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Presonus Microstation BT Review

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Presonus Microstation BT Bluetooth receiver and volume control plus headphone amp. It was kindly purchased new by a member and sent to me for testing. It costs US $130 from Amazon.

The main focus of testing this type of product is a nice volume control and balanced inputs and outputs:

Presonus Microstation BT review bluetooth headphone amplifier.jpg


All the controls feel nice. The case though is a bit light with the load of heaving balanced cables causing it fall backward. Wish they would weigh down the bottom a bit more. There are nice buttons for Bluetooth selection and pairing which I appreciated.

Unexpectedly so, there is also subwoofer and headphone outputs:

Presonus Microstation BT review bluetooth TRS balanced headphone amplifier.jpg


Power is supplied via USB-C connector. Disappointed that no adapter was in the box. I initially powered it with my monitor USB hub. What that worked, it produced a bit more low frequency noise than using a non-name stand-alone phone charger.

Presonus MicroStation BT Pre-amp Measurements
Let's start with testing the wired performance with TRS input and output:
Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Analog.png


Performance is excellent while feeding it 2 volts in and out. Switching to 4 volts in and out caused severe distortion as you see here:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Analog THD vs level.png


As long as you can stay with 2 volts out, SINAD of 102 dB is quite good for this type of product. Dynamic range is a bit better:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Analog Dynamic Range.png


Frequency response is pretty flat and wide:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Frequency Response Analog.png


Sub output is pretty wideband though so you probably need a secondary filter.

IMD distortion is not bad either for the kind of product we have:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements IMD Analog.png


Microstation Headphone Measurements
Headphone output is mostly a checklist feature although subjectively in my testing with AKG K371, it sounded good:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Headphone 300 ohm.png


Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Headphone 33 ohm.png


The rather high output impedance eats into power at 33 ohm.

Microstation Bluetooth Measurements
As usual, performance of BT input is codec dependent:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Bluetooth Analog.png

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Bluetooth AAC Analog.png


Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Bluetooth SBC Analog.png


I expected SBC to do better across the board based on my last set of tests but it is a mixed bag here with all that noise.

Note how max output has dropped even more now to 1.5 volt.

Here is the noise performance:

Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Bluetooth Aptx and SBC SNRpsd.png


And SBC:
Presonus Microstation BT Measurements Bluetooth SBC DNR.png


These are much better number than the Kali Balanced NV-BT interface. Dynamic range is as much as 20 dB better which is what want as the Kali was decidedly noisy.

Listening Tests
I did some quick Bluetooth listening tests to mostly check for noise. I could only detect progressive hissing when the volume knob was at 3:00pm to max. Prior to that, it was quite silent even after I fed it to a Topping A90 in high gain mode. Once I heard a bit of static but could not replicate it.

Conclusions
Finally, we have a decently designed Bluetooth adapter with balanced output. But we also get bonus items in the form of a balanced volume control, sub and headphone output. Performance is not state of the art but as long as you don't push the volume control to max, the box should be transparent.

I am happy to recommend the Presonus Microstation BT.

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

sweetchaos

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Helicopter

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Thanks Amir. BT is going to be the constraint in good electronics that use it. Here we have unexpectedly good performance considering the constraint, and lots of features including balanced outputs. If you want to stream from a phone into a good balanced system, this looks like a good option.

You can't deny the convenience of BT for connectivity and control.
 

restorer-john

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So @amirm , what is the gain of the unit with the volume pot wide open? Do we know if you simply clipped the input with your 4V or you ran into the supply rails on the output? If you got 1.94V out of it, that's an indication the rail is higher than 5V from the USB feed.
 

GWolfman

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What's the top right port, also subwoofer? Is the sub output mono?
 

Pawelekdabek

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How do you calibrate this with audio interface to not exceed 2v on input? I have Scarlett Solo and wonder how do I set volume knob on it to work good with this thing?
 

infinitesymphony

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How do you calibrate this with audio interface to not exceed 2v on input? I have Scarlett Solo and wonder how do I set volume knob on it to work good with this thing?
Assuming the Solo outputs 4V like the 2i2, and assuming it has an audio taper volume pot, 50% voltage occurs with the volume knob just over 70% up. Otherwise, if you want to verify, you could use a 0 dBFS test tone and measure the voltage on one of the output cables with a multimeter.

potentiometer_taper.png
 

PeteL

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How do you calibrate this with audio interface to not exceed 2v on input? I have Scarlett Solo and wonder how do I set volume knob on it to work good with this thing?

Assuming the Solo outputs 4V like the 2i2, and assuming it has an audio taper volume pot, 50% voltage occurs with the volume knob just over 70% up. Otherwise, if you want to verify, you could use a 0 dBFS test tone and measure the voltage on one of the output cables with a multimeter.

potentiometer_taper.png
From the solo spec sheet it outputs 15.5dBU at 0 dBFS. So 4.6 V RMS. Indeed a difficult pairing.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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kion

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Thanks @amirm for this review - it looks to be one of the better ones out there for BT.

just wondering if you still have access to the Topping D90 or D70(s)? They have integrated BT and I wonder how good they are compared to devices for which “BT receiver” is the main selling point.
 

paolomo

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How do you calibrate this with audio interface to not exceed 2v on input? I have Scarlett Solo and wonder how do I set volume knob on it to work good with this thing?
You already got some great answers. Let me just add my experience, for technical issues like this the Focusrite online support is surprisingly responsive. I had a similiar pairing query about my Solo and they replied very quickly.
 

BeerBear

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Disappointing device. The headphone output impedance is too high.
But the lack of a headphone/speaker switch is already a deal breaker. Why would you want to have both playing at the same time?
 

restorer-john

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How do you calibrate this with audio interface to not exceed 2v on input? I have Scarlett Solo and wonder how do I set volume knob on it to work good with this thing?

My Focusrite 2i2v2 here is pictured with each channel 1&2 gains (line) set for exactly 2.000V (0dBFS). That should give you an idea.

2i2v2 level.JPG


Basically, just below the channel 1 and 2 markings on the dial.

Minor gain variations between channels, but not too bad considering. (source was exactly 2.000000V generator @1kHz)
 
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PeteL

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My Focusrite 2i2v2 here is pictured with each channel 1&2 gains (line) set for exactly 2.000V (0dBFS). That should give you an idea.

View attachment 121247

Basically, just below the channel 1 and 2 markings on the dial.
This is input gain tough, basically for recorded signal. I believe, when he asked about ``volume knob`` my quick assumption would have been for playback.
 

restorer-john

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This is input gain tough, basically for recorded signal. I believe, when he asked about ``volume knob`` my quick assumption would have been for playback.

Yes, but amir is saying the thing hits the wall at 2.0v in...
 
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