Hands-On Review:DigiMax D8 8-Channel Preamp
By Brad Zell
PreSonus Director of Marketing
When PreSonus launched the DigiMax in 2001, it was the first eight-channel microphone preamplifier with ADAT lightpipe output in the world. But few people know how the original idea for the DigiMax came about.
Back in the day, when PreSonus Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rick Naqvi first saw the Digidesign 001 recording system unveiled at a trade show, he quickly called PreSonus President Jim Odom and said, “There’s this great new interface out by Digidesign. It has everything a project studio needs except there are only two mic inputs on it. We (PreSonus) need to make an eight-channel preamplifier to connect with the 001 so it will have enough inputs to record a full band.” For a solid year and a half, the DigiMax was the only eight-channel preamplifier with ADAT output, and it worked flawlessly from day one. I remember during that time, selling the DigiMax to friends who needed more channels for their Digi 001 (and I didn’t even work for PreSonus at the time). Many copycats have come and gone over the past seven years but the DigiMax still stands as the industry standard for adding eight high-quality microphone preamplifiers to a digital recording system or digital mixer.
We are now pleased to introduce the most affordable DigiMax of all time – the DigiMax D8. The DigiMax D8 is designed with the project studio musician in mind, including only the essential features that a project studio musician needs to add eight microphone inputs to a project recording studio with ADAT lightpipe expandability. Most project studios, including mine, need approximately 10 to 16 microphone inputs in order to record a drum set properly, and the DigiMax D8 is perfect in this scenario.
Now if you’re still confused by how this works, let me give a few details. Many recording interfaces (PreSonus FireStudio, Motu 828, Digidesign 003, Apogee Ensemble, RME Fireface, and many others) include ADAT input which is a digital audio format allowing eight separate audio channels to be transmitted simultaneously over a single ADAT optical cable. This optical format includes synchronization data as well so that the interface, computer, and, in this case, the DigiMax D8 are all synchronized. Generally, your interface has these eight ADAT channels dedicated as physical inputs whether you use them or not. So all you have to do is connect the ADAT output of the D8 to the ADAT input of your interface, make sure that your recording software is using ADAT synchronization (chosen as a preference in your recording software setup), and you are ready to go. The most amazing thing about ADAT is how well it works. Every time I use a DigiMax I am blown away by how all eight channels of audio signals pass through this skinny little optical lightpipe cable and how good it sounds without ever losing sync. It’s rock solid.
So if you have a computer recording system with ADAT optical input and you need eight more microphone preamps, now you know what to connect to it—a DigiMax D8!
Features & Specs
- 8 XMAX Class A microphone preamps with trim controls
- 24-bit resolution ADAT digital output
- 44.1 and 48K sampling rates
- External sync via BNC word clock input
- Direct outputs on every channel
- LED input metering
- -20dB pad on every channel