PreSonus is a brand that has never been afraid to push the limits of both hardware and software. Their high-end PreSonus Studio 192 is a good example of what happens when they do this and proves one of the best audio interfaces under $1,000. It’s time to put it under the spotlight!
Unbox the PreSonus Studio 192 and glance at all the buttons, inputs and controls, and it doesn’t take long to realize that this is a very serious piece of gear. PreSonus went with a rackmount design for this model, which was to be expected considering how many features, inputs/outputs and other stuff they needed to pack into a single device.
This unit features a rugged aluminum chassis that slots into a 19” rack. It isn’t the most attractive of designs, but with a blue and light gray finish, and a myriad of buttons and lights, it proves quite colorful when everything is plugged in and working.
The list of features for this one is pretty extensive. To start things off, this interface runs on the speedy USB 3.0, but is also compatible with USB 2.0 if that’s all your computer offers at this stage. The number of I/O options is very generous, with up to 26 inputs and 32 outputs, when you combine both analog and digital options. That’s including eight XLR/TRS combos and ten 1/4” outputs.
In terms of preamps, PreSonus went with a set of eight high-end XMAX units, which can be remote controlled. The Studio 192 also features a Fat Channel DSP that they have ported over from their flagship mixers. Even though it should be implied, this interface maxes out at 192kHz sampling rate at 24-bits. Interestingly enough, PreSonus decided to unify all controls into a digital cluster with a simple display. In addition, there is also a metering section, showing you – among other things – the gain levels for the eight primary analog inputs.
With the Studio 192 it’s smooth sailing all the way – a refined, premium performance from some high-end kit. The XMAX preamps prove very effective and the amount of clarity they offer is impressive, even at this price. Vocals and instrument lines sound pristine and would satisfy any studio professional.
The plethora of built-in features are all integrated flawlessly and help establish a good signal chain, while it integrates well with most DAWs (including the copy of Studio One Artist it ships with). Of course, it is also compatible with both Mac and Windows.
In essence, you could describe the PreSonus Studio 192 as a perfect, all-analog gateway that uses a bit of digital magic to spice things up. There are relatively few flaws and, even for the higher-end price, it feels like a good-value piece of kit. If you are trying to up the ante on your music production game, this audio interface will be worth considering.