PRO AUDIO
UniqueSquared

UniqueSquared
December 4, 2010

Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 Review


We are happy to present to you our overview of the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 and it’s bundled software.  There’s a reason why the Presonus Studio Live 24.4.2 Digital and Live Sound Mixer touts one of the longest product descriptions on our website.  And there’s also a reason why it continues to win awards at trade shows time and time again.   This is not only a digital console that you can use live, but it is also a computer interface that you can use in the studio to record and get your tracks perfect.  Then you take those presets and move them to a performance in a jiffy.  All you need to do a gig is this console, a computer, and some nice microphones and you are set.

In a word, this thing is “everything” you need.  Or should I say two words “Studio” and “Live”?  Hmmm…

Just read how Presonus describes the StudioLive:

If you have a computer with 6-pin FireWire, you have a 26-track digital recorder instantly ready to capture your gig, church service, or presentation. Just two mouse clicks engages Capture recording software. Studio One Artist digital audio workstation lets you edit and enhance to your heart’s content.

StudioLive 24.4.2 features a tightly integrated FireWire interface that delivers up to 32 channels of recording and up to 26 channels of simultaneous playback. Each FireWire recording channel can be set to record either pre- or post-Fat Channel signal processing, delivering total flexibility and power.

Sounds pretty darn good right?  Speaking of software that comes with this console – Capture, Studio One artist, and Visual Studio Live – as you can see in the video above, it really is simple to get up and running and recording quickly.  That’s one of the many things Presonus got right with this unit.  You can tell the software is very symbiotic with the console.

So you launch a session in Capture and the console automatically knows how many inputs and outputs are connected and it configures them for you after two clicks.  Connect everything, click arm all tracks, then record and it’s that simple.  If you are a hardware guy, control form the console.  Software guy… control from the computer.  Speaking of that, did you know you can control the StudioLive from your iPad?  I’m not teasing, see the video below.  Maybe the StudioLive should come with an iPad.  We’re looking at your Presonus!

Now, there will be some analog purists out there that say that no digital mixer can’t accomplish the sound and warmth of an analog mixer.  That may be true to an extent, but to what end do you go to achieve the features that the StudioLive has in an Analog system.  You got your board/console, compressors and gates, and outboard EQ’s, etc.  Well… back in the day when there was nothing like the StudioLive, if you were going to record in the studio you used to have to spend hours configuring everything.  Not to say this isn’t the case with the StudioLive.  But what happens when that band or artist comes back to record a second time after a recording session with another artist?  You are going to have to start from square 1 and re-configure everything.  But if you had the StudioLive, you could have saved all of those presets and just call them up from the software. BOOM!  But, no… the StudioLive can’t read minds and know what your tracks need to sound like to make you the next big hit… but it remembers… which will save you loads of time in the studio and live performances.

Just to give you an idea of what you can accomplish with the StudioLive check out these videos at the end of this article.

Add all this that Presonus is known for their high quality mic preamps and mixers.  Basically, if you were going to try to get the same sound and features in bold below in an analog system you’d be looking at a minimum of $10,000 and that’s low balling it.  If I wanted to, I could say that number is more like $50,000 and I wouldn’t feel bad about it at all.

  • 10 aux sends, each with
    • Solo
    • Pre/post-fader send
    • Output-level control
    • Access to Fat Channel functions (except phase reverse)
    • Mix and Mix/Pan Fat Channel metering
    • Available sources:  24 input channels, Aux A and B, Tape Input, Talkback
  • 2 internal effects sends, each with:
    • Mute
    • Pre/post-fader send
    • Output-level control
    • Access to Fat Channel (except phase reverse)
    • Effects-send Select for Fat Channel metering
    • Mix button for aux-bus mixing and Fat Channel metering
  • Master Section
    • Aux Input A and B
    • Level Control and Select (Fat Channel metering) switch
    • Access to all Fat Channel functions (except phase reverse)
    • Talkback System
      • Mic Level control
      • Output Select ( Aux 1-2, 3-6, 7-10, Main)
      • Talk button
      • Rear-panel XLR mic input with level control and continuous 48V phantom power
    • 2 Track In
      • Level control
      • Tape Input to Mains button
      • FireWire source on/off
    • Solo Bus
      • Cue Mix volume control
      • PFL/AFL and Solo In Place (SIP) buttons
    • Monitor Bus
      • Headphone-output level control
      • Control-room monitor-level control
      • Solo Bus to Monitor button
      • Tape Input to Monitor button
      • Main L/R FireWire Return to Monitor button
      • Main Mix to Monitor button
  • Fat Channel with rotary encoders:
    • Pan with dedicated 15-LED display
    • Stereo link for input channels, aux buses, and subgroups
    • Phase reverse (main channels only)
    • High-pass filter: 6 dB/oct., sweepable from Off to 1 kHz (main channels and aux’s only)
    • 4-band fully parametric equalizer
      • Low EQ: sweepable from 36 Hz to 465 Hz, ±15 dB, switchable shelf or peaking
      • Low Mid EQ: sweepable from 90 Hz to 1.2 kHz, ±15 dB, variable Q 0.1 to 4.0
      • High Mid EQ: sweepable from 380 Hz to 5 kHz, ±15 dB, variable Q 0.1 to 4.0
      • High EQ: sweepable from 1.4 kHz to 18 kHz, ±15 dB, switchable shelf or peaking
      • Master EQ On/Off button
    • Gate: Threshold: 0 to –84 dB, Attack: 0.02 to 500 ms, Release: 0.05 to 2 sec, Bandpass Key Filter: 40 Hz to 16 kHz, second-order resonant bandpass filter Q (0.7) with Key Listen function
    • Compressor: Threshold,-56 to 0 dB; Ratio 1:1 to 14:1, LIM=∞:1; Attack 0.2 to 150 ms; Release 2.5 to 900 ms; Makeup Gain 0 to 28 dB; Soft Knee switch; Auto Mode with 10 ms Attack and 150 ms Release
    • Limiter: variable Threshold -28 dBfs to 0, ∞:1 Ratio
    • Output Assign: 4 subgroups and main with post-EQ/post-dynamics option
    • All settings can be copied among channels and saved as user presets.
    • 50 channel-strip presets for drums, bass, guitars, keyboards, and vocals
  • 2 internal digital effects-processors, each with 50 customizable reverb and delay presets
    • 31-band graphic equalizers
      • Assignable in four stereo pairs
      • Mono or stereo operation
      • Main outputs, aux outputs, subgroup outputs
    • Scene Store and Recall
    • Global Scene Storage: all current StudioLive settings
      • Up to 80 at a time
    • Automatic Global AutoStore
    • Individual channel-strip Scene storage
      • Up to 48 at a time, plus…
      • 50 factory presets for instruments and vocal
    • Copy and Paste between channels
    • Customizable naming (for example, “Saturday Gig” or “Main Worship Service”)
    • Lockout mode to keep inspired amateurs from changing your settings
  • Metering/Displays
    • 24 x 16- LED Fat Channel matrix:
      • Pre-dynamics/pre-fader input
      • Post-dynamics/post-fader output
      • Gain reduction
      • Aux 1-10 and EFX A/B output
      • Fader-position recall
    • 8 x 15-LED main meter bank
      • Selected channel level
      • Selected channel gain reduction
      • Sub buses 1 to 4
      • Main stereo outputs
    • 15-LED horizontal Pan/Balance display
    • 64 x 194 LCD matrix
      • Effects parameters
      • Scene creation, storage, and recall
      • System menus
    • 2-digit Channel Selected display
  • Input/Output
    • 24 main inputs, each with XLR mic, ¼” line, and ¼” inserts
    • 2 ¼” stereo (L/R) aux inputs
    • 1 XLR talkback-mic input with phantom power and level control
    • Unbalanced RCA stereo (L/R) tape inputs and outputs
    • XLR stereo (L/R) main outputs with level control
    • ¼” stereo (L/R) main outputs
    • XLR mono output with level control
    • ¼” stereo (L/R) control-room outputs
    • ¼” Headphone output
    • 4 ¼” subgroup outputs
    • 10  ¼” aux outputs
    • 24 pre-insert, balanced direct outputs, Ch. 1-8, 9-16, 17-24 (DB25 sockets) S/PDIF digital out
    • 2 FireWire 400 ports

Part 1: StudioLive in the Studio: FYI the Vocalist in this video, Justin is the guy from our video.

Part 2: StudioLive in the Studio

Part 3: StudioLive in the Studio

Cutting Monitor Feedback:

Again, sorry for the long review, but this thing is “everything”, so it took a minute to describe.  We hope you kind of got the idea of how capable this unit is from the videos.  We answer all comments, so let us know if you have any questions!

Also, we want to thank Justin and Mark from Presonus for helping us with this video!

Transcript:

Hi I’m Justin Spence, product specialist for presonus audio and we’re at uniquesquared.com. We’re inside of the computer right now, the internet. And we’re going to be talking about the StudioLive 24.4.2 and its bundled software. Ok, so today we’re talking about the StudioLive 24.4.2. and the bundled software. It comes with capture, studio one artist, and virtual studiolive which is a control application.
I want to talk about the front end. It has X max mic preamps, high voltage class A no opp amp design. High quality converter and this fat channel section, this horizontal channel strip houses your variable high pass filter, your frequency based gate, compressor, limiter, and four band fully parametric EQ.
Now the front end coupled with the fat channel yields an unrivaled digital mixer sound, it sounds amazing.
It’s inexpensive so it sounds better than a mixer that would be fifty or a hundred thousand dollars. It’s a full digital mixer but it’s not convoluted, so it doesn’t work in pages and layers, everything is on the control surface, it recalls everything.
Using your StudioLive mixer you don’t need a computer connected. However, when you connect a computer over the firewire cable you get a lot more features.
Capture, the easiest to use recording software on the planet is bundled with the StudioLive so I can launch a session, and it automatically knows that a 24 or a 16 or two 16s are connected and will configure the track’s inputs and outputs for me and create the appropriate amount of tracks.
All I’ve got to do there is arm all tracks and hit record. It’s as simple as that it doesn’t get any easier. Now that I have the tracks recorded into capture a cool thing I can do is play them back over this single firewire cable into the channels independently into the mixer. All I’ve got to do is hit play and you’ll notice on these channels that these meters are banging.
So these are the input buttons they’re lit up right now but turn them off and I’m looking at the analog or mic preamp mic in line signals coming into the channels. If I engage the firewire buttons I’m then looking at the streams over the firewire cable from the computer.
This is great for virtual sound check, this is great for me to actually record my tracks into capture, stream them back, do my mix with my fat channel, get my fader straight, use the built in 32 bit effects, and record a mix onto the auxiliary 25 and 26 channels in the capture.
Another great application that comes bundled with the StudioLive 24 and the 1640 too is the universal control virtual studiolive. The virtual studiolive is basically a mirror image of what’s happening on the hardware. It’s a software, and anything I controll on here will happen on the desk. And anything I change or control on the desk will happen in the software. So if I disengage the input buttons you’ll see that they turn off in the software. If I turn them back on, you’ll see them turn right back on in the virtual studio live.
Same thing for the mutes, I can turn the mutes off here and the same thing will happen on the mixer or the desk. Same with solo’s, just click and drag those off and turn them back on and you’ll see the same thing happen in virtual studiolive. Now the best thing about this is that it has studio one’s integrated drag and drop feature. If I’m going to drag and drop a scene or a fat channel all I do is grab it, drag it, drop it, just like that. You’ll also see that being reflected on the mixer. I can do my mute change, I can zero out the desk and it’s a real time interface.
Same thing with fat channels, effects, and graphic EQ. Drag and drop, easy to use, use the computer, control the desk. So that’s the super quick overview of the StudioLive and its bundled software.
To learn more about studio one artist, studio one pro, studiolive, and other Presonus products please contact UniqueSquared.com or check us out at Presonus.com to download the free demo of studio one.

Comments

  1. Christopher Love says:

    Hi Guys,

    I am the manager of a devotional singing group in Santa Cruz, CA. We are embarking on a recording project in February and are getting our ducks in a row about what equip. to purchase. Our 32 channel analog board will not allow us to record individual tracks so we are shopping for options. Everyone is raving about digital mixers now. We are looking closely at the 24.4.2. to see if it will be the best fit for us. We need a lot of mic pre’s for our group. I was wondering if you could please answer these five questions for me?

    #1 I use a lot of stereo channel inputs, the kind that analog boards have that are not associated with mic pre’s. I have looked on the rear panel picture for stereo 1/4 inch inputs and have read over the features and found (2) 1/4 aux stereo inputs on the Studio Live. These channels on analog boards usually have a gain knob and sometimes will have an aux send or a few routing options. We use these inputs for stereo devices, (keyboards, sub-mixing boards, i-pods, cd players, turntables and etc.) so we don’t have to use precious mic pre. channels. Also, we have found that running these devices through a mic pre channel will color the sound and the sub boards hate being routed this way altogether. Are these Aux Stereo inputs your version of the Stereo Channels I am used to on my analog board? If so, I am obviously limited to two of them. Ok, so if these are the same thing, how are they controlled and mixed on the board? Can you speak to this please?

    #2 We are also going to be working on a video project. To keep all our recording costs down we are going to do as much as we can ourselves before we send things out for final editing. I am wanting to know if your board is this broad in scope? I have read through the spec.s and looked at the rear panel picture and have not found any inputs for WORD CLOCK or TIME CODE and am wondering if this is supported by the Studio Live? And if so, what protocols?

    #3 We like using the mono output on our analog board for our sub woofers. Our board has a master fader for this output next to the Main Mix fader. This is handy at shows. I notice your mono out on the rear seems to have a volume knob next to it and there is not a Mono Channel fader on the front of the board as far as I can tell from the picture. Is this how you would control the sub woofers at the show, by having to reach over the back and turn this knob? If so, this seems awkward. Or perhaps you assign the Mono Out to a SUB GROUP fader. Is this possible and Is this what you mean for us to do? Could you shed light on this for me please. Will there be an updated Studio Live with a Mono Channel fader on the front of the board in the future? This would even be worth the board being an extra inch wider, in my opinion.

    #4 As far as MAIN faders go, I am under the impression that on a digital board we could easily split the mains to have separately controlled LEFT and RIGHT channels on the MAIN MIX. Sometimes we are at venues with strange rooms where the speakers on not set proportionately and it is important to be able to have one side louder than the other to balance the sound. Yes we can do this by adjusting the gain manually on each powered speaker, but this is messy to adjust during a show and having this control on the board would be icing on the cake. Again I would not mind the board to be an extra inch wider for this. Is there any possibility this will happen in the future with Studio Live?

    #5 Lastly, are there Mutes on the Aux Masters? This would be handy to cut reverb between songs.

    These five questions are important to my over all decision on purchasing a Studio Live and I thank you in advance for answering them. Please enjoy you day.

    Sincerely,

    Christopher Love
    Living Devotion

    PS It seems the one thing people are complaining about on the net about the Studio Live mixers is that they don’t have motorized faders. For those of us who don’t care and would rather save the money, no problem. How ’bout having motorized faders as an optional upgrade for those who want them. Perhaps this will stop all the whining…

  2. 1.) There are the aux inputs which are line level inputs. The can be used for keyboards, submixers, fx returns, etc. They can be routed to the stage monitors/ears, FOH and can be recorded, plus they have fat channel FX on them. You can use the 2track return to playback music from your computer’s Itunes, so that is another stereo return and there is the RCA input for external CD players. That is a total of 4 stereo inputs.

    2.) The StudioLive mixer gets its clock over firewire form the computer. It has no BNC, because it will not slave to external sync. You would have to use a marker and manually sync to picture.

    3.) If you intend to use the mono out for a sub feed you would have to control it from the attenuator on the rear panel. I personally would use an aux, or sub out fader to have front panel control. This will not be an addition to the StudioLive (good feature though).

    4.) This output cannot be separately controlled, because it only has the one master fader and this will not be a feature in future releases.

    5.) The mutes are on the built in 32bit time based FX returns. This is so you can cut your delay and reverb in between songs.

    P.S. I want motorized faders too……..and we shall have them one day.