Assembling a modest recording setup has become more inexpensive than some would realise. Andy Jones opens up the new PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio to see if the low price-point is as good as it seems…
AudioBox 96 Studio key features:
- USB audio and MIDI interface with 2 combo mic/instrument ins with Class A mic preamps
- 24-bit resolution, 44.1, 48, 88.1, & 96 kHz sampling rate
- M7 large-diaphragm condenser mic
- HD7 headphones with High neodymium resolution drivers
- PreSonus Studio One Artist with unlimited audio tracks, MIDI tracks, virtual instruments, buses, and FX plus 10+ GB of third-party software, loops, and instruments
With more and more people needing small interface set-ups for song writing, YouTube videos or recording podcasts and commentaries, an increasing number of companies are putting out bundles that offer everything in one box. We’ve already reviewed packages from Focusrite, Audio-Technica, Blue and more that offer various configurations, some with pop shields or a mic. This one has headphones, a mic, interface and software bundle.
Firstly you get a sturdy interface with two combo mic/line ins, two outs plus headphone and MIDI connections. You could plug a guitar and mic in and sing away, or use it with a simple mic combo. As with all PreSonus hardware you’re best off registering it and you’ll then get a list of available software including any drivers you might need, and it’s an impressive download – more on that soon.
Next are the HD7 headphones. They’re a little lightweight – not necessarily a bad thing – and not especially rugged, but they stood up reasonably well next to our reference phones: lots of detail, a little harsh, but with an extended bass response that doesn’t colour as much as we thought it might. Not bad. The mic is not quite a match for them, but while there are better, it’s still good for this price point.
Perhaps most impressive on the music production side and often included in PreSonus’ bundles is Studio One Artist. Now this is an impressive DAW. You get 26 plug-in effects and instruments, unlimited audio tracks, it works with Mac or PC and is easy to use despite a fairly cluttered GUI.
There’s even a 10GB bundle of extras by third parties including samples, loops and other goodies. It might be overkill for just recording a podcast but what the heck, make it a super musical podcast, or a very dramatic and cinematic one! All of the effects and sounds you need are right here to soundtrack whatever you want.
£175 doesn’t get you much these days, but it does if you open this little box of treats. Recommended for those starting out or needing a neat, rugged all in one solution.
Sure you can get better mics and headphones but the PreSonus interface is up there with the best entry level ones out there as is the software. £175 for all this?