Looking to buy a Presonus Firestudio..Good Idea? Bad Idea?
hey guys. I was looking around for a better soundcard/converter and I came across the firestudio...let me tell you what I like about it and then you guys can tell me if theres something better than this that I can get with the same features. I know there are other threads about this but they don't really get down to the specifics that I'm listing here.
I like that its firewire.
I like that it has class A preamps built into it.
I like that it has 9 separate stereo mixes available.
I like the XLR connectors.
I like the ADAT expandability
I like the ease of use.
I like the pricetag of 700 bucks for all you get with it.
I like that its portable and I would be able to use it on different computers without the need of having a mixer.
Things I'm not sure about...
Are the preamps good?
Can you bypass the preamps if you ever wanted to do such a thing?
Are the AD/DA converters good?
Let me know what you guys think about this unit or if there is a unit thats a lot better and has the same features that I just don't know about.
I just had one for a month and sent it back. I think the unit sounds fantastic, but I loathed the software. I can't speak for the pres, but the conversion was a noticeable upgrade from the 828 mkII.
You can bypass the pres by plugging in a line level 1/4" jack. The gain pot switches to trim. I didn't use any of the pres except for talkback.
It doesn't have Vista or x64 drivers for Windows, there's a known issue with the master mute, the mains and headphone volume knobs need to be cranked to get decent volume (I think I heard that this was an optimization issue and they can fix it with a firmware flash), and many users (myself included) have had a hell of a time getting it to work in Sonar. To be fair, there are also many users reporting that it works just fine in Sonar; but there isn't a major outcry from Logic users, for example. I also had a problem with the states of each mix not persisting, but according to tech support this isn't a widespread issue.
Frankly, I think the hardware is great but the software is premature. I sent it back and am going to snag an Audiofire 12 and see what happens. I loved my 828.2, and it was rock solid, but I'm really not satisfied with the conversion after hearing the Firestudio and a Metric Halo unit.
Nice piece of kit if you ask me. Especially for the price. I have used a few of them and there were a few problems with the early shipments. Problems with internal clock noise and sample rates higher than 44.1kHz. Other than that it's a badass piece of gear. The pres sound "good". They are not Grace, API, RME, etc, but they get the job done. The real upside here are the wordclock and ADAT ports. The ADAT ports operate with Dual SMUX meaning that you can have 8ch of 96kHz audio going in and out at one time or 16ch of 48kHz audio. Connect some killer front end pieces (Apogee, Lynx, RME, etc) and you have yourself a killer little rig. The price is right to get into it, but you'll spend 5 times that adding on to it. Oh yeah, the internal mixer/routing software is really easy to use and read on the screen (RME :-) take a clue).
If you want a rock solid unit with heaps of i/o and a killer clock, killer A/D/A, and decent pres go get an RME FIREFACE 800. You can't go wrong with this. It's about twice as much as the FIRESTUDIO but well worth the added expense.
I bought I Firestudio in late Feb this year. After dealing with a few issues, I like it allot. I had the noise issue mentioned in the previous post. So I call tech support, sent them samples of the noise via email. I got a perfect one sent to me with no downtime within a week.... nice.
Before this I was using an RME Multiface (5 year old original), while I love RME drivers better than any others, the sound quality of the FS is superior. The drivers are not as solid as RME below 3ms, but thats doable in most situations. Anything super critical, I use the supplied software.
As far as the presI sold my RNP after buying this as I didn't feel the need for it.
I've had mine for about a week and it's great, the only problem i have had is if i drop the sample rate to 64 and set it at 96k it monitors fine and then when i record it sounds all crazy but as soon as i kick the latency up to 128 samples it's happy and seeing as i get 2ms in 3ms out at this i'm happy and if i go to 44.1k and set it 64 samples i get 1ms in 2ms thumbsup. I also had a problem with monitoring through reaper getting drop outs but the SP2 firewire patch solved that.
The pre's to me sound great for the price better than what i've heard in a 002/mbox and tascam 1804, i haven't tested the Converters alone but if you check out the specs you will see they are very good!
New drivers are available in 2-5 weeks aswell which will solve some minor problems some other people are having.
I haven't run into any problems with the volume of the pres, but they aren't very loud. Keep in mind, they are significantly louder than the Firebox, which really is on the soft side. (people seem to dismiss the Firestudio based on a Firebox which is so completely different).
The pres can run any standard condensor with ease. As far as dynamics go, I've had to turn my RE20 up all the way on a couple of really quiet sources, but have been impressed by how clean the sound is cranked. Haven't tried it with any ribbons yet, but I'm getting a pair of M160s on Wednesday.
If you plan on using an abnormally quiet mic on any abnormally quiet sound source, and feel the need to peak your meters, you could buy a seperate pre for the job.
I own a Firepod, the Firestudio's predecessor, and i have been dealing with the dilemma of whether to stick with what I have or upgrade to the Firestudio. However, I would rather buy a second Firepod and add 8 more tracks to my interface while still paying less than I would for a Firestudio. The only thing attractive about the Firestudio is Worldclock, DSP Monitor/Mixing, and the new jitterpll.
I have heard a lot of criticism about the mic pres in the Firestudio. I really like the mic pres in my Firepod so I wonder if the pres in the Firestudio are different. Has anyone made a thorough comparison between the Firepod and Firestudio? Specifically, has anyone compared the mic pres?
What about the mice pres on the Focusrite Saffire 26? Has anyone compared either the Firestudio's or Firepod's mic pres to those on the Focusrite Saffire 26?