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Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL

Audio Interface

  • 24 Bit / 96 kHz converters
  • Metal housing
  • Converter dynamics: 114 dB
  • 8 Neutrik combo inputs (mic/line, 2 of which for instruments) with separate gain controls
  • Class A XMAX microphone preamplifier
  • Phantom power
  • Gain control range: -15 dB to +65 dB
  • Clip LED on each channel
  • 8 D/A outputs (L/R, jack, balanced) with main volume control
  • Headphone output with volume control
  • ADAT in/out (optical)
  • 1 x MIDI in/out
  • 26 x 8 DSP mixers
  • Virtual StudioLive control software (VSL) with fat channel, compressor, limiter, expander, high-pass filter, semi-parametric EQ, reverb and delay as well as 50 presets
  • Includes USB cable and DAW software StudioOne Artist
  • For Mac and PC
  • Includes mains connector
  • Weight: 2.1 kg

Further information

Number of analog inputs 8
Number of analog outputs 8
Microphone inputs Yes
Phantom power Yes
Hi-Z input Yes
Digital input Yes
Digital output Yes
MIDI interface Yes
Headphone jack Yes
Word Clock Yes
Zero latency monitoring Yes
Max. resolution in bit 24 bit
Max. sample rate (kHz) 96
USB Bus-Powered No
Incl. power supply Yes

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54 written ratings Read all reviews
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Good performer once you sort the software.

Sonovox, 19.07.2013
First of all, I do not use the AudioBox in a conventional manner, which may affect what people get out of this review. I use it as a live mixer for a small two-piece cover band and do not do any recording with it.

After researching smaller digital mixers on the market, I went for the AudioBox VSL because...
1) It has all the features of a larger mixing desk without the size, weight, complexity and cost of a conventional digital mixer.
2) I preferred a rack mountable solution.
3) It is quick to set up for a gig.
4) It sounds good.
5) It has the 8 mic/line inputs I needed.

So, let's get the problems out of the way first. Suffice to say that I very nearly gave up on this unit when I first tried to get it to run on a PC. Hopefully most of this is historical, but just in case it isn't, read my advice for the things they don't tell you, and it should be more straightforward!

First and foremost, whichever USB port the AudioBox is connected to when you first load the drivers/software is the ONLY port it will work with from then on. I suffered from this with a rack mount PC which has 8 USB ports on the back. I tried following their instructions for full removal of the software (including manual removal of Registry settings), but it plain didn't work for me, and when I connect the AudioBox to that machine, I still have to dive into the back of the rack with a torch to find the correct USB port! Won't be a problem for most people, but, you have been warned!

Secondly, the USB connection only works on USB2 connections. At the time of writing, there is still no USB3 solution (probably requires a harware upgrade internally to the AudioBox, so I wouldn't hold my breath on this), which will be an increassing problem for newer machines.

Thirdly, before you try to load in the software, do not bother with the drivers from the CD - go straight to the RME site and download the latest. The earlier drivers just don't work and will drive you mad - this was the thing that caused me to almost send this box back in disgust.

Once you have nominated the correct USB2 port, and loaded the latest drivers/software, you will find a solid, good sounding device, with a lot of capability in the mixing department. For my own use, in our first rehearsals with it, I dragged and dropped 'Female vocal' from the presets to the singer's channel, and we were instantly pleased with the result. I did similar with the acoustic guitar channels etc. The preset templates were all a good place to start from to tweak your own sounds. The mixer remembers all the settings between power ups, which was a major factor in buying it for my intended purpose - we attach the computer, switch on, and... everything is ready to go!

For me, a few slight weaknesses exist in the mixer sofware - I would like to have had an extra band in the EQs to give 4 band, and would rather have graphic EQs built into the main and monitor sends, rather than the quasi-parametric EQs that are there. I would also like to see larger controls given over to the channel sends - they are tiny, as in, really small, and difficult to adjust with any accuracy - almost bordering on unusable. On this point, they may argue that there isn't enough room on the screen for more controls, but, a) they have made good use of hiding the 'fat channel' controls and so on, and also, on any screen I have tried it on, it appears as a fixed size mixer, which only takes up a portion of the screen real estate. Could do better.

It's needless to say, the unit sounds very good. There are 10 outputs on the rear, and one on the front. Of the ten on the rear, Outputs 1 and 2 are copies of Main L and Main R. Outputs 7 and 8 are copied on the Headphone/Monitor output on the front panel.

Lastly, I did use it for one recording, which I set up to use with Reaper. Nothing much to report here as it worked flawlessly, but this was a live recording, so there was no tracking to be done, so I can't report on any latency etc. issues. Would I buy one again if I lost this one? Yes, I probably would... but if they made one with USB and some improvements to make it a more comprehensive mixer, I definitely would!
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Total
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Great Unit

01.08.2016
This is fantastic for the money and I have used it happily for a year and a bit. I'm going to be upgrading shortly and have only a couple of gripes with this item. Shortly after purchase the headphone jack went but I never use this as I have a headphone amp and mix using monitors the majority of the time like most people do.

This little box looks stunning and is sturdy as hell. I would really recommend it if you're in the market for a nice interface and don't want to break the bank!
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