iAXE 393 USB Guitar|
Rockers delight or bonfire fodder?
Let There Be Rock
Guitars with USB interfaces aren't a new thing, however ones from Behringer certainly are and can only mean one thing - the price will be hot...
I certainly wasn't expecting to see one here at Sonic Towers, but Behringer sent us one so I thought it was worth a look. The iAXE 393 is a computer guitar package in a box, with pretty much everything you need to get rocking (or at least that's what I'm told - I'm not much of a guitarist)
So, what's in the box? The iAXE 393 is a Stratocaster style guitar, with three pickups, five way switch, volume and tone controls. It functions as a real guitar too and has the standard jack output. In fact everything is as you'd expect with a budget guitar - Dave, our guitarist for today said it's actually a pretty reasonable one - just needs a bit of a tweak here and there, intonation, truss rod etc - something your local guitar boffin could sort out for a you. What makes the difference is the built-in USB audio interface. Located on the bottom edge - unfortunately making putting the guitar down in a hurry a problem as the USB cable (provided) sticks out the bottom, and probably wont take kindly to being thrust onto the floor when mum calls you down for tea - as Dave put it.
Operation is very simple - plug the USB cable (provided) into your 'puter and if you have XP or OS X, and being class compliant, it will make itself available as a sound device- it would be nice if the unit described itself as an iAXE rather than the USB Audio Codec that it does on my Mac. Particularly confusing if you also happen to have another Behringer USB audio inteface plugged in, as I do which brings me to another point - although it could work as your only sound card - to monitor, you'll need to take the headphone out from the guitar an plug it into your monitor system - unless of course you have a second sound card. If so, you can just set the input device of your software to the iAXE and the output, to your usual sound card.
I checked the iAXE out on my MacBook Pro with GarageBand and was immediately able to call up an audio track, put various guitar effect plug-ins across it and wig out in realtime - there's even a collection of plectrums in the box as well as a strap, whammy bar and hex keys for adjustments.
If that wasn't enough, you also get a special Behringer version of Native Instruments Guitar Combos. There are three to choose from, your mission is to decide which one you like best, you then enter a promo code on the NI site and activate one of them - only one remember.
You then have all the fun and detail of NI's excellent amp and effects at your fingertips. One thing to note though - this only works in standalone mode and cannot be used as a real-time plug-in within your sequencer of choice - you'll need to upgrade to the real thing for that - or use the built-in plugs your recording software has (if any). BUT, there is a built in tape recorder function inside the Combo software that allows you to record your own loops or import wav files etc so you can either play along with your own track or someone elses.
As we keep finding these days, Behringer make it so hard to find fault with such a low price. And this is low - at 93UKP, $149.99 and 143 euros, complaints are hard to justify, but Dave says - the strap is too short - there, oh, and the USB cable sticks out the bottom.
The only real sand in the sandwich is not having the ability to run the NI Guitar Combos as a plug-in. If that were possible, then this would truly rock.
Thanks for the review of the iAxe393 USB Guitar - it helped persuade me that I needed one. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get any sound out of the headphone socket on mine. The excellent Dolphin Music were very quick to ship out a replacement, but this has the same problem. I can hear the metronome and sample loops from NI, but not the guitar itself. I'm suing a Mac computer, and wondered if you had any problems like this when you did the review. Anybody else have this problem? Or better still, a solution?
01-Mar-07 07:29 AM
Ooops, Excuse the Freudian slip - I meant USING a Mac computer ;-)
01-Mar-07 07:32 AM
yup...i did...and the answer is...plug in the headphones to you guitar ;) The computer sintetizes the sound but doens't output them...plug headphones to the guitar.
08-Jun-07 07:37 PM
Another possibility: you may need to turn up the "input volume" in the software amps. I needed to when I used the small headphone-jack external amplifier (now included, apparently the reviewed ones didn't have this) with my black iAXE.
11-Dec-07 10:51 PM
11-Dec-07 10:51 PM
David B Said...
I've had this iAxe 393 guitar for only two months and it's broken! I can't help but think I should've seen this coming. I took care of it, and it breaks! The USB component of it no longer is functional, as it is not recognized by any system. This fucking sucks! I hope they corrected this bullcrap before releasing the iAxe 693 and 694!
11-Oct-08 01:42 PM
If the guitar is not recognized by the system, just reinstall the drivers. You can get the latest from Behringer's website.
19-Jan-09 12:27 PM