Everything in the M-Audio Studio ProHi! Today I have my M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro review for you. People often ask me for references on audio equipment for beginners and novices. When Best Buy sent me the M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro to review for the Best Buy blog, I happily obliged. This M-Audio vocal production package aims to meet the needs of both beginner and intermediate creators.

In my review, I begin by exploring the contents of the box. After that, I take a closer look at the individual components and their functionality. You will find my opinion on each component, followed by my final thoughts on the product as a whole.

M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro has everything you need

The M-Audio Studio Pro is a complete vocal production package. This all-in-one kit contains:

    • AIR 192/4 audio interface (with both USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A cables)
    • M-Audio NOVA microphone with windscreen
      • Microphone shock mount
      • Microphone cable
      • Microphone carrying soft case
    • M-Audio HDH40 closed-back headphones
    • USB-C-to-USB-C cable
    • USE-C-to-USB-A cable
    • XLR microphone cable
    • Software download guide

Everything is easily identifiable inside the box. Setup is uncomplicated, and I am able to start using the equipment in relatively little time. It is a nice feeling to not have to shop for individual items to build your own setup. The only extra equipment I need are my guitar, a mic stand, and my computer.

AIR 192/4 audio interface is easy to use

M-Audio AIR 192/4 audio interface, part of the M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro
The AIR 192/4 audio interface has a nice simple layout

The included M-Audio AIR 192/4 audio interface has everything I would expect from a 2-channel audio interface. Well-sized knobs control the gain level for each of the two inputs. Another manipulates the blend between the USB signal inside your computer and the direct signal of the interface itself. Following that, an independent headphone volume control allows for more options when monitoring.

I like that these knobs are a nice size. They are very easy to grab and adjust! There is one more knob, a large central knob that controls the Left/Right stereo output for your studio monitors. This knob is BIG and super easy to take hold when you need it.

Rear and front panel inputs

Back panel of AIR interface
The back panel of the AIR interface

On the rear of the AIR 192/4 audio interface the Input 1 is a XLR+1/4” TRS combo, useful for both microphones and guitars. The rear panel of the interface also has Left and Right 1/4” outputs for connecting your studio monitors. Finally, there is the UBC-C output and Kensington lock mount.

Input 2 is a 1/4” instrument jack, found on the front of the AIR 192/4 audio interface. It’s marked with a guitar icon for easy identification. On the front panel there is also a Phantom Power switch, required to power the included NOVA black microphone. Finally, we find a 1/4” headphone output for use with the included HDH40 headphones.

front panel Air 192
The front panel of the AIR interface

What I find curious about the arrangement of Inputs 1 and 2 is that they are split between the rear panel and front panel. Most 2-channel audio interfaces would have everything in one place, usually the front panel. The fact that the inputs are separated makes for a bit of a clumsy setup. Yet, this layout could be helpful for beginners to differentiate between Inputs 1 and 2.

 

NOVA black microphone provides good value

NOVA Black microphone, part of the M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro packageThe included NOVA microphone is a condenser microphone with cardioid pickup pattern. I connect it to the AIR interface using the included XLR cable and microphone shock mount. Right away, I have a healthy signal and can hear my voice with a nice frequency response. The quality of the NOVA microphone is what I would expect for a production pack at this price point. It sounds good, but not great. I try a different studio-quality microphone for reference, and the difference is noticeable in the depth and detail of my voice.

Included software apps add value

The M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro also includes a variety of music software apps. These apps are very helpful for beginners, and there may be a few surprises for intermediate users as well. Two DAWs are available: MPC Beats and Ableton Live Lite. Also included are effects plugins, virtual instruments and a loop library. ReValver, a guitar amp simulator, a virtual grand piano and AIR’s Creative FX collections ensure you have everything you need to get some great productions happening with ease.

Recording with the M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro

The 1/4″ guitar input (Input 2) sounds great! I am happily surprised by the sound quality. Both my guitar and bass sound like they have a solid foundation for recording. In conjunction with the included ReValver guitar amp simulator, you will have no problem getting a variety of great sounds for your guitar or bass.

With both Input 1 and Input 2, signal noise does become an issue at some point. Turning gain past the 12 o’clock position introduces a good amount of hiss. One should not need to push the gain level that far. However, it is worth noting the hiss may become a factor if you use other recording equipment, should  you ever expand your studio collection. However, at this point in my M-Audio Studio Pro review, I can safely say you will find everything you need to start recording quality vocals and guitars.

Decent headphones for monitoring

The HDH40 headphones have a very straightforward sound. I immediate notice that familiar music sounds different from what I am used to. Like the microphone, there is room to improve the depth and detail of the sound. But, once again, the headphones are suitable for the price point of the M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro package.

The construction is adequate, although the wire feels like a weak point. Treat these headphones with care. I appreciate the sound-isolating quality of the HDH40. They block a lot of external sound, which is great when you want to concentrate on your work.

M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro provides good value in a starter vocal production package

To conclude my M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro review, I can say this vocal production pack offers good value for beginner music producers and singer-songwriters. The equipment is uncomplicated and does a good job to providing an entry into audio production. It is one of the most affordable production packs on the market. Be that as it may, there are limits to the relationship between quality and price. It is my feeling the AIR 192/4 audio interface will endure much use. I am less confident, however, that the HDH40 headphones will keep up the pace. As for the NOVA microphone, it is good value in a microphone, though as you continue to develop in your recording journey, you may find it necessary to get an upgrade.

Have a closer look at the M-Audio Vocal Studio Pro and check out the huge selection of more M-Audio products available on bestbuy.ca as well!

For over 20 years, Montreal bassist Clinton Ryder has been on the Canadian music scene. With over 20 album credits, he works with musicians of all genres and generations. In recent years, he’s performed with Jim Byrnes and Petru Guelfucci, and a member of the Félix Stussi’s 5 (featuring trombonist Ray Anderson). He continues to freelance on his instrument of choice while honing his skills in Logic Pro, Sibelius and other interests, including his website www.country-music-hoedown.com.

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