PreSonus AudioBox USB
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PreSonus AudioBox USB

AudioBox USB, USB audio interface from PreSonus in the Audiobox series.

azraik 04/03/2015

PreSonus AudioBox USB : azraik's user review

« The perfect box for Beginners »
4

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Value For Money : Excellent Audience: Beginners
Setup

- MacBook Pro
- OS X 10.8.5
- 4GB RAM
- Logic Pro 9

Overview

The PreSonus AudioBox offers a great variety of features for the money. There are few interfaces in its class that offer the same features for $150 or less (the Audiobox is very easy to find used for less than $100). For Apple users, the Audiobox is practically plug-and-play, and the proper software is provided for PC users as well.

For beginners, it's a perfect entry level interface for basic mono/stereo recording, but it also makes a great "on-the-go" interface for experienced musicians and engineers. The preamps are very usable and the interface is bus-powered via USB, so your band could literally record an acoustic demo of a new song while sitting in a tour van with a microphone and laptop computer.

Now this is not to say that the PreSonus Audiobox does not come with its own set of limitations.

Pros and Cons

While the Audiobox is a great value, it will be easy to outgrow if you choose to expand your setup (I say this from personal experience). Having 2 hybrid XLR/TRS inputs and 2 TRS outputs may keep your setup compact, but it certainly limits your options for recording a multi-instrument setup (full band, drum set, orchestra, etc). You may have to be more creative with microphone choice and placement if you intend to use this box for one-take full band recording, but it is possible.

The preamps are fairly clean, with a decent amount of 'headroom,' but they are definitely not the best out there. The 24-bit converters are on par with its price point, and there's nothing a little "studio magic" can't improve in post-production ;) The control pots are very sturdy, and the unit itself is built into a durable metal casing (again, making it perfect for on-the-go applications).

Latency

It's also worth mentioning that the latency of this unit is a little more than noticeable. The interface includes a mixer control which can be adjusted between input and playback. This is a fancy way of saying that you can choose between monitoring the signal going into the box or the actual recording taking place in your DAW...or a blend between the two (which I have found to be kind of pointless).

I leave the mixer control on the playback setting 99% of the time, because I prefer to hear the actual recording going into the DAW in real time, but the latency for this interface is a bit high if you choose to record that way. Conversely, there is no latency at all if you switch the mixer control to input, but then you're unable to monitor the signal for possible clipping or software effects in your DAW as you record. As I have mentioned before, though, this unit makes up for its limitations in value and price. The latency issue is just something to adjust to as you get used to the Audiobox.

Bottom-Line

The PreSonus Audiobox is an ideal, affordable interface for the beginner who wants to explore the endless possibilities of audio engineering, or the performing musician who wants a quick and easy way to record demos and ideas. As I continue to expand my own setup and graduate to more versatile interfaces, I intend to keep my AudioBox because it's an invaluable tool for portability and quick, no-fuss recording.