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PreSonus Audio Electronics is now shipping the Central Station studio-monitoring interface, featuring five stereo inputs and outputs (two digital and three analog) and a street price under $500.

The main audio path of the Central Station is completely passive. This signal path has no amplifier stages including op amps, active IC's or chips eliminating coloration, noise and distortion they can introduce. To minimize noise and maximize signal integrity, the unit is equipped with 34 sealed relays, which utilize a minimal signal path design so that the audio does not pass through extraneous electronics.

"The Central Station has been needed since the beginning of computer recording," States PreSonus Marketing Manager Brad Zell. "People have been purchasing mixing boards and D to A converters to accomplish what the Central Station can do elegantly and efficiently in a 1U chassis and at a fraction of the cost."

Accompanying three sets of monitor outputs, each with their own set of trim pots, are three sets of analog stereo analog inputs to accommodate DAW/Mixer, Tape/CD or Keyboard/Sampler. Two of these inputs feature balanced TRS jacks and the third has RCA inputs with trim control for matching signals at different levels. It also accommodates two digital inputs via S/PDIF or TOSLINK, providing D/A conversion up to 24Bit/192kHz thus enabling the user to send a digital signal directly to the Central Station to bypass lesser D/A converters say from the DAW, a CD or DAT player.

Dual fast-acting 30 segment digital LED meters provide high resolution metering of input level as well as calibration to external equipment. The Central Station also offers a talkback omni directional condenser microphone that is routed through the CUE outputs for communication between artist and engineer. When the talkback feature is used, the cue mix is automatically dimmed for optimal communication.

Other features on the Central Station include two headphone outputs, MUTE, DIM, MONO, INPUT select, CUE select and OUTPUT select. An optional remote control (CSR-1) is available including TALKBACK, MUTE, DIM, MONO, INPUT and OUTPUT selection, as well as level adjustment.

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