Bluetooth with a kick

Scott Holder tests the PreSonus MicroStation BT as a wireless solution.

IF YOU’RE LIKE me, you have at least one drum module that you still use but find its lack of wireless connectivity an issue. I’ll admit, I’m still fine hooking up some external audio device to a module via an 1/8” cable. But what if your audio device has done away with such an increasingly old-school physical connection and relies solely on Bluetooth? Enter the PreSonus MicroStation BT.

What’s in the box

Just two things: the unit and a USB power cord connector. What’s not in the box is the USB wall adaptor for power, which you need to supply yourself. If you have anything like the one used to power an iPhone or Android phone, you’re set.

Connections consist of an old school MIDI In/Out, ¼” L/R output, 1/8” stereo Aux out (headphones), ¼” stereo output (also for headphones), ¼” L/R TRS inputs, and two different subwoofer outs: a ¼” balanced TRS connection and an unbalanced RCA out.

Controls consist of a big ol’ volume knob and the following buttons: Bluetooth on/off, Bluetooth pairing, Mute all outputs, and Sub Bypass (which mutes the Sub Output). One final control on the back is a Main on/off that disables the Main and Sub outs, but not the 1/8” Aux out.

Setting up

The most basic function, Bluetooth capability for a module, means connecting the BT to the module via a stereo 1/8” cable to the typical Aux In  on your module. Plug the BT into the power supply, press down the Bluetooth on/off button, then press the Pair button, find the BT on your Bluetooth device and presto, your module now has a Bluetooth input. It took me about a minute.

Slightly, and I do mean slightly, more complicated is using the BT as a monitor controller. To do this, you run the L/R outputs from the module into their corresponding inputs on the BT. From the BT, then run L/R cables to your speaker cabinets. You can also run a separate line to a subwoofer. If you don’t have one or don’t need one, press down on the Sub Out button to bypass that and the entire audio signal will go to the speaker cabinets.

In action

As a simple Bluetooth device connected to the module via 1/8” cable, the BT is about as effortless a device as you can imagine. The volume knob makes it very convenient to adjust the audio signal coming from the external device, thus you’re not having to reach for it, unlock it, slide your oversized finger around a tiny screen control and probably pausing the song in the process.

When set up with the module’s audio going through the BT to your cabinets, the BT’s Subwoofer Out  function is really appealing. I ran the Yamaha DTX-PRO module I’m reviewing into the BT this way, then output to a pair of Simmons 2108s as L/R speakers and a Simmons 2112 as a sub. The BT’s ability to route low frequency (they don’t list where the cutoff is) to a sub was nice.

Bear in mind that you can’t do both, use the Bluetooth and the little amp feature, at once. This tripped me up at first. I had the module set up to go into the BT as described, then paired a Bluetooth device but did not connect the BT to the module. I then discovered that you can output one signal to your speaker cabinets, either the Bluetooth source or the module source, but not both simultaneously.

The obvious way around this is to use the BT in the first scenario I described as the module will output the signal to the speakers. But, in that case, you “lose” the subwoofer feature.

This is by design. We reached out to PreSonus to ask about this and since they designed this primarily as a monitor controller, most users want to switch between sources, not have the audio flow from two sources at once. For that functionality, they have other gear, namely the StudioLive ARc mixer, but now we’re talking a lot more functionality, features and cost.

Another solution if you’re looking for both Bluetooth connectivity and the subwoofer output is to use Bluetooth speakers. My 2108s have that so I sent the Bluetooth audio directly to them while the module itself went through the BT to the speakers and the sub.


The main feature of the BT, provide that capability to non-BT drum modules, is executed well – simple and easy to operate and fills a big technical void for the vast number of users, like me, who have “old” brains.

The added subwoofer feature is a bonus—the BT wasn’t designed to be a poor man’s mixer. That’s not a ding on the design, but an observation on how the unit operates. If you have Bluetooth-enabled speakers and really like that subwoofer feature, and I really did, then you can easily set up a rig to do both, although you’ll lose the convenience of that big volume knob on the BT to control the Bluetooth input gain.



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