Akai EIE Pro USB Audio Interface Review
The Akai EIE Pro (Electromusic Interface Expander) has garnered a considerable reputation for its user-friendly functionality of its wide ranging features within a durable and compact build. With 4-in, 4-out Mic/Line/Guitar channels with preamps, four insert points, four balanced outputs, MIDI In/Out connections and a powered three-port USB hub, the EiE Pro is an absolute steal for artists venturing into multitrack recording.
Low latency ASIO drivers enable you to record up to 24-bit resolution and sample rates of 44.1 kHz/48 kHz/88.2 kHz/96 kHz into any DAW, recording or performance software on Mac and PC-based systems.
On the front panel, all the important controls are immediately accessible. On the left are the combo connector inputs controlled by their own Gain controls and Line/Guitar switches while phantom power is separately switchable for input pairs 1/2 and 3/4. The discrete-design preamps offer an impressive amount of gain, and are relatively noise-free.
Bands can rejoice as the four inputs all work at guitar level, allowing multitracking of guitars and basses while recording vocals with any choice of microphone. Operation of these settings is straightforward and they truly give the feel of working with a high-end vintage outboard unit.
Whats more is that the insert points allow you to patch any analog gear right into the mix or input signal path. This means you can treat anything you are recording with your favourite rack compressor, guitar pedal or reverb unit.
On the right side of the front panel you’ll find 2 back-lit analog-style VU meters which will change to red to indicate a signal overload. Outputs are paired into two and their signals appear on the VU meters using a Meter Selection switch with its accompanied In/Out switch. Next to these are is a Master Level control along with a Mono/Stereo switch. This come in handy when checking your mixes for mono compatibility.
Finally on the right side we find a single 1/4” TRS headphone output with a switch to select the source to be monitored. A Monitor In/Out control sets the balance between inputs monitored at source and the output playback level. This will provide zero-latency monitoring for comfortable playback during recording. The Akai EIE Pro’s headphone amplifier delivers a sufficiently strong signal, strong enough to drive professional headphones of very high impedance.
The rear panel is home to four balanced audio inputs, four balanced audio outputs, two MIDI I/O connections and a three-way USB hub. These three addition USB ports are one of the EIE Pro’s best features, allowing it to function as a hub, connecting additional MIDI controllers or hard drives to the computer. Traditional MIDI In and Out jacks allow playing and controlling software with keyboard and pad controllers, workstations, and other MIDI-compatible instruments
The four rear outputs not only allow for the connection of analog outboard gear (as mentioned above) but for attaching multiple sets of studio monitors for easy A/B playback of your mixes (highly recommended.) Lastly on the rear panel, you will find the 6v D/C power connector with the units On/Off switch and the USB output for connecting to your computer.
With all these features, the Akai EIE Pro looks and feels far more expensive than its price tag. Its durable construction, ease of use, versatile monitoring options, and overall excellent performance make it the ideal choice for the project studio music looking for an affordable multitracking solution.
- Professional 24-bit recording at sample rates of: 44.1kHz / 48kHz / 88.2kHz / 96 kHz
- Ultra-low-latency driver included
- 4 nickel-plated XLR-¼” inputs
- Phantom power and four gain controls
- 4 ¼” audio inserts
- 3-port USB hub
- 4 ¼” outputs
- 5-pin MIDI I/O
- Classic analog VU meters
- USB 2.0 audio interface
- Multichannel recording and playback up to 24-bit/96 kHz
- 5-pin MIDI In and MIDI Out
- 48 volt phantom power
- 6 volt DC, 3A power
- Strong, durable construction
- Very “all-in-one”
- Zero-latency monitoring
- Quality, transparent preamps
- Headphone preamps drive impressively hard
- MIDI I/O a great bonus
- Only one headphone out while offering 4 channels
- No S/PDIF or ADAT expandability
OS X 10.5 – 10.11
Intel Core Duo
1 GB of RAM
At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of free disk space
CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
Windows XP – Windows 10 32/64-bit
Pentium 233-megahertz (MHz) processor or faster
512 megabytes (MB) of RAM
At least 1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available space on the hard disk
CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
**We were unable to determine whether or not the Akai EIE Pro comes with any music production software as publications around the web tell different stories and nothing is mentioned on the Akai website. Consider getting in touch with Akai to learn more.