Being able to record yourself is an essential option for any aspiring artist. Whether you’re making trap, rap or hip-hop, a great audio interface is vital to getting you off the ground. You can bet there are more than a few out there ready to fulfil the needs of beginners and veterans alike and the PreSonus Audiobox is one such interface. It has been recommended to me numerous times and I must admit, I was impressed when first laid eyes on this little device.
It’s portable, compact and built like a beast…seriously, I’m not kidding around. They’ve even got a video of this thing being driven over by a truck. I’m not saying you should do it but it’s a definite bonus when you consider the fact that most artists (and producers) today can be clumsy gorillas at times. Even better is the world class Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) that you get at no extra charge but that shouldn’t deter anybody that’s a user of Ableton Live, Reason, FL Studio, Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools and even Magix Music Maker.
This audio interface is still just as functional whether you’re using Studio One 3 or your favourite software. So if you’re a first-time buyer looking for something both affordable and durable, or a professional looking for a quick and easy solution to recording on-the-go, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Here’s my PreSonus Audiobox USB 2×2 review.
Cheapest Place To Buy: Amazon.com
Operating System(s): Windows and Mac OS
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (Based on 246 Ratings)
What Can It Do?
When I said built like a beast, I really wasn’t kidding around. Not only did they run over it with a truck but they kicked it around and stomped on it as well (with both feet). Then popped it into the studio to record Baton Rouge blues artist, Chris Leblanc, performing When The Levee Breaks with a simple dual microphone setup to effortlessly capture his guitar and unique voice. By no means do I want you to start treating your PreSonus Audiobox like a soccer ball but like the manufacturer says, “knowing that you can is still a great feeling.”
It’s built with an all metal chassis as well as metal knobs, so you can bet this bad boy is prepared for every ham-fisted user out there. Speaking of those metal knobs, I have to say, this entire layout of volume control is a far more suitable style over the one-knob-affects-all approach used by Focusrite. With that particular device, you had one gigantic knob that directly affected the main output levels and the headphone levels simultaneously. There was no middle ground.
Thankfully PreSonus were a little more forward thinking and gave us separate controls for the mix, the main output, the headphone output, as well as the mandatory two for your inputs.
Connecting a microphone? An instrument? A microphone and an instrument? It really doesn’t matter which combination of the two you plan to use. Both inputs are combination sockets, made for an XLR Cable as well as a 1/4″ Jack like you’d find on n electric guitar or bass. Why not add more live elements to your beats? The possibilities are endless. And with 48v phantom power, the preamps are ready for any microphone.
What Can’t It Do?
This little guy is definitely not Plug In and Play. Even though they didn’t advertise it to be so, that’s extremely disappointing, to say the least. Instead of just plugging it into my USB port and using it immediately (like I did with a Behringer Xenyx 302USB), I’d have to first go to their website and download the drivers that support it. I mean, seriously? And don’t even get me started on Windows. If you’ve got anything less than Windows 10 (or Mac OS Sierra), buying this may just be a bit of a gamble.
Enough people have complained about the flat out incompatibility with many systems that predated September 2016 and that’s a definite buzzkill. I’m not about to upgrade my entire setup just to accommodate a piece of tech that shouldn’t cost that much in the first place. Add in a less-than-efficient customer service centre and this interface starts to seem like a bad idea more and more.
The only thing left to still entice you further is the DAW that comes as a free download along with 6GB of third-party plugins. (No extra samples at all, though). Studio One 3 is a software like no other and is quickly gaining popularity among many of today’s up and coming indie artists. You get the Artist Edition with this device which is a slight step down from the normal version but still carries enough weight to make it a worthwhile platform.
Should I Get It?
If I’m honest (and you know I am), I’d recommend you probably don’t. I personally can’t think of anything worse than going through the hassle of returns if should find that the rest of my hardware isn’t up to scratch. I’m not about to upgrade that anytime soon, so I need a piece of tech that will work well no matter which computer I may be using. It’s not like I’m using a Macbook from 2005 but I need a bit more security than that.
I’d rather recommend you take the Focusrite Solo to fulfil all your recording needs or the Behringer Xenyx 302USB for anybody (like me) trying o spend as little as possible and still come out on top with a great piece of tech.
Got any more questions about this device? Wanna just say hi? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
Ryan C. Voller, Recording Artist – Producer – Lead Contributor for HowToMakeHip-Hop.com
The Short Version
- 2 dual-purpose front-panel input channels, each with high-quality mic preamplifiers
- 2 combo mic/instrument inputs
- Individual channel-trim controls with 0 to +35 dBu mic gain range
- 48V phantom power for condenser microphones
- Mixer control (blends the input signal with the computer playback stream for zero-latency monitoring)
- Headphone jack with level control
- Main-output level control
- LED clip indicator for each channel
- Studio One® 3 Artist