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Ordered The Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 Today

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  • Ordered The Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 Today

    The scramble for 64 bit everything is not lost on me. The old Hercules 16/12 FW interface was a good one; I'd used it for a lot of recording and it was a reliable part of my live setup when I was doing the whole Digital Performer backing track thing for a while but it's been out of production for some time now and will never see a 64 bit driver. As a result I moved the Presonus FP10 over to the new Dell XPS PC I'd bought in September and was left with only the Apogee Duet for a FW interface on my studio MBP. A good unit but not real handy in a studio type environment.



    I've had several different rackmount FW interfaces in my 'saved searches' since that time from the likes of Apogee, MOTU, Focusrite and Presonus but then it occurred to me last week or so; why not get one of those fancy new Presonus mixers with the FW interface? With 16 ins I could eliminate the need to sub-mix my keyboards and a couple commonly used rackmounts and if I was so inclined I could also use it at gigs.



    Overall they appear to be getting good reviews but I've been a little concerned by all the "Manufacturer Refurbished" ones I've seen listed at eBay. Does this mean that people are having problems with them or are folks just to stupid to be able to figure them out and/or operate them properly?



    In any case I decided to jump in today when 8th Street Music listed a new one on eBay for $1799. I didn't buy it through eBay though because I have an account over at 8th Street and they'd recently sent me e-mails offering 13% off through 1/2/13. This enabled me to get the price down to $1565 (plus $28 for S&H) and there's also a set of KRK headphones thrown in.



    I gotta believe some folks here are using these mixers and I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this gear!
    Gotta have my Guitars, gotta have my Keyboards, gotta have my computers so I can record my Guitars & Keyboards!

  • #2
    I have never used it, but I've heard a number of good things about 'em.



    I do own a Presonus Firestudio audio interface. And I'm basically using it as my studio's thalamus. But once in a while, I need to use more than the eight A/D converters I have with my Apogee. And to my pleasant surprise, this relatively cheap audio interface has surprisingly good sounding A/D converters!!!
    Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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    • #3
      I would like to hear some recent reviews from users also. I was considering upgrading to this from my Allen & Heath MixWizard, but after reading some reviews about the Presonus needing rebooting during a gig, I decided to hold off for a while. The reviews that I referred to were easily found in a Google search and may be outdated as far as I know.

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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by ggm1960
        View Post

        The scramble for 64 bit everything is not lost on me.




        You do realize that the A/D and D/A converters are the same as everyone else's - 24-bit (they put out a 24-bit number) with acceptable accuracy to 21 or 22 bits. What's 64-bit in the StudioLive is the summing bus. They way it makes things sound better is in that you can be sloppier in setting levels and managing headroom. You can't push more bits (a larger number) at the bus that it can't handle. You can run all 16 channels each at full scale, sum them, and all you need to do is pull the master fader down to get the stereo bus meters back on scale and you won't have clipping in your mix.



        That in itself is pretty amazing but it's really more of an advantage in live sound where levels continually creep up. If you start out with plenty of headroom on the inputs (which nearly nobody really wants to do because they're still thinking analog) you don't have to constantly readjust the input gain trims.



        It took a while to stabilize the 64-bit driver, but it seems to be OK on most computers these days. But being a computer interface, there will be some problems with some computers. Some are easy to solve, some may not get solved until the right driver update comes along. Since you're using a Macbook Pro, you'll probably be OK though there may be still some issues with OS-x 10.8.



        Download the latest Universal Control (driver, control, and firmware updater package) and install that rather than what came in the box. Depending on the mixer's pedigree, it will probably tell you that it needs a firmware update, and will do it automatically. But I'd suggest that before you connect it to a computer, spend a day with it as a stand-alone mixer both to familiarize yourself with the controls and to be sure that there's nothing wrong with the hardware.








        Overall they appear to be getting good reviews but I've been a little concerned by all the "Manufacturer Refurbished" ones I've seen listed at eBay. Does this mean that people are having problems with them or are folks just to stupid to be able to figure them out and/or operate them properly?



        Some of both. They've sold over 50,000 of these things, so there are bound to be a few booboos. I don't believe they yet have any other service in the US other than at the headquarters, so anything that's gone back to the factory is "manufacturer refurbished." There were some early problems with power supplies, DSP cards, and EMI susceptibility. Those have mostly been sorted out and new ones seem to be pretty trouble-free.



        The crashes during shows or sessions, short of real hardware problems, mostly seem to be related to the computer connection. It can make some pretty unpleasant noises when the Firewire connection is lost. Sometimes it recovers in a couple of seconds (it's a clock sync issue) and sometimes it needs to be powered down and restarted. It's not an everyday occurrence of course, but all it takes is one to shake your faith.








        I gotta believe some folks here are using these mixers and I'd be interested to know your thoughts on this gear!



        You can read my review on my web page if you haven't already. That was when it was brand new and they've made a lot of improvements and enhancements since then, but nearly everything has been oriented toward live sound since that's where most of these mixers are being used.



        I didn't like it enough to want to use it in my studio, but other than wanting a more effective low cut filter and more flexible EQ, I had no quibbles with the sound. But then I've been using analog consoles for about 50 years and it's hard to get used to adjusting every channel with the same set of controls. And if you use the Solo function, this one will drive you nuts.



        There's a lot to like about it if you're open minded and young enough (in age or at heart) to adapt to a different way of working.
        --
        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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        • #5
          Thanks Mike, some excellent information!



          It'll be a while yet before I can go totally 64 bit on everything. Logic Pro 9 and the latest versions of Digital Performer and Reason are 64 bit but I've currently got them in 32 to accommodate my UAD and various other soft synths/plug-ins. Gradually everything is catching up, got a good price on the new version of Lounge Lizard the other day, but I've got a couple other AAS synths and all the IK Multimedia stuff that I like to use. Eventually there will probably be a few 32 bit leftovers that I like but I'll be able to run them via the Audio MIDI Setup Network function from my other MBP if I feel the need.
          Gotta have my Guitars, gotta have my Keyboards, gotta have my computers so I can record my Guitars & Keyboards!

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          • #6

            ggm, 

             

            I went ITB in `05 after selling a Mackie d8b. Eventually purchased a small Mackie mixer to monitor some sound mods and have a volume knob for the DAW. In the summer of `11, I finally made the dive and stopped using outboard keyboards and sound mods all together. Also purchased an Apogee Duet 2 at the time which I can not be happier about. For the price, the sound/features are outstanding.

             

            I recently purchased a Mackie Control Universal which is pretty useful. After being ITB since 2005, I still felt the need for some faders, not necessarily a mixer. So its been great to reach for a physical button to arm tracks while recording and adjust faders.... just makes the process a whole lot easier and faster. 

             

            At this point, I don`t see myself every going back to a mixer but then again, if my recording objectives change, I may need one. Let us know how you like the Presonus. A friend of mine is currently auditioning the Yamaha O1V96i which I`ve always liked.

            Comment


            • MikeRivers
              MikeRivers commented
              Editing a comment

              Ernest Buckley wrote:

              I recently purchased a Mackie Control Universal which is pretty useful. After being ITB since 2005, I still felt the need for some faders, not necessarily a mixer. So its been great to reach for a physical button to arm tracks while recording and adjIust faders.... just makes the process a whole lot easier and faster.

              I think there's going to be more of this as DAWs and interfaces offer more control over routing, and equally important, sufficiently low latency between input and monitor output so that they're close enough to a direct analog path so that monitoring delay isn't distracting. That's where a real analog mixer is still important for some things. When the monitored signal has to pass through a computer-based DAW before getting to the headphones, only integrated systems like Pro Tools HD(X) come close to really working right. The trick is that these have the software closely integrated with the I/O hardware so that you're really monitoring through the hardware. PreSonus' latest version of Studio One and the latest firmware for their 1818VSL interface apparently has a "zero latency" mode where when you select Input Monitor in the DAW program, it engages the most-direct-as-possible monitoring path through the interface. But no matter how good the marketing department is, latency is never zero, or even as close as you can get when you're depending on electrons moving through a wire.

            • ggm1960
              ggm1960 commented
              Editing a comment

              I didn't purchase the 16.4.2 so much for it's mixer functionality (although I'm certain it excels on that front) as I did for all the inputs. This has double the inputs of typical rackmount FW interfaces at a price that compares with the best quality ones. I still like to use several pieces of outboard gear and I previously had to submix in order to squeeze them all into my interface without having to reconnect things.

              I know very little about the mixer yet and there certainly are some differences between it and the typical rackmount unit. For example I wasn't quite sure how to get the sound out from my computer through the mixer and playing around I discovered that the sound from iTunes was playing back through channels 1 & 2 which was disappointing thinking that I had to sacrifice input channels for outputs. After doing a little reading though I discovered a way to monitor the computer output without needing to use input channels. It was a rather strange procedure to follow or understand but it works great.



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