2011 Summer NAMM Show Update: The Akai EIE Pro

Akai EIE Pro audio interfaceAkai Professional introduced the new EIE Pro premium digital audio interface and USB hub at the 2011 Summer NAMM show, being held from July 21st – 23rd in Nashville, TN.

The EIE Pro is a tabletop audio/MIDI interface with USB hub built into a retro-tacular case that looks like it’s ready for the battlefield.

This four-in, four-out (4×4) device enables recording at up to 24-bit resolution and sample rates of 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz or 96 kHz into virtually any DAW, recording or performance software on a Mac or PC.

The EIE Pro also houses three USB inputs, in addition to its main USB port, enabling it to connect easily to controllers, hard drives or any other peripheral when native ports on a computer may be limited.

The compact recording audio interface contains high-quality components including nickel-plated input jacks, analog-style VU meters and a rugged aluminum casing.

Each channel of the EIE Pro digital audio interface has a XLR-¼” combo jack, gain-pots and Mic/Line/Guitar switches. The EIE Pro features four discrete-design preamplifiers with 48V phantom power for use with virtually any microphone. Individual ¼” TRS Nickel-plated jacks found on the back of EIE Pro provide you with channel inserts for processing audio signals externally.

Inputs or outputs can be monitored visually with analog VU meters. For quiet tracking and alternative playback, the EIE Pro has a 1/4” TRS headphone output.

The EIE Pro USB audio interface sends and receives four audio channels on a single USB cable for simple, universal interface to a computer. The three additional USB ports allow the EIE Pro to function as a hub as well, bridging other MIDI controllers and hard-drives to the computer. The EIE Pro features traditional MIDI In and Out jacks for playing and controlling software with keyboard and pad controllers, workstations, and other MIDI-compatible instruments.

Pricing and availability are to be announced.

21 thoughts on “2011 Summer NAMM Show Update: The Akai EIE Pro

  1. It's hard to tell how deep it is, but it seems to have a relatively small footprint for a cramped table. I like that it has 3 extra USB ports so it doubles as a USB hub for other MIDI gear. Had they made the front much smaller it would have made control access a little too cramped in my option. With 4in/4out, hi-res, and MIDI i/o, and a decent headphone out, it seems to be a pretty good feature set. My only complaint would be that the rear panel i/o jacks (not pictured above, but elsewhere), are circuit mounted, but not anchored to the chassis. Not a huge deal, but it always bugs me to be jamming cords in & out of jacks that are not attached in any way to the surface.

  2. oh yeah, cool case bro, what kind of pre’s and A/D? “oh i dunno, whatever’s cheap and we can get in quantity from China…”

    1. Yeah… you never see the manufacturers of cheap interfaces discussing these specs in depth. Conversion, Preamps, Drivers, and s/n are the most important aspects of an interface for music… I'd rather have an ugly enclosure than ugly innards.

  3. If this had dropped a month ago, I probably would have bought it. There really aren't enough affordable 4×4 usb-audio interfaces in the market. Instead I ended up having a terrible time at guitar center trying to explain to an all-knowing employee why I needed to go the M-audio route. According to this fine gent, fireware is the only standard for audio interfaces, any pc worth it's salt comes with one, and anything else (even usb 2.0) can't keep up. *shakes head*

  4. In this price bracket, we can hope that these cheap mic pre's are decently quiet, with enough gain for low-level sources. We can hope that the AD/DA have decent sound quality. Hopefully some review will report on that kind of stuff. Those are reasonable questions to ask. At this price point, we can unrealistically HOPE that somehow they will come up with an incredible design that will give us high-dollar sound at a low-dollar price. Once in a while a good balance comes out.

    Does Akai have decent drivers & support?

  5. although i tried,..i could not figure out the difference between the I/O an the PRO version,…
    anyone smarter or with a sharper eye than me here?

  6. Akai's support is not the greatest, and the driver thing concerns me, because the MPC5000's 2 OS's have not fared too well. Owner's call for an OS3 are going largely unnoticed by Akai. They don't have any other driver/software specific products, so the MPC's are really the only indicator of where they are with in house coding.

    Like you said 4×4 at this price definitely makes this worth a look for a lot of people. It will probably be like a lot of interfaces in the $150-$300 range and have mediocre ASIO drivers (usually licensed and adapted), but either those or ASIO4All can get you at least a decent 128 buffer.

  7. But for $199, no one should expect high specs anyway.

    On a side note, since Akai and Alesis (and Numark) are one company now, I'm guessing this interface will be similar to last year's Alesis interfaces in quality… not bad for $200 at all!

  8. meanwhile most consumer PC laptops don't use Texas Instrument firewire cards… which means most FW interfaces don't work as well as USB2 on PC… I used to be a keyz/recording manager @ GC… quit because the new owners turned in into a freakin Wal-Mart.

    They pay too little to employ knowledgeable people nowadays… Demo stuff there n then buy online for less!

  9. My bet is that the driver support will be similar to other Numark company based USB 2.0 products. This will probably use a similar hardware/software solution as the NS7, V7, and NS6.

    As far as MPC5000 support goes, unfortunately, I doubt they sell enough units to warrant spending time on OS updates.

  10. USB 1.0 ????? That would mean that at 16 bit 44.1 I can have one stereo in and no out or 1 mono/1 mono out before hitting the 1.5 Mbit/s celling ! Oh and that would not count anything connected on the USB hub either .
    Hope that is a typo and they mean at least 1.1 which has 12 Mbits/s .
    As it stands now ….
    A stereo recording @ 16 bit /44.1 Khz would require 1.35 Mbit/s and a 16 bit 48.Khz would require 1.46 Mbit/s so we would be left with an interface that had all the limitations of 1998 ?!?

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