Bands on a budget might like this small, yet very capable, digital audio box from Novation that adds sound effects and connects to your PC via USB. The NIO 2|4 measures just 1.8 x 5.7 x 5.9 inches, but packs in four input sockets, four phono outs, two monitor headphone jacks and more than 10 latency-free sound effects. Deets, and a couple more pics, after the jump.
For such a small box, the NIO 2|4 is pretty capable: the 2|4 bit in its name means "2 in, 4 out" (only two inputs can be used simultaneously) and the inputs include an XLR with phantom power alongside phono and TS jack, so you can choose between plugging in instruments or a CD source.
Its sound effects are applied via its "Direct FX" technology without, apparently, any noticeable sound delay. Effects include classics like reverb alongside simulations of the Ibanez Tube Screamer and Fender Twin Amp—so you're getting a pretty good effects box married to some basic mixing and options. The mixing and monitoring controls all look pretty standard, and are nicely laid out on the box top, which somehow manages not to look overcrowded. Niftily, it also does MIDI in/out and is bus-powered via USB, so you don't have to worry about power supplies.
The Nio 2|4 ships with a bundle of software which includes over 1GB of free samples, and it plays nicely with Mac OSX Leopard and Windows XP, connecting via USB1.1. The pocket-friendly price is just $199.95.
[product page via zZounds]