PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2×2 Review (October 2020)
PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 2x2
- ✔ Compatible with almost all recording software for Mac
- ✔ Bus-powered USB 2.0 audio and MIDI interface
- ✔ Frequency Response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- ✔ 2 combo mic/instrument inputs
PreSonus has long offered decently-priced yet reasonably high-quality audio interfaces. This year we’ve seen a number of them. The PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 comes as one part of the PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio. The other parts being a pair of headphones, a microphone, and not forgetting, an XLR cable.
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 and loops.
The first thing we noticed when we took the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 out of the box was its size. It’s a little smaller than we expected, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It features the blue and silver aesthetic you would expect from a PreSonus interface, and in general it looks quite nice.
Under the hood, the PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 is relatively powerful, and while you won’t get all that many inputs and outputs, that doesn’t mean that the ones that are there don’t sound good — in fact, they do. While some purists may beg to differ, one of the things that we’ve always loved about PreSonus’ preamps is that they’re quite transparent — which makes them versatile. You could really use the preamps here to record anything — vocals, guitars, drums, you name it. The limiting factor here doesn’t come from how the preamps sound, but rather how many of them there are.
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. 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. You’ll then get a list of available software including any drivers you might need.
Next are the HD7 headphones. They’re a little lightweight which is not necessarily a bad thing. They’re not especially rugged either but they stood up reasonably well next to our reference phones. They have 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 ‘ready to go’ effects and instruments, unlimited audio tracks, it works with Mac 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 the effects and sounds you need are right here to soundtrack whatever you want.