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  • #16
    I'd be really curious to hear from Inspire owners whether they hear any artifacts, and the platform they're using.
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    • #18
      <<I'm using one on a PC and channels 3 & 4 are howly. I'd written it off as a ground loop issue, but now I see that 3 & 4 are pretty noisy even with nothing plugged-in.>>

      I was indeed happy to find out that plugging anything into them shut them up, so I assume it's just the inputs picking up stray stuff from the computer. Of course, it's easier just to keep the levels down when they're not in use.

      The fact that inputs 1 and 2 are dead quiet for you indicates to me that maybe there is in fact a defect with the Inspire I'm testing. I don't know why it is, but if there's a production run of 1,000 units and one is defective, it will come to me as a review unit!! One manufacturer even joked about it, he said I was providing a public service by keeping products with defects out of the hands of "real" customers.
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      • #19
        <<I know nothing about this. Just wanted to root you on.>>

        Cool, thanks! I must say that the Inspire concept is something I haven't touched on much yet, but it's important: This is clearly designed to be something that's totally painless to use. I assume they chose the name "Inspire" because this is such a simple, inexpensive computer recording interface that you're not going to lose your inspiration due to operational complexities. The most complex part of using it is making sure your host is configured properly! The applet is so simple you'd have to be brain-dead not to make it work. I can easily see each member of a band buying one, laying down their tracks, and going into multi mode when they get together; it really does remind me of the first PortaStudio I bought back in the 70s, except that the Inspire costs about 1/6th as much.
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        • #20
          Thanks for the review.

          One question:

          I like the idea of a portable Firewire interface that is reasonably priced. However, one thing is holding me back from purchasing such a unit. You see, I use my own external pre-amps (2-RNPs) and thus end up with 4-line level signals that I would like to feed simultaneously into the computer.

          The inputs on the rear of the unit (3 & 4) obviously accept line level, but could the front “instrument” inputs (1 & 2) also be used the same way without “boosting” or affecting the signal?

          When you said:

          “The instrument input is balanced, so you can use it with balanced line devices, but also has a 500k input impedance….”

          Does this mean I could use it in my situation?





          Thanks again for the informative review

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          • #21
            My initial take is yes; I don't see any reason why not. But I'll blast some signals into it later and report back with something definitive.
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            • #22
              Hi Craig and hi everyone,

              In response to the line3/4 issue, I wanted to clarify a few things.

              When nothing is plugged into the inputs and the gain is turned to full volume, the line inputs are picking up stray computer noise. As soon as a connection is made to the line inputs this noise goes away because the inputs are terminated to a device which adds a lower impedance load to the input.

              One more note, when the gain of line inputs 3/4 is all the way off, you are actually at 0dB line level unity gain. This means that you probably are not going to even need to turn the gain up when you connect most line level devices (like keyboards, etc..). This 'extra' gain is really for very low level devices like older synths, etc..


              Hope this helps.

              Regards,
              Rick Naqvi
              www.presonus.com
              800.750.0323 x0641

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              • #23
                Hey thanks Rick! That explains why the noise goes away when I plug anything into ins 3/4, even if what's plugged into them is turned off.

                Incidentally I've been putting some "real-world" signals into the line ins and you're right, you really don't need much gain, if any, for most signals.
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                • #24
                  Cool... just what I needed before plunking down my cash for this... and my Macbook.

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                  • #25
                    Before I do some more hardware checking, I wanted to mention Cubase LE. I installed it, even though I have Cubase SX installed, because hey -- this is a Pro Review and we leave no stone unturned!

                    Anyway, I was kind of surprised how full-featured it is. Click on the attachment to see a screen shot of Cubase LE in action. It has the time-stretch tool for time processing, four-band EQ on the VST channels, a decent set of 21 audio plug-ins, video support, hitpoints for "slicing," ReWire, MIDI processing, automation, and remote control....pretty cool. However, the instrument selection is skinny -- LM7 drum machine, VB-1 virtual bass, and a "universal sound module" sorta GM thingie.

                    This is not one of those pieces of software where you run into something frustrating every time you try to perform an operation and end up wishing you could upgrade; it's more sophisticated than top-of-the-line sequencers were just a few years ago.

                    If you already have a sequencer of choice, this might not mean much. But for those getting started with computer-based sequencing, bundling this with Inspire definitely sweetens the pot.

                    There are lots of other bundled plug-ins, but we'll deal with those later.
                    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                    • #26
                      <<I use my own external pre-amps (2-RNPs) and thus end up with 4-line level signals that I would like to feed simultaneously into the computer.

                      The inputs on the rear of the unit (3 & 4) obviously accept line level, but could the front “instrument” inputs (1 & 2) also be used the same way without “boosting” or affecting the signal?>>

                      I threw a bunch of line level signals into inputs 1 and 2, no problem as long as you don't turn the gain way up. So I would say that yes, you could definitely use Ins 1 and 2 in the way you describe.
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                      • #27
                        After seeing what PreSonus posted, I went back and tested 3+4 trying to be as critical as possible now that I knew what to look for.

                        First, my initial comment about how plugging in anything gets rid of the noise on 3+4 holds up. It doesn't matter whether what you plug in is on or off, or has signal or not. So basically, if you're not using 3+4 and have the volume down, no problem. And if you do have something plugged into 3+4, no problem.

                        Also, I think you would rarely use gain at the levels where you hear the noise -- with almost all line inputs the gain could be at 1/3 - 1/2 and the signal would be comfortably loud. But it is nice to know that if you have an older piece of gear with lower outputs, or vintage "stage" gear that was meant to plug into amps, the Inspire 1394 can handle it.

                        Bottom line: Inputs 3+4 get a clean bill of health; the noise is a non-issue unless you turn the gain up all the way with nothing plugged in, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense anyway.
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                        • #28
                          I dunno, maybe the PreSonus guys read the Mackie Onyx 400F Pro Review because the Inspire 1394 definitely has plenty of gain on the line ins (and also on the instrument ins if you use them with line level signals).

                          There was quite a bit of discussion about whether there was enough gain on the Mackie line ins for such keyboard synths and stuff, and the general opinion was that many, if not most, signal sources would need more gain. That is definitely not an issue with the Inspire 1394, which again seems to point to this product being designed with musicians in mind, who may have older gear, lower level gear, etc.
                          Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                          • #29
                            Each of the two front panel mic/instruments inputs has a pair of physical inputs, one XLR jack and one 1/4" jack, but you can only use one at a time. I wondered what would happen if I did something "wrong" and plugged into both the XLR and 1/4" jack for the same input. (What with drop-testing the thing, taking it apart to snap pix of the insides, and deliberately doing things the wrong way to find out what happens, I hope the PreSonus guys aren't putting my picture on the wall and throwing darts at it...)

                            Anyway, it seems that the instrument input takes priority over the mic pre, so you'll hear whatever's plugged into the instrument input and the mic pre is effectively muted. The instrument inputs are definitely dead quiet, by the way.
                            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                            • #30
                              <<I didn't expect to like not having knobs to tweak, but now it's one of my favorite um... non-features. I hook everything up and stash the Inspire under my desk. No cables, no wires, and no tiny dials and meters in amongst those cables. >>

                              An excellent point...I have the Inspire sitting on my desk out of force of habit, guitar and mic going into it, but after reading your post -- you're right!! Why take up space on my desk?

                              This is why I like doing Pro Reviews so much....

                              Glad you got your noise problems fixed. Hey PreSonus people -- maybe you need to add some of the comments here to the next version of the printed manual, for the troubleshooting section, so that others don't make the same mistakes James and I made.
                              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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