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PreSonus AudioBox GO audio interface review: A tidy tiny toolbox

While recording audio on the run is now easier each day because of smartphones along with other portable recording devices, the sound quality and flexibility of a separate audio interface remain hard to beat when youre seeking to develop a polished product. Earlier this season, audio manufacturer PreSonus released the AudioBox GOtheir smallest and lightest audio interface everwith the purpose of giving musicians, recordists, and mixing engineers usage of high-resolution audio recording and monitoring anywhere. To help keep it ultra-portable, the AudioBox GO includes a not a lot of feature set and few connectivity options, rendering it suitable for streamers, musicians, along with other content creators who dont have to record greater than a single microphone at the same time. Not long ago i had to be able to test the AudioBox GO within my home studio in a number of monitoring and recording scenarios, and I was happy with its overall sound quality and simplicity. Lets dive in and explore if the AudioBox GO is flexible enough for real-world recording scenarios.

The PreSonus AudioBox GOs design

The PreSonus AudioBox GO includes a footprint of 4.25 inches by 3.3 inches and a height of just one 1.73 inches, also it weighs about just over half of a pound, or perhaps a little more compared to the average smartphone. The interface features two input channels and two output channels. Input one includes a combination TRS/XLR jack that accepts line level signals from equipment like samplers and keyboards, in addition to microphones. Input two is really a TS instrument input that accepts direct signal from unbalanced and unamplified sources like electric guitars and electric basses. Its two output channels match the left and right channels of its single stereo output, which may be accessed via two TRS outputs on the trunk panel, in addition to a front-mounted headphone output.

All the AudioBox GOs manual controls are mounted to its front panel for quick access you need to include two knobs to regulate the gain for inputs one and two, a primary volume knob, a headphone volume knob, and a combination knob which allows users to regulate the mix between computer playback and live input audio. The 48-volt phantom power can be switchable with a button on leading panel, allowing users to send extra capacity to the XLR connector for compatibility with condenser mics along with other phantom-powered gear (just dont forget the XLR cables).

Probably the most appealing components of the AudioBox GO is its bus-powered design which allows it to use with a single USB-C connection. This helps it be a really portable interface option which you can use alongside any computer, Android, or iOS device to record virtually anywhere. Its internal XMAX-L mic preamp offers 50 decibels of gain, that is plenty for powering condenser mics but slightly below the perfect specs for dynamic microphones just like the Shure SM58at the very least in some recoverable format.

PreSonus AudioBox GO interface with headphones and a quarter for scale
The AudioBox GO, pictured here with 25 % for scale, is smaller than the average couple of headphones. Julian Vittorio

Getting started off with the PreSonus AudioBox GO

Because of its plug-and-play design, establishing the AudioBox GO is quick and straightforward. As the interface has a USB-C-to-USB-A cable for link with laptops and computers, youll unfortunately have to bring your personal USB-C-to-USB-C cable if youll be connecting an Android device or an Apple Lightning-to-USB Camera adapter for iOS devices. For my tests, I connected the AudioBox Head to my Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro via USB and opened my digital audio workstation of preference, Logic Pro X, where in fact the interface was immediately visible and designed for use in the program. I accompanied by connecting a Shure SM58 vocal microphone to the AudioBox GOs combo input via XLR and connecting a set of Sony MDR-7506 headphones to the interfaces headphone output (a vintage pair for personal mixing/monitoring).

Right from the start, the weight of the XLR cable pulled on the incredibly lightweight AudioBox GO, causing it to slide and slide around on the tabletop a lot. Fortunately, PreSonus carries a sheet of four adhesive rubber feet to add to underneath of the interface which should theoretically resolve this issue, but because I was utilizing a demo model I left them off for my test. Should you choose end up picking right up an AudioBox GO, that is not at all a step to skip.

IMAGE-2 The AudioBox GOs rear I/O connections keep your workspace tidyXXX. Ah-di-oh-a-GO-go

PreSonus AudioBox GO rear panel sitting on a table
The AudioBox GOs rear I/O connections help to keep your workspace tidy. Julian Vittorio

The PreSonus AudioBox GOs sound

Despite being very compact, the AudioBox GO is with the capacity of high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog conversion, allowing users to record and monitor audio at industry-standard quality. I tested the AudioBox GOs D/A conversion by first loading up a preexisting 24-bit/96kHz Logic session that Im currently focusing on and directly comparing its playback quality compared to that of a Universal Audio Apollo x8, an interface that costs around 20 times more. As the AudioBox GOs 0.004% harmonic distortion and 90 dB dynamic range fall well below the Apollo x8s specs of 0.0002% and 112 dB, I came across the difference between your two to be negligible in the context of general playback when put next through exactly the same couple of Sony MDR-7506 headphones.

Following my playback test, I used the AudioBox Head to record some speech and singing tracks by way of a Shure SM58, a standard vocal mic favored in studios and live sound applications because of its clear and present midrange response. The AudioBox GOs built-in XMAX-L preamp offered a surprisingly neutral and accurate sound free from the characteristic artificial air or high-end enhancement of some budget preamps.

The preamps 50dB of gain were plenty of to draw sufficient signal from the SM58 and, most of all, I was also in a position to max out the gain of the mic preamp without introducing much white noise, that is an uncommon feat in the wonderful world of budget interfaces. To round out the recording test, I accompanied by plugging a Fender MB-98 Mustang Bass straight into input two of the AudioBox GO and recording several fingerstyle and picked bass parts, which sounded in the same way expected: dynamic, full, and neutral.

When compared to similarly priced Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen.), which also features two inputs for microphones and instruments, the AudioBox GO offers about 10 dB less gain and doesnt add a built-in high (Air) boost to improve audio along the way in. In the wonderful world of digital audio, its an easy task to boost gain, edit EQ, and make other changes to audio via software following its been recorded, but it is a notable difference when you compare the preproduction tone captured by both interfaces when training of the box.

As promised, the mix knob on the AudioBox GO delivered latency-free tabs on my input signal, that is a key feature that ensures consecutive performances fall into line properly with previously recorded material. This kind of manual, knob-controlled signal blending might not be probably the most elegant system for balancing the mixture of computer playback and live signal weighed against the native latency-free monitoring offered in higher-tier devices just like the Universal Audio Apollo x8, nonetheless it is quite intuitive to utilize and increases the unfussy, streamlined selling point of the AudioBox GO.

While I didnt have a chance to install and test drive it, the AudioBox GO also contains a free of charge license for PreSonus Studio One Prime, a barebones edition of the companys acclaimed recording software. Unlike the free editions of some competing DAWs like Ableton Live Lite, Studio One Prime allows users to create sessions having an unlimited amount of audio and instrument tracks, rendering it a uniquely versatile choice among free DAWs for beginning music production.

The PreSonus AudioBox GO with a MacBook, mic, and headphones
A MacBook Pro and Shure SM58 paired with the AudioBox GO lead to an excellent minimalist recording rig. Julian Vittorio

So, who can purchase the PreSonus AudioBox GO?

The PreSonus AudioBox GO is marketed among the smallest, lightest, and most portable audio interfaces available, also it delivers on that promise at an extremely affordable price. Its high-resolution AD/DA conversion and bus-powered design ensure it is a good choice for creating audio content on the run without compromising sound quality or needing to lug a more substantial, heavier little bit of hardware alongside your personal computer or mobile device.

The AudioBox GO has an extremely few input and output channels, limiting users to an individual microphone or line-level source and an individual instrument alongside two redundant stereo outputs for studio monitors and headphones. This limited I/O helps it be less ideal for live recording of multiple performers, however the AudioBox GO is affordable enough to become a no-brainer for podcasters, musicians, along with other creators who mix and edit audio or record one track at the same time. If youre all but in love with the AudioBox GO but require a dual-microphone option, the PreSonus USB96 performs similarly well and is particularly USB bus-powered.

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