The Bottom Line
- Leader in quality for this price range
- Rock solid drivers mean low latency
- Two Class-A microphone / instrument preamplifiers
- Flexible software routing
- Bundled with Cubase LE
- Knobs are a little small for some, but have a solid feel
- 24-Bit/96k recording with two Class-A preamplifiers.
- Two analog line inputs, six analog line outputs.
- Low latency monitoring.
- Loud headphone output.
- Software router/mixer.
- MIDI input/output.
- Windows and Macintosh compatible.
Guide Review - PreSonus FireBox FireWire Audio Interface
The PreSonus FireBox ($299.00 retail) is a compact and well thought out FireWire audio interface. If you don't need to record more than four inputs at a time (and most podcasters don't), then the FireBox can probably fit your bill. The quality of the FireBox comes largely from its two Class-A microphone / instrument preamplifiers, which rival other units costing hundreds more. Coupled with strong, stable ASIO drivers that offer low latency effects and monitoring, and a 24 Bit/96k sample rate, the FireBox is a small package that's hard to beat.
I use a PreSonus Firepod for my project studio, and I have been pleased with its reliability and performance for over a year. Since the FireBox shares the same components and drivers, I think this bodes well for the little silver box with the blue knobs. The FireBox comes bundled with Steinberg's Cubase LE, a 48-track recording software package which is powerful enough for even the most complex podcast productions. The FireBox works with other software as well, for both Mac and Windows XP, including Logic, Sonar, Audition, Acid, Digital Performer, and others.
The pleasure of using equipment like the FireBox is that everything works the way you want it to, and for a small unit, you don't really get the sense of having to leave many features behind. The headphone jack is convenient on the front face, with lots of volume for easy monitoring, even in loud environments. Four analog outputs, in addition to the two main outs, combine with the unit's software mixer to provide surprising flexibility in signal routing for a unit this size. A back panel cable provides MIDI input/output, if you have any desire to hook up a keyboard and create audio with virtual instruments. Add speakers or headphones and a good microphone, and you're got everything you need to produce professional quality audio.