JoeCo Cello Audio Interface Review

With two combo 1/4”/XLR connections meant for microphones, each input on the JoeCo Cello Audio Interface also as a selection of options, with classic push analog feel pushbuttons; phantom power, a 20dB pad, a high pass filter, and phase control.

There is a dedicated 1/4” instrument input, although it doesn’t have the extensive functions the mic inputs have. Two headphone outputs are also available, each with their own adjustability controls. A talkback mic is also integrated into the robust aluminum casing, which is great for small studios that have control rooms. A blue LCD display offers up easy readings and settings on volumes, time clock and connectivity.

The back panel has an abundance of connectivity; 1/4” for monitors, line inputs, and mic channel inserts. SPDIF and light pipe connections are here as well for clock connections, as well as expandability to larger input devices, making this an expandable system. With the mic inserts, connecting the Cello to external effects, such as compressors or other mic pre’s, is easy. There’s even MIDI connections on the left hand side to round out pretty much every possible connection, so producers and beat makers are covered as well.

Now to really dig in, JoeCo has a control application that’s available for both Mac and Windows. The interface covers the input and outputs, and is very in depth for the monitor and headphone out controls. There’s also a top + function that adds, you guessed it, some extra top end to the mic channels for some natural brightness. This is especially great for those somewhat darker mics that seem to need a lot of EQ attention. The app also handles any latency issues, and it is almost a bit overwhelming considering all of the options available, especially for users who might not be used to getting this deep into their interface.

Mixes can be tweaked via the app, and be recalled; this is great for sessions where you might be going back and forth between players who prefer totally different mixes in their cans! The big downside is you need to set up an account with JoeCo, and get it approved BEFORE you get the ability to access the software. We tried getting it to work one night, but didn’t get approval until the next day. After asking how long it would take to get approved, we got a response on Sunday, around noon, along with a response:

“On a weekday it normally takes a few minutes. At the weekend it does often take longer as approval relies on one of us checking our company emails and approving you.”

Honestly, if you’re waiting on a company’s approval to get the required software to run their hardware on their schedule, that’s a serious bummer.

All that said, it’s quite nice sound wise, regardless of the mics being connected — inexpensive mics sound great with the HPF rolling off any audio flabbiness, and the Top + brings in the sparkle and chime on guitar amps in a nice musical fashion. It’s great to get these tones dialed in BEFORE they hit the DAW, as raw tracks, and means less fiddly time wasting in mixing sessions. The instrument input works great on direct bass recordings, with a nice fullness, and electric guitars that are going to an amp sim plug in really interact nicely. So kudos on that.  

With the connectivity options and expandability, it’s got a lot going for it. Users who’d like to go beyond the usual 2-input desktop interface, this is clearly the next step. Want to explore the world of the outboard effects, but not have to get into a large interface? The mic insert option offers that ability up nicely. The expandability can make going from the pro-sumer to the professional within reach. The street price comes in at $1125, but considering this could be the heart of a home studio that has professional options, with the ability to become more over time, it’s worth it.

PROS: Plenty of connectivity options, great sounding preamps, expandable

CONS: App is almost a bit overwhelming, you need approved account BEFORE you can access software required.

STREET PRICE: $1125

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