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Presonus studiolive 16.4.2 - ok for recording?

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  • Presonus studiolive 16.4.2 - ok for recording?

    So, the SL 16.4.2 gets plenty of love in the live sound forum, anyone using it mostly for recording?

    I am about to replace my trusty Motu 2408s & Soundcraft 200b, looking forward to less latency, mixing via iPad, and nice new faders and pots.

    you guys like the SL 16.4.2 for recording?

    If not, do you have alternative recommendation? Need 16 inputs.
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  • #2
    In general, I think Motu makes much better gear and switching

    to Presonus might be a step down in recording quality and reliability.

    I haven


    • #3
      The faders on the SL are not high quality IMO. The knobs, too, are not that great. The big sell point for me on those things is the ability to get rid of the FOH rack for processing, snake/FOH table with the Ipad mixing and the meter bridge. I don't have any experience with that thing in the studio, but IIRC the controls on the SL can integrate into studio one for playback. Less gear, less physical patching and cabling to fail and deal with.

      I wouldn't pull that trigger unless you're going to use it live. And it gets 'plenty of attacks' in the live sound forum, too. For good reason. Your soundcraft/MOTU setup is likely more reliable.


      • #4
        Mackie 1640i. Great preamps and converters.
        I like Z Cars
        and Guitars


        • #5
          I have used that exact board.

          Honestly it was a buggy piece of **************** on my mac and his mac (was trying to run it with cubase 5).

          Issues we had on OSX 10.6.8 on both a mac pro and a mac mini (also intel):

          1. Opening the mixer app resulted in the app locking up and not working, meters in the app would spike and freeze.

          2. If we left the app unopened, but opened cubase the board would lock up and freeze. You could restart, but it usually just froze again.

          3. When we did get it to finally work for a little while (this was also after doing firmware upgrades and downgrades) the driver would sometimes just drop out and we would have to reset it (the reset button in cubase usually worked though).

          Plus sides I though of the board:

          1. Having a parametric on each channel in live situations would be absolutely amazing.

          2. The simple software they included for just recording live shows is pretty streamlined and easy to use (note, I'm not talking studio one).

          3. I'm personally a fan of how presonus xmax preamps sound.

          4. The fx in the board were pretty nice, the compressor was also pretty nice. Again both really REALLY nice to have live.

          5. Everything is easy on the eyes, and the board is layed out well in terms of using it for long periods.

          6. Both apps for ipad and iphone/ipod touch worked well when the board worked.


          1. Didn't like that you had to buy a separate cable if you wanted direct outs.

          2. For a board this expensive I expected it to either have motorized faders, or at min to work as a DAW controller. If the cheap zoom can do it, I see no reason why this shouldn't.

          3. I don't think the manual was written as well as it should have been.

          4. I thought the way you got this thing to play system audio was a little bit stupid, but they probably had their reasons for doing it that way.

          5. Since this is also a recording interface, it would have been nice to see an instrument input on the front near the headphone outs (but yeah this is more designed for live stuff so this is a minor complaint).

          6. Was a little disappointed that they didn't write a new driver for this. They used the firestudio driver.

          Actually, this was my experience with the firestudio as well (different friend, it was his mac pro and mine and he wanted to run pro tools 9 with the firestudio). Again really buggy piece of **************** for both of us, bot of them ended up returning them.


          • #6
            Dangit I was hoping the 16..4.2. was the answer to everything.
            Aromatic Squid
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            • #7
              The AD/DA conversion and frequency response of the StudioLive and new AudioBox lines are pretty horrible..

              I can't seem to find the chart right now but I'll redo the test and post the conversion SPL and phase. The frequency response gets some distortion in the signal after about 1.5-2k on my AudioBox 1818, more than likely due to improper digital shielding from the analog parts. The phase response is actually pretty good, but the frequency response along the way leaves a lot to be desired.

              That's typically what you see though, either a unit has amazing phase response and sacrifices frequency response, or vice versa; however, those awesome AD or DA converters don't sacrifice either, hence why they cost the extra cash.

              Literally the only reason I can see companies NOT providing these charts, is because they're afraid of being that honest about their products. If deadmau5 was doing anything other than electronic music in clubs, I'd be really surprised to see him still using a StudioLive board.


              • #8

                Quote Originally Posted by chugheshc2
                View Post

                Dangit I was hoping the 16..4.2. was the answer to everything.

                I think something like a digital mixer can be a solution some day.

                Some are definately better than others. Bushmaster mentions the Mackie.

                It likely has better preamps.

                I think they are trying to sell them based on how much crap they can stick in the boxes

                and wind up sacrific in what counts the most. Quality.

                As I said, Preamp and Converter quality are at the source of good recording.

                If the quality is there tracking then a loss of quality shaping the sound mixing will

                still leave you with great sounding tracks. You cant enhance bad quality with all the gizmos

                in the world packed in a box. They only complicate things.

                Same goes for older analog recording setups when you think about it.

                In analog its simply great low noise preamps, recording head, and the tape itself.

                The rest deals with mechanical tape movement.

                Digital is alll about accurate sampleing of an analog wave. The preamps geterate

                a great signal to be sampled, and the convertes create a high definition binary copy

                of the waveform. The rest, how faders feel or mechanical relyability, or how you like

                using a DAW interface to get things done are all post tracking items. You got to capture

                great tracks before you can mix them so its all about the front end up to the converters.

                Like I said, I havent used presonus stuff much. My buddy has an 8 channel Firebox

                that was glitchey as all get out. I didnt spend allot of time using it. It was mostly

                fixing his driver issues. The thing was constantly crashing on him and having connectivity issues.

                What I did hear from the recorded tracks didnt exactly turn me on. I know some of it was his lack of

                recording experience. It would take me a month using the gear first hand to fully evaluate gear and

                find all of its limitations. I'm sure I could get some good recordings from It, But I think I'd max its

                capibilities out rather quickly and regret what I bought. If I found one at half cost used, then I

                might feel better spending that kind of money. Even then I think I could do much better.

                I do see you use an external mixer for your recording.

                I think most of your bottleneck is coming from that unit.

                Its impressive to have a mixer but thats as far as it goes.

                All that circuitry robs the signal coming from the mic and colors it.

                Its just not needed in modern Daw systems. I have about a half dozen

                mixers in storage myself and determined long ago, they rob tone.

                My suggestion is get an interface with as many built in mic preamps

                as you need for you mics. All XLR inputs with a single mic preamp volume,

                and decent meters for all. Maybe a high pass switch on the channels, but thats it.

                This way EVERYTHING, from the mic gets captured, the good and the bad.

                If a channel captures bad tone, then theres only one way of correcting that.

                You fix the sound quality at the source. You dont use channel filters/EQ knobs

                to filter the sound. You had to do some of that recording analog so you didnt oversaturate

                the tape, but even there, getting the source correct was #1.

                From there its all about mixing in the box. You dont need an external mixer for that and it

                can actually cause more quality loss if you do. Tracks playing straight through the converters

                to the monitors gives you exactly what you tracked. The only thing you use is the daw program to

                manipulate the data before it gets to the converters.

                If you're used to using your hands to manipulate the sound, get a cotroller that works well with your DAW program.

                This will take the place of an analog mixer for sound manipulation mixing but its all being done on a digital level,

                before the data is converted to sound bu the converters.

                Then if you want to loop sound through some vintage rack gear, thats up to you.

                I know loosing the analog mixer is rough. I was an analog guy since the 60's when

                I first got into tape. I went 100% digital in the late 90's when drives became big enough.

                It took a good 10 years to really get the hang of it and DAW programs, and gear to do a good

                enough for me to let go of the analog path. Now days, there really isnt any reason to use analog

                gear like you used to.

                Just my perspective.


                • #9
                  Bit the bullet, drank the koolaid.

                  StudioLive should arrive Monday.

                  I had a very frustrating session with the Soundcraft Saturday morning, pops, random input channels not going to various sends, pulling channel strips and reseating cables would only work for a few minutes if at all, really made for no fun.

                  Add trying to make the band understand a matrix for headphone mixes (I play drums with these guys and can't reach the board), especially when things are flaky... no fun no fun no fun and no music no music no music while I am tinkering.

                  It was time to for a change.

                  The board had traveled all over the United States as part of a monitor system, then got used for recording for at least another 10 years or so after that.

                  I am actually selling it back to the engineer I got it from, he will refurbish it or use it for spares for his other 200b series. Enjoy your next career Mr. Soundcraft! (have to ship to Nashville, sucker is heavy too.)

                  I will be selling off the MOTU 2408s, snakes, and pci-424 card, nothing but a good experience with that hardware, it is just redundant at this point, and I need the couple hundred bucks for other stuff.

                  I am confident this is at the very, very least, a moderate step up in sound quality, and a huge step up in reliability. The convenience factor has a huge potential too.

                  Update in a month or two so after I figure out how to start to use it!
                  Aromatic Squid
                  Hot Hot Robot


                  • #10
                    I hope you don't have any of the issues we did with it. Maybe we got a dud or maybe it was cubase, I don't know.


                    • chugheshc2
                      chugheshc2 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Ok, I have had the Presonus studiolive for about three weeks.
                      In my case , this was the right move.
                      Everything works just like it was supposed to, and I understand this board much better than the Soundcraft 200b already.
                      Being able to use an app to adjust the aux mixes is so, very, very much easier than doing it in analog.
                      Being able to limit on each auc mix out is nice too.
                      The only caveat I have so far is that the gain does not seem as high as it was on Soundcraft.

                  • #11
                    Okay cool... but check this out! The PreSonus DigiMax DP88 is my new favorite toy.



                    • #12
                      Originally posted by katienido View Post
                      Okay cool... but check this out! The PreSonus DigiMax DP88 is my new favorite toy.

                      That thread is 5 years old. Allot of technical changes and new gear comes out in 5 years.

                      That Digimax is cool. I'm not a big fan of Presonus gear however. I've had allot of issues with their drivers. They used to be Mac only and they didn't do so hot building writing drivers on several pieces of their gear. They likely fixed that problem by now but you know how a sour taste lingers.

                      That unit looks like it has some expandability. I have no use for ADAT or allot of midi so spending $600 is a total waste of money for me.

                      Tascam makes a 16 channel for 1/3 the price.
                      I have the 6 channel version and it works like a champ. I still run 24 channel PCI based setup for live recording but this is going to be the last computer I'll be able to use those cards since PCI has become obsolete in newer computers.

                      I'm going to buy that 16 channel and dump my PCI based setup with my next computer upgrade. I'm not doing allot of work with bands right now so its a low priority. I rarely need more then 16 channels so I can get buy with 16 just fine recording full bands. I'll take that $400 I save and get some better mics. The differences between interfaces these days is minimal. So long as the preamps are good it comes down to what you plug into them and you music being played that makes the difference in recording quality


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

                        That Digimax is cool. I'm not a big fan of Presonus gear however. I've had allot of issues with their drivers. They used to be Mac only and they didn't do so hot building writing drivers on several pieces of their gear. They likely fixed that problem by now but you know how a sour taste lingers...
                        That's a Windows issue, not a Presonus issue.

                        I spent a couple of days trying to setup an AudioBox VSL on a frind's Dell PC. Frustrated and thinking we may have a hardware issue, I took the unit home, plugged it into my MacBook and hit Record.

                        I ended up buying the AudioBox from my friend and now I have a nice multi-channel interface I can use for recording and live use - I can even mix with my iPad from anywhere in the room.

                        I find that with Windows on a PC it becomes about the computer but with a Mac it remains about the music.
                        Every worm, every insect, every animal is working
                        for the ecological wellbeing of the planet.

                        Only we humans, who claim to be the most intelligent
                        species here, are not doing that. ~Sadhguru


                        • WRGKMC
                          WRGKMC commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Presonus writes the drivers and the drivers for windows had issues so it was in fact an issue with Presonus because they're drivers were flakey. My buddy had a Firebox that kept having its drivers fail. He brought it to me because I've been in the computing business since the 80s and was able to conform the drivers had issues running on a 64 bit system. We even contacted Presonus on the issue and they confirmed they were having issues and he's need to wait for the next upgrade which took about a year. I think he was running Vista at that time. As I said I think they got they're act straightened out but the changeover from Mac only had its issues.

                      • #14
                        Can't believe it's been 5 years. I'm still using the StudioLive, it is working fine for me. Still on Windows XP, Sonar X1.
                        The only complaint I have is that that there is occasionally not as much gain as I would like, using some mics.
                        The several times I've had a whole band in it has been fun to adjust monitor mixes with ipads/iphones.
                        Aromatic Squid
                        Hot Hot Robot


                        • WRGKMC
                          WRGKMC commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Many interfaces have pretty good quality on the mic preamps, but you're right, some can lack a little extra gain and when fully cranked can become noisy. I'm able to run ribbon mics with the Tascam. I can pin the meters with the preamp at about 90% and record without any hiss in the 80% range and get a strong signal tracked.

                          Its headphone amp could be a little stronger. I run AKG headphones which have an excellent frequency response but they aren't known for being the loudest headphones. The open back set I have is much better but of course you can get some bleed over using those tracking vocals if you aren't careful. If I run my older JVC headphones or Koss I've had for decades I have plenty of volume to spare.

                          What I usually do is pump the signal into a Hi Fi Amp I have connected for testing mixes and simply mute the speakers and I can crank the headphone levels up to a more comfortable level. I also have another external headphone amp that runs the house headphones for guest musicians which is strong enough to get me a good signal level. .

                          For weak gain Dynamic and Ribbon mics you can use one of those cloud lifters. They have a small preamp built into them that run off the phantom power and can give weak mics a nice clean boost. They are a bit overpriced for my needs. The circuity inside costs maybe $3 and the connectors and box maybe another $15. They charge about hundred for them. There's another called a FetHead that's about half the cost which is more reasonably priced at around $70. I really don't need them because I have multi channel rack units when recording a live band that have plenty of gain to spare.