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Presonus Audiobox USB Studio Bundle Recording Package Review

Presonus Audiobox USB Studio Bundle Recording Package Review

Audio Interface, Studio Headphones, Condenser Microphone, StudioOne Software

Everything you need to start a home recording / project studio is included!

  One of the most budget friendly recording bundles I’ve come across is the Presonus Audiobox USB Studio Bundle Recording Package. This is a great starting point for anyone considering recording at home. If you are contemplating how to start out your home recording studio, or you’re simply looking for a portable recording solution, this is definitely the way to go.



Presonus Audiobox USB Bundle Review:

I bought this recording bundle over a year ago and still utilize it today. I already had an interface, a mic, headphones, and multiple DAW programs at the time that I bought it. So why would I get this if I already had everything included in the bundle? Let me tell you:

  • The first reason I decided to purchase this is because there’s so much included for only $250. Typically for just an audio interface with specs like the Presonus Audiobox you would pay much more than this entire recording bundle costs. Also most monitoring headphones are around $100 and up, and don’t forget the Presonus M7 studio condenser microphone or Presonus’ DAW: Studio One (Artist Edition).
  • The second reason is because I wanted a more portable interface to use for projects outside of the studio. Sometimes I have clients that prefer the convenience of me coming to them with my laptop and some gear to at least get a start on our project and lay out the groundwork for the coming weeks. The mic, headphones, and software were just a bonus in the back of my head.

 The Headphones (Presonus HD7 Headphones Review):

Presonus HD7 Headphones Review

Presonus HD7 Headphones Review

So I opened up the box and pulled out the  Presonus HD7 Headphones. I thought I’d give them a try before getting into the rest of it, so I loaded up a project I was working on at the time, plugged them into my current interface and had a listen. I was shocked at the quality of these things. Obviously it wasn’t like being in a acoustically treated room with top notch studio monitors, but for headphones the sound was excellent. They didn’t have the flattest frequency response that I’ve ever encountered in a set of monitoring headphones, but they added much less coloration than headphones like Beats By Dre, making them much more ideal for monitoring and mixing. The only headphones that I’ve liked better in a studio setting than the Presonus HD7 Headphones are the Sony MDR’s.

The Audio Interface (Presonus Audiobox USB Review):
Presonus Audiobox USB 2x2 Audio Interface Review

Presonus Audiobox USB 2×2 Audio Interface Review

This is the real deal if you want an interface on a budget. I’ve tried all the low end USB audio interfaces (M-audio Fast track and Fast Track pro and Mobile pre,  Steinberg Ci2, etc) and this is on par or better, not to mention costs less. I actually was so impressed with this that I ended up buying the Presonus Audiobox 1818VSL several months later. The Audiobox USB has a mic input with 48V phantom power that can be toggled on and off, an instrument input so you can hook up say a guitar and a microphone at the same time, play and sing, all while recording. It handles audio on your PC much better than your basic sound card and supports up to a 48kHz sample rate which more than covers the average audible frequency range of humans. The pre-amps are also extremely good for this price range. The A/D converters with a dynamic range of up to 102dB as well as 24-bit depth (many USB interfaces only use 16-bit, with a dynamic range of about 90dB) really caught my eye too. Some of these features are just not found in other interfaces within the same price range.

“PreSonus Audiobox has won numerous awards for designing the highest quality microphone preamplifiers in the industry at all price levels. The AudioBox USB is loaded with preamps that out perform any USB-based interface hands down.” -Zzounds
The Microphone (Presonus M7 Studio Condenser Mic Review):
Presonus M7 Condenser Microphone Review

Presonus M7 Condenser Microphone Review

So I wasn’t expecting much in regards to this mic. It’s part of a $250 dollar bundle, and you can hardly find a decent large diaphragm condenser mic in this price range, let alone one that comes with an audio interface, headphones, and a DAW. The suprising thing is, it’s actually not bad at all. This is not a Nuemann U-87 of course, but you can still achieve quality recordings without too much work on the mixing end. As long as you use a legit recording environment I highly doubt anyone would be able to tell this was a low budget microphone. I’ve used this for multiple applications and haven’t been disappointed with the results yet.

The DAW (StudioOne Artist Edition):

StudioOne is growing to be one of the most popular DAW‘s out there. I personally have other favorites, but you can achieve the same results in every DAW with the right understanding of how to use them. Personally my view on DAW software is that the biggest difference between them is cosmetic features and workflow. I prefer to work in other programs because I’m more familiar with them, but I had no trouble navigating around StudioOne and was impressed by both the amount and the quality of plugins that came with this program, especially since it’s the artist version. Like all of the popular DAW’s, it has the fundamental functions that allow you to record and edit sound, arrange the audio and midi tracks, mix, and export your projects in your desired audio format. There are several limitations to the Artist Edition that are included in the full version. The Artist Edition of StudioOne does not support external plugin formats like VST/AU/RTAS, and there is no mastering suite, which makes sense being an “artist edition”. You can record and mix tracks to prep them for mastering though, or if you like the program you can upgrade to the full version to utilize the full potential of StudioOne.

My Rating of the PreSonus Audiobox USB Recording Studio Bundle

Overall : 5 / 5 – This is the most complete start-up bundle I’ve seen for this price.

Quality: 5 / 5 – Again for the price everything included in this package is beyond what I expected. The audio interface has decent pre-amps and phantom power, with a variety of other features. The microphone is superior to others I’ve used in this price range, and StudioOne is one of the most user friendly DAW programs that I’ve come across and is growing to be one of the most popular as well.

Value: 5/5 – The value of this package is unmatched. I’ve spent $500 dollars on audio interfaces inferior to the Audiobox Usb included in the Presonus Audiobox Bundle. You could buy the Presonus Audiobox Recording Package twice for $500! You really can’t go wrong here in regards to value.

Summary:

Your not going to find a better deal when it comes to a low budget recording package. This package includes everything required to start recording at home, and it’s all superior to other products in the price range. Not only am I impressed with it, but every other review of this product that I read was positive. If you want to start recording at home with the convenience of a USB Audio Interface this is your answer. From a quality interface with excellent pre-amps, to a condenser microphone, to monitoring headphones, this package has it all. I think the fact that I’ve become a diehard Presonus fan-boy after purchasing this product says enough for me. I’ve purchased numerous products from them since I bought this, including the higher end version of the interface that comes in this bundle. This is definitely a great way to start out your home or project studio and I hope a lot of people take advantage of the bargain Presonus has provided.

 

Specs and Features:

- AudioBox USB bus-powered audio and MIDI interface with cable
- 24-bit resolution
- 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz sampling rate
- 2 combo mic/instrument inputs
- 48V phantom power for M7 condenser microphone
- Zero-latency monitoring via internal mixer <<
- Numerous Native 32-bit Effects and virtual instrument plug-ins
- 4+ GB of extra plugins
- HD7 studio monitoring headphones
- M7 large-diaphragm studio condenser microphone including and xlr cable.
- Mic-stand adapter and Cloth carry bag included
- Computer Recording Made Easy Quick Start Guide
- Includes Presonus StudioOne Artist (Music Production DAW Software)
- Works on Windows and Mac
- Presonus Quality Pedigree Preamplifiers

January 24, 2013 Microphones, Music Production Gear And Software 4 Comments

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4 Comments

  1. Juli April 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Excellent review, I ended up buying the Audiobox bundle and am very satisfied with it. I vote for investing your money into home recording gear.If you are serious about this, I would advocate upgrading your sound card and using a mixer instead of a digital interface. If you get a soundcard that can handle 24-bit recording and playback you can achieve higher recording quality and be able to hear it on playback but even if you stick to 16-bit, it’s okay it is home recording after all. Just get a better one, stock sound cards have crappy line in and mic in’s, they’re noisy as heck . my laptop’s line in has a noise floor of -30 db! I mean, c’mon! Grrr .Besides, a mixer (I use a 4-channel Behringer) has phantom power, while I don’t think the Presonus does, and you need phantom power for a condenser. A great tip is to record in stereo, condenser on one side, and a dynamic on the other. Blend them during mixdown for a better tone, hopefully one that will minimize the EQ’ing. I’ve gotten great results from doing this.I share your frustration over paying for studio time and having it come out jacked up. The last time I went in with my last band the engineer didn’t know how to record heavy music, so he close-mic’d the drums (bleed! the bleed!), listened too much to the lead singer, screwed it all up. I actually had to learn how to use his mixing software and sit in with him to try to fix the egregious mistakes the bass got recorded in with one of the overhead drum mic’s, oh god it was horrible .Expect it to take some time to make it all work. But that’s the beauty of it, is that you can take the time to figure it all out. That means if you ever have to go in to the studio, it’s old hat and you can minimize your time (and money!) spent there.I can’t help you with a drum machine, sorry. I program my drums using midi with Reaper and some vsti’s I downloaded.Oh yeah there is no such thing as true professional results from home recording. You can get very good, but there is a glass ceiling you will not be able to get past. If it isn’t the noise floor it will be some subtle arcane mastering secret or the thousands of dollars of processing equipment.That said, you should be able to get some very decent, listenable material out of a home recording setup, once you get it down.Saul

    • Andres July 9, 2013 at 8:10 am

      I fell in love with Studio One the month that it came out and have not turned back since.Another great bifenet is that if you mix your songs in S1, you can import them directly into the Project/Mastering interface and S1 will take care of the initial render of the latest version of your mix.Then if you need to make tweaks to the song itself, you can launch it right there from within the Project, make your changes, save the song and then when you go back into the Project, S1, knowing that the song has been changed, will offer to re-render and re-import into your Project session so that you don’t have to do it manually.It’s an amazing DAW, thanks 2infamouz for getting into it!

  2. Abdu September 27, 2013 at 8:53 am

    could you please upload vocal sample recorded with the package to listen to it ?

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