Alesis iO2 EXPRESS 24-Bit USB recording interface turned out just fine. After trying EMU 0202 it didn’t look spectacular (plastic VS gummed plastic) but after while all I can do is recommend it.
Using it on both Windows 7, XP and Ubuntu turned OK for basic usage (listening to music or editing sound). However, for live sessions worked better on XP (which is btw optimized), on Ubuntu was useless. No drivers to install, just plug it and it works. Comparing to hell I went through with EMU 0202 – this is BIG PLUS.
On Windows 7 it has nasty short cracking sound when OS puts USB port to sleep because of saving power management. I turned off that feature in Device Manager but it won’t get applied. This problem don’t exist on XP or Ubuntu. Also, in Windows 7 it may start to make noise in when in live session, in XP too but disappeared after messing round with audio settings. In manual it says to set bitrates to 44100Hz but didn’t help. After I resolve what I did on XP, I’ll update post. Tested both with ASIO4ALL and JACK.
Microphone/instrument amps are OK (maybe more than that), I recorded sounds loud and clear. It has +48v phantom power but I didn’t test it. Buttons have decent look and feel. Seems endurable. In one review I heard that if plugged to notebook when it’s charging, hum may appear. I was lucky with my Dell and didn’t have that problem.
I recommend this unit for home studio enthusiasts who need just 2 inputs and decent sound. This is great for demos and recording ideas. Also, because it don’t need drivers – it’s very portable.