I would recommend the PreSonus Studio 1810c to both young and experienced musicians/producers, looking for an affordable yet versatile audio interface with a good number of I/O. Also, modular synth users should check this one out, given its handy four DC-coupled outputs.
Pros – Connectivity (incl. DC-coupled outs) – Attractive price point – Solid build quality – Clean preamps with plenty of gain – Front-panel metering – Excellent software bundle
Cons – Headphone out in the back – Short USB-C cable – Phantom power affects all four inputs together – No gain controls or metering for the rear inputs – Only ADAT In (you can pick the Studio 1824c if you need ADAT Out) – It cannot be used as a standalone mixer
The mid to low-end segment of the audio interface market has come a long way since I started my recording adventures, too many years ago.
Back in the day, users would either have to shell out for top-notch brands (such as RME, Apogee, etc.) or accept the compromise of cheaper but often poorly built and unreliable products.
Among others, the PreSonus Studio line (see also our PreSonus Studio 26c review) is a perfect example of how a company can deliver solid, quality products with a very attractive price point.
1810c – I/O Galore
In this review, I will explore the Studio 1810c. The 1810c is a USB-C audio interface, featuring 4 XMAX mic preamps with 2 inputs that accept mic/instrument/line inputs and 2 that accept mic/line inputs. These all have +48V phantom power for powering microphones. In addition to these inputs, you’ll find 4 additional TRS line inputs on the back of the unit. Inputs also include digital S/PDIF and ADAT to bring the total input count to 18.
The main outputs are a stereo pair of balanced TRS output with front panel control over level as well as mute and mono controls. In addition, 4 DC-coupled balanced line outputs can be used to send audio or control voltage to external destinations (modular synth users already know what this is about, see more below).
The onboard 24-bit/192kHz converters result in impeccable audio quality while the preamps provide ample headroom (80 dB gain, with a signal-to-noise ratio of 110 dB, no need for a booster here) and ultra-clean recording.
Last but not least, the unit offers MIDI input and output connectivity, using the good old DIN connectors.
PreSonus Studio-series interfaces are class-compliant Core Audio devices in macOS (my test platform) and no driver installation is necessary (same applies to iOS and IpadOS devices, just plug and play!)
However, to take full advantage of the Studio 1810c you’ll have to install the Universal Control software. It’s both a driver management utility and software control interface.
Included in Universal Control for Studio-series interfaces is UC Surface, a powerful monitor control software that provides everything you need to create monitor mixes and more with your Studio-series interfaces. These same monitoring functions are completely integrated into the Studio One mixer. UC Surface allows users of other popular DAW applications to access these same functions. UC Surface provides control of both channel and Mix output levels as well as solo and mute.
I’d recommend checking the product manual to learn more about UC Surface, especially if you’re new to this kind of stuff. Personally, after cutting my teeth with RME’s Totalmix, I feel like I can tackle any kind of control software, and UC Surface feels quite intuitive to me.
Eurorack and modular synth users will appreciate the DC-coupled outputs of the Studio 1810c. As we wrote in our Studio 26c review, having DC-Coupled outputs allows you to tie in a modular synth system (or any CV-based analog synth) via your audio interface.
Control voltage signals (the ‘fuel’ that allows analog synthesizers to work) require an analog signal path to/from your DAW. Unfortunately, not all audio interfaces are able to handle CV signals. Most can only handle AC (alternate current) signals, while for this purpose we need interfaces capable of handling DC (direct current) signals. That’s where PreSonus interfaces such as the Studio 1810c (with its four DC-coupled outputs, two more compared to the smaller sibling) come in handy. Add a software/plugin (like the Expert Sleepers Silent Way or Ableton CV Tools) that generates signals to be used as control voltages, and you’re in for a treat. Digital meets analog, best of both worlds!
Here below you can watch the 1810c at work with the popular Make Noise 0-Coast through Ableton Live:
Needless to say, if you’re a PreSonus Studio One user, you can easily integrate your CV-based instrument too. See this official FAQ for further info.
Quality Sound Without Breaking The Bank
Going back to what we were saying at the beginning of the article, these days you don’t need to spend lots of money for some quality recordings. Sure, having a Neve preamp might give you some extra vibes, but with the Studio 1810c you have all you need for making great-sounding music.
This audio interface operates at up to 192 kHz/24bit for high-definition recording and mixing. High-quality converters on every input and output and PreSonus’ professional-grade XMAX mic preamps deliver incredibly high headroom, deep lows, smooth highs, and a rich overall sound.
I’ve tested the 1810c on different sources such as voice, percussions, piano, ukulele, etc. and it always delivered a clean, balanced sound that I would certainly use while making a record.
As we wrote in our Studio 26c review, PreSonus is particularly generous when it comes to the software bundled with their interfaces. Not only do you get Studio One Artist (a DAW which is a lot more full-featured than any of the “lite” software on the market), but also the excellent Studio Magic suite.
The 2021 Studio Magic includes Ableton Live Lite, tutorials from Melodics, sound libraries from Ghost Hack, 7 virtual instruments, and 9 effects plug-ins in VST, AU, and AAX formats to use in Studio One 5 Artist or your DAW of choice with a retail value of over $1000 (US).
At about 400 USD/EUR, the PreSonus 1810c offers a lot for the money – great build and sound quality, plenty of I/O and input gain (ribbon mics, you’re welcome here), plus an extensive software bundle. Weaknesses? Nothing big, but the headphone out on the back, the single phantom power button affecting 4 inputs at once, the lack of gain controls or metering for the rear inputs are worth considering if you’re a picky buyer. I would have also appreciated the possibility of using the device as a standalone mixer (i.e. without having to use the computer) but it’s a feature that I’ve found only on more expensive audio interfaces, so I won’t complain.
I was already quite impressed with the small Studio 26c interface, but given the extra I/O and additional preamp gain of the 1810c I would certainly recommend checking out this one as well. I am glad I did!
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