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Presonus Microstation BT Review

Helicopter

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For 2i2 inputs, I just turn them all the way down, turn on the source at full volume, then gradually turn the 2i2 input volume up until it has full dynamic range without clipping. You can do this with the indicator lights around the input pots, or use those and see what's happening in Audacity at the same time.

Output is a little trickier. If I hear a certain distortion then I know it needs to be dialed way back.
 

FeddyLost

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Looks like a very nice studio solution.
- Let me sound like this guy!
- Who exactly?
- Errr ... Forgot, but I have it in my playlist. Can your gear pair with my phone?

PS Very good competitor for iFi Zen Blue if you don't need digital output. I'll consider it as another option because iFi's cable 4.4 to XLR cost more, than Zen Blue itself.
Have anyone checked distortion profile of an LDAC BT codec?
 
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Ismapics

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Its OOS already!!! But this is a great solution for a desktop audio solution. Just add powered monitors like the JBL or Rokit and a sub and done. Did not know this existed. I'll put it on my list for a future desktop upgrade.
 

TheTalbotHound

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Would be interesting to measure an LDAC device to see how it fares compared to the other bluetooth codecs.
 

Ismapics

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Hello Amir: I have looked online and have not found information on how the sub works. Does it output full range until a sub is connected, and what would be the los pass and high pass filters. Does it have a highness filter at all? Could not find the instruction manual.
 

Tks

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$130?

That's it? This thing is amazing..
 

Ismapics

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It is the balanced version of sub out.

Hello Amir: Here is a Twitter response form Prosonus that unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired. I could not find anywhere in their site any documentation on the product that specifies how the device handles if in anyway High-pass for channels LR and low-pass filtering if any for the subs. Actually the only response I go was that there are no cross overs in the unit. Is one to understand that the Sub output is just Full-range Mono? It could work, and if so you can do the same with a 4 channels of output control right?

There is also no mention in site or anywhere official of which codecs are used for BT, not that I care too much but other consumers could. Persons was kind enough to provide a copy of the manual which does not say either.

Do you still have the unit or does anyone in the community has one? It would really change my decision to buy or not with more information. I want to have a desktop system with powered monitors (I like the JBL 305) and a sub, but have not find an economical solution and this seemed like it could be. Cheers all.
Screen Shot 2021-04-01 at 10.19.30 AM.png


https://pae-web.presonusmusic.com/downloads/products/pdf/MicroStation_BT_QSG.pdf

Presonus wants to be quirky and includes a recipe (yes food) in their instruction manual.

Screen Shot 2021-04-01 at 10.30.26 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-04-01 at 10.30.42 AM.png
 

Ismapics

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Thanks for the review Amir.
This is a nice unit.
It has a sub out, subwoofer bypass, and headphone amplifier as well? :eek:

Here is the manual.
Here is the FCC report, from Dec 2020, with some interesting tidbits.

Hello: I had not seen your post, I got the manual from Presonus as I could not find it in their site. Here what is a mystery, does it have any cross overs at all for the 2.1 setup. I could not find any doc where it says what codecs it has (Amir answers that one) and what happens to the sound coming form the LR when you connect a sub (if anything) and if the Sub output is actually low-pass or just full range.

If the sub out is full range, then any controller with 4 outputs could be used to feed a sub too. What cooks my noodle even more is Presonus reluctance to actually answer or provide insight, other than the manual and saying there are no cross overs in the unit. So its actually a 2.Mono?
Cheers!
 

quantum_wave

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Thanks @amirm for this fantastic review.

Seems like Bluetooth is just poo poo for critical listening.

Only codec left to test is LDAC & APTX HD, but this review doesn't give me much hope.

Based on the Kali review, it seems that its more than just the codec but also the phone stack plugging into the codec that matter. We still need to see if AAC does better when generated from an iphone rather than and android phone (which is known to have a poor AAC stack).
 

eliash

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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:

View attachment 121216

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:

View attachment 121218

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:
View attachment 121220

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:

View attachment 121223

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:

View attachment 121224

Frequency response is pretty flat and wide:

View attachment 121225

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:

View attachment 121228

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

View attachment 121226

View attachment 121227

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

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

View attachment 121230
View attachment 121229

View attachment 121231

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:

View attachment 121232

And SBC:
View attachment 121233

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.

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Thanks Amir,
looks quite interesting!

Did you check what happens to the pairing and input setting after power-down.
- Does it require new pairing?
- Once the BT-input was set, does this setting "survive" power-down?
 
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stevenswall

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ad_fletch

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Gah! This would be so useful if the sub output were rolled off at 80 or 100Hz rather than 200, or even adjustable. All I want is balanced out to my poweramp + RCA for sub, with unified volume control and a reasonable crossover. This unit gets maddeningly close.

Who wants their sub playing up to 200Hz, esp when there’s no HPF? Same applies to eg Loxjie A30 from memory.

I know most subs have crossovers, but then why have an LPF in the unit in the first place if you’re going to use that?
 
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