Rode AI-1: USB Audio Interface Review
RØDE has released its first audio interface – the AI-1. Famous for its world class microphones, the leading pro audio manufacturer has introduced a USB audio interface that truly matches up to those of its competitors.
We recently got a hold of this hot little device and were impressed by how simple it was to set up. It is literally just ‘plug and play’ without the need to install any drivers – we were ready to record within minutes of hooking it up!
The AI-1 adds studio-quality input and output capabilities to your computer, making home recording easier than it has ever been. With its high quality Neutrik combo jack input and discrete Class-A preamp, you’ll be able to connect either a microphone, guitar or a line level instrument, such as a synthesizer. It’s a single channel interface which is perfect for solo singers, guitarists, or podcasters.
We simply plugged in our condenser microphone into the AI-1’s input and we were ready to rock. It should also be noted that while the AI-1 comes as a standalone device, it is also available as part of ‘The Complete Studio Kit’ which features the AI-1, RØDE’s NT1 condenser microphone, SMR shock mount with pop shield, and 20 foot XLR and USB C/A cables. This provides fantastic value for money and there isn’t another complete kit such as this on the market we can think of to match it.
We spent a week playing with it and could hardly fault it. It’s portable, compact, doesn’t take up too much studio space, is well constructed, features 48V Phantom Power, and the preamp really delivers. It’s very clean-sounding and also allows zero-latency playback by enabling the direct monitoring feature and playback via headphones/speakers with the high quality discrete headphone amplifier. What more could you ask for?
If you’re a home-based musician or podcaster looking for pro-studio quality at a home studio price point, then your search ends right here. The interface packs a lot of punch for such a compact device. Specs include:
Computer Connectivity: USB
Form Factor: Desktop
Simultaneous I/O: 1 x 2
Number of Preamps: 1
Phantom Power: Yes
Bit Depth: 24-bit
Sample Rates: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz
Analog Inputs: 1 x Neutrik XLR-1/4” combo
Analog Outputs: 2 x 1/4” (impedance balanced), 1 x 1/4” (headphones)
Direct Monitor: Yes
USB: 1 x USB Type C
Bus Powered: Yes
OS Requirements: Mac OS 10.10 or later, Windows 7 or later
Power: USB bus-powered
Depth: 100mm total (with knobs), chassis: 88mm
Weight: 560 grams
The Rode AI-1 is available now. Do yourself a favour and pick one up!