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Mobile audio interface

Test: Presonus AudioBox GO

Published 8:02 am on Thursday 15th September 2022 by Beat Magazine

At only approx. 11 x 8 x 4 cm, the AudioBox GO is even more compact than most mobile audio solutions we have tested. And the flyweight of 230 grams is hardly noticeable in the pocket. However, the low weight already indicates that Presonus has only relied on plastic here. We would therefore recommend the AudioBox less for raw stage use, but for the jam session at the buddy's house or in the park, the quality fits. Even in a cramped desktop studio, you'll be happy about every centimeter gained. In the studio, however, you might want to fix the AudioBox with Velcro so that it doesn't slip every time you touch a cable or even fall off the studio table.

2x2 audio interface

AudioBox GO is a 2x2 USB audio interface. There is a microphone input with the XMAX-L preamp already known from other Presonus models, which can provide up to 50 dB preamplification in the GO model. With low-level microphones such as the Shure SM7B, this can be a bit tight, but as a rule, there should be enough reserves. A line signal can also be recorded via the XLR/jack combo socket instead of a microphone.

The second input is only available as a jack and is optimized for instruments. However, the different orientation of the two inputs also means that stereo recordings are not as easy to implement.

While we're on the rear panel, let's take a look at the other connections: Two jack outputs go to the monitor, i.e. mixer, amplifier or active monitor speakers. And the USB-C port connects the AudioBox GO to the computer, which then also supplies the power.

Direct monitoring

The first thing that catches your eye is the mix control on the front panel. Here, you can mix the input signals (such as microphone or guitar) continuously with the playback from your DAW and listen to them latency-free during the recording. Such a flexible solution directly via hardware is not a matter of course for compact interfaces in this price range and, therefore, gives it a plus point. Two additional small controls are responsible for the recording level of the two inputs.

In the test, it was noticeable that the level was not linear, but that a strong amount of amplification took place in the last control range, which was then also associated with an increased noise level. If you take this feature into account and avoid the last boost, the AudioBox GO proves to be very low-noise. In addition, there is the illuminated switch for 48V phantom power, the large volume control and the headphone output on the front.

Another thing worth mentioning is the extensive software package, which covers a wide range of music production tasks and offers real added value for both beginners and advanced users.

Field test

The AudioBox GO is class-compliant, that is, it is recognized and integrated by your computer without prior driver installation. It is recommended, however, that you download the free control software from Presonus. This gives you direct access to the sample rate, clock source and buffer size. Just connect the cables to the sockets which are, unfortunately, not secured to the case making them a bit wobbly; and the test scenario is ready. During the first listening test, the audio signal from the DAW could be played back via the studio monitors without audible distortions. The relatively powerful and punchy headphone output also stood out positively, which is, unfortunately, not a matter of course for inexpensive compact interfaces. The various recordings from microphone, electric guitar and analog mono synthesizer were also pleasing: Predominantly linear without big dents in the frequency response, and pleasantly free of background noise.


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The Producer Blog - Hardware

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