With the proliferation of DAWs in home recording, some enthusiasts have been searching for an easy, clean and efficient way to record digital audio pristinely and directly into their computers without additional conversion or interruption of the signal path. PreSonus has answered with their new Digitube, a single-channel tube (12AX7) mic preamp/DI with digital S/PDIF output and standard XLR out. It employs a dual servo gain stage (no capacitors) which provides low noise and wide dynamic control. It has a Neutrik combo connector (1/4" and XLR) with phantom power available. The XLR can accept line level signals when the Line/Pad switch is engaged. The 1/4" input accepts instrument level only and is not affected by the Pad/Line switch. There is also a 20 dB pad button. An internal clock is switchable on the back of the unit from 44.1 to 48 kHz. I found the unit to be very versatile, especially for the price ($250 retail). The EQs were quite manageable, though better suited for boost than cut in some frequencies (the highs cut nicely but dropped significantly out if I cut more than 5 or 6 dB). I found I could get a pleasant mic signal using several variations of drive (tube section) vs. gain but the big surprise for me was the DI capability. PreSonus doesn't advertise or market this unit as a DI so much, but it worked splendidly for me in a live setting when switching between a few different acoustic instruments and was very warm and consistent. Driving the unit too hard does reveal it to be a bit noisy but here again I was impressed that it was "musical" noise as opposed to just noise. It could easily have been used as an effect as much as an accident and still work. All in all the Digitube is a neat little unit that just might come in handy now and then in the studio and on the road.


Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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