IK Multimedia AXE I/O Premium Audio Interface

IK Multimedia

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Product Overview

Premium audio interface with advanced guitar tone shaping
The audio interface guitar players were waiting for

Since IK Multimedia pioneered guitar amp & effects modeling in 2002, they have spent more time studying guitar and amp recording than possibly anyone else on the planet. Modeling over 400 pieces of gear has required tens of thousands of hours painstakingly measuring the interactions between instruments, pickups and amplifier circuits, not to mention the cooperation of the world’s most iconic guitar players, amplifier manufacturers, and engineers to learn how to create and capture great guitar tones.

AXE I/O brings all that experience to you.

AXE I/O is a professional 2 in/5 out audio interface – and controller - designed specifically with the needs of the recording guitarist in mind, providing best-in-class sound quality and powerful features aimed squarely at making your recordings faster, easier and better than ever.

AXE I/O offers an exclusive triple-topology, fully discrete input circuit, with both PURE and JFET input stages, to go from transparent to tube-like with just a single switch.

Its patent-pending Z-Tone® impedance-adapting circuit interacts with your guitar's pick-ups to give you a massive range of tonal flexibility, you’ve never heard before.

Plus AXE I/O includes a dedicated Amp Out, so you can process your recording with real guitar amps and stomps without the need for external accessories (and without having to unplug your existing connections!). This low-noise out also eliminates ground loops, to keep even the highest-gain re-amplification as quiet as possible.

And AXE I/O seamlessly integrates with the included AmpliTube 4 Deluxe to select presets and control values via the front input knob, and lets you connect pedals and switches to get the most from your virtual rig without ever taking your hands off your axe.

IK Multimedia even included an onboard tuner so you can be ready to record in an instant whenever inspiration strikes.

Every element of AXE I/O has been created with no-compromise quality and real-world usefulness.

It’s the interface we wish we’d had all along.

A truly high-end audio interface for everybody
117 dB dynamic range, 3 Hz – 32 kHz frequency response – these aren’t the specs you typically find on instrument inputs. But they’re essential to capturing the most accurate details of your performance, for coaxing the best performance from your instrument, and for keeping your sound pure and transparent.

AXE I/O provides 2 Hi-Z front ¼" inputs for guitars and basses, 2 rear combo inputs with phantom power to connect mics and line instruments, and clear precision front peak meters to conveniently monitor the signal level at the channels input. Two floating balanced outputs, two unbalanced and one floating unbalanced Amp out plus a high-current headphone out let you connect monitors, mains and headphones, with independent volume for both. A Monitor knob makes it easy to blend direct monitoring and the audio from your computer for zero latency monitoring.

24-bit, 192 kHz conversion and an ultra-stable, low jitter internal clock ensures the highest fidelity, whether you’re capturing vocals, acoustic instruments, amplified guitar or just direct signal for use with AmpliTube.

But that’s just scratching the surface.

Your guitar’s golden channel
AXE I/O’s main channel offers 3 different circuit topologies – that means you have 3 different options to adapt to any type of guitar, pick-up and style so you can always dial in the perfect tone from any instrument.

PURE: a completely transparent and ultra-accurate instrument preamp that won’t color your sound in any way.
JFET: a Class A JFET input buffer to add subtle harmonic enhancement. A slight midrange focus adds warmth, giving you more tonal options from the same instrument.
ACTIVE: bypasses unnecessary gain stages when using active pick-ups, to keep your signal path as direct, transparent and clean as possible.

All three stages offer 117 dB dynamic range to ensure the cleanest signal. And the 3 Hz – 32 kHz frequency response preserves the full sonic impact of your instrument. Unlike the 20 Hz bass response in budget interfaces, AXE I/O captures the full impact of even the deepest bass and won’t artificially cut off sounds above 20 kHz.

Tone and feel like you’ve never heard
Guitar pickups can dramatically change their character depending on the impedance of your preamp. Many guitar amps offer a load of 1 MOhms, while pedals can run much lower. That’s why the tone and responsiveness of your guitar can change so much when plugging into different gear.

AXE I/O’s patent pending Z-TONE® circuit lets you dial in impedance from 1 MOhm (“sharp”) down to 2.2 kOhms (“bold”) that interacts with your pick-ups.

At the maximum impedance, you’ll find your sound tighter, sharper and more precise. Increase the load and the sound becomes more thick and bold.

You’ll quickly find yourself using this to give your guitars even more sonic character – with just a few minutes’ experimentation you can dial in a sound that fits the mix beautifully,
as if it's been EQ’d.

PURE mic preamps for transparent recording
When it comes to recording with microphones, AXE I/O offers two PURE mic preamps designed for transparent and clean recording.

These mic pres offer a wide, flat frequency response: 5 Hz to 32 kHz, ± 0.5 dB (at 96 kHz) to avoid unwanted coloration and perfectly preserve the sonic character of your acoustic guitar, piano or other instrument, and maintain the signature of whichever mics you connect.

They offer 116 dB of dynamic range, for ultra-quiet sound perfect for recording even the most delicate instruments, but make it easy to also pull back and record the loudest amp stack.

Re-amplification made easier than ever
Many guitarists have tried to integrate their amps and stomps with recording setups only to discover it’s not an easy task! You used to need a DI box, a ground loop interrupter to prevent buzz and hum, and still have to constantly dis-connect and re-connect every time you switch between recording direct and recording your amp.

AXE I/O makes this all easier than ever with its Amp Out. It features a dedicated ground-isolated low noise ¼” output right on the front panel for easy access.

Just record a track with a clean copy of your guitar’s signal. Now you can use the Amp out to experiment with different amp, stompbox and microphone settings, or swap out a whole new rig!

AXE I/O offers a simple, streamlined re-amplification setup in a single box, to save you time, money and energy and open up unlimited sonic flexibility for all your guitar recordings.

Seamless AmpliTube integration - and more
For those who prefer in-the-box modeling, AXE I/O also offers a range of useful features.

First, a Preset knob lets you quickly and easily scroll through AmpliTube presets. Just push the knob to select and load one. You can find the perfect preset without ever having to grab a mouse. And if you use any other software, the Preset knob can be freely assigned to any CC so you can have direct control of your preferred virtual rig.

Second, two dedicated controller inputs let you connect up to two expression pedals or two single/double switches to control AmpliTube, or any other software, in real-time while playing. With AmpliTube’s MIDI Learn function, just right-click on any parameter you want to control, move the pedal, and it’s assigned. You can do up to 6 different controller configurations with AXE I/O, mixing pedals and switches, to suit your needs.

You can also use AXE I/O’s MIDI input and output to connect floor controllers or iRig Stomp I/O to add even more real-time controls - or use it with regular keyboards and other standard MIDI gear. There’s also a dedicated tuner on the front panel, making it easier to tune in between takes.

And IK Multimedia worked hard to ensure AXE I/O offers minimal latency, giving you the tightest response and feel while tracking.

Advanced digital control & routing
AXE I/O also includes a powerful, convenient Control Panel application to manage inputs & outputs, assign routing & controller inputs.

In the INTERFACE tab, you can view the active inputs, enable phantom power and control the ground lift to dial in the least noise for your setup. Adjust output volume, direct monitoring routing, select the sample rate and more.

The CONTROLLER tab gives you control over the preset knob and 2 controller inputs. Set behavior, MIDI channel, MIDI CC #, minimum and maximum values, and more, to dial in the best settings for whatever application you want to control.

The AXE I/O Control Panel lets you keep focused on your work, instead of adjusting settings on the unit itself, for a faster, freer workflow.

A full-blown analog in-the-box studio – out of the box
AXE I/O offers a massive bundle of over $/€1,000 of software and plug-ins, so you have everything you need to track, mix and master your music right out of the box.

The included AmpliTube 4 Deluxe offers over 140 ultra-accurate models of guitar and bass amps, cabs, pedals, mics and more.

You get:

  • 33 Stompbox models including: Acoustic Sim, Chorus, Flanger, Opto Tremolo, Delay, Wah Pedal, Diode Overdrive, Compressor, Graphic EQ and more
  • 25 Amplifiers including: American Tube Clean 1, British Tube Lead 1, Solid State Bass Preamp, Jazz Amp 120 plus 5 all new classic British amps and more
  • 29 Cabinets including: 4x12 Brit 8000, 4x12 Brit 9000, 4x12 Red Pig, 4x12 Brit Silver, 4x10 Open Vintage, 2x12 Closed Vintage, 4x12 Closed Vintage 1 and more
  • 29 Vintage and modern individual speaker models
  • 12 Microphones including: Double Dynamic 57, Dynamic 57, Condenser 414, Condenser 87 and more
  • 15 Rack effects units including: Digital Delay, Parametric EQ, Rotary Speaker and more
  • 2 Tuners: UltraTuner plus a fully chromatic rack tuner

You’ll also receive a selection of 10 of their most popular and best sounding T-RackS 5 processors, covering the most popular outboard gear for mixing guitar, bass, vocals and any other instrument, and mastering full tracks with a world-class sound.

You get:

  • Vintage Compressor / Limiter Model 670 Vari-Mu Compressor/Limiter
  • EQP-1A Vintage Tube Program Equalizer classic analog tube-based EQ
  • White 2A Leveling Amplifier Tube opto-compressor/limiter
  • Black 76 Limiting Amplifier FET compressor/limiter
  • White Channel modern channel strip
  • Mic Room Microphone modeling module
  • Tape Echo Vintage tape delay
  • De-Esser Multi-band De-Esser
  • CSR Room Acoustic Room Reverb
  • ONE all-in-one mastering processor
  • AXE I/O also includes Ableton Live 10 Lite, a fresh and easy way to write music, record audio and produce your own songs.



  • 2 in / 5 out (one low-noise Amp out)
  • 2 ultra-low noise mic in/balanced line in
  • Triple topology guitar input with Z-TONE®
  • 2 balanced monitor out / 2 line out
  • Reference headphones out
  • 2 fully configurable external control input
  • MIDI input/output
  • USB 2.0 compatible with Mac/PC

Best-in-class guitar tone

  • Selectable Active/Passive/discrete JFET/Pure instrument preamp
  • Patent pending Z-TONE® input for a tonal palette never heard before
  • Amp out can connect to amps and stomps without ground noise
  • Connect up to 2 expression pedals, single and double-switches
  • Fully assignable data-knob – for AmpliTube preset browsing and more
  • Built-in Tuner
  • Rugged/compact metal housing
  • Includes AmpliTube 4 Deluxe

Premium studio sound

  • High-resolution ultra low-noise Class A microphone preamps
  • Best-in-class conversion and superior analog design
  • Asynchronous USB audio, ultra low conversion jitters for premium quality
  • 117dB dynamic range
  • Includes control software
  • Up to 192 kHz sampling rate
  • Includes 10 T-RackS high-end plug-ins and Ableton Live 10 Lite

AXE I/O Specifications


  • Conversion: 24-bit A/D, 24-bit D/A
  • Sampling Rate: 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz
  • Power: DC IN
  • Device Connection: USB B-Type 2.0
  • Enclosure: metal sheet

Line Outputs 1-2 (Monitor)

  • Configuration: Electronically balanced and floating, automatically compensates level when connection is balanced or unbalanced, tip hot.
  • Output impedance: 150 Ohms balanced, 75 Ohms unbalanced
  • Output Level: 0 dBFS corresponds to +21 dBu
  • Frequency response: From 3 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 116 dB(A)
  • THD+N: -106 dB(A) at -1 dBFS
  • Channels 1-2 crosstalk: 115 dB(A)

Line Outputs 3-4

  • Configuration: Unbalanced
  • Output impedance: 75 Ohms
  • Output Level: 0 dBFS corresponds to +16 dBu
  • Frequency response: From 3 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 115 dB(A)
  • THD+N: -102 dB(A)
  • Channels 3-4 crosstalk: 112 dB(A)

Output 5 (Amp output)

  • Configuration: Unbalanced, floating, with selectable ground lift
  • Output impedance: 100 Ohms
  • Output Level: 0 dBFS corresponds to -6 dBu
  • Frequency response: From 10 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 110 dB(A)
  • THD+N: -104 dB(A)

Headphones Out

  • Output impedance: Virtually ideal source (zero Ohms) until clipping
  • Maximum Output level: +12 dBu into 50 Ohms load (approx 180 mW)
  • Frequency response: From 3 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 112 dB(A)
  • THD+N: -100 dB(A)

Mic Inputs 1-2

  • Configuration: Class-A discrete differential microphone preamp, pin 2 hot
  • Input impedance: 4 kOhms differential
  • Input level, min gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a +12 dBu signal at the XLR input
  • Input level, max gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a -37 dBu signal at the XLR input
  • Frequency response: From 5 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 116 dB(A)
  • THD+N: -106 dB(A) at -10 dBFS

Line Inputs 1-2

  • Configuration: Class-A discrete differential line receiver, tip hot
  • Input impedance: 20 kOhms differential
  • Input level, min gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a +26 dBu signal at the TRS input
  • Input level, max gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a -24 dBu signal at the TRS input
  • Frequency response: From 5 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 116 dB(A)
  • THD+N: -106 dB(A) at -10 dBFS

Instrument Inputs 1

  • Configuration: Multiple topology instrument preamp
  • Input impedance, PASSIVE mode: Variable from 1 MOhms down to 2.2 kOhms
  • Input impedance, ACTIVE mode: 10 kOhms
  • Input level, min gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a +14 dBu signal at the TS input
  • Input level, max gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a -17 dBu signal at the TS input
  • Frequency response: From 3 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 117 dB(A)
  • THD, PURE mode: 0.0015 %
  • THD, JFET mode: 0.5 %

Instrument Inputs 2

  • Configuration: Hi-Z instrument preamp
  • Input impedance: 1 MOhms
  • Input level, min gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a +14 dBu signal at the TS input
  • Input level, max gain: 0 dBFS is obtained with a -17 dBu signal at the TS input
  • Frequency response: From 3 Hz to 32 kHz within 0.5 dB (96 kHz sample rate)
  • Dynamic Range: 117 dB(A)
  • THD: 0.006%

Connections and Controls

Front Panel

  • Two 1/4" instrument input jacks
  • Two analog potentiometers for Input GAIN
  • Two 5 segments input level meter (peak)
  • Analog potentiometers for Z-Tone control
  • Pick-Up selector (PASSIVE/ACTIVE)
  • Preamp topology selector (JFET/PURE)
  • +48V phantom power switch
  • Tuner switch
  • Tuner display and LEDs
  • push-encoder for Presets
  • Monitor knob
  • 1/4" headphones output jack
  • Master potentiometer for main output control
  • 1/4" Amp output jack

Rear Panel

  • On/Off power switch
  • External DC power input
  • MIDI I/O 5-pin DIN connectors
  • B-Type USB socket for connecting a computer (Mac/PC)
  • 2 x 1/4" TRS External controllers sockets
  • 2 x 1/4" TRS Balanced floating line outputs
  • 2 x 1/4" TRS Unbalanced line outputs
  • 2 Combo sockets for MIC input and Instrument input (auto selecting)

Package includes

  • AXE I/O
  • USB A-Type to USB B-Type connection cable (1.5m/4.32ft)
  • DC power supply


  • Size: 23.8cm/9.37" x 21.1cm/8.31" x 5.3cm/2.09"
  • Weight: 1.3kg/2.9lb


64-bit application. Requires a 64 bit CPU and Operating System.

Mac® (64-bits)
Minimal: macOS 10.11 or later. One free USB port.

Windows® (64-bits)
Minimal: Windows 7 or later. One free USB port.

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