Most people who buy a PreSonus AudioBox USB use it for mobile recording or in a personal studio. The PreSonus team is not surprised to see an AudioBox in a church recording rig, a small video studio, or even a corporate office for producing podcasts and multimedia presentations.
Recording audio at or beneath the surface of the ocean is another matter, however. That's exactly what C&C Technologies had in mind when the Lafayette, Louisiana, company chose the AudioBox USB as the preamp and recording interface for its new ASV 6300 Hydrographic Survey Vehicle. Simply stated, the ASV 6300 is an unmanned semi-submersible vehicle for shallow-water maritime surveying and naval intelligence, surface surveillance, and reconnaissance. Currently in the prototype stage, the diesel-powered machine can operate at 8 knots for up to 48 hours and can survey at 4 knots for almost 100 hours, an impressive achievement for a vehicle of this type. It's cute, too!
This amazing machine can carry a payload of up to 300 kg, including a variety of sensors, such as multibeam echo sounders, hull-mounted and side-scan sonar, a gimbal-mounted video camera, and a passive hydrophone system. The latter system is where the AudioBox USB fits in.
Hydrophones are microphones designed for underwater use, and they come in a few types. The Aquarian Audio H1a hydrophones used in the ASV 6300 are rubber-cast, passive piezo transducers with ¼" TS outputs and require high-impedance inputs in order to produce their optimal frequency response. "The instrument inputs in the AudioBox USB are perfect for these hydrophones," explains C&C Technologies electrical engineer David Comeaux.
It's apparent that space must be at a premium in vehicles of this sort, and any equipment with scientific and military uses must be reliable under stress. Indeed, confirms Comeaux, "The most important factor in our choice of the PreSonus AudioBox was its small footprint and rugged construction." The engineering team mounts the AudioBox on its side within the company's watertight Payload Electronics box.
Because of its prototype military status, Comeaux understandably can't provide more details about the ASV 6300's operation and the AudioBox USB's role, but clearly the C&C Technologies engineer is pleased with the interface so far. The real test, however, is yet to come. "We will use the AudioBox on our upcoming sea trials this year," confirms Comeaux.
And that's not just an old fish story!