The TerraTec Phase X24 FW is a beefed-up version of the Phase 24 portable FireWire audio interface, which provides far more in the way of functionality than its lower-spec sibling.
The Phase X24 is notably larger than the standard model. This, in part, is because it has to accommodate the two Neutrik mic/instrument inputs that sit shoulder to shoulder at the front of the unit. Each of these has a corresponding gain pot and can be individually phantom powered. You´ll also find a number of tiny LEDs - there are two to the side of each gain pot to indicate an input signal and clipping.
Further along the silvery fascia are the master output and headphone controls and the 1/4¨ jack headphone output. This connection-packed panel is in stark contrast to the Phase 24´s bare frontage. The X24´s rear panel is even busier. It plays host to two balanced inputs and four balanced outputs - main and monitor - all of which are on 1/4" jacks.
There are also two insert inputs that come pre-A/D converter, plus optical and MIDI I/O ports (the standard Phase 24 FW has these on a D-connector and loom), two FireWire ports and a DC power-in socket (a mains adapter comes supplied).
Installing the interface is simple: load the drivers from CD and then connect it up to your PC when prompted. We were up and running in less than 30 seconds.
The master output port is of the digital rotary encoder variety and has a push function. This means that it can be used to control the main and monitor output levels individually or simultaneously. Current status is demonstrated using another two LEDs, and outputs can be muted by pushing and holding the rotary control. This is great for when you want to switch between sets of speakers.
The mic recordings we made through the unit were full of clarity and exhibited a distinct lack of noise - the converters go all the way up to 24-bit/ 192kHz and sound great.
Whether you´re a mobile performer/ recorder or work exclusively in the studio, the Phase X24 FW is an excellent choice. The metal casing is very solid, the preamps are pristine and the specs impressive. If you´re after an easy-to-use interface that sounds fantastic, give this a go.