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Presonus Firestudio Chipset Problems and Hardware Compatibility Issues

Brandon Drury —  January 22, 2008

Recently I purchased a Presonus Firestudio. Following my own advice, I did a search on Google for “Presonus Firestudio Chipset”. Of course, this keyword phrase is useless because Presonus decided to brag about the chipset within their new Firestudio in the propaganda they use at all major retailers. GREAT! In other words, from a search engine standpoint, it’s going to be VERY difficult to get a blog to rank for “Presonus Firestudio Chipset”, but I’m going to give it a shot. (I REALLY wish Presonus wouldn’t waste the customers time by bragging about the chipsets within the Firestudio. That’s a feature, not a benefit. I don’t know or care what components are in an audio interface as long as the audio interface does what I want and sounds good.)

So, I’ve stolen the following data from Presonus. You can find all of this info on the Presonus Firestudio Hardware Compatibility page but if you are like me you won’t find it until you’ve wasted an entire night diagnosing the problem. In fact, I almost found out that I needed an entirely different motherboard. (I have a GeForce3. The Firestudio will not function properly with a Geforce4.). When I finally found this page, I was scared to death that I needed to build a brand new computer. I was NOT happy!

What hardware is incompatible with my PreSonus Interface?
– ATI RADEON 9000/9001 IGP video chipset. Symptoms are consistent click and pops during audio playback. This video chipset is only found in PC laptops and is entirely integrated as the computer’s only video controller. We strongly recommend that you do not get a system with this chipset, as there is currently no workaround for this incompatibility.

-USB/firewire and s400/s800 combo cards are not compatible. Symptoms are usually no audio recording/playback but device will install and sync, erratic audio performance and rarely will not allow the device to install or sync. We recommend a firewire card that ONLY has s400 firewire connections and preferably with a Texas Instruments or VIA chipset.

-Firewire cards with NEC chipsets are not compatible. Symptoms are similar or the same as combo cards.

-Motherboards with nForce4 chipsets. Symptoms include reduced to very poor performance especially if using the onboard firewire connection. A PCIe (not PCI) FW400 only card with a Texas Instruments chipset is a known workaround, but may not allow full performance.

-SoundBlaster Audigy cards. Symprtoms include pops and clicks and loss of sync. If your PC has one of these cards installed, it is recommended to uninstall it before installing a PreSonus interface

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
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28 responses to Presonus Firestudio Chipset Problems and Hardware Compatibility Issues

  1. Hmm. I’ve got an NForce 4 motherboard. Looks like I’ll be upgrading my computer for this badboy now. Thanks for the research.

  2. My buddy and I have been building a studio for a few months now, slowly getting the right parts that we need and such.

    We recently invested in the presonus firestudio project and have both been pleasently surprised at the level or quality we are able to get out of it.

    We did have and issue because although we have gotten a new dual core computer to use for the studio, it did not have a firewire port.
    at first we used his ancient soundblaster card but we kept having issue after issue with electrical noise and the interface just not even powering on.
    we have since switched to the Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS card with the built in port and not a single issue has held us back. Higly reccomeneded, even if your not recording with an interface. the quality of the signal even at analog cant really be beat(except by newer ones of course)

  3. Thanks for your research, bceasue I wanna get 1 too.

  4. For what is worth, I am running the Firestudio 26*26 with my Sonica HUSH-QR computer and Cubase 4. My set-up is 100% rock solid down to 64 buffers. Very neat.

  5. Hello, i would post this to the audio interface part of your forum but no matter how many times i try and register it won’t send me a confirmation email….

    anyways…

    I’m looking into the firestudio as well as m-audio and motu competetors… however i’m really lost when I read about the misleading information virtual v.s. simultaneous inputs.

    I looking to use a new penryn core 2 duo 2.4ghz macbook pro, I will be using the audio interface as part of a setup to do live shows with both live instruments mic’d people and acoustics and electronic stuff both lined in and straight from the computer… i’ll be working mainly in ableton live and eventually max/msp to handle my AWS duties.

    I’m looking for something that can handle as many high quality line in’s as possible, and at least enough mic inputs to mic a live drum set and maybe one or two vocals (if needed i could convert xlr’s to 1/2″)…

    I’d also like to have the head phone mix option like yourself because i’ll be kinda of an improv composer as well as the sound man for the band and i’d like to be able to send out different information to the different members… also any features that would take away strain on the computer itself (processing power that is), since its already going to be both mixing the live show as well as arranging additional loops, live efx, live keyboard etc.

    Any suggestions on brand, model, or possible deals/referbs
    anything to get me started down the recording path quicker!

  6. I wish I had found this before I bought my firestudio. The guys at Guitar Center told me it was compatible with any Windows XP system. They obviously don’t know what the heck they are talking about.

    I have frequent bluescreen sysaudio.sys and 1394 errors. Presonus has some of the worst customer service of any company I have ever dealt with. On multiple occasions I was on hold for 30 minutes only to get a recording asking me to leave a message. Some guy named Frazier was helping me, if you call it that. He never returned emails or phone calls. When he finally did, he informed me that my nforce4 motherboard was incompatible, but nothing else. He sent me to the presonus forums, which are a cluster.

    Unfortunately, I can’t take the product back to GC because the 30 day window has expired. Looks like I am going to have to sell it on ebay. I will never buy another product from Presonus again.

  7. The guys at Guitar Center told me it was compatible with any Windows XP system. They obviously don’t know what the heck they are talking about.

    Well, Windows XP certainly works with the Presonus Firestudio, but if they didn’t mention chipsets, they are either incompetent or deceitful.

    Brandon

  8. I bought the firestudio
    @ the store GC HAHA I grabbed the fourth box down figuring the top box was a return all F@#$%D*( up well it turns out
    this unit is nothing to jump up and down about, it won’t sync up with this DELL XPS 420 OR CUBEBASE4 OR CUMPUTER BOTH I read up about installation of this firestudio I installed the cubebase 4 steinburger oy-oy-oy then unplugged the firestudio installed the firestudio cd shut down all virus progs 1ST etc f.walls ran the disc it ran approx 20 seconds stated it had loaded itself down with a nice lil red icon in the tray not BLUE OH NO THE HORROR.
    (THE TROUBLE JUST BEGINS)UNINSTALLED IT THEY HAVE A NEWER DOWNLOAD ON THEIR SITE I USED THAT same ol same ol red light
    ok approx 8 calls to tech center went to system info… sent off*nfo file to 3 seperate techs you see I’M getting 3 techs to work on it guess what they all had different lil bedtime stories about the problems with this product
    it boiled down to well take it back where you bought it
    and they will see if their computer will load it…
    Yeah great how’s this to help me I take their lead
    same ol same ol blind lead the blind whadda waste of time
    i get back home and said ok let’s try it again
    I get an error horror show nessage windows will not support firestudio then I shut it down the tin can cumputer
    now this is just after i turned off the norton 360 anti virus prog now I have the pleasure of enjoying 1 lil trojan horsie and some worms that go into the start up I’LL tell YA this is really building some character I shut down every type media prog in this machine,CAUGHT ALL BAD VIRAL STUFF PUT IN Q bin ran sound card so it’s presonus audio only im at the presonus site again
    go to load up firestudio – tube download ok this is good the blue light special pops up on the cumputer tool bar firestudio/w/tube solid blue light I turn on cubebase4 and firestudio it states I’VE Got a new unit the presonus firestudio control program not studio this is some crazy schitt I did download firestudio project I’M still
    gonna win this 1 anyone else have a fix ????
    chip

  9. It sucks that you are having those problems. However, before you can 100% blame the Firestudio, you need to do a bit of troubleshooting. I suspect the problem is your dirty operating system.

    http://www.recordingreview.com/blog/recording-computer-troubleshooting-is-your-operating-system-clean/?/211/1/Recording-Computer-Troubleshooting-Is-Your-Operating-System-Clean/Page1.html

  10. I’m not sure if they have similar chipsets, but the Saffire has the same incompatibilities. Also took me weeks of trying out different things to stop the pops and crackles before I found that page. New computer with compatible chipset sorted it out straight away. Would be nice if the info was a bit more transparent.

  11. I’ve been researching a small DAW system utilizing the Presonus Firestudio Project and Cakewalk Sonar 8 Producer software. Trying to find an affordable computer that meets all these prequalifications has been most frustrating. Any recommendations would be welcome! Here’s my list of qualifications, a BLEND of Presonus and Sonar’s recommendations: (if ya see an error, please let me know!)

    RECORDING STUDIO DAW COMPUTER
    REQUIREMENTS FOR USING CAKEWALK SONAR 8 PRODUCER and PRESOUNUS FIRESTUDIO PROJECT:

    Any dual core or quad core processor plus
    - Windows XP PRO or VISTA (32 0R 64 bit as of 6/24/09)
    - Texas Instruments (TI) firewire port
    (Firewire ports approved by Presonus : Agere/ LSI FW323, TI TSB4AB23, VIA VT6308.)
    - DUAL 7200 rpm SATA drives (MUST have Oxford 924 bridging chip, according to Sweetwater.com)
    - DVD+/- RW DUAL LAYER drive
    - eSATA port for external HD storage- as recommended on Yahoo Home Recording forum
    - PCI(e) port (?)- What is this for? Came recommended on Yahoo Home Recording forum.
    - 3+ USB2 ports

    NO ATI Radeon 9000/90001 IGP video chipset
    NO USB /firewire and s400/s800 combo cards –“get firewire card that ONLY has s400 firewire connections, with preferably a Texas Instruments or VIA chipset”-Presonus
    NO USB/ firewire cards with NEC chipsets
    NO motherboards with Nforce 4 chipsets
    NO Soundblaster Audigy card
    Avoid the NVIDA GForce 7300 LE graphics card- noisy! (ASUS EN7300GT Silent- is quiet, no fan!)
    Almost any VIDEO card will do, provided it is FANLESS, is NOT “INTEGRATED” video, and CAN SUPPORT DUAL MONITORS (multicard setup?)
    Sound card- avoid “INTEGRATED SOUND”- really not important because the Presonus interface provides the sound from the recorded files.

  12. I put together a Quad-core computer that functions just fine with my PreSonus Firestudio for about $400 on Newegg. I didn’t find it all that challenging.

    Going with an Intel motherboard solves many of the chipset issues.

    Purchasing a separate PCI Firewire card with the appropriate chipset helps too. Firewire isn’t pushed aggressively on most PC motherboards and expecting a Firewire slot with the correct chipset to be bundled with your motherboard dramatically reduced your chipset options.

    MUST have Oxford 924 bridging chip, according to Sweetwater.com

    I’ve never even heard of that and therefore don’t know why it is required. I’m still using 2 ATA drives (along with one SATA 3 drive) in my system. I pay the bills with it. Hans Zimmer would need a more hardcore rig, but the last I saw he had like a 20 computer rig.

    - eSATA port for external HD storage- as recommended on Yahoo Home Recording forum

    I don’t have this. While I don’t use external hard drives with my rig often, when I do I just plug in via USB 2.0.

    PCI(e) port (?)- What is this for?

    It’s a PCI express port. Why it is absolutely required is beyond me. I certainly have it.

    Almost any VIDEO card will do, provided it is FANLESS, is NOT “INTEGRATED” video, and CAN SUPPORT DUAL MONITORS (multicard setup?)

    I took a chance and used the integrated video on my motherboard. I’ve been thrilled with the performance. I’ve not experienced any video problems. I could be taking a performance hit, but it seems to be running fine.

    You are going to have a hard time finding a motherboard that doesn’t have integrated sound so I’d leave that off your requirements. Instead, forget about this one and then disable the integrated sound in the BIOS later.

    It sounds to me that most of the advice you received is pretty good, but they recommended a few bells and whistles that aren’t absolutely essential. Approaching those as if they are required is going to limit your options dramatically.

    Brandon

  13. As it has been a real struggle – I would very much like a list of working componets for a DIY recording PC running a Presonus interface with Reaper …it could be emailed to me if posting this info was frowned upon – (i.e. may be seen as paramount to an endorsement)…

  14. I gave up trying to get straight answers from Dell, et. al. They would say they would check and see who made the firewire chip (must be Texas Instrument) and then not call back. It just got to be a big hassle. So I did what Brandon did, bought a recording computer. He got his from Sweetwater; I got mine from Reyniers Audio. My advice: pay a little more for the piece of mind of having a computer put together from the ground up to record audio. My home computer is enough of a hassle. I can’t imagine my band waiting for me to fix a buggy audio computer.
    Mike

  15. So I did what Brandon did, bought a recording computer.

    Actually, I’ve built all my own computers although I do recommend going that route if a person has the extra cash and doesn’t want to deal with the hassles.

    Brandon

  16. chris jackson May 6, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Hi. I have just bought a Presonus Firestudio Mobile and discovered that it is incompatable with both my G5 PPC Imac and my MacBook Intel core duo, both OSX 10.5.8. The driver and Universal Controller will not load, neither from the supplied disc nor the Presonus download page. Error message…..Installation Error. Cannot find required Library “studiolivedevice.dll” appears, which I believe is a windows file anyway. Both my Macs surpass the recommended system requirements in the Owners Manual and their advertising blurb, (they even brag about its compatibility with Macs) It appears that the only way I can contact Presonus is by registering it, which I don’t want to do as it would de-value it should I need to sell it. I can’t believe that Presonus can get away with this blatant breach of the trade descriptions act. In fact if anyone wants to buy this piece of junk, please let me know, it cost me 230 sqid.

    Cheers

  17. I can’t believe that Presonus can get away with this blatant breach of the trade descriptions act.

    Well, I doubt if this is a big corporate conspiracy on the part of Presonus. There’s a big difference between a product having problems and fraud. Unfortunately, being a PC user myself, I can’t really offer any advice as to how to solve your problem.

    Brandon

  18. I have the Firestudio 26 by 26. I mainly do video/3d work. I am always looking for the best sound to go with my video work and thought that this would be a good device to start with. The only time i can actually use the thing is when i am editing. If i try live production it cracks and pops very badly and i can not even have it turned on when i have a video camera plugged into my Macpro for capturing. If it is turned on then finalcut pro wont capture video for me. I am extremely disappointed in the problems i get with my setup.

  19. For what it’s worth, I’ve encountered extreme hurdles when attempting to use any ASIO-based audio interface on the video side. It seems that most video software manufacturers aren’t overly interested in how you handle the audio. At least this has been my experience.

    Brandon

  20. I’vegot a Dell D830 laptop – plenty of Oomf, but this firestudio has been a nightmare – and I work with computers for a living. I get the unit installed and “working”, but I get constant drops and clicks. No matter what latency I set it to. I have been all over the web and done all the debugging anyone could reasonably do. Its going back to the store before I hit the 30 day limit.

    Really, Presonus seems to be a bit arrogant saying that you have to replace your PC so that it is compatible with their software. Many of the issues they discuss are so far beyond a typical users ability to deal with that its just not viable. What user knows how to look up their PC’s 1394 chipset? Mine turned out to be compatible, but that just leads to another problem. Getting this thing to work is not not not user friendly. I really wanted this to work cause its such a great interface, but I’ve spent several hundred dollars and almost a week trying to resolve my clicks and pops. I need to be recording, not becoming a PC technical wizard during my off hours from working as a computer geek.

    Presonus 1, User zero.

  21. For what it’s worth, I’m not aware of a single interface that does not have Chipset requirements. I can’t say I understand the nature of this, but it’s fairly well known in audio circles and pretty much every “how to buy an interface” always re-enforces the idea. (This issue is getting even more complex with the introduction of operating systems with 32 or 64-bit….which are not compatible with one another.)

    The good news is switching to a Firewire PCI card with the correct chipset can be done for about $20, give or take at Newegg.

    So just be fair-warned. You COULD have chipset issues with any interface. Definitely follow this advice before buying your next interface.
    http://www.recordingreview.com/blog/audio-engineering-principles/read-manual-buy/

  22. Chris Jackson, contact me. I’m at the point of enlisting attorney services. My FireStudio worked for over a year and developed issues this past April. I’ve contacted tech support, followed recommendations for weeks and eventually returned the unit for repair at my cost $95.00 plus shipping. Unit has same problems. Followed uninstall and firmware update procedure and still same problem. Unit returned and replaced with new FireStudio. Still same problems. PreSonus is asking that I try on a PC. I don’t have one and my acquaintances are freaked out to install these drivers on their PC. I have three Macs that exceed the published minimum requirements and this unit will not work on any of them. I’m really fed up and would like my money back after trying for 7 months to resolve the issue and that includes the MSR that I spent $199.00 for. Not to mention loss of clients for 7 months.

  23. Ron, sounds like you’ve really reached your limit for patience. Why not cut yer losses, forget the expensive attorney, sell the Presonus on eBay cheap, and go to a Protools rig? Isn’t that what most (not all) Mac users utilize?
    Besides the usual hiccups at set-up, my dual-core WinXP-Presonus Firestudio has run flawlessly for almost a year now. But I had to buy a cheaper custom computer to achieve this level of satisfaction. Off the shelf computers were too much of a crap shoot for me.

  24. Brandon- above in this conversation you state you build all your computers. Yet, I could swear somewhere on this site is a video of you unpacking your first custom computer (from Sweetwater)- right? I could be wrong; maybe too much blurry-eyed research on interface compatibility issues. lol

  25. Nope, I’ve never ordered even a single thing from Sweetwater. The last computer I bought that was already assembled was a Pentium 3 550Mhz Dell. So, to quote a bunch of criminals, “It wasn’t me”.

    Brandon

  26. My bad, Brandon. I just did a search and found the vid here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZs3IPi0mVw
    It’s Scott Garrigus (from http://www.digifreq.com) opening his second rack mount Creation Station DAW computer.
    Mike

  27. Lol… presonus kinda screwed themselves on this… “hmm do I save $1000 for a new pc or do I save $500 more to get an even better audio interface?”

    I have a great computer right now, and if a piece of hardware such as an audio interface is not compatible with it then I will not be buying it… I’ll continue to save for something better.

  28. its more the computer companies being cheap nowadays. firestudio is called “pro audio” meaning that the firewire and every piece of equipment along with it have to work perfectly together continuously, otherwise you get crappy signal. notice that the presonus makes an attempt to run on those other chipsets but it does unsuccessfully because of the firewires malfunctions and shortcomings cause it to not be able to keep up with the PSFS. just do more research lol. knowledge is power and if you find hours researching a waist of time then why are you in the recording industry? music production is nothing BUT research and experimentation. just sayin lol