Presonus Studio Channel Review

Brandon Drury —  July 8, 2009

The PreSonus Studio Channel is a single channel strip consisting of a preamp, compressor, and eq. It’s a full featured little gadget that has a high pass filter and the ability to change the order between the EQ and compressor which is always a fun thing. Overall, they’ve crammed just about every feature you can think of into this 1U rack space all at a price that can work well within pretty much every home recorder’s budget.

For a rundown on all the features and a healthy dose of the usual propaganda, head here.

In Use
When I first got a hold of the PreSonus Studio Channel my rack was full. I had 4 pieces of gear in it and a combined price tag of over $10,000. I’ve always come from the school that the high end gear is a nice little luxury, but in the real world recording land, there are way too many other flaws to overcome for the gear to be as strong of impact as maybe be implied by a $1,000+ volume knob. So keep in mind that my review of the PreSonus Studio Channel was done when in the midst of some big time players. I think it held up pretty well! Better than it’s price tag would indicate.a

My hope was the PreSonus Studio Channel preamps would not only blow away the stock preamps in my audio interface or M-Audio Octane, but also be able to run head to head with the big boys like the Great River MEQ-1NV, PreSonus ADL600, or the Manley TNT.

I can say without hesitation that the preamps in the Studio Channel are better on all sources than the stock preamp in my PreSonus Firestudio, but certainly aren’t going to be putting the Money-Is-No-Object companies out of business. Then again, most members here at RecordingReview happen to be in the Money-Doesn’t-Grow-On-Trees side of the fence.

The PreSonus Studio Channel was a step up in clarity, excitement, and low end tightness from the PreSonus Firestudio preamp, but I can’t ever imagine myself choosing this preamp when a preamp from the A-list is available. There were certain specific shootouts where the PreSonus Studio Channel certainly snuck into high end preamp land and I mistook it for a preamp costing exponentially more. So there are some very desirable uses for the PreSonus Studio Channel.

I think it’s safe to say the PreSonus Studio Channel preamps outperform the price tag and would be a welcome home in any budget oriented home recording studio. You certainly gain a point by upgrading from a stock audio interface preamp to the Studio Channel. Moving up to $2k preamps will give you another point. You figure out how much a point is worth to you. (We are talking NBA points here, not hockey or that dumb thing everyone in the world plays with their feet.)

As is illustrated in the upcoming shootouts for Killer Home Recording, the PreSonus Studio Channel has this way of being a little extra forward in the 1Khz region. This could be excellent for helping vocals cut through a dense mix. I’m not sure if I would want it on everything, but I definitely wouldn’t mind having that feature around.

The Tube Drive Thing
I played with the tube drive thing considerably. It does add some gain and it does add some harmonics. I could be useful for some things. I have to admit that I never get too wound up about these sorts of things. It’s never a life changing thing. I can’t think of one source where maybe the sound wasn’t quite right with the Tube Drive on 0, but changing it to 10 parted the Red Sea or whatever. However, the tube drive thing didn’t hurt anything. I’m sure there are sources where I would say “Oh hell with it!” and crank it all the way up. In fact, on real sessions that’s probably were I’d start.

I prefer knobs / processors that go overboard when I turn them all the way up. The ability to break is the ability to fix said Socrates. Okay, maybe he didn’t, but somebody somewhere said something remotely close. If not, put Brandon Drury down in the book right next to Richard Lewis and “the blank from hell” (Curb Your Enthusiasm inside joke). The tube drive feature did not give me the ability to break. If I can’t turn it up to “disgusting” and then slowly pull it back to reality, I have a hard time. So take that for what it’s worth. Good big or go home, as they say.

More Headroom Please
On several occasions I had attempted to reamp a signal back through the PreSonus Studio Channel. In practically every situation I overloaded the unit. It’s safe to say that the headroom on the Studio Channel is not near as high as other compressors I had used during the shootout (Distressor EL-8X and Spectrasonic Complimiter). This wasn’t the end of the world, but it was certainly a pain in the neck. This hampered me from slamming the compressor as much as I would have preferred.

I like to use hardware compressors to add tonal color. Smashing a signal can bring it right to the front of a mega dense mix and can even add perceived excitement to a track. These things I like. Even with the threshold on the compressor of the Studio Channel set for maximum death, I never really felt like I could get this compressor to pump and slam. At least not to the extent I was used to.

I was also looking for adding harmonic content by reducing the release down to zero. While I was led to believe that all hardware compressors were supposed to distort any signal with a wavelength longer than the release time, I stand corrected. I just couldn’t get any distortion out of this thing.

I’ve been through the recording forum war long enough to know that a bunch of you reading this aren’t looking to distort the signal. However, when you take away the ability of the engineer to color the signal (particularly vocals) with compressors, you essentially cut off one his fingers….if not his whole arm. (Then again, how badly could that REALLY effect an engineer. So much for the ability to do keyboard shortcuts AND mouse clicks simultaneously! Big deal!)

I did find that the compressor was able to nicely control peaks. This certainly has it’s place and I did find it useful in those situations. Of course, plugin compressors like the Waves C1, Waves Rcomp, or even the stock Cubase compressors perform in a similar fashion. There are certainly times where maybe my Distressor EL-8X is a little bit too loud at parties and I have to find ways to get him to quiet down without hurting his feelings. I’d never take my Distressor to a library and he really has to bite his tongue in funerals. He’s always trying to scream “See you in hell, mother f*cker!”. The Complimiter 610 had a tendency to invite the other kids out to country roads to smash mail boxes. I didn’t have any of those problems with the compressor in the PreSonus Studio Channel. It’s a much more behaved compressor. So this compressor choice really depends heavily on whether you need Dr. Spock or Vince Neil. Both have their strengths. Personally, I’m looking for a compressor that resells hard drugs and kicks up the tribute to the producer. Let me know if you come across that one.

Of course, either the Distressor EL-8x of the Complimiter 610 cost the price of 5 PreSonus Studio channels and they don’t do anything but compress. So I may be comparing an apple to a Ferrari. Regardless, a minivan is badass when the Swedish Bikini Team bus breaks down. You get the idea.

In a world where EQ plugins capable of robo surgery, turbo tone control, and everything in between are running rampant it does seem a bit odd to switch to an analog EQ with a high shelf, a low shelf, and one parametric band of EQ. You aren’t going to save the world with this EQ. I guess a person could argue that you can do less damage on the way in with this EQ as well. That could be a plus for many of us.

I do have to say that there were specific situations where it certainly came in handy for solving slight problems. Adding a little bottom and top to a kick drum is pretty much a no brainer and it functioned perfectly for that. On vocals that had a bit too much 400Hz and 2k, I had to choose which problem I wanted to solve because this EQ couldn’t do both. This isn’t a big deal in modern computer land, but it’s worth noting.

On The Way In
The more I’ve used the hardware gear, I’ve found that the benefits of getting the sound right from the very beginning are worth the occasional (and regular!) times I screw up a track with over compression or whatever. I do feel there is some merit to getting tracks closest to their final state as early on in the process as possible. As I said above, maybe we can’t solve a 400Hz and a 2K problem with this EQ, but we can certainly solve the 2k issue. This is worth something. It’s worth a lot! Every problem during a mix (or even tracking) uses a bit of RAM in your brain that could have been better used for cranking the Ass Kicking Gears (yes, this warrants proper noun grammar treatment). So depending on your style of working, you may reap big rewards for this alone.

The preamp on this booger is an improvement of preamps found in stock audio interfaces. The compressor and EQ are not life changing, but they certainly ain’t bad. I didn’t get my first hardware compressor until I had been recording for 7 years and I still don’t own a hardware EQ. So I’m not exactly going to tell you that hardware is absolutely required in these situations. However, as I’ve documented above, having these gadgets around is pretty much always beneficial.

At $300 (street), the PreSonus Studio Channel is a nice, well laid out channel strip that will definitely serve it’s purpose to anyone in the market for a $300 channel strip. I’d expect it to very competitive and I think it’s an excellent purchase for the home recording market.

To hear how this thing competes with the gear costing exponentially more and drastically less, make sure to check out the Killer Home Recording shootouts today.

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.

38 responses to Presonus Studio Channel Review

  1. This description of the Studio Channel closely resembles the Presonus Eureka, which I own and use as my basic recording preamp for mic or guitar. So what’s the difference?

  2. That’s a good question. I honestly have absolutely no idea. After reading the Eureka description it seems pretty much identical. The Studio Channel is a tube preamp. Maybe that’s the difference.


  3. I bought mine a few months ago and I love it (for a $300 item). I use it entirely for vocals and nothing else, which makes it easier to dial in the settings. I have had several different vocalists, male and female, with some powerful singers.

    I highly recommend to anyone looking for an inexpensive piece of hardware that does a lot of chores!

  4. Nice review. I bought mine a few months back and have been pretty happy with it. Although I wondered how it compared to others in its price range. Actually I was going to get the DBX286A, and only got the Studio Channel because the DBX’s were out of stock.

    I swopped out the tube with a Tung-sol AX12 and it made a significant improvement in the tube sound. But you need to bear in mind that it is a starved plate design, so WILL NOT give you a true tube amp sound.

  5. I just bought the studio channel a few weeks ago. It’s my first time to use a hardware compressor and I’m having a blast. I’m actually replying to make a note on the EQ though. I think you give the EQ a little too little credit. All 3 bands are parametric. You can use them as shelves or peak eqs (though you can’t control the default 0.7 Q parameter on the low and high bands, you can still select the frequency and gain). Although i agree that it’s not a life-changing equalizer, i just wanted to note that it is a bit more versatile than your equalizer paragraph lead on.

  6. I use it entirely for vocals and nothing else

    I didn’t get that vibe at all. I thought it did very well on bass and electric guitar as well.


  7. But you need to bear in mind that it is a starved plate design, so WILL NOT give you a true tube amp sound.

    While just a smidgeon loose on the low end, it’s definitely on the big preamp side of the fence. It tonality on high gain electrics it has a similar vibe as my Manley TNT Tube Channel and not near the upper mid harmonics you’d hear in a Neve family preamp. So even if this is a budget design, I do think it’s safe to call it a big sounding preamp.


  8. All 3 bands are parametric. You can use them as shelves or peak eqs (though you can’t control the default 0.7 Q parameter on the low and high bands, you can still select the frequency and gain).

    While you are correct, you can switch from shelves, with a fixed Q of 0.7 it’s still 98% a shelf. It’s not like I could boost 60Hz and notch out 120Hz on a kick drum with it.

  9. “So even if this is a budget design, I do think it’s safe to call it a big sounding preamp.”
    Definitely. I get peeved reading every “expert” on other forums pissing on starved plate designs in general. My view is while they won’t give a true tube sound, they do have their place. They are not solid state and they are not true tube. So they have characteristics all of their own in this price range. Some in this range just plain suck due to manufacturers shoving tubes in the circuit as a marketing tool, while some are perfectly usable functional machines.
    That said, I don’t think any top engineer will be going “damn, i wish I had that starved plate sound for this voice”, mainly due to snob value. I think I am starting to rant, this should be a forum topic.

  10. Hello, I ran across your review for the Presonus Studio Channel.

    I recently bought it and use it as a mic processor with an Electrovoice RE-20 mic. I was curious, is the VU meter not sensitive when talking into the mic usually? I have to max out the gains just to get it to register, but when I do that I obviously get distortion…please tell me i’m doing something wrong! This thing was expensive!



  11. Rex, although I like the studio channel, I think you got the wrong pre for your RE-20. The presonus gain is a touch on the weak side, while an RE-20 needs a LOT of gain to work well. I would suggest either replacing the Presonus with a Grace 101 or replacing the RE-20 with the Sennheiser MD421 or Shure SM-7, both similar to RE-20 kind of sound, but don’t need as much gain to run.

  12. Generally speaking, dynamic mics are lower in output and therefore rely on the preamp for gain. The SM7b does not have much output and neither does the Sennheiser MD421 when compared to just about any condenser.

    You have a few options.

    1) Push the Studio Channel hard and live with it.
    2) Use the Studio Channel and then use extra makeup gain via a compressor plugin in your recording software.
    3) Get a preamp with more gain.

    As Equilibrium8 hinted at, very few budget channel strips are going to have the necessary gain for an RE-20 to work ideally without noise.


  13. Clearly I’m late to this discussion, however…a friend recommended the PreSonus Studio Channel in my search for a series of channel strips to mic a full drum kit. What thinkest thou???
    I would be putting them into my trusty Roland VS 1880 in the short term and probably moving into Pro-Tools within 3 months.
    Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks

  14. The Studio Channel is a fun little strip. For the money, I’m not sure how you can beat it.

  15. The Studio Channel is my first tube preamp and I must say that even though I don’t have much to compare it to from personal use, Its pretty weak when being used with a digital interface.

    I have been messing with it for awhile now and I only notice very very small differences when adjusting the compressor and even the EQ.

    I think its a great device for a purely analog or live setup but I just dont get the fullness or cleaness that I can achieve by using DSP’s

    If your a purely digital recording dude then I would suggest just goin for a more simple $100 tube preamp with no EQ or Comp. and spending the $200 left on a nice EQ and Comp. DSP.

  16. I spoke with Steven Oppenheimer about the compressor. It definitely controls dynamics a bit, but it’s definitely NOT a slam-it-to-hell compressor. I got the impression that the subtle nature of thing comp was part of it’s design.

    The EQ is certainly not bad, but it definitely comes from the “tone control” side of the fence….not all that unlike the Chameleon 7602 mkII or your usual Neve 1073 style. I didn’t get that life-changing vibe from the Presonus EQ, but this thing is not trying to do the same thing. I think people looking for $3,000 signal chains are probably in a different world than the Studio Channel.

    Of course, in modern times, the plugins are certainly attempting to replicate the super-expensive hardware and they seem to get closer every year. From a flexibility standpoint, plugins pretty much always win, but I’m positive there is a reason the big boys haven’t tossed their Pultecs, 1073 EQs, and API 550s.

    If your a purely digital recording dude then I would suggest just goin for a more simple $100 tube preamp with no EQ or Comp. and spending the $200 left on a nice EQ and Comp. DSP.

    Not bad advice at all, but I certainly wouldn’t limit myself to tube preamps, particularly at this price range.


  17. Hey Brandon
    I use a Neuman TLM 103 Condenser Mic for Voicing work. Your thought on if this would suffice for that type of work.
    Thank You

  18. Most likely! Not all mics work on all voices, but it’s tough to go wrong with a Neumann!


  19. Patrick Bockman June 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    What about the Digital Option Card slot in the back? I’ve tried to find answers about what it entails and when it will be usable but I have found no answers. Is it going to be a ‘Daisy Chain’ option for use with multiple studiochannels? Please help

  20. I can’t believe you responded to an earlier query about the Eureka and the strip with…”i see no difference at all except maybe the strip is a tube preamp..what? they are both similar tube amp designs and the Eureka has more controls, on the compressor and impedence selctions for mics…etc ..A simple search or knowledge of the product would of sufficed…instead that lazy response! ha ha..also, a REAL review would have spared the poetic generalizations etc in favor how it tested specifically on different sources…cuz i got nothing from that! Sorry to be so harsh, i mean no harm , really…I own the strip and its ok, and most of your review and the comments are about right…I think for the money, maybe even used if possible, the DBX 386 sounds really nice, but may have some issues…mine did…really want one again cuz it is an improvement over the these lower cost strips etc…and the 266, 166, etc compressors are the best slammin dynamic gates around…much better and more versatile than all of the cheaper strips…

  21. I don’t own the Presonus Channel strip, but I’m seriously considering purchasing it within the new year of 2011 for some production library arrangements I’ll be working on. I want to put together some acoustic percussive “action” music, and want to track some live percussion parts on my own. This seems like it would be a great mic pre-amp for the price/performance ratio.

    I will say this, one of the MOST SIMPLE things ANYONE can do when they buy ANY audio gear that comes with a “tube” is SWAP THE TUBE with a HIGHER QUALITY TUBE for a better sound! Groove Tube,Sovtek, etc. Only about a $30 purchase, if that gives you a brand new audio interface/pre-amp. All you have to do is take off the top cover, and pull out the tube, and then put in another. Of course with the power unplugged!

    Unless you’re going to drop the big money for an Avalon, Manley, Crane Song, Focusrite RED, Neve, etc, you’re not going to get the big difference in sound below those price ranges. what will really take your sound to heaven is if you focus on high quality ad/da convertors & a great master clock. Then even a “pretty good” mic pre will soon GREAT in your DAW!

  22. Hello everybody!

    I’m recording with a AKG c3000 microphon and a firebox interface. do you think i can optimize my sound when i buy a presonus studio channel and put it before my firebox?

    Hope anybody answers. Thank u

  23. Hello everybody!

    I’m recording with a AKG c3000 microphon and a firebox interface. do you think i can optimize my sound when i buy a presonus studio channel and put it before my firebox?

    Hope anybody answers. Thank u

    I don’t think gear “optimizes sound”. Generally speaking, plugging into one gadget or another without listening isn’t going to deliver superior results. Even with tip top gear, EQ is often necessary, compression is often necessary, all the usual mixing tools are necessary.

    I do think the Presonus Studio Channel is a great bang for the buck tool for anyone looking to improve their stock setup. However, gear upgrades are NOTHING compared to skill upgrades.

    Good luck!

  24. replying to: “Hello everybody!

    I’m recording with a AKG c3000 microphon and a firebox interface. do you think i can optimize my sound when i buy a presonus studio channel and put it before my firebox?

    Hope anybody answers. Thank u”

    …my experience with the C3000 is that vocals were unpleasantly harsh in the high end, which agrees with what others have said in various forums – I’m selling mine and will be using a couple of other LDC’s instead. Ergo, the preamp is unlikely to improve that quality coming out of the mic IMHO.

  25. Thx. Yes i’m not english native speaker thats why i used the word “optimizing”. For sure mixing skills are very important. I just wanted to know if you think there will be a little bang effect, like wow that sounds really better than without the studiochannel?

  26. I’m still debating this purchase. I have a PreSonus Tube Pre and a Berhinger (i know….) Composer Pro compressor. I’m wondering if I should just get an outboard eq and hook them all together, and If I do, what should be the connection sequence. Any thoughts?

  27. I like having analog EQ. There’s nothing like solving a problem right off the bat and never having to deal with it again. I love that. However, it has a few drawbacks. It’s not difficult to screw up a track on the way in particularly if you aren’t isolated from the instrument. Sometimes I hit a home run and love the sound. Sometimes there are still problems to deal with later. So it’s not like analog EQ is a miracle cure.

    As far as the order, it only makes a difference if you are smashing the signal hard. Low-mid heavy sources can create some interesting/awesome/horrible compression artifacts that can’t really be EQ’d later. I have a de-esser on my EQ so I like to use it first and then compress. Try it both ways and see which way you like it.


  28. Id like to know if anyone has used the ART PRO Channel strip as it seems like a cost/features comparison to the Presonus, although the ART claims their unit does not utilize a VCA compressor, rather a unit that lets you go from an opto/tube Vari Mu. I think if I get a good, reasonable priced strip and a BASS POD, I’m good to go.

  29. @Marc: I think i’m gonna try out the art pro channel, the presonus studio channel and the golden age pre-73. I will post later then which worked best for me.

  30. Thanks Meshti. Guitar Center had a competitive Focusrite version on clearance, but it really didn’t have a versatile EQ section so I passed on it. What everyone has been saying, even in the store, is the first thing to do with any of these units in this price point is to upgrade the tube.
    I look foward to your comments on the ART unit. It seams to offer a lot for the money.

  31. I’m still looking for some type of dynamic signal processing device to improve my sound. I’m thinking about hooking up my old Zoom MRS-1266 multi-track recorder, art graphic eq and alesis compressor limiter to my amp and computer via usb. If I can get the sound I want (which I doubt) I’ll leave it alone. Otherwise I need a reasonably priced hardware DSP of some type. I might get that Presonus Studio Channel preamp and hook my other gear up to it.

    My main problem is my computer CPU. In my opinion most of my music tracks need some type of compression or eq(ing). I run into problems when I use too many vst effects. The crashes, audio stutter, etc. So personally I think that the most cost effective route for me to take would be in recording my samples from the computer to a multi-track recorder. Then add compression and eq to the tracks using hardware. Then record the sample to my DAW which in turn compression/eq software VST effects would no longer be needed on individual tracks. This in turn would take a lot of strain off my CPU. From this point I would just add vst distortion filters, delays or reverb effects sparingly as desired. Otherwise I’ll have to buy a MAC computer or one of those $4,000+ music hardware systems. I’m sure I could get a better sound using the Presonus Studio Channel effects along with those built into my Zoom MTR without the hassles of being unable to go above 3.5 GB or ram based upon my computer chip setup. Any competent, reasonable hardware recommendations would be welcome ($100-$500).

  32. This blog post is gonna be pretty lengthy. I hope that the experiences I post here today will help someone with their music production(s). I’m not an audio engineer but I’ve learned a lot through trial and error within the past few months. There’s a lot I can’t explain or understand about music production. I do know that I want to produce a professional sounding CD. Some of the things and products I mention today on this blog my help someone with their music mastering and save thousands of dollars in the process. You can produce a professional sounding CD without breaking the bank. I’m almost there.

    First off thanks for responding to my 2/15/11 blog post Brandon. This blog post is rather old and I didn’t expect a reply to my music production troubles. First off I had to follow my spyware manufacturer’s instructions by restarting my computer after shutting down the product. Then I shut down my antivirus and firewall. I haven’t had any CPU overloads or DAW (digital audio workstation) crashes since! Now when using my DAW my CPU load is usually between 10 to 25% maximum. Before making the above-mentioned changes my CPU would run anywhere from 50 to 100%! Ouch. I leave the DAW automatic scrolling set to off to also conserve CPU. The processing power on the DAW is set to conserve CPU since I have a dual processor. My plan is to change that setting in the DAW’s preferences section to use high priority threads for audio engine at the mixdown stage only. This will require a DAW program restart for those changes to take place which is no problem. During the music creation and mixing processes I’ll change the DAW’s processing preferences back to conserve CPU.

    About the PreSonus Studio Channel. If the price is dropped down to between $125 and $150 I’ll consider purchasing it. There is only 1 Q setting on that unit per the image I viewed of it. For a price tag of $299+ I’d expect to have at least 5 frequency bands (low, low-mid, mid, high-mid, and high) settings with a Q or slope/attenuation (narrow/mid/wide) bandwidth setting for each band, high pass/low pass filters, high shelf/low shelf filters and a cutoff option for each frequency band.

    I think I’m gonna get the Nady PEQ 5B parametric equalizer which sells for around $100. That model has been discontinued for some reason. I don’t remember seeing any customer reviews on it. I haven’t seen too many parametric EQ’s anyway. The few that I’ve seen are not built with the features of the Nady PEQ 5B for less than $500. Graphic EQ’s are fine if you know how to use them. I don’t. I’ve got software and hardware versions that are of no use to me.

    I forgot to mention that I’m using a Behringer UCA 202 audio interface card that’s connected to my keyboard amplifier and computer. It sounds splendid while playing back mastered material. So I refuse to spend more than $100 for any USB audio interface. I don’t think I’ll be buying an internal audio interface card either since I’d only be able to use it in another computer that has the appropriate chipset (motherboard) and operating system that’s compatible with it. Long story short. I’d prefer a universal audio card which I don’t think exists. Same story with the firewire setup.

    Now on to the music. Currently I’m having problems with a synth bass and a synth string track for some reason. As a whole the song sounds like a commercial production with loudness w/o distortion, proper compression and eq excluding the two problem tracks. Each track was individually compressed and equalized using parametric equalizers (Nomad Factory Blue Tubes Bundle). So I’ve got three options to deal with problem tracks:

    1) Eliminate those problem tracks from a song and replace with with another sample. I really don’t want to do that. I may have no choice if nothing else works in the eq department.

    2) Try equalizing those tracks with other plugins such as the Audio Damage Fixed Filter Bank, Bias Super Frequency 4,6,8,10 Band EQ, T Racks 3 Linear Phase EQ, Starplugs Rubicon Quantum Filter Set or the Starplugs Supersizer (MBC) Multiband Compressor.

    3) Take a chance and purchase the Nady PEQ 5B equalizer. With this setup I would just record the problem tracks from my computer. Then I’d use the PEQ 5B and my Alesis 3630 compressor to process. Then I’d record that sample into my DAW provided I had the sound I wanted.

    There are music processing DAW/computer set-ups that are built solely for music production. The one’s I’ve looked at cost anywhere from $4,000 to $10,000+. Wish I had it like that. Gonna go now. Hope this info. will help aspiring musicians and music producers.

  33. Help! I have both the firestudio and the studio channel and i cannot get a good sounding vocal! Its driving me mad!

  34. can the Presonus sound channel be used between a mixer and a power amp for performance. Several of my power amps have no gain control, some do but I’m looking for a preamp for gain attenuation and eq for room adjustment with just a bit of tube sweetening for smoothness. The Presonus sounds like its more for recording not performing. Any thoughts?

  35. I don’t mean to be a sourpuss. But for $300+ I expect the following on any hardware equalizer I have to pay for: Low/Low Mid, Mid, High/High Mid settings with at least -20 db to +20 db gain for each frequency. Volume input and output knobs. On and off buttons for each frequency range. All filters if or when needed: Peak, high/low pass, band pass, etc. with off and on buttons for each. That’s how most of my equalizer plug-ins are set up. Personally I don’t plan on buying any hardware that’s substandard to that. Unless I find it at a yard sale for under $100.

  36. I think Mary is on the right track in that an analog EQ had better do SOMETHING because plugins are quite effective these days.

    With that said, that “something” can be more than just full features, lots of options, etc. The most obvious example that comes to mind is the Pultec. The thing costs thousands and thousands of dollars, has just 2 bands (I think…I’m used to the plugins) and is WELL sought after because it does “something”.

    There is something to be said for tracking with broad EQ and doing the surgery stuff later. That’s a tactic I employ frequently, but I prefer to solve all obvious, no-brainer problems on the way in.

  37. I forgot about the Pultec equalizer. Thanks Brandon! I’ve got the T-Racks 3, Nomad Factory and another one that came with my Digital Audio Workstation. I think I’ll try using those equalizers more often than I have thus far. I’ve got some music samples (legal) that are a bit too bassy for me. Even some of the piano samples. Sort of like low end rumble (hum). I’m sure that’s the proper definition for it. It seems to me that you have to work over-time to clean up music samples versus your own recordings.

    Most of the times I haven’t seen the need to do anything with the Mid equalizer section except to set the frequency level and leave it on +0.0 db output. So I think those Pultec Equalizers could solve that excessive bass problems I’ve experienced. While I’m at it. The Acoustica Spin It Again software is not only good for recording into your computer (vinyl, cassette, etc.) via a line-in input. It also has good click, pop/noise reduction features. I tried it out the other day before I managed to properly equalize a track and it cleared up all the noise. Good last resort if you need it. If necessary I can just turn off all the tracks in my song except for the problem one (in the DAW). Mix down that track to a wave or mp3 file. Put that file in the Spin It Again program and clean up noise that way. Spin It Again is also good for cutting out dead space at the beginning or at the end of your recordings. Happens sometimes. I’m gonna eventually look for other posts on this blog so I can blah-blah more.