Presonus as Interface (my experience)

Although I know that there are better-rated brands of interfaces out there, I wanted to focus on Presonus, and relate the issues I have encountered with using the various ones I have had since the beginning of 2015. Early on, I was totally new to computer/VST/DAW stuff and I did not have much money, so I had decided to jump in and go with a low-cost Presonus package/bundle. Over time, I eventually made the decisions to invest money into getting the Professional version of Studio One DAW and a more expensive interface, and of course after this point, I wasn’t going to spend more money and switch up brands, so for me, it looks like I am stuck with Presonus. For my studio for recording, I like using the Studio One DAW and am happy with it.

After a year, I replaced my Presonus Audiobox USB (the crappy featureless 2-channel USB 1.0 with massive latency which I hated with a passion) with a used Audiobox 1818VSL, which at the time was the best USB 2.0 interface they offered, and it had its own internal hardware DSP audio mixing/processing “separate” from the computer (except for the control GUI/client). …all sounds great, …but within that year, the new Presonus’ “Universal Control” driver/GUI package came out. At the same time, continuing “full” driver/GUI support for the older Audiobox VSL line was dropped, yet …(at the time) they were still pushing and selling these as current products. ??? I had to use/roll-back to a legacy driver package in order to keep on using my interface properly with its internal DSP hardware function (Universal Control won’t let you use it). The interface basically worked OK, but over time, I got tired of the headaches of trying to interface it and its legacy drivers with various other hardware and software, including a critical Win10 update. [Update: FYI, Presonus no longer makes available the older legacy driver packages for the VSL series or Firewire inerfaces on their website.]

So I made the decision to ditch it and make payments for 12-months to AMS for a new Presonus Studio 192 (USB 3.0) which is what I currently have now and am happy with. The 192 is a current product (not a legacy product yet, …crossing my fingers), only overshadowed by the newer USB-c Series that was just released. Specs are great with the 192, but it is not very portable (as a full-length 1U rack-mount), and I have a lot going on with it as far as connectivity in my studio. It is a permanent fixture in my rack and is configured to be run by a modified Black Lion word-clock and don’t necessarily want to rip it out of the rack whenever I need to play live.

My one complaint about using Presonus Studio One DAW as a VST host live or when recording(even with a good computer) is the latency you get. It is horrific. That is why I like using Cantabile live or just playing/rehearsing which gives me (seemingly) no latency.

The added “plus” for me has always been the onboard hardware DSP mixer/processing in the PreSonus 1818VSL and 192 interfaces for mixing and processing individual VST instruments and my sax mic together into my sound system without having to use computer resources to run multiple effect/signal-processing VSTs in Cantabile.

….back to the “playing live” scenario. I would assume the majority of people do not have or plan on investing in a gigging laptop with USB-c ports already built into it, especially if they already have a good laptop with multiple USB 2.0 & 3.0 ports. At this point, I am looking to invest in another “portable” interface. If I were to go with a current Presonus product, I was looking at the Studio 1810, which is a smaller mobile USB 2.0 version of the Studio 192 which also has the same onboard hardware DSP inside, 8 inputs and 6 outputs (3-pair). If you didn’t need or want the onboard DSP and want to rely solely on Cantabile, you could go with the Studio 68 which has 4 inputs and 4 outputs (2-pair) I would not recommend the Studio 26 or 24 because they do not use a separate external power source and are powered thru the USB connection.

That is my experience with PreSonus interfaces. PreSonus is definitely a company you “love” and “hate” at the same time. Products are great in one aspect, but can also have surprising issues that you find out after the fact and from their forums, but the you deal with it, …kind of one of those “keep your enemies closer”, eat crow, and “make the best of it” kind of things. I like their current products and enjoy using what I have :slight_smile:, …but keep in mind, the company has a history of releasing new products, but also discontinuing support for many of their products after so many years.

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I have an Emu, a Komplete Audio 6, a Focusrite Saphire 40, a ProSonusvls1818, a Babyface Pro, and a Behringer umc404hd. The Babyface is my primary, the Behringer backup. The PreSonus is for recording only. The Behringer is pretty much equal to the very expensive RME (but no digital outs and no fancy control software).

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I have a Presonus Quantum Thunderbolt interface in the studio and love it.

+1 for the Babyface Pro. Rock solid. Great drivers. Great audio quality. (Not cheap but you gets what you pays for)

I also have a FF800 in my studio FWIW…


NEWS FLASH: I do not want to mislead anyone about the 1810. I purchased it, received it, hooked it up, and UNFORTUNATELY ….found out that it has a “limited” internal DSP. It does NOT have the full “Fat Channel” DSP processing with EQ/comp/limiting/reverb/delay. It only has a separate monitor mixer GUI/DSP. Very disappointing!!! Apparently (according to Presonus) the only interfaces that have the full Fat Channel DSP are the Studio 192 and the 192 Mobile. I guess I will be returning this and looking for something else.