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Presonus Quantum 4848 - Am I making a Mistake? vs MOTU 16a and Orion 32+
Old 26th February 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
TheGetDown's Avatar
 

Presonus Quantum 4848 - Am I making a Mistake? vs MOTU 16a and Orion 32+

I've been very happy with my UCX, but I want to start summing through my mixer, so I need an interface with more outputs.

I've been looking at:
  • Presonus Quantum 4848
  • MOTU 16a
  • Antelope Orion 32+ (prob not the gen3, out of price range new.)

I don't need 32 ins/outs, 16 would be enough, but 32 would def be nice for the flexibility, expandability and less patching.

I'll be pairing this with a Midas Venice 320 mixer, so I can run my monitoring through that.

The quantum seems to have the best price per channel, and the lowest latency, so it's my frontrunner, but I'm a little scared off by the lack of direct monitoring software. I'm wondering how much of an issue that will be with tracking and mixing in Ableton.

What happens if I'm deep in a mix with a bunch of plugins running, and I decide I want to record a new track into the session? Will the new track be out of time with the rest of the track because of the latency, or will ableton automatically compensate for that?

Or if I turn monitoring "off" in ableton, and just monitor the channel that's being recorded via my mixer, will the track be recorded without latency at all? Confused about how this works exactly, obviously!

Any ideas there? Many thanks!
Old 28th February 2020
  #2
This is exactly what I'm looking at too and I'm leaning towards the 16a even if older because of:
- no db25 (less connections, less cost, less maintainance)
- avb connections (if I get the 1248 instead of the 16 a, I could run 8x8 ins/outs right now and connect a 16a in the future without the need of clocking or adat cables (everything via cat cable))

But the 4848 is a lot of ins/outs for the price...

Can't help you with ableton, I use studio one 4 pro for mixing
(currently have an audient id44)

Cheers
Old 2nd March 2020
  #3
Gear Maniac
I am in the same exact boat. In fact, I'm here off a google search for Quantum 4848 vs Motu 16A.

To the 16a's credit, the metering, though monochrome, is slightly more detailed. Being able to tweak gain via software is great. But this obviously means the audio is going through a redundant gain stage and I'm looking for as short and unfettered a path as possible for AD/DA. I hear more bad than good about their control software, whereas the Presonus doesn't use any.

The Presonus has 32 analog i/o right away, plus another 8 or 16 via optical (16 for me, I'm a 44.1 diehard). I can't conceive needing more than 48 i/o ever, but the MOTU would be maxed from the second I hooked it up.

Obviously the big thing here is HOW DOES IT SOUND. I'm still working off my mistrust of Presonus because their initial products were awful. But I need the A/D/A to be super-clean - I might route two or three analog pieces in a mix and want to make sure I'm not taking a hit on the signal getting degraded.

I know these are $1500 units and not $5000+ up. Maybe I'm asking too much at this price point. But I DO NOT want an all-in-one with pres and monitor outs and all that fudge (like how a lot of the $800 units put two connectors on the front... yeah, that looks uh... great).

Pretty sure I just talked myself into the Presonus. But if any MOTU fans can bring me back off the ledge, I'm totally listening.


Having TRS vs. DB25 is kind of a tossup, there are a couple companies making very decent snakes for $50 or so.
Old 2nd March 2020
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
TheGetDown's Avatar
 

I'm leaning even more towards the 4848 now - I like the idea of monitoring everything direct through my mixer and not having to deal with a software routing matrix ever again - I also confirmed that the 4848's DC coupled outputs should work with Expert Sleepers Silent Way software, so I'll plan to use 8 channels of outputs for sending CV signals out of ableton to my synthesizers, permanently- pretty cool. All in all, having 2x the connections as the MOTU for about the same price sounds pretty hard to beat. I'm a huge fan of my presonus Sceptre monitors, so I know this company is at least capable of making stuff that sounds a LOT more expensive than it actually is.

But I mirror the previous post - HOW DO THEY SOUND?!
Old 2nd March 2020
  #5
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGetDown View Post
But I mirror the previous post - HOW DO THEY SOUND?!
Here's my take, for whatever this may be worth.

My previous setup was an Apogee AD and DA 16x, I had to downsize my space significantly and sold them. Since I've heard the new Quantum stuff many times, and I'm well familiar with what MOTU's nicer stuff sounds like.

So while I haven't done a blind shootout, my ears are more attuned towards the Quantum4848. I want my converters to be fast, open and transparent (like the Apogees). The ultimate test is to run a 1k wave through 32 generations of conversion and then look at how much noise, aliasing, etc is added - even if that's not a real world situation.

I don't think that the Quantum has that additional, digitally-controlled gain stage pre-a/d like the MOTU. To me, that's the exact sort of thing you DO NOT want stacking up over however many tracks / conversions.

Also, knowing I've got 16 more analog and 16 more digital channels to fill up is practically the whole sales pitch. You could add a 2" 16 track and 2 8 channel preamps with that kind of real estate.
Old 3rd March 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarmageddon View Post
I don't think that the Quantum has that additional, digitally-controlled gain stage pre-a/d like the MOTU. To me, that's the exact sort of thing you DO NOT want stacking up over however many tracks / conversions.
I do think universal control for every quantum has digitally controlled gain stage like the motu. Don't know also where you heared anything bad about the motu software. Seems super useful and simple to me, can you share what you found?

Anyway, here's another though: I heared you can't use the quantum for direct monitoring of anything that doesn't come from your DAW. I know it's ment to be used as secondary interface but that's a bit of a shame

Cheers
Old 4th March 2020
  #7
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyroh View Post
Don't know also where you heared anything bad about the motu software. Seems super useful and simple to me, can you share what you found?
If you go through all of the usual suspects in online retail, you'll see more than just a few detractors regarding stability on os x. I already have Cubase for that!

Quote:
I heared you can't use the quantum for direct monitoring of anything that doesn't come from your DAW. I know it's ment to be used as secondary interface but that's a bit of a shame
While I won't speak on their behalf, the stated position is that at under 2ms of latency, you wouldn't need it. I suppose that is up to the user. I have tracked with more than that and been fine. The stated speeds these days are so insanely good, but it's also made people obsessed with tracking and mixing by number.

I've made my choice with the Quantum and am taking my rig offline this weekend to install everything and trouble shoot. I'm taking my patchbay out of the equation and hardwiring all the ins and outs to my outboard gear, about 24 channels worth up and down. I will run measurement software on the converters as well as latency and degradation over multiple conversions and report back.
Old 4th March 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarmageddon View Post
If you go through all of the usual suspects in online retail, you'll see more than just a few detractors regarding stability on os x. I already have Cubase for that!



While I won't speak on their behalf, the stated position is that at under 2ms of latency, you wouldn't need it. I suppose that is up to the user. I have tracked with more than that and been fine. The stated speeds these days are so insanely good, but it's also made people obsessed with tracking and mixing by number.

I've made my choice with the Quantum and am taking my rig offline this weekend to install everything and trouble shoot. I'm taking my patchbay out of the equation and hardwiring all the ins and outs to my outboard gear, about 24 channels worth up and down. I will run measurement software on the converters as well as latency and degradation over multiple conversions and report back.
In the only interesting videos I found, apart from the ones from the motu channel, and on the gearslutz motu series page, it seems like a good application for me. Here's 3 of them (out of.... 5 maybe? Not many using these for sure lol)
https://youtu.be/2diznMKTtpk
https://youtu.be/USxGmYW05AA
https://youtu.be/zk5fclIcn0Y

For the other thing, I didn't explained myself really well. What I meant to say is that you can't use the quantum for any application on your pc other that your daw. And that if you want to, you need to have your daw open
A bad use of the word "direct" lol. Sorry! Let us know what you find
Old 4th March 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nyroh View Post
What I meant to say is that you can't use the quantum for any application on your pc other that your daw.
That would really surprise me. I have never seen an interface ever making channels 1-2 locked off from the proprietary computer output. At least on OSX that is decided by the system software, not the hardware.
Old 4th March 2020
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarmageddon View Post
That would really surprise me. I have never seen an interface ever making channels 1-2 locked off from the proprietary computer output. At least on OSX that is decided by the system software, not the hardware.
Yeah! I think I reed that somewhere on the quantum 4848 forum page, I'll check out if I find it; I do really hope I reed that wrong

Anyway let us know what you find out!
Old 13th March 2020
  #11
Anything new?
Old 14th March 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 
EvilRoy's Avatar
 

For starters, I think a 16A is an unfair comparison, a 2x24A’s for in&out would be closer (and more expensive).

Looking for something to strap to my new D&R mixer, want as many in/out as possible. I’m on a 12 core cheese grater mac and am quite happy with it, especially since you can drop over $50k on a 2020 model if you want to. Too rich for my blood. The mac can use a 3rd party card and run Thunderbolt, although you have to jump thru a few software hoops (boot into Windows to start the driver then switch to Mac OS). I’m happy with Antelopes USB 2 connection and can always get a Madi card if needed in the future. What concerns me is that USB 2 is already vintage. Thinking about future proofing (if that’s even possible). The Orion 32 converters get good reviews and the original can be had easily for around $1,200 (B stock unit for $1,000 on Reverb right now), so a slight price advantage, although forget about software (driver) updates. Tough call. The 4848 has a few things going for it (would want to try a T-bolt card 1st). Any major difference in audio quality?
Old 14th March 2020
  #13
Gear Maniac
Okay - so I have had the Quantum 4848 installed and running for about a week now. Everything in my racks is connected via d-sub, no patchbay.

The best compliment I can hand a product like this is that it's bell clear and doesn't "sound" like anything. DAC is supposed to be like vodka - the less you taste, the better it is. I've tried stacking up three or four analog processors in one chain, all bypassed, and switching the external sends on and off gives no sense that there's been any degradation. Granted, I'm using quality cabling here, I'd be more worried about what the round trip through all those analog ins and outs could do over the extra conversions.

I personally think it's a keeper. I wish I had the MOTU here to do a true side-by-side and I'm not taking anything away from that company or their products. In the past I've tended to find their older converters (896HD, 8Pre) a little "boxy" after too many conversions.

Also, I was able to play audio from both my web browser and Spotify through the main analog outs without issue. I'm not sure where that whole thing originated from, as that's more a function of Apple and CoreAudio than an interface. But rest assured, other apps could pass thru.
Old 14th March 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarmageddon View Post
Okay - so I have had the Quantum 4848 installed and running for about a week now. Everything in my racks is connected via d-sub, no patchbay.

The best compliment I can hand a product like this is that it's bell clear and doesn't "sound" like anything. DAC is supposed to be like vodka - the less you taste, the better it is. I've tried stacking up three or four analog processors in one chain, all bypassed, and switching the external sends on and off gives no sense that there's been any degradation. Granted, I'm using quality cabling here, I'd be more worried about what the round trip through all those analog ins and outs could do over the extra conversions.

I personally think it's a keeper. I wish I had the MOTU here to do a true side-by-side and I'm not taking anything away from that company or their products. In the past I've tended to find their older converters (896HD, 8Pre) a little "boxy" after too many conversions.

Also, I was able to play audio from both my web browser and Spotify through the main analog outs without issue. I'm not sure where that whole thing originated from, as that's more a function of Apple and CoreAudio than an interface. But rest assured, other apps could pass thru.
Glad to hear that! Here in Italy I could get the 4848 for 1130 euros but with everything needed it's priced like the 16a or a little more
There's the db25 connectors (another little step between the converter and the patchbay /the gear) which would probably be another big cost too, and thunderbolt for which I don't currently have any connection on my desktop (let's add another 150 euros)

No patchbay like you would be probably better and with fewer cables for sure...
Old 14th March 2020
  #15
Anyway glad to hear it sounds clean!
Would really like to know how they compare in terms of sound. Even if I feel like we took over the OP questions lol
Sorry for that!

You still here OP??

Cheers
Nyroh
Old 23rd March 2020
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
TheGetDown's Avatar
 

Haha I'm still here lurking...I just installed a 4848 this weekend. Didn't realize it doesn't come with a thunderbolt cable so now waiting another week for that to arrive before I can test things
Old 25th March 2020
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGetDown View Post
Haha I'm still here lurking...I just installed a 4848 this weekend. Didn't realize it doesn't come with a thunderbolt cable so now waiting another week for that to arrive before I can test things
Can't wait for you to let update us!

Cheers
Old 26th March 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

I've recorded with both and mixed on their DAs. The MOTU 16a is much better sounding and better built, inside and out, than the Presonus Quantums. There are no snakes needed, the drivers are more stable, and the AD has more headroom. When the DAW freezes when you're maxing out your CPU, the MOTU AVB interfaces keep playing audio because everything runs off the internal FPGA like RME with much better sound. The Presonus didn't do that as well for me. The only advantage Presonus Quantum has is lower RTL latency at lower sample rates. The AVBs can be finnicky with Windows computers but work for me.

If MOTU doesn't work, Lynx Aurora N sounds cleaner and is more stable over Thunderbolt. MOTU is better over USB ime. Lynx just costs over double MOTU.
Old 26th March 2020
  #19
Lives for gear
 
EvilRoy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by To Mega Therion View Post
I've recorded with both and mixed on their DAs. The MOTU 16a is much better sounding and better built, inside and out, than the Presonus Quantums. There are no snakes needed, the drivers are more stable, and the AD has more headroom. When the DAW freezes when you're maxing out your CPU, the MOTU AVB interfaces keep playing audio because everything runs off the internal FPGA like RME with much better sound. The Presonus didn't do that as well for me. The only advantage Presonus Quantum has is lower RTL latency at lower sample rates. The AVBs can be finnicky with Windows computers but work for me.

If MOTU doesn't work, Lynx Aurora N sounds cleaner and is more stable over Thunderbolt. MOTU is better over USB ime. Lynx just costs over double MOTU.
Any experience with Antelope AD/DA?
Old 28th March 2020
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
TheGetDown's Avatar
 

I come with good news - Got the 4848 up and running, and just did a shootout between it and the RME UCX that I'm replacing.

I'll tell you, they sound 99% identical. I think the UCX might be ever so slightly more open sounding, but it is so subtle I'm not even convinced that's true. I had to really concentrate to hear any difference at all - to the point where it definitely could just be in my head.

I'm uploading some examples, attached to this post.

I recorded a couple of records through each interface - Rhythm & Sound and Pharoah Sanders. I tried to level match them as best I could but they're probably not perfect. Also the balance on my turntable cartridge is a little off, so one channel is a little more hot than the other. All conditions being equal for both interfaces, I think this makes an acceptable test. No, I'm not going to do this as a blind A/B test :P

Conclusion: The 4848 is a keeper. Sounds on par with RME, tons more i/o, even lower latency, and I never have to use Totalmix again!
Old 28th March 2020
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
TheGetDown's Avatar
 

I can't figure out how to attach files here - I upload them but when I submit the post, there's nothing attached. So here's a wetransfer link instead: https://we.tl/t-ogHWkjJDGi
Old 4th April 2020
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGetDown View Post
Conclusion: The 4848 is a keeper. Sounds on par with RME, tons more i/o, even lower latency, and I never have to use Totalmix again!
Great it works for you TheGetDown!
Haven't had time yet to listen to the files. Will do it tomorrow for sure

How's it sounding? Any new update u can give?

Cheers!
Old 4th April 2020
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by To Mega Therion View Post
I've recorded with both and mixed on their DAs. The MOTU 16a is much better sounding and better built, inside and out, than the Presonus Quantums. There are no snakes needed, the drivers are more stable, and the AD has more headroom. When the DAW freezes when you're maxing out your CPU, the MOTU AVB interfaces keep playing audio because everything runs off the internal FPGA like RME with much better sound. The Presonus didn't do that as well for me. The only advantage Presonus Quantum has is lower RTL latency at lower sample rates. The AVBs can be finnicky with Windows computers but work for me.

If MOTU doesn't work, Lynx Aurora N sounds cleaner and is more stable over Thunderbolt. MOTU is better over USB ime. Lynx just costs over double MOTU.
It's this kind of posts that makes me think I wanna go for the 16a...I'm still thinking about it since I haven't found the money yet lol

Cheers
Old 9th April 2020
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
TheGetDown's Avatar
 

Still great, been tracking with it a lot, zero issues.

I'd be very surprised if the motu sounds better than RME, and by extension, the 4848. The files don't lie. Memory and "I've used both" on different sessions...not so solid.
Old 9th August 2020
  #25
Gear Head
 

intersting post!
I am in a slightly different position.
I have a 16A...it sounds GREAT!
I recently bought a Presonus Studiolive 32 series 3. I am curious to find out if the Presonus will sound as good as the MOTU????
.
To be honest I hope it does, as if it does, I will be selling my 16A.
If any of you have experienc with the Presonus Studiolive 32 series 3 sound quality vs other quality converters...please share, Thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
 

AMAZING

Ok, I just bought a Quantum 4848, all I can say is amazing, I use it with ProTool Ultimate, LXP 10.5.1, Nuendo 10.3, and Studio One v5.01, and it sounds great and just works, no latency that I can hear, punching in?out is a breeze Interfaces I have owned to compare it with are

Apollo X8
Lynx Aurora 16
Apollo X4
MOTU 16A
Apogee Ensemble
DIGI 192 I/O
Orion Studio Synergy Core

The Quantum 4848 stands up to all of them, it is a great sounding interface, I have it hooked up to an SSL 6 mixer, and it sounds great

My monitored are LCR Dynaudio BM15 and Stereo pair Dynaudio Bm5 MK111
and Stereo Pair Tanynoy Reveal monitors

I use the SSL as my monitor, and Mix Buss, as well as Summing if I do that, as well as a great analog front end, also use Demeter Tube mic pres and an Audient ASP880, and various outboard gear
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
Gear Maniac
Here's my review, in case anybody on the fence wants a more detailed look. No actual measurements taken, purely subjective / in use sort of thing.
Old 2 days ago
  #28
Here for the gear
Hello ! I have a PC with a displayport Usb C (intel(r) usb 3.1 extensible - 1.10 (microsoft)).
Is it compatible with the presonus 4848 thunderbolt 2 ? Thx
Old 1 day ago
  #29
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnarmageddon View Post
Here's my review, in case anybody on the fence wants a more detailed look. No actual measurements taken, purely subjective / in use sort of thing.
Wow, that's what I call a review.

Thanks for the link
Old 1 day ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 
rectifried's Avatar
3 different presonus pieces broke or failed..2 monitor controllers and some speakers
Hard to get over that
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