Minifuse 4 is the latest compact audio interface from Arturia, completing the MiniFuse range, a collection of compact & affordable recording interfaces for music makers. Following on from their innovative AudioFuse line-up (see our original Arturia AudioFuse review), the MiniFuse range delivers, according to the French company, class-leading audio specs, smart functionality, and an unmatched software pack that allows users to get creative right out of the box.
I received a test unit, so let’s find out more about my…
Hardware-wise, Minifuse 4 is a 4 inputs, 4 outputs audio interface with 2 headphones outputs (with independent volume controls – handy!), the good old MIDI DIN I/O, and a quite unexpected 2-port USB hub (so you can spare some ports on your laptop – yay!)
The first thing I’ve noticed is the Minifuse 4’s impressive build quality – rugged aluminum casing, and a great overall tactile feel. Arturia is confident about this as well, to the point it offers a 5-year warranty, one of the most extensive warranties on the market.
Also, I liked the smart yet understated design of the product (I had the white version), and little cool touches such as the backlit knobs (already seen on the smaller Minifuse models) that respond to the user input, turning red when the signal is too high.
Sound-wise, Minifuse performs well for the price – very good dynamic range, and low noise. Are there better-sounding options on the market? Sure, but if you really want to hear some difference you need to pay (considerably) more.
Would I be able to make a whole record with a Minifuse 4? Yes, absolutely. As I often said in other reviews, with the current state of technology, to me it’s more about the actual performance than the recording medium. The average quality level of modern audio interfaces, even in the lower-end price segment of the market, is high enough that (unless you’re a snobby audiophile) you should be more concerned about the performance and the acoustic environment.
Going back to the features, the two independent headphones outputs are a welcome bonus, as it’s usually something I would expect from a bigger and/or higher-end interface.
I’m a fan of the classic MIDI DIN connectors, so I was happy Arturia went this way on the Minifuse 4. Also, I loved finding a 2-port USB on the unit, another pretty unusual feature in this range. You can use it to plug USB MIDI controllers, for instance, sparing ports on your computer. Pretty clever in my book, especially with the low USB port count on those expensive Apple laptops. Worth knowing: to be able to use the hub, the Minifuse 4 needs to be plugged in with the (included) power adapter.
The real big bonus of the Minifuse 4 lies in its software bundle. The Artura stuff alone is worth the price of admission. You get 4 FX including the Space Echo Re-201, Neve 1973 preamp and Juno-60 chorus emulations, plus a lite version of Analog Lab with tons of quality synth sounds. If that wasn’t enough you also get Ableton Live Lite, temporary access to Auto-Tune and Splice subscription services, and educational resources through a dedicated online portal. If this isn’t a bargain, I don’t know what is.
Frankly, it’s hard for me to find some niggles with the Arturia Minifuse 4. It looks and feels great, it performs well, it has some pretty clever extra touches, it’s very affordable, and last but not least, it comes with a fantastic software bundle. Ok, there’s one thing I would change. I would have added a USB C to C cable to the existing USB C to A.
Oh, by the way, Arturia doesn’t mention it, but the Minifuse 4 can also be used with iOS devices. I haven’t had a chance to test this yet, but I personally know people who have been using it without any issues. Good to know…
The Arturia Minifuse 4 costs €/$ 219 (also available from Amazon US and Thomann). Compared to the Minifuse 1 and 2 (more suited to singer-songwriters, podcasters, and content creators), the higher number of inputs and outputs clearly makes the Minifuse 4 a better choice for producers on the go, bedroom producers, and small studios. Also, it’s only slightly more expensive than its smaller sibling, so it would be my first choice in the Minifuse line-up as it’s more future-proofed.
As for the competition, this is indeed a busy market segment. Sound quality-wise, I think you won’t find very noticeable differences between, let’s say, the Minifuse range and the popular Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Scarlett 4i4. To me, the Minifuse 4 has a sleeker design and offers more useful features, so I would recommend it over its direct competitor – but that might be subjective. Software-wise instead, the Arturia bundle wins hands-down!
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