Music Gear Review: PreSonus Quantum Thunderbolt Interface

PreSonus’ 26 X 32-channel Quantum 1U audio/MIDI interface takes full advantage of its high-speed Thunderbolt 2 bus architecture to provide super-low latency throughput. You may record directly through your DAW using minimal buffer sizes. Quantum uses 24-bit, 192 kHz converters with 120 dB of dynamic range and the eight onboard PreSonus XMAX microphone preamps are recallable via the included PreSonus Universal Control (UC) software and/or PreSonus’ Studio One® DAW.

The only connection between your computer and Quantum is a single Thunderbolt 2 cable with an additional rear panel TB 2 connector provided for ancillary disk drives and/or monitors—no need to buy a hub. On its front panel are Talkback (mic), Mute/Dim and Mono buttons.

I liked using the two Combo XLR jacks on the front panel that “sense” and automatically scale the pre-amp gain and input impedances for mics, instruments, or line inputs whichever you plug in. The rear panel has XLR Combo inputs 3 through 8 and they also automatically switch between XLR microphones or TRS line level inputs. Phantom powering is selected on the front panel or UC on an individual basis.

The rear panel has 1 through 8 line outputs plus the L/R stereo Main monitor outputs. There are: S/PDIF in/out jacks; Word clock in/ out BNCs; ADAT Dual S/Mux in/out Lightpipe spigots and MIDI in and out jacks. With a single Quantum and using the ADAT and S/ PDIF stereo digital I/O, you can have up to 18 additional digital inputs and outputs for a total of 26 in and 32 out.

Running a 2011 MacBook Pro, OS 10.12.6, 16 GB RAM and Pro Tools 12.8.1, we got sound playing right away by connecting the ¼-inch TRS main output jacks to my powered monitors. The two Headphone jacks can be configured to play two different mixes with all configurations quickly done and stored in the UC.

We quickly launched a previous session that had been problematic for two other USB and Firewire interfaces. Not only did that session run flawlessly using the Quantum, we added another 50 tracks and put them into record with no problem whatsoever!

Quantum sells for $999.95 MAP; comes with PreSonus Studio One® Artist DAW and the Studio Magic Plug-in Suite; and you can upgrade to Studio One Pro for 50% off.

Check out more at presonus.com/products/Quantum

Barry Rudolph is a recording engineer/mixer who has worked on over 30 gold and platinum records. He has recorded and/or mixed Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hall & Oates, Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, the Corrs and more. Barry has his own futuristic music mixing facility and loves teaching audio engineering at Musician’s Institute, Hollywood, CA. He is a lifetime Grammy-voting member of NARAS and a contributing editor for Mix Magazine. barryrudolph.com