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Audient EVO 4 Review: 4 reasons to buy and 1 not to

When I got a bit more serious with music early this year, I contemplated buying an audio interface and even came up with an algorithm to decide whether I needed one. At the time I concluded that there isn’t much having an audio interface would improve for me and postponed the purchase.

Last month I revisited this decision as I wanted to get a pair of studio monitors and, while it still would be possible to make do with no audio interface, the reasons for having one outweighed the arguments for skipping it once again.

I’d still mostly use it for outputs, as I don’t record any live instruments and I still have a USB microphone (though I plan to upgrade it at some point). So my options would come from the entry-level segment with 1–2 inputs, monitors and headphones outputs.

After some research I narrowed my options to 2.5 options (affiliate links):

  1. Focusrite Scarlett Solo — just because it’s the most popular;
  2. PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 or Studio 24C — because I use Studio One and it ticks all the boxes (and a bit more).

Scarlett Solo was sold out at the time in all the reasonable places so it left me with a decision on whether slightly newer and improved PreSonus interface was worth a ~$60 premium over the AudioBox.

While researching this dilemma I stumbled upon several reviews of Audient EVO 4, liked what I saw and made an off-character for me impulse purchase. I even made a TikTok about it.

So, after having it for about a month I think I’m ready to cover the reasons for this purchase that turned out to be true.

Note: It’s universally agreed by reviewers that the sound quality characteristics of EVO 4 are really good in this price segment and I’m in no position to judge that, so if you are expecting a review of the “sound”, you should look elsewhere.

Reason 1. Ergonomics

This is, obviously, subjective but the layout of EVO 4 makes more sense to me than that of Focusrite or PreSonus interfaces: inputs and monitor outputs on the back, headphones on the front, controls on top.

PreSonus has the weirdest layout in my opinion — headphones on the back, huh? Both Focurite and PreSonus have controls on the front panel which, unless you stuff the interface into some cavity, is less convenient than having them on the top, in my humble opinion.

Reason 2. “Digital” knob

The gain knob on top of the EVO 4 is a “controller” and not a direct amplifier handle. I have a few devices that have knobs that control volume directly and all of them started to crackle and/or behave weirdly after a couple of years. In theory, this shouldn’t happen with the one on the EVO.

Additionally, this also means that when you control volume on your computer it controls the volume on your interface and the two are not separate. I’m not sure how this works on other modern interfaces but, as far as I remember, this wasn’t the case on an M-Audio I had years ago.

Some reviewers complained about the fact the knob moves in “steps” and not in continuous fluid movement. I don’t see a problem in this as it’s not limited to one 360-degrees circle — getting from 0 to 100 on a PC takes about two full turns. So I think there’s enough precision as it is.

Others complained that there’s only one knob and you have to switch “modes” to change what it controls. I can see how this could be a problem when you want to adjust multiple things on the fly while, say, recording a podcast but:

  1. not a very realistic scenario for me;
  2. you can control all of these independently in EVO Control panel:

Reason 3. Bundled software

This is obviously subjective and depends on what you use and/or want to use. But hardware (Focusrite in this case) bundled with Ableton Live Lite is a bit long in the tooth by now, and I already use Studio One Pro so not much use for Studio One Artist bundled with PreSonus interfaces either.

EVO comes with Cubase LE and a bunch of other stuff: Retrologue and other synths, 1gb Audient sample pack on Loopcloud, mixing tutorials and more.

I don’t plan on switching to Cubase but having it around (even if in a limited version) is quite nice.

Reason 4. Loopback

EVO 4 comes with bundled native loopback support. This means that you can easily route your computer audio for streaming and mix it with mic input, etc. Or, purely theoretically (wink), record from Spotify straight into your DAW.

Overall, I’m happy with the purchase and would be totally happy if not one major design flaw they tout as a feature…

Reason not to buy: Headphones mute monitors.

If you plug your headphones in it mutes the monitors and the only way to hear through your monitors again is to unplug the headphones. If you switch between monitors and headphones often this is probably a big enough reason to look elsewhere.

Luckily for me, I mostly work in headphones and switch only occasionally so this isn’t a huge deal. Still annoying, though. The same probably true if you mostly work on monitors and rarely use headphones. But if you use both all the time I can imagine this could drive you mad.

I reached out to Audient support in hopes this could be addressed in a future firmware update but, as I suspected, they confirmed that this is hardwired in hardware and can’t be changed.

It’s up to you to decide whether this is an important enough handicap for you to look past EVO 4 or whether the positives I outlined above outweigh this shortcoming.

If you do decide to buy though, and you do it on Amazon or Thomann, you can use my Amazon affiliate link or my Thomann affiliate link, so I get a few cents for writing this up ;)

And follow me on TikTok (@ailonid) for some music production related tips.

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Alan Mendelevich

Alan Mendelevich

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I run AdDuplex - a cross-promotion network for Windows apps. Blog at https://blog.ailon.org. Author of "Conferences for Introverts"