Presonus Studio Channel vacuum tube mic preamp review

Submitted by on Mar 28, 2013

Hey what’s good fam! Back today with another review for American Musical Supply

I’m checking out the the Studio Channel tube mic preamp from Presonus that was sent to me for review

I was looking at this one for myself so I was happy when AMS sent it to me since I get to keep it when I’m done :)

So let’s get right into it

What is the Studio Channel?

studiochannelSo, I recently got a new audio interface…and I was looking for a new preamp to power my dynamic mic.

The Studio Channel was one of many that I was looking at, then I got shipping notification from AMS that they were sending me this next for review.

This is a channel strip style mic pre, has a built in compressor, eq, and even has a tube in it for that overdriven tube sound.

It’s single channel, with xlr and 1/4″ input and output on the back.

Unlike other Presonus audio interfaces like the Presonus FireStudio or the Presonus AudioBox, this will not connect directly to your computer, you run it into the inputs of your interface or whatever you use to get your audio into your computer.

You could also run it live on stage into a mixer like the Presonus StudioLive or whatever you have as part of your setup.

The bottom line is, this device gives you the tools to sculpt your audio input to your liking.

Quick Specs

So how does it sound?

Reel to Reel Tape RecorderMan, I LOVE the output I can get from this thing. I love the fact that it has a built in compressor and eq so I can tweak the sound to my own environment or for whatever feel I want at the time.

The tube overdrive is subtle but can add a nice character to your sound and it reacts differently to various types of audio.

For example different mics, a bass, a guitar, or synth, will all sound different through the circuitry.

I like the fullness and definition it adds to my vocal/mic, but I also love that it’s very low noise.

Even without using the 80Hz filter it doesn’t add much of any noise to my signal at all, I was expecting it to cause my mic to pickup a lot of extra background noise but it doesn’t.

So what’s the bottom line?

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of many Presonus recording technologies like the Faderport,  which I use with Presonus StudioOne. I’ve been a fan of StudioOne since it first released, now I’m a new fan of the Studio Channel.

4andhalfsubsI give the Presonus Studio Channel 4.5 out of 5 subs, it’s a great preamp that has a very warm and full sound with plenty of tools to customize your sound.

I think at the price point it really delivers a great value for anyone looking for a solid preamp.

I do have to say, I am not a fan of the notched knobs, I wish they were smooth, I just do not like a notched knob when adjusting paramters, personal taste maybe, but I have to mention it.

That said, I find I don’t really adjust it much for my use, I find the settings I want for my vocals and I pretty much leave it there so I don’ t have to be bothered with the notches too much.

That said, I love having a dedicated device that allows me to really drive my mic signal properly before it hits the interface, I will probably try to use it with some different sources in the future but for now it’s working great on my vocal recording.

Go on over and check it out:–i-PRS-STUDIOCHANNEL-LIST

remember AMS also has payment plans, which I LOVE and have been using for years 😉

leave me a comment below, let me know what you think!




  1. JK Swopes says:
  2. SoundsAndGear says:
  3. ThisIsDayDreamer says:

    nice review fam!

  4. SoundsAndGear says:

    Yep, I’m using a dynamic broadcast style mic, it’s awsome LOL 6 out of 5, lol man I LOVE it, but I absolutely despise notched knobs LOL smh…that’s just my personal thing…it’s really a non issue ahahaha.

  5. SoundsAndGear says:

    oh nice! this thing is dope man

  6. MuchMooreEnt44 says:

    I am running the Avalon 737 does this one work the same?

  7. SoundsAndGear says:

    well this definitely isn’t an avalon :) but similar concept yes

  8. Baki says:

    I’ve been looking at this one for a long time myself. I like the sound of it. What sells me is the built in compressor. I can do without the tube since I’ve been using the NTK recently but they have a model without the tube as well called Eureka that I’ve been looking at. So the question is …can you turn the tube off if you don’t need it? That would be a great option. I do like it though and the price is great. I have to consider it. I would give it 4 stars if you cant turn the tube off.

    • saintjoe says:

      you can turn the tube drive all the way down if you want, but the gain itself is actually tube based as well, the input stage is based on the tube, the drive is what adds the “grit” so to speak. But yeah, it’s dope man.

  9. Mean Gene says:

    Wow!! 299, I got mine when they first came out and was still relatively hidden. I only paid $149.99 a piece. This product is really a hidden gem. I’ve been using mine for a couple of years now and love the way they sound with my rode and sterling mics. Also they have a slot on the back for a digital output add-on card.

    • saintjoe says:

      Yeah fam, I was peeping em, and they sent it lol, it’s dope. I was looking for the digital i/o cards but they seem to be non existent lol. But you got a steal bruh! I’m using it with my Rode procaster and I love it.

      • Nunie says:

        I have a question I just purchased one but it’s making white noise can you help

        • saintjoe says:

          First thing I would check is verify your connections are connected properly, and what type of mic are you using? Does it need the phantom power or not?

  10. Mean Gene says:

    If I’m not mistaken the AD-192 was compatible. It’s been a couple of years since I talked to the tech though.

  11. -D Moates- says:

    One of the best channel strips for the money is the ssl alpha channel. U get an ssl super analogue preamp, ssl eq, and a limiter. The best thing is there is great a/d converter on it with spdif, so even if u have an mbox or something it will improve your preamp and conversion.

  12. -D Moates- says:

    Oh and btw, it’s $1000 for the ssl strip.

  13. hakim bey says:

    i just bought this havent had the chance use it but thankx for the run thru gonna have fun with this…thankx

  14. SoundsAndGear says:

    no doubt fam, thanks for watching

  15. SoundsAndGear says:

    for sure man, they got the goods for sure

  16. rihan says:

    hey can you explain what are racks use for i know they are rack soundbanks and racks that have efx but how can we use them in programs like fl studio etc?

    • saintjoe says:

      Racks refers to gear in a specific form factor that fits into a rackspace. You can have effects or instruments and how you use them with your daw depends on your setup. For example, if you have a rack sound module, you could sequence it via midi and run the audio into your interface, if you have fx, you can run stuff through your fx and into your interface or route out of your interface and use the fx as a send, but that depends on your interface really. So how you use them depends more on what you’re trying to do and how your gear is hooked up than it does the rack itself.

  17. bigdap100 says:

    Good review Joe. Channel strips are a big time saver b/c you don’t have to do as much with the audio once its already recorded. I have a Drawmer MX Pro 60 Front End which has a really good pre despite the price. The Drawmer channel strip doesn’t have notched knobs on it like your Presonus Studio Channel and I actually prefer the stepped or notched knobs b/c it’s easier to match settings or duplicate settings. Anyway congrats on your new channel strip.

  18. SoundsAndGear says:

    cool man thanks for the reply! Yeah like I said, the knob thing is a personal preference, I don’t mind it in some cases, and on others I don’t like it. Sometimes it can be hard to dial in exactly what you want when a knob is notched, and other times it’s useful for getting what you want. But either way, this thing is dope!

  19. 201spotlite says:

    i love it had it for about a year now….

  20. SoundsAndGear says:

    cool fam!

  21. HipHopBluesman says:

    Looks dope, thanks for review… I’d like to hear that on some Atomic Beats guitar, might have to cop that one. Wondering how the compressor would sound on bass too. Good stuff.

  22. SoundsAndGear says:

    thanks for checking it out fam!

  23. DIXI FREELY says:

    Yep I just bought one of these last week…Swapped the tube with a Tungsol 12A87 and my vocals sound great now that I have found the best settings for my voice..Love it..I’m using it with the AT4033/CL. Nice video. I will be posting one soon.

  24. SoundsAndGear says:

    @DIXI FREELY nice man!

  25. bboytechreport says:

    nice review. i use an ART Digital MPA gold pre. i think i upgraded the tubes too. gave it a really nice sound. tubes can work wonders. but if you arent familiar with the tube it can ruin the sound.

  26. SoundsAndGear says:

    No doubt fam, thanks for checkin it out, I’m diggin this unit, got my eyes on a few nice tubes that work well with mic preamps.

  27. presonusaudio says:

    Thanks for posting! Great work, we really appreciate you taking the time to put this together. :)

  28. SoundsAndGear says:

    No problem, great stuff!

  29. Malachi Yisrael says:

    I use presonus studio one and my opinion ; this is a awesome interface. Studio one is user friendly and packs a powerful sound. You really don’t need any extra preamps with studio one because it is xmax powered. I Will check out this preamp. With presonus technology ; I’m sure this preamp has an awesome sound.

    • saintjoe says:

      I use Studio One as well, but you still need some sort of preamp with it, it’s software so it doesn’t have it’s own preamp, you need a way to get your mic input into the software. This definitely sounds great. Thanks for the comment.

  30. Jimmy Y. says:

    Great video! I’m definitely going to pick up one now.

  31. Kollabotory says:

    I bought this last year… Still use it till this day. Very awesome sound. I like the fact that the knobs are “notched” because I can go to a point in the knob where I feel it’s precised. I don’t know.. That’s just me. Keep up the good work posting this type of stuff man. You my hero. -Eddie Griffin Voice- lol

  32. SoundsAndGear says:

    No doubt fam, it sounds great for sure. I like a notched knob in some cases, and in other cases not so much, when I’m tweaking certain things sometimes I just need to be free LOL

  33. SoundsAndGear says:

    Cool man, thanks for watching, it’s a great device!

  34. Ryan Roullard says:

    Check out this great review of the PreSonus Studio Channel via SoundsAndGear over on YouTube!

  35. PreSonus Audio Electronics says:

    Check out this great review of the PreSonus Studio Channel via SoundsAndGear over on YouTube!

  36. dhump415 says:

    maybe folks dont have a grand, for an ssl strip, just because you spend more money doesnt mean it will give you better results. this strip i have been looking at too, but as of right not now, dont need it, for the set up i have.

  37. SoundsAndGear says:


  38. dhump415 says:

    i just had to make that known man, it happens on a lot of walls on fb too, cats throw around dollar amounts like everybody needs the most expensive gear.

  39. SoundsAndGear says:

    I feel you fam!

  40. dontrellclay says:

    This definitely is a nice sounding channel strip I own two and mainly use them as plugins in studio one

  41. SoundsAndGear says:

    nice man!

  42. dhump415 says:


  43. SoundsAndGear says:

    mic goes into the strip, the output of the strip goes to the interface input

  44. Joel Nealy says:

    How can I use this as an insert. Im more comfortable tracking a “Dry” signal and then processing it after the fact. I have an Mbox mini…so would i set protools output to one of the mono outs and thenpush that to the instrument jack on the front and accept the audio back in through the xlr?

  45. The Trillion Dollar Gods says:

    Since I am just starting. I am wondering; do I need to spend a lot of money on a digital or analog mixer. I am starting with a Lewitt LCT 640 in combination with the Allen & Heath ZED-12FX. Or since I mostly use a computer; should I go with a digital mixer like the Behringer X32 Compact? Which in turn will also control my DAW without having to buy the Mackie Control Universal Pro. I was going to buy the Lewitt LCT 940 which combines FET and tube mic.That mic may eliminate the need for any other

  46. Mercy Studios says:

    I see! That’s very interesting, I’m going to give it a try.

  47. Letisha Davis says:

    Just owns


    i wonder what the ideal settings should be for a emcee?

  49. Rich Royalty says:

    How much level input and output should I use on my pre amp for decent level recording on vocals?

  50. anthony Stoddart says:

    great how can i get one in Trench Town Loving it Men .. Triple L Records

  51. SoundsAndGear says:

    you should be able to order from most gear suppliers online or locally

  52. Rich Royalty says:

    Can I use the compressor and eq functions after recording for editing and mixing or is it just a one set and you get what you recording kinda thing?

  53. SoundsAndGear says:

    If you have the proper routing to route out of your daw, into this, and back in you could, but that depends on your setup/interface.

  54. Rich Royalty says:

    well i have my autobox into the pc and a preamp into the audiobox, but idk if or how should i set it up to get it to use in studio one as an actual physical eq and compressor without using the studio one, can i use it without the plugins to mix my track or is it just for pre recording?..

  55. SoundsAndGear says:

    it’s mainly for recording through, but you could use it as an insert effect if your audio interface has the connection’s for it

  56. jack mullins says:

    good job bro your video convinced me to by it and ill be checking out more presonus gear and i like notched nobs lol also ill be checking out a.m.s. i usually spend a few thousand or more a year at guitar center but they dont seem to appreciate my loyalty so im looking for a new supplier

  57. NBAshowtime HD says:

    Can this (PreSonus Studio Channel Tube Microphone Preamp) be plugged in with a mixer & audio interface at the same time?btw i recording vocals. Im looking into buying some equipment to improve sound & quality

  58. Daniel Baron says:

    im currently using the motu ultralite mk3 and logic X im wondering how much of a difference will an external preamp like this make with the neumann 102 on vocals mainly for rnb.

  59. leonard fields says:

    this mic does exactly that,create a hum. recordings were clean but trashy if that makes since. better off getting studio projects vtb1 and use daw comp and eq, cause these features are sub par,this is a throw away eureka model. good review bro

  60. iTz GileS says:

    So I just bought this Channel Strip from Guitar Center, I have my mic plugged directly into the strip, I have the output of the strip running to the input of my interface. But I have no signal in my DAW that the strip is working. PLz Help! I have searched and searched but cant find a solution. I am usuing studio one, is there a way to send the signa in studio one through the strip?? Do I need to setup my hardware in studio one?

  61. Ar says:

    Loved your review. I own the Presonus Eureka and love it but need another strip and was considering the Studio Channel. I wish you had illustrated more of the tube function vs. without and the effect of different amounts of tube would sound like.

    All in all one of the best demonstrations of a channel strip I’ve seen yet and helpful to the average user.


  62. Steve says:

    ….saintjoe. MAYBE you can relieve my pain. I’ve been trying to reach somebody, anybody to help me with what is likely something so simple….connecting the Studio Channel Pre-amp you’ve featured, into my studio. So, here’s the idea: a) MXL 2006 condensor mic to
    b) Presonus microphone (input)
    c) Presonus XLR (output) to
    d) Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer (microphone 1)
    fed into:
    e) HP Pavillion dv7 to record audio (voice) into
    Adobe Audition CC.
    Problem…getting nothing through this set up

    Note: mic straight into mixer, to computer…no problem.



    • saintjoe says:

      Probably need to check your settings on the preamp, turn on phantom power if your mic needs it (48V button) adjust the output as needed as well.

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