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Presonus Audiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface  

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The flagship in PreSonus' new generation of USB 2.0 audio/MIDI interfaces, the AudioBox 1818VSL takes hardware/software integration to the next level and delivers a combination of features, audio qual... Read More

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The flagship in PreSonus' new generation of USB 2.0 audio/MIDI interfaces, the AudioBox 1818VSL takes hardware/software integration to the next level and delivers a combination of features, audio quality, and value that is unprecedented in this product category. Using your computer CPU and PreSonus Virtual StudioLive (VSL) software, AudioBox VSL-series interfaces provide reverb and and delay effects and the same Fat Channel compression, limiting, semi-parametric EQ, and high-pass filter, as the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 digital mixer- all with inaudible latency. It's a great choice for project studios, performing bands, school music labs, and a wide variety of corporate installations and other contractor applications.

This is a pro product all the way, with high-end 24-bit, 96 kHz converters; Class A XMAX preamps; ADAT optical I/O; S/PDIF coaxial I/O; word-clock output; and MIDI I/O, housed in a heavy-duty, rack-mount metal chassis.

Furthermore, thanks to the power of VSL, the AudioBox 1818VSL includes a 26x8 software mixer. As a result, with just an AudioBox 1818VSL and your laptop or other computer, you can mix a studio session or live show featuring a full band-all while monitoring and recording with or without real-time processing! And you can do it simply and easily, with no hardware mixer, no outboard effects rack, and minimal wiring, thanks to the tight integration between PreSonus hardware and software.

What's so great about effects and processing on monitors?
Tracking without hearing effects and signal processing is like playing a video game with your eyes closed. Musicians rely on aural cues when performing, and their performance can vary depending on what they hear in their monitors. Adding just the right amount of compression, EQ, and reverb can make a huge difference in their ability to hear themselves clearly and to experience their performance as if it occurred in a natural space rather than in the artificial sonic environment of the studio. The result is a better performance and ultimately a better recording.

You have plenty of effects plug-ins for your DAW, but processing audio with a DAW takes more time than you might think. True, we're talking milliseconds, but it's long enough that if you put DAW effects in your studio monitors, you'll hear the original sound slightly before the processed signal, which is very disorienting. That much delay might be acceptable for live gigs, where the band is playing together in an ambient space that has natural delay. But you can't record that way in the studio.

Fortunately, PreSonus' engineering wizards have dramatically reduced processing delay in the AudioBox VSL series. The result: dynamics processing, EQ, reverb, and effects that feel real, with no audible delay.

And if you like what you hear, you can record with AudioBox VSL-series effects, too! These are the same high-quality StudioLive 16.0.2 Fat Channel dynamics processors and EQs that professional musicians, engineers, and producers record with every day.

Great processors are a PreSonus tradition
PreSonus didn't invent the first audio interface with effects. They simply did it better and for less money. Sure, some interface manufacturers that don't normally make signal processors have added a compressor, EQ and a few effects to their interfaces. But the AudioBox VSL series provides all that, plus a separate limiter, expander, and high-pass filter-and PreSonus has been making high-quality signal processors since 1995. The AudioBox VSL-series' Virtual StudioLive (VSL)-based effects and Fat Channel processing have been extensively field-tested and proven popular by tens of thousands of StudioLive-series mixer users, including many top professionals.

Of great importance, thanks to VSL's drag-and-drop convenience, adding processing and creating and loading presets is easy. Pro-level processing and superior ease of use mean you'll get better results and have more fun!

High-end sound in a versatile, roadworthy interface
Versatile and portable, the AudioBox 1818VSL offers 2 convenient front-panel mic/instrument combo inputs and 6 front-panel mic/instrument combo inputs, true 48V phantom power (switchable in 2 banks), and 8 line-level outputs. ADAT optical I/O provides 8 more channels of input and output (at 44.1 or 48kHz; 4 channels at 88.1 or 96kHz). S/PDIF coaxial digital I/O adds 2 more channels, bringing the total to 18 audio input channels and 18 output channels.

The sound is pure PreSonus, with the same high-headroom, Class A solid-state XMAX preamps found in StudioLive mixers and high-quality, 24-bit, 96 kHz converters with 114 dB dynamic range for clear, clean audio. And it boasts PreSonus' legendary 150mW headphone output, which is loud enough to explode the oysters in a Po'-Boy sandwich. (Be careful with your level control!)

The superior sound of PreSonus preamplifiers has long been a major reason that so many audio professionals prefer PreSonus interfaces. The XMAX is the finest solid-state preamplifier we make, offering three key advantages:

* 1. High Voltage. The XMAX preamplifier runs on power rails of 30V. Most off-the-shelf, op-amp-based designs run on power rails of 10V to 18V. Higher-voltage power rails deliver more headroom, deeper lows, smoother highs, and a richer overall sound.
* 2. Discrete components - not op-amps. PreSonus only uses genuine transistors, resistors, and capacitors for ultra-low noise and transparency. Op-amps add noise, coloration, and harshness to a signal.
* 3. Class A circuitry. Class A circuits have no crossover distortion and deliver purer, clearer, and more musical results than the Class AB designs that are found in many preamps.

The net result of the XMAX preamp design is high headroom, low noise, wide dynamic range, extended frequency response, and-most important-musicality and transparency, with smooth highs; solid, deep lows; and everything in between.

Pause and ponder this for a moment: a great-sounding 18x18 interface with a computer-based mixer and full complement of dynamics processing and EQ, with reverb and delay effects on dedicated buses, plus MIDI and word clock, all in a single rackspace! And there's more.

The flexibility and power of software
VSL enables you to easily manage the processing and mixing from your Mac or Windows PC and provides editor/librarian functions, making it simple to create and use a library of presets. To get you started, PreSonus included the same library of more than 50 Fat Channel presets that comes with StudioLive mixers. These presets were created by professional musicians and engineers and let you instantly set up dynamics processing and EQ for vocals, guitar, and much more.

Seamlessly integrated with the included Studio One Artist DAW and VSL, the AudioBox 1818VSL interface works with virtually all Mac and Windows audio-recording software. And unlike most things nowadays, it's very easy on your budget.

So check out the AudioBox 1818VSL: the next-generation USB 2.0 interface that gives you extensive I/O, including eight analog inputs and outputs; ADAT optical and S/PDIF digital input and outputs; real-time, low-latency processing and effects; word-clock output; rock-solid construction; software mixing; and high-end audio-all for a price you have to see to believe!

Features Audio Quality
  • Max bit depth: 24-bit
  • Max sampling rate: 96kHz
  • Total inputs: 18
  • Mic preamps: 8
  • XLR/TRS combo jacks: 8
  • XLR only jacks: 0
  • 1/4" only jacks: 0
  • S/PDIF in: 2
  • ADAT/optical in: 8
  • RCA in: 0
  • Total outputs: 18
  • XLR out: 0
  • 1/4" out: 10 (TRS balanced)
  • S/PDIF out: 2
  • ADAT/optical out: 8
  • RCA out: 0
Other Connectivity
  • Computer connection: USB 2.0
  • MIDI I/O: 5-pin In/Out
  • Headphone output(s): 1
  • Word-clock I/O: Yes
Onboard Features
  • Platform compatibility: Mac & Windows
  • Phantom power: Yes
  • Direct monitoring: Yes
  • Onboard DSP: No
  • Metering: LED meters
  • Display: No
  • Latency control: Yes
  • Monitor control: Yes
  • Headphone control: Yes
  • Width: 19" (483mm)
  • Height: 1.75" (44mm)
  • Depth: 5.5" (140mm)
  • Weight: 4.6 lb.
  • Construction: All-metal chassis & knobs
  • Rack-mountable: Yes
  • Included software: PreSonus Virtual StudioLive and Studio One Artist 2
  • Minimum computer-system requirements:
  • Windows
  • Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit)
  • Intel Pentium 4 1.6GHz processor or AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Turion) (2.8GHz or faster recommended)
  • 1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
  • Macintosh
  • Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later (32- and 64-bit)
  • Intel Core 1 Solo 1.5GHz processor (Intel Core Duo or Intel Xeon processor recommended)
  • 1GB RAM (2GB or more recommended)
  • Windows and Macintosh Systems
  • USB 2.0 Port
  • Internet connection recommended
  • DVD-ROM drive (required to install Studio One Artist)
  • Microphone Inputs
  • Connector Type: Combo, XLR, female, balanced
  • Mic Preamp EIN: -133dB, 20kHz BW, max gain, Rs=40 ohm, A-wtd
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, ±0.25dB, unity gain
  • THD+N: 0.002%, +4dBu, 1kHz, unity gain, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • S/N Ratio: 97 dB, +4dBu, 1kHz, unity gain, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • Gain Control Range: -15dB to +65dB
  • Input Max Headroom: +16dBu, < 0.5% THD
  • Input Impedance: 1.7k ohm
  • Phantom Power: +48VDC, 10mA total
  • Line Inputs
  • Connector Type: Combo, 1/4" TS, female, unbalanced
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, ±0.25dB, unity gain
  • THD+N: 0.002%, +4dBu, 1kHz, unity gain, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • S/N Ratio: 98dB, +4dBu, 1kHz, unity gain, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • Gain Control Range -20dB to +20dB
  • Input Max Headroom +21dBu, < 0.5% THD
  • Input Impedance 10k ohm
  • Instrument Inputs
  • Connector Type: Combo, 1/4" TS, female, unbalanced
  • Frequency Response 20Hz - 20kHz, ±0.25dB, unity gain
  • THD+N: 0.003%, +4dBu, 1kHz, unity gain, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • S/N Ratio: 89dB, 0dBu, 1kHz, unity gain, 20kHz BW, unwtd
  • Gain Control Range: -30dB to +50dB
  • Input Max Headroom: +21 dBu, < 0.5% THD
  • Input Impedance: 1M ohm
  • Analog Outputs
  • Connector Type: 1/4" TRS, female, impedance balanced
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, ±0.25dB
  • THD+N: 0.003%, 1kHz, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • S/N Ratio: 109dB, 1kHz, 22kHz BW, A-wtd
  • Output Level: +10dBu, <0.5% THD
  • Output Impedance: 51 ohm
  • Headphone Outputs
  • Connector Type 1/4" TRS, female, stereo
  • Maximum Power 120mW/ch @ 60 ohm load
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, ±0.5dB, max gain
  • THD+N: 0.01%, 1kHz, max gain, 20kHz BW, A-wtd
  • S/N Ratio: 96dB, 1kHz, max gain, 20kHz BW, A-wtd
  • Power
  • External Power Adapter +18VDC, 2.6A, center-positive
  • Connector Type 5.5 mm OD, 2.1 mm ID, 9.5 mm length
  • Digital
  • ADC Dynamic Range: 114dB, 48kHz, A-wtd
  • DAC Dynamic Range: 114dB, 48kHz, A-wtd
  • Host Interface: USB 2.0 high-speed
  • Bit Depth: 24-bit
  • Sample Rates: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz
  • Latency: 2.8 ms - 6 ms, analog in to out
  • ADAT: Optical I/O Toslink connectors, ADAT/SMUX formats
  • S/PDIF: I/O RCA female connectors
  • Word Clock: Output BNC connector, 4.5 Vpp @ 75 ohm load
  • MIDI I/O: 5-pin DIN connectors
  • Physical
  • 1U rack-mountable
  • Road-rugged construction with all-metal chassis and metal knobs
  • Weight 4.6 lb. (2.1 kg)
  • 18VDC external power supply (included)
One year parts and labor warranty.

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  • Customer Reviews

Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
PreSonusAudiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface

(based on 4 reviews)

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Reviewed by 4 customers

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(0 of 4 customers found this review helpful)


Does not completely live up to expectations.


from Pace, Florida

Comments about PreSonus Audiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface:

I Purchased a Audiobox 1818 from Guitar Center in 2012. Lot's of bang for the buck but freezes up occasionally on my system. Contacted and sent unit back to Presonus and they could not help me and denied any issues with the unit.

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(2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


Great Concept - Poor Execution


from Brandon, MS

Comments about PreSonus Audiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface:

I've had nothing but problems with this unit since I unboxed it. First off, it won't work with a USB cable longer than 6 feet. Second, it only works in certain USB ports, good luck finding which one. Third it randomly loses USB sync. Fourth, if it is on when you boot up your system it will take much longer to boot up than it should, and the same thing with shutting down. I won't buy another Presonus product.

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Outstanding Quality


from Kent, WA

Comments about PreSonus Audiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface:

I purchased this two years ago from Guitar Center and I love it. With so many input options available I can record anything in my home studio including a full drum set. It sounds great with great preamps. It takes care of a lot of worries. I have now realized that PreSonus does make some pretty high quality products. While expensive, it's well worth the quality. The Studio One software is very nice for being free. Of course I would love to upgrade to their full version but it does cost a bit of money - but not as much as Pro Tools. I highly recommend this if you are building a home studio and need a reliable and quality interface. Plus if you need help, Presonus has an outstanding customer service team.

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(12 of 13 customers found this review helpful)


Pretty good...almost REALLY good.


from Flint, Michigan

Comments about PreSonus Audiobox 1818VSL 18-Channel USB Interface:

After spending a weekend researching rack mount mixers/interfaces, I settled on this Presonus AudioBox1818. Considering that I WAS looking to eventually step into a StudioLive mixer, I was happy to discover that this unit was a "virtual" version of the StudioLive family of hardware mixer, just "byol" (bring your own laptop/computer). I was mainly looking for something for live shows. The recording interface, and everything the 1818 has is simply icing on the cake, so to speak, for my needs. And at 1/3 the cost of a SL16.0.2! My local GC ordered the unit and it was very simple to integrate into my rack system. Routed thru a FB destroyer, then thru a Sonic Maximizer. I was good to go. THEN.... I started reading the Forums on Presonus' website. At the time (before June 8, 2012) there were a TON of complaints and issues with the unit. Preamps too hot/VSL software bugs/Meter inconsistencies/dB issues...the list went (horrifically) on...and dated back quite some time, without any fixes from Presonus (more on that at the end of this review). Despite this I still took the unit to a gig was great! I had to work around a few of the issues mentioned above, but the FAT Channels and the multi-outs allowed me to mic a horn section and a drummer, and send them to separate outputs/monitors. Everyone was happy! I work with several groups, so the ability to save everyone's channel strip settings is simply incredible. And you can create duplicates for different venues, depending on acoustics/house equipment! What a time saver. FYI: I used a very nice Macbook Pro for all the VSL noticeable latency at all. I would not recommend using it with a computer more than a year or so old, and make sure it's resources are freed up. The main issues I experienced were clipping pre-amps where the meter (on the laptop) didn't hint that the signal was REALLY hot. Looked as though I had PLENTY of headroom to go (but the clip lights were blaring!). So I had to adjust as we went. The second issue was with the VSL software mixer interface. It didn't fit my 13" laptop screen and had NO adjustment options. So a few of the lower screen labels, etc could not be seen. Very frustrating. The good news? Presonus has announced updates for both the AB1818 (and entire family of AudioBox units) AND the VSL software, to be (apparently) released by the 8-10 of June 2012. These are said to address all the major concerns users are having with the unit. I guess I am fortunate to have adopted it so close to these fixes. My advice, if your looking at this as a possible investment: check the forums on Presonus' website and make sure there are no unresolved issues that will affect your needs for this device.

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