arturia has expanded the AudioFuse’s appeal by developing a rackmount version with more I/O. Meet the AudioFuse 8Pre.
Carrying over the innards from its predecessor, the most obvious difference of the new rack-able version is six extra preamps; eight in total, as opposed to two in the first and four in AudioFuse Studio. Metering has a similar look with the bright LED strip sitting next to each channel’s gain pot. Although the AudioFuse 8Pre only has one set of headphone outputs, we still get both 6.5mm and 3.5mm options — no stress if you can’t find that elusive adapter.
Firing up the AudioFuse 8Pre couldn’t be easier. Simply install Arturia AudioFuse Control Center, plug the interface into your computer and you’ll be auto-prompted through the usual protocol — firmware update, software updates etc.
Arturia’s DiscretePro preamplification appears in all AudioFuse interfaces and features separate circuitry for mic and line signal paths. Preamp specs state a noise floor of -129dBu and a dynamic range of nearly 120dB. A +10dB boost button takes the preamp’s gain range to a hefty 72dB with a -20dB pad also available. It’s a full, big sounding pre which stacks well in mixes, and the bucketload of gain is very quiet — dust off those ribbon mics! I love the tall and bright meters which make level-setting a breeze. A switchable high-pass filter would have nicely finished it off. Audio resolution is up to 96k and the DAC will give a respectable 119dB of dynamic range on the monitor outputs.
The AudioFuse Control Center software is fantastic. I love the ‘Add/Remove Tracks’ option to declutter the GUI by selecting only the inputs you’re using to appear in the monitor mixer section. Tabs at the top neatly show or hide the Input, Mixer and Output segments. Drop-down menus let you assign what’s feeding each set of outputs. ‘Intelligent’ inputs mean the toggle controls stay greyed out until you physically plug in a source.
Another ingenious hack is track grouping. Using the buttons marked 1-4, you can swiftly allocate channels to colour-coded groups by clicking Edit, then a number, then the tracks you want in that group. In a recording situation this can really speed up your workflow, be it grouping drum tracks or choir mics for monitor mixes. Mutes and Solos are grouped too. You don’t find this option in many interface routing applications and I’m glad Arturia threw it in. My only criticism is I would have liked the ability to create more than one cue mix. An extra set of headphone outputs wouldn’t hurt either.
TWO TRICK PONY
Another useful function of the AudioFuse 8Pre is that it can be a standalone eight-channel ADAT preamplifier. Push and hold the button on the far right corner to kick into ADAT mode, hook up an interface and you have instantly expanded your input capabilities. This is really cool if you own multiple interfaces. If you want to do what Arturia tells you, snatch two AudioFuse 8Pres and use one in each mode for a 16-preamp rig.
Thrown into the package is the AudioFuse Creative Suite — a bundle of seven Arturia plug-ins including Analog Lab Lite, three preamp emulations, and recreations of a Moog ladder filter, 1176 compressor and Roland RE-201 Space Echo delay. In use you’ll find them to be high quality professional tools that, as Arturia promises, you will actually use. I am especially a fan of the lush-sounding preamp trio.
My overall experience with the AudioFuse 8Pre was very favourable. It just works: no glitches or speedbumps, it sounds great, software inclusions are usable, and Arturia’s attention to detail is evident in the unit’s ergonomics, aesthetics and functionality. Certainly the AudioFuse would be high on my wish list should I be chasing a new rackmount interface.