PreSonus Audiobox Audio Interface Review
Posted in Reviews on November 28, 2016
The PresSonus Audiobox 44 VSL audio interface is the second addition to the line of models that take the software and hardware integration to the next level. Using a PC and virtual Studio Live software, this interface provides delay effects and reverb and the same limiting, Fat Channel compression, high pass filter and semi parametric EQ as the 16.02 PreSonus Studio Live digital mixer and all with inaudible latency.
PreSonus Audio Interface Overview
The 44 VSL interface features an 8 x 4 software mixer, thanks to the power of this model. As a result of this power, with just a laptop and this interface the user can mix a studio quality recording session or live show or DJ rig with stereo synthesizer and mixer or panel discussion, and all while recording and monitoring with processing in real-time. The user is able to do all this easily and with minimal wiring and no outboard effects rack or hardware mixer, due to the tight integration between the software and hardware.
Tracking without signal processing and hearing effects is almost like playing a videogame with your eyes shut. When performing, a musician has to rely on aural cues and performance can vary, depending on what is heard in the monitor. Adding the perfect amount of reverb, EQ and compression can make a big difference when it comes to the ability to experience a performance naturally or in order to hear themselves clearly. So what’s the result? Ultimately a better performance and recording.
You have the ultimate setup and a ton of effects plugins for the DAW but when it comes to audio processing it can take a lot more time than you think. The process can take long enough that if you put the DAW effects in studio monitors, you will hear the original sound a fraction of a second before the processed signal, which can be pretty disorienting. This type of delay may be perfectly okay for a live performance because when a band plays in this manner a natural delay is to be expected. But this isn’t the case with studio recording.
Fortunately, the engineering wizards at PreSonus have significantly reduced this type of delay with the VSL series. And the result is pretty dynamic processing, effects that feel real and dynamic reverb and EQ. Many artists who have taken the plunge and purchased this interface have admitted that it totally changed their performance for the better, not to mention the crisper sounds they experienced during the recording process.
But this manufacturer isn’t the first to create an audio interface that’s equipped with an extensive amount of quality effects. But they are the first to master it, simplify the process and all for less cash. This is an affordable interface that’s comparable to models that cost significantly more and that do a whole lot less.
This interface series’ Studio Live based effects and the Fat Channel processing have been put through the wringer with extensive field testing and it’s been proven popular by thousands of VSL mixer users, including top professionals in this field. And thanks to the added convenience of the VSL’s drag and drop function, loading and creating presets and adding processing is very easy. This professional level processing and increased ease of use means the user will get better results and an enjoyable recording process. While the novice may have difficulty using this high quality interface in the beginning, once they get the hang of it, there’s no stopping their progress.
Audiobox Pros and Con
Pros: Rugged and compact, the Audiobox features a couple of convenient front panel instrument and mic combo inputs and a couple of instrument and mic combo outputs with a total of six line level outputs. Most consumers can agree that this model offers superior sound, which is why so many professionals prefer PreSonus interfaces over the competition. This model can offer the musician a few key advantages, such as high voltage, discrete components and no op amps and class A circuitry. The XMAX preamp runs on 30 V power rails. Most designs that are op amp based run on 10 V or 18 V. Higher voltage means deeper lows, more headroom, a richer overall sound and smoother highs. PreSonus only utilizes genuine resistors, capacitors and transistors for transparency and ultra-low noise. The op amps add harness, coloration and noise to a signal. The class A circuits don’t have crossover distortion and because of this are able to deliver clearer, purer and better results compared to class AB designs that are found on most models. The XMAX preamp design means low noise, high headroom, extended frequency response and wide dynamic range.
Cons: Consumers felt that this model was a bit pricey compared to the competition. Especially considering that this model isn’t designed to take line level inputs which makes it a little limiting if the user wants to connect a synthesizer, keyboard or drum machine. If you’re looking for a more versatile model consumers recommend the Universal Audio Apollo Twin Thunderbolt Interface.
Audio Interface Conclusion and Rating
This company has earned a great reputation for creating interfaces that are highly portable and PreSonus Audiobox Audio Interface is no exception. It features a tough steel case that’s every bit as rugged as the cases used on models of the past. This interface allows you to easily manage the mixing and processing from your PC or Mac and provides librarian and editor functions, which makes it simple to use and creates a wide range of presets. In order to get you started the company has included the same library of more than fifty presets that come with the Studio Live mixers. Each preset was created by a professional engineer and they allow you to instantly setup dynamic EQ and processing for guitar and vocals. Consumers who purchased this model gave it a rating of four out of five stars for ease of use, wide variety of presets and overall quality.
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