Miglia Technology, makers of the popular Director’s Cut video digitizer, has entered the audio market with their latest product, HarmonyAudio.
HarmonyAudio is a 2-in/8-out FireWire audio interface that enables you to capture and output high-quality audio at up to 24bit/96KHz. Designed for use with software such as GarageBand or Logic Express, no installation is required other than to plug the FireWire connector into your Mac and select HarmonyAudio as the input/output device in the Audio Preferences for your Core Audio application software. Housed in a compact, brushed-aluminium case, this device looks perfectly in keeping with the current range of G5 computers. Powered by the FireWire interface, it does not require an external power supply to function.
On the front panel you will find inputs and controls for the two input channels and a 3.5mm output jack and an associated rotary gain control to let you hook up a set of headphones to check that the sound is coming through OK. Each input channel has a 1/4in jack socket and a volume control that can be used to connect an electric instrument, such as a guitar or keyboard, a microphone, or some other analogue audio device. To the right of each jack socket, a push-button switch lets you select the impedance level of the input. Microphones typically work best with the low-impedance setting, while guitars and keyboards usually work best with the high-impedance setting.
Each input also has a button to control the SoftClip feature and an associated LED to indicate SoftClip activity. SoftClip is a type of compressor/limiter that helps to prevent digital clipping while you are recording. It is always on – which is an advantage for those who are inexperienced with audio and a disadvantage for the more experienced, who may prefer to control the audio levels elsewhere or to set these more carefully to avoid distortion.
On the back panel there are two FireWire ports – one to connect HarmonyAudio to a Mac and the other to daisy-chain other FireWire devices. Four 3.5mm stereo jack sockets carry line-level output pairs 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, and 7 & 8. There is also a stereo line-level 3.5mm input socket with two knobs to let you trim the left- and right-channel input levels. This input can be used to hook up a cassette player, MP3 player, radio tuner or any other analogue audio device. Unfortunately, you cannot use the front-panel instrument/microphone inputs at the same time as using these stereo line inputs.
HarmonyAudio is more flexible than similarly priced audio interfaces that only have two or four outputs. Having eight outputs means that you can feed the output to a surround-sound system with up to 7.1 channels or to an audio mixer or other audio destinations. Shame about the 3.5mm output jacks though – these are only suitable for occasional hobbyist use. It’s better to pay a higher price for more robust hardware, in my opinion.