NAMM 2019: Is IK Multimedia’s AXE I/O the high-end audio interface guitar players have been waiting for?

NAMM 2019: IK Multimedia has announced the AXE I/O, a high-end audio interface designed for guitarists.

The 2-in/5-out offering features adjustable impedance, easy re-amping via a dedicated amp out, and a range of recording options, including high-end mic preamps and top-of-the-line converters, according to IK.

There’s a choice of Class A PURE and JFET circuits on the main input channel, while there’s a pickup selector for use with active pickups, too.

IK is also bigging up the AXE I/O’s Z-Tone circuit, which allows guitarists to adjust the interface’s input impedance to interact with electric and acoustic pickups in a new way, says IK.

Other features include two PURE discrete Class A mic preamps, a pair of Hi-Z 1/4” inputs, two rear combo inputs with phantom power, four voltage-balanced outputs and a headphones output. There’s even a built-in chromatic tuner.

Guitar and bass players can use the AXE I/O as a controller, too, by plugging in an expression pedal for hands-free control over wah and volume effects in plugins, or MIDI systems for switching via MIDI in/out.

A software control panel allows audio I/O to be selected digitally, as well as enabling users to control gain, meter behaviour and more without touching the physical unit.

And, of course, this being an IK Multimedia product, 150 guitar and outboard effects from AmpliTube and T-RackS are thrown in, too.

There are some novel ideas here, the Z-Tone being a highlight, but we also appreciate the expression capability and built-in tuner, too.

Although it boasts a different feature set, this will face tough competition from the just-announced Sono by Audient and Two Notes, not to mention the rest of the best audio interfaces on the market.

The AXE I/O is available now for $/€349 - head over to IK Multimedia for more info.


NAMM 2019 - all the news

The dust is settling, but our ears are still ringing. You'll find all the stories that counted in our massive news hub. Below, enjoy our findings as we regrouped at the end of the show.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.

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