With the dropping price and complexity of project studio setups, live recording is becoming more profitable – especially for the semi-pro level engineer. Many bands record their own demos, and even early releases, but the live show remains a tricky environment to capture.
On the front end are 16 XMAX preamps with individual channel strips. You get Mute and Solo buttons, trim controls, and clearly labeled, individual knobs for the semi-parametric EQ and dynamics processing. Fans of the analog console layout will be pleased to know there’s not too much different in this unit.
Each channel has pan (with dedicated 15-LED display), sweepable HP filter, 4 band EQ (with switchable Q), Gate, Compression, and Limiter. Analog outputs include 6 auxiliaries, 4 subgroups, and main stereo out, and you also get 2 internal FX sends. Of course, this being a digital desk, all your settings can be stored, recalled, and automated. Channel settings can also be copied from one channel to another, and saved as user presets.
Nearly all StudioLive functions can be controlled remotely via a laptop or iPad, and band members can be given control over their own monitor mixes via iPhone/iPod apps.
The big benefit here is the built-in interface. It’s a 24-bit/48 kHz 32-in/18-out FireWire interface compatible with Logic, Cubase, Sonar, Digital Performer, Ableton Live, and more. The StudioLive desks come packaged with Capture 1.1 and Studio One Artist software packages, so if you’re not already running a DAW there’s no need to buy one.
All the preamps are of classic PreSonus quality, with low noise and high gain levels. If you’re after Neve levels of analog warmth then this isn’t the package for you – but it is an extremely versatile way to reinforce and record a small band, corporate event, or worship house.
Available in 16.0.2, 16.4.2, and 24.4.2 models, the range has a lot to offer for any size of live recording, and desks can even be daisy chained … although I do wonder why.