The FIREBOX is the most powerful 24-bit/96k Fire - Wire recording interface that fits in the palm of your hand. The FIREBOX is a complete 24-Bit/96k personal recording studio combining two high quality Pre - Sonus microphone/instrument preamplifiers, 24-Bit/96k sample rate and Steinberg's Cubase LE 48-track recording software. The FIREBOX is the perfect hardware and software combination for a powerful professional-quality and compact computer-based studio. The FIREBOX has the highest record/... Read more
Part Numbers: FBOX, FIREBOX, FIREBOX6X8, Firebox, SKU207201
UPC: 0673454000553, 673454000553
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Presonus Firebox, size: 1.4 MB
Presonus FireBox unboxing
User reviews and opinions
|thinklink||7:50pm on Tuesday, September 14th, 2010|
|Best on the market at this price? After much hunting on the web looking for a sound card I could use to plug my guitar.|
|ks_code||12:14am on Saturday, April 24th, 2010|
|Best on the market at this price? After much hunting on the web looking for a sound card I could use to plug my guitar.|
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on te st
computer recording system
Firewire Interface For Windows & Mac OS X
irewire audio interfaces are now becoming available at prices that might tempt the more aspirational desktop audio enthusiast away from USB-based devices. Potential users have a decent choice, and finding the words affordable and Firewire in close proximity is now unremarkable in terms of desktop music. Ill quickly jump in and say that theres not anything wrong with well-designed USB audio interfaces there are any number of options that perform really well, and I regularly use one myself. But theres something about the much greater
Providing six audio inputs and eight outputs for 350, with the bonus of high-quality mic preamps, Presonuss Firebox sounds almost too good to be true. Is it?
bandwidth of a Firewire connection thats both attractive and reassuring for audio applications. of its box: Steinbergs Cubase LE, offering 48 tracks of audio recording alongside MIDI sequencing, is included in the overall bundle. Also in the Firebox packaging is a full paper manual its small, but it tells you pretty much everything you need to know.
What Have We Here?
Presonus have already shown what they can do with Firewire, not only with the rackmounting Firepod, reviewed in February of this year, but with the now-discontinued Fire Station. The latter interface, reviewed in February 2003, was an early adopter of Yamahas Firewire-based mLAN standard, but the companys latest interfaces use a proprietary driver instead. The Firepod is quite a well-equipped device, with 10 ins and 10 outs altogether, eight top-notch mic preamps, insert points, digital I/O and MIDI I/O. Carve a chunk out of that spec and bung it into a little package a third of a rack unit wide, and you have the Firebox. But smaller doesnt necessarily mean lacking in features: the interface still manages a total of six audio inputs (with 24-bit 96kHz converters on the four analogue ins) and eight audio outs, alongside a single MIDI In/Out pair. Such a specification doesnt really push the Firewire protocol all that much, but any USB 1.1 interface would have difficulty matching this performance. Presonus have also ensured that you can get recording as soon as the interface is out
The Box Itself
A lot has been packed into the solidly built little brick that is the Firebox it weighs a lot for its size yet some clever design means it doesnt feel cramped. There are no compromises with components, either. For example, the first two inputs are on the front panel, in the shape of a pair of Neutrik combo jacks offering balanced XLR and instrument or line-level jack inputs in one handy connector. Some choice Presonus
Presonus Firebox 325
Very compact. Excellent feature set for the price. Brilliant zero-latency monitoring, via included software. You can start recording instantly with bundled Cubase LE. High headphone output level.
Rack It Up
Presonus produce a number of competitively priced third-rack-width processors, including the Tube Pre tube-equipped preamp, Comp 16 compressor, EQ3B parametric EQ and HP4 headphone distribution amp. All these devices, and the Firebox, are designed to fit in Presonuss Max Rac compact vertical racking system. Up to six units can be mounted in the Max Rac, allowing them to all be easily patched into your digital recording system.
Breakout cable is a little inconvenient. No rubber feet supplied.
Great sound, surprising mixing power under the hood, and excellent build quality. The list price is more than fair, yet shop around and the Firebox becomes a bargain. So shop around!
SOUND ON SOUND july 2005
low-noise high-headroom preamp circuitry lurks behind the sockets, and phantom power for mics that need it is switched in via a front-panel button. Input level gain, which is wide enough to accommodate line, instrument and mic signals, is controlled by a pair of chromed blue knobs youll spot them on other Presonus products, and theyre finely stepped in their travel to allow accurate setting of levels. Metering is minimal, but apart from your ears (and whatever your host audio application has to offer), all you really need are the built-in clip LEDs. A further two stepped knobs at the front independently control headphone and monitor output levels. And be warned that the gain range of these two controls is rather wide: I cant remember when I heard a headphone mix go this loud! The Firebox Mixer application, as it appears on the Mac the PC version is graphically identical. Looks great, and easy to All thats left on the front is the understand. With input monitoring disabled on your host audio application, this is how the Mixer would look for zero-latency headphone socket and a Firewire monitoring. lock LED: its blue when alls well, with quite detailed control over the signal red when its not, and flashes between the Last of all, theres a nine-pin connector path. The software is loaded onto your PC two when there might some uncertainty. back here. Plug the supplied breakout cable automatically as part of the standard driver The rest of the action is, or starts, around into this socket and the Firebox gains access installation routine, along with the Firebox the back. Two more, balanced, line inputs to digital I/O (as two coaxial S/PDIF Control panel. Mac OS X doesnt require can be found here, alongside the main connectors) and MIDI I/O. This is not the drivers, since the Firebox integrates stereo output and four further line outputs, most elegant solution to the problem of immediately with Core Audio, for both MIDI all of which are also balanced. Though providing this extra connectivity the cable and audio: the interface is truly plug and arranged as stereo pairs, these outs are flops around, offering a target for potential play. Mac users have to go to the effort of freely configurable as individual mono accidental damage, and becomes manually dragging the Mixer and Control feeds, and (software allowing) could be inconvenient to access when the Firebox is apps off the installer CD! Incidentally, the configured as part of a 5.1 surround stacked with other units (as might be the Firebox is only compatible with Mac OS monitoring setup. The two Firewire sockets case with the Max Rac described in the 10.3.7 or over, and its Windows XP only for are also rear-mounted, and under most box, opposite). But it was perhaps the only PC users. However, although Presonus quote circumstances, the Firebox can be powered way Presonus could provide the extra an Apple G4 running at 800MHz as the via this connection. If, however, your facilities considering this units size. Id minimum supported spec, I obtained computer has a four-pin Firewire socket certainly rather have them than not. All in satisfactory results on my older 450MHz machine. The Firebox Mixer is quite a comprehensive level-control and routing tool, allowing you to configure the inputs before theyre routed to your host audio software, and decide how the audio coming back from the software will be handled by the interface. If you use this handy application for one thing only, it will be to remove all latency issues from recording The Fireboxs digital and MIDI I/O are available on a separate breakout cable. and overdubbing. There is no zero latency monitoring switch on the box itself, but by the type usually found on PC laptops, which all, thats pretty good going for a piece of setting up the internal mixer correctly, and doesnt carry power youll need to deploy hardware this compact. disabling input monitoring in your audio the supplied 16V wall wart. Interestingly, if Theres More software, such latency as you might you were to lose this PSU, finding a In common with many such computer audio experience when recording and overdubbing replacement wont be as much of a problem interfaces, the Firebox is equipped with an audio is removed. as it might be in similar situations with internal DSP-based mixer. This can be Graphically, the mixer shows a lot more other products: the power socket can accessed only via the supplied Firebox Mixer sophistication than youd expect: the six accommodate supplies providing 12-24V DC application, but doing so provides the user input channels and the stereo return from or 15V AC.
july 2005 SOUND ON SOUND
As noted in the main body of this review, the Firebox comes supplied with a copy of Steinbergs Cubase LE, for both Mac and PC. This is a superb freebie: it might lag a version or two behind the flagship Cubase SX, but still offers everything youll need to work with MIDI, audio and plug-ins. The software is capable of handling up to 48 mono tracks of audio, at the Fireboxs top sampling and bit rates if desired, plus virtually unlimited MIDI tracks. The number that you can use will depend on the sophistication of your MIDI interface (not very in the case of the single I/O of the Firebox) or how many virtual instruments youd like to run. A small but useful collection of plug-ins is provided, including the Cubase LE, here running on a PC, showing how the Firebox appears in the VST Multitrack window of the Device Setup box. Universal Sound Module, LM7 drum module and VB1 bass the drum and score editors, are present, as are to eight virtual instruments, two insert effects per guitar/synth instruments bass sound module and a audio channel, four send/return effects and two Steinbergs excellent audio manipulation tools. You basic complement of effects plug-ins. The good can record stereo tracks, but one stereo track mastering effects. But, given the price of the news is that any other VST effect or instrument removes two tracks of audio from your total of 48. software, thats a pretty fair complement. You can plug-ins that you might want to use and dont Mixing is well specified, with great automation and always make the most of whats available by forget that the Internet is host to dozens of bussing options, too. Even if you have experience of printing effected audio, or virtual instrument parts, freebies for both Mac and PC can be hosted in other sequencing platforms, LE wont feel like to their own audio tracks. Likewise, think about this package. You really can buy the Firebox and cut-down software. But should you get an urge to bouncing tracks down if you find 48 is too not have to spend any more money, at least in upgrade to Cubase SX (with which the Firebox restricting for you! terms of software. But if you do get an itchy wallet, works splendidly), youll be in completely familiar The facilities on offer are familiarly Cubase, with LE will of course host commercial plug-ins as well. territory. There will also be an option to upgrade on all most of the editing and organisational options If theres a down side here, its that youre limited preferential terms. you might expect. All the MIDI options, including
the host each have a fader and a pan pot, mute and solo buttons. Each input pair also has a stereo link switch: enable this and the faders are instantly ganged and the pan pots jump hard left and right. Oddly, the mute and solo buttons still operate individually. It was strange to not see any metering in the on-screen mixer, too. Perhaps an update will fix this?
The master section offers a level fader, plus global solo and mute clear switches allowing you to unmute several muted channels with one switch. Finally, a bank of switches lets you route various audio streams to the mix or headphone output. Configurations can even be saved. Incidentally, though it cant be directly addressed from within the host software, the headphone socket is revealed as an independent audio stream from inside the mixer, making Firebox more of a six-in/10-out interface. In practice, being able to choose which stream can be monitored on phones will be very handy for on-stage musicians or DJs, allowing you to audition one track whilst another one is playing out as well as for setting up an independent monitor mix during a recording session.
Firebox Control is a strange tool in that its not simply integrated into the mixer application. Basically, it provides a clock source switch (internal or S/PDIF) and 12dB boost switches for each of the analogue inputs. This makes up for the difference in level when youre connecting unbalanced devices with -10dBV outputs, and allows you to up the level while recording any quiet sources. The PC control panel also offers a sample rate switch and a comprehensive latency pop-up. The Mac panel lacks these two latter options, though the manual does mention right clicking the control panel icon to choose between three computer optimisation settings. My main mouse doesnt have a right click, and all the button combinations I tried produced no result. In
Presonus Firebox driver v1.2. Pentium 4 PC with 3.06GHz CPU and 1.25GB RAM, running Windows XP. Apple G4 450MHz Power Mac with 896MB RAM, running Mac OS 10.3.9.
The Firebox Control utility, in its PC guise: note latency and sample-rate pop-ups.
The Mac version of the Firebox Control utility.
any case, latency/processor load and sample-rate settings were adequately dealt with from inside Cubase SX or the supplied Cubase LE.
In The Real World
As well as using the supplied Cubase LE software (check out the Touching Cubase box for a little more on this excellent freebie), I had a go using the Firebox with my usual collection of familiar software the full version of Cubase SX on both platforms, Cakewalks Sonar 4 on the PC, i3s DSP Quattro, my favourite audio editor on the Mac, and Propellerhead Reason 3.0 and Ableton Live, again on both platforms. The results were great across the board. Those applications that could record integrated well, and I appreciated the zero-latency monitoring options offered by the Mixer application. In all cases, I was able to record healthy numbers of audio tracks without clicks or dropouts. The latency that becomes audible when playing virtual instruments from an external MIDI controller was more of an problem on my older Mac, where I found I had to adjust playback settings that resulted in unacceptable key-on to note sounding delays, but as Ive already noted, this machine is well below Presonuss minimum recommended spec. The same problem also arose on my PC, but to a much lesser extent, and I found I was able to achieve a good result simply by playing with settings while recording MIDI-driven virtual instrument performances. Moving past the issue of getting audio into and out of the computer, we come to the audio performance of the
Firebox, and this is impeccable. In fact, Reason had more depth and oomph than Ive heard with my current audio hardware. The front-panel preamps are very forgiving, with great noise performance. It didnt matter whether it was my passive bass, a stereo out from a hardware synth or a mic: in each case the inputs extracted excellent, noise-free results. The sound coming back from software is also commendable, and I was impressed by the level that the monitor and headphone outputs are capable of. The 24-bit, 96kHz converters also have a clarity thats worth hearing; and as I just noted, the analogue circuitry really makes the most of the converters. Such excellent audio quality is a real bonus for a device thats so affordable.
All in all, the Firebox is good value for money and some street prices Ive noticed make that great value. I cant think of much Id fault here the sound would be great on a much more expensive unit, and it operates at the high bit depths and sample rates many of us are working with. It offers plenty of input and output channels for home and portable applications. I will note that the interface does run hot, even when powered from the Firewire buss. This neednt be a problem, though it might have an effect on where the unit is placed in a stack of gear (as might be the case with Presonuss Max Rac system mentioned earlier). The package I received also lacked rubber feet. Not a big issue, perhaps, but the Fireboxs sturdy case does have some sharp edges that would play havoc with a varnished desktop! Still, a retailer such as Maplin should be able to sell you something useful for not much money. You can see the lengths you need to go to in order to find fault with this unit. Its even an all-in-one recording system, with the inclusion of Cubase LE just add your computer. Without even entering the USB vs Firewire debate, this is as fine a compact, portable audio interface as its possible to find. Give the Firebox a listen you wont be disappointed.
T F W W
325 inc VAT. Hand in Hand Distribution +44 (0)1579 326155. +44 (0)1579 326157. www.presonus.com www.handinhand.uk.net
PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc., 2005
W A R R A N T Y
PreSonus Limited Warranty PreSonus Audio Electronics Inc. warrants this product to be free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year from the date of original retail purchase. This warranty is enforceable only by the original retail purchaser. To be protected by this warranty, the purchaser must complete and return the enclosed warranty card within 14 days of purchase. During the warranty period PreSonus shall, at its sole and absolute option, either repair or replace, free of charge, any product that proves to be defective on inspection by PreSonus or its authorized service representative. To obtain warranty service, the purchaser must first call or write PreSonus at the address and telephone number printed below to obtain a Return Authorization Number and instructions of where to return the unit for service. All inquiries must be accompanied by a description of the problem. All authorized returns must be sent to the PreSonus repair facility postage prepaid, insured and properly packaged. PreSonus reserves the right to update any unit returned for repair. PreSonus reserves the right to change or improve the design of the product at any time without prior notice. This warranty does not cover claims for damage due to abuse, neglect, alteration or attempted repair by unauthorized personnel, and is limited to failures arising during normal use that are due to defects in material or workmanship in the product. Any implied warranties, including implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, are limited in duration to the length of this limited warranty. Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitation may not apply to you. In no event will PreSonus be liable for incidental, consequential or other damages resulting from the breach of any express or implied warranty, including, among other things, damage to property, damage based on inconvenience or on loss of use of the product, and, to the extent permitted by law, damages for personal injury. Some states do not allow the exclusion of limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights, which vary from state to state. This warranty only applies to products sold and used in the United States of America. For warranty information in all other countries please refer to your local distributor. PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. 7257 Florida Blvd. Baton Rouge, LA 70806 (225) 216-7887 (800) 750-0323 www.presonus.com 2005, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 Overview
1.1 Introduction 4
2 Installation and Set up
2.1 Computer Requirements 2.2 Installation of FIREBOX Drivers 2.3 FIREBOX Control Panel 2.4 FIREBOX Mixer 2.5 CUBASE LE Quick Start Up 2.6 Testing your FIREBOX with Cubase LE 11 13
3 Controls & Connections
3.1 Front Panel Layout and Descriptions 3.2 Back Panel Layout and Descriptions 16 18
4.1 Mixer 4.2 Operation of Mixer 20 22
5 Application Notes
5.1 Microphones 5.2 Sample Hook Up Diagram 25 25
6.1 Trouble Shooting 6.2 Specifications 26 29
Thank you for purchasing the PreSonus FIREBOX. PreSonus Audio Electronics has designed the FIREBOX utilizing high-grade components to insure optimum performance that will last a lifetime. The FIREBOX is the most powerful recording interface of its size, with the ability to record and playback six inputs and eight outputs simultaneously at 24-bit/96K sample rate. Loaded with four analog inputs, including two PreSonus microphone preamplifiers and two line inputs, six balanced analog outputs, SPDIF I/O, MIDI I/O, and Cubase LE 48-track recording software, the FIREBOX is ready to go out of the box for professional-quality computer recording. For further flexibility, the FIREBOX can be bus-powered by a six-pin FireWire connector or externally powered by the included power supply. The FIREBOX is the perfect computer recording system that gives you the power for professional quality recordings in the palm of your hand. We suggest that you use this manual to familiarize yourself with the features, applications and correct connection procedure for your FIREBOX before trying to connect it to your computer. This will hopefully alleviate any unforeseen issues that you may encounter during installation and set up. Thank you, once again, for buying our product and we hope you enjoy your FIREBOX!
2 INSTALLATION AND SETUP
2.1 COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS
Below are the minimum computer system requirements for your FIREBOX.
- OS: Microsoft Windows XP - Computer: Windows compatible computer with FireWire port. - CPU/Clock: Pentium, Celeron with 900Mhz or higher (Dual 1.2 GHz recommended) - Memory(RAM): 256 MB (512MB recommended)
- OS: MacOS X 10.3.7 or later - Computer: Apple Macintosh series with on-board Firewire port. - CPU/Clock: PowerPC G4/800Mhz or higher (G4/Dual 1 GHZ recommended) - Memory(RAM): 512 MB or more 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.
2.2 INSTALLATION OF FIREBOX DRIVERS
Installation Steps: - Quit all currently running applications - Insert CD-ROM Driver Installation included with your FIREBOX into your computer. (DO NOT CONNECT YOUR FIREBOX AT THIS TIME.) - CD should auto run. (If not, navigate to CD and double click on FIREBOX_Installer.exe) Carefully read and follow the FIREBOX installation instructions. The installer will prompt you to connect your FIREBOX at the proper time. (NOTE: If you are you connecting the FIREBOX via a standard 6-pin Firewire cable, power for the unit will be supplied via the Firewire cable. If you are using a 4 to 6-pin Firewire cable, you will need to connect the included external power supply to power the FIREBOX.) This installation procedure will also install the FIREBOX Control Panel and Mixer software. Note: If at any point during installation a Software Installation message appears from Windows regarding Windows Logo testing click Continue Anyway to continue installation.
Macintosh OSX (10.3.7 or later) The audio drivers for the FIREBOX are included in the CORE AUDIO of Macintosh OSX 10.3.7 and later. Once you have verified that you are running OSX 10.3.7 or later, connect your FIREBOX to a FireWire port on your computer (power for the unit will be supplied via the Firewire cable). Your FIREBOX sync light should flash red and then stay blue to signify that your FIREBOX is properly syncd to your computer.
2.3 FIREBOX CONTROL PANEL
WINDOWS XP Once you have successfully installed your audio drivers, the FIREBOX Control Panel will be available from your system tray (typically located at the bottom right hand corner of your screen near your clock).
Double click on the FIREBOX Control Panel ICON to open the FIREBOX Hardware Control Panel.
FIREBOX HARDWARE CONTROL PANEL (Windows XP)
Sample Rate: Drop down the menu to select the sample rate of the FIREBOX 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96k. This must be set to the same sample rate in your recording software. Clock Source: Drop down the menu to select the FIREBOXs digital sync source. INTERNAL SPDIF Must be selected to use the SPDIF input. (Note that Control Panel settings will be saved upon power down.) Latency: Sets the amount of delay time of your FIREBOX (1.5ms 24ms). Latency is the time it takes for the computer to process audio. Lower latency settings demand more CPU resources. In the case of inconsistent audio, (i.e. drop outs, pops and clicks, digital distortion, etc) we recommend that you increase this setting. Input Level Boost: clicking this button will boost the input level of each corresponding analog input on the FIREBOX by +12dB. Use this feature for recording quiet instruments or devices with low output.
Macintosh - FIREBOX HARDWARE CONTROL PANEL The included CD-ROM contains Macintosh software for the FIREBOX Control Panel as well as the Mixer software. To install the FIREBOX Control Panel, drag and drop the following file to your hard drive:
FIREBOX Control Once this file is saved to your hard drive, double click on it to launch the Control Panel.
Input Level Boost: clicking this button will boost the input level of each corresponding analog input on the FIREBOX by +12dB. Use this feature for recording quiet instruments or devices with low output. FIREBOX CONTROL PANEL ADVANCED SETTINGS: You can Right Click on the FIREBOX control panel icon to select between three different computer optimization settings. These settings optimize the buffers and audio streaming settings based on the speed of your processor. If you are experiencing audio drop outs, it is recommended that you select a lower CPU setting.
High: Computer Processor 2GHz and higher Medium (default): Computer Processor 1GHz to 2GHz Low: Computer Processor 800MHz to 1GHz
2.4 FIREBOX MIXER
WINDOWS XP Once you have successfully installed your audio drivers, the FIREBOX Mixer will be available in your program files. You can launch the Mixer by clicking: Start -> Program files -> PreSonus FIREBOX MIXER. (For details on the FIREBOX Mixer see chapter 4). Macintosh The included CD-ROM disk contains Macintosh software for the FIREBOX Mixer. To install the FIREBOX Mixer, drag and drop the following file to your hard drive:
FIREBOX Mixer Once this file is saved to your hard drive, double click on it to launch the Mixer. (For details on the FIREBOX Mixer see chapter 4).
2.5 CUBASE LE QUICK START UP
Once you have installed your FIREBOX drivers, if you plan on using the CUBASE LE software included with your FIREBOX, insert the CUBASE LE installation CD and run the installer. Make sure to keep your CD envelope sleeve handy to reference the serial number during installation. To select the FIREBOX in Cubase LE, go to Devices -> Device Setup
Select VST multi-track.
ASIO Driver (pull down menu) select PreSonus ASIO Driver.
Click Switch to save PreSonus Driver Selection
2.6 TEST YOUR FIREBOX WITH CUBASE LE
In order to test your FIREBOX, do the following: Launch Cubase LE and make sure that you have selected the PreSonus FIREBOX ASIO driver as described above in Section 2.4. Create a new project:
Create one new audio track within your new project by clicking on Project ->Add Track-> Audio (or you can right click (ctrl-click mac) in the track space within the project:
Record enable the track by pressing the Record Enable button.
Plug a microphone into channel one and turn on 48V phantom power if needed for the microphone. Turn up the channel 1 trim control on the front panel of the FIREBOX while speaking into the microphone. You should see the input meter in the Cubase LE track info react to your speaking. Adjust trim so that the input level is at its maximum without clipping. Connect a set of headphones to the FIREBOX headphone output. Click the monitor button in Cubase LE for Audio 01 to arm the tracks monitoring. PreSonus has also included a Cubase LE session file template on the internet at www.presonus.com/FIREBOX.html
Note that online help available for Cubase LE by pressing F1 or visiting www.steinberg.net
3 CONTROLS AND CONNECTIONS
3.1 FRONT PANEL LAYOUT AND DESCRIPTION
1.Microphone / Instrument Pre-Amplifier. Your FIREBOX is equipped with two custom designed PreSonus microphone / instrument preamplifiers for use with all types of microphones including Dynamics, Condensers, and Ribbons as well as instruments and line level signals. The award winning PreSonus preamplifier design is a Class A input buffer followed by a dual servo gain stage. This arrangement results in ultra low noise and wide gain control allowing the FIREBOX user to boost desirable signal without increasing unwanted background noise. 2. 48 Volt Phantom Power. available for both preamps. The FIREBOX has selectable 48V Phantom power
XLR connector wiring for Phantom Power Pin 1= GND Pin 2= +48V Pin3= +48V
+22dBu Headroom. The FIREBOX mic-pre has +22 dBu of headroom. This feature gives you wide dynamic range and excellent transient response characteristics. Neutrik Combo Connectors. Both preamps of the FIREBOX have a Mic/Line connector using the Neutrik Combo connector. This revolutionary style connector lets you use either phone or XLR connectors in the same female input. INSTRUMENT INPUTS (Channels 1 and 2): The TS connector on channels 1 and 2 are for use with an instrument (guitar, bass, and etc.). When an instrument is plugged into the instrument input, the microphone preamplifier is bypassed and the FIREBOX becomes an active instrument preamplifier.
NOTE: Active instruments are those that have an internal preamp or a line level output. Active instruments should be plugged into a line input (3 or 4) rather than into an instrument input. In other words, dont plug an active instrument into the combo jacks on channels 1 or 2. 3. Input Gain/Trim Control. This knob provides the following gain structure for each channel: Microphone Input XLR: 45dB of variable gain (+14dB to +55dB) Instrument HiZ Input TS (channels 1 and 2 only): 45dB variable gain (+8dB to +50dB) Clip Indicator. The clip indicator will light up if your input signal from the XLR (Mic) or (line) reaches +18dBu (0dBfs). At this level, your mic preamp/line trim signal may not exhibit signs of clipping such as distortion. However, this level would cause the A/D (analog to digital) converters to clip. Therefore it is highly recommended that you do not allow your converters to clip (the clip indicators to light up) as the sound quality would not be desirable. 4. Main Level. This knob allows control over the output level for the MAIN CR OUTPUT 1 and 2 on the back of the FIREBOX. It has a range of -80db to +10dB. 5. Headphone Symbol and Jack. This is where you connect your headphones. 6. Phones. The Phones knob controls the amount of volume going to the headphone output on the front of the unit. Notice the volume indicator goes to 11 (loud). Use this setting with caution. 7. Red-Blue Power/Sync Light. This light is a clock (sync) indicator. It lets you know if your unit is receiving word clock correctly. Word clock is the manner by which digital devices sync frame rates. Proper word clock sync prevents digital devices from having pops, clicks, or distortion in the audio signal (due to mismatched digital audio transmission). Blue solid sync Red sync not present. Flashing Red and Blue external sync not present
3.2 BACK PANEL LAYOUT AND DESCRIPTION
12VDC Power Adaptor Input. This is where you plug the provided power supply into the FIREBOX. Please check the power supply to ensure that it is the correct voltage and plug type for your country. Note that you can also power your FIREBOX with a sixpin FireWire port from your computer instead of using the external power supply. FireWire Ports. There are two firewire ports on the back of the FIREBOX. Both FireWire ports are standard 6 pin firewire jacks. If your computer has a six-pin FireWire port you can power your FIREBOX from the FireWire connector. If your computer has a 4 pin connector, then you will need to get a 4 to 6 pin connector to connect your FIREBOX to your computer, and use the external power supply. Either port can be used to connect the FIREBOX to a FireWire port on your computer.
MIDI and S/PDIF IN and OUT.
MIDI and SPDIF I/O can be connected to this DB-9 connector breakout cable (included). The S/PDIF I/O allows the FIREBOX to receive and transmit audio from/to other digital audio devices. The S/PDIF standard allows for two channels of audio to be transmitted at up to rates of 24bit/96Khz. Word clock is the synchronizing signal that indicates the sampling frequency or rate of sample words over a digital audio interface. Note: When using SPDIF In, you must select SPDIF in your FIREBOX Hardware Control Panel.
MIDI stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. However, the MIDI standard goes well beyond just instrumentation and sequencing. The MIDI inputs and outputs allow connection and/or communication with external MIDI equipment. One function of this port is MIDI programming. This port can also be used for MMC (MIDI Machine Control) and MTC (MIDI Time Control). Please consult the manual of the software manufacturer to learn setup and usage of different MIDI applications. Line Outputs (3, 4, 5, 6). Balanced line level outputs. These connectors will accept either balanced (TRS Tip Ring Sleeve) cables or unbalanced TS (Tip Sleeve) cables. Main CR Output. The level of this output is controlled by the Main volume knob on the front of the unit. Line Inputs (3 and 4). These connectors will accept either balanced (TRS Tip Ring Sleeve) cables or unbalanced TS (Tip Sleeve) cables. The Line Input can also be used as a standard line level input for devices that do not require pre-amplification (such as a CD player, drum machine, sampler and etc.).
The FIREBOX includes a software MIXER/ROUTER for flexible monitoring and routing of the audio signal before it hits your software program. This is helpful to avoid the time it takes to process the audio you are recording called latency. Therefore, you can mix the input signal going into the FIREBOX with the playback from your software for zero latency recording and monitoring.
NOTE: The default settings (pictured above) for the FIREBOX mixer has all faders set to 0dB and all pans set to center, with the Software Playback set to channels 1/2, the Mixer Output set to Bypass, and the Playback to Phones set to channels 1/2.
FIREBOX Mixer Flowchart:
Headphone Output can be any playback stream from your software, or the mix from the mixer
6 inputs from the FIREBOX go directly to mixer and software
Playback from Software
Mixer Output to one of six stereo outputs on FIREBOX
To set up your Mixer application for zero latency recording (example): 1. Record enable your desired track turn off input monitoring function (or mute the track) in your software. 2. Select playback channels of the main output of your audio software in the SOFTWARE PLAYBACK channel of the FIREBOX mixer. The input on this channel will be the output of your software. 3. Connect your microphone to input 1 and turn on phantom power if needed. 4. You can now adjust the levels of your microphone and your software playback to your desired levels for recording (monitoring only). 5. If using headphones select Mix under Mix to Phones. this will send the output of the Mixer to the headphone output. 6. In the MIXER OUTPUT section of the FIREBOX Mixer, select the pair of outputs to send out of the FIREBOX (for example studio monitors connected to outputs 1/2).
4.2 OPERATION OF MIXER
The silver tracks represent the six possible inputs from the FIREBOX as well as the software playback. The blue section contains information on the output of the mixer. Each input has the following functions: Pan (green vertical line.) You can click-drag the pan (stereo image) of each input by moving the green vertical line to the left or right. Double clicking on the green line will reset the pan to the center. Holding down ALT or CTRL, or SHIFT while dragging PAN, puts PAN into fine mode for more accurate adjustment of PAN.
Level (fader) Adjusts the input level of each input. Double clicking on the blue fader automatically sets the fader to full gain.
Solo by pressing Solo, all other input channels are muted. Mute Mutes input channel.
Link links the input gain of adjacent channels. If the two channels do not have the same level when the link button is pressed, clicking on one of the faders will send the other input level to the same level as the channel that was clicked on.
Input (software playback channel) This is the audio return from your audio software. The same functions are available as the other inputs including PAN (balance between left and right channels), LEVEL, SOLO and MUTE. This is a stereo channel. This channel picks up the audio stream that is sent from your software and enables you to mix it with the direct input of your FIREBOX. PLAYBACK Indicates the stereo stream output channels from your software.
Output Level (fader) Adjusts the output level of the mixer. Global Solo Clear Clears (ON) or restores (off) solos that have been selected in input channels. Global Mute Clear Clears (ON) or restores (off) mutes that have been selected in input channels. Playback to Phones selects the audio stream output coming from your software. Mix to Phones Pressing this button sends the Mixers zero latency output to the headphones. Mixer Output sends the output of the mixer to the selected pair of outputs on the FIREBOX. Save enables you to save your mixer setups. Load loads your mixer setups. (note that you must first save a mixer setup before you load one.
5 APPLICATION NOTES
The FIREBOX works great with all types of microphones including dynamic, ribbon and condenser microphones. Dynamic microphones and ribbon microphones are generally lower output devices and require no external power source. Condenser microphones are generally more sensitive than dynamic and ribbon microphones and typically require external 48V phantom power. NOTE: If you are using a ribbon microphone, please check the manual for the mic before applying phantom power. Applying phantom power to some microphones could cause damage to the microphone.
5.2 SAMPLE HOOK UP DIAGRAM
6.1 TROUBLE SHOOTING
Please note that many technical issues can arise when converting a standard computer into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). PreSonus will only provide support for issues that directly relate to the FIREBOX interface. It may be necessary to contact the manufacturer of the computer, operating system and/or software to obtain additional technical support. PreSonus does not provide support for issues in regards to operating systems, additional hardware or software. Please check our website, www.presonus.com regularly for software information and updates, firmware updates, and technical support. Also, technical assistance may be received by calling PreSonus at 225-216-7887 between the hours of 10 am and 8 PM Central Time. Pops and Clicks The light on the front right panel of the FIREBOX is a clock (sync) indicator. It lets you know if your unit is receiving word clock correctly. Word clock is the manner by which digital devices sync frame rates. Proper word clock sync prevents digital devices from having pops, clicks, or distortion in the audio signal (due to mismatched digital audio transmission). If the symbol is solid blue, this indicates that your unit is in sync with the computer or a S/PDIF device that is plugged into the S/PDIF input on the back of the unit. If the light is solid red, this indicates that the FIREBOX does not have sync from the computer and that the unit might not be connected properly. If the unit is flashing red and blue, the unit is not receiving external sync. This would be caused by the clock source in the FIREBOX control panel being set to S/PDIF with no S/PDIF sync source coming in. Here are the three different light modes broken down once again: Blue solid sync Red sync not present. Flashing Red and Blue external sync not present Pops and clicks can also occur with high CPU loads (ie; running a large number of plug-ins, etc) at low latency. Windows XP try increasing your latency settings in the FIREBOXs hardware control panel.
No Sync (Red) Macintosh Users Open Audio MIDI Setup and change the Format sample rate speed to anything different. This will re-establish synchronization and the Blue sync light will turn on. Once you have the blue sync light you can then reset the Format sample rate to your desired setting.
Audio Drop Outs Can occur when the speed of your processor cannot buffer audio fast enough. Windows XP Try lowering your FIREBOXs CPU to a lower setting, by right clicking on the FIREBOX control panel icon in your system tray. Preamplifier Q: I have a microphone plugged into channel one (or two) but I am not getting any signal. Possible Solutions 1. Check your mic cable. 2. Make sure the microphone does not require phantom power. If it does press the 48v button.
Power Issues Q: I just bought a FIREBOX from (dealer name goes here) in (city and state go here) and I live in Morocco. When I plugged in my FIREBOX it caught on fire and smoke came out of the top. What do I do? A: PreSonus has a distributor in almost every country. Therefore, PreSonus does not authorize or condone exportation of any of our products by US dealers. If you have done this and your product has been damaged (more than likely due to voltage irregularities) then you will need to return the unit to the dealer in the United States. The dealer can then return it to PreSonus for a non-warranty repair. After the unit is repaired, the dealer will be billed accordingly and the unit will be returned to the dealer.
Cubase LE For help with Cubase LE press F1 while running Cubase LE or visit: www.steinberg.com. For additional trouble shooting information check online at www.presonus.com/FIREBOX.html
6.2 FIREBOX SPECIFICATIONS
Preamp Bandwidth... 10Hz to 50kHz Preamp Input Impedance... 1.3k Ohms Instrument Input Impedance... 1M Ohms Preamp THD.... <0.005% Preamp EIN.... -125dB Preamp Gain.... 45dB Line Input Impedance.... 10k Ohms TRS Output Impedance... 51 Ohms TRS Main Outputs Impedance...51 Ohms Headphone Output...150mW/Ch 20Hz-20kHz Phantom Power... 48V +/- 2V Power Supply.. Ext line Transformer, Internal Switching Bus Power.... Six-pin FireWire Port Analog to Digital Converters... 24-bit / up to 96khz ADC Dynamic Range... 107db DAC.... 24-bit / up to 96kHz DAC Dynamic Range... 110db IEEE1394 Speed...400mbps
As a commitment to constant improvement, PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. reserves the right to change any specification s t a t e d h e r e i n a t a n y t i m e i n t h e f u t u r e wi t h o u t n o t i f i c a t i o n.
The FIREBOX is the most powerful 24-bit/96k Fire - Wire recording interface that fits in the palm of your hand. The FIREBOX is a complete 24-Bit/96k personal recording studio combining two high quality Pre - Sonus microphone/instrument preamplifiers, 24-Bit/96k sample rate and Steinberg's Cubase LE 48-track recording software. The FIREBOX is the perfect hardware and software combination for a powerful professional-quality and compact computer-based studio. The FIREBOX has the highest record/playback track count of its size with the ability to record six inputs and playback through ten outputs simultaneously all at pro-quality 24-bit/96k - Two ultra-low noise high-headroom microphone/instrument preamplifiers with 48V phantom power are on the front panel for quickly and easily connecting your favorite microphones and instruments. The FIREBOX also includes a high quality stereo headphone output with volume adjustment on the front panel. The headphone output has its own two-channel driver stream which can be used as a separate stereo bus or two-channel output giving you the ability to send a "cue" mix to the headphone output and a main mix to the main output. Two additional balanced TRS line inputs are located on the rear of the FIREBOX along with six balanced TRS line outputs. Two channels of S/PDIF input/output and MIDI input/output are also included via DB9 breakout cable. A software router/mixer is also included for further flexibility and power. The 1/3U-wide metal chassis of the FIREBOX is designed to fit the MAXRACK rack-mounting system from Pre - Sonus and can be racked with the Tube - PRE, COMP16, EQ3B and HP4 for a neat and compact computer recording system. The FIREBOX works with both four and six-pin Fire - Wire (IEEE 1394) connectors and can be powered by either 6-pin Fire - Wire bus power, or powered by an external power transformer. Features High-Speed Fire - Wire Network Audio Interface Plug and play Fire - Wire (IEEE 1394) audio interface 24-Bit / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96K sample rate Record/playback 6 inputs/10 outputs at 24-bit/96K 2 Pre - Sonus microphone/instrument preamplifiers 2 analog line inputs, 6 analog line outputs S/PDIF input/output MIDI input/output Low latency monitoring Headphone output Powered via Fire - Wire bus or externally Software router/mixer Windows and Macintosh compatible Fits MAXRACK rack mounting system FREE Cubase LE audio production software
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