Described as a ‘Studio Command Centre’, could the PreSonus Studio 192 be the solution to all of your production-setup needs? Andy Jones investigates…
The audio-interface market us certainly a crowded one and manufacturers really do have to offer something unique or inspiring to grab attention. Or, in the Studio 192’s case, a massive spec, and call it a ‘Studio Command Centre’ for good measure, too, why don’t you?
This USB 3 interface has enough ins and outs for some of the most demanding of multi-channel set-ups – 26 ins and 32 outs with eight mic and line ins, eight line outs, plus main outs, and ADAT and coaxial making up the digital numbers.
With two inputs around the front and LED meters offering an indication of signal strength per input channel, it’s not unlike several other interfaces I’ve tested over the last year – stand up Prism and Focusrite. However, Studio 192 also boasts a version of PreSonus’ very own DAW (Studio One v3 Artist), which is a highly regarded affair with synths, sample player and drum machine plus around 30 effects plug-ins and 2GB of sample content.
Whether a complete DAW will tempt you in is, of course, up to you – but it’s an impressive bundle, whichever way you look at it, and central to that Command Centre ethos. UC it?
Universal Control is the name of the software that interfaces the 192 Studio with whatever DAW and computer you use. Essentially, this is software that acts as a routing manager with your DAW and it can make or break your experience with the interface. I’ve used UC before, but it required a quick update and restart before successfully interfacing with Live.
Actually, I have to say, it was one of the most straightforward interfacing experiences I have had. Often you expect a couple of hardware or software reboots but in this case, it was very easy: so easy, in fact, that I barely had to switch to the UC software to get everything up and running.
Indeed, not having to do so meant that the initial experience was transparent and easy – always good in my book – but I’m glad I eventually went in deep with the UC software, as it does offer some extras on top of the routing, including remote control of the preamps, EQ and compression. It’s a bit bland-looking – a little Logic-like in appearance – but this is probably as it’s optimised for the iPad, and it does do the job, making the routing and tweaking experience easy.
Studio 192 – Overall Thoughts
o, the UC software is practical and the hardware itself is very easy to use – I particularly like the main central dial and the two headphones outs are very useful. Audio performance was exceptional, as you might expect, although I did have to reboot both Live and Logic on occasion after lengthier sessions to get everything running smoothly.
I’d also question the USB 3 standard in terms of performance, as the Focusrite Clarett 8Pre I tested a few months back offered an outstanding latencey performance and extra channel controls, for not much extra.
But in terms of ease of set up and use, Studio 192 delivers a good audio performance and bags of extras. The UC software is not just a bolt-on, and you will end up using it more than most interfacing software, as it makes remote control a proper reality.
● 24-bit, 192kHz USB 3 interface
● 8 remote-controlled XMAX preamps
● Input monitoring with StudioLive Fat Channel DSP processing on every analogue input and the first ADAT inputs
● Studio One Artist version included
● Up to 26 inputs/32 outputs (8×14 at 192kHz)
● Two front-panel combo mic/inst inputs
● 6 balanced line-level direct-to-ADC inputs via dual-purpose rear-panel combo jacks
● 8 balanced TRS ¼” outputs
● ADAT/Dual SMUX optical ip/op: 16×16 channels at 44.1 or 48kHz; 8×8 channel at 88.2 or 96kHz
● 118dB A/D/A converters
● Stereo S/PDIF coaxial input and output