Friday, June 24, 2016

Utilizing a Defunct Firepod

Among my various bits of recording equipment is a Presonus Firepod AKA FP-10.* This is a Firewire-based interface for getting ten channels of audio into a computer. My unit is essentially defunct as an interface.

The design was always a bit problematic, as Firewire devices tend to be. I will say that Presonus was quite good about helping me with the problems I encountered ‘out of the box,’ including taking mine back and reinstalling its software. happened to many other units, the Firewire connection eventually died and it was not worth repairing by that point.

Had I updated the software and drivers before the device was no longer able to communicate, it could have used it in standalone mode for its eight preamps. They are not great preamps but not terrible either — clean enough if one does not push them too hard (i.e. perfectly fine for most condenser microphones). They’re not greatly different from what comes in many other popular interfaces and inexpensive mixers.

I did not get those updates installed so, although the microphone preamps are operational, I can not use them individually. Instead, I have essentially an eight preamp mono mixer. All the signals go to a pair of outputs on the back — the same signal to both, as there is no way to pan the individual signals. This is acceptable if I should wish to integrate it into my PA system. I run that in mono anyway and eight extra inputs are nice to have.

However, two channels do have direct outs so I could use those two in my studio should I really wish. I suppose I could even have occasion to use it in mixer mode when recording, but that seems unlikely. I do have better preamps anyway, both built into interfaces and standalone units. Therefor, the Firepod is going to live in my ‘live’ rack. That’s better than throwing it out!

*Presonus originally dubbed the unit the ‘Firepod’ but Apple apparently didn’t like their use of the word ‘pod’ and threatened action, so it was renamed the FP-10.

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