Top positive review
40 people found this helpful
From a laptop DJ perspective
on June 19, 2013
I bought this unit to use as part of my laptop DJ setup: I route outputs 1/2 to the main speakers, and outputs 3/4 to my headphones for monitoring the mix; I use input 1 for a crappy un-powered microphone; and input 2 sits empty.
Having successfully played out with the 2i4 for four separate 5 hour-ish gigs, I'd like to share my thoughts on this product from the perspective of an in-the-club performer (rather than an in-the-studio producer or an on-the-stage musician).
1) The physical build quality on this thing is excellent. It feels good in the hands, sure, but the real test for me has been its performance on the road: on its second time out, I accidentally dropped it from about four feet off the ground. It survived that fall (with just a small ding on the metal casing) and proceeded to rock the house for the next several hours without a single hiccup. Oh, and it survived having half a beer spilled on it, too - though I wouldn't expect this kind of luck a second time.
2) This thing outputs plenty loud for almost any club environment you are likely to find yourself in. Also, I know some folks on here think the headphone output (the 1/4" jack in the front of the unit) isn't loud enough. Those folks are either noise junkies, have headphones with terrible isolation, or are suffering from some kind of hearing loss. Trust me: the headphone volumes are more than adequate for monitoring even in a loud club environment.
3) Not that my usual clientele (i.e. drunk dancers) really care or notice, but to my ear the sound quality seems pretty good. The lows come out punchy (not muddy) and the highs don't sound tinny, and that's really all I care about as far as my mixing is concerned.
4) Solid USB device drivers (I'm using a windows 7 machine): good latency, no audio stutters, and no dropouts. Enough said.
1) The large 'Monitor' dial on the front of the unit controls the output volume for lines 1/2 *ONLY IF* lines 1/2 are outputted via the balanced TRS (1/4") connectors on the back. If the the RCA connectors are used, the dial will do diddly squat. This is a limitation that is not well noted in the product description. (UPDATE: This is no longer an issue with the latest device drivers!)
2) The unit is a bit bulky/heavy for a traveling soundcard, but this is really just a personal quibble (I already have tons of kit to lug around). Heck - some might even think the larger size makes it look more "pro."
The 2i4 has met or exceeded all my needs as a DJ: it's sturdy, loud, and reliable. I can't speak to its value as a production tool (where the sound quality is the deciding factor), but as a performance tool I can't think of a better USB-based option on the market at this price point. Seriously, forget about those Native Instrument cards (s***ty drivers), and forget about those Numark cards (muddy dynamics) - just get the 2i4 and get on with the show.