Propellerhead Balance is designed to be an all-in-one music production package. For those musicians who need a fast and easy way to get their instruments hooked up to their PC so that they can record, it should prove suitable. The package comes with Reason Essentials, a popular software solution for those who produce their own music. The integration of the two elements is a nice touch and most users should find that the package offers them quite a lot for the modest amount of money that the product commands.
The Propellerhead Balance package is truly designed so that you can start recording after you open up the box and hook it up. The technical specs include:
- 2-in by 2-out audio interface
- Two ¼” TRS balanced main outs
- Two XLR microphone inputs with 48V phantom power
- Two ¼” guitar inputs, padded
- Four ¼”, two stereo pairs, balanced
- One ¼” headphone jack
- Output muting
- Separate controls for headphone level and output level
- 24-bit ADC/DACs, 44.1kHz to 96 kHz
- Direct monitoring
- Clip Safe—a software enhancement that automatically adjust recordings to fix clipping
- Drivers included
- USB 2.0 powered
The input/output box is small, weighing just less than 600 grams. All of the components are compatible with both Mac OS and Windows PCs.
The Propellerhead package is, to some extent, a studio in a box. The audio input/output box allows you to hook up your instruments, the included Reasons Essential allows you to record and produce your music. This should provide the majority users with everything they need to get started recording music. The input/output box is well designed. The main out and headphone volume both have large, easy to operate knobs. The device is also designed intelligently enough so that you don’t have to plug-in and take out your devices when you switch. The input matrix allows you to leave your devices plugged in and to choose which devices are actually recording.
The device is powered by USB 2.0, so you don’t have to worry about hooking up yet another power adapter. If you have a powered hub, the device will work with it, making it more convenient.
The input box is also great for guitar players. It has a virtual guitar and bass POD. This allows you to emulate the sound of several different types of heads, cabs and amps, so you have a lot of flexibility as far as defining your sound is concerned.
Reason Essentials provides you with just about everything you need to record. It includes effects, samplers, a drum machine and has an easy to use design. The interface looks like a rack. You can change it around as much as you want but, as you add more elements, you’ll appreciate how convenient and easy to read this interface is.
The full version of Reason is a standard tool for professional music production. If you decide to upgrade to it, the Propellerhead audio input is compatible.
Propellerhead Balance has great latency numbers, meaning that you don’t have to deal with annoying delays between playing and having your input recording. It’s a solid digital audio workstation option in this regard.
The Reason software is so well-known and refined that most any musician should have an easy time with it, even if they haven’t used it before. The interface is easy to understand. If you’re not familiar with digital recording but have a background with hardware racks, you’ll understand Reason very easily. It has a solid selection of effects and other enhancements, as well.
The box is very small. It should fit on most people’s computer desk very easily and, if you have a different placement in mind, you won’t need to run out and purchase new stands or a new desk to accommodate it. The sound it gives is impressive. The large knobs for the most important outputs are also great touches. It’s easy to operate the interface while you’re working and you don’t have to fumble around to get access to the control you need.
Whether you want this for making scratch recordings or you want to use it as your main recording setup, you should be happy with the results. It’s solidly professional and very well designed.