AES updates through the week — problem with being at the show is, it doesn’t leave much time to write about the show! -PK

Let’s face it: what most people need for computer audio is just an easy way of plugging in a mic or guitar or two. Presonus’ new Inspire 1394 is a bus-powered FireWire “handheld” computer audio interface that gives you just that, plus a real phono input for connecting a turntable. All under $200 street, with the usual bundled software (Cubase LE and Acid XMC) and some nice plugins from Audio Damage, Camel, Cycling ’74, and Voxengo). You can chain these units together, too.

Verdict: Get this if you want something small and simple. I’m partial to the PreSonus FireBox, though, for two reasons (aside from extra I/O): 1) zero-latency live mixing and 2) a separate cueing headphone jack — two things that are great for live performance.

As Music thing observes, this ultra-compact design resembles the leaked Apple Asteroid interface that caused such controversy. That should make Apple happy, since their lawyers want to prove the Asteroid leak hurt their competitive advantage. (It also means there’s even less chance of Apple stepping into the now-overcrowded audio interface biz.)