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We recently upgraded some of the office Macs to new machines, and along with some speed boosts and processing power, we got a slew of new Thunderbolt ports to play around with. Around the same time, as luck would have it, the folks at PreSonus sent us one of their new interfaces to test out.
Right off the bat, we loved how stupid-simple the new Quantum 2626 was to setup. We already use Studio One as our primary DAW, but configuring the I/O in any modern workflow should take just as little time. We were up and running in about a minute.▼ Article continues below ▼
Our first tests included some simple condenser mics on acoustic guitars and scratch vocals, along with processing some bass-heavy synths and our new digital Mellotron. This unit comes with eight of PreSonus’ killer XMAX preamps, which sound awesome. Flat out – awesome. Highs were crisp with plenty of clean headroom, and dialing up the gain introduced zero clipping, distortion or digital noise. The whole experience was…transparent, I guess is the best word. There was no obvious coloration of the sound, which is great, especially for capturing ultra-hi-res audio for mixing and post-processing.
For this money, it’s crazy how good interfaces have become. No joke, we’d use this as the centerpiece of a pro studio any day of the week, the results are that good. And since it’s Thunderbolt, latency is basically non-existent. Like seriously, it’s a thing of the past.
We like that there’s so much front-facing I/O – sometimes it’s a bummer to install outboard gear and interfaces for testing, where everything is on the back. It makes plugging in and recording a pain – but not here. And of course if you need more, you can use an ADAT solution like the DigiMax we reviewed a while back. It’s all seamless. We even inserted used a master bus compressor with ease.
The fact that all this clocks in under $600 is ridiculous. Eight excellent (and fast) mic pre’s, full sized MIDI ins and outs (5-pin DIN!), an insane amount of rear-panel I/O and a small rackmount form factor that’ll get you 24-bit//192kHz audio into an INCLUDED DAW? That’s nuts. I don’t know how the folks down in Louisiana can do it for such a small price tag, but our guess is these will be flying off the shelves.
super-fast, easy to install, excellent mic preamps, low cost