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A Guide to Audio Interfaces with PreSonus

A Guide to Audio Interfaces with PreSonus
A Guide to Audio Interfaces with PreSonus

Guide to Audio Interfaces with PreSonus

Audio interfaces turn your computer into a studio. Whether you're podcasting, recording instruments, producing music, or streaming online, they are an essential piece of kit. This guide will show you why, and help you find the perfect PreSonus interface for you.

A Guide to Audio Interfaces with PreSonus

By Daniel Collins | Published 10.11.20

Computers are incredibly powerful tools, but on their own, they're not quite geared-up for making music. An audio interface unlocks the full potential of your computer by allowing you to connect microphones, instruments, monitors, and other essential studio equipment.

At the advent of digital recording in 1975, music production required a serious studio with expensive equipment and a pro engineer - but technology has moved on greatly since then.

Since 1995 PreSonus has paved the way for home recordists and artists, freeing them from the need to hire a pro studio. With a PreSonus interface and your computer, you can get truly professional results at home and in your own studio - from capturing intial ideas to working on a complete project.

Here’s our guide on how to find the perfect audio interface.

How important is an interface?

If you want to capture audio, perform, podcast, or produce music with your computer - an audio interface is essential! 

In its simplest form, an interface acts as the bridge between the computer and your microphones, monitors, instruments, and other studio gear. The interface essentially turns your computer into a fully-fledged recording studio.

PreSonus AudioBox iTwo

What does an interface actually do?

Audio interfaces expand the number of inputs and outputs of your computer. Depending on the device, you'll be able to connect microphones, instruments, monitors, and other studio gear.

Audio interfaces also improve the quality of your computer's sound by dealing with the analog-to-digital conversion - such as converting the analog signal of a microphone to a digital signal inside your computer.

One key benefit of an audio interface is that you could record multiple sound sources at once - perhaps a complete band, or an interview with several people. You could also route audio in more complex ways than a simple "in-out" configuration - perhaps creating a monitor mix for the control room as well as a headphone mix for a musician.

Connectivity - how will it connect to your computer?

USB – commonly available. USB is a fast and reliable connection (especially USB 3). USB interfaces are often able to operate on Bus power alone, taking power from your computer without the need for an external power source. Grab a laptop and record anywhere!

Thunderbolt – perfect for ultra low-latency recording and the highest of A/D conversion quality. Thanks to their super-fast transfer speeds, Thunderbolt interfaces are quickly becoming the new gold standard. 

PreSonus Quantum 2626

Inputs and Outputs

What studio gear would you like to connect to your computer?

Inputs

  • Microphone – Microphone inputs consist of a female XLR socket. These allow you to connect your microphones directly to the interface via XLR cable, without the need for additional equipment. Microphone inputs feature a built-in preamp which amplifies the signal and brings out the best sound of your microphone.
  • Line-level – Line-level inputs eliminate the need for external DI (direct injection) boxes. They enable you to easily capture DI signals from your guitar, bass, keyboards and synthesisers by plugging your instrument cable straight into the interface.
  • Combi-Jack – Combi-jack inputs provide the best of both worlds, accommodating either XLR or ¼”  jack cables in the same socket. Incredibly versatile, you can use these inputs to record either microphone or line-level signals.
  • MIDI – Often situated on the rear of the device. MIDI inputs allow you to connect hardware synths, sequencers and drum machines.
  • Optical – Often featured in high-end interfaces. This “ADAT” connection point enables you to daisy chain your interface with another to expand its connectivity and provide enough power to take on any task.

Outputs

  • Headphones – Headphone outputs are incredibly handy. They allow both you and the musician to monitor the master channel of your DAW in real-time whilst you’re recording, without introducing feedback or bleed from speakers. The greater the number of these outputs, the more flexibility you’ll have when determining individual headphone levels.
  • Monitor – Just like headphones, monitor outputs are a standard feature on nearly all interfaces. Most consist of ¼” outputs that are designed to directly connect to studio monitors, or to an amplifier which then feeds passive studio monitors.
  • MIDI – MIDI outputs serve to transfer data directly into the Digital Audio Workstation
  • Line Outputs – Line outputs are useful for a variety of reasons. You can use them to create individual headphone mixes, re-amp, as well as send your signal to outboard equipment and even send mixes to alternate speakers!
  • Word Clock – When you’ve mastered the basics and want to turn pro, expanding your setup, the word clock will be a lifesaver. This handy function allows you to set one piece of equipment as a “master” and the rest as “slaves” which keeps everything in sync for trouble-free recording.
PreSonus Studio 68C

Controls

Interfaces often feature a mixture of physical controls and software parameters. "Real" controls allow you to make adjustments "on-the-fly", whilst software provides remote access to parameters if you're away from your interface.

  • Gain – Like a volume control for the incoming sound source. The more gain that's applied, the more sensitivity you'll have. But don't run the gain too high, or you'll overdrive the input and create distortion.
  • Clipping Indicator – If your incoming sound source has its gain set too high, you may overdrive the input and record irreparable distortion. You may not know you've done that until after the recording has taken place. That’s why clipping indicators are incredibly valuable. If you see a red light, you'll know your gain is set too high!
  • Phantom power – Engaging phantom power supplies a positive voltage through the XLR cable which is used to power condenser microphones.
  • Phase – When you’re handling stereo/multi-mic’d sources, the phase control is incredibly important. Engaging this control flips the polarity of the channels’ signal by 180 degrees. This is commonly used when a direct and amplified signal are recorded simultaneously.  If you find your recording sounds bigger and fuller when this control is engaged, then your signal is out of phase. If pressing the phase button “thins” your signal, then it is in phase and does not need a polarity flip.
  • Filter – The filter control enables you to get the sound right at the source. When applying the filter, it automatically reduces the low-frequency content that your microphone or instrument has recorded. Applying the filter is perfect for minimising “proximity effect” which can occur when close-micing a source. The gradual roll-off also prevents the risk of “muddy” mixes. However, it’s important to check the frequency and slope of your interfaces’ filter before applying as this will differ greatly from brand to brand.
  • Pad – If a pad switch isn’t available on your microphone and you’re recording a source with a high SPL (sound pressure level) then this can be a real blessing. Depending on its specifications, engaging the pad switch on your interface can reduce the level of your preamp by up to 20dB. This decreases the risk of distortion ruining those all-important takes.

PreSonus audio interfaces

PreSonus is one of the pioneers of studio recording and live sound, becoming an industry leader with a raft of innovative technology. The company was founded in Louisiana in 1995 by Jim Odom and Brian Smith. They had the ethos of providing users with the very best sound and performance at an affordable price.

When it comes to PreSonus interfaces, they’re amongst the very best. Whether you need two inputs, eight or more, you'll be able to achieve truly professional results, whether you're capturing the spark of an idea or producing a complete album.

Read on to see which interface is right for you.

PreSonus studio kits

Bountiful bundles

If you’re unsure about where to start when it comes to music production, then you can’t go wrong with a bundle. Thanks to their all-inclusive nature they’re perfect for a stress-free shopping experience. Each bundle has been handpicked by our expert team to ensure we provide you with all the necessary tools to hit the ground running.

You'll find a pro-grade PreSonus interface, plus a range of essential studio equipment - from monitors to microphones and more.

PreSonus Audiobox 96 Studio

Shop Now | PreSonus AudioBox iOne and Subzero SZC-400 Pack

Shop Now | PreSonus Audiobox 96 and Subzero SZC-400 Pack

Shop Now | PreSonus Audiobox 96 Studio

Shop Now | PreSonus Audiobox 96 Studio, 25th Anniversary Edition

Shop Now | PreSonus 24c Audio Interface with Audio Technica AT2020 and Stand

Shop Now | PreSonus AudioBox iTwo with Rode NT1-A Vocal Recording Pack

Interfaces for beginners

Get the best start

PreSonus AudioBox iOne/ iPad/USB Audio Interface

PreSonus AudioBox iOne

What it’s for?

  • Turning your iPad, PC or Mac into a recording studio
  • Recording “wherever sound takes you” via USB bus-power
  • High quality recordings via Class A mic preamplifiers that offer 24-bit resolution and up to 96 kHz sampling rate
  • Entry level musicians or producers who are new to recording

Why it’s great?

  • Transfer files wirelessly from Capture for iPad to Studio One
  • Compact, lightweight size ensures easy transportation
  • Includes Studio One Artist DAW software and Studio Magic Plug-in Suite
  • Versatile monitoring options through headphone and monitor outputs

What to consider with this interface?

  • Does my operating system have a USB connection port?
  • Is one microphone input enough to suit my recording needs?
  • Would I feel comfortable recording using my iPad?

Our full range:

Shop Now | PreSonus AudioBox iOne iPad/USB Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus AudioBox iTwo, iPad/USB Audio Interface

PreSonus Audiobox 96

PreSonus Audiobox 96

What it’s for?

  • Making stress-free studio-grade recordings on your Mac / PC operating systems
  • Multi mic’d or stereo capture of sources
  • Musicians who integrate MIDI into their setup and producers who occasionally record live instruments

Why it’s great?

  • Provides you with 24-bit resolution; 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sampling rates
  • Perform with confidence via Zero-latency analog monitoring
  • Offers two combi-jack inputs
  • Comes complete with Studio One 3 Artist DAW and over 6GB of third-party software

What to consider with this interface?

  • Does my operating system have a USB connection port?
  • How often would I take advantage of the MIDI I/O?
  • Is connection to one set of monitors enough for me?

Our full range:

Shop Now | PreSonus Audiobox 96

Shop Now | PreSonus Audiobox 96, 25th Anniversary Edition

Interfaces for bigger projects

Expand your horizons

PreSonus ioStation 24c Audio Interface and Production Controller

PreSonus ioStation 24c

What it’s for?

  • Transforming your home setup into a professional studio
  • Easily navigating your way through complex sessions
  • Streamlining and enhancing your workflow
  • Artists, producers, mix engineers, podcasters, and more

Why it’s great?

  • Provides a hands-on approach that’s rare in the digital age
  • Create expressive mixes with recordable automation
  • Includes two 2 transparent XMAX Class A mic preamps
  • Is compatible with all major DAWs

What to consider with this interface?

  • Do I really need this much power over my setup?
  • Would I benefit more from an interface with line outputs?
  • Is my operating system USB-C compliant or will I need to purchase an adaptor?

Our full range:

Shop Now | PreSonus ioStation 24c Audio Interface and Production Controller

PreSonus Studio 68C Audio Interface

PreSonus Studio 68C

What it’s for?

  • High definition recording in a compact portable form
  • Simple multi-mic’d instrument recording setups
  • Referencing alternate mixes whilst monitoring through headphones
  • Recordists who desire a great sound at a reasonable price

Why it’s great?

  • Re-amp signals, create alternate headphone mixes and apply out-board processing via line outputs
  • Boasts four combi-jack inputs with a maximum gain of 80dB 
  • Ultra-fast data transfer via USB-C connection point
  • Comes complete with direct monitoring control

What to consider with this interface?

  • Will I be recording artists solo or collectively?
  • Is MIDI integration important to me?
  • Is my operating system USB-C compatible or do I need an adaptor?

Our full range:

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio 68C Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio 24C Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio 26C Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio 1810C Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio 1824C Audio Interface

Interfaces for the biggest projects

From the stage to the studio

PreSonus Quantum 2626 26x26 Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface

PreSonus Quantum 2626

What it’s for?

  • Recording detailed capture of a single instrument or simple full band takes
  • Easily connecting and routing your favourite analog outboard into the DAW without worrying about dropouts or crashes
  • Industry professionals who operate boutique analog recording studios
  • Those who wish to expand on the inputs and connectivity of their current rig.

Why it’s great?

  • High-grade, dedicated converters on each input and output provide a huge dynamic range of 115dB meaning there is zero audible distortion
  • Less than 1 ms roundtrip latency allows you to record directly to DAW with your favourite plug-ins engaged
  • Thunderbolt connectivity ensures ultra-fast connection
  • Can be easily rack-mounted for maximum protection

What to consider with this interface?

  • Is it important for me to integrate outboard into my recordings?
  • Will I make use of all eight inputs?
  • Will the wide range of connectivity points help me expand my current setup?

Our full range:

Shop Now | PreSonus Quantum 2626 26x26 Thunderbolt 3 Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus QUANTUM 4848 Thunderbolt Audio Interface

Shop Now | PreSonus Quantum Thunderbolt Audio Interface

PreSonus Studio 192 USB Audio Interface 26x32

PreSonus Studio 192

What it’s for?

  • Those who desire a central hub for their creative recording setup
  • Achieving record-ready results from the get-go thanks to zero latency
  • Expanding on your computer's range of inputs and outputs.
  • The perfect interface for in-the-studio and on-the-road

Why it’s great?

  • Includes 8 XMAX remote-controllable mic preamps
  • Provides incredible sound reproduction via 24-Bit, 192kHz audio resolution
  • Features a wide range of analog and digital connectivity to create your dream setup
  • Explore a new world of control via full Studio One integration

What to consider with this interface?

  • Will I benefit from the accessibility of remote-controlled preamps?
  • Is it important for me to get the sound right at source before pressing record?
  • Does my operating system support Thunderbolt devices?

Our full range:

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio 192 USB Audio Interface 26x32

Shop Now | PreSonus DigiMax DP88 8-Channel AD/DA Converter with Preamps

PreSonus music software

A match made in heaven

If you're looking to make music with your computer, you'll need some software. Generally, that comes in the form of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) - letting you blend sounds together, layer up tracks, mix with effects, add software instruments, and much more.

PreSonus Studio One is a DAW like no other. It will revolutionise your approach to production and performance. Catering for both musicians and producers, you’ll have all the tools necessary to perform, produce, mix, master and your music. Straight to the point, music making has never been so fun or easy!

PreSonus Studio One Software

PreSonus Studio One 5 Artist, Download Card

  • The ultimate creative companion for any musician
  • Unlimited audio and instrument tracks, busses, and FX channels
  • Pristine sound quality with native 64-bit resolution and support for up to 384 kHz audio
  • Remote control Studio One Artist from your tablet using Studio One Remote

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio One 5 Artist, Download Card

PreSonus Studio One 5 Professional, Download Card

  • Intuitive single-window work environment with quick and easy drag-and-drop functionality
  • Console Shaper emulates the sound of an analog console with overdrive, noise, and crosstalk control
  • Score View provides traditional notation services
  • Integrated mastering suite with automatic mix updating, DDP, Redbook CD burning, and digital release
  • AAF support for easy song/session exchange with other applications for collaboration (Pro Tools, Logic, Nuendo, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, and more)
  • Use Pro Tools, Cubase, Sonar, and Logic shortcut key commands or create your own

Shop Now | PreSonus Studio One 5 Professional, Download Card

Find Out More

Discover our full range of PreSonus audio interfaces so you can transform your ideas into a reality.

Shop Now | PreSonus Audio Interfaces

See More | PreSonus Audio Equipment

PreSonus AudioBox iTwo
Posted on 10 Nov 2020 20:00 to category : Instruments News

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