PreSonus FireStudio Project - User review - Gearspace.com
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PreSonus FireStudio Project
4.4 4.4 out of 5, based on 5 Reviews

Great interface, great buy

19th September 2012

PreSonus FireStudio Project by Bunjji

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 4 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
PreSonus FireStudio Project

Preamps: I have heard little to no distortion from these pres, but they definitely cannot drive a ribbon or SM7B. On softer vocals with an SM57, they were having a little trouble but held up ok.

Ease of use: the hardware was really simple to control, but their software mixer was a little hard to understand. Luckily, you don't really have to use that. Drivers were great on Mac and PC, and it works ok with Linux FFADO drivers.

Features: Very fully featured. Line and mic inputs for all channels and hi-z for two channels. Readable meters and a lot of io. I do wish, however, that the monitor outs had a mute and mono buttons.

Price: well priced in its class, especially for how well it performs. You can usually find it used for like 200 or 300, but it retails for 400. Great buy, it hasn't let me down in a year of moderate recording. Go out and get one heh

23rd February 2013

PreSonus FireStudio Project by vizcities

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
PreSonus FireStudio Project

Let's start with the Firestudio's main "con": as the previous reviewer said, this thing can't drive your SM7B and ribbons; at 60(ish) db of gain, it's just not set up for that. Sad, but true.

That said, its pres - clean and transparent - are totally usable for all other purposes and, thanks to the line-level bypass available on EACH of its 8 channels, you can always rack and patch your way to greatness. In fact, that's the real beauty of the Firestudio: it's built as a "keeper," something you can incorporate into a high-quality prosumer workflow without a second thought. It has DI capabilities, send/return jacks, a FireWire connection, phantom power, modest metering, monitor connections... Basically, it makes for a great multi-channel hub for those on a budget, adding few bells/whistles but providing for all your basic studio needs. As a drummer, I've found this thing particularly life-changing, given the quality and amount of channels; at the FireStudio's price point ($400), it really shouldn't be this great. But it is! It's no $2000 strip of APIs or Neves (obviously), but it's still a steal and, if utilized correctly, capable of making outstanding recordings.

22nd August 2013

PreSonus FireStudio Project by djm525

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
PreSonus FireStudio Project

First of all, this is a PROJECT studio interface. Don't expect quality on the professional level. That being said, this is probably one of the best interfaces you can buy for the money. For the record, I use this interface primarily with Pro Tools 10, and my observations and opinions may be affected by that.

At $400 (or cheaper, I got mine for $320), this interface has a lot of nice features that can be really useful. The interface comes with all of your usual inclusions, such as MIDI In/Out, mains out, a single headphone out, and a few others. The 8 inputs, with Mic/Line inputs is great, however, the pre's are unable to drive things such as my SM7b. The pre's are very clean and transparent, however, and don't introduce much noise until the highest gain settings. The onboard metering is good to have, but don't expect it to be very accurate, as there are 3 levels: green, yellow, and red. Stepping up from an MBox (Which has a red light for clipping) this was an improvement, but don't judge the signal based on only the metering. The Firestudio Project also includes 8 outputs, however the outputs are arranged in a way that the first two outputs are a Main output for a second set of monitors, and the other 6 are regular outputs. This was fine by me, seeing as I don't use many outputs, and its nice to have something to be able to plug in different monitors into, but if you NEED 8 outs, I'd take this interface off of your list. The Firestudio also comes with two sets of send/receive jacks, which allow you to send the signal to some kind of outboard before the signal hits the converters. A nice feature, but I sparsely use it. Overall, a good interface that gets the job done very well, and you get a lot more than what you pay for.

I have encountered a few issues with my interface. First of all, the first Firestudio I received had an audible high pitched whir that was completely unacceptable to record with. I called PreSonus, explained my issue, sent them an audio sample, and they said to bring it back to the place that I bought it from to get a replacement unit. Said replacement unit did not have the same issue, so I kept it. Customer service was very friendly, and really wanted to help find me a solution as quick and painless as possible. An issue that I experience to this day, however, is the fact that when using multiple inputs, there is audible crossover of the audio. I can hear the faint sound of input 1 in input 2, and such with the rest of the inputs. I tested it using a direct input and a microphone, and there is such crossover in all of the inputs. An issue that can be ignored for what I'm doing (band recordings, solo projects) but something to bear in mind if separation of tracks is important to you.

The interface comes with an instruction manual, a power supply (The good kind, not a wall wart) a firewire 400 cable (The one that doesn't work with most Macs these days) and a copy of PreSonus Studio One Artist. The Studio One Artist is a full DAW, however, it is not the full Studio One Professional. It is a bit watered down, but fully operational for the project studio. I found it a bit difficult to learn, coming from a Pro Tools background, however, if you don't already have a DAW, this may be a welcome addition to the package.

The interface overall is great, I have recorded many projects with this interface, and it really hasn't had any major problems. It really is a workhorse, being kept on for several hours at a time can be demanding on something like this, but it powered through. I believe some of it's competitors include the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, M-Audio Profire, The Mackie Onix Blackbird, and a few others (Although I believe that this interface has gone down in price, and is now cheaper than the others). This is an interface that will last you a while, and I strongly recommend it.

21st April 2014

PreSonus FireStudio Project by robbyshankar1979

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
PreSonus FireStudio Project

I've had my Firestudio project since the beginning of 2008, and it still works just as well as the day I bought it.

As a stand-alone box, and as stated in the name, this is a great project or home studio tool. The preamps are decent and clean sounding. They certainly are not high end preamps, but you can use each input as a line in for a better preamp to achieve a more professional sound, whatever that might mean. As the others have stated, if you want to power a ribbon mic with this, you need to get an additional preamp. All in all, I've made some recordings that I'm very proud of with just the preamps in this box. While a true audiophile might be able to differentiate these preamps and higher end preamps, the average person wouldn't be able to tell the difference, all other variables being equal.

This box is reliable. I've never had a problem that a quick shutdown won't fix. And I've only needed to do that a handful of times over the last 5 years. I've moved three times since I've had this, 5 if you count moving rooms. This holds up like a tank.

One con is that you can't record more than 8 separate audio tracks at a time with this box. However, if you need to record that many tracks at a time, there's a good argument you've outgrown this box. I have read that you can daisy chain it with another firestudio project or firestudio mobile, but have no experience doing so.

The 8 outputs have been sufficient for my needs, but if you want to run this through a summing mixer, you're limited to the 8 outs with no way of increasing the outs.

The meters on the preamps are fairly accurate in terms of letting you know when you're going to go above 0, which is convenient. They aren't perfect but overall a good guide. There are only three LEDs, so they aren't fool proof.

The mixer is very easy to use. I use it for my own band practices and it has been effective. There are no real bells and whistles to it, but it does what it needs to.

For a home or project studio, this is a solid buy. Yes, it could be improved and there are better products for more money out there, but this really is worth the money it costs.

9th December 2020

PreSonus FireStudio Project by locust valley

  • Sound Quality 3 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4
PreSonus FireStudio Project

It's fair to say that the Firestudio Project is obsolete. Presonus has discontinued sales and support for these units, and the unit's sole method of connecting to your machine—Firewire 400—has been superseded multiple times at this point. On the other hand, because they're so obsolete, you can get these units on the used market for a song. We're talking $120 or less for 8 channels. So they remain a pretty compelling budget option.

The other reviews get into the pros and cons of this unit pretty well. My own brief take:

  • The built-in pres are very decent for the price point. A bit flat and stingy on the gain, but clean.
  • The converters are also quite good. I've been bypassing the built-in pres for years, and I've been reasonably happy with the sound. They're not Lynx- or Apogee-level by any means, but look at the price.
  • The included MIDI I/O is stable and dependable.
  • The output options are minimal. This hasn't been an issue for me, as my monitoring needs are also minimal.
  • Daisy-chaining works flawlessly. I've had two units chained for years now with no issues.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest hurdle with these guys in 2020 is that they're basically unsupported. Windows users can still use the latest drivers, but you'll need to be careful about how you connect the unit, as the drivers only support a small subset of Firewire cards/chipsets. To get the unit working on a Windows PC, you'll probably need to do one of the following:
  • Purchase a Firewire PCI or PCIe card with a compatible chipset.
  • If you have Thunderbolt inputs, use adapters to convert from Firewire to Thunderbolt 2 and then, if necessary, from Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3.
As for Macs, Presonus has explicitly stated that they won't be updating Universal Control, the Firestudio mixing/routing interface software, for Catalina and above. If you're thinking about picking up one of these, keep in mind that you'll need to stay on Mojave.


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