PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2 by floaty83
Where do I start? I have had my StudioLive 16.4.2 for about 2 1/2 years now. Before I had the StudioLive I had a Firestudio Project interface that I was using to record. I very quickly outgrew the 8 mic preamps and lack of any DSP or live mixing capabilities. I wanted to get a system that I could use as a recording interface but also use as a live mixer. The StudioLive was the answer.
First of all, Presonus continues to add more and more features to this console as time goes on. Best of all, these upgrades have all been free. In the time I've had the console, they have added 31-band graphic EQs on the main outputs as well as all 6 Aux outputs. They have added VSL (Virtual StudioLive) software that lets you control the console from the computer rather than the physical surface, then they added the ability to control VSL wireless with a dedicated iPad app. More recently they added an app specifically for iPhone and iPod Touches that allows for Aux mixing (intended for use on stage by musicians to control their own monitor mix). They have also added speaker delays on the subgroups and amazingly, Smaart analyzing software integrated directly into VSL. AMAZING!!!!!! All of this for a $2000 console.
So, how does it sound? Great! First, they've got some really nice A/D converters on board that have 118db of dynamic range. That's really amazing considering thats the same dynamic range offered by some of the best names in A/D conversion like Apogee. When you combine that with the Class A high voltage XMAX mic preamps, this digital mixer sounds better than a lot of analog boards. The Fat Channel processing with HP filter, Noise Gate, Compressor, Limiter and 4-band semi-parametric EQ on every single input and output is incredible. NO DSP resource meters to worry about, just getting a good sound. The layout is intuitive and easy to use.
When you combine the fact that this is such a great live mixer and the built-in firewire recording interface, this board is potential money maker for the right engineer. I know I've made some good money using this board. A band could hire me, I would go out and run sound for their show and record them at the same time, then completely remix the whole show in Logic after the fact. The band walks away with an awesome sounding final product and I made some money, all while having a ton of fun using the console. It doesn't get much better than that.
The board's only real weakness is the physical faders unfortunately. It was one of the way Presonus was able to keep the price of the console under $2000. They are a little cheap and have gotten rough feeling, but still very functional.
This is a great investment for anyone wanting a great live production/recording system. It can replace an entire rack of outboard gear making load in and outs a whole lot easier. Highly recommended!!!