Recording - November 2009 - 40

B Y M I K E M E T L AY Lexicon I•ONIX U42S Recording Interface Lexicon raised some eyebrows with the new I•ONIX USB 2.0 audio/MIDI recording interfaces, for the simple reason that they’re the most unusual-looking interface boxes on the market right now. Throwing away the book of conventional interface designs (rackmount? half-rack? tabletop box?), Lexicon considered what computer-based recording musicians actually needed, and came up with a design that’s definitely unorthodox, and works surprisingly well for a small recording setup. The I•ONIX units—the U22, the U42S (reviewed here), and the U82S—are designed to sit under a computer monitor, directly in front of the user’s QWERTY keyboard. They provide audio (up to 24/96) and MIDI I/O, monitor level control, simple zero-latency monitoring, hardware level metering, and a host of amenities friendly to the beginning and midlevel solo computer recordist, in a form that’s easy to access and use. There it sits I’d bet a fair bit of money that the Lexicon design team, once they had their basic idea, modeled their prototypes with an Apple iMac sitting on the table in front of them. The U42S fits perfectly under my 20” aluminum-body iMac, its rear-panel connections easily accessible with nary a millimeter wasted. The U82S is slightly wider, and the U22 is a bit narrower, but all three are otherwise the same dimensions. The layout is clean and straightforward, making use of all four sides of the box to best effect. On the angled front panel are headphone output knobs, level controls for each input with large multistage LED level meters, an oversized Output Level knob with stereo master LED meters, and a Monitor Mix knob. Turn it fully counterclockwise to hear your input signals, fully clockwise to only hear playback from your computer, and anywhere in between to mix the two. Adjacent pairs of inputs can be linked with a Stereo button between them. LEDs indicate stereo linking where active, Instrument inputs where used (see below), 48V phantom power (switchable per pair of inputs), USB activity, power on, and S/PDIF link if present.RECORDING NOVEMBER 2009 The shape of computer recording to come? The rear panel has XLR–1/4" TRS combination jacks for each input with switches for phantom power below each pair, 1 /4" TRS balanced outputs, coaxial S/PDIF I/O on RCA jacks, MIDI In and Out, USB, and a jack for the linelump AC power supply. On the left edge of the case are easily accessible 1/4" TRS headphone jacks, and on the right edge are Hi-Z 1/4" instrument inputs. When plugged in, these instrument inputs deactivate their corresponding channels’ rear-panel jacks, and a frontpanel LED shows they’re active. The U42S has four rear-panel inputs and all of the abovementioned features; the U82S has eight rear-panel inputs. Both offer two headphone outputs with independent level knobs and two instrument inputs. The U22 has two rear-panel inputs, one headphone output and one instrument input, and has no S/PDIF. Despite their names, the larger units are actually 4-out interfaces, since the S/PDIF outputs can have a different signal pair than what’s sent to the analog outs and headphones. Unfortunately you can’t send different mixes to the main outs and the headphones. Each I•ONIX interface comes bundled with Steinberg Cubase LE 4 (and installs Cubase-specific driver add-ons if desired), as well as Lexicon’s Pantheon II high-quality reverb plug-in for your DAW and a copy of Toontrack’s EZ Drummer Lite drum instrument. While drivers are included on the DVD bundled with the interface, as always we recommend getting the newest ones from the Lexicon website. Speaking of drivers, please note that at the time of my tests, the I•ONIX machines required Intel processors on Macs with OS X 10.4.9 or newer, but just as we went to press, drivers for PowerPC G4 and G5 Macs have been shipped. Also officially shipping: 64-bit Windows drivers, which were in beta at the time of my tests. On the Windows side, the I•ONIX ASIO drivers require Windows XP Service Pack 2 or Vista. How it works Wrapping your head around how the I•ONIX interface works is satisfyingly simple. Routing audio in and out of these interfaces is a breeze; once the drivers are installed, the interface shows up as a standard audio I/O source. When the Stereo buttons aren’t pressed, input signals appear equally in the left and right monitor outs. What gets sent to your DAW depends on how you have your software configured; it’s generally easy to tell your program to only record in mono from

Recording - November 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - November 2009

Recording - November 2009
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Les Paul Speaks
Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
The Hybrid Guitar Recording Method—A Modern Way of Tracking Serious Tones, Part 1
Radial JDX and Phazer
Shure SM27 and SM137 Microphones
Eventide PitchFactor
Recording’s Guitar Column
Lexicon I•ONIX U42S RecordingInterface
Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Readers’ Tapes
Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator
BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Line 6 BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - November 2009 - Recording - November 2009
Recording - November 2009 - Cover2
Recording - November 2009 - 1
Recording - November 2009 - Fade In
Recording - November 2009 - 3
Recording - November 2009 - Contents
Recording - November 2009 - 5
Recording - November 2009 - Talkback
Recording - November 2009 - 7
Recording - November 2009 - Fast Forward
Recording - November 2009 - 9
Recording - November 2009 - 10
Recording - November 2009 - 11
Recording - November 2009 - Les Paul Speaks
Recording - November 2009 - 13
Recording - November 2009 - 14
Recording - November 2009 - 15
Recording - November 2009 - Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
Recording - November 2009 - 17
Recording - November 2009 - 18
Recording - November 2009 - 19
Recording - November 2009 - 20
Recording - November 2009 - 21
Recording - November 2009 - 22
Recording - November 2009 - 23
Recording - November 2009 - The Hybrid Guitar Recording Method—A Modern Way of Tracking Serious Tones, Part 1
Recording - November 2009 - 25
Recording - November 2009 - 26
Recording - November 2009 - 27
Recording - November 2009 - 28
Recording - November 2009 - 29
Recording - November 2009 - 30
Recording - November 2009 - 31
Recording - November 2009 - Radial JDX and Phazer
Recording - November 2009 - 33
Recording - November 2009 - Shure SM27 and SM137 Microphones
Recording - November 2009 - 35
Recording - November 2009 - Eventide PitchFactor
Recording - November 2009 - 37
Recording - November 2009 - Recording’s Guitar Column
Recording - November 2009 - 39
Recording - November 2009 - Lexicon I•ONIX U42S RecordingInterface
Recording - November 2009 - 41
Recording - November 2009 - Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Recording - November 2009 - 43
Recording - November 2009 - 44
Recording - November 2009 - 45
Recording - November 2009 - 46
Recording - November 2009 - 47
Recording - November 2009 - 48
Recording - November 2009 - 49
Recording - November 2009 - Readers’ Tapes
Recording - November 2009 - 51
Recording - November 2009 - Vibesware GR-1 Guitar Resonator
Recording - November 2009 - 53
Recording - November 2009 - BOSS ME-70 Guitar Multiple Effects
Recording - November 2009 - 55
Recording - November 2009 - Line 6 BackTrack and BackTrack + Mic
Recording - November 2009 - Advertiser Index
Recording - November 2009 - 58
Recording - November 2009 - 59
Recording - November 2009 - 60
Recording - November 2009 - 61
Recording - November 2009 - 62
Recording - November 2009 - 63
Recording - November 2009 - Fade Out
Recording - November 2009 - Cover3
Recording - November 2009 - Cover4
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