The Studio Channel by PreSonus is one of the most cost-effective ways to get a good tube preamp into your rack. The compressor is solid, and the paramteric EQ just adds even more value to this rack piece. For the money, you really can't go wrong!
Solid Bass and Vocal Preamp
Bought for vocals in my home studio, but man, when I plugged in my bass tonight, it sang. The tube gain is authentic and raucous. Adds tons of grit, and cleans up just as well. If you can only afford or only need one preamp for vocals and bass, this is it. Might even try running my guitar pedalboard into it just to see what it can do.
His was recommended by a buddy of mine an it works great with my presonus 192..
Help with vocals an instruments..
A Must Have
This unit sounds fantastic. I recently tracked hiphop vocals through this, and I chose to use this rather than using one of my interface pre's because the hiphop backing track was old school sounding - like off a vinyl. In my opinion, this pre with the gain cranked added nice character on vocals to match the vintage sounding track. My work was then sent off to an engineer at a larger, more prestigious studio. In a phone conversation with that engineer, he asked about my process. I told him that I tracked through this preamp. His response was, "Oh, so that explains the crunch on the take. Nice!" This is a quality amp. The compressor can work effectively yet transparently, the eq has redefined my workflow, and the gain options at the front end allow for adding some nice character. I'd recommend upgrading the tube, as I have. This strip rocks!
OK. I'll do my best to keep this short & simple... I've been a semi-pro bassist - live, small indoor "bar" gigs, mid/mid-large indoor venues, outdoor gigs, & studio session work - for 25 years. During that time, like all bass players at one time or another, I HAD to have "this" or "that", that came along through the years. From my axes to amps. Everything from MIM Jazz/P's as backups, American Fender Jazz & P's - some Custom Shop Reissues, several off the rack & personally tweaked & upgraded, Music Man, several German Warwick models, Spector, Pedulla, & a pre-Gibson Tobias... As well as going through basses like underware through the years, same can be said of my "rig". Started on a Hartke, went to Ampeg SVT - couple models -, Acoustic, SWR, etc. An older cat told me once many years ago when complaining about not being able to tweak my sound how I wanted - even on the PRICEY SWR SM-500 (GREAT head - as were all for what they do -, just didn't hit that "sweet spot" for me) - to get away from an all in one head, & try a channel strip + power amp. I didn't fully listen. Got the SVP pre into a boat anchor Peavy power amp, rack this, rack that, till it looked like a robot next to my cabs. Being of the "more money =better quality & sound" school of thought (& partially a "look at my gear" pi**in contest, lol), when I finally got tired of being on the road with him through the years hearing him repeat the same thing, I picked up a used Avalon from a church & Mackie power amp. I was on my way!!! After pulling/tugging on the road, went into repair mode a lot....picked up a Focusrite... Couple years, the banging & beatings of the road started to take their toll...I was ready to call it a day & rethink the whole thing. One night, I popped the tube, no where was open & didn't have a spare, so I used that old cat's setup. I was da*n near laughing when he opened the clasps & I saw a $300 Presonus Studio Channel & Crown power amp. SURELY HE'S JOKING!!! $300 compared to my almost $2000??? Really? REALLY!!! Plugged up, piddled a bit with the knobs (he had is dialed in really well) to fit my axes I had on stage (Custom Warwick 5 string & vintage Fender Jazz), in 5 minutes we were doing full run throughs... BLEW MY FRIGGIN DOORS OFF!!! Not only did it match equally the sound of my big buck stuff, for $300, it SMOKED IT!!! I kid you not, I now have 2 live racks with me - Presonus Studio Channel & QSC GX5 -, back up tubes, cabs, & now MUCH smaller pedal board. I have yet to be disappointed with my rack...cabs, different story till I turned onto my beloved Epifani cabs. I can turn this bad boy to 11 & peel your face off, or roll it back & get that fat, warm, "Duck Dunk"/"Jamerson" Motown groove...by turning a couple of knobs. ***ONLY ISSUE*** The stock tube SUCKS! (Ampeg stock tubes suck, no shock there). Groove Tubes or JJ Goldpins, either one really clean up the tube sound. A QUALITY STRIP FOR $300? Really? - YES! REALLY!!! Change the tube, you'll be in love! Not to mention, it gets knocked over & goes bye bye...you're out $300, pretty easy to replace as opposed to $2000... REALLY!!!
So far sounds great
I've only had the Pre Sonus for about a month but it is a real improvement over standard DAW interface preamps. Added analog warmth etc.
Just Get It
I play bass for my church praise team, so I am not using this unit in a rack. Even Presonus in their website says it's kind of a misnomer to call it the "studio" channel since it's good for live music as well. My usual setup is my Rick 4003 through a DI and into the church sound system. I stand next to a sub so no need to even be in the monitors. I have tried various setups over the years: 1. Regular DI into system 2. Sans Amp into system 3. Markbass compressore into system 4. Into bass amp head into system, 5 Multi effects pedal into system, etc. Today is the first day trying the Studio Channel as my DI into the system and I'll tell you right now it is CLEARLY the best setup so far. I use full tube effect, gain to just before distortion, a little more compression than the recommendation in the manual for bass, EQ set up according to the manual for bass and WOW. The gain and tube preamp give the full saturated sound I love, the compressor is the most transparent, least intrusive one I've ever used and with the EQ set the way the manual recommends I get thunderous underlying bass and plenty of mid range to cut through. Other team members commented about the improvement in sound as well. If there is a drawback, it's only that it really is configured as a rack mount unit so it's a little awkward adjusting it on stage not being in a rack (I'm kinda using it like a stomp box with no "stomp"!). I really don't care though because it's too small of a complaint compared to the great sound this thing puts out. The Sans Amp is going on ebay! PS the service at Sweetwater is EXCELLENT too!
LARGER THAN LIFE
I WAS USING A ART TUBE PREAMP, BUT THIS BLOWS IT OUT THE WATER AND THEN SOME ! EVEN WITH THE STOCK TUBE YOU GET A LITTLE DISTORTION BUT NOT AS MUCH AS THE PREAMPS I WAS USING. IT REALLY GIVES VOCALS A 3D SOUND. AND WITH THE COMPRESSOR AND EQ I WAS ABLE TO GET FULL AND CLARITY POLISHED VOCALS. I WILL ORDER SOME MULLARD TUBES TOMMORROW FROM SWEETWATER TO GET MAXIMUM SOUND. BUT IT HELPED ME RECORD 10 AMAZING HIP HOP TRACKS TODAY. I WILL BE USING THIS FOR A WHILE. THUMBS UP PRESONUS !
BIGGER THAN EXPECTED
I HAVEN'T RECORDED WITH IT YET BUT WILL SOON. IT TOOK TWO DAYS TO GET TO SOUTH CAROLINA. GREAT DELIVERY AND PACKAGING. THIS PRESONUS STUDIO CHANNEL HAS NICE WEIGHT AND THE BOX WAS HUGE. I PLAN TO RECORD FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS AND WILL LET YOU KNOW WHAT I THINK. BUT IT LOOKS VERY SLEEK AND PROFESSIONAL. I WILL ALSO BE ORDERING SOME MULLARD TUBES IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS . I WILL ALWAYS BE A SWEETWATER CUSTOMER ! AND NICE TO GIVE MY KID THE CANDY SO SHE CAN BE HAPPY ABOUT THE DELIVERY ALSO , LOL.
Great Affordable Channel Strip
I purchased this a few years ago from Sweetwater and now I can't imagine not using it in a session. This was my first outboard gear purchase, and it is a great introduction to hardware channel strips. The compressor is musical, eq is a wonderful addition, and the tube drive option is great for adding extra color and warmth to any track. When used on vocalists or voice-over talent, the tube drive is great for giving the track that 'polish' that we hear from our favorite songs. I've also used it on acoustic guitars and horns with great success. My only gripe is that the included 12AX7 is a cheap Chinese tube, but that's to be expected with a channel strip in this price range. I swapped that out for a Sovtek, and I couldn't be happier. If you're looking for an affordable yet very versatile channel strip, look no further! Presonus makes quality gear and this is no exception.
All you need
I was introduced to PreSonus through their free version of their DAW, Studio One, which I found to be the most intuitive and common sense DAW I've used, including Sonar, Pro Tools, and Garage Band. My success with Studio One led me to buy an AudioBox 44VSL interface for my iMac, which came with an upgraded version of Studio OneProbably because the software and hardware are both made by PreSonus, installation and operation has been seamless and fluid.
Studio One comes with a huge set of plug-in processors and effects, which have gotten so good for the most part as to make hardware FX/processors redundant or irrelevant...except for the very front end, between the mike and the interface. I use a lot of acoustic guitar, bass, and vocals, which all need at the very least some decent compression or limiting. By now, PreSonus had earned my trust and respect, so I bought the Studio Channel strip. I have to say I believe that spending more money on a compressor and preamp would be a waste of money. The pre is as quiet as can be, and the tube drive control can add just a touch of warm grit to the signal. Combined with my AT4047 mike, this is the vocal sound I've been searching for. Quiet but not sterile, and very "alive" and warm. The compressor is quiet as well, and does an admirable job of taming acoustic guitar and vocal peaks. You can get it to pump and breathe a little, but you have to push it hard. For the most part, it sits there quietly and gets the job done without a fuss.
As with AT or Rode microphones, the price of this PreSonus equipment is jaw-dropping low for the professional equipment you get. Mostly because of the prices, some would label this equipment "prosumer", a word I abhor. This is high grade professional equipment priced for the masses, and the most performance per dollar i have found in 25 years of home recording. If you can't get pro-quality sound recordings with this equipment, the problem is you. No longer can the equipment be blamed - it's too good.
I love most of what Presonus offers and was excited to try this product out. I was extremely disappointed!
In a nutshell, this thing just sounds like crap. The tube drive and gain are both very noisy. After about 2 o'clock on both knobs, there is a lot of distortion and scratchy-crackly artifacts introduced into the signal. The compressor is flat and lifeless, the EQ is not very musical and is quite harsh on the higher frequencies. The power switch is on the back of the unit (super annoying!) The power supply is a 18V type plug not a standard 3 prong grounded plug. I had interference from other audio gear that caused background noise. I believe that is because the power cord does not carry a ground from the power supply. Lastly, the stock tube is a junk china made 12AX7.
The price is affordable but you get what you pay for. If you want a $250 sounding channel strip, this thing definitely achieves that. The next price point ($350-$500) is vastly different. The EQ and compressor are much more usable on the next price point up.
I would pass on this and look into dbx, ART or JoeMeek.
Presonus Studio Channel
This is the right piece of equipment for my rack. Easy to work with and the tube sound is good for my application of voiceover. I recommend this to all.
A Great Sonic Value
I’ve had two of these for a few years now and I”m convinced theres now better channel strip on the marketing in this price range. acoustic instruments, vocals, bass.. this unit can warm up just about anything. Highly recommended.
A great unit at a great price
This is my first channel strip. I'm new to home recording and just getting started. That said, I've spent several hundred hours in professional studios, both as a band member and a hired gun, and know a fair amount about production, etc. So I feel confident in giving this little unit five stars, especially considering its low price point. So far I've successfully used it on electric guitar and female vocals and am really impressed with the warmth, clarity, and overall punch, particularly with the vocals. If you turn the gain on the tube pre-amp up to about 35 or 40 dB, you get a great sheen on the vocals -- the kind of high-res, warm tone you'd expect from a Neve console. The suggested EQ and compression settings in the manual, meanwhile, are quite useful to newbies like me.
My only unsuccessful experiment so far occurred when I tried to record acoustic guitar for the first time. The results were a tad on the boomy/woofy sound, but I'm 99.99% sure that was my fault. Specifically, I'm still learning proper microphone placement for acoustic guitar. I have a hunch some more experimenting will greatly improve the sound I'm getting.
I was suprised and pleased with the vocal clarity.
I really like how it is possible to control the sounds before it hits your DAW, which allows me to use less plugins.
The price is good for the use, I think this is great for small home studios.
I think when people here the hype of a tube, they automatically believe that the product will sound great. Unfortunately, this is not true. Although this is not a terrible product, it is not a worthy project studio product and definitely not a professional studio product!
While this product does utilize the tube for its sound source, the electronics do not support the character of the tube (whether stock or upgrade) and I'm sorry that I can't pinpoint what/where is the problem. What I can say, however, is that this product is inconsistent with the sound it produces.
I would recommend that if you'd like a channel strip for your project studio, save a little bit more and start somewhere in the $500 range (Like its bigger bro, PreSonus Eureka) . This is my second preamp below $500 and it has failed! I do own two other pres that are over $500 and below $750 and the difference in sound is quite noticeable for the best.
If you are a singer or musician in need of a channel strip for small venues with crappy live sound, I see this product helping out your sound. If you are a beginning recording/mixer engineer looking to start out with inexpensive gear and upgrading later, I'd still say save a bit more but if you must, it will definitely do its job for a NOVICE! demo.
On the fence
This preamp is OK. I've only had it for a little over a month. I will say ther "tube" appears to be more hype than substance. It really does not improve the sound. The VU meter is worthless too. Doesn't move at all. The compressor works but is extremely hard to set up so I use it on "auto" mode 99% of the time. The EQ does work nice. So as a preamp it's OK, better than nothing and the EQ is nice, the compressor is Ok at best.
Nice and clean Pre amp
The sound of this mic pre amp slash channel strip is crazy. I was look for more detail and presence. This thing caught me off guard I hook this through my audio interface and gave my that real studio feel. Plus it was made by Presonus big fan. The process was quick and easy like always thanks to my sales rep Mike Hammond thank you Sweetwater. Its time to put out some good sounding music.
After recording vocals with one song I am pleased with the sound. I redid a vocal track and size- by- side this sounds fuller. I like the fact that I can sing without having to worry about clipping with the compressor on before the interface,
Very Crisp and Clear
I have been using my Presonus Studio Channel for over a year now and the sound is incredible. I have a home studio and people are amazed with the quality of music I put out. Very affordable and exactly what you need to step up your home studio. I do rap/hip-hop and have recorded many different artists as well as female vocals. Combined with my Blue Blurbird Microphone I could not be more happy with the quality of music for the amount of money I spent.
More Pros than Cons
Decent channel strip for its price range. I have a tough time with dynamics sometimes while recording vocals. I tend to have to turn down the output -10db so the signal doesn't clip. Other than that, I love the sound that this channel strip delivers for percussions and guitars. Im not too fond of it for Male Rap Vocals, Male/Female R&B Vocals. The thing I hate is the power button is on the back. Ugggghh!! It drives me insane! Presonus you might have to fix that problem in the future.
Awesome piece of equipment
I am not as literate as many on preamps but I will say that this is a very easy piece of equipment for even me to use. I play bass in our church praise band and wanted to be able to control my sound without overpowering the rest of the band, this does the trick plus a lot. I love the information it provides to educate the purpose of the compressor and the eq. The recommended presets are excellent and a must for a beginner like me.
PreSonus Studio Channel
great add on to project studio no color nice pre amp, compresser amazing, eq great easy to use come with start manual for newbes give me depth and fullness i needed if you on a budget this is a def to get
she's really great
why not get a pre amp that has tube/vac preamp , compression , EQ ,and master volume?? Im using it for vocals because thats all you need for vocals , it subtracts the editing you do while mixing the song! i got it plugged into a neumann tlm 103(1,300$) , but also have plugged in a cheaper mic in the 300$ range.Both sounded great when paired up with this amp . It pumps up your voice to give you that feeling.i need nothing else as of now when it comes to pre amps
I produce mostly Rock and some hip hop now and then. I have used many preamps / compressors over the last 18 years. I sold my last universal audio LA 610 MKII last year and now have a pair of these and I could not be happier. I love the control you have up front with EQ and Compression that not even the LA 610 had. With the warmth and control you'll have along with a great mic like a TLM 103 up front you will be very happy with this peace. and at $300? you can buy 5 of these and still not hit the cost of one LA 610 MKII. and this in music time and economy PreSonus is the way to go.
Hard to beat for the price
You know, I'm glad I waited several months to review this. I bought it after reading other reviews on this site saying it was as good as the strips that cost 5-10 times as much. When I first got it, I was really happy with how much better it sounded than the stock pre-amps in my AudioBox USB. But then I started trying to tweak it and I got frustrated with how "light" the comp and EQ are. As confirmed by other reviews around the Internet, you can't get much of an extreme sound change out of those two features on the Studio Channel. So, I started shopping around for something "better," and was really tempted by the UA products like the 6176 or the LA-610 MKII. On a whim, I walked into a brick and mortar music shop and impulse purchased the Golden Age Project PRE-73MK2 and started using that. Right away, I struggled with it. The PRE-73 (which is supposed to model an old Neve) dramatically colors everything it touches. I love it to death on bass guitar, not so much on vocals, and I personally found the gain on the 73 to be "out of control" on my setup -- I was constantly struggling to keep it from clipping on peaks (and had no other front end comp to pass it into). So, I started my search again, and found another music shop's website that has posted tons of files of the same performance run through scads of high end gear. The Pre-73 was on there, as was the Neve it emulates, as were many other "famous" pre-amps, compressors, and EQs that I had been considering. Well, after listening to side-by-side comparisons of all that gear as used by consummate pros in near-laboratory conditions, I learned that to my poor ears, they all sounded pretty much the same, from the $300 ones to the $3000 ones. With that in mind, I decided to give my Studio Channel another chance. An hour or so into a vocal track I was working on, I swapped out the PRE-73 with the Studio Channel and it was like taking leg weights off. Gone was the unwanted coloration, tamed were the runaway peaks, and the EQ gave just enough correction to the high end to compensate for my TLM-193's naturally silky (ok, flat out dark) character. Too much compression or EQ on the front end is a bad thing anyway, so I'm no longer particularly disappointed in the relaxed nature of those two sections of the Studio Channel, and I like the cleaner, less colored sound of the PreSonus, even with the tube drive cranked up (it doesn't do all that much either, and that's now fine by me, too). So, I will no longer spend more time or money on pre-amps. Like most home studio guys, I'm better off investing my limited budget in monitors and acoustic treatment -- this PreSonus is absolutely fine for my needs, realistically, and anything it can't do is honestly more likely due to shortcomings on my part as an amateur engineer. And on top of that, it's a pretty piece of rack gear, and it fits a normal rack space, and those do sort of count to me. I've got limited desk space and am getting tired of "boutique" gear that can't go into a rack.
Awesome preamp with an afford able price.
Every recording engineer knows a quality tube preamp, VCA compressor and parametric EQ are the building blocks for a great recording. How about all three in a single channel strip for less than $300 dollars? The Presonus Studio channel provides everything you need to record great studio tracks. The tube preamp delivers warmth to your signal without saturation. The compressor provides dynamic signal response to your instruments. The parametric EQ provides the fine tuning necessary the capture the nuance of every note. A must for every studio environment. Quality performance and construction.
Im going to make this short.This a great preamp for home studio & professional recording.I love it.I was just using the MBox 3 and I was getting great mixes with just that.But the studio channel took the MBox 3 to an hole different level. great compression & Eq on vocals before it goes into the MBox 3.And of corse you can do all your tweaking inside pro tools or any DAW you use and get outstanding results if your an nice engineer and have the right ear for mixing/mastering.So This hardware for $300,MBox 3,& Pro tools 9 You can not go wrong. FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU SWEETWATER & PRESONUS
Best Money Ever Spent!
You can drive yourself insane researching the outboard gear that's going to take your recordings to the next level. I spent 3 months reading 100's of reviews about 100's of different products in every price range and finally ended up with a pair of these channel strips on the recommendation of a buddy of mine from a "big studio" and I couldn't be happier!
My very first project out of the box with these channel strips required classical guitar (recorded direct), acoustic guitar (direct), bass (direct) and vocals. I set the channel strips up just how presonus had recommended with their very handy, and included, "setup suggestions" and began recording.
Once a simple mix was complete, I had a finished recording that completely blew away anything I had recorded without them. Exceptional warmth, headroom, presence, clarity, punch and all of the other attributes you would desire from a GREAT channel strip. You do NOT need to spend 1,000's of dollars on mic pre's, compressors and EQ's to make truly stellar recordings... take it from me!
I did the homework for you and this was the best money I have ever spent on any gear period.
Budget-friendly way to wake up sleepy signals
PreSonus' FireStudio Project is a clean, solid front end on its own. But put a Studio Channel in front of it, and your signal really shines. I hardly have to post-process voiceovers anymore- they all come out fat, airy or anything in between. Definitely wakes up a sleepy mic. The front-mounted instrument input is great for recording bass guitar too. Jump on this!
Excellent for the Price
Works excellent with tweaking the unit following the manual to start with. I have not used it for everything, say like vocals, but I tend to up the Input and keep the Output Gain Lower, otherwise noise may creep up into the recording. What I thought I was doing was not actually what was needed for the recording. The knobs make it easy to set up more than one unit say for like a stereo recording. I have not tried other tubes which they sell here also at Sweetwater, so that is yet to come. The unit is excellent for the price if used appropriately. Sure there are more dedicated units to use and buy and that is fine, this unit has it enough in one for a low-cost price solution.
Do not sleep on this
Listen, I have been using a shure ksm27 for the past 5yrs with a presonus tube pre which cranked out good vocals but the silibance in the ksm27 was bothering me so picked up the presonus studio channel, swapped the tube, and also copped a AT 2035 and let me tell you for the sound I'm getting for under 500. WOW. I produce and record hip hop and r&b and all my artist and clients are giving me vocal chain the ultimate praise. I can't be happier.
Great piece of gear for the price! I use this for the bass drum. The job is done and beyond. (I used other brands, but this pre amp make it happen.
This was my second mic preamp I bought and it was a huge step up! The tube tone sounds INCREDIBLE with my B.L.U.E. Baby Bottle. Warm and smooth, the sound sits right up front in the mix. The compressor is easy to use and the EQ makes amazing pre-production results. The Studio Channel also features a cool switch that lets you change the order from compression > EQ to EQ > compression, which can really change the sound of your track. I love this channel strip not only because it cuts out a huge part of my digital post-production work, but also because it didn't put a big hole in my wallet! For the price this cannot be beat!
Note: I gave this a 4.5 out of 5 because when I first received the Studio Channel I wasn't crazy about the tube that it came with, but for another 20$ I bought a Groove Tube for this sucker and it sounds incredible. I would recommend buying the Groove Tube with this Studio Channel and avoid having to use the cheap Chinese tube it comes with.
StudioChan Channel Strip with Class A Vacuum Tube Preamplifier, Variable VCA Compressor, and 3-band Parametric EQ More Info...
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