PreSonus has always been a big name when it comes to audio gear for home studios, in both the high-end and budget markets. Their AudioBox USB 2×2 is easily one of the best-performing audio interfaces you can get for around $100. If you are on a budget, this might just be the model for you. Let’s see what’s on offer…
One thing we can appreciate about PreSonus is their rugged approach to design. The entire AudioBox Series comes with a very durable, heavy-duty chassis that can withstand some serious abuse – very sturdy indeed!
Aesthetically, AudioBox USB 2×2 is decent. It’s nothing to write home about, however it isn’t ugly either. Depending on your requirements when it comes to color, the blue/silver theme PreSonus uses can be polarizing. Some like it, others don’t. Sitting on the fence, we don’t mind it! Finally, the control cluster can be a little confusing, as PreSonus went with a bit of an odd diagonal layout. Still, it is pretty standard when you get used to it.
Inside this rugged box, the star of this package is the Class A microphone preamp. When you look at all of the budget interfaces on the market, the preamp in the AudioBox 2×2 is up there with the best. The rest of the hardware is more or less standard. PreSonus offers two channels, both of which can take a 1/4” TRS or an XLR connector, which adds to the versatility. As you may expect, each channel comes with its own gain knob, which sit next to the phones level and main volume knobs, along with a 48v phantom power switch for condenser mics.
Around the back, you have a pair of MIDI ports – both input and output – and a balanced main out coming in the form of two 1/4” TRS ports. It’s USB bus-powered, so one USB port handles both power and data management, which is useful for keeping cables to a minimum. PreSonus ships this interface with a copy of their own Studio One Artist DAW as well the Studio Magic plugin suite, which is an excellent addition at this price.
The reason this particular interface has stuck around for so long is due to its performance. Compatible with both Mac and PC (and pretty much any DAW), the AudioBox 2×2 is easy to use with a very small learning curve. Most importantly, the sound quality is great and it gives you a stable, consistent core performance with 24-bit resolution, and 44.1 and 48 kHz sampling rate.
The PreSonus AudioBox 2×2 may not be the most impressive model on the market, nor the flashiest. Yet, its input options are versatile and it gets the job done efficiently. If you are trying to build a home studio on a tight budget without compromising on sound quality and speed, this proven audio interface is well worth considering.