Pros: Good-value surround capabilities; at least one balanced audio in with phantom power; ground terminal for decks
Cons: Main audio I/Os are coaxial phono (unbalanced); no Mac drivers as yet; a single XLR/TRS audio in
Bottomline: Home-recording enthusiasts will want more, but gamers and DJs will appreciate its sturdiness, sound quality and connectivity
Despite the word ‘fire’ in the name, Terratec’s latest take on budget audio/Midi I/O is USB2, not Firewire.
Also, the ticket places it roughly in the category of competing Edirol, M-Audio and various other semi-pro interfaces.
It has no OSX drivers, a single phantom-powered combo XLR mic input and, around the back, every line-audio connection is phono, all unbalanced, by definition.
It’s clear, immediately, that this is not a device aimed at the project-studio enthusiast or audio pro.
We’re in DJ territory, and the DMX makes that quite plain by including something curiously lacking in many audio devices.
This device used to be a PCI card, but now it uses USB2 and an external power supply to fire audio into the high-def 192KHz/24-bit range.
What really gives the game away, however, is a ground terminal for turntables – as does the prime placing of a socket for headphones.
While catering for the needs of surround sound-addicted gamers, or movie fans, the DMX is a gizmo very well suited towards cash-strapped disc jockeys.
The build quality is good, as is the -20dB-paddable (high-Z) instrument input. Optical, alongside coaxial digital, I/O is also commendable. But the paucity of balanced audio connectivity is a mistake. It almost makes the Midi sockets look redundant since few DJs will use them.
The DMX 6Fire is a DJ tool. It seems capable of withstanding the rigours of club use and would make a handsome surround solution for home entertainment buffs. But we would not recommend it for recording or Midi-sequencing enthusiasts. You need balanced audio connectors, and possibly more Midi options, in which departments the DMX falls short.
If you are a vinyl-wielding DJ, possibly driving a pair of Technics turntables or NI Traktor and physical interfaces, then you will appreciate the audio clarity, robustness and straightforwardness of Terratec’s audio interface.