Transcript: PreSonus AudioBox 22 VSL Video Review


Posted to YouTube Aug 20th, 2012

Hey what is up friends this is David from basic-home-recording-studio.com hope you are enjoying the site hope you are enjoying the other reviews.

Today we will be having a look at the AudioBox 22 VSL audio interface from PreSonus.

Inside the Box

Here you can see everything that comes included in the box so not much here but... let's just go through it real quick the unit itself obviously we'll talk more about that.

The included USB cable is 5 feet long.  Yeaaaaaa! 

Thank you PreSonus for actually giving us an included cable that we can actually use.

And of course the included software is Studio One Artist and that is a demo version 

You can also do a totally free version, which is really watered-down or you can do a 30 day trial of the medium version and then I guess the full version is 100 bucks if you wanna go that route.

So you can have something that you can record with right away out the box and the final piece I want to talk about here is this AudioBox VSL digital mixing interface. 

It's a pretty cool feature and just going to mention it briefly now, but we will talk about it more in-depth later.

Now let's get on to the unit itself.

First Impression

Looking at the unit itself the first impression it's got this brushed aluminum faceplate and overall it's got a very solid feel to it.

It's got some good weight to it and it doesn't feel flimsy or like a toy or anything like that.

So it's a serious piece of gear sometimes you know you get these things home or you order it in the mail and you open the box up and you just pick it up and you think...


This is it?!?  This is the thing that you've decided to mass-produce and sell to a bunch of people?

So far so good on this one the overall look and feel is very slick and let's take a look at some of the specifics.

Okay so 2 mic preamps here on the front no surprise they are combo jacks which is real common for newer models because it gives you the flexibility to use either an XLR cable, such as the one from your microphone or the output of your direct box, or the quarter inch instrument cable from, you guessed it, your instrument.

So that's a nice feature that a lot of units have now.

Moving on we have the 48V Phantom power supply, which as we all know is NOT to power your Phantom it is to power your condenser microphone.

Moving on we have trim controls here and here for both the inputs.

Now what I like about these is that they have a really good feel to them, they have kind of a notched feel so you can really feel it click into place so if you're sitting there and you want to, you know, you wanna crank it up a level.


You can do that and it really is nice, you can feel it click into place so...

Is this a really important feature?  No.

Do I prefer these to some others that I've tested?  Yeah I think these are kind of cool.

So they're all like that and up top you have the main output from the left and right on the back and then your headphone output which, I always like to point this out, does indeed go to 11.

"These are one louder..."

And then you have this generically named mixer dial and it's a very generic name but this is a very cool feature and I'm gonna talk about that in the next part, so before we do that though let's take a look at the back and turn this guy around.

Ok - USB 2.0 is obviously your data interface, but the nice thing about this unit it does not have a dedicated power supply.  It runs off the USB power.

That's really nice because if your studio is like mine you have what seems like 1000 of these adapters everywhere.

This one doesn't need one that's one less that you have to worry about at least.

MIDI interface included which is nice because if you're going to use a MIDI controller say you're a keyboard player you want to have just a small MIDI controller you could use it USB, but that takes up another port and those seem to just get gobbled up really quickly.

So this is nice because you have the dedicated MIDI interface built into the unit.  It's got both the In and the Out which, of course, is what you would need if you want to hook up a single device, because MIDI remember is a one-way street.

Main out: this is your left and right outputs to your studio monitors... and headphones so pretty self explanatory there.

Now that's pretty much it for the unit.

Now, you guys didn't certainly click on this video to hear me talk about "Ah man you gotta see this MIDI interface or Awww the dials have notches on them... can you believe that? you actually feel it clicking!?!"

You want to know is this thing fun to use, is it easy to set up, and instead of having me tell you I'm going to show you in the next part of the video here, we're going to go into some of the special features that separate this unit from others.

Software Demo

Ok so the entire review has been leading up to this moment.  I have saved the best for last and I do believe this is the crown jewel of what this unit has to offer.

This is going to be part one of the software demo and there's two parts remember I mentioned earlier.

There's this, the recording software, and then there's the virtual software mixer.

So starting off with this guy you can see I have track 1 is my vocals, and track two is gonna be my guitar.

I have my electric guitar plugged in here.

No direct box needed for this unit I was happy to discover that.

They all advertise that you can plug directly in but this is the first one that I have personally used where that's been the case where you can just plug it straight in.

So I'm not using a DI box.  

I still recommend that in general for most units, but I'm saying for this specific one, you do not need one.

Let's move on to the VSL portion, this is the software interface - it looks like this.

There's also a dial on the front of the panel, which I mentioned in the previous part of the review, and it basically allows you to control the amount of the digital processing that you can hear in your studio mix, in your monitor mix, in my case my headphones, or if you're using your studio monitors.

It's really nice because you can hear what you need to hear to get the best performance but it doesn't get printed onto the track.

And let me show you what I mean.

So let's go down here - I'm gonna be playing a metal riff here pretty soon so I'm gonna grab the metal preset and what that does is it sets these parameters for a noise gate, compressor, and EQ and allows me to hear just that preset that I've selected.

That helps me when I'm playing - it sounds like a metal guitar instead of just the acoustic version of my unplugged electric guitar which won't sound quite as harsh and quite as awesome.

Also you can do a reverb effect - let me grab one here - I'll just grab "Small Club" put it here.

For those of you familiar with hardware-based mixers, this is just an effects send.

Here's my effect, and I'll choose how much I send to channel 1, and then how much I send to channel 2.

And as I dial up the switch over to digital processing I can hear it.  So you guys can't hear it just because of the way I'm recording this, but you can hear a reverb on the vocals and if I play my guitar you'll be able to hear a reverb on that too.

Once again, not going to show up on the video but believe me it's happening.

So that's what I wanted to show and why is this such a big deal?

It seems maybe like just a side note, "Hey that's nice but..."

This is a really big deal because now you can print on the recorded track a clean version with no effects added.

Then you can add all the effects you want later, so what seems like a good idea today like if I wanted to grab, you know, Cathedral that's pretty intense.

So maybe that sounds good it's Sunday night, I'm thinking "Yeah I'll have this Cathedral reverb!" and tomorrow morning you're thinking "Ahhh that's crazy, I should have gone with something a little more tame like Bedroom or Closet"...  something like that.

So you have that flexibility because now all these effects that are provided here are only in your monitors, so it's a cool feature I think it's pretty easy to overlook but it's definitely something that I really like about this unit so let's go on to the next part of it which is back to the recording interface.

Now the software drivers that are included with this are super low latency which means that they are optimized to work with this hardware and provide very, very low response through your recording interface so that if you do a guitar simulation for example it will sound real.

By that I mean you won't hear your strings and then a split-second later hear the processed result.  It pretty much happen simultaneously.

In my case on my machine I'm getting about 8 ms of latency which is nothing.

If you get up around 40 or 50 you start to - you can maybe tell yourself, "Well... I can't really tell the difference" but you can.

Less than 10 is absolutely instantaneous.

Let's go to styles, metal, of course, and we'll grab a British Ultra...

Here you can see the effects kind of stacked up as if they were real let's do a little something here.

::Black Diamond by KISS::

So you can come out of nowhere and just throw a little "Black Diamond" intro right out.

Once again it's not going to show up in the video review, and I know some of you guys will be thinking "Ah that's a waste of my time.  I was hoping you were gonna show us something..."

It is really cool, I mean it happened right as I played it.  I didn't have to hear a split-second delay so it's really cool.

It's taken my guitar and as I've had this for the last couple weeks playing around with it, I'm really jealous because I've struggled with this for a long time.

You have these cool plug-ins, you have these cool instruments, virtual instruments, that you want to use but there's such a huge delay that, well it seems huge, right it's just a fraction of a second, but such a big delay it seems like that it just ruins it for you and so you end up not using it.

But in this case this thing is really fun to use.

You're going to have a great time with it - it's got a lot of really cool software features that have been integrated together, it's very easy to set up, it's real transparent to someone just starting, but for those of you who are a little more experienced you'll appreciate the subtlety of it.

And that is what I wanted to show you guys about this.  Let's get back and wrap it up.

The Verdict

And that is gonna do it for today's review of the AudioBox 22 VSL audio interface from PreSonus.

In case you couldn't pick up on this during the review I think this thing is an absolute slamdunk.

I think the folks at PreSonus should be really proud of this hardware/software combination they did an awesome job and if you're looking for an audio interface around $200 you really need to give this thing a hard look.

It's got just a great set of features the ability to record without a DI box, solid software drivers, low latency, quiet preamps, solid controls, MIDI interface, it just goes on and on.

The headphone volume goes to 11!

There's a recipe for jambalaya in the user's manual!  And yes I read the user's manual... how else would I know that. It's hidden.

But if you have any questions regarding the things that you heard in the review today please check out the website basic-home-recording-studio.com to have your questions answered.

Also you can get step-by-step instructions on how you too can build your own home recording studio tonight.

And thanks for listening otherwise it's just me talking to myself and I appreciate you watching.

My name is David check out the website, check back soon we're gonna do another one real soon, and that is it for now –thanks!

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