Marantz sa11s2 VS. PreSonus FireStudio Mobile (300 USD) !!!!!!


New member
Aug 10, 2019

been interested in pro-audio equipment for the last 5-6 years, reading about many audio midi interfaces/DAW (call them whatever you like) with usb/ firewire option, with intentions to use them (the DA section/output) as a source insted of dedicated CD/sacd player = computer based lossless ripped music playback

at first i was bit sceptical how some interface of say 300-400 usd ( a TOY !!!!!) can beat a Hi-fi CD player of few thousand $...........why not ????!!!!!!!!!!!

(lavry benchmark, mytek, motu, apogee, rme, emu, focusrite, tc, lynx, matric halo, korg and so on............)

.............curious, back in 2007 my first experience of using audio midi intrefaces began - bought the Focusrite Saffire Firewire for around 400 usd (limited budget) .............playback through Foobar/Asio .......FIREWIRE.......lossless music EAC/APE/FLAC etc............

my setup back in those days was :

denon DCD-1500AE/PMA-1500AE with BW 705 and audioquest cables (audioquest jaguar + rockefeller)

in short : amazing sound for the money (in my opinion their decendants the curent 1510 denon series is one of the best combo in this price class THESE DAYS and more than deserved EISA winner no doubt !)

back then after extensive comparing of the dcd 1500ae cd player vs the focusrite saffire (16/44) through my setup simply focusrite was edged the denon ......the difference was really small but not the price................denon was almost 3x focusrite !!!!!!! (the plus points were just for cd playback .......leaving all other possibilities (plus) of the focusrite (hi res playback up to 24/192 in the years to come!!!)


WELCOME TO THE FUTURE / (history repeating experience???!!!!!!!!)

2 weeks before new year (around 20 december 2011) i bought another "toy" THE PreSonus FireStudio Mobile (350 usd in my country) again, limited budget, bought after many great reviews and availability in my country (on stock)

since then constantly powered............playing music last 2 months for 4-5 hours/day through the unit.......not sure if it;s already fully burned-in ?????!!!!!!!!!!! (although there are improovment in sound since first day - mainly "smoothness/soundstage/openess" !)

MY NEW/curent SETUP (for almost 2 years)

marantz sa11s2/ pm -11s2 mordaunt short perfromance 2 cables audioquest (SKY + rockefeller)

excellent sounding setup/sinergy FOR ME ! awesome especially for jazz and classics


THE TEST (marantz sa11s2 CD vs presonus/laptop/ssd/jriver 17/asio/no fancy firewire cables/EAC/flac 16/44 )

listening to both units is a pleasure no doubt...............the most obvious difference (if at all !!!!!) is that soundstage/presentaton of the presonus is more detail retrieval there is almost no difference (maybe presonus overall by edge !!!!)...............the resolution of both is great.........

i can say that the presonus has better separation of the instruments and placement in the space (due to better depth of the stage or maybe just it looks like it has better depth cause its more forward sounding (known cheap tricks !!!)......or maybe better clock??????!!!!!!)

both are very smooth sounding.......transparent......relaxed (marantz more laid back ) difference in that department

i think that the presonus is very transparent sounding and neutral in its DA section and the preserved warmth and relaxation came in my opinion from the pm11s2 because the mordaunt short 2 are smooth but also very revealing, clear, precise and neutral but far from warm............mordaunt just detects any change in the system and they are so transparent that 10 different productions would sound coating at it is!!!!!!!!!!!!

got this conclusion after 3-4 days switching between the presonus and marantz in period of 1-2 hours on 3-4 tracks

mostly used test cd was andy narell -slow motion 1985 AAD (digital mastering by Bernie Grundman) excellent production and dynamics jazz/fusion/calypso/latin and in my opinion best andy narell solo effort (aside from caribean jazz project etc....nevermind...)

tracks 1,2,3,5


in short i am not amazed any more what these " toys" can put the marantz sa11s2 to shame..........10 x the price of the presonus..............

the differences in fact was very small (NO) and even for me hard to detect on repeated listening on few tracks and longer sessions on a very known material (as if i was playing on it)!!!!!!


............ think of getting the new Mytek DSD 192 DAC...........another "toy" with far more FAT ON SPECS and reputation !, i am not a presonus dealer or have something against marantz reference (in fact i really love marantz gear.....big fan !!!!!!!)




altruistic.lemon said:
Sorry, mate, couldn't understand this. What are all the dots about?

about the dots (it;s a secret !) - the truth is i have 10 kg bags of dots left in my basement with an expiration date in few days. said to myself why not use them !!!!!!!!!! 8) :O

honestly , but it;s your problem if you are lazy to read the whole text!!! i know it;s BIG and scary at first and not perfectly edited :doh: !!!

maybe i can help you with translation :? :


the marantz sa11s2 (built like a tank and awesome finish, BUT........ ) 10 x the price of presonus is * MONEY FOR NOTHING regarding the sound and price/performance !!!!


:wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave:


New member
Nov 10, 2011
have you been :cheer: :O :beer: :beer: :beer: :cheers: :dance: :beer: :cheers: :bounce: :O :O


New member
Jul 25, 2011
Apologies, alien mate, but I'm used to reading English - obviously we're taught the mother tongue a bit differently back in oz.


moon said:
have you been :cheer: :O :beer: :beer: :beer: :cheers: :dance: :beer: :cheers: :bounce: :O :O

it;s the SNOW !!!!!!!!


OK let be more SERIOUS :rockout: !

DIDNT MENTIONED during my test was using filter 1 for marantz sa11s2 for CD playback (those familiar know sa11s2 and sa7s1 and even Ki pearl use 3/2 filters with different freq respons for different preference/play)

just comparison/revision of the basic specs on both units (outputs SNR, DR, THD, CLOCK/jitter etc) - although specs by numbers can mean nothing (its the listening tests), but in the pro-audio world people are more "obsessed" with them and maybe the same count for more !!!!!

marantz sa11s2 (US web site)

CD Audio

Format16-Bit Linear PCMSampling Frequency44.1kHzDynamic Range100dB (Filter 1)Frequency response2Hz - 20kHzTHD0.0020% (1kHz, Filter 1)
presonus firestudio mobile (presonus web)

Digital Audio FireWire (IEEE 1394) Speed400 Mbps ADC Dynamic Range (A-wtd, 48 kHz)118 dB DAC Dynamic Range (A-wtd, 48 kHz)118 dB Bit Depth24 bits Reference Level for 0 dBFS+10 dBu Internal Sample Frequency Selections44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
Clock Jitter<20 ps RMS (20 Hz – 20 kHz) Jitter Attenuation>60 dB (1 ns in => 1 ps out)

back in the days found that on previous version S1 of marantz sa11 there were measurments in the jitter around 250 ps for cd and 170 ps for SACD (dont remember the web site and exact review but those who want can find it on google !!!!!!)

dont believe that the sa11s2 version is major improvement in respect to jitter levels/rejection but i think that in this regard the better/superior specs of presonus in jitter department simply are answer for the more open soundstage and placement of instrument (simply better imaging)

the most obvious improvement in much better jitter specs are increased width/depth of soundstage/imaging/focus on instruments/ and jitter is all in digital audio !!!!!

so this can explain why in my listening test presonus was more open and with better placement /focus (although as i mentioned it was a very small diff )


i really recommend many people to try some of the pro-audio usb/firewire interfaces as sources for computer based playback .There are tons of them in this price range and with less or more inputs/options(AD/DA bla bla) making the choice veeery difficult. The main problem is that you cant audition them and must buy them on "blind" or judge them by specs and other personal/ magazine reviews (that;s were the gamble comes but again it snot a gamble with 0000000 $)

you will be far from dissapointed and most of you will be very impressed AS I AM and i am not allone!!!!

another interesting unit !!!!!!!! (and so on............................)


Fantastic sounding audio interface, May 25, 2009
I use this with powered speakers solely for music listening. I rip CDs in Lossless, and play the files back with the Konnekt 6 and Mackie 824MK2s, and the sound is just unbelievable. I use it at 192 kHz and it's unreal how good it sounds for playback I've had high end audio gear like Krell and Wilson stuff, and this rig rivals that stuff at a tiny fraction of the price. The TC Near control software that is included is very easy to use. A superb sounding and looking product at a great price.


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