Presonus Inspire 1394 (4ch / $200)?! at

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Old October 7th, 2005, 01:28 PM   #1
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Presonus Inspire 1394 (4ch / $200)?!

Apparently Presonus has come out with a low cost competitor to the M-Audio 410 and their own Firebox. It has a street price of $200 (the M-Audio 410 is $300 and the Presonus Firebox is also $300).

Can anyone comment on this unit if you have one of these already? The controls are all in software, but I can live with that. Also, does anyone know if the Mic Pre's are balanaced? I couldn't find anything specifically on this for the Inspire 1394 in the literature. However, I did get an e-mail from a Presonus tech saying "XLR inputs are balanced with our products." So we'll see.

Finally, Presonus claims that you can use four of these together for 16 inputs. Seems that this could be a really good product.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 01:35 PM   #2
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I haven't worked with this Presonus, but their drivers are generally very solid. Good company, too.
The 410, I now believe, is not balanced. I was told that it was an electronically balanced circuit, but later was told by the same person that they are not. There was quite a discussion on this in the past.

Having 2 410's, neither one exhibits issues of unbalanced circuitry, and we've run exceptionally long cables out the back of it, and into the front of it. So, while it's apparently not balanced, it is very quiet. However, the 410 drivers are finicky, and can really be a pain on some systems.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #3
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I recently got the Inspire 1394 and have begun testing it out. I paid $200 at GC. It works well and gives you 2 mic level XLR inputs with 48 volts and 50 dB total preamp gain. Alternatively, you can use two 1/4 "instrument" inputs, which have a Hi-Z impedance, but go through the two preamps. There are also "3 & 4" inputs, which are line level RCA jacks. Obviously, it's a Firewire device. I added an M-Audio "Audio Buddy" two channel mic preamp (60 dB) to the "3 & 4" inputs, so I've got 4 independent XLR mic inputs, all with 48 volts. Very sweet. I can record 4 separate track simultaneously and mess with them in post. I big plus one, as I've always had to mix down to stereo at the time of capture.

So far, all seems very quiet and works well with my Oktavas. It came with CuBase software that seems very powerful and quite daunting at this point. My only minor complaint is the 50 dB preamps are little light for dynamic mics, but screw that, I'm going mostly all condenser mics these days, especially since I've got 4x48 volts (VGB). BTW, for $50, the Audio Buddy is a remarkably quiet preamp and works very well.

Edity to add: The Inspire 1394 also gives you the line outputs to drive amplified monitors and headphones, with separate level controls for each. It's a very flexible set-up. And, all the controls are presented in software, via a simple user interface. I'm running this on a 1.25 GHz G4 Mac with 1 GB ram, which seems to have plenty of horsepower for this set-up.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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If they have XLR inputs i would imagine its balanced.. Any company who put XLR's on a unit without a balanced signal is only going to be paying more for the input jacks, so it would make zero sense if it were unbalanced..

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