New York, NY (April 5, 2021)—A mainstay of the UK pro audio scene since the late 1990s, Audient is well-known and respected for its consoles, mic pres, monitor controllers and audio interfaces. While it has offered its high-end iD series of interfaces for some time, the company experimented a few years ago with its specialized Sono guitar interface, which has been adopted by more than a few rockers in the studio and at home. It’s easy to picture that success having laid the groundwork for Audient’s EVO line of audio interfaces—a more affordable and accessible offering aimed squarely at podcasters, home recording enthusiasts, content creators, the work-from-home crowd, voiceover artists, streamers and so on. First introduced in early 2020, the EVO line now consists of the EVO 4 2-in/2-out interface; EVO 8 4-in/4-out interface; and what we’re reviewing today—the EVO Start Recording Bundle.
The EVO Start Recording Bundle brings together an EVO 4 interface, EVO SR2000 headphones, an EVO SR1 condenser mic, a shock mount, a USB-C to USB-A cable and an 8’ XLR cable, all for an MSRP of US $249. Working alongside this on the computer side are two programs—EVO Control, which is essentially an on-screen version of the EVO 4’s hardware controls, and EVO Loop-Back Mixer, enabling you to combine audio sources and route them between software programs. Both apps are available in Windows and MacOS formats, and are readily downloaded along with appropriate drivers from the EVO website. The bundle can also be used with iOS devices if you have the proper (though not included) cabling.
Everything is safely packaged in a short, wide box roughly the size of a 1970s turntable; open it up and the bundle is invitingly presented and ready for an intuitive set-up, though a look through the one-page quick start guide will undoubtedly help (and downloading the full user guide will help even more). The whole kit is intended to be as plug-and-play as possible, and while it means things are kept simple, that’s fine—the first-timer can proceed with confidence and the seasoned pro can just set it up fast and move on to the next chore.
EVO 4 INTERFACE
The EVO 4 is a sleek piece of hardware about the size of a soda can on its side, making it very portable. The front features a ¼” DI input and ¼” headphone output, while the back sports a pair of XLR/TRS combi input jacks, two TRS output jacks for monitor speakers and a USB-C port that connects the interface to your computer and also provides power to the unit.
On top are a rotary knob and six buttons, all of which do only one thing. Too often these days, minimalist-looking products like the EVO 4 have multi-function buttons that are obliquely labeled, making them difficult to use to their full potential. Sacrificing usability on the altar of product design is always a poor tradeoff, and thankfully Audient didn’t make that mistake.
On the left is a 48V Phantom Power button that lights up when you’re sending power to a mic, along with Input 1 & 2 buttons—press one, spin the rotary knob and you can set the gain on your input source. Alternately, you can use the EVO’s ‘Smartgain’ feature: Hit the green button, press which input it should be paying attention to, hit the green button again and perform. The interface will automatically set the gain for that input.
On the right side is a Monitor Mix button—when activated, you can use the knob to dial in your own personal sweet spot between output from your computer and zero-latency audio from your inputs. Lastly, there’s the Volume Control button which is simply volume on your headphones or monitor speakers. Inside the interface are Audient’s EVO mic preamps, which provide 58 dB of gain range, and converters sporting 113 dB of dynamic range.
EVO SR2000 HEADPHONES and EVO SR1 CONDENSER MIC
Both of these are first-time products from Audient, and are only available with the bundle. That said, they’re pretty solid as far as entry-level gear goes, and should not be dismissed as “mere value-adds” to get you to purchase an EVO 4; no, they get the job done. The around-ear headphones are lightweight and comfortable enough for extended use, though the pads’ spaces for your ears are a little smaller than I’d personally like. It didn’t make them unwearable, but it’s worth noting. Sound-wise, they give content creators what they need to work with, do a fair job of dampening outside sounds and offer a frequency response of 15 Hz to 22 kHz.
Meanwhile, the microphone is a fixed cardioid pattern large diaphragm condenser that offers a 20 Hz – 18 kHz frequency response. With some appropriate mic technique and a pop filter (which would’ve been nice if one was included, but so be it), it captures a very usable sound, particularly for spoken-word work. For the price range, it offers respectable quality and is an obvious step up from the sub-$125 USB mics typically aimed at this market segment. The shock mount, by the way, is pleasingly rock solid.
With a name like “EVO Start Recording Bundle,” this isn’t aimed at Audient’s typically high-end customers, but it is perfect for beginners as well as pros who need some less expensive but still dependable gear that they can throw together quickly for their uses. For people recording for the first time, the bundle includes everything they need, but far more importantly, it helps them get good-sounding results (something that can be frustratingly difficult to accomplish when you’re starting out and learning on your own). As a new recordist’s talents blossom, so will the bundle’s features, particularly the sound quality of the interface. The Audient EVO Start Recording Bundle easily lives up to its name.
Audient EVO • https://evo.audio/