I just wanted to post a quick review of the Alesis IO2 Express, a super portable, compact audio interface for your Mac or PC. A 2 channel USB (and USB Bus powered) device you can take anywhere and record up to 24-bit resolution into any DAW, recording or performance software.
The first thing you will notice is it is small and light, I wasn’t joking when I said it was super portable. The IO2 and a USB cable easily slip into your laptop bag giving you a virtual recording studio anywhere, perfect for just getting that idea down. The down side of this is it does feel a little ‘plasticy’ and I wouldn’t like to drop it, but this is a small sacrifice when you take into account the relatively low price of £79RRP and how useful it can be.
WIth built in pre-amps and 48-volt phantom power it features 2 XLR inputs with a 1/4 inch TRS instrument jack and insert jack. It can accept line level signals or a direct guitar connection by simply flicking the switch on the front. It sends and receives both channels independently over the USB connection you can monitor via headphones or the balanced TRS outputs. You also have the option to adjust the mix between the direct in or your computer return which is nice to get absolute zero latency monitoring. You also get standard MIDI In and Out.
Each channel has independent gain control although I did find this a little hit and miss and whilst there is a visual display I personally didn’t find it much use.
There was a very slight, intermittent fuzzing sound when recording. It was never noticeable in a mix, and could be just me as I had the same problem when using the Alesis GuitarLink, or could be a common issue with Alesis? It certainly didn’t make the thing unusable.
Overall, you can’t go wrong. It’s cheap, it’s useful and looks nice and just gets the job done. This will be certainly living in my laptop bag and going with me when I just have to capture an idea!