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First Look At Using PreSonus StudioLive AI Series Consoles with Capture 2.1 and Virtual StudioLive

As technology within digital consoles advances, the diverse role of the Live Sound Engineer is becoming more manageable. It is not uncommon for the FOH engineer also to be responsible for monitors, recording, and system tuning on top of their normal FOH duties. As digital consoles become more powerful, recording and system control is fortunately becoming easier. To build on this necessity, the latest software release from PreSonus, Virtual StudioLive and Capture 2.1 are making these added tasks much less of a hassle for the modern FOH engineer. Throw in the new iOS7 compatible iPad, iPhone, and iPod apps and there's a full set of software control applications to make the new AI series just that much easier to control. Check all digital live mixers available at Sonic Sense.

In the small amount of time we've had with this new software, it is clear that the updated software along with the new StudioLive AI console series truly makes the StudioLive a viable live sound console for any application. As we learn more and become more familiar with the equipment, we'll keep everyone up to date with our findings. For now, enjoy our PreSonus StudioLive 32.4.2 AI First Look video to see an overview of the new addition to the StudioLive digital console series.

With the included Capture 2.1 recording software installed on a PreSonus StudioLive mixing console, instead of having to click multiple buttons to arm tracks and being recording, Capture 2.1 features a “Record Now” button which automatically enables recording of 16, 24, or 32 tracks (depending on your model of StudioLive) along with an additional stereo 2-track mix that mirrors the main outputs. Further, with the new “Active Integration” technology, if you took the time to name your tracks within Virtual StudioLive, the tracks will automatically be re-named within Capture.

And more exciting even simplified recording is the addition of virtual sound check, a feature previously only possible on large-scale touring consoles with full ProTools HD systems in tow. Now, an engineer can use a recording from a previous show and play each individual track back through the StudioLive on it’s assigned channel and out to the system, wedges and all, to  sound check and tune loudspeakers and monitors without having to wait for all those pesky musicians to wake up and get through catering.

As if these improvements weren’t enough to make the new generation of StudioLive a must have, StudioLive Mixer Scenes can be exported along with your capture file, and when you import the multi-tracks into StudioOne 2.6 your fader levels, busses, FX sends, and Fat Channel settings are imported as well.  That way, you can listen to your multi-track and your 2-track mix just as you had it set when exporting at the end of your last show or service. This saves a lot of time for the engineer who needs to mix the multi-track recording from a previous event in order for the band to release a live recording. Import the file into StudioOne 2.6, and an entire session is set up and ready to go with the right effects and levels from the show.

The “Active Integration” with Virtual StudioLive returns the PreSonus StudioLive consoles to their position as industry leader for easy operation and functionality unsurpassed in their price class. Now, console control is bi-directional so the mixer, iPad Apps, and computer applications are all constantly synced with one another. Change something on the iPad, and it changes anywhere else that a control application is open.  Anything from EQ settings, compression, FX sends, monitor sends, and even fader level can be changed from any source, and it will reflect on the console and all support devices.

Within Virtual StudioLive on the computer, the operator can save an unlimited number of scenes that save anything from a single channel’s EQ setting all the way to an entire scene with settings for every channel of the console. These scenes can be backed up on external disks or USB drives, and can be swapped with other engineers, or even stored permanently on the StudioLive console itself.

Additionally, the StudioLive can be controlled from literally anywhere. As long as the console is connected to a network, the console can be controlled remotely with a reliable internet connection and third-party VPN software. For example, if a church installs a PreSonus StudioLive AI console and has volunteers running the show, a contractor or other qualified engineer can log in remotely and set up scenes, EQ’s, and Fat Channel setting. This again puts the StudioLive technology in league with the big boys and their large scale touring consoles.

Finally, with the Smaart measurement system integrated into the console software, an on-site or off-site engineer can tune a system in real-time without even hearing the mix thanks to Smaart’s analyzer. Active Integration and Virtual StudioLive have really taken digital control to a whole new level. A system can be properly setup and tuned from multiple sources, and every parameter is controllable.

We created a video that truly shows how easy it is to use Smaart with the PreSonus StudioLive console series. With the added software integration, tuning sound systems has become a much less daunting task. Check out the video "Controlling Feedback with StudioLive and Smaart" for yourself and see how easy it is to get a properly tuned system within minutes. In addition to the tuning of a system, Smaart can help identify frequencies where feedback is building up during a show so that you can quickly EQ out the frequency that is feeding back. In addition to system EQ, Smaart can also aid in properly time aligning multiple speakers in a PA system so that you can achieve the best sound possible.

Now, with all the praise we’ve poured upon our friends from Baton Rouge, let’s address everybody’s first gripe about the StudioLive consoles: the lack of moving faders. While we all like the excitement of watching faders dance with the touch of button and the ease of operation it provides, the StudioLive is not compromised by this nor was it an oversight. An operator can still smoothly switch between interfaces and modes when controlling level. If you start mixing on an iPad and need to get back to the console, PreSonus included a “Fader Locate” Mode on the StudioLive Consoles. This puts the meters into a mode that represents the fader levels visually so you can easily match the physical position of the faders to the adjusted operating level set on the iPad. They really did think of everything!

With the latest improvement on Apple's iOS devices, iOS7, there is also a set of apps for the StudioLive AI series that are fully compatible with the new OS. If QMix is installed on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, the app transforms the device into a personalized monitor mix controller. As long as a network has been created, and the console is connected to an instance of Virtual StudioLive, QMix enables control of Aux sends right on the iOS device. With the StudioLive 32.4.2 AI console, it is possible to have up to 15 iOS devices connected at once. Since the 32.4.2 AI has 14 Aux sends, this enables each monitor mix to be controlled by a performer on stage with an iOS device. The extra slot for a device is left open for the FOH engineer to connect his iPad to the system so that every parameter can truly be controlled wirelessly via StudioLive Remote.

StudioLive Remote brings every control on the StudioLive console right to your fingertips on your iPad. If you need to check how the monitor mix sounds on stage for yourself, just bring the iPad with you and there is no need to worry about having to run back to mix position just to change a level somewhere. Additionally, this allows the FOH engineer to walk around during the show or sound check and truly see how the mix sounds anywhere in the venue. This helps any live sound engineer ensure his mix is great in every seat whether it's during sound check, in between bands, or even during the show.

These powerful new developments in the PreSonus StudioLive series have maintained PreSonus’ position as a serious contender in the small to mid-sized console market. With Capture 2.1 and expanded Virtual StudioLive software functionality, this console provides everything an engineer needs for easy recording, mixing, and tuning.  A system operator can focus on producing results rather than learning tedious software and fumbling through multi-layered menus. Active Integration streamlines the responsibilities relegated to the sound system engineers inside or outside of the touring world.

Just because a board is smaller and more compact doesn’t mean that it has to sacrifice performance.  PreSonus has once again redefined what the compact digital console can be. The software that goes along with it is a perfect example of just how powerful modern, affordable digital consoles can really be.

Click to read a Live Mix Engineers thoughts of the PreSonus mixer in a real life scenario.

2 thoughts on “First Look At Using PreSonus StudioLive AI Series Consoles with Capture 2.1 and Virtual StudioLive”

  • gregory peeks
    gregory peeks 09/21/2013 at 3:10 AM

    I want 1

  • Lee Hazlewood
    Lee Hazlewood 10/16/2013 at 9:00 AM

    Thanks for the review on the new SL 32.4.2 AI mixer! I am a dedicated Presonus product user, although I don't have a newer AI mixer, or will have anytime soon, they have truly been a game changer in their mixers, DAW, monitors, and now PA speakers, among other products...and I have a good feeling that they will keep moving up the ladder as time goes by! I own their Studio One 2.6 Professional DAW, and a SL 16.4.2 1st generation mixer, and I have been able to record, mix, and master songs more efficiently than ever before! They seemed to have simplified a way for users to not only afford, but use a mixer, or a DAW, and for that, I am truly grateful, Thanks, Lee


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