IK Multimedia Axe I/O One review – a nicely priced audio interface designed for guitar and bass players

The latest in the Axe I/O family is a compact and portable recording solution with dedicated features for electric guitars

IK Multimedia Axe I/O One
(Image: © Future / Phil Barker)

Guitar World Verdict

If you’re looking for a compact and cost-effective way to connect your guitar to a computer, there are loads of small audio interfaces around – but none offer the guitar-centric facilities of IK Multimedia’s Axe I/O One.


  • +

    Size and weight.

  • +

    Good basic set of features.

  • +

    Dedicated guitar input facilities;

  • +

    Amp output.

  • +

    Facility to connect external control pedals/switches.

  • +



  • -

    No stereo recording option.

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If you want to connect your guitar to a computer for recording or to access software amp simulations, then you’ll need a guitar audio interface

Now, while there are plenty of them available out there, apart from including a Hi-Z input (which you’ll need in order to plug in a guitar), few manufacturers of these boxes add features that are directly of benefit to us guitar players. One exception is IK Multimedia, which has a range of audio interfaces that are tailor‑made for guitarists. 

We took a look at its flagship Axe I/O unit a while back, but now the company has come up with something a lot more cost-effective with the new Axe I/O One. 

This unit has just one input, as opposed to its namesake’s twin inputs for stereo recording, but if you’re only plugging a guitar in, or just using a single mic, one input is all you’ll need. And there’s no skimping on the facilities that make this attractive to guitarists.

IK Multimedia Axe I/O One

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

First off, there’s a switch to optimally set the input for either passive or active pickups.

You also get a choice of two different preamp topologies: a Pure setting that offers the cleanest signal path possible, and JFET, which is designed to add colour and harmonics to the signal, manifesting itself as a subtle tweak to the midrange. More dramatic tonal shading is available from the Z-Tone knob, which adjusts the actual input impedance.

The range runs from Sharp to Bold – effectively from full treble through warmer to a more subdued sound with just the right sound to match your pickups along the way. Setting the unit up to use with your DAW is a doddle, and there are decent converters onboard for recording quality sound.

Also significant is the provision of the Amp Out socket for connecting to amp or pedals for reamping, or for tone capture if you’re using the included Tonex SE software. 

You also get AmpliTube 5 SE software included, and if you’re plugged in and using amp sims, there’s a pair of inputs for expression pedals and/or single/double switches that can give you real-time control of various parameters of your virtual rig.

IK Multimedia Axe I/O One

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)


  • PRICE: $129 / £139
  • ORIGIN: China
  • TYPE: Audio interface 
  • FEATURES: 24-bit/192kHz audio conversion, Z-Tone impedance-adapting input, includes AmpliTube 5 SE, Tonex SE and Ableton Live Lite
  • CONTROLS: Input Gain, Z-Tone, Monitor, Headphones, Master, Phantom Power switch, Passive/Active switch, JFET/Pure switch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard/XLR input, standard outputs 1/L and 2/R, standard headphone output, standard Amp output, USB, MIDI In, MIDI Out, SW/Pedal 1 and 2
  • POWER: USB bus-powered
  • DIMENSIONS: 145 (w) x 130 (d) x 60mm (h) 
  • CONTACT: IK Multimedia

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Trevor Curwen

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.