PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Audio Interface - Includes Studio One
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- Bus-powered USB audio and MIDI interface
- 24-bit resolution, 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate - NEW VERSION goes to 96 kHz
- 2 combo mic/instrument inputs with high-performance, low-noise, high-headroom mic preamplifiers
- Zero-latency analog monitoring
- Includes free download of Studio One 3 Artist DAW software and 6+ GB of third-party resources after product registration
- Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac- and Windows
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A great choice for mobile musicians and podcasters, the 2-channel AudioBox USB is bus-powered, compact, ruggedly built, and works with virtually any PC or Mac recording software. It boasts high-performance Class A mic preamplifiers and professional-quality, 24-bit converters. And it comes with PreSonus’ amazing Studio One 3 Artist DAW software for Mac and Windows (free download after registration).
Top reviews from the United States
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Response time is insane, with minimal latency between input and output with a computer inserted in between source and output. Quality is stellar, nonexistent line noise and fantastic quality of signal. Interface itself seems to be Chuck Norris-proof, knobs are responsive yet have perfect stops for helping you align levels. Input/output jacks all durable, not easily bent or broken. LEDs clearly seen from across a room, even brightly lit.
Included StudioOne software worth the cost in and of itself. I'm not going to review it in detail here, but it is more than competitive against professional DAWs available for a much higher cost. Great entry software.
EDIT Just used this in 3 hour jam with output running to an amplifier and it was flawless. Elecelent for live performances. Smaller footprint than the 6i6 too.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
So, how easy is it to use? The unit is powered over the USB Cable so it only connects to the PC via that one lead - no mains cable. You can put either a standard 1/4 inch jack or an XLR connector into either of the two inputs and you're pretty much good to go. The DAW recognised the input device and within a few minutes I had recorded a few chord sequences to test it out. Great quality sound and for me, at least, very easy to use.
Any issues? Well, if I'm honest I seem to get a lot of noise from the Mic, it's a Shure SM58 so shouldn't really be the problem, the cable I used was a RODE cable so again shouldn't have been a problem. It may just be that the interference was caused by a mains hum (a cable running close to a mains cable) so it's possible that a bit of cable management might take the problem away, notwithstanding I recorded Free Fallin' multitracking on 12 string, 6 string, bass, vocals and harmony vocals and then threw in a couple of digital string sections for good measure. All that within a few hours of buying the kit. My use of the DAW previously had been just mixing files recorded elsewhere, this time I did everything myself and I can't wait to record more.
Am I pleased I purchased this little box of tricks, absolutely, I already can't live without it. So why not five stars? Let me play a little longer and I might have to upgrade it, but I would recommend this to any budding musicians who want to put together a demo tape without spending big bucks hiring a recording studio.
Assume the unit was faulty but I note other people have had similar problems.
No Power adapter, powered by the USB is a great feature and the small, durable enclosure inspires great confidence.