To find out why the new CI2 interface controller is so popular, we pose some questions to one of the managers at Steinberg HQ…
Steinberg's Advanced Integration technology, which we first saw in the MR816 interfaces and CC121 controller allows for seamless integration with the bundled Cubase software and has taken interfaces into the next generation. Here we catch up with Stefan Schreiber, Product Marketing Manager over at Steinberg, to find out the benefits of the new CI2 interface controller...
What features does the CI2 offer to set it apart from other interfaces on the market?
"It's so much more than just another audio interface. As the name already implies, the CI2 has two sides. Housing both an interface and a controller in one small box, it features quality microphone inputs comprising of balanced XLR/jack combo connectors and top-notch mic preamps. There's phantom power as well as a dedicated high-impedance switch on the first channel for all the guitar players out there! Powered purely via USB connection, the CI2 doesn't require one of those bulky power supply units. Just plug it into your laptop!"
Tell us about the Advanced Integration Technology.
"On the controller side of things, there's the AI knob to control the included Cubase DAW software, employing our Advanced Integration technology. The CI2's build quality and design are outstanding but it's really the Advanced Integration that makes the CI2 truly exceptional in it's class.
"Now, users can control virtually all the main functions of the bundled Cubase software by pointing to any parameter with the mouse and adjusting the control parameters with the AI knob on the CI2 console. This results in a uniquely efficient workflow, allowing users to fly through any production, no matter how big. It's all about AI technology interlinking the hardware with our software."
Is the bundled Cubase software as good as the full program?
"CI2 includes the Cubase AI 5 software which is based on the same core technologies as our Cubase 5 advanced music production system. Put it together with the CI2 and Cubase AI 5 provides a full system solution for recording music in studio quality."
So, what are your favourite features of the bundled software?
"There's the Project Assistant, which provides a wealth of ready-made templates for different styles and scopes of application. This feature is useful, especially for beginners. Start up Cubase AI 5, hit the AI Knob and browse the list of templates to create a preconfigured project with all the necessary number of tracks, audio input and output routings, all effects and sounds...it's that easy!
"Cubase AI 5 also comes with many plug-ins such as the insane AmpSimulator. Together with the ToneBooster, guitarists will find plenty of quality sounds to work with. Not to forget, our Interactive Recording functionality; while playing an instrument, this allows hands-free recording with an optional footswitch or the Action Pad on the CI2.
"I'm pretty confident in saying that anyone doing music on a laptop really shouldn't be without a CI2 interface controller!"
MORE AI PRODUCTS...
The CI2 isn't the only Steinberg box with Advanced Integration technology. You will also find it in the following:
CI2+: The step-up from the CI2, which ships with Cubase Essential 5.
CC121: This bus-powered desktop controller has 12 rotary encoders, a 100mm touch-sensitive fader, a 'bypass/mode' button and dedicated controls for Cubase channel settings.
MR816 X & MR816 CSX: These rackmount FireWire interfaces have eight analogue ins, ADAT, S/PDIF, eight Class A mic preamps and DSP effects power (reverb only for the MR816 X).