PreSonus Studio 24c by CoolGuitarGear
I have worked with a few interfaces over the years, the last two of which either stopped working or left much to be desired due to software/firmware being outdated, no longer supported, etc. This resulted in investigating ‘reasonably’ priced interfaces with a good reputation, and one that had two inputs (for stereo recording). There are only a handful that tend to have a solid reputation with very few (if any) issues arising, including the PreSonus Studio 24c.
Out of the box, the Studio 24c was easy to use and install, and the Sync LED automatically showed blue (red if there is no proper connection to a computer). The package includes a quick-start guide, with the user manual downloaded from PreSonus’ website. Studio 24c plugs in via a USB, using either the included USB-C to A cable or the USB-C to C. You can install all or only one driver (the main driver is Studio USB ASIO, whereas the other drivers are for other hardware), and the unit has worked perfectly and over the past week of owning this product. My setup is relatively simple, with the Studio 24c connected direct via USB with the two Audio Outs going to a mixer (and Kali Audio IN-8 studio monitors). There’s also MIDI in/out, as well as a ¼-inch headphone input jack (back panel), which I use occasionally when wanting to keep sound levels down in the house.
Some of the features include high-grade components, for which PreSonus is known, such as Class A XMAX-L solid-state microphone preamps (optimized for bus powering), The combo jacks in the front allow for the input of XLR or ¼-inch plugs, and there’s a 48-volt phantom power (push-button engagement) on the front for condenser microphones. The unit uses high-definition 24-bit and 192 kHz conversion, and there’s plenty of high-headroom, which means you really need to blast your gear to see the Input and Main meters (front panel) sneak into the yellow and red zones, and to hear any distortion. Consequently, the Gain controls (each for the two channels) are used to keep the signal below the -0.5 dBFS level to keep the signal out of the red LED zone, which each Gain control providing 50 dB of variable gain (0 to +50 dB for mics and -15 to 35 dB for line instruments). The two meters on the front signify the Inputs and Main, so that you can track overall levels and possible clipping/distortion. If you use only one channel, then only one of the meters for Input will show. The Mixer knob blends the input signal with playback, so that you can monitor input signals without latency. When placed at 12-noon, the signal is balanced between input and output.
Turning the Mixer knob to the left increases input level and turning to the right increases playback level. (NOTE: as simple as this may be, I had zero instrument input and couldn’t figure out the problem until I realized the Mixer knob was turned all the way to the right.) There’s also a volume control for the headphones and the Main, which controls the output level of the main left/right outputs on the back of the Studio 24c (going to a mixer/speakers), and with a range of -80 dB to 0 dB that provides attenuation only. The Studio 24c also comes with a Universal Control (software download/app), thus allowing you to view and manage the interface, e.g., set the sample rate, block/buffer size, what drivers you want, language, etc. Next, a cool feature is the Loopback function within the Universal Control (Windows only), and this allows two loopback audio streams to be recorded from one application to another. For example, you can record the audio from a YouTube video or music from a web browser or media player. This comes in handy when recording audio in general, but consider that most ‘free’ video capture software does not capture audio (you have to pay extra for that version).
Finally, Studio 24c comes with a software bundle that includes PreSonus’ Studio One Artist DAW, as well as the Studio Magic software suite. The suite includes Ableton Live Lite, nine effects plug-ins, six virtual instruments, and tutorials from Melodics. Amazingly, this is about $1,000 worth of full-blown software (not demos), which you can read about more here:
AT $159 USD, the Studio 24c is an exceptional buy on a few fronts. First, it’s easy to use and it is reliable (not a single ‘glitch’ in its 50+ hours of use and with easy install). Second, the sound quality and drivers are first rate. Third, the software alone is worth the price. In sum, the Studio 24c with its software bundle is a no-brainer, and there are no obvious or glaring drawbacks or cons relative to how this interface operates or what you get for the price. For further information, as well as other PreSonus interfaces, software and music tools, visit https://www.presonus.com