On May 15, CCI Solutions was excited to host the traveling PreSonus StudioLive AI Thunder Roadshow at the nearby Mountain View Church in Tumwater, WA. Guests were treated to a live demonstration of the new PreSonus AI loudspeakers, subwoofer and the new family of PreSonus StudioLive AI mixers. Justin Spence, product trainer for PreSonus shared what he finds most special about the new technology incorporated into this new line of gear.
PreSonus StudioLive AI Speakers Demo
Beginning with the new PreSonus StudioLive AI loudspeakers, Justin demonstrated each individually with and without the subwoofer added in. Using a variety of musical styles, timbres and volumes, it became immediately clear that these speakers have more than enough power and enough headroom so even when cranked to really high volumes, the integrity of the sound remained solid.
Attendees were encouraged to move around the sanctuary as each speaker was demonstrated. This gave a real sense of the coverage and clarity that these loudspeakers deliver to all parts of the room. The goal of the demo was to give attendees a better understanding of how the speakers sound in a worship space, and how they can be set up to achieve the best sound.
One of the challenges of this particular room was that it had about 2.5 seconds of reverb. Regardless, all three speakers really sounded amazing. The ones that really stole the show (in my opinion) were the 328AI pair. They produced the greatest clarity in the vocal ranges, the best spatial imaging with tighter punch in the lower frequency range. Justin added that the 15-inch StudioLive 315AI speakers are a great choice if you want more full range sound without having to haul along a subwoofer.
What really sets these speakers apart is that they have ample power and headroom to get really loud without sounding too loud. Most powered speakers have no more than 1,000 Watts. All three of the new PreSonus StudioLive AI speakers, even the smallest ones, are 2,000 Watts. When normal 2-way speakers are pushed to 90-100 dB, they start to sound “loud” (distorted, painful or irritating). Even when pushed beyond this threshold, the PreSonus speakers maintained their sound quality and clarity.
We learned that each speaker is equipped with its own built-in computer as part of their new Active Integration technology. PreSonus has created a single point source speaker with its custom coaxial mid/high system .. and the on-board computer has a ton of DSP that controls the voicing and timing characteristics of the various drivers in the speaker. The net result of all this is the natural sound we heard, even at higher volumes. In addition, the Active Intetration means you can monitor status and make adjustments to any speaker in the system with your iPad. Soon there will be some very cool network options that will make them even more powerful too!
Live Hands-On Demo of the PreSonus StudioLive 32.4.2AI Mixer
While there was no doubt the crowd was captivated by the sound quality they heard coming out of those AI speakers, it was clear the interest level jumped up a few more notches when Justin turned his attention to the flagship of the new PreSonus StudioLive AI line, the 32-channel 32.4.2AI digital mixer. The first thing that immediately sets this mixer apart is how easy it is to use. This is great news for churches that rely heavily on volunteers to run sound. The second is that it includes a host of tools, both in the hardware and in software, that solve a number of problems churches face in getting great live sound: helping their musicians hear well on stage, recording and publishing their message and music to their audience.
Even with more powerful features like dual (A/B) Fat Channel settings per channel, the new AI mixers are still very easy to use. Everything is on one layer, like an analog console. The channel presets that PreSonus has included for all kinds of instruments and vocals let novices quickly dial in great sound for every person and instrument, even if they don’t understand how to use EQ and dynamics. Pros can get a very quick base-line mix with the presets and then fine tune them as they go.
To prove how easy the new PreSonus StudioLive AI 32-channel mixer is to use, Mark Stone, Presonus National Sales Manager, sat down with a 15-year-old attendee who had never mixed sound before, and taught him the basics of how to run the board in less than 5 minutes. Amazing!
You really start to see the power of Active Integeration with the StudioLive AI mixers. Way more than just a digital mixer, StudioLive AI mixers are really a combination of hardware and software components that easily and seamlessly interact with each other to create a complete solution for the mixing and recording needs of a church or ministry. Justin with or without a connected computer, you can wirelessly control the mixer from anywhere in the room with an iPad. Musicians can control their monitor mixes with the Free Q-Mix ap from their iPhone or iPod Touch. Both volunteer and veteran sound techs can benefit from the SMAART spectrum analysis software that comes free with every AI mixer. It lets you see what frequency problems you have in the room and makes it very easy to correct them. And what other digital mixer gives you direct access to an online content site where you can share your message and music for free, for donation or for fee. Studio One software comes with direct access to Nimbit, the music/message promotion site – and yep, its free.
For recording, PreSonus includes (for Free) their full-blown music production software called Studio One Artist. And my favorite software piece is their Capture recording software. With one button click you can record every channel coming into the mixer on a connected computer. The latest version of Capture also lets you store the “scene” setting that was in the mixer when you hit record. This is huge for creating virtual soundchecks.
Attendees’ faces lit up when they realized that they could record their worship band or Praise team with Capture during a service or rehearsal, and the audio engineer could come in on a completely different day and work on the mix, starting with the channels settings that were saved when the recording was made. This lets the sound tech take as long as he needs to set up a good mix with the band “virtually” playing as if they were really there. It also makes it possible to train volunteers and even let them practice mixing without needing the musicians to be there for the process.
One new Capture feature that really hit me as being special was the built-in 60-second recording buffer. This means that the software is constantly recording a 60-second loop. So, if your musicians start and your engineer is away from the console or forgets to hit “record” there’s 60 seconds of “forgiveness” that will allow someone to press “record” and still capture everything. Having been a musician for 20 years and spent a lot of time in recording studios, I can’t tell you the frustration of working on a session, laying down an awesome track and then realizing someone forgot to hit “record.” Problem solved!
What’s the Difference Between the Old and the New PreSonus StudioLive AI Speakers & Mixers?
I was a bit skeptical that the new AI line really offered something different enough from Presonus’ previous mixers that it could live up to the hype. I think there’s an expectation, at least for me, that new technology will be faster, more efficient and more powerful without being more expensive than todays technology. These things are true with new PreSonus AI products.
Here are two things that stood out to me as big differences:
Real Time Networking
One of the coolest things about AI is that when you connect a computer, iPad or an iPhone, anything you do on the network is updated across the entire network in real time. Change a setting from one device, and that setting changes across the network. No more running across the room to make sure something is updated.
You Don’t Need a Computer to go wireless
This one is huge. If you are working on a limited budget, or you’re a smaller band or church just starting out, you can still have complete wireless mixer control with an iPad and the musicians can have their monitor (AUX) mix control with their phone without the need for a computer. All you need is a standard wireless router and the processor in the AI mixer handles the rest.
When you buy PreSonus StudioLive AI you are getting a complete platform. You get all of the technology like SMAART integration, StudioLive Remote, Virtual Studiolive (for virtual sound checks) & QMix Apps and access to Nimbit
all straight out of the box. PreSonus is continuously updating their products and all future firmware and software updates are made available to you absolutely free. In fact, Mark Stone said it’s like buying a new car and having it automatically get upgraded to the newest model every year-for FREE! How many devices can you say that about? It’s usually the exact opposite of that when you are talking about a new piece of equipment.
8 Key Differences: PreSonus StudioLive AI vs. Previous Generation StudioLive Consoles
- 2X Fat Channel Processing on all input channels and all buses with A/B comparison
- Wireless Control with or without a laptop. USB WiFi LAN adapter + super easy config Ethernet adapter
- Even better sound quality with Burr-Brown A/D/A’s and Studio One’s 64-bit mixing algortihms
- 2X Ditial FX processors. 4 total (2 delay, 2 reverb) each with 50 customizable presets
- Global track and bus renaming. Changes are broadcast the netword to the mixer & all its apps
- Mixers scenes save in Capture and open with pre-set Fat Channel plug-ins in Studio One or VSL
- Smaart® audio analysis on every channel to help make your PA sound its best
- Upgradable network options – Card slot for future Thunderbolt®, Dante® and AVB interfaces
PreSonus StudioLive AI Speakers and mixers offer something very important to musicians and organizations that rely heavily on volunteers. They give you simple solutions to complicated problems. It really is a “paint by numbers” way to make it possible for less experienced techs to see problems visually instead of having to be able to identify frequency ranges and dig through complicated layers. The new AI approach presents amazing possibilities that even someone who’s never mixed before can use and understand. Amazing, Intuitive, Affordable.
Free Software with Every PreSonus StudioLive AI Mixing System:
- StudioLive Remote-AI
- StudioOne (free upgrade to StudioOne Pro when you buy from CCISolutions.com)
- Virtual SoundCheck
- Virtual StudioLive with SMAART integration
Plus, you can daisy-chain two StudioLive 24.4.2s or up to three StudioLive 16.4.2s. By cascading the mixers together using a FireWire cable to create one big 48-channel console!
Special Note: For a limited time PreSonus is offering a Trade-Up program that allows you to trade in your older generation PreSonus Mixer for a new PreSonus StudioLive AI. Not only can you take advantage of the Trade-Up deal, but remember, CCI Solutions is going to give you the free upgrade to StudioOne Pro and a free microphone to get you off and running with the best possible set up right from the start. Click here for the PreSonus Trade-In details! Plus. all PreSonus gear is on sale with extra savings on bundled solutions now through the end of June, 2014! Questions? Call us! We’re here for you – 800-562-6006