Resident Audio is not a name you run into very often – especially not in the mid-range market. However, when looking at some of the most capable audio interfaces under $500, there was no way we could not mention the T4 – which is branded as the ‘first ever four-channel Thunderbolt audio interface’ requiring no external power. Well worth a closer look then!
In many ways, everything about Resident Audio’s T4 is simple and utilitarian, even the design. The entire chassis is made of die-cast brushed aluminum with acrylic panels, and looks like you could run it over with a truck (not that we advise it!). It all really inspires confidence. However, it is still quite compact (10” wide by around 4” deep) and relatively lightweight, so remains a viable option for smaller studios and taking with you on the go.
The front panel is very neat and not as busy as some of the other interfaces in this range. You’ll find your basic controls along with inputs, while the outputs are around the back. Ultimately, there’s something very attractive about the uncluttered look of this interface. So far, so good!
However, it is in the feature department that we are most interested. As mentioned, this interface has a Thunderbolt connection (with included cable), providing speeds of up to 20 times faster than a standard USB. In practical terms, having a Thunderbolt link between your interface and your computer ensures zero latency. This is exactly what the T4 brings to the table.
In terms of inputs and outputs, you get four XLR/TRS combo ports on the front of the device, while the back panel reveals four balanced TRS outputs. One of these doubles up as a headphone output, while the unit comes with a dedicated output too, allowing for two sets of cans to be plugged in. Inside the device, the built-in preamps and ADA converters are pretty solid, which is a relief as Resident Audio isn’t exactly dominant in the current audio interface market.
Lighting fast – with a gun to our heads, that is exactly how we would describe the performance of the Resident Audio T4. It offers near zero latency, even when you load up your signal with various plugins. In essence, Resident Audio’s T4 allows you to monitor the end result of your recording, while you are actually recording it. When it comes to vocals, this means having an insight into how your choice of effects work.
On the other hand, if you are recording guitars, the T4 allows you to load up that virtual signal chain, and have a zero-latency response right in your headphones. The preamps work well to deliver clear audio – not the best in this price range (it features a 24-bit/96kHz resolution), but very acceptable. Note that it works well with both Windows and Mac devices, providing they are equipped to take Thunderbolt.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the Resident Audio T4 is having a four-channel bus-powered Thunderbolt interface at a price that doesn’t break the bank. However, the rest of the features and the overall build quality stands up to scrutiny, making this a very solid choice for an ambitious home studio.