Fluid Audio has recently dropped their first entry into the audio interface category the SRI-2, and it's a perfect companion for their already critically acclaimed studio monitors portfolio. (Can you say FPX7!). With their DNA heavily rooted in monitors, it's no wonder one of their key features is being able to switch between monitors A/B for sound comparisons - very handy if you are mastering at home or want to get a feel for how your track sounds on different speakers.
For the price point, the build quality is quite robust and aesthetically pleasing to match. The aluminum case keeps it light but still beefy with a nice feel. One of our favorite features is nice big volume control knob with a rubber grip as well as an aluminum construction. Why does a knob matter? When you want to make quick and concise adjustments to your volume, bigger is definitely better - trust us. Everything on this unit is compact but still easy to get at - great job all around on the interface aside from not having a second headphone input.
Another very convenient design element is the placement of the two combo inputs on the front of the unit, making it a lot easier to change things out on the fly. With the angled up case and nicely lit buttons, the S-RI 2 is a breeze to work on in darker environments.
For those of you moving around a lot this unit is perfect, it's small and powerful and has a USB power supply. If you are going super minimal, the unit also works with iPads. If you are just getting into production, the unit also comes with a light copy of Cubase, aka Cubase LE so you can get started right out of the box without having to buy any software. If Cubase is not your bag, it will also work with just about every DAW out there quite easily, so if Ableton is more your jam - it's all good.
The unit is 24 bit / 192 kHz which results in excellent clarity and quality of the audio output, which is essential in our opinion. The mic preamps are also excellent, Class A with 48V phantom power gets the job done and will guarantee a great recording if you are using a decent mic.
For the price of roughly $230 it's hard to go wrong with the SRI-2, the construction is robust, yet light and portable. The digital conversion is where it needs to be at 24-bit/192kHz, and the mic preamps with +48V phantom power will give you high-quality recordings (don't skimp on your mic). Its user interface is spot on except for the lack of a second headphone jack, and we love the big knob and front panel inputs for conveinence. The A/B speaker monitor control is a brilliant touch for more seasoned producers and last, but not least the Cubase software included for both PC/Mac + iPad is a big bonus for beginners on a budget.