After having an in-depth review article on the PreSonus studio 24c, it is finally time to switch gears and move to PreSonus Studio 26c Review. This review is going to be fun. I promise!
However, my primary purpose of writing a 1500+ words article on 26c is to give you clear insights into how it differs from 24c. And to see whether you should prefer 26c over 24c or the AudioBox USB 96.
Related: Best budget audio interfaces!
PreSonus Studio 26c USB-C Audio Interface Review
The PreSonus Studio 26c is currently priced a little more than $200. This price of $200 is what opens the space for us to compare it with the all time favourite best selling audio interface Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
But first, it won’t hurt to look at some of its features.
PreSonus Studio 26c Product Features
- Inputs – 2, outputs – 4,
- 2 Mic/Line/Instrument inputs,
- Dedicated gain knobs for inputs/outputs,
- +48V Phantom powered,
- 2 of PreSonus’ professional-grade XMAX-L mic preamps,
- 4 ladder-style LED level meters,
- One MIDI Port available,
- 1 Headphone output with dedicated gain knob,
- 4 line level/ Studio monitors outputs,
- Direct Monitoring Available,
- Line output dynamic Range – 110 dB,
- 24-bit resolution,
- Supported sample rates – 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, or 192 kHz,
- One USB-C compatible port to connect to laptops/Desktop PCs,
- Wide range of softwares included,
- Windows/Mac compatible.
The PreSonus 26c is fully compatible with MAC OS Big Sur.
[Also check: Audio interface setup diagram to connect different studio gears]
A Deeper PreSonus Studio 26c Analysis
The PreSonus Studio 26c is a perfect audio interface for someone who wants to stay on budget and wants to experience a wide range of choices about what you can do with it. The interface is much like any other regular interface with an additional output channel.
There are two Mic/Line/Hi-Z inputs. The two inputs on the interface’s front panel let you record most of the instruments a beginner producer can possess. The audio interfaces is easy to setup and you can start recording your next song in minutes.
Plus, there is one MIDI port that connects your MIDI instruments like samplers, pads, synths etc. I think it is a great to have a MIDI port because it makes your other two inputs available for other possible mics, instruments or other line level inputs.
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Both the inputs are +48V phantom powered and allows you to use and record audio on condenser microphone as well, in addition to a traditional dynamic microphone. You can also easily monitor the input signal and check whether they are clipping or not with the help of ladder styled LED gain metering.
These days you really cannot think of any audio interfaces without phantom boost.
Unlike the 24c, the 26c has got a push-pull button to engage with direct monitoring feature. The direct monitoring lets you hear to input signal that goes in the interface with zero latency. It is extremely helpful to record any live instrument or vocals in sync with backing track.
Another helpful feature indeed!
Here is where the major difference lies. In addition to two main outputs, the 26c embeds two extra line outputs.
A pair of extra outputs provided at the rear end of the 26c can let you do separate monitoring of some tracks of your choice. And a bunch of other cool things as well.
It can also help you in a live setting in case you want to dedicate entire different set to line outs.
How you connect the 26c with your computer or a laptop is quite simple. The USB-C port on the rear end of the interface connects to the USB port on the computer! Just plug it and the interface is in action.
But before you set up the interface, make sure to download PreSonus 26c drivers from the official website.
Sound quality of PreSonus Studio 26c USB Audio interface
Probably, the most important thing in an audio interface for producers is the sound quality. Sound quality is determined by mic preamps and the converters that interact directly with the audio signal.
Another important aspect is bit resolution and sampling rates. Make sure that any interface you pick has a 24-bit resolution and sampling rate at least of 96kHz. Good to say, the Studio 26c has got a 24-bit resolution and a maximum of 192 kHz.
But, how good are the mic preamps on the PreSonus studio 26c?
The preamps sound pretty decent on the 26c. The sound quality remains very clean and highly intact. Good thing, there is not a considerable amount of noise as in the case of AudioBox USB 96. Even that noise is reduced further as you connect a condenser microphone for recording.
When compared to other audio interfaces under $200, the audio quality of PreSonus Studio 26c is well above average comparable to that focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
Potential Use Cases
In interfaces where a MIDI I/O is available, the possible use cases do increase significantly. If you don’t believe me, look at the list below to see some of the possible input combinations you can make.
- Two mics, one MIDI inst,
- One guitar, one mic, one MIDI inst,
- Two guitars, one MIDI inst,
- And many more.
This list can expand even further if you wish to do so. All you need to do is connect new types of instruments and not just regular keyboards and guitars. In most cases, you will want to use a guitar and keyboard as per your production requirements. But spicing things up once in a while does feel pretty awesome. Also, it can help you out of the writer’s block phase.
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Gain Ranges of PreSonus Studio 26c USB audio Interface
Here is a table that shows some of the dynamic as well as gain ranges of the PreSonus Studio 26c.
|Input Type||Dynamic Range||Gain Range|
|Microphone Input||110 dB||70 dB|
|Line Input||110 dB||70 dB|
|Instrument Input||110 dB||70 dB|
|Headphone Output||104 dB||–|
|Line/Monitor Output||108 dB||–|
|Line Output(3/4)||113 dB||–|
The gain ranges as you can see from the table, are pretty above what I expected them to be at 60. The gain range specifies the peak amplitude of an audio signal that it can possibly reach. it is good to have higher gain ranges but it does not mean that an interface is better than other interface that has a lower gain range. There are many other factors that indicate the overall quality of how an interface performs.
Next, comes the dynamic range. The dynamic range of Studio 26c is higher than both Studio 24c as well as AudioBox USB 96.
Dynamic range means that how much a sound signal can peak before it starts clipping. And it is good to have higher dynamic ranges.
A high dynamic range lets you record more expressive vocals in a better way maintaining overall harmonic precision of the vocal. This, in turn, plays a pretty significant in audio quality.
- Easy setup and highly portable,
- great for beginners,
- Metal chassis body,
- MIDI I/O which most interfaces do not have,
- LED metering for inputs and outputs,
- A good dynamic range,
- Mic preamps are high quality,
- 24-bit resolution and high sampling rates,
- Low noise behaviour when used with condenser mics,
- Distortion or clipping behaviour is well tamed,
- Windows/Mac/iPad compatible.
The above pros are what I will expect most of the audio interface have these days. However, it becomes critical to deeply analyse the Cons.
- Gain knobs are all tightly clanked against up in one place,
- Mixer type of direct monitoring knob is absent,
- Preamps generate a fine tuned noise when connect to dynamic mics,
- Firmware issues.
The PreSonus Studio 24c has few flaws as well. And they might not be that huge but they can sometimes disrupt a good workflow of any producer.
PreSonus Studio 26C USB audio Interface – Who should get it?
The PreSonus Studio 26c is a great buy at its current price. Anyone, looking for a portable audio interface and someone who is always on tours would love it. IN addition, there are four outputs to the 26c. It means if you want to go for a live performance or do separate track monitoring, the extra set of o/p can turn very useful.
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Furthermore, it is also a great choice for a home studio. It can sit in your home studio all day long with any complaints. It is very handy and due to its easy setup, you can instantly start recording your new song.
Or take it out on a solo vacation!
I took my 26c and fender guitar on a road trip. The journey was amazing.
All in all, to sum up the PreSonus Studio 26C Review , I would say that the PreSonus Studio 26c can hugely expand your studio capabilities. There’s nothing that can possibly go wrong with one of 26c in your home studio.
Without any doubt, PreSonus Studio 26c is a great home studio audio interface. Also, it is going to be exciting to see how the new budget interfaces will impact the Studio 26c. But until then, keep rocking PreSonus.