What do you get when you combine high-quality microphone preamps, digital signal processing, on-the-fly controls, with multichannel mixing and cram all of that into a small, desktop interface? You get the Revelator io24 from PreSonus.
Today, we are going to dive into what this interface is, what it can do, it’s limitations, and why I think this could be the newest on-ramp to improving the audio side of content creation without breaking the bank. Before we get there, let’s look at some specifications
- MSRP: $199.95
- Supported Sample Rate: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96kHz
- Bit Depth: 24 bit
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Microphone Gain Range: 60 dB
- Instrument Gain Range: 50 dB
- Input: 2x mic/line/instrument inputs with XMAX-L preamps, 1x MIDI
- Outputs: 2x Main Output, 2x Line Output, 1x Headphone, 1x MIDI
- Headphone Max Power: 40 mW / channel @56Ω
- Connectivity: USB-C 2.0 (both USB C-to-C and USB A-to-C cables included)
- DSP Options:
- PreSonus StudioLive Fat Channel Processing: High Pass Filter, Noise Gate / Expander, 3 Compressor models, 3 EQ models, and Limiter
- Digital Loopback Mixer: 8 input digital mixer, 3 stereo loopback mixes, stereo monitor mix
- Voice Effect: Doubler, Vocoder, Ring Modulator, Comb Filter, Detuner, Delay, Reverb
If you have yet to be acquainted with the brand, let me introduce you to a fledgling content creator’s soon-to-be best friend. Meet PreSonus, a leader in the audio recording industry since 1995. With products ranging from microphone preamps and control surfaces, from digital mixers and studio monitors to powerful software, PreSonus has been a company at the leading edge of developing audio technology with accessibility to the consumer in mind. And, the company caught the attention of the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation who brought PreSonus into the Fender family in November 2021. No small partnership!
If you read our reviews of the PreSonus Studio 26c or the Revelator USB Microphone or you happen to be familiar with the brand, you would know we’re not kidding around when we say that PreSonus has a penchant for accessibility to the creative process. Whether you are looking to start a home studio, a streaming setup, or if you are looking for digital mixers for a house of worship or club, PreSonus not only has the right tool for the job, they give you the supporting software and tutorial videos you need to succeed. For example, the Revelator io24 that we are reviewing came bundled with PreSonus’ Studio One 5: Artist Edition (a $99 value) or a subscription to the StudioOne Sphere service – both robust digital audio workstation (DAW) experiences. Along with access to a DAW, PreSonus bundles a curated suite of plug-ins to enhance your recording experience right out of the box.
All of this doesn’t even touch the plug-and-play experience with the Revelation io24. Following on the heels of their USB-based desktop condenser mic with a similar name, the io24 utilized Universal Control. Serving as PreSonus’ driver suite toolbox, Universal Control can be used to modify settings on a variety of devices and update firmware, but its crowning function is its place as the central command for your audio mixing needs. From Universal Control, users have access to eight presets comprising six adjustable plug-ins as well as six user-generated banks for storing settings, tuned to the user’s voice.
It is here that the true utility of the Revelator io24 really shines (and where I not-so-secretly hope PreSonus continues to go with their audio interfaces). Outside of modifying effects, Universal Control provides Virtual Outputs for users to send their audio to. This allows users to set up a multichannel mix without having a mixing console. Granted, it is limited to three sources outside of the microphone, but it’s enough for blending background music, Discord calls, and in-game audio all from the comfort of a singular piece of software.
Since we have talked at length about the software driving the interface, let’s take a moment to talk about the design and layout of the unit itself. On the 7-inch (180mm) wide face, there are two combined XLR (balanced)/ ¼” TS (unbalanced) jacks powered by PreSonus’ legendary XMAX-L microphone preamps. The front face is also home to a series of buttons for selecting channels and effects, a mute button for the Main Out speaker connection, a knob for controlling settings, and a small color LCD that provides real-time signal monitoring. A simple layout, but fairly intuitive if you’re not afraid to push some buttons!
Speaking of pushing buttons, we did notice a few quirky things that caught our attention. At the time of writing this review, settings to modify what each button controls are nonexistent. This is a bit of a miss, especially when it comes to both the physical mute button and the Hot Key setting. The mute button is limited to only muting the Main Out lines and, as far as I can tell, the HotKey setting can only be controlled by clicking the button in the software. Neither have options to change the source they control or add keybindings to. These might be fixable in future software or firmware updates, but at the moment, their use is extremely limited.
Before we wrap things up, let me show you a bit of what PreSonus allows you to do with this simple, yet powerful tool.
With layers of software-based customization and multichannel mixing, the Revelator io24 serves as a masterclass of what modern audio interfaces should aspire to. Coming in at $199.95 USD, the bundled software suite and supporting plugins give incredible value, making this audio input device a one-stop-shop for digital content creation… to a point.
While the Universal Control software provides a decent platform for modifying effects, the Revelator io24’s ability to process those in real-time is limited to 48 kHz or below. While this isn’t terrible for most content creation, live streaming, or voice chat applications at the moment, it does set a lower ceiling on the audio quality you are able to capture. There are workarounds to this; users can set similar effects up within the bundled StudioOne Artist digital audio workstation, routing the output audio from the DAW into Universal Control, circumventing this limitation.
At the end of the day, the pro audio powerhouse has delivered an audio interface that merges the classic PreSonus microphone preamps with their Revelator digital controls and effects via Universal Control. The marriage is harmonious and the results are simply stunning. The supporting software working in concert with the library of videos PreSonus provides might just create the perfect platform for users to learn the ways of audio wizardry and to make some real magic happen.
The product discussed in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.