Value for money is the name of the game when it comes to entry-level home recording packages like PreSonus’s Audiobox iTwo Studio, and boy what a punch this bundle packs. An iOS compatible audio/ MIDI interface with phantom power and 2 x XLR/1/4” instrument or line level inputs, a condenser mic (with padded bag), monitor headphones (with bag), XLR cord, USB cord, Studio One Artist DAW and 6GB of samples and instruments to download at your leisure, all for around $350. That is bonkers.
With one stereo input or 2 mono inputs, USB power (when used with a computer), MIDI I/O, a headphone jack on the front and 1/4” speaker jacks on the back, this is an ideal interface to get your music making fun off the ground.
It’s built solid with a brushed aluminum case and looks the goods. Once registered, I found the audio driver program on PreSonus’ member’s area, downloaded and installed it on my Windows 10 computer and with no problems I was up and running. With the industry standard 24-bit, 96 kHz spec converters, there’s no compromise there.
To get it to communicate with your iPad, you do need a wall socket handy unfortunately. But it’s ingenious the way they’ve got it to work without any extra accessories required. Instead of plugging the USB cable into a computer, you just plug in into the iPad charger in the wall socket, then plug your iPad into the ‘device’ USB socket on the back of the Audiobox. Download the free PreSonus Capture Duo app (or the paid full version Capture app) and you’re ready to make tunes.
STUDIO ONE ARTIST
Artist is the mid-range edition of the three Studio One versions available. Unlike certain other DAW’s packaged in bundles similar to this one, there is no restriction on saving or exporting tracks and no limit on how many tracks you can have in a project. It’s a fully functioning DAW with audio recording/ editing, MIDI sequencing and almost the full range of features, instruments and effects that PreSonus has up their sleeve.
To access the software you simply log in and register your product with PreSonus and the available downloads pop-up. As well as the software, there’s approximately 6GB of included samples and instruments available in 9 different packs, so you can pick and choose what you’d like to use. Cracking open new and unfamiliar software is always a little cumbersome, but I found Studio One relatively intuitive to get cracking with, the key being the toggle in the bottom right to turn on/off the various features of the software. If you are a complete beginner, there’s an extensive video tutorial section on the website. And of course, there were zero issues getting it set up with Audiobox.
M7 CONDENSER MICROPHONE
As far as entry-level microphones go, I’m super impressed with this one. I’m a big fan of recording ambient textures and percussive noises to bring an organic element into the music I make. This mic is absolutely up to the task, picking up every subtle nuance, its clarity is fantastic. I’m no singer, so I didn’t give it a whirl with vocals, but I couldn’t imagine it not being up to the task, especially combined with the excellent effects of the Studio One software.
The headphones have an interesting semi-open back cup design, which looks like basically a closed back design reworked slightly to have a more natural sound – maybe lacking in presence though. Since this is an entry-level bundle with the aim of providing everything you need to get started at a low cost, they’re a welcome addition, and with a removable cord and 1⁄4” to mini jack screw on adaptor, they’ll get the job done for any recording/jamming application.
All in all, this bundle is a brilliant option for those just getting started or more intermediate users who are looking to get a mobile set-up together. Entry-level recording equipment has come leaps and bounds in the bunch years I’ve been tinkering with music; I’m jealous that packages like this weren’t available to me back then.
Hits and Misses
Interface is simple and intuitive
Software is great
Connectivity between devices is seemless
The headphones are the weakest part of the bundle, but still good enough to get you going