It only took a very brief glance for me to know that this was a PreSonus device, with the now all too familiar grey/blue housing and fixtures standing for quality. As suggested by its size, the Presonus Studio 192 Mobile is not just your ordinary two input home recording interface. Whilst not as large as some other rack units, it still has a little more bulk to the casing than many compact USB audio interfaces, and that is due to what is going on around at the rear, as well as what is happening under the hood. This unit delivers four physical analogue inputs and six physical analogue outputs on the casing, but that’s only just the beginning.
IN THE BOX
The Studio 192 Mobile is a bit of a clever device in that it is small and compact enough to be a portable recording interface with a handful of inputs, but at the same time, it has the capability to expand into a fully-fledged studio recording setup. The unit itself will fit into most laptop bags and can travel with you when you want two microphone preamps at any location. Both of the microphone preamps on board offer XMAX recallable options, with up to 192 kHz sampling rates, making this a great front-end piece of hardware for any recording environment. These recallable preamps have a separate digital volume control that allows you to adjust them not only from the front panel of the interface, but also through the UC Control surface. This also means they can be adjusted with PreSonus’ Studio One software mixer and through other DAWs via MIDI.
What this means is a couple of things. Firstly, some of you, myself included, might get a little miffed over the fact that you no longer have a separate physical gain control for each input on the unit. I can’t help it, I like the old ‘hands-on’ approach and old habits die pretty hard. However, once you get past that you will come to appreciate the convenience of this feature, which allows you to save input gain settings on separate channels within the DAW. So when tracking with similar setups time and time again, you can recall all of your gain settings for certain microphones in certain applications, and be right on the money without the need to fuss about checking input levels for hours.
SO MUCH MORE
Of course, it isn’t much of a task to adjust the preamps of just two inputs, and you could do it quickly with gain controls on the box. But what happens when you start introducing more complex setups and consider adding another 16 microphones to your recording setup? Well, this is where the Studio 192 Mobile really proves itself as a workhorse, with two ADAT ins and outs on the rear of the device, allowing an extra 16 microphone preamps into the mix for larger recordings. These are complimented by a pair of SPDIF connections and Word Clock in and out as well, to completely tie together your devices. Now, as we were talking about the recall function of the XMAX preamps, the DigiMax DP88 preamps that can be connected to the Studio 192 Mobile for added microphone pres allows for your recall functions to work across all your microphone inputs. This means you can set up large recording session templates and also have all your preamp settings ready to go, controlled by the software for each individual preamp running from the Studio 192 Mobile.
In short, this is a serious unit that is ready to expand with you as your needs require it to do so. Many of you will instantly think of adding an OctoPre to get more inputs, but it is well worth looking at the DigiMax DP88 for consistency across the preamps as well as the ease of preamp recall features across the board. This is a well built, well designed, future-proofed interface that shows just what can be achieved with USB audio.
Hits and Misses
Huge range of inputs with 18 additional digital I/O
Creative implementation with PreSonus DigiMax DP88 Preamps
Remote iOS control tools
Individual gain controls would have been nice