IO2 Express from Alesis

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!

19 thoughts on “Alesis IO2 Express Review

  • Hi , i just bought it to connect my yamaha dtx 540k kit to the pc , it’s awesome , but the asio4all drivers don’t allow me to play music in my pc at the same time …. i try to figure how to bypass this problem, so far with no luck .


    • Sorry to hear you’re having issues. It all depends on your setup. Normally you should be able to just plug and play. I’ve not got a massive amount of experience with Windows and ASIO I’m afraid.


      • I will try to download a small program that may help with this , i read a lot about the Asio4all problem , i may fix it i guess . Thanks for your reply 🙂 great webpage by the way.


  • I have windows 7 64 bit and the io2 only plays music back on one headphone and it isn’t connecting to the microphone. I have no idea what’s wrong.


    • Sorry I’ve not used the IO2 on Windows. Ensure you have the latest version of the drivers. You can probably get these from the Alesis website.


  • hello there, nice review, wanna know what that actual noise floor is in this device, thanks


  • I’ve recently bought one, it came with a Cubase Le5 disk, what a waste of time, couldn’t run the tutorials, poor info and I’m now going to take the whole set up back _ plug and play – you have to be joking! I’ve run sequencers from the 80″s and scussy drive recorders, this is pish…….


    • Firstly, Cubase LE is just light weight junk. If you’re on Windows you will need to install the drivers if you’re on Mac you won’t. Other than that I don’t see what the issue is? Sure the “Free” software that comes with it is rubbish. If you want my advice check out Presonus Studio One it works perfectly with the IO2!


      • I was accually lookin up how to get my interface to sync to studio one correctly i can record n see the levels on the mixer but get absolutly no sound


        • If you can see the levels on the IO2 ensure you have the mix dial that mixes between direct in and the computer output set correctly. It’s been a while since I used this, but if you can see the lights on the mixer then it’s not a Studio One issue.


      • hey I have studio one and the io2 I can get sound through the monitors but I cant get anything when I record. How did you set it up and is there anything which needs to be done to get it working


        • Do you mean you can’t hear anything when recording or nothing is recording? You will need to make sure you select the iO2 as your input device in Studio One as well as being your output device. You usually set your input device on a track by track basis. Also make sure your monitor mix is set correctly.


          • Hi I mean I can hear sound from my mic for example through my headphones but on the track where it indicates if signals coming through there isn’t anything


          • Ok firstly ensure you have your monitor mix dial set fully to USB, you might just be hearing the sound directly from the Mic. Secondly make sure you have set your track input to either of the io2 input tracks inside Studio One, and that you have armed them for record. Before you record you should be able to see the level meters moving inside Studio One. Check this tutorial video to get you started with Studio One. The video is for Studio One version 2 but should make sense even if you are using version 3.


          • Gici mean I’m not getting anything in the level meters


          • Sounds like your IO2 isn’t set correctly as your Audio Device inside Studio One. Try here.


          • Thanks I’ve already tried that and it wasn’t much help because I don’t know what settings I need to set it up correctly


          • I’m sorry I can’t be any more help 🙁


      • no worries thank you for your help


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I'm Will, a full time web developer, geek and musician. I develop using PHP and MySQL and spend most of my time working with WordPress or CakePHP. When I'm not buried in code I'm gaming, cooking or writing and recording music in my studio. I like sci-fi, pancakes and coffee and am totally prepared for the zombie apocalypse...

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