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Presonus Firestudio Mobile problems

Discussion in 'Recording' started by ManicMonkey3, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Well, I have a Firebox and had a small problem getting it to run as my default audio device in Vista 64. I have a dual boot PC with Vista 64 on one drive and XP 32 bit on the other. I record to Cubase SX3 on the XP drive, but figured I'd use the Firebox for sound on both channels, so I can use my monitors to listen to music, etc.

    Anyway, I got talking to the tech guy and mentioned the Firestudio mobile and he is saying it is as good as any device out there- even RME- so I get interested and buy it at GC making sure I can return it if I don't fall in love with the thing.

    So I install the drivers for Firestudio Mobile in XP and get some sound coming out of it. Then I run Cubase SX3 and the clock won't sync. Then I try to uninstall the existing Presonus Firebox drivers, but I can't uninstall them. I get an error. I unplug both devices (they were not hooked up at the same time) and restart. I try uninstalling the drivers for both the Firebox and Firestudio, but fail at both. I download a program that tries to force uninstall them and it says it succeeded, but both drivers are still there. I restart the computer 20 times but cannot uninstall anything at all.

    The Firebox still works perfectly, so I guess I'm sticking with that. I will call Presonus on Monday when it opens. They will probably tell me to reinstall Windows from scratch and then install the Firestudio. Not gonna happen- too much of a hastle.

    I guess writing drivers is a big complicated deal and relatively small companies like this have trouble doing a good job. I mean small relative to ATI, NVidia, Asus and companies like that with millions of customers.

    I did get Firestudio working briefly as stated earlier in the desktop environment even though I could not get it set up to record with in Cubase SX3. The only comments I have are that the headphone amp is about 4x weaker in volume than the Firebox and the same can be said of the main level controller.

    I'm not saying this thing is hopeless, but if you are like me and think you are going to painlessly upgrade from a Firebox to a Firestudio Mobile and just pick up your home recording hobby where you left off, it probably isn't going to be that simple. Good luck if you try it. If you are willing to reformat your entire hard drive and start fresh, it will probably work.

    As for the Firestudio mobile being as good as an RME Fireface, I doubt that claim, but I just had to see after the tech guy said so. I can't resist stunning quality on the cheap, but usually it's too good to be true. I was hoping that since microprocessor technology is always getting smaller, faster, cheaper, better, that it might be true. Maybe it is. You try it out and post something if you want to try.
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Maybe it's confilicting with drivers installed with Cubase?

    It might not hurt to uninstall Cubase, install the Firestudio, then reinstall Cubase.

    For some reason it seems that I had to do something like that to get my MOTU 24 I/O working years ago.
  3. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Firestudio Mobile

    Well, I had a sudden realization that the Firebox was opening automatically in the taskbar at startup and I had to turn it off before I could remove it- duh. Once that was over, I installed the Firestudio again and this time it detected the box and it works. So, so much for badmouthing Firestudio drivers. Cubase SX3 would not sync with it automatically, but seemed to work fine once I went into the device manager and set everything up for Firestudio instead of Firebox.

    So, the other day I recorded myself singing with a Shure SM86 live vocal condenser into an LA610 and also used a PODxt JCM800 or Silver Jubilee model through the LA610. I recorded all of this into the Firebox. Today I did the same into the Firestudio. I am going to record a real amp, too, but ran out of time.

    My first impression is that I think the vocals might be a little clearer and more focused through the Firestudio, but I'm not sure. The volume inputs didn't match perfectly and the Firebox one was peaked out a little bit. All and all, I'm not sure it is a must have upgrade. It seems to be a decent tool worth the $300, but I'm not sure it is any major improvement. I'm going to play with it a little more. I do notice a difference in tone- eq- between the two, but I am not sure that one is "better". I have a feeling if I did a whole song with all of the parts through the Firestudio I might get a little better clarity, definition and separation than I got with the Firebox, but it might just be my imagination and my hearing what I want to hear. I think I have a little ear fatigue now and need to come back to this later.

    When I make a decision I'll take down this wishy washy post that basically doesn't offer any information to anyone.

    Thanks for wasting your time reading it. It makes me feel important when people pay attention to me.
  4. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    more problems with Firestudio Mobile

    I hooked up my Firestudio and made some recordings and the sound quality is really superior to the Firebox. Much more focused. I did a recording of the song "Hurt" on it with guittar and vocals only and compared it to the Firebox and the difference was stunning. The Firestudio was much more intelligible. Each word was more clearly intelligible. The bass and mids felt more solid and reinforced. I recently complained about some muddiness in my songs in this forum and even bought a new LA610 preamp in my search for better clarity and differentiation between tracks but the pre only helped a little. This interface upgrade is what I wanted. I kept trying to compress and eq my way into a better sound, but I probably ended up with too much eq and compression.

    OK, now for the bad. I had a little background noise on both the Firebox and Firestudio. I bought a PCIe card to use instead of the firewire ports on the Dell computer and the noise went down considerably but was still there. I used the wall wart and now it is really quiet. Now I can take the $60 PCIe card back to the store for a refund. Sweet- helps pay for the Firestudio.

    OK, problem #2: I tried to uninstall the Firestudio and reinstall the Firebox to to a comparison recording. I could not remove the Firestudio driver although I did succeed in making the Firestudio non-functional and unable to sync with my computer. The Firebox worked fine when I hooked it up again, but now I can't get the Firestudio working again. I can not uninstall the old driver and I can not reinstall the new one. I will have to call tech support. The uninstall program keeps locking up. This happened the other day, but then I turned on the computer and it mysteriously the driver installed right away when I opened it.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear an RME Fireface in comparison to the Firestudio Mobile. It's probably even better, but the clarity of the Firestudio Mobile v the Firebox is quite dramatic. Well worth an upgrade. I haven't tried to many interfaces though- just the Firebox, Firestudio Mobile and EMU 0404.

    The converters on the Firestudio Mobile are higher quality than the ones on the regular Firestudio line for some reason. The tech support guy a couple of weeks ago told me that Presonus is coming out with new stuff even better than the mobile. Ah, progress. I thought sound progress had plateaued once we went digital.
  5. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest


    I really can spell like an adult. I wrote "guittar" with two "t's" and "to" when I meant "too". Anyway, I know half the people on the internet can't spell their way out of a wet paper bag, but I am not too bad usually. Please don't judge me. I'm just careless, not an illiterate. Not that illiterates don't have any function in society, but a good public shaming might lead them to brush up on their reading and writing skills. In fact, a good public shaming is what I need so that I do a better job of editing my own writing- both spelling and organization. Boy, this thing is really rambling. I'll bet you're like, "Does this guy ever shut up?" Well, I can be very quiet when I want to be. I just want everyone to know where I'm coming from and I usually try to make my posts informative, grammatically correct, and free of spelling errors.
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    From experience, I know that monkeys have a habit of talking a lot.
  7. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
  8. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    problem persists

    OK, I've gotten the Firestudio Mobile working twice and then uninstalled it and ran with with the Firebox only to do a few comparisons. Now I cannot get the Firestudio Mobile up and running anymore. It simply will not sync. I've contacted Presonus and they gave me some instructions about how to remove all drivers from the registry and start fresh as well as from the startup menu. I just keep getting the blue/red light. During the brief period it worked, I found it to have superior clarity to the Firebox. There was less high end, but it sounded more focused.

    Anyway, I've talked with a couple guys at Presonus tech support and nothing has worked so far. I am going to give them one more chance and then I'll take it back to Guitar Center while I can still get a refund.

    I keep uninstalling the Firebox drivers to make sure they don't interfere. They keep coming back strong with every reinstall. The Firebox Mobile is a disaster so far driver wise for me. I am sick of wasting hours and hours and hundreds of dollars on a headache even if it is moderately better sounding. I'm going to stop tinkering and leave acceptable sound alone.

    I figure Presonus could eventually help me sort this out- if I wait months, perhaps reinstall Windows or buy a new computer. I'm just going for the refund while I can get it and maybe buy another interface in a year or two. Maybe Presonus will help me this week- doubtful, but maybe. I guess they are trying, but I don't want to be stuck with something useless and non functioning.

    I still recommend trying it. Just buy it at GC and don't open the Studio One software and activate it or they will never take it back. If it works for you, keep it. If it doesn't, take it back. If you spend 6-8 hours screwing with it and it still doesn't work, take it back before you waste another day of your life. Life is too short.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    When you "uninstall" drivers they don't go away. You need to go into the Windows folder Driver Cache and delete them from there. It is key to know what drivers you are deleting since....well.....deleting the wrong one could be hazardous to your computer. Presonus tech support should be able to give you a list of the pertinent files. You then can do an advanced search for those files and delete or rename all found items.
  10. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    driver cache

    I sort of think I did clear out the files from the driver cache as per Presonus instructions, but I am not sure since it was a couple of days ago and a lot of the stuff is new to me. Obviously I didn't do something right because I did have it working but now it doesn't. I'll let you know if Presonus tech support can help me out.

    I'm not saying Presonus tech support is terrible, but a few years ago when I bought a cheap Emu 0404 card, those guys were just awesome as hell to deal with. I didn't have any weird problems like this, but they got me, a total newb at the time (still basically am, but I've learned a little) and got me making recordings. The Presonus guys are like, "I'll send you an email. Call back if you can't fix it yourself." I suppose in a bad economy, they are understaffed. They weren't rude or anything though.

    I hope I can get it working. I sent out a few recordings to friends with an A/B comparison between the Firebox and Firestudio Mobile and anyone who bothered to listen carefully and owned semi-decent speakers picked the Firestudio- as did I. It kind of makes my voice on songs sound stronger and more focused- like a compressor does, but without actually compressing it. You know what I mean. I lack the technical jargon. It makes me wonder if I should forget the Firestudio if I can't get it working buy some used Mytek converters on eBay and hook them to my Firebox- since at least it works. Is this crazy thinking and would I likely run into even bigger technical obstacles? I am just coming to the conclusion that converters matter quite a bit. I wonder how these new Presonus converters compare to other highly touted systems like the RME Fireface. I know that this Firestudio took my sound quality up a notch.

    I don't know much about recording gear, but I've been playing guitar since 14 and I'm 37 now- didn't play every day the whole time, but I'm not bad- I've sung for only a few and taken pro lessons for about 6 months. I've been recording for 5 years or so at home and have been in half a dozen basement/bar bands. I figure I'll be doing this for a while and while I don't want to spend a million on a hobby and be ridiculous, I want to get the best sound I can get and focus on basic features- rather than nuances and arguments about which Neumann mic is the best, etc.

    The gear I have now is: GT55 mic, Shure SM86, PG58, beta58; LA610 (recently acquired for an awesome price), Presonus tubepre; Cubase SX3, lots of Waves plugins; lots of Fender, PRS, Gibson, Taylor, guitars; Fender American jazz bass. EZdrummer.

    Anyway, I am content with the Firestudio Mobile if I can get it working, but I'm always keen to learn about audio bargains that will help me get a better sound. I know I own too much guitar gear, but if you got it for the prices, I paid, you would have bought it, too- in a heartbeat. I got the LA610 for $800- one year old- barely used. I figured at that price I could try a high end piece of gear. However, surprisingly- to me anyway, the Firestudio Mobile seemed to make a more dramatic difference to the strength and focus of my signal than the LA610 did. I really hope I can get it working. I'm afraid to sell my Firebox even if I do get the Firestudio working because at least I know it is dependable and the drivers are stable- although deleting them is a real bitch.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    This is one of those things that is definitely easier to address in person looking at the machine. You could also try manually selecting drivers for the device which maybe Presonus suggested too-or not. One big tip with Vista is to run installation programs by right click->Run as Administrator. Then if it doesn't work right click on the program itself and click compatibility mode->XP.

    Just some more thoughts. Kind of tired though as I just got home from playing a concert.
  12. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Problem Solved!

    Oh my god, I have spent so much time on this and Presonus tech support couldn't help after three calls. They told me it must be broken and to return it. I installed it on another drive in the same computer running a different operating system- Vista- and it worked, so I figured the device must work. I went back to the Presonus instructions and uninstalled all drivers and every trace I could find in the registry. Then I restarted twice and reinstalled the drivers, but nothing worked. I knew the drivers were not installing properly because once I restart it should prompt me to install the midi drivers, but it never did. I went into the device manager and saw an (!) on the Firestudio and right clicked and read Windows' instructions. They said to delete the device and let Windows redetect it. I did and it reloaded the drivers, I restarted and it detected, found the midi drivers and now all works. I used to do this stuff all the time in the late 90s- early millenium when I was a gamer and kept screwing my system up with new drivers, etc., but forgot a lot of it. I decided years ago to leave well enough alone and not update or make changes unless something was wrong. Anyway, the thing works and I think the Mobile sounds better even at DAC playback of MP3s than the Firebox, but maybe I am projecting what I want to believe after all this work. I do believe the bass is more focused.

    My old 2.6ghz PIV could not even play back an MP3 or Wav file without some clicks and pops. This new i7 is smooth as silk and should continue to be because I'm not going to install much other software- that's what my Vista- soon to be Windows 7 drive is for.

    Hopefully I don't get a virus on this drive a year from now and have to do it all again. It took a long long time to retrograde a new PC to XP, find the drivers for a non XP supported Dell, get Cubase, plugins, GTR3, EZdrummer so on and etc. to get running and then a new interface. I won't be upgrading anything soon- no updates, etc. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Now I have no excuse for not doing songs. I haven't for months.
  13. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2008
    Rainy Roads WA USA
    Sorry to hear about all the issues with the drivers...I have had some ugly driver issues with other products and finally took them back because I just hated the way they worked or didn't work....I know how frustrating that is....and I hate to say this but I've never had any problems with my RME FF800 or my new A&H ZED16R both rock solid....I must admit I am running Cubase on XPro though, but as soon as I get my new i7 Win 7 we'll see.
  14. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    Drivers and such

    Well, I feel like the driver/hardware problems were worth it because my sound is better now and I only paid $300. I know this type of thing is hard to quantify but I had a Firebox which is similar to the Firepod. I met this guy who had a Firepod and upgraded to a RME 800 and I asked him how much better his sound was and he said, "Well, it's hard to quantify, but I'd just say 10-15%." I feel the same way about this Firestudio v Firebox upgrade. Anyway, it was worth the little money I paid. I wish I could hear some other decent gear to compare. I'm not even sure I'm using the gear I have correctly. I mean, I read manuals, but there is so much and I've never taken a recording class or anything and I have one friend who records, and he knows even less than I do- not the Fireface guy- he was just someone I bought a piece of gear from on Craigslist. Anyway, I am wondering about all of this talk about clocks. I use Cubase SX3 and the Firestudio Mobile. Should I set the sync clock in Cubase to internal (which I guess is native to the program) or to the Firestudio Mobile driver? I used the native or internal one when I had the Firebox. Maybe I've been doing it all wrong for a couple of years now. Should it be set to the ASIO Firestudio driver? I do have both the software and Firestudio set to 48.1 . I started recording to 24 bit recently after reading that it helps compensate for less than perfect input signal levels. I don't know if it's worth it, but I have plenty of hard drive space so I figure it won't hurt.
  15. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Feb 13, 2009
    Definitely the ASIO firestudio driver. 48.1 is a bit goofy in my opinion unless you're working in video (where 96 would also work well). Would rather do 44.1 or even 88.2 for smoother conversions to CD format later on. 24 bit is definitely the way to go though.

    I've reached the point where I can't hear what difference allegedly "better" equipment than mine makes (not a particularly high point, either, I'm fairly new to this game too). And if I can't hear the difference, then I'm not paying for it. Need to focus on learning what I've got and training my ears. When I reach the point that I can hear the difference, then it makes sense to upgrade.
  16. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest

    I meant 44.1

    I typed 48.1 when I meant 44.1- I was drinking beer as I wrote. I use 44.1 as I read in tests, nobody could truly tell the difference. I've read that 24 bit is better and the extra resolution can make up for a less than perfect input level when recording. I figure hard drives are cheap these days. Do it up right.

    I feel like going from the Firebox to the Firestudio Mobile was at least as big a step as going from an MXL 990 cheapo mic to my current GT55 mic. The 990 was so bad that I chose my Shure PG58- $50 mic- over it. At least it didn't have a nasty EQ thin sound. I had no idea what a piece of junk it was.

    However, I can be a lot fussier about everything now that I am recording on a powerhouse i7 machine. I can run any program now and it runs smoothly. I couldn't even run PacMan on my 2.6ghz machine without hiccups. I have never even had a PC I could play a CD on without an occasional click or pop until this machine. All of those startup programs and virus protection made the machines unusable. I swear I couldn't even play PacMan from 1982 smoothly until this machine. Anyway, I'm keeping one drive in XP and using that for recording and now I'm putting all the new apps on the other drive in Vista and soon to be Windows 7. I want to keep most of the crap off of this drive. I won't be doing instant messenger, etc. It is like having a second PC for recording but in the same box.

    I can finally run GTR3, hear and record it and just get he dry signal on the other end and then use GRR3 or Pod Farm as a plugin. I have a free version of POD Farm and can only use it as a plugin. I can not hear it when I record. I bought the model packs, but I wasn't willing to pay extra for the option of hearing it when I record when I already have GTR3. I don't know of Line 6 is still giving the POD Farm plugin away for free, but get it if they are. I prefer it to plugging in the PODxt directly and recording the signal because I can't change it after the fact.

    The other day I listened to a Marshall like sound on the GTR3 and then found a Matchless amp model on the Pod Farm that was more appropriate for the vibe of the song I was trying to start writing. That was when I finally saw how superior plugins are to real amps and I have four tube amps- Fender, Marshall and Mesa. They sound better recording than what I have time to do as well.

    I have had the GTR software for a year or two, but I could not appreciate it because I was recording dry and adding it later. Now that I have enough horsepower to hear it when I record, I love it. I was using Sansamp and a other things before because at least I could hear them as I recorded. This makes things so easy.
  17. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest


    I meant that I had it set to 44.1 not 48.1. The more I use this Firestudio- I haven't even finished a song yet, but I have bass, drums and two guitars down- I realize that the Firebox was really trashy sounding in comparison. Really thin plastic crap. I don't know if that speaks as to how amazing and truly pro the Firestudio Mobile is or how inferior the Firebox was to slightly higher entry stuff like the Motu MK3. I haven't tried out enough stuff to know. I remembered thinking my friend's old Delta card and ultra cheapo KRK Rockit 5s sounded better than my Firebox, but then again, he had a much better recording/listening room.

    He's made many great CDs with his locally successful band, but hasn't completed one yet on his stuff and handed it out, so it's hard to do an honest comparison.

    They way I understand it, the Firestudio Mobile should have the best sound of anything Presonus makes until the StudioLive.

    I don't even use the pres. I have an LA610 I got cheap as dirt, so all I can judge is the converters and anti-jitter technology and they are better than the Firebox for sure.
  18. ManicMonkey3

    ManicMonkey3 Guest


    I meant 44.1 not 48.1.

    The Mobile is running smoothly now and I definitely prefer it's sound to the Firebox. The cheap tinny sound is gone. It sounds much louder and with a wider frequency range. The bass sounds punchier and the mids are better. My vocals sound stronger and clearer and I can hear them better in the mix. Totally worth the $300.

    I haven't tried all that much gear, so i don't know if I should be singing praises of the Mobile or cursing the Firebox as a piece of cheap junk. I think it's probably just the ongoing march of better, cheaper technology and getting more for less.

    I think perhaps that even though the Mobile is very clear it is a little darker sounding than the Firebox. The Firebox sounds like a cheap entry level toy compared to the Mobile. I suppose it is and what is now considered entry level is a notch higher than it was a year ago- similar to how LCD displays are cheaper and better than they were a few years ago.

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