Toneport Ux1 Review
Original Author: Ivan Milenkovic
Weapon: USB RECORDING INTERFACE
Model: TONEPORT UX1
Price paid: ~150$ (on eBay between 90$-130$)
Make: LINE 6
Hi there GMC, welcome to my review of Line6 Toneport UX1 USB recording interface. This unit`s main purpose is to easily connect instruments (guitar, bass and mics, also other line level audio sources too) and record them wiht zero latency and wiht an intuitive graphic interface. And beleive me, this thing does it WELL! Okay let us begin:
- USB studio recording interface
- Sample rate conversion: 16 and 24 bit at 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz
- Gearbox amp and effects modeling software for Guitar, Bass and Vocals includes:
- 23 guitar/bass amp models with 29 cabinet models
- 6 vocal mic preamps for amazing, studio-quality tracks
- 29 stompbox and studio effect models, including Overdrive, Delay, Reverb, Wah, Flanger, Chorus, and more
- Single XLR input with mic preamp
- Single instrument input
- Line 6's exclusive low-latency ToneDirect monitoring
- Works with leading recording software on Mac® and Windows®
- Includes Ableton Live Lite - Line 6 Edition recording software
INPUTS AND OUTS
Single XLR mic preamp input with trim knob
Single 1/4-inch instrument inputs
2x 1/4-inch stereo line inputs
1/4-inch stereo monitor input
S/PDIF stereo output (RCA-type)
1/4-inch balanced line outputs with master volume knob
1/4-inch headphones output
USB bus-powered with LED status indicator
USB 1.1 & 2.0 compatible
Rock Solid ASIO, WDM and Mac® OS X driver
This is a desktop unit, but it is very lightweighted. You can easily carry it around and say connect it to another computer. You just have to install appropriate drivers on that machine and a Gearbox software (I`ll explain later). On this model (UX1) there are no VU meters, there are software ones only in the Gearbox. BUt UX2, which is a stronger model (has some additional inputs and costs x2) has VU meters in the casing. There is a soft limiter in this device. Toneport doesen`t do onboard hardware processing (no DSP), instead he gives it to CPU to do the math. THe unit is made out of plastic, very light, and it looks like a toy, but a powerfull toy it is. It has a "Mic gain" and "Monitoring Output" volume pots for a hardware control from the device itself.
TonePort connects on a computer via USB 1.1 or 2.0. I had no problem connecting it onboard, but i had some dificulties to make ASIO driver work properly in Cubase for some time, because of the slow computer (Athlon 2000+, 512MB RAM). On a faster machine (Athlon X2 4000, 2GB RAM) there were no problems at all. The power is also supplied through the USB so there is no external adapter jack.
It has a micpreamp built in. Not a very quality one, but for THAT price you realy can`t get any better that that. Bare in mind that this is not very sound-quality product but the accent is put on ease of use and connectivity. It has one dynamic mic input, and NO phantom power (UX2 model HAS phantom power) if you happen to use a condenser mic. It has one dedicated input for guitar instruments, and two mono "line-in" inputs for recording line-level sources, such as mp3 player. It also has monitoring inputs to be able to monitor a separate source (like from a mic booth in a studio). There is NO MIDI I/O on this device. There is no send/return options or cue/mix ones either. For that price that would be to much really...
It supports 16 and 24 bit at 44.1, 48 and 96 kHz sampling, but only 44.1 and 48 are native. For 96 it has to do a sample conversion. I haven`t found any trouble in small projects for this one. It does real-time conversion no problem. It supports ASIO, WDM and Mac® OS X drivers. The ASIO ones are not too stable on a aslow machine, as mentioned before. TonePort has DirectTone Monitoring. Before the sound is fed into a DAW software it is directly given to monitoring outs, so you can hear the effects in real time and with minimum latency. That is VERY nice and practical as you can jamm along with playing audio and just play not worrying about your CPU performance.
And now - The Gearbox.
The gearbox software is basically like any other guitar effects software. It has lots of software modeled effects, preamps, amps, and other stuff built in and it emulates those sounds. BUT, this program is MADE specially for Toneport. Toneport devices are controlled via it so you can adjust patches on different sends that you feed into your DAW. You can even make separate sends for mic&guitar and record both separately into DAW software while directly monitoring all the effects applied on both inputs. Is that not cool or what? For that price yes it is thank you very much. Now the TonePort can act as a standalone hardware and you CAN use other guitar related software like GuitarRig, Amplitube etc. and it can do almost real time effects with those, but GearBox sends his effects directly into monitors with minimum amount of latency. I can`t say if GearBox has BETTER effects than other products out there, but it has very nice clean and decent drive settings. Also you get it for FREE when you buy TonePort, including Tone Library on the net, free 30day subscription for some additional multimedia material and a lot of upgrade possibilities. Also you can upgrade it automatically over the net.
This unit is performing well on my machine. It serves me as an external sound card also and it is quite fast in that price range. I would generally recommend i to anyone who wants to record some pilot stuff on computer FAST and EASY. So to all beginners and pros too, because it is cheap and very practical. I would definitely buy one if it were stolen because i need it for recording things easy and with some effects. I wish it had some MIDI I/O option so i can connect a MIDI keyboard on some day, but there is a better model that has built in keyboard! You can check out Line6 site for some more info.
Originally By Ivan Milenkovic