Sonic LAB: Presonus ioStation 24C Controller And Interface

US DAW control and i/o in one unit      16/10/20

Buying Choices
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Take a FaderPort MKII and mash in a 2 Channel audio interface and you get the ioStation 24c.

With the DAW control from the Faderport MKII - essentially it's like once channel of Mackie Control (MCU) or HUI with transport control, moving fader, encoder and function buttons for mouse free operation of your DAW - Studio One, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer, Cubase/Nuendo.

You get access to at least fader and mute automation and transport control with a footswitch input for start/stop or record. But in Studio One mode, there's tighter implementation.

As far as the audio interface goes, this is USB-C - external power required for the moving fader and XMAX Class A preamps of which there is a pair - on combi jacks for Mic/Line/Instrument use.

A pair of outputs what are the monitor outputs also, plus headphone out (plenty of level)

There's no MIDI io on this - maybe there wasn't room, as most of the rear panel is spoken for.

Mic preamps and A/D sounded good in our tambourine test. We got good replication of the difficult transients that a tambourine generates, on lesser convertors they can sound truly horrible. We also had decent handling of our SE Ribbon mic which requires a lot of gain, there was actually some to spare.

Latency was good and the fact that it's class compliant means one less headache on setup. We didn't really find a use for the  input/return knob as latency was only around 2ms in our setup (44.1 16).

But at higher sample rates and bit depths  (it goes up to 192k 64bit float!)  it may tax the CPU a little more and might require adjusting to prevent glitching, though with only two channels all but the most basic machines should work fine.

Basic Mic amps - however no phase reverse or bass roll-off filter are included - we get that there's limited space but it would still have been nice. 48v phantom is a global switch - applies to both inputs at the same time.

We also found that USB-C seemed less susceptible to ground loops. In our setup, quite often we'll plug a USB interface in and also the HDMI out to our capture system and it hums like a mofo - not this though.

We tested with Studio One - and got a good integration, and snappy response  (it just worked with no need to do anything apart from just plug it in) for automation recording, track arming and transport controls,  it worked well.

We tried it with Reaper in MCU mode which also worked fine, though some of the buttons are not assigned - though it is possible to boot into MIDI mode which will allow all buttons to transmit MIDI and allows you, if you have the nouse, to program the button LEDs and behaviour to your hearts content.

Booting into the various modes is a power up - next key combo followed by  another button to load the correct config.

On the whole this does what it says it will, integration of the control surface works best with Studio One, but also will work fine with other DAW through standard MCU/HUI protocols and the audio interface is of  good quality if lacking any bells and whistles.

Priced at around £265/$299/€299 it's not the cheapest option - if you require only interface or controller, but the combination of control and i/o might just be the sweet spot you are looking for.

Link to PDF of ioStation manual


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