Music Tech: Hands-on with the PreSonus CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper

PreSonus promise to put an analog mixing desk in your DAW… Can it even be done?

Author’s note: I do not review stuff immediately when I get it. I spend time with it, try it on real projects that I’m working on, and generally see how it works when used at the sharp end of production. That’s why my reviews are called “Hands-on” and why they will usually appear months after a product is released, not right away.

Job #1

A 24 channel multi-track live electronic rock band recording (coincidentally originally recorded via a PreSonus StudioLive 24 channel desk). This band DI everything — they use a drum machine and synths directly into the console, and even the guitars and bass were going direct from amp modellers into the PA without any onstage amplification. It presented an interesting challenge — could the Stage Space technology give the sound some analog bite while still preserving the clarity of an almost completely digitally-produced sound?

Conclusion

Overall, this thing is indeed the missing link we’ve all been looking for between digital and analog. If you love recording in the box, but still wish you had the space and the budget for a big beautiful analog console, your wish is now granted. It sounds great. There are a lot of console emulations out there, but none of them can do what this thing can do. And the price is not bad either: less than a hundred bucks to turn Studio One into a micro-Neve? Hell yes, I’m down with that. If you are already using Studio One, this is an absolute must-have add-on in my opinion.

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