Over a year ago, I shared about a new digital sound board that looked promising. A few months later, we were able to buy one for our church. Now, after using it for the last year, I wanted to share more about it. The PreSonus StudioLive series of digital mixers are simply amazing. If you have ever looked at digital sound boards, you know the prices can be astronomical, especially for the budgets of small to mid-sized churches. Although the StudioLive mixers are priced very close to traditional analog boards, the similarties end there. I would highly recommend this for any church looking to upgrade their sound system.
What I like
- the price – starting at under $2000 for 16 channels and under $3300 for 24 channels
- the sound – the board simply sounds great. It has high quality pre-amps so everything sounds amazing
- the ability to expand – if you need more channels, simply buy another board and daisy chain them together using the firewire interface
- multi-track recording – You can simply and easily record all incoming channels directly to your computer over firewire. Not only that, but once they are recorded, you can play them back and remix them on the board. You can record your band’s practice, then come back in the next day and tweak the settings for each instrument. It works great and the board comes with the simple and easy to use software Capture and StudioOne Artist.
- the ability to save scenes and channel settings – you can save the entire board setup for later recall. This works great when you have many activities throughout the week. You can also save channel settings for individual instruments or vocalists. Anytime they are on stage, you can recall their eq, compressor, and limiter settings in just a few steps.
- the fat channel – it is easy to understand and easy to use. Hit select on any channel, aux or sub feed, and all the applicable settings are in the same section on the board. Set you 4 band semi-parametric eq, compressor, limiter, gates, and more.
- the ease of use – it looks similar enough to an analog board that you easily train your volunteers on how to run it. Buttons are clearly labeled, and the lcd screen is easy to use.
- the power – we have been using it for a year now and we are still learning new things with this board. PreSonus has also rolled out several firmware updates that have added features.
- the online presence – PreSonus has great forums and they use their blog to constantly share training videos about how to use the board.
- VSL – Virtual StudioLive is simply amazing. This is the game changer. Once you hook the board up to your laptop or desktop via firewire, you can control everything on the board from your computer. Check out the picture below for a glimpse of what this looks like. If you want to get real creative, it is easy to use screen sharing software to give you the ability to control the soundboard from a laptop or iPad from anywhere in the room. You can load scene or channel presets from here as well.
The only small complaint about this board is that it doesn’t have motorized faders. They left those out so the price could remain low. When you recall a scene, you have to manually move the sliders to the position the board indicates. Honestly, it works and it is quick, so I don’t see it as a huge problem. If you want to find out more about the board, check out the video below.