|Type||pro audio manufacturer|
|Headquarters||Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Area served||analog, digital, and interface recording products|
PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. is an American manufacturer of recording and live sound equipment, founded in January 1995 by engineers Jim Odom and Brian Smith, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. PreSonus Audio holds patents in digital control over analog circuits and has developed more than twenty audio products, with distribution in over 55 countries worldwide.
PreSonus Audio released its first product, the DCP-8 (along with an optional meter bridge, the MB-8) in 1995. The product was an eight-channel, digitally controlled high quality analog signal compressor. Though the product was short lived, it received strong reviews and is still used as well as sought after today. Deemed ‘ahead of it’s time’, the company returned in 1996 with another eight channel analog compressor dubbed the ACP-8, this time featuring the more familiar ‘hands-on’ feel of analog potentiometers. The product was overhauled once again in 1997 and named the ACP-88, a unit still in production today. After more than a decade in production, ACP-8’s and ACP88’s can be readily found in venues and houses of worship across the globe. Though the DCP-8’s architecture remains unique, the company once again revisited the idea of digital control over analog circuitry with the introduction of a four channel noise gate and a four channel signal compressor in 2001, the GTX44 and CL44. Other compressors released by PreSonus include the ACP22, the Blue max, and the Comp16.
In 1998, after several years of research, the company released its first preamp design in both an eight channel (the M80) and a two channel model (the MP20). A transformer-coupled, dual-servo, solid state mic pre with fairly high voltage rails and operating headroom, the unit was very well received and considered by many to be one of the very few ‘affordable’ mic preamps on the market that could reach fairly close in construction and sound quality to the type of preamps found only in the ‘high class studios’ of the time, which were far outside the budget of most working musicians and recording engineers. The company’s original ‘dual servo’ preamp line would be expanded upon in two later ‘channel strip’ style products, the VXP (released in 1999) and the Eureka (released in 2003).
As early as 1998, with the ½ rack space Blue Max compressor, the company began to seek ways to bring its technology to a larger market by introducing more affordable gear that could fit within the stricter budget of the growing number of project-studio and home-studio customers. After the turn of the century, the recording industry began to see a shift as the number of large studios diminished and the number of project studios and home studios multiplied. PreSonus released it’s first ‘budget’ mic preamp, the Blue Tube, in the year 2000, which was very successful product. Other affordable preamps would soon follow suit such as the Acousti-Q (2001), the single channel Tube Pre (2002), the Digitube (2001), and the redesigned Blue Tube Dual Path (2005). Not forgetting their roots, the company also released its first all-tube design ‘boutique’ mic preamp, the ADL600, in 2005, after many years of careful collaboration with vintage tube product designer Anthony Demaria, of Anthony Demaria Labs. Though many engineers in the recording world did not know at first what to make of a ‘spare no expense’ preamp from a company known for working hard to fit equipment within a working person’s budget, the ADL nonetheless went on to garner a number of high-profile fans and found it’s place within the landscape of very high-end gear.
The Digital Age
By the turn of the century, the company had developed its first digital product: a high-end digital output card for their VXP mic preamp called the VXPDO, which was released in the year 2000. Wanting to start off on the right foot, the card was designed with Crystal converters and employed a rugged two-tier circuit card. In 2001, in response to the advent of professional audio interfaces such as Digidesign’s Digi-001, PreSonus released its first eight channel mic preamp with digital output, the Digimax. This product quickly created an important place in the home studio market as the choice method for greatly expanding the capabilities of one's digital audio workstation. The company would go on to release the updated Digimax 96k as well as the streamlined and more affordable Digimax LT in 2002, and the further updated and expanded Digimax FS in 2006. A digital card option was also developed for the Eureka in 2003, the AD192. Some other digital preamps released by the company include the Digitube, released in 2001.
By 2002, the company had entered the audio interface market and released its first interface product, the FireStation, an eight-channel firewire recording platform which featured two tube preamps built in and utilized the Yamaha mLAN protocol for delivering audio over firewire, a cutting edge technology at the time. In 2004, the company released a new interface with eight mic preamps on board, called the FirePod. In 2005, a smaller version called the FireBox, with two preamps on board was released, and an even more portable version followed suit later that same year called the Inspire 1394. In 2006, the company released it’s most comprehensive firewire recording interface to date, the FireStudio. The company currently focuses most of its efforts in the DAW software market with the release of PreSonus Studio One software, while still maintaining a number of analog products.