Hands-On Review:DigiMax D8 8-Channel Preamp

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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.


PreSonus Digimax D8
PreSonus Digimax D8

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