Soundcraft Notepad 8-FX
First the good:
The sound quality is excellent. When playing back audio from input channels it sounds pristine, clear and balanced. Audio components are top-notch for a device priced in this range. I played back audio from iPod, Internet streaming services, and the PC and was satisfied. The on-board Lexicon effects sound better than I imagined. The tap-tempo setting for the delay was easy to use. Chorus effect was ok, with limited imaging control. The reverb is standard, but sounds better than what you can get from most entry-level software. There is no fine tuning for on-board effects, yet at this price what more can you ask for? It gives you a good idea of what Lexicon effects sound like. If you aren't privy to studio quality effects units, it's a more than welcome introduction.
Then the bad:
The ASIO (Windows) drivers for the unit are not included in the box. You have to download them from the Soundcraft website. I downloaded version 3.34.0 that was available at the time of this writing. After installation I was able to get it to recieve general audio output from my computer. Audio input was a different story... Opened Ableton Live Lite 9.7, selected the 'Soundcraft Audio USB Audio ASIO' device as the Audio Device, enabled an Audio track as input, selected said input device, and got nothing as I played a connected rackmount sound module. I had it connected to stereo inputs 3 & 4 and the sound did come out of the mixer into my powered speakers, yet there was no visible input into the software... Strange.
So I played with the Ableton software and the Soundcraft USB control panel in various settings, still nothing. I decided to connect my rackmount to Mono Inputs 1 & 2. Suddenly I saw input signal into the DAW. But as I referenced the manual (mind you I read the entire manual, several times - version 1.0) it stated that users "can select the 'Audio routing' tab, to select the point in the console feeding the USB to computer." Then it shows Mic Inputs 1 & 2, Stereo 3 & 4, Stereo 5 & 6, and Mix L & R as input sources. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Only inputs 1 & 2 can be seen by the DAW. Just to be sure I also tried this out with Presonus Studio One Pro (version 2). Still same results. The manual and the actual user experinece don't match up! I felt frustrated. Thus gave up and returned.
If you are a semi-pro (or novice) musician who is looking for a mixer with excellent sound quality and good basic effects, you are looking at a great unit in the Soundcraft Notepad 8-FX. Recording engineers or those who do location recording look elsewhere for now... Until the software engineers at Soundcraft deliver what's promised in the manual, I'd steer clear. Maybe my Windows 8.1 is not the latest version, but I expect any software using an ASIO protocol for Audio I/O via PC to be backwards compatiable with all versions of it. My other Interfaces that use this driver protocol work flawlessly. So I digress.
Still a great sounding mixer overall. 3 out of 5 stars.
Unit Dimensions: 7.75 width, 8.47 length
|商品尺寸||34.04 x 30.23 x 8.89 cm; 1 公斤|