Presonus concentrate on the finer things in life, but that’s not to say that their stuff is for the livers of the high-life. At the show, we talked to Rick Naqvi who showed us the latest products.
First up was the FIREPOD which is a complete 24-bit/96k recording interface, combining eight high-quality PreSonus microphone preamplifiers, 24-bit/96k sample rate conversion and included as an added bonus, Steinberg's Cubase LE 48-track recording software.
Inputs one and two of the FIREPOD can be switched between microphone or instrument level while inputs three thru eight can be switched between microphone or line input. Phantom power (+48V) is available on every channel in groups of four. Channels 1 and 2 feature fully balanced send and return TRS connectors on the rear of the rugged metal chassis for inserting outboard dynamics, EQ and effects processors. The FIREPOD has eight balanced TRS line outputs as well two balanced TRS MAIN outputs as well as CUE outputs for addtional monitoring.
The FIREPOD also includes stereo headphone output on the front panel, as well as mix control to balance monitoring levels between mixed input and main output signals for zero-latency monitoring. Two channels of SPDIF input and output as well as MIDI input and output are also included.
Retail Price: $799.95
Next is the Eureka - professional recording channel strip containing a discrete class A transformer-coupled microphone preamplifier, compressor, and three-band parametric equalizer. The microphone preamplifier features variable input impedance so that the Eureka can be matched and "tuned" for all types of microphones and recording applications. The Class A transformer-coupled microphone preamplifier also features "SATURATE" which adjusts the drain current on the input FET amplifier to simulate of the effects of tape saturation and tube "warmth".
The Eureka's ultra fast compressor has both soft and hard knee compression as well as a separate make up gain stage and hi-pass side chain compression to deliver hard pumping to ultra transparent compression and everything in between. The Eureka's three-band fully parametric EQ gives you variable Q (bandwidth) on each band as well as an EQ pre COMP switch to put the EQ before the Compressor in the signal path. The equalizer has overlapping frequency selection on each band for total tonal control and shaping.
The Eureka is loaded with microphone, line and instrument input so you can use it as a front end preamplifier for recording with microphones, guitars, keyboards, synths as well as a compressor/equalizer on a single channel during mixdown. The Eureka also has balanced send and return jacks so that you can insert your favorite outboard processor before the compressor/EQ to further enhance and customize your sound.
An optional 24 Bit/192kHz digital output card (AD192) is available for the Eureka to further optimize sonic performance. The Eureka's AD192 digital output card is loaded with both SPDIF and AES/EBU outputs, word clock I/O as well as a balanced TRS line input so that only one output card is nessesary when using two Eureka's in stereo or dual mono situations.
The Eureka gives you the sonic performance and control you need in the real-world to produce professional quality audio that you, your customers and your fans deserve!
Eureka Retail Price: $699.95
Finally is the Central Station, a comprehensive control center, featuring five stereo inputs and outputs (two digital and three analog) and a street price under $500, the Central Station is the ultimate studio-monitoring interface for the modern digital studio.
The main audio path of the Central Station is completely passive offering the most transparent sonic quality. This mastering-level signal path has no amplifier stages including op amps, active IC’s or chips eliminating coloration, noise and distortion. To minimize noise and maximize signal integrity, the unit is equipped with 34 sealed relays, which utilize a minimal signal path design so that the audio does not pass through extraneous electronics.
“We are extremely excited about the Central Station,” explains Rick Naqvi, director of sales and marketing for PreSonus Audio. “In our listening tests, it has outperformed products at twice the price, with half the features. I think our customers will be thrilled at the sonic performance and flexibility.”
“The Central Station has been needed since the beginning of computer recording,” States PreSonus Marketing Manager Brad Zell. “People have been purchasing mixing boards and D to A converters to accomplish what the Central Station can do elegantly and efficiently in a 1U chassis and at a fraction of the cost.”
Accompanying three sets of monitor outputs, each with their own set of trim pots, are three sets of analog stereo analog inputs to accommodate DAW/Mixer, Tape/CD or Keyboard/Sampler. Two of these inputs feature balanced TRS jacks and the third has RCA inputs with trim control for matching signals at different levels. It also accommodates two digital inputs via S/PDIF or TOSLINK, providing D/A conversion up to 24Bit/192kHz thus enabling the user to send a digital signal directly to the Central Station to bypass lesser D/A converters say from the DAW, a CD or DAT player.
Dual fast-acting 30 segment digital LED meters provide high resolution metering of input level as well as calibration to external equipment. The Central Station also offers a talkback omni directional condenser microphone that is routed through the CUE outputs for communication between artist and engineer. When the talkback feature is used, the cue mix is automatically dimmed for optimal communication.
Other features on the Central Station include two headphone outputs, MUTE, DIM, MONO, INPUT select, CUE select and OUTPUT select. An optional remote control (CSR-1) is available including TALKBACK, MUTE, DIM, MONO, INPUT and OUTPUT selection, as well as level adjustment.