Audient iD22: first impressions

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Kev999
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2016/05/21 04:58:28 (permalink)

Audient iD22: first impressions

I've just got myself a new audio interface, an Audient iD22, and I'm very pleased with it so far. I've been using a Line6 UX2 since 2007 and recently I had been wondering if maybe it's holding me back. Now I'm sure. The iD22 definitely feels like a significant step up. I chose this model on features. One of the main features that attracted me was the send/return, as I am intending to add some outboard gear and I don't have a mixer.

Getting it up and running was quick and painless. I had already downloaded and installed the drivers in advance a few days earlier. A prompt to update the firmware provided a choice of online or offline installation. Too easy.

I haven't done any recording with it yet. We're moving house in a few days and most of my gear was already packed away before the new interface arrived. So far I've just spent some time playing back various Sonar projects, stopping to do bits of editing here and there. I became instantly mesmerised as soon as I started listening. The sound is so smooth and detailed. Subjectively, the word "clean" kept coming to mind. It also brought to my attention a lot of things in my projects that need fixing. Some of these things I had probably noticed before but didn't think at the time that they were so bad, but now they are unacceptable. This is exactly what I want from a monitoring system.

I have seen some particular criticisms of the iD22 expressed repeatedly in reviews and forums. My comments on these issues are as follows.

Bright sounding?
Some people say that this device overemphasises the higher frequencies. I'm not sure whether that's true and I didn't really notice any imbalance in the overall sound, but the top end sounds very smooth and silky and perhaps draws attention to itself as a result. Inconclusive.

All the sockets are on the back
Some people have complained that it's inconvenient not having the headphone and DI sockets easily accessible on the front. I don't particularly find this a problem. Seriously, how many times per hour do you swap headphones and guitars. However the headphone socket is located below the USB and power sockets, which is a bit awkward.

Mostly jack sockets rather than XLRs
I agree that XLRs would have been preferable on the send, return and maybe the main outs. The unit would need to be a bit larger to accommodate this but that would not bother me. Maybe some users would want this unit for portable use and prefer it to be as small as possible.

Only one headphone amp
Yes, I would have prefered two myself.

No power switch
This won't be a problem for me, as I will be running it from a power conditioner and switching it on & off from there. But I can see that it could be annoying otherwise, i.e. having to remove and reinsert the power connector every time.

Driver stability?
This interface was originally developed for Mac only. Windows drivers were released much later and some PC users have complained about driver issues. I have experienced one crash myself so far but it's hard to know whether it was caused by the drivers. At the time I had both Sonar and Audacity open, so maybe sharing audio drivers between different programs causes problems. I will need to test this out.

Obviously there are a lot more aspects of this device to explore, but that will have to wait. Right now it's packed away and I won't see it for a while.
post edited by Kev999 - 2017/07/28 03:15:05

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30 Replies Related Threads

    Pragi
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    Re: Audient iD22: first impressions 2016/05/23 05:19:01 (permalink)
    Thanks for posting this.
    I´m playing with the idea, to buy an ID 14 as a mobile device for the  notebook.
    Good to know that this units run under Win 7 -64.
    post edited by Pragi - 2016/05/23 05:42:22
    #2
    batsbrew
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    Re: Audient iD22: first impressions 2016/05/23 15:20:36 (permalink)
    i'm weighing the id22 against the rme babyface.
     
    i've also looked at the celesonic 20x20, but truth is, i rarely ever need that many channels, 
    it almost makes sense to me, to focus on two quality preamps, and deal with finding a mixer to add in IF i need to...
     
    the rme goes to 192, the id22 only 96....
    but that's no deal breaker...
     
    xlr outs on the rme, only trs on the id22.....
     
    gotta have midi in/out, rme has breakout cable for it, none on audient....
     
     
     
     

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    bluzdog
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    Re: Audient iD22: first impressions 2016/05/24 10:47:53 (permalink)
    batsbrew
    i'm weighing the id22 against the rme babyface.
     
    i've also looked at the celesonic 20x20, but truth is, i rarely ever need that many channels, 
    it almost makes sense to me, to focus on two quality preamps, and deal with finding a mixer to add in IF i need to...
     
    the rme goes to 192, the id22 only 96....
    but that's no deal breaker...
     
    xlr outs on the rme, only trs on the id22.....
     
    gotta have midi in/out, rme has breakout cable for it, none on audient....
     
     
     
     




    I went through the same comparison a while back. The difference for me ended up being time tested solid drivers and optical I/O. I was so close to picking up an id22.
     
    Rocky
    post edited by bluzdog - 2016/05/24 11:28:24
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    JonD
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    Re: Audient iD22: first impressions 2016/05/25 10:54:54 (permalink)
    Kev999
    Bright sounding?
    Some people say that this device overemphasises the higher frequencies. I'm not sure whether that's true and I didn't really notice any imbalance in the overall sound, but the top end sounds very smooth and silky and perhaps draws attention to itself as a result. Inconclusive.



    I think these kinds of comments are to be expected when going from a device with "okay specs" to one that outperforms the first by a good leap -- especially when it comes to the converters.  IMO, that "brightness" is simply the high frequencies and harmonics you weren't hearing before.

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/06/19 16:43:15 (permalink)
    FOLLOW-UP: BSOD
    When I first set up in the new house I must have connected the iD22 to a different USB port, as Windows found "new hardware". Anyway that wasn't a problem and I just reinstalled the firmware that I had previously downloaded. But when I first launched Sonar I got the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. Fortunately that was apparently a one-off and it hasn't happened again since then. Phew!
     
    EDIT:
    BSOD started occurring again but had apparently had nothing to do with the iD22. It stopped happening when I replaced the mouse.
    post edited by Kev999 - 2016/12/27 23:41:37

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/06/20 21:12:42 (permalink)
    FOLLOW-UP: RECORDING GUITAR

    I eventually got round to recording some electric guitar. The iD22 has only one instrument input, but that's not a problem. With my previous interface (Line6 UX2) I always used the built-in fx via the GearBox software. The iD22 does not offer an equivalent, so I was concerned whether the absence of this facility might be a serious hindrence. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dry signal actually sounded good on it's own, i.e. smooth and warm. This was never the case with the UX2 where a guitar with no effects added always sounded raw and edgy. Anyway I routed the signal through an outboard compressor/gate using the Id22's send and return and succeeded in achieving the sound that I looking for.

    One thing I do miss about the TonePort/GearBox is the built in tuner. I couldn't find any way of using an onboard tuner. I tried adding one to track's fx rack in the Sonar project but it wouldn't respond to the signal. I don't get why.

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/10/31 04:56:35 (permalink)
    I installed the latest update to the mixer software. Now, whenever I launch it, it defaults to the centre of the main screen and doesn't remember its previous position onscreen when it was last closed. I reported the problem to the Audient helpdesk. They said this was intentional. Their explanation was as follows:

    Yes we did this intentionally. People who use laptops with a second screen can often have problems where they loose the window if they don't have the second monitor connected and they cannot get it back without connecting their second monitor. Not very practical whilst on the road. Therefore the app now opens on the main monitor.

    This seems ridiculous to me. Surely anyone who regularly uses a laptop with a second monitor sometimes attached will have learnt how to rescue an offscreen window, as this will be a common occurrence with lots of software applications. Actually it's quite simple. Just right-click on the taskbar item, select "Move" and use the arrow keys to move the window into view.

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/10/31 19:07:31 (permalink)
    Stability
    I sometimes like to keep a very short section repeating over and over while I tweak settings. With my old Line6 interface, looping a short section would always eventually result in a crash. No such crashes with the Audient. Presumably due to better drivers.
    post edited by Kev999 - 2017/07/29 05:40:48

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/11/20 01:52:21 (permalink)
    UPDATE: CONCLUSIONS SO FAR
    1. As a piece of hardware, the iD22 is a joy to use. I've become very attached to it.
    2. I still haven't got the hang of the mixer software though. I find it confusing. I've read everything about it and watched all the videos, but I still don't get it. Anyway I managed to get it working the way I wanted it, albeit without fully understanding why. It does what I want though, pretty much.
    3. The staff on the online helpdesk are a bit patronising. Shame there is no Audient user forum.

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/07 07:04:39 (permalink)
    Adjusting Latency

    No mention of buffer sizes, just a menu option "Set Latency" in the mixer software. It provides a choice of 6 discrete settings:
    Minimum, Low, Standard, Relaxed, Safe, Extra Safe
    On my system, these equate to values:
    1.8ms, 3.3ms, 6.2ms, 12.3ms, 24.3ms, 48.3ms.

    I like this. It's easy to switch back and forth whenever necessary.
     
    EDIT
    I have found that the lowest setting won't work in large projects, i.e. the audio engine stops. The next one up works fine though.
    post edited by Kev999 - 2017/03/13 00:22:40

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/27 23:34:38 (permalink)
    Preamps
    Finally I've now tried the mic inputs for the first time. I used a brand new SM58. The signal was a bit quiet even with the level control turned up full, but it sounded good. I tried routing the signal through the second preamp at line level. It sounded nicer still. These preamps produce a pleasant smoothing effect when driven a little.
    post edited by Kev999 - 2017/07/29 05:26:51

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    gswitz
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/28 15:31:28 (permalink)
    I have an Audient ASP 880. Similarly, I find the gain to be a little less than some of my other devices turned up to full. That said, it is totally sufficient for digital recording and the range of values available is more appropriate.

    I like this aspect.

    StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
    I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
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    gswitz
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/28 15:39:50 (permalink)
    I'll bet you can do the same with the id22 that I do with my UCX.

    Plug the ADAT out into the ADAT in. Now you can send channels and apply FX and mix together for parallel FX processing in real time.

    StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
    I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/28 17:10:54 (permalink)
    gswitz
    I'll bet you can do the same with the id22 that I do with my UCX.

    Plug the ADAT out into the ADAT in. Now you can send channels and apply FX and mix together for parallel FX processing in real time.

     
    I'll look into that.

    But I believe that I can do parallel processing anyway without involving the digital ins or outs.

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    gswitz
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/29 01:25:03 (permalink)
    Nice... the onboard FX allow you to mix in a percentage of the original track?

    StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
    I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/29 03:31:37 (permalink)
    On the other hand, your idea seems good, as it would enable parallel processing of a stereo signal. With the limited analog ins & outs I can only do it for a mono signal.

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/29 03:34:31 (permalink)
    gswitz
    ...the onboard FX allow you to mix in a percentage of the original track?

     
    The are no onboard effects.

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    gswitz
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2016/12/29 07:56:38 (permalink)
    Ah... well, if you are going through Sonar, you can do anything you like. :-)
     
    For me, I have EQ, Compression, Reverb and Delay all within the RME UCX. I can do parallel EQ (effectively a way to expand or compress the eq settings with faders, changing them all to be more or less grave together moving a fader), or parallel compression on any track or stereo track. I can also stack EQs. 
     
    The RME EQ has 3 bands or nodes that you can use as peak or shelf or high cut. Every eq has an additional low cut. you can copy settings between channels. you can reset any given EQ or compressor. You can save favorites and bring them up in different channels or on different nights.
     
    You can save an entire mix, but re-using it would require you to plug in all the instruments the same way next time.
     
    Anyway, the beauty here is that all this work has really 0 latency. No latency that a human could notice. It would be measured in samples. 
     
    "RME UCX Manual"
    How much Zero is Zero? From a technical view there is no zero. Even the analog pass-through is subject to phase errors, equalling a delay between input and output. However, delays below certain values can subjectively be claimed to be a zero-latency. This applies to analog routing and mixing, and in our opinion also to RME's Zero Latency Monitoring. The term describes the digital path of the audio data from the input of the interface to its output. The digital receiver of the Fireface UCX can't operate un-buffered, and together with TotalMix and the output via the transmitter, it causes a typical delay of 3 samples. At 44.1 kHz this equals about 68 µs (0.000068 s), at 192 kHz only 15 µs. The delay is valid for ADAT and SPDIF in the same way.


    StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
    I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2017/06/02 03:41:20 (permalink)
    Mono button
    One feature that I like is the ability to toggle back and forth from stereo to single-speaker mono by means of a button on the device. I use this a lot.
    post edited by Kev999 - 2017/07/29 05:25:36

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    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2017/07/29 05:24:22 (permalink)
    MORE FOLLOW-UP:

    Power Adapter
    One thing that has been criticised about the iD22 is the tiny power adapter. The manual specifies >1.5A and yet the one that they have supplied is only 1.25A. Some users on Gearslutz consider it to be underpowered and recommend replacing it with a more substantial one. I may consider doing this eventually. (What puts me off replacing it is my recent experience with other replacement power adapters, where the measured voltage was nearly 10% higher than it was supposed to be).

    Phantom Power problem
    The first few times I tried using a condenser mic, the iD22's phantom power was apparently not working. I never got to the bottom of this, but a few weeks later I tested it again and it was working perfectly and there has been no problem with it ever since. Weird!

    Saving presets issue
    Some aspects of the software GUI are not really up to standard. When you save a preset, you don't see a standard dialog box showing the presets folder with existing previous saves. And if you save a file with a filename that already exists it fails to save but gives no indication that it hasn't saved. I reported the problem. They replied saying that they were intending to correct this, but there have been no updates for nearly a year.

    Patronising
    I reported a minor error in the manual. The reply was a bit patronising, implying that I did not understand the terminology. I persisted and the next reply was "Apologies about that, it does appear to be a mistake". All good now.

    Normally I hate it when people use forums for their personal blogs. But in this case I believe that this ongoing review might be helpful to potential iD22 users.

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    #21
    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2017/12/08 05:49:09 (permalink)
    FURTHER UPDATE:
    • The problem with the window not remembering its position was fixed with the next software update.

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    #22
    Leadfoot
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2017/12/09 12:51:40 (permalink)
    Thanks for the update Kev!
    #23
    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/01 04:21:15 (permalink)
    One absent feature that I wish had been included in the iD22 is clock sync. I recently added an 8-channel DAC and an 8-channel preamp/ADC, which are both now connected to the iD22, providing additional outs and ins. Unfortunately the inability to sync their clocks restricts the ways that I can use them together. This is one problem that I never anticipated.
     
    But apparently Audient's new iD44 has this feature.

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    #24
    gswitz
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/01 09:41:13 (permalink)
    Shouldn't you lock on the adat signals? I suppose your other devices have to lock to the Audient and not the other way around.

    Btw, i have a patch bay and love it. Much easier than crawling around on the floor all the time.

    StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
    I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
    #25
    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/01 23:29:15 (permalink)
    gswitz
    Shouldn't you lock on the adat signals? I suppose your other devices have to lock to the Audient and not the other way around.

     
    It would be logical to sync everything to the interface. But, as there is only one piece of equipment (Audient ASP800) in my system that includes a clock sync port and nothing else to connect it to, syncing is not possible.

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    #26
    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/01 23:39:01 (permalink)
    gswitz
    ...Btw, i have a patch bay and love it. Much easier than crawling around on the floor all the time.

     
    Yes, me too. But why mention it here?

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    #27
    gswitz
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/02 14:47:33 (permalink)
    I was mentioning the patch bay because it really helps with my Audient asp 880 and rme ucx interface combo.

    You don't need to connect the clock when using adat light pipe. The sync data is part of the data passed in the adat connection. So your devices will lock together, but your id22 is probably locking to your asp800.

    StudioCat > I use Windows 10 and Sonar Platinum. I have a touch screen.
    I make some videos. This one shows how to do a physical loopback on the RME UCX to get many more equalizer nodes.
    #28
    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/02 23:51:56 (permalink)
    gswitz
    You don't need to connect the clock when using adat light pipe. The sync data is part of the data passed in the adat connection. So your devices will lock together, but your id22 is probably locking to your asp800.

     
    Using the ASP800's inputs for recording is no problem. Neither is using the Aphex 141B DAC for exporting. Using them both together, without the ability to sync their respective DAC and ADC, is the problem. I get clicks in the audio when I do outboard processing, going out through the 141B and back in via the ASP800. The only way to avoid clicks is to bypass the 800's ADC.

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    #29
    Kev999
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    Re: Audient iD22: follow-up 2018/06/02 23:54:07 (permalink)
    gswitz
    I was mentioning the patch bay because it really helps with my Audient asp 880 and rme ucx interface combo.

     
    I have line inputs 1-6 and outs 1-8 of the ASP800 connected to a patchbay. I have 2 xlr mic leads permanently connected to ins 7 & 8.

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    #30
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