Presonus has released an exciting new line of Live Sound Reinforcement Speakers that they are branding under their StudioLive flag. These speakers all feature “Active Integration” which is a proprietary networking system that allows all the components of your StudioLive Mixer and Speakers to communicate with each other.
Active Integration is a Wi-Fi based networking system for communications, wireless networking, and control of the vast amounts of DSP found in a specialized custom chipset built into each speaker, resulting in a system that can easily detect, manipulate, and control each component of the system in the network enabling the room to be tuned and manipulated from one position.
The StudioLive Active Integration system includes more DSP power physically built into each speaker than a standalone rack mount speaker management system. The included USB Wi-Fi LAN adapter enables wireless networking via a small USB dongle on each speaker. This gives you an unprecedented amount of control over individual speakers through the network, which can be manipulated from anywhere in the room via a laptop, iPad, or iPhone and iPod touch for monitor controls.
StudioLive Room Control
SL Room Control is speaker management software that allows you to interface directly with your entire system via a laptop or iOS device. All you need to do is create a local area network using a wireless router and connect your StudioLive AI speakers with the included USB 2.0 Wi-Fi LAN adapter or onboard Ethercon connection. You also connect your laptop or iPad to the same Wi-Fi network and launch SL Room Control and your free to use a plethora of EQ and dynamic presets, RTA and SMAART applications as well as monitor temperature, set delay time and phase for your entire StudioLive AI speaker system.
Designed by David Gunness, formerly of EAW and Electro Voice, the SL series speakers sport a coaxial design. This means the tweeters are set in the same axis occupying the same space. In actuality the tweeters fire directly through the dust cap of the midrange drivers with the aid of an external wave guide. Without getting too technical, the coaxial design of these speakers results in a homogenous wave pattern from the same source throughout the speakers frequency response. Non coaxial, component based speakers have asymmetrical dispersion patterns that can result in varying phase anomalies dependent on the position of the observer.
StudioLive 18sAI offers the benefits of Active Integration, including remote control—including wireless control—over output level, user-adjustable contours, and more and uses 32-bit floating point DSP for the variable crossover, dynamic limiting, and excursion limiting.
A compact, powered, full-range, 3-way loudspeaker, StudioLive 312AI relies on a 12-inch ferrite woofer for low frequencies and a custom-designed, 8-inch coaxial speaker with a 1.75-inch titanium compression driver to reproduce the mid and high frequencies. These transducers are driven by a hefty 2,000W RMS of triamplified, Class D power.
The StudioLive 315AI is perfect for large venues and bands that need full-range speakers with plenty of low end. The StudioLive 315AI provides 3-way coverage, with a 15-inch speaker for low frequencies and a custom-designed, 8-inch coaxial speaker with a 1.75-inch titanium compression driver to reproduce the mid and high frequencies. These transducers are driven by a hefty 2,000W RMS of triamplified, Class D power.
A 3-way system that features dual 8-inch ferrite woofers and a coaxial 8-inch ferrite midrange speaker and 1.75-inch compression driver, the StudioLive 328AI delivers full-range, high-powered performance, yet is streamlined and compact. These transducers are driven by a hefty 2,000W RMS of quad-amplified, Class D power.
To get the most out of your Presonus AI System you need to use an accurate reference microphone to measure the tonality of the room your tuning your system to. The PRM1 can handle up to 132 dj SPL and has a linear frequency response 20Hz-20kHz, enabling you to take advantage of the RTA (real-time analyser) units and software like SMAART and Virtual StudioLive.
The Mackie Big Knob and the Presonus Monitor Station are both studio monitor control centers designed to give flexibility in selecting monitor mix sources as well as selecting sets of monitors to be used. To achieve the best possible mix and keep your monitors and room from lying to you, it is very important to be able to reference your mix over different monitors including nearfeild, main, and reference monitors. Both the Mackie Big Knob and Presonus Monitor Station fill an indispensable role in the studio by enabling the user to select monitor sources as well. The ability to effortlessly switch from “pre-tape” (post mixer but prior to recording media) to “post-tape” (post mixer and post recording media) gives you the power to know exactly how every component in your signal chain is coloring your sound. This feature can also be used as a patching system of sorts as the monitor sources have an independent output on both of these monitoring systems. Another very important feature bother of these units have is a “talk-back” mic. This enables an engineer or producer to stay in communication with the artist or talent who may be isolated in a vocal booth. How would you like to be able to say to your vocalist: “That’s a great take Jenny, now come on in to the control room and let’s give it a listen”?
The Presonus Monitor Station
The main glaring difference between the Presonus Monitor Station Mackie Big Knob is the Monitor Sations’ incorporated headphone amplifiers. Using two main busses to route signal from, headphone mixes can be assigned to any of the four headphone amps from either the main mix or cue mix. This is particularly handy for sending a click track to a drummer or bass player while sending a completely different “more me mix” to a vocalist.
The Mackie Big Knob
Where the Big Knob lacks in headphone mix distribution is makes up for in signal routing options. The Big Knob features four stereo input connections for monitor sources including a nice phono amp for a turn table. There are three main monitor options to switch to with individual level potentiometers. This is a nice feature for leveling and balancing multiple sets of monitors without having to adjust your mix. Like the Monitor Station the Big Know features an external mic option for the talk-back circuit, but one step further with a footswitch trigger. Handy for giving notes while your fingers are full of faders.
So what’s right for you?
Both of these monitor control systems fill an indispensable role in the studio as they both poses the crucial features needed to both capture the best performance from your artist via the talk-back systems as well as the ability scrutinize your mix over different reference monitors. It all boils down to The Monitor Stations’ extended cue mix and headphone mix distribution ability to the Big Knobs’ advance routing capabilities. So here is the deal if you are tracking more than two artists at once and you need more than one headphone mix, the Monitor Station may be right for you, However if you would find it more advantageous to have an extra monitor source to select from than you definitely need to give the Mackie Big Knob a shot.
If you have never laid eyes on a large format mixing console before you may think that you are looking at a very complicated at sophisticated machine. For the most part you are exactly right, however that’s not to say that the layout of most large format mixing consoles are not user friendly. Once you grasp these few simple concepts you will be able to confidently control any large format mixer.
The Channel Strip
Pictured above is the Behringer SX3242FX. like most mixer manufactures, Behringer uses a nomenclature reflecting the features of their product. SX3242FX can be broken down as 32 channels 4 busses, 2 main outs, and an onboard digital signal processor for effects. This also goes for the SX2442FX from Behringer which has 24 channels, 4 busses and 2 main outputs. A Channel is a path that an audio signal will follow where it can be routed to various destinations, manipulated, and mixed with other channels in the mixer. The channel strip is laid out vertically with a series of components including: an input section at the top, followed by the mic preamp/line level, EQ section, auxiliary section, pan potentiometer, and finally a bussing section including a “Long Throw Fader.” The number of channels a mixer is comprised of determines the number of instruments or microphones that can be mixed using that particular mixer. The vertical channel strips are arranged side by side and numbered one through 32 in the case of the SX3224FX.
The Input Section
In this section you will see an XLR mic input as well as a 1/4” TS input for line level signals. You will also notice a 1/4” TRS jack labeled insert. This is a very handy feature on mixers as it is used to introduce serial based signal processing such as outboard compressors and external EQ devices to the channel strip.
The EQ Section
This section directly follows the preamplifier and is used to trim and boost specific frequencies of the audio signal. In most cases a these are typically comprised of a fixed Hi and Low band in conjunction with a sweepable semi-parametric EQ for the Mid frequencies, meaning you can select the specific frequency to boost or trim. In this section you will often find High and Low cut filters.
The Aux Section
In this section you will find the numbered auxiliary sends which are used to route copies of the channel strips signal. The auxiliaries are used to perform two main functions. The first is to create parallel effects using time based processing i.e. reverbs and delay effects. This is done by sending a copy of a signal to a device that processes an echo like effect. This effect can then be mixed back in the main outs of the mixer or can be brought into another channel strip for further manipulation. This results in the original signal mixed with the effect. The second function of the aux section is to create individual headphone or monitor cue mixes for the artists during performance. Each channel strip has the same auxiliary sends so each instrument can have a specific level copied to them auxiliary resulting in as many different headphone mixes as you have auxiliary sends. This is great for the drummer who needs to hear more bass player and the singer who needs to hear more of his or herself. Both mixes can be accomplished simultaneously using only two aux sends.
At the bottom of the Channel strip you will find the bussing section. Here you can select what if any busses the signal will be routed with. You can think of busses as extra ways of routing signal out of the mixer either to a channel of a recording device or DAW based recording system. Busses are also used to create submixes which are like mixes within the main mix. For example: your first four channels are comprised of a drum set with mics on a kick drum, snare, and two overheads. In the bussing section all four of those channels can be assigned to bus 1 for a mono mix or bus 1 and 2 for a stereo mix of your drums. Now you will have control over all the drums using only 1 or 2 bus faders in the master section.
In the Master Section you will find all of the Global settings for the mixer as well as the external auxiliary sends/returns and bussing faders. In the case of mixers with onboard digital processing you will also find these controls in the master section as well as the monitor levels and a the faders for the main mix. Here you will also find the talk back microphone as well as talk back level which is used to communicate with the artist as well as slate takes to tape meaning to print audible cues right to your recording media so that they may be kept track of in the mixdown phase of production.
Looking for DJ Equipment? Look no further; Sonic Electronix now carries the best manufactures in the DJ game including Numark, PreSonus, Mackie, Technical Pro and many more. Sonic Electronix has everything you need to become a complete DJ such as Mixers, Headphones, Preamplifiers, Speakers, Drum Machines, Microphones, Turntables and plenty more. Below I will summarize some of the items I have had a chance to use.
Numark DJ in a Box
Every DJ needs a set of Turntables, there is no better starter set than the Numark DJ in a Box Package. I previously purchased this package, it has everything you need to perform or record with vinyl and or iPod. The built-in TT1610 belt driven turntables are simple to use and produce a clean, crisp sound quality. My favorite feature has to be the built-in iM1 Mixer, this allows you to record your personal mixes to your iPod or iPhone, which I love because I can make my own ringtones from mixes I create. Numark couldn’t have made this easier to use for beginners, so if you’re looking to get started in the DJ game, I strongly suggest this DJ package.
PreSonus Monitor Station
When you get a little more advanced, the PreSonus Monitor Station is a must have. This is the ideal desktop monitoring and communication system for a recording studio. Equipped with three input audio streams, you can switch between and compare different inputs. Knowing that communication is key during recording, my favorite feature is the Talkback Microphone with volume control, this stops yelling between you and the person wearing the headphones and allows efficient communication. Some other cool features are the three sets of speaker outputs, fully adjustable main speaker volume control, and the main and cue stereo output with independent input source selection. I’m still learning how to use this to its fullest potential, but from what I’ve learned already, I made the right choice when I purchased this monitoring station.
You can’t be a DJ without some loud speakers and the Mackie SRM350V2 10” 2-way loudspeaker will not let you down. These speakers are equipped with a 10” neodymium woofer that provides a punchy bass response, titanium compression driver to enhance clarity, and a 1” titanium tweeter which produces incredible high frequency clarity. With a speaker like this, I’m always playing it loud and for long periods of time, so the 3-way protection system and the signal/power/limit display LED’s come in handy and keeps this speaker pumping for hours. When I purchased this speaker, I knew I was going to be moving it around from place to place a lot, so the 2 handles (one top, one side) and the lightweight polypropylene cabinet (26 lbs) make this a very convenient speaker. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do.