Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a session or rehearsal and you want to play a reference track from your phone. But because of varied connector types, there’s no way to plug into the interface or mixer. As a result, you must either crank your device’s tiny (and tinny) speaker or resort to what I refer to as “the people’s Bluetooth,” which entails putting the device’s speaker up to a mic.
For a surprisingly low price, PreSonus has a solution. The MicroStation BT ($129) lets you instantly stream music from a mobile device or another Bluetooth-enabled unit to your studio monitors. It’s also a 2.1 monitor controller.
MicroStation BT is bus-powered over USB and measures roughly 5 x 4 x 2 inches and is housed in a hard-shell plastic casing that seems quite sturdy. A large Volume knob dominates the top panel, flanked by four buttons.
The back panel is where you make all connections, starting with a pair of ¼-inch balanced input jacks for taking the main output from your audio interface. PreSonus also provided an 1/4-inch input for wired connections from mobile devices or computers.
You can turn the Bluetooth on and off from a button on the front panel and initiate pairing from another. MicroStation BT paired quickly with my iPhone, and even more so with my MacBook Pro. Essentially, the unit acts as a “go-between,” receiving the Bluetooth signal and converting it to analog before sending it through its ¼-inch balanced analog outputs to your monitors.
The unit also features a balanced ¼-inch or unbalanced RCA output to send to a subwoofer. An 1/8-inch stereo headphone jack doubles as an Aux out.
As a monitor controller, MicroStation BT is a bit light on features. It has a Mute button but no dim, speaker switching or talkback. It does have a front-panel Sub Bypass button, so if you have a 2.1 system, say, as part of a portable P.A., you can mute/unmute the sub with ease.
With its balanced I/O, you just pop a MicroStation BT between your interface and a pair of monitors and you have an easy way to stream audio over Bluetooth. Considering its low price and additional functionality, this little device is quite a bargain.