Russ Hughes from our sister site Studio One Expert teamed up with Lee Boylan from PreSonus to run a shoot-out between the Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt and the new Quantum Thunderbolt audio interfaces.
As many of you know Russ is a very happy owner of an Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt interface, but the new Presonus Quantum looked very interesting on paper so took the opportunity to compare them both side by side in his own studio.
We also wanted to give you the opportunity to hear both units with examples recorded at 24-bit 96kHz quality and then say which you prefer.
Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt And PreSonus Quantum Spec Comparison
Here are the headline specs for both units.
|Feature||PreSonus Quantum||Apogee Ensemble|
|Price (Average Street)||US$999.99||US$2495.00|
|I/O||26 x 32||30 x 34|
|Max A/D Resolution||24-bit/192kHz||24-bit/192kHz|
|Number of Preamps||8||8|
|Included DAW||Studio One Artist||N/A|
They measured the round trip latency on both units at 96kHz with a 32 sample buffer using the low-latency settings.
- Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt - 1.58ms
- PreSonus Quantum Thunderbolt - 1.33ms
When it came the the test, the focus was on audio quality,, so they set up so that they could record the same audio using both interfaces and then compare the audio quality.
Initial tests were completed using both interfaces on one machine using the Apple Aggregate Device option but on reflection decided that this didn't offer a fair comparison. In the end, we settled on using a dedicated machine for each interface allowing each device to use their own internal clock.
So take 2 used an AKG414 mic sent to a passive splitter to feed both interfaces, each running on its own Apple Mac computer. All audio was recorded in PreSonus Studio One 3.51 at 96/24.
You can download the audio files, listen to them and then vote on which you prefer, audio examples 1 or 2? If you cannot tell the difference there is an option to say that too. Of course, please use the comments section to let us have your thoughts.
We will publish the results in a week or so.