Novation Audiohub 2×4 – the perfect Surface Pro 3 audio interface?

Just seen this cool video (below) about the Novation’s new audio interface, the Audiohub 2×4. I’ve always rated Novation’s hardware – I’ve had a Nio 2/4 for years and still use it live so when they put something new out it’s always worth a look. The Audiohub is quite a specific audio interface but the thing that grabs me straight away is the inclusion of a 3 port USB hub. It’s such a simple thing and I’ve always wondered why manufacturers don’t include at the very least a pass-through port. We all use dongles/iLoks/Ignition keys and we often want to plug a MIDI keyboard and controller into the precious few ports on our live performance machines – it’s a complete no brainer to include a USB hub on the side of the audio interface. Akai did it with the EIEI/O a few years ago but I’ve not seen it since. Novation seem to have stumbled upon the idea again though and for the Surface Pro 3 with its one USB port – that’s fabulous!

The actual specs of the device are a little bit too simple. You’ve got stereo in on RCA phono and 4 out, with two outputs mirrored as balanced outputs. You’ve then got volume control over both pairs and a headphone socket that they make a lot of noise about being LOUD. That’s all cool but why do I need 4 outputs again? I can only really connect one audio source to it, two in mono I guess, but there’s no mic or guitar input. They’ve aimed it squarely at the electronic musician who has one external synth – so like in the video with the Bass Station II that’s the perfect setup. It’s just not quite enough for me.

I think the look and concept of the Audiohub is awesome – it really solves a particular problem very well indeed. I feel it could have been a little bit more. Electronic musicians performing live seem to be incorporating more external gear these days – along with the Bass Station we start to find those little Korg boxes and Arturia synths so, you know, maybe 6 inputs would be awesome – it can be on phonos, doesn’t need to suddenly be a 1U rack unit. I’d also include at least one mic preamp and a Hi-z input for guitar – electronic musicians often have singers and you’d want to route them through your software as well. And I really don’t need anything more that a stereo output. So I’d like an Audiohub 6×2 please, with mic/guitar, individual gain/level knobs on top and of course the 3 port USB hub – thank you!

But that’s just me – otherwise it’s potentially a perfect choice for the Surface Pro 3.