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PreSonus AudioBox™ USB

USB 1.1 recording interface

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  • PreSonus AudioBox™ USB

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  • PreSonus AudioBox™ USB

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  • PreSonus AudioBox™ USB

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Our take on the PreSonus AudioBox™ USB

by David Brown
PreSonus

A gateway to computer music production

Want to record music using your computer? You'll need a way to connect your instruments and microphones. That's the purpose of a computer audio interface. These devices route incoming signals to your PC or Mac®, and most even include recording software. Interfaces can feature mic, instrument, and line inputs, as well as connections for MIDI controllers and external signal processors.

Jump into music production with your computer

Computer audio production doesn't get much easier than this. If you want to produce music or podcasts, the PreSonus AudioBox USB is a great way to get started. This audio interface includes the hardware and software you need to create professional-sounding recordings. A simple USB connection to your Mac® or PC will allow you to start making music right out of the box. We love the simplicity of this device, and we also love its heavy-duty construction. The steel chassis and sturdy knobs give this interface pro-grade feel for an entry-level price. It's also a great match for older computers thanks to its USB 1.1 port.

Mic, instrument, and MIDI inputs

The front-panel of the AudioBox USB has two combination mic/instrument inputs. You can plug in an XLR cable to send your mic signal to a high-quality, low-noise Class A mic preamp, even activating phantom power for both inputs for use with condenser mics. Or connect a 1/4" instrument cable from an electric guitar or bass. Both inputs have dedicated gain knobs along with LED clipping indicators. If you have a MIDI controller, there are MIDI input/output jacks on the rear panel. It's just the right amount of connectivity to provide a solid introduction to solo music production in your home.

Monitor without latency hang-ups

The AudioBox USB offers both headphone and speaker monitoring. There are 1/4" balanced outputs for connection to active studio monitors, which are great for mixing. While you record, you'll want to plug your headphones into the built-in headphone amplifier through the 1/4" jack. You can choose to monitor with the mic/instrument inputs or with the returned signal from the computer. Use the Mixer fader to dial in your ideal mix to minimize latency while you record, so your live performance is in time with the signal in your headphones.

PreSonus AudioBox USB 2 x 2 computer recording interface

With two microphone/instrument inputs and MIDI connectivity, the AudioBox USB is a great introduction to music production with a computer.

Includes Studio One® Artist digital recording software

Just because the AudioBox USB is simple to use, doesn't mean it isn't powerful. It comes with PreSonus Studio One® Artist 2, sophisticated recording software that lets you create dozens of tracks within a project and add effects like compression and reverb. Once you've recorded your song in the Studio One digital audio workstation, the possibilities for editing and mixing are endless. Tweak your performance to make it just right before mixing down to a 24-bit file for high-resolution sound quality or an MP3 for easy sharing with friends.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • 2-input, 2-output computer audio interface
  • includes Studio One® Artist 2 digital recording software (DVD-ROM for Mac/Windows)
  • Class A mic preamps with 48V phantom power for condenser microphones
  • compact, rugged steel chassis for desktop or portable use
  • powered by your computer via USB
Connections:
  • 2 XLR/TRS balanced mic/instrument inputs with phantom power for use with dynamic/condenser microphones and electric guitars or basses
  • MIDI input/output (5-pin DIN) for use with an external MIDI controller
  • two 1/4" TRS balanced left/right outputs for connection to powered monitors or a mixing board
  • USB 1.1 port for connection to a computer
  • built-in headphone amplifier with 1/4" output
  • This interface does not have a line-level input
General Features:
  • 24-bit analog-to-digital conversion with sampling rate of 44.1 or 48kHz
  • Mixer fader offers both direct monitoring of analog input signals and incoming digital signal from recording software
  • peak LED lights for mic/instrument inputs
  • 6' USB cable included for connection to a computer
  • compatible with the following operating systems: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista (32-bit SP1, 64-bit SP1) Windows 7 (32-bit SP1, 64-bit SP1), Windows 8 (32-bit, 64-bit), Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later
  • minimum system requirements: USB 1.1 port; Intel® Core™ Duo or AMD Athlon™ X2 processor; 2GB RAM; 20GB hard disk space
  • 5-1/2"W x 1-3/4"H x 5-1/2"D
  • weight: 5 pounds
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Pro Audio USB/MIDI interface (AudioBox USB)
  • 6' USB cable
  • Studio One Artist software on DVD-ROM
  • Owner's Manual

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The AudioBox USB utilizes high-grade components to ensure optimum performance that will last a lifetime. Loaded with two high-headroom, Class A, microphone preamplifiers; a built-in 2x2 USB 1.1 recording and playback engine; MIDI I/O; and PreSonus Studio One Artist recording software, the AudioBox USB offers excellent music performance and production. All you need is a computer with a USB connection, a few microphones and cables, powered speakers, and your instruments, and you are ready to record in the studio or in front of a live audience. 

24-Bit/48kHz DAC: The AudioBox USB employs a high-definition 24-bit/48kHz analog-to-digital converter for exceptional sound quality and recording with up to 108 dB dynamic range.

XMAX Preamps: The AudioBox USB is equipped with PreSonus XMAX microphone preamplifiers for use with all types of microphones. The net result of the XMAX preamp design is high headroom, low noise, wide dynamic range, extended frequency response, and most importantly, musicality and transparency, with smooth highs, solid deep lows, and everything in between. XMAX preamplifiers are built with three key elements.

  • High Voltage: The XMAX preamplifier runs on power rails of 30V. Most off-the-shelf, op-amp-based designs run on power rails of 10V to 18V. Higher-voltage power rails deliver more headroom, deeper lows, smoother highs, and a richer overall sound.
  • Discrete Components: XMAX preamplifiers only use genuine transistors, resistors, and capacitors. Other Op-amps add noise, coloration, and harshness to a signal. This discrete design delivers ultra-low noise and transparency.
  • Class A: Class A circuits have no crossover distortion and deliver purer, clearer, and more musical results than the Class AB designs that are found in many preamps.

Mic/Instrument Combo Inputs: The AudioBox USB offers two convenient front-panel mic/instrument combo inputs with global phantom power.

  • Microphone Inputs: Both channels of the AudioBox USB have Mic/Instrument combo jacks. This convenient connector accepts either a 1/4" phone plug or an XLR plug.
  • Instrument Inputs: The 1/4" TS connectors on channels 1 and 2 are for use with instruments (guitar, bass, etc.). When an instrument is plugged into the instrument input, the mic preamp is bypassed, and the AudioBox USB becomes an instrument preamplifier.
  • 48V Phantom Power: The AudioBox USB provides 48V phantom power for the microphone input on each channel. Press the 48V button to enable phantom power for all microphone inputs.
Note: Active instruments are those that have an internal preamp or a line-level output. Active instruments should be plugged into a line input rather than into an instrument input. Plugging a line-level source into the instrument inputs on the front of the AudioBox 22/44VSL not only risks damage to these inputs but also results in a very loud and often distorted audio signal.

USB 1.1 Port: The AudioBox USB's USB 1.1 port is where you connect the included USB cable from the USB to your computer. The AudioBox USB is bus-powered via this connection and does not require an external power supply.

Controls: The AudioBox USB provides the following front-panel controls.

  • Mixer: The Mixer knob allows you to blend your input signals with the playback streams from your computer. This allows you to monitor your input signal with zero latency. If the knob is positioned at 12 o'clock, the input signal and the playback stream will be equally balanced. Turning the knob to the left will increase the level of the input signal relative to the playback stream; turning to the right will increase the level of the playback stream relative to the input signal.
  • Phones: The Phones knob controls the volume of the headphone output on the front of the unit.
  • Main: The Main knob controls the output level for the Main Outputs on the back of the AudioBox, with a range of -80 dB to 0 dB.

Note: When creating monitor mixes using Virtual StudioLive software, it is important that you turn the Mixer knob all the way to the VSL position. Monitoring both the input signal and the playback stream will create a doubling effect that will make monitoring difficult

Main Outs & Headphone Out: The PreSonus AudioBox USB features two 1/4" main outputs. The output level of the Main Outs is controlled by the Main volume knob on the front of the unit. The AudioBox USB is also fitted with a 1/4" headphone jack for connecting a set of headphones for monitoring privately.

MIDI I/O: MIDI stands for "Musical Instrument Digital Interface". MIDI inputs and outputs allow connection to, and communication with, external MIDI equipment. One function of these ports is MIDI sequencing but the MIDI protocol can be used for much more than instruments and sequencing.

Note: MIDI is not audio but is frequently used to trigger or control an audio source (such as a plug-in or synthesizer). It's important to ensure that your MIDI data is correctly sent and received by the appropriate hardware or software devices. If the devices generate audio, you may also need to return the audio to an AudioBox USB input channel.

Studio One Artist Software: The included PreSonus Studio One Artist recording software comes with over 6 GB of plug-ins, loops, and samples, giving
you everything you need for music recording and production.

  • 20 High-Quality Native Plug-Ins: Amp modeling (Ampire), delay (Analog Delay, Beat Delay), distortion (Redlight Dist), dynamics processing (Channel Strip, Compressor, Gate, Expander, Limiter, Tricomp), equalizer (Channel Strip, Pro EQ), modulation (Autofilter, Chorus, Flange, Phaser, X-Trem), reverb (MixVerb, Room Reverb), and utility (Binaural Pan, Mixtool, Phase Meter, Spectrum Meter, Tuner).
  • Over 6 GB of Loops, Samples, and Instruments: Presence virtual sample player, Impact virtual drum machine, SampleOne virtual sampler, Mojito virtual analog-modeled subtractive synthesizer.
Note: You can use the AudioBox USB with any audio-recording application that supports Core Audio or ASIO.

Computer System Requirements: Below are the minimum computer-system requirements for the AudioBox USB.

  • Windows:
    • Windows XP SP3, Vista x64/x32 SP2, Windows 7 x64/x32 SP1, Windows 8 x64/x32
    • Intel Core Duo or AMD Athlon X2 processor (Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X4 or better recommended)
    • 2 GB RAM (4 GB or more recommended)
  • Mac:
    • Mac® OS X 10.6.8 or later
    • Intel Core Duo processor (Intel Core 2 Duo or Intel Core i3 or better recommended)
    • 2 GB RAM (4 GB or more recommended)
Note: Your compatible Windows or Mac computer will also need a USB 1.1 port, Internet connection (for activation), DVD-ROM drive, Monitor (1024x768 or greater), 20GB hard-disk space, 7200 RPM internal/external storage drive.
 
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