Anyone recording with Studiolive mixers?

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IDQ
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Anyone recording with Studiolive mixers?

Post by IDQ » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:02 pm

For a while now, I've been considering purchasing a presonus Studiolive (16.0.2 vs 16.4.2) for use in my hobbyist home studio. My current setup is way outdated: a 6 channel M-audio omnistudio that I've had for 12 years. Yes, this topic has been raised before, and yes I've searched, but the few opinions are all >1 yr old. Given that presonus is apparently selling these things like hotcakes, someone must have some other thoughts.

I record mostly on my own, but occasionally jam with a few friends, so I've had to get very creative with the 6 inputs I do have on a few occasions. I'd like that not to be an issue any more, and I'd like to be able to record a drunk kit when I get one. I don't play "out," but if I have friends over to jam, I want to be able to record the session. Mostly what draws me to the Studiolive is the convenience of an all-in-one interface and mixer. I like the idea of being able to plug something/someone in via one piece of equipment and dial up a little compression or EQ without having to sit down at the computer (though I do use plenty of software effects when I'm tweaking/mixing). Recording is a VERY part time thing for me, so maximizing the few hours I have is nice.

All of that notwithstanding, what I really need is an interface more than a mixer. I like the combination of both, but I'm trying to assess the quality trade off. Other interfaces I'd consider would be the Apollo or some of the RME products, etc. I know they'll provide better sound quality (plus the awesome processing that would come with UA). Quality IS important to me, but if I'm only going to notice that difference using $2000 mics and pre's (which I don't have), then the convenience factor is probably the trump card.

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

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Post by kslight » Sun Mar 23, 2014 3:42 pm

My opinion is it looks cool and like a really convenient all-in-one gadget for live sound/worship guys?which is what I think its target audience is. Its probably really nice for mobile guys or small clubs on a shoestring budget. On the other hand, it has a few things that would prevent me from buying it if I wasn't in that category:

1. Will not run at 96khz
2. I don't trust all-in-one solutions (ie: I prefer separate conversion, preamps, etc) because if all or some of it sucks or dies I am paying for features I won't use and if something goes wrong in the middle of a show I'm probably totally done for the night
3. Modern digital gear = can't fix it/becomes a doorstop when obsolete or fails
4. Its Firewire which will probably be gone from all computers very soon?the AI models have a Thunderbolt option but I don't see this for sale ATM

IDQ
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Post by IDQ » Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:49 pm

Those are ALL very good points. I had overlooked the lack of 96k function. I think, when I looked at it a while back, I remember thinking it wasn't "high resolution." However, while I don't think I need 192, 96 seems like it should standard. The point about thunderbolt is also relevant, and the UA Apollo options do have that. I'm currently a PC guy, so less relevant immediately, but thinking ahead, it will be.

Still interested in some other opinions, if people have any.

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Post by JWL » Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:41 pm

If you don't need the mixer much, then check out the Presonus 1818VSL interface. Great cost, 8 clean mic pres built in, and can take 8 more via ADAT lightpipe.

In addition to the interface, you get a "software version" of the StudioLive mixers. It's a little clunky relative to actual hardware but it gets the job done if you need it.

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Post by kslight » Mon Mar 24, 2014 4:07 pm

IDQ wrote:Those are ALL very good points. I had overlooked the lack of 96k function. I think, when I looked at it a while back, I remember thinking it wasn't "high resolution." However, while I don't think I need 192, 96 seems like it should standard. The point about thunderbolt is also relevant, and the UA Apollo options do have that. I'm currently a PC guy, so less relevant immediately, but thinking ahead, it will be.

Still interested in some other opinions, if people have any.
I'm content with suggesting 192khz is still overkill for my purposes, but 96khz has been my standard of operating for over 5 years, no plans to turn back. 48khz can sound good as well, I'm not disputing that fact either, and I do occasionally do 48khz for certain things (live concerts when I need all 24 tracks of my HD24XR) but for studio projects I see no compelling reason not to use 96khz.

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Post by AndersonSoundRecording » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:35 pm

Studiolive is quite good for what it is.

Excellent bang-for-the-buck. Sounds pretty good as long as you don't push the mic amps too hard - keep your peaks at -6 and it will do just fine.

Better mic's will make a far bigger difference than higher sample rates in most cases.

IMHO and YMMV
I heard they inserted a Jimmy Hendrix into the chain somewhere before the preamp.

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IDQ
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Post by IDQ » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:54 am

Something I had passed by before (or maybe it was just released) that also might fit the bill for me is the Focusrite Sapphire 18i20. It does lack the physical mixer aspect of the studiolive, of course, and the input/output count is really only applicable if I acquire some ADAT equipment. I'm sure that the quality of Focusrite vs Presonus preamps is a matter of taste, but if anyone has an opinion I'm happy to hear it.

For $500, it'd leave me room to get at least 1-2 channels of an even nicer pre, or a better mic. Or finally treat my room...

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Post by snatchman » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:03 pm

Have a friend that uses one in his studio..Sounds ok..Just my opinion, the converters are a little " hazy'..Reminds me of the Digimax Lt converters which is why I had mine ( Digimax) modded ( when I was using it as the converters sounded " hazy"..Good luck

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Post by roscoenyc » Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:09 am

The new AI model will go to 96k.

IDQ
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Post by IDQ » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:32 am

Well, well! I didn't find anything in the press release indicating that the AI version would go to 96k... So good work. If the price stays similar to the previous version, I think it will be pretty hard for me to pass on one of these, again with the side note that I'm a hobbyist, not a pro.

Of course, I'm also now imagining a scenario where I could pick up the last version on a blowout, use it for a couple of years, and upgrade again if I find it to be a bit inadequate. I'm kinda a cheap-ass.

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Post by rhythm ranch » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:10 am

roscoenyc wrote:The new AI model will go to 96k.
Hmmm...

The specs page still shows 48k as the max for the AI line:

ADC Dynamic Range (A-wtd, 48 kHz) 118 dB
DAC Dynamic Range (A-wtd, 48 kHz) 118 dB
Internal Processing 32-bit, floating point
Sampling Rate 44.1, 48 kHz
A/D/A Bit Depth 24
Reference Level for 0 dBFS +18 dBu

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JWL
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Post by JWL » Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:59 am

IDQ wrote:I'm sure that the quality of Focusrite vs Presonus preamps is a matter of taste, but if anyone has an opinion I'm happy to hear it.
I have a Focusrite OctoPre Dynamic connected to my Presonus 1818VSL via lightpipe. I generally record 24/44.1.

The Presonus preamps have noticeably more gain than the Focusrite ones do, probably 10dB or more. I tend to use the Presonus pres on ribbon mics for that reason. The downside is that all the extra gain generally also means more noise (at high settings). When I compared noise from the pres at similar gain levels (Focusrites maxxed out, Presonus at the equivalent volume) the noise seemed similar to me.

The Focusrite pres also have the compressors built in to them, so I tend to use them more often in case I need the compression.

Both preamps are fine. I'm not sure I could tell the difference between them in a blind test (equal gain, etc). I think a lot of other things (like mic technique and room acoustics) make a much bigger difference than whether I used Presonus or Focusrite preamps (or really any preamp).

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Post by mrc » Sun Mar 30, 2014 8:53 am

I've recorded drunk kits before, it works better when they are sober :lol:
I'm using Focusrite Pro 40 and 24DSP with a pair of 312's on the 2 line ins of the 24. I'm considering sending the 40 to BLA and getting an Audient Asp 008 or UAD 710-d for adat 96k ins. They would work well with an Apollo for the adat 8 as well. I have other mic pres for the line ins on the Apollo and 710-d.
Last edited by mrc on Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

kuene
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Post by kuene » Sun Mar 30, 2014 9:21 am

seriously though - if you are drunk when you are jamming, something like this would be a lot easier that dealing with a bunch of individual pieces of gear and software.

IDQ
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Post by IDQ » Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:05 pm

Ha! That was a typo - probably made worse by iOs spelling correction - but it's a point well taken. It's not uncommon that I knock back a few during a jam, and while that isn't really the point, it does get to the heart of the matter. The appeal of the studiolive is not having to dick around with 30 minutes of patch cables (which always have to plug in to some poorly lit jack I can't reach), routing, level checking on multiple devices (some of which may intermittently malfunction), and clicking buttons in a "software mixer." Plug and play, is what the kids say, yes?

Every time I hear a beautifully recorded album, I think, "Man, I should really do everything I can to get the nicest sounding recordings that I can." Then, I look at how few songs and projects I've completed in the last few years, because of 'real life' happening around me, and I think, "I should stop fiddling around and just hit the record button more often."

That's the rub, I guess.

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