Value £470
Contact Presonus

The Quantum 2626 follows on from PreSonus‘ a lot lauded Quantum 2632 interface, launched a number of years again. Forward of its wealthy options and respectable audio high quality, dialogue surrounding the unique Quantum primarily centered on its progressive method of working, whereby as an alternative of having the ability to select between monitoring enter indicators at supply and/or monitoring by software program, the {hardware} monitoring was eliminated.

The ultra-low latencies attainable with a Thunderbolt connection eradicated the necessity for extra mixer purposes outdoors the consumer’s DAW, simplifying the recording course of by some margin and providing higher worth for cash, since fewer converter arrays had been required. Such a transfer precluded any type of standalone operation and monitoring of inputs, nonetheless, which proved a deal-breaker for some.

This 12 months’s Quantum 2626 is a streamlined model of the sooner flagship mannequin, providing comparable headline options however at diminished value. Gone is the detailed LED metering, the digitally managed preamps and the monitor-controller features of the primary Quantum. What stays is the concentrate on the bottom attainable latencies, plus a variety of ins and outs, together with the lauded XMAX mic preamps.

The darkish facet

Due to its neat matte-black end – a design aesthetic harking back to the Apogee Component – our first impressions of the brand new Quantum are extraordinarily optimistic. The entrance panel controls are stable, with clean motion on every of the pots and funky blue LEDs beneath the 2 phantom-power switches. The eight combi XLR/jack inputs seem across the entrance, and are useful for the common switching round of enter sources, notably when mounted in a rack.

The primary two inputs providing both mic or instrument ranges, whereas inputs three by eight alternate between mic and line, relying on the kind of connector that’s plugged in. Preamp acquire controls seem subsequent, and sport easy tri-colour LED metering to point out exercise and clipping on every enter channel. Sadly although, that’s about it – there’s no pad and there’s no high-pass filter right here, in both {hardware} of software program kind.

Additional alongside, the primary knob acts as a degree management for the primary outs, essential for reducing monitor audio system whereas recording and monitoring in the identical room, since all dwell inputs must be monitored by software program and so are all the time linked to the primary outputs and headphones. It’s a disgrace that the knob can’t be set to regulate the extent of a number of pairs of outputs on the similar time – for a 5.1 encompass set-up, for instance – however you’ll be able to’t have all the things.

Twin headphone outputs full the entrance panel roster, alongside a Thunderbolt connection standing LED. The headphone sockets each carry precisely the identical combine as the primary outs, since they don’t have unbiased DACs; unbiased headphone mixes would subsequently require the usage of pre-fade sends from the consumer’s DAW, with exterior headphone amps plugged in to additional pairs of line outs.

Across the again, you’ll discover the everyday array of connecters masking TRS jack line outs, ADAT ins and outs, MIDI and phrase clock. However there are a number of factors of word. On the optimistic facet, a pair of insert factors (labelled Preamp out and Line return) are included for the primary two inputs, so outboard results models could be plugged into the enter chain after the preamp or for exterior mic preamps for use with out the sign ever hitting the onboard ones (by plugging straight into the road returns).

On a decidedly much less optimistic word, safely tucked away on the reverse finish of the rear panel is the facility change. How PreSonus expects customers to show the unit on and off whereas mounted in rack, we do not know. This dodgy choice considerably undermines the good work invested into making the enter connectors available across the entrance.

Solely a single Thunderbolt port is current right here too, making it far more difficult to make the most of system daisy-chaining, notably if in case you have a pocket book with just one or two Thunderbolt-compatible ports. Following the lead of different makers, there’s no pc connection cable included within the field. Positive, some customers may want extra adapters to make use of with legacy ports however the overwhelming majority would use a Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C
lead. It makes you ponder whether such cost-cutting is a false financial system. Couldn’t producers do higher to keep away from this raft of assist points and buyer frustration surrounding the minefield of cables that look the identical however have very totally different capabilities? Simply give us a cable and lift the value a bit for those who actually should.

Quantum leap

Getting began is straightforward. After registering the product on-line, all of the out there software program (the drivers, Studio One and the bundled plug-ins) is introduced on a single web page. We’ve all the time been impressed with what’s supplied by the bottom Prime tier of Studio One, so the Component model included with the Quantum is a bonus, offering much more in the way in which of software program devices and samples, plus vital mixing instruments resembling Aux Channels. The bundled Studio Magic plug-ins mustn’t be ignored both.

Highlights embody a fundamental Lexicon MPX-i reverb, a Klanghelm tube emulator and a clean UVI Steinway-sampled grand piano. For added punch, there’s additionally SPL’s Attacker Plus, basically one half of the favored Transient Designer. Whereas the PreSonus software program is all easy to put in, nabbing freebies from the Studio Magic bundle requires much more perseverance; on the finish of the method, we’ve got a large number of recent consumer accounts and have been educated within the differing methods software program producers authorise plug-ins.

With Logic Professional set as much as report enter from a mic, and triggering the UVI piano plug-in, it’s simple to get underway. With a comforting reverb added on an aux ship, we’re capable of monitor and report with negligible latency at buffer sizes of 32 and 64 samples, the DAW reporting simply 1.1ms output latency and a couple round-trip latency on the decrease buffer setting (with a 44.1kHz pattern fee). Larger pattern charges in fact yield even decrease latencies. We expertise small interruptions within the UVI Grand audio stream when monitoring on the lowest buffer sizes, and are compelled to change to 128 samples to remedy the issue.

At this degree, we begin to really feel slight latency on the mic. But it surely’s a degree many customers would nonetheless discover acceptable. Others would wish to seek for inventive methods of monitoring with out the latency – for instance, quickly utilizing leaner software program devices on the monitoring stage and/or freezing already recorded tracks.

Working with Studio One, it was all plain crusing, the DAW’s intelligent native low-latency monitoring system serving to to variably apply small buffer settings to dwell inputs and bigger ones to tracks enjoying again to keep away from latency or drop-outs. For individuals who wish to report audio and will not be bothered by latency, it is sensible for Studio One to be your go-to DAW, no less than on the monitoring stage, even when the combo takes place elsewhere. The preamps and converter high quality is really very good, with the DACs producing an open sound on playback with loads of high-frequency air that doesn’t come by on entry-entry converters. The headphone amps are tremendously loud too.

This can be a incredible unit and, when utilizing software program monitoring solely, it stays as simple to make use of as its predecessor. However the stripping of options from the preamps and studio/headphone monitoring discovered on the dearer Quantum may represent a minimize too far for potential consumers.

Key options

  • Thunderbolt Three for macOS and Home windows
  • Eight analogue ins and outs, first 2 inputs mic/instrument degree; inputs 3-Eight mic/line
  • 2 banks of ADAT in/outs
  • MIDI, S/PDIF and phrase clock in/outs
  • 2 headphone outs – each duplicate management room primary outs
  • Bundled with Studio One Artist and Studio Magic plug-in suite

Do I actually need this?

Presonus Quantum 2626
For these looking for a easy strategy to monitor eight (or extra) microphones, whereas having fun with low-latency operation of software program devices, the Quantum 2626 needs to be close to the highest of your record of audio interfaces to think about, notably when partnered with Studio One. With easy growth by the use of the ADAT inputs and 8-way exterior preamps, it’s attainable to report 24 simultaneous analogue inputs; good for jobs resembling monitoring a band’s rhythm part.

The dearth of devoted headphone DACs and the bare-bones preamp and monitoring might put some off however at this value, the unit is tough to beat. The bundled software program is great too. There’s certain to be one thing helpful to everybody. The Quantum 2626 really provides nearly all the things you want in a 1U area.

Alternate options

828es £780

The latest incarnation of the 828 line is appropriate with Home windows, macOS and iOS, and has extra complete metering and monitoring than the Quantum. Plus, there’s the likelihood to increase.

Component 88 £1,170

Apogee’s Thunderbolt 2 interface has comparable options to the Quantum 2626, even omitting {hardware} acquire controls and meters however in flip benefiting from digital management and enhanced preamp options.


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