78 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2009
Brand New Review for Nov 2010:
I recommend this only if: 1) you are not recording a guitar with high output pickups through the instrument-in, because it will clip even with the gain turned all the way down on the AudioBox, 2) you are not using an SM57 or some other dynamic mic that requires more than 35dB of gain, otherwise it will be too quiet, and 3) your headphones have an impedance above 100 ohms, otherwise the USB-powered Audiobox can't keep up with the current draw and will have no bass in the headphone monitoring out.
If you meet those conditions, then this is a great, affordable, stable recording interface. On my Mac it's plug-n-play, both on my older G4 powerbook with Tiger and newer 2010 Mac Mini with Snow Leopard. On the Mac, no separate software or drivers are needed. The construction of the AudioBox is very good. All metal box, and metal knobs. The blue metal looks great.
The mic preamps sound pretty darn good, crystal clear if you're using a condenser mic. For recording vocals on condensers, this interface is great. If you're on an old system, however, recording direct guitar and running it through a virtual amp simulation will give you latency problems. Not as much on Core 2 Duo systems and above. Be advised that the zero-latency monitoring is for a clean signal going in, not the processed sound from your software plugin, thus you can't do zero-latency distorted guitar recording that way unless you listen to yourself play clean while recording.
Now officially this does not have line-level recording ability. So you can't take the headphone output from a walkman, guitar amp, or mp3 player into this. But actually that does work as long as you carefully keep the line signal volume low and plug it into the instrument jack on the AudioBox. I've done this and it records just fine. But if the line volume gets turned up too high, you risk burning out the chip inside the AudioBox, since it wasn't engineered with safety mechanisms for that, thus Presonus says it doesn't do line-in.
It gets 4 stars for what it does well, and minus 1 star because of the caveats / exceptions listed at the beginning. As with all gear buying, my honest recommendation is to save up and get something 1.5X the cost of what you thought you could afford. If I could do it all over again, I would get an Echo Audiofire 4, Focusrite Saffire Pro 14, or Apogee Duet and call it a day. But, my Audiobox has served me well for over two years now, made some great clear recordings, right up until I got new headphones with too low impedance and the bass dropped out.
70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2010
I tried the PreSonus AudioBox recently and was extremely disappointed with it. The preamps run way too hot, and even with the gain all the way down, I was never able to record a DI guitar signal (even with passive pickups) without clipping during palm mutes. You'll find many others on their official forum who have the same problem.
There's also a knob that you use to blend the mix between the hardware direct monitoring signal and the regular output. Even with the knob turned all the way to the regular output side, you still get some "leak" from the direct signal coming through the monitors. This can cause feedback problems, give you inaccurate monitoring (in my situation, because I'm hearing dry/clean guitar signal at the same time as amp sim VSTs), and is just a general pain in the ass.
And just to add icing on the cake...I also discovered that the output starts distorting with the output knob at only 9 O'CLOCK! Ridiculous.
I think PreSonus had a great product on their hands and then intentionally tinkered with the design to lead people towards their higher end stuff when they become inevitably disappointed with the AudioBox. Their official forum moderators used the excuse "well, you can't expect those kind of features from an entry-level interface" when people complain about its shortcomings. Really?! I didn't realize the ability to record a USABLE SIGNAL was apparently something that only the big dogs get. What a joke. Of course you get what you pay for, but excessive preamp gain is not something that can just be chalked up to something to live with from cheaper interfaces. I've owned cheaper interfaces in the past that could handle guitar DI signals without clipping. This was the first one I've encountered that couldn't do so properly, so their excuse holds no weight.
I returned it and bought an E-MU 0404 USB for only 20 bucks more, and I am much happier.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2011
I'm just going to expand on a few things already said here. I've been working with the Audiobox for several days now and have tested just about everything I have in my studio through it. I have a Dell Core-2 Quad desktop and a HP DV5-1010 laptop. I wanted a mobile setup so I got the Audiobox after returning a Focusrite Pro24--probably nothing wrong with it, but I couldn't get it to work with my laptop--but then, I can't get any firewire device to work properly with it. So what I'll have to say will be confined to how the Audiobox works with my laptop.
I can confirm the reports that the preamps don't have enough gain to handle dynamic mics-- I tested a Shure SM 57, a Beta 58 and and old Audiotechnica dynamic. You have to turn the gain all the way up on the Audiobox and get right up on the mic to get a useable signal. That leads to a problem with Channel 1 -- when the input volume is cranked up all the way, it begins to emit a high-pitched whine which will go into the recording. You can get rid of most of it by unplugging the laptop, so it's a grounding problem with the laptop--other devices have caused that noise also. But it's a nuisance, since the pathetic battery in my HP won't last for more than an hour. Oddly, Channel 2 on the Audiobox doesn't have this noise problem.
My workaround for this is that I have an Art Dual MP preamp that will add more than enough gain so I don't have to crank the Audiobox's inputs up that high. That also diminishes mobility, but it is a good backup. If I want to use just the Box without the preamp, I use Channel 1 for my guitar input--I play both acoustic and electric through mostly a Boss GT-8 processor, and the output from that sounds beautiful recorded through the Audiobox. I plug my vocal mic into the quieter Channel 2 and can put down a good-enough quick and easy recording that way.
I've also recorded a stereo acoustic guitar track with a pair of Oktava MC-012 condenser mics. They provided plenty of gain for a good signal without having to crank the input on the Audiobox up to the noisy range, producing a very good recording. I can also plug my Martin acoustic with an active piezeo pickup directly into the Audiobox and get a good signal. I've also recorded the output of my Roland electronic drums directly into the Audiobox with good results.
The Studio One Artist software that comes with the box is really well-designed and probably worth what you pay for the Audiobox alone. I'm working with the full demo version of Studio One, and it is fantastic--I will probably upgrade to the full version when the demo period runs out. It has many great features, but I'll just mention its mastering presets--they save a lot of time and you can usually find one that gets you pretty close to the punch and presence you want. There are some good reverbs as well. I have several other DAWS on different computers, and in the past I've recorded with one computer and mixed and mastered with another. I think that with the Audiobox and Studio One, I'll be able to do respectable recordings from start to finish on my laptop. I can confirm that the Audiobox also works well with Adobe Audition, both the newest version and the old Version 1.5 that I have.
One final issue--latency. I found that working with the "Normal" setting in Studio One (the middle of 5 settings) my laptop was emitting occasional clicks and pops that got into the recordings. I found that to eliminate these pops, I had to move the setting to "Relaxed Normal" which causes greater latency. That is not a problem for me because I record and overdub using just the raw signals coming in from my instruments and voice, and so I don't need to monitor the input with the software's effects. This allows me to record with zero latency. It might be a problem for others who need to hear the software's effects on the input as they record. I might add here, that the "Mix" control on the Audiobox is very convenient for getting just the right blend of recording output and input as you're overdubbing-- just crank it one way for more of the recording in your headphones, and the other way for more of the input. Studio One also makes punch-ins and editing of tracks, as well as mixdown ridiculously easy.
One other annoying thing--if I unplug the Audiobox from the computer while I have a session going, it causes the drivers to go haywire, and they have to be reinstalled. After the second time I did that, I learned my lesson.
Conclusion: this is a good cheap interface to get signal into a laptop computer. The software alone is probably worth the price of the box, and you will probably also be tempted to buy the upgrade later on. I give it about a 4-1/2 because I think the input gain could somehow be calibrated better. If you have any kind of preamp or processor around like the Art or the Boss, you won't have any problem getting enough gain. The box allows me to go mobile with my recording and the 48k, 24-bit sound is a noticeable improvement over 44.1k, 16-bit, at least to my ears.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This is the best external sound card I have ever used to record. I have used quite a few over the years and presonus has all the competition beat hands down. This unit is extremely quite, it reproduces exactly what it captures without adding any color as some cheaper units tend to taint your sound. The are no latency issues and I had no problem installing it on my Windows XP OS. I use this unit with Sonar 7 PE and have not experienced a single issue since I've used it. I highly recomend this equipment to any home studio operator. I will be purchasing preson equipment from now on.
***UPDATE*** July 15, 2010
I updated my computer to Windows 7 64 bit. I did not have one issue. The Audiobox works like a champ.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2011
I just bought the Audiobox USB and after wrestling with installation for five hours, I'm done with it and plan on returning it first thing tomorrow.
After repeatedly installing, reinstalling, uninstalling, etc., I've determined that this equipment just isn't compatible with a 64-bit Windows 7 system. At least for me, it manages to only install the driver for playback and not the one for recording. Upon attempting the latter, the system hits me with an error message and doesn't seem to know what to do with itself.
The manufacturer, PreSonus, will claim that the updated and compatible 64-bit drivers are available on its website, but this is a load of hogwash as those don't work either. Not even the audio editing software that came in the box, StudioOne, managed to install correctly. That and the DRM associated with it made me want to vomit (mandatory account creation and online registration on the PreSonus website before using the software you just bought?? Gimme a break...)
So in all, this wasn't compatible with my system, and judging from the troubleshooting and forums available on the PreSonus website, I'm not the only person who has had this problem. If you have run Windows 7 on 64 bit or have a decently up-to-date computer, I'd be wary of this Audiobox USB interface. I just hope this review can save someone down the road some headaches. Peace.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2010
I needed an audio interface for recording some voice-overs on some training videos. After reading many reviews on several sites, the two main complaints about the audiobox were problems with 64 bit drivers and preamps that were too hot, causing clipping at the lowest gain settings.
I decided to give the audiobox a shot because the complaints about the driver issues were several months old, and I wasn't concerned about the hot preamps because the mic I was planning to use, the Studio Projects B1, has a built-in pad.
I'm happy to report I had zero problems on my Win7 x64 system with the latest drivers from the Presonus website. I also did not experience any problems with hot preamps and did not have to use the pad on my mic.
I was planning to use Audacity, but since the Studio One software comes with the audiobox, I gave it a try and it's very nice. I was concerned it would be too complex for a simple voice-over track, but so far it's been very easy to edit and manipulate the audio, even for someone with zero sound production experience.
I'm very happy with my purchase and recommend this to anyone that wants to step-up from a USB microphone.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2010
Works beautifully with my old (2006) MacBook Pro. Very solid construction, surprisingly low latency, super clean output (using balanced output to connect to Genelec monitors). One minor unexpected downside is that I can't control the output volume via the Mac keyboard. To control the output volume, I must use the volume control knobs on the AudioBox itself. Since I adjust the output volume quite frequently, this means I need to keep the box in a place where I can easily reach it.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2009
I have used this for a year now with great success in 32bit Windows XP and now with 32bit Windows 7. Very stable, very reliable. However, there are two issues.
1) lack of 64bit support for XP/Vista/7
2) it is real easy to overload the pre-amps. Plugging in my electric guitar into the instument in, I have to turn the volume knob on the guitar down 3/4 of the way and turn the level on the input on the audiobox down all the way just to prevent it from clipping. Obviously, this is a major design flaw. These are not active pickups or anything. So if you plan on doing a lot of direct-in guitar work, you might look elsewhere. Otherwise, if you are going to be using an SM-57 or the like (with 32bit Windows), then by all means, this might be just what you are looking for.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2014
I recently bought the Audiobox USB. The salesman at Sam Ash Music said it had served him well, and when comparing similar products by competitors that were around the same price range, he said this is the one.
I think he meant well. I do not think he deliberately deceived me. i think he probably only used it on an OS no newer than Windows 7, or he may have used it on a MAC.
Yes, I had the perennial "unknown device" issue when I tried to install. What is interesting is that I normally just tear open the wrapper, decimate the box, take it out, plug it in and get to work, but not this time. This time for some unknown reason, I took the time to read the installation instructions. I downloaded software and driver updates and then proceeded to install the unit. I got the "unknown device".
After a few uninstall/reinstall attempts over a night, morning and early afternoon, even following the multiphase procedure on the support page, i submitted a service request ticket.
Here is where I decided that Presonus is not my idea of a good product provider. I see a lot of discussion about this problem. So, it is obvious that Presonus is aware of the problem. Yet, there is no one available over the weekend to help customers through the issue. What if it is a procedure to follow or a file to download or even an issue that can be resolved via remote access? All of these would be fine. Then if there is no resolution the customer at least feels like Presonus cares about their customers enough to at least try. I am then not opposed to buying other Presonus product.
I am not unrealistic. I know, sometimes even expect, products to fail prematurely or even to not work at all. However, what i do not expect is the company leaving their niche customer community without help from 5:00 p.m. Friday to 9:00 a.m. Monday morning (Central Time). maybe this is not an issue to some, but this is far below the "fails to meet the standard" grade in customer service for me. Does Presonus realize that there are competitors, very strong competitors, in the market? Does Presonus realize that once a customer has paid for the Presonus product, the $50 or so difference in price between theirs and a competitor's more expensive offering is not so great a chasm anymore?
When I train sales professionals, I always tell them that mishaps and errors are almost inevitable. However, these are not what break business relationships. It is the lack or poor execution of a plan to address them. Presonus has made it into my "what would be your response as a customer, if... ?" lessons.
I think it is obvious what my response was. I uninstalled all of the software, and once the replacement process is complete, I will de-register everything and delete my Presonus account.
I am not angry. I am disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2014
This is my second Audiobox. My Windows 8 wouldn't recognize the first one. I tried support - nice enough guys, but the best they can do after having you spend hours trying new drivers, and finally convincing them the unit is faulty, is refer you to their repair depot. Which in my case (living in Canada) is around two thousand miles away.
I was able to install Audiobox this time but couldn't get a strong enough signal. Moreover, both the Audiobox and Studio One software messed up the signal when recording in my usual way (with a USB mike onto Windows Sound Recorder or Audacity). So I uninstalled both, put them back in the box, and hid it from sight.
Notice that over one in five customers had serious problems with this device.