Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 25

ROAD TEST

Arturia MiniFuse 2 Audio Interface

By Andrew Leyenhorst

French manufacturer / developer Arturia is known largely for their synthesizers , virtual instruments , and effects , but they throw their weight around in the recording ring as well with a collection of audio interfaces , namely the AudioFuse line . Recently , Arturia has added the smaller-format , more-affordable MiniFuse series , comprising the MiniFuse 1 , 2 , and 4 interfaces . As the title suggests , today we ’ re going to be looking at the MiniFuse 2 , the sleek and simple two-in , two-out representative .

Designed to be as easy-to-use as possible , the MiniFuse 2 , which can record 24-bit audio up to a sample rate of 192kHz , is a very uncomplicated little unit . The front panel boasts two XLR / ¼-in . combo inputs each with a button to switch the ¼-in . jack between Line and Instrument level ; a gain knob per input ; the main output volume control and headphone volume knob , as well as a lone headphone jack ; an Input / USB blend knob to balance input versus output monitoring ; a Direct Mono button to monitor both inputs in summed mono ; and a pleasant LED VU meter for the main outs . Phantom power is strapped across both channels , and visual feedback for the input is handled by small lights on the gain pots that go from blue to red at high level .
On the back , we have a single pair of balanced TRS outs , DIN MIDI in and out , a USB-A “ Hub ” jack that can be used for a MIDI controller or other USB 2.0 device , and the interface ’ s USB- C jack on the USB 2.0 protocol . It ’ s also worth
mentioning that the unit is bus-powered . In terms of specs , the inputs yield 56dB of gain and a total dynamic range of approximately 110dB ( A-weighted ), with Line level handling up to + 22dBu , Instrument level up to 11.5dBu , and Mic level up to 9dBU ; all with a full frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz .
The build itself is very compact , with a surprisingly shallow build – it ’ s wider than most interfaces in its class , but about three-quarters of the size from front-face to back . It ’ s also quite attractive , sleek as it is , and the matte finish is a nice touch , available in both black and white . The feel of the pots is satisfying and weighty , and I ’ d say the tactile feel of using the controls ultimately redeems the ( very ) slightly underwhelming robustness of the box itself , which weighs in at 1.1 lbs – and feels just a bit lighter than it should . That said , it ’ s a very solid little unit regardless , and I ’ m mostly just being picky . In terms of the portability factor , it ’ s tough to do much better with a two-channel offering – it ’ s both incredibly compact and light , and the knobs don ’ t stick out obnoxiously far .
The setup was easy – I plugged it in and it worked . From there , it ’ s pretty much any old non- DSP interface ; all the controls are right there in front of you , and you can ’ t really get distracted by tinkering or feature paralysis because it ’ s meant to be simple . The preamps are very solid and quite rich , the visual feedback is very intuitive , and it ’ s simple to make adjustments on the fly . The conversion is also very good , offering clarity and punch that is impressive for this price point .
Because of the simple nature of this interface , it ’ s hard to dive super deep into it without inevitably repeating myself – and that ’ s a good thing ; because this piece sits firmly on the shelf with other gear that I ’ d recommend . I think it offers a unique and fun alternative to the conventional choices for two-in / two-out interfaces , and it offers slightly more functionality , as well , with the inclusion of MIDI I / O and the thoughtful USB port . The MiniFuse 2 is a great option for producers and engineers looking for a breezy grab-and-go interface , streamers and smallformat content creators , and learning creators alike . It sounds really good , it couldn ’ t be easier to use , and it ’ s wonderfully portable . There ’ s a lot of value in this little unit .
Adding to that value is a slew of included software goodies when you buy one brandnew . With the MiniFuse 2 comes Arturia ’ s Analog Lab Intro VST ; Arturia FX ; four classic analogmodeled effects plug-ins – the Rev PLATE-140 reverb , Pre 1973 vintage preamp , Delay TAPE- 201 echo , and Chorus JUN-6 analog chorus ; Ableton Live Lite ; Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 LE ; access to exclusive educational content from Arturia ; and trial subscriptions for other products and services like Auto-Tune Unlimited and Splice . So , after adding all of that to the package , I ’ d have to say it ’ s worth checking out .
Andrew Leyenhorst is a Niagara-based freelance producer , recording & mix engineer , and a former Consulting Editor at Canadian Musician .
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