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Presonus Firestudio Mobile
How many inputs can you fit into a portable interface? The Presonus Firestudio manages an impressive 10 by utilising 2 mic pres, 6 lines and 2 digital via S/PDIF! That's the most we know of on an interface this small, and it means you can record almost anything on the go with the help of the Firestudio mobile and a laptop - something engineers of ten years ago probably dreamed of achieving reliably can now be done at a miniature price!
The Firestudio mobile is a firewire interface and comes with free Studio One Artist DAW software so you can get recording right away with no extra cost. Careful design and component selection means you can get full 48v phantom power for your fussy condensers, (as well as the rudimentary high quality audio you'd expect from a company like Presonus) using just your laptops buss power! Of course you can
- "The audio quality of the Firestudio Mobile is clean, clear and extended, with good stereo imaging and depth"
- "Presonus have managed to offer quite a lot that's different at a very competitive price."
Paul White, Sound on Sound, May 2010.
Here's what Presonus say about the Firestudio Mobile
The Presonus Firestudio, a new-generation, studio-quality FireWire interface that you can use anywhere! The PreSonus FireStudio Mobile combines the superior Presonus analog-circuit design and advanced platform technology of our acclaimed FireStudio rack-mount interfaces with the ability to run on bus power in field applications. Now you can have enhanced audio performance for music recording and creation anywhere you can lug your laptop!
The Most Inputs of Any Mobile Interface
The FireStudio Mobile is a ten-input, six-output professional recording system that combines two PreSonus XMAX Class A microphone preamplifiers; six line-level, analog input channels; S/PDIF digital input and output; MIDI I/O; and headphone monitoring with separate gain control. The FireStudio Mobile beats any and all competition when it comes to flexibility and input count. You can record a whole band with the FireStudio Mobile.
The FireStudio Mobile is bundled with PreSonus Studio One Artist, our groundbreaking music creation program, and over 4 GB of virtual instruments, plug-ins, loops, and samples to get you started making music immediately.
True 48-Volt Phantom Power - Even When Powered By Your Laptop!
Here's a dirty little secret: bus-powered mobile interfaces from other manufacturers deliver much less than the full 48 volts of phantom power that is specified by microphone manufacturers. This means even the finest condenser microphone can't work at optimal internal gain levels, potentially compromising sound quality even before the signal gets to the mic preamp!
PreSonus president Jim Odom and his team of engineers went the extra mile and created an "internal switching power plant" that lets the FireStudio Mobile convert computer bus power into a full 48 volts of phantom power, as well delivering 30 volts to power the superb mic preamps you'll read about next.
XMAX Class A Preamplifiers to Go
At PreSonus, we know that the mic preamplifier is a key component in the sonic quality of a recording. Many other companies that offer mobile recording interfaces add the cheapest possible microphone preamplifier as an afterthought. In contrast, the FireStudio Mobile includes custom-designed, high-voltage, discrete, XMAX Class A microphone preamplifiers that are suitable for use with all types of microphones.
The job of a microphone preamplifier in an audio interface is to boost a microphone-level signal to line level before conversion to the digital domain. A good preamp boosts the level to almost 400 times that of the original signal, making the preamp one of the most important stages in an interface. A cheap, off-the-shelf, op-amp-type mic preamp delivers thin, noisy, harsh results. But with XMAX preamps, the sonic quality is limited only by what microphone you plug into it.
XMAX preamplifiers are built with three key elements:
- High Voltage. The XMAX preamplifier runs on power rails of 30V. Most off-the-shelf, op-amp-based designs run on power rails of 10V to 18V. Higher-voltage power rails deliver more headroom, deeper lows, smoother highs, and a richer overall sound.
- Discrete components-not op-amps. We only use genuine transistors, resistors, and capacitors. Op-amps add noise, coloration, and harshness to a signal. Our discrete design delivers ultra-low noise and transparency.
- Class A. Class A circuits have no crossover distortion and deliver purer, clearer, and more musical results than the Class AB designs that are found in many preamps.
The net result of the XMAX preamp design is high headroom, low noise, wide dynamic range, extended frequency response, and-most important-musicality and transparency, with smooth highs, solid deep lows, and everything in between.
On the Front
A pair of 3-LED level/clip indicators let you check the signal levels for channels 1 and 2, and a button enables 48V phantom power for the two mic channels. Also on the front panel are gain knobs for the two mic/instrument inputs and for the main stereo outputs and a stereo headphone output with gain knob. Gain for the mic inputs ranges from -10 dB to +70 dB; the high-impedance instrument inputs range from -30 dB to +50 dB of gain. Finally, a power/sync indicator LED shows whether the FireStudio Mobile is receiving adequate power and is correctly receiving word clock.
Ins and Outs
For a compact, portable unit, the FireStudio Mobile is loaded with I/O. We start with a pair of combination XLR/TS mic/instrument jacks, which are in the inputs for channels 1 and 2. The XLR mic inputs are routed to the aforementioned XMAX solid-state mic preamplifiers. The high-impedance, TS instrument inputs let you plug guitars or basses directly into the front panel.
On the back are 6 more balanced, 1/4-inch line level inputs for channels 3 through 8, plus a DB9 connector that accepts a breakout cable (included) to provide stereo S/PDIF digital I/O and MIDI I/O. You get two FireWire 400 ports: one port connects to your computer, and the other can be used to connect a hard drive or to daisy-chain any FireStudio-family interface, including the StudioLive 16.4.2 digital mixer, allowing you to integrate the FireStudio Mobile into a larger system.
Digital Converters and JetPLL Sync
FireStudio Mobile's A/D/A converters have a dynamic range of 118 dB for unbelievable clarity.
Synchronization to your computer is stable and robust, thanks to JetPLL synchronization technology. JetPLL incorporates noise shaping to virtually remove all audio-band jitter, ensuring near-perfect clock performance and optimal converter performance when networking two or more digital-audio devices. JetPLL quickly locks to any digital format through a wide range of frequencies and is extremely robust and tolerant of wide variations in clock frequencies. As a result, you'll experience better stereo separation and clearer, more transparent audio.
Like all members of the PreSonus FireStudio family (including the StudioLive 16.4.2 mixer), the FireStudio Mobile comes bundled with Universal Control software. Universal Control is a powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use control-panel application that allows you to daisy-chain to up to four FireStudio family devices for a maximum of up to 52 inputs and outputs (assuming your computer can handle that many tracks).
Universal Control consists of the Launch window and the Device window. In the Launch window, you can set the sample rate, clock source, safe mode, buffer size (PC only), and WDM routing (PC only) for all connected FireStudio Mobile-series interfaces. Each device is listed at the bottom of the window, along with Device Window buttons that open each interface's Device window.
The Device window provides level and routing controls for each FireStudio-series interface's internal mixer, enabling you to set up zero-latency cue mixes. Input and output metering have been optimized for ultra-fast screen display and minimum CPU usage, and you can give each interface a custom name. You can use any device in the chain as the master clock source, or you can slave the entire chain to an external digital device using any of the available digital inputs in the chain.
Studio One Artist-Plus Gigabytes of Creative Resources
The FireStudio Mobile is bundled with an exceptional software package, featuring PreSonus Studio One Artist, the amazing new DAW software for Mac OS X and Windows XP and Vista that makes producing high-quality projects easier than ever before. As part of the Studio One Artist package, you get 20 new PreSonus Native Effects plug-ins and virtual instruments and a generous bundle of third-party loops, software, and instrument sounds.
Compare Studio One Artist and bundled extras to what comes with competing mobile interfaces:
- All-meat, no-bloat, music-creation software with an intuitive, practical, single-window interface
- Unlimited tracks, insert effects, sends, virtual instruments, buses, and effects channels
- Powerful drag-and-drop functionality
- Content browser with convenient sort options and preview player
- Full-featured, flexible automation
- Powerful real-time auto/manual time-stretching and resampling engine
- Control Link (advanced MIDI mapping made easy)
- Twenty 32-bit Native Sound plug-ins, including reverbs, amp modeling, and EQ
- Four new virtual instruments, including a sampler and an analog-type subtractive synth
- Ability to control FireStudio Mobile's software mixer to create zero-latency cue mixes.
- Gigabytes of third-party resources, including Native Instruments Kore Player with custom SoundPack (150 instruments), Native Instruments Guitar Rig LE, Toontrack EZDrummer Lite, and over 1.4 GB of loops!
- The first mobile interface with PreSonus' renowned studio-interface audio quality
- Plug-and-play, high-speed FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394)
- 24-bit resolution with 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz sampling rates
- Record/playback 10 inputs and 6 outputs
- 2 XMAX PreSonus microphone/instrument preamplifiers with true 48V phantom power for condenser mics
- 8 line inputs, 2 line outputs
- Stereo S/PDIF and MIDI input/output - DB9 break-out cable included
- Zero-latency monitoring
- Headphone output with gain control
- Software router/mixer
- Powered via FireWire bus or using included power supply
- Windows- (32- and 64-bit) and Macintosh-compatible
- Universal Control control-panel software
- DICE II Chipset - extremely efficient data transfer
- JetPLL - jitter-elimination technology
- Road-rugged construction
- Shockproof, reinforced metal chassis
- Silky-smooth, sealed rotary controls
- Military-grade circuit board
- Chassis-mounted input/output sockets resist strain from jacks
- Full shielding from external interference
- Daisy-chainable with the PreSonus FireStudio family of products
- Full version of Studio One Artist multitrack-recording software included; easy integration - no setup or configuration
- Windows XP SP2 (32- or 64-bit) or later or Vista (32- or 64-bit; 64-bit requires driver version 3.4.1 or later)
- Intel Pentium 4 1.6 GHz processor or AMD Athlon 64 (Turion) (2.5 GHz or faster recommended)
- 1 GB RAM (2 GB or more recommended)
- Mac OS X 10.4.11 or Mac OS X 10.5.2 or later (10.6 supported in driver version 3.4.2)
- PowerPC G4 1.25 GHz or Intel Core Solo 1.5 GHz processor (2 GHz or faster recommended)
- 1 GB RAM (2 GB or more recommended)
- Windows and Macintosh Systems
- IEEE 1394 FireWire 400 Port
- Internet connection recommended
- DVD-ROM drive
- Internal or external 7200 RPM storage drive highly recommended
Note that the speed of your processor, amount of RAM and size and speed of your hard drive will greatly affect the overall performance of your recording system. Also, a more powerful system (faster processor with more RAM) will allow for lower latency (signal delay) that you might experience while monitoring audio or MIDI signals.
Monitor resolution for both PC and Macintosh should be no lower than 1024x768 pixels.
Microphone Preamp (XLR Balanced)
- Frequency Response (+0, -0.5 dB): 20 Hz to 50 kHz
- Frequency Response (+0/-3.0 dB): 20 Hz to 150 kHz
- Input Impedance 1.6 kOhm
- THD + N (unwtd, 1 kHz @ +4 dBu Output, Unity Gain): < 0.008 %
- EIN (unwtd, 55 dB Gain, 150? Input, 20 Hz to 22 kHz): -130 dBu
- S/N Ratio (Unity Gain, unwtd, Ref = +4 dBu, 20 Hz to 22 kHz): >101 dB
- Common Mode Rejection Ratio (1 kHz, 55 dB Gain): >55 dB
- Gain Control Range (± 1 dB): -10 dB to 70 dB
- Maximum Input level (Unity Gain, 1 kHz@0.5% THD+N): +14 dBu
- Phantom Power (± 2 VDC): +48 VDC
- (¼" TRS, Channels 1 & 2)
- Type: TS Female Unbalanced
- Input Impedance: 1 Mohm
- Type: ¼" TRS Impedance Balanced
- Output Impedance: 51Ohms
- Type: ¼" TRS Active Stereo
- Maximum Output 150 mW/CH @ 60Ohms Load
- Frequency Response 10 Hz - 70 kHz
- FireWire (IEEE 1394) Speed: 400 Mbps
- ADC Dynamic Range (A-wtd, 48 kHz): 118 dB
- DAC Dynamic Range (A-wtd, 48 kHz): 118 dB
- Bit Depth: 24 bits
- Reference Level for 0 dBFS: +10 dBu
- Internal Sample Frequency Selections: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
- Jitter: <20 ps RMS (20 Hz - 20 kHz)
- Jitter Attenuation: >60 dB (1 ns in => 1 ps out)
- Bus Power: 6-pin FireWire 400 or FireWire 800
- Power Supply: External Switching Supply (12 VDC/1A)
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 5.5" x 1.75" x 5.5"/139.7 mm x 44.5 mm x 139.7 mm
- Weight: 4.5 lbs/2 kg