Sonuus i2M Musicport Review | Larry H.
This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. Sonuus’s i2M Musicport instrument to computer interface converts monophonic musical pitch to MIDI messages. The Musicport is about the size of a USB key and contains a ¼-inch in-line jack on one end and a USB adapter on the other (jack-to-USB). It’s designed for use with guitar and bass, but can be used with other instruments as well. In short, the Sonuus i2M records 16-bit, 44.1kHz (CD quality) and 48kHz (DVD quality) digital audio into your audio application or DAW of choice. The i2M’s high impendence (Hi-Z) audio input circuit ensures that your tone won’t degrade. With the i2M, you have the freedom to use any instrument as a MIDI instrument.
Okay, so how does it work? I used my trusty Fender Squire and connected the bass through the ¼-inch jack. The preamp captured the details of my playing – tonality, pitch, timbre, note velocity, vibrato, pitch bends, nuance – and sent it as MIDI data to the included Musicport software very quickly. There was a little bit of latency, as expected when pitch is converted to MIDI data, but the latency is really minimal. The output sound was pretty much on point without the need for pickups or special instruments. Strummed notes sounded strummed with no degradation. Slaps sounded like slap and picked notes sounded picked. And it fits right in your pocket! I’m really impressed by this thing.
The Sonuus i2M can be used for vocals as well if you have a ¼-inch microphone. I have a really, really inexpensive Radio Shack ¼-inch microphone, but I did use the i2M to capture vocals as well and ran them into the workstation software. I’m no singer, but I made an attempt at several vocal runs and I’ll admit the i2M kept up with me pretty well. There were a few wrong notes and some spots that were missing, but that honestly could’ve been my lack of ability added to the fact that my microphone was one step above a toy. But for the most part, considering they were vocal runs, I think the i2M did it a good job reproducing the character of what I sang. The notes were mostly there. The feeling was definitely there, volume, velocity and timbre. It’s just beautifully simple and one of those inexpensive tools that add color and personality to most any performance – live or studio.
The i2M’s accompanying software is flexible and easy-to use. There are 6 zones, the equivalent of 6 tracks, within the software that can each be individually configured. If you’re working with other musicians who have i2Ms, the software can receive up to 6 channels of MIDI data simultaneously, which is very cool because you can exchange data with other i2M users without having to add DAW software to the mix. If the latency is bothersome, you can use the ASIO drive to provide low latency audio so that you can hear what you do in real-time. The i2M is Mac and Windows compatible, though the ASIO driver is only available for Windows.
Notably, the software itself has continually improved since the product came to market and free updates are available to registered users and the i2M’s internal software, Firmware, is upgradable. I’ve read that the i2M works with iPod touches, iPhones & iPads and it’s compatible with applications that support audio and MIDI via the Camera Kit USB docking adaptor.
Sonuus i2M Musicport Resources:
- Sonuus i2m Musicport User Manual and Specifications
- Sonuus i2m Musicport Software Manual
- Sonuus i2m Musicport MIDI Chart