I run a number of items made by Presonus, including the larger Audiobox 1818VSL which I use in a live setup. I needed something smaller that I could quickly attach to my laptop so that I could prepare material without having to set up an entire rack of gear, and bought this thinking it could do the job. Unfortunately it appears to be of a different quality to it's larger sibling. The manufacturing quality is still excellent, with a positive, if somewhat heavy feel to the controls, but the unit is prone to what appears to be USB/phantom-power related noise when the phantom power is engaged. It appears to be USB related, as the noise changes slightly when USB items are operated, and changing USB cables changes the 'shape' (though not the level) of the noise. Even with no other USB items connected to the computer, the noise is present, but it does sound a lot cleaner when phantom power is switched off, so I suspect it is related to whatever charge pump they are using to get 48v from the USB's 5v.
On top of this, the Audiobox software drivers (I use Windows) are legendary for being difficult - hard to update, sometimes don't like OS upgrades, and almost impossible to get rid of (they take over a single USB port in your computer, and you have to attach the unit to that same port every time).
That all sounds a bit negative, but once you get used to doing things the Presonus way, you end up with a chunky, solidly built brick of a unit that feels like it will work forever... but would I buy this particular unit again if this one got lost/broken? Probably not.
The unit has an all metal case and is very well built. I have dropped it onto hard floors and stood on it and it barely scratched the paint. It comes equipped with two Neutrik inputs which are capable of handling XLR or 1/4 inch inputs. Each channel has its own input gain and both are capable of supplying phantom power. The back of the unit has L/R outputs and MIDI inputs/outputs.
The setup of the unit is very straightforward with the drivers supplied on the accompanying disk which can also be downloaded from their website. The inputs are a little on the hot side but there is more than enough headroom than needed to achieve clean recordings. Unlike most interfaces in its price range, the audiobox supports 24 bit recording which allows for 102dB dynamic range and 48k sample rate. The preamps are Class A with very low noise even at high gain levels.
I initially had issues with the drivers when I bought this unit which caused my DAW to crash frequently although this has stopped when I updated the drivers.
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