26 Oct Presonus Studio 68 Audio Interface Review
The Presonus Studio 68 is a 4-input audio interface that costs $300 new. The unit is a bit pricier than some similar interfaces by Behringer or even Presonus’ own line of Audiobox interfaces that are now discontinued. With that being said, I wanted to see how the Presonus Studio 68 stacks up and how its added features and audio quality set it apart from the competition.
After having the unit for nearly a month on loan, I now feel ready to offer an in-depth review of the unit. In this review, I cover the build quality and feature set of the Studio 68. I also cover the audio quality and give samples comparing the unit to a Behringer UMC audio interface, so you can make an informed decision on whether the Studio 68 is right for you.
So without further ado, let’s get right into it…
Unboxing the Presouns Studio 68
Below are a few pics of the unboxing process for those of you who like to see that kind of thing 🙂
Build Quality & Features of the Studio 68
First, on the front of the unit, there are two XLR 1/4″ combo inputs (with the other two on the back). These inputs can be used for microphone, line, or instrument level sources.
The gain level knobs for all four inputs are located on the right side of the interface:
Here, you’ll also find the main level knob (for adjusting the main volume of your speakers) and a headphone level knob.
At the center of the interface is my favorite feature, the level meters:
The “Input” level meters monitor the level of audio going into each input while the “Main” level meters monitor the audio level of the main outs.
While these aren’t super necessary to have on an audio interface these days since all of this information can be monitored inside your DAW, they are nice to have as they provide a quick visual check. They also look great!
Not too many interfaces have this feature anymore, particularly lower priced units, so this is one of the features that set the Studio 68 apart.
Also, at the center of the audio interface, there are four additional buttons. There is a button for enabling phantom power, another for switching between line-level sources, a monitor switch, and an A/B button to toggle between outputs 1 + 2 (the main outs) and outputs 3 + 4 (this allows you to easily check the audio of these outputs).
On the back are the other two XLR 1/4″ combo inputs as I mentioned earlier:
There’s also the headphone output, outputs for outs 1 + 2 (the main outs) and outputs 3 + 4. Again, you can toggle between these using the A/B button on the front.
There’s also the power switch, power input, USB 2.0 connection, and a connection to add MIDI and SPDIF:
To add MIDI and SPDIF an included cable plugs into the back of the interface. The other end of the cable then has inputs for MIDI in and out and SPDIF:
Personally, I’m not a big fan of this setup. I’m assuming the idea was to keep the unit smaller but I just don’t like the idea of an added cable in order to use MIDI or SPDIF. This is a bit cumbersome in my opinion and I like when the interface has MIDI inputs built directly into the unit.
One last thing that I want to point out on the functionality of the Studio 68 is that it needs to be powered via the AC adapter. It will not power on via USB alone.
Again, in my opinion, this is another oversight. While it’s not a huge deal, many other similar 4-input interfaces can be powered by USB alone. Needing the added power cord is just an annoyance especially if you plan to use this as a mobile recording solution (say throwing it in your backpack to record at a friend’s house or your practice space). It’s just another thing to remember to bring along.
Presonus Studio 68 Audio Quality
Now, let’s take a listen to how the Presonus Studio 68 sounds. In the video below, I compare a recording of my guitar plugged directly into the Presonus Studio 68 to the same setup on the Behringer UMC1820. The Behringer UMC1820 uses the same inputs as the Behringer UMC404HD which is another popular 4-input interface.
First, I play a clip recorded with my Schecter C-1 Hellraiser guitar and then another with my Ibanez ARX140. The Schecter has active pickups so the signal will distort a bit while the Ibanez has passive pickups so it will provide a cleaner sound.
I’ll let you be the judge of how the unit sounds. Take a listen and let me know what you think in the comments below:
The video will automatically start at the audio comparison. Feel free to watch the video in its entirety, though.
Conclusion: Should You Buy the Presonus Studio 68?
Would I personally buy the Presonus Studio 68? Probably not.
Besides the fact that the unit can’t be powered by USB alone and the added cable is needed to use MIDI, I’m not sure there’s enough of a difference in the audio quality between the Studio 68 at $300 compared to something like the Behringer UMC404HD at only $100 (which offers nearly the same features).
However, for those of you willing to spend a bit extra money, the included level metering makes the unit more visually appealing but it will also provide you with a quick reference for audio monitoring. So you will need to decide if that feature is important to you. If it is, go with the Presonus Studio 68 and you will be one happy camper.
One last thing I should mention is that the Studio 68 comes with Studio One Artist. In my opinion, Studio One is one of the best DAWs out there right now for recording and it’s the DAW I always recommend to people starting out or to those who are frustrated with their current DAW. Studio One Artist is normally $99 but it comes included with the price of the Studio 68.
As always, if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!