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PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 Digital Mixer - Review & Demo

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We're here at the CCI Tech Center talking about the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 digital mixer. Hi, I'm Ron Simonson, CEO and Chief Engineer of CCI Solutions. I've mixed about 30 years for live sound, mostly in churches, and I'm really excited about the PreSonus StudioLive series of mixers.

You probably already know about the 16 channel and 24 channel versions. Well this is a great 12 channel version that they've come out with. Uh, we're gonna go ahead and walk through it, and again, particularly be taking note of how it works for live sound applications. So the 1st thing you're going to want to decide is how many input channels do you need? They call it a 16.0.2 because it has 16 inputs. It does have 12 fader pods or channels. Here are the 12 fader pods on the 16.0.2 As you can see, they're numbered 1 through 16. The first 8 have microphone pre-amps in them. So you can plug a microphone in and control it with each of the fader pods. The final 4 are dual-input fader pods. So they're labeled 9, 10...11, 12...13, 14...and 15, 16. 9, 10 and 11, 12 both have dual 1/4 inch line inputs as well as the XMax preamps for microphones. And 13, 14...15, 16 have dual 1/4 inch line inputs as well as phono inputs for each of these final two. So again, you can run up to 12 microphones and these are the fabulous PreSonus XMax preamps, or you can run, say 10 microphones and then a couple of line input sources uh, for music, instruments or what have you.

So if you don't need any more than, say, 10 microphones and a couple of line input sources, this is the perfect size of mixer for you. If you need more than that then I recommend that you take a look at the 16.4.2 We've got a great video on YouTube that reviews that mixer, and you'll want to take a look at that. So, again, we have 12 microphones inputs, at the same time we also have 4 line inputs and then you can see here we have an Aux master section. It has 4 auxiliary buses, So we can use that for on stage wedges, in ear monitors, side-fills and then we have a main output here as well. This is our main fader control. In addition to the 4 Auxes that are present, we are...there are 2 dedicated Effect Buses. So that's in this area here: Effects A and Effects B. There are 2 on board Digital Signal Processors that have a multitude of effects available that you can route any of the channels back into the Effects. So, again, 4 Aux buses that you can feed wedges with...2 Effects Sends, with 2 on board Effects devices.

Now for live sound use, let's go ahead and take a look at...see how each individual channel fader might work. First thing I start out with is my trim control. Always set the trim control. Make sure the channel's operating with the level that you need it to operate so you're not distorting, so obviously the StudioLive has the Trim Control right up here. So it's right where you want it for live sound right on top, and it's big enough that I can get a hold of it and grab it in case something should change on stage where I need to go ahead and turn it down or turn it up an artist moves away from the microphone, or, or somebody changes the level of a source, I can get right to that. The next thing you'll notice of course is the famous PreSonus "Fat Channel." And that's this whole area here in blue. The Fat Channel has my High Pass, compression, limiting and equalizer. First thing I need to do is go select my channel. In this particular case on Channel 1, I'm going to select that. That's, say, where my lead vocal is. If I've got a lead vocal I'm going to want to high pass that microphone. So I simply turn the High Pass on... I'll dial it up to 100 Hz or so, so I will be rolling off the rumble, that I might have on a microphone, that I don't really need any information below 100 Hz on a vocal microphone.Uh, if I wanted to go ahead and set that for Channel 2 ,then I just select Channel 2. Let's say my guitar...I go ahead and take the High Pass off of that Uh, then it doesn't matter where the High Pass frequency is because I've got it out, but guitar I'm going to run down to a lower frequency range. So that's really handy to have that "In" and "Out" button on the High Pass. Let's go back to Channel 1... I'm not going to run a gate, on a...on a vocal microphone. for my worship leader or lead singer. I might do that of course on a kick drum, uh uh, and if that's the case I simply press it on and I go ahead and adjust the threshold. Now we go to the Compression and Limiting. If I...on my lead vocal, which is Channel 1 here...I go ahead and say I want to put that in. Press the "On" button then I get...adjust the threshold, so that the compressor will kick in at the level I need it to compress in... You can see that I have complete adjustment here of the, a, amount of compression. Right now, instead of 2 to 1, I think that's a little high for a lead vocal. I'll probably set that at 1.6 or 1.7 to 1. And I'm going ahead and instead of response time adjustment I'm going to hit "Auto" so that the compressor can adjust itself a little bit to go ahead and control my vocals.

Now we move to the EQ section. The EQ section is out right now. You can see none of the "on" buttons are on. This is what's called a semi-parametric EQ. In that I have control of the level and the frequency. So this is how much EQ, and this is where on the frequency spectrum the EQ is going to take effect. So the first thing I do on my low frequency is turn it on. I decide whether I want it to be shelving. Do I want a roll off? Or do I want to have a boost of the low frequencies in general from the knee frequency here on down? I'm going to go ahead and leave it as a peaking EQ, and I may want to say "Look, I know that this vocalist has a resonance at about 225." I dial that in... I pull a little bit of that out with the level control and away I go. On the mid frequency I may say "I want a little bit more presence I just need to be a little bit more bite out of my lead vocal"... Go ahead and press that in. I'm going to run it up to maybe 2, 2.4K Give myself a little bit of boost and, you know, I can either choose a broad peak or a narrow peak. If I select High-Q then I get a narrow peak. But for this case I'm going to just go ahead and leave that on broad. And then on high frequencies, if there's a sibilance issue I go ahead and turn that high frequency on. I run it up to 7.2 maybe 6-7.2K trying to take out some of that sibilance. I don't want to shelf in this case and I pull out maybe 2-4 dB to try and tame some of the sibilance. If I had an instrument where I said "You know, I just need some more hgih frequency. I need some more air"... then I'd go ahead and flip in the shelf mode. And I'd go ahead and boost that frequency just to give it a little bit more air. But again, in this case we're looking for sibilance so we're going to pull that out. Now, the beautiful thing about a digital mixer, particularly for live sound is all these settings of the Fat Channel are stored in either the "Scene" mode where the entire mixer setting are stored, or in Libraries. So I can take, and for my lead vocalist, once I have the EQ and the comrpession the way I want it, I store all these setting in a library. That way, the next time they come to sing, I simply pull that library of settings up and recall them and away I go. I can do that for all my lead vocals, all my instruments.

It's fabulous. It really is the big difference between and analog mixer and a digital mixer: the ability to sore all these settings and them pull them back up whenever you need them, assign them to any channel and away you go. Down here on each channel I have my phase reverse switch and a 48V Phantom Power Switch. So in this particular case, again I select to Channel 1. It's my lead vocal mic, let's say they're on a condenser microphone. I'm going to go ahead and take 48 volts and have that on. I do not need to reverse the phase so I won't worry about that. Then we get down to these Multi-Function Switches. Right now I've got the multi-function switch selected for "Mute." So the first thing I might want to do is go ahead and mute his channel. You're going to plug a guitar in. Remember I said I'd have a guitar on channel 2. So I go ahead and mute that as well. And you can see it shows red. It is muted. Once again, PreSonus has these big beautiful illuminated buttons. These are expensive buttons. They're nice soft gel buttons, and I can easily get to them and turn them on and off unlike some concoles that have little, teeny hard plastic buttons that are hard to get to. From a live mixing standpoint, this is a perfect way to do this. Easy to get to...very quick...and I can see it in a light, well-lit room, or in a dark room. I don't have a problem with that at all. It's fabulous on the PreSonus mixers. This multi-function switch not only does "Mute" but it also does "Solo." So if I select the "Solo" function for these I simply go ahead and select that and I can listen to that on my headphones and "Solo" that channel or "Solo" multiple channels all the way through. So if I want to take a look and listen to my vocal team and they're on the first 4 channels that's how I'd do that. Of course the PreSonus StudioLive mixers also work with Firewire. In other words, they can take 16 channels, this particular one takes 16 channels and routes it to a digital recording software on a laptop and takes that information back. So I can mix down 16 channels. So this multi-function button also works as the FIrewire select button.So say I want to go ahead and sing with some pre-recorded music. So my vocalist I'll keep as live, but the rest of the instruments, I'll go ahead and pull off my laptop. So I'm going to pull the rest of the channels here off of the laptop, but the 4 are going to be live. I'm going to route those to the Auxes so they can hear them on the wedges. And now I can either sing with live or I can record everything and then have every channel come back and I can mix later on and do essentially refine my rehearsal, store those settings and so I dont' need to keep the band there the entire time. I can mix for another 15 or 20 minutes or half hour, whatever I want to do to refine my compression limiting settings, EQ settings and go ahead and have those stored for the next time we go live. So let's go ahead and keep that on the Mute function.

The next thing I want to show you is how to use the Aux facility here. There are 4 Aux Buses. Like I said, we'll use those for in-ears or we're going to use those for wedges. So first thing I do is select "Aux 1." These are the level controls. This is your Aux bus for all of the channels that are coming in. So I can adjust how much I want to send to Aux 1. Let's say it's the vocal monitor. So I'm going to want to have the vocal channel up. I'm going to want to have the guitar channel up. The background singers...I may have them down. Other instruments, I'm going to turn them down as well. And then there are a couple of line input sources I'm just not going to have in that mix. So Aux 1 will be my floor wedge for my lead singer. When I go to Aux 2 I can go ahead and adjust that and I may say "You know what? All I need in that particular case is the keyboardist. so I'm not going to have any of the background singers in there. I'm going to have the guitar and the leader's microphone. And I'm going to go ahead and take and bring up the keyboard into his wedge." So, easy to do with that. Just go and find the channel, that's the keybowrd channel, I bring it up and away I go. Same thing with Aux 3 and Aux 4. So, taking a look at what your mix levels are for your auxiliaries is just as quick as pressing the "Select" button for each one of those. Incredibly easy to do. Same thing for your Effects. Remember we talked about the 2 channels of Effects that you have? You go ahead and select "Effects A." So I'm going to put vocal effects on the main vocal channel that I have here. Just simply by doing that. I'm going to keep my guitar off of that. And other people's microphones off of that. Now on Effects B, I'm going to go ahead and select that as a "Guitar" effect. So I can have any of the 50 or so effects that are built into the digital effects package here. Again, very easy to do that.

One other thing I'm going to show you is the EQ. This board has an onboard 1/3 octave EQ that is assigned to the main outputs. The 16 and 24 channels versions have 4 dual 1/3 octave EQs that you can assign. But because this is a more compact board, it has the one. So how do you get to adjust all 31 bands for that EQ? You simply press the GEQ button. And what that gives you is your first 12 bands of EQ. and I simply select them over here... I can rotate through the bands and you'll see that the active channel just goes right across and away I go. And I can adjust any of those levels by simply moving them up or down. This'll be now the 20K and I can go all the way back through to the bottom and that'll be my 20 Hz channel. So the EQ, I can EQ for instance, powered main speakers, if I have left and right main speakers, the QSC K-series speakers, wonderful speakers, any of the JBL Eon Series, anything like that, I've got a full EQ for my speakers already in the board. Simply select it there. Once I have it I can store it into memory, so I can actually store into memory several different settings if I'm using different types of speakers. I'm using one type of main system, one gig and then a differentf main system at another gig, I simply call up the settings that are already in there. So that's the GEQ button. So you see, everything you really need to be able to control is right along the left side of the mixer here. Your select buttons here are simply to select what channel that you want to use, that you want to control. And then let's take a look at the faders. They're, simply they're 60 millimeter faders. We would call them a "Medium Throw" fader.

The 16 and 24 channel versions of the PreSonus StudioLive Series have 100 millimeter what we call "Long Throw" faders. But these 60 millimeter faders are certainly long enough to get a really nice smooth transition in your levels. So, some mixers that have really small fader lengths, there's just too much level difference between, say, a 10 and a 5 setting So you go ahead and make an adjustment and it's just really audible and very sharp transition. Here you've got a reasonably long fader to work with. Same thing on the Auxes as well. You've got 60 millimeter faders and away you go. You've got plenty of control there. You do have, a couple of other things: the "Talk Back" controls. So if you need to talk back to the Auxes on the stage, you simply plug a microphone in the back here, select the Aux 1,2, bring the level up and you can talk to people. For instance, our floor wedges on Aux 1 and 2 or 3 and 4... and then the Talk button to turn the microphone on and off. The Solo level's here. You can Solo as a pre-fade listen (PFL) or an after-fade listen. So you can listen to the mix as is, done with the faders or you can listen to it pre-fade, in case the faders are down, and of course your phones control. So let's take a look at the back of the mixer now and I can show you the fairly straightforward back of the mixer and how you're going to plug in and interface with the mixer.

Here's the back panel of the 16.0.2. You can see all 12 microphone inputs at the top of the panel. Again, these are PreSonus' famous "XMax" preamps, so clear, clean sound. These first 8 inputs also have a 1/4 inch balanced TRS line input to go in. So, you can run the line input. You can run a keyboard, any sort of line input in there. Here are channels 9,10 and 11,12. You see that they do have the XMax preamp, the balanced XLR, They do have the same line input. But they have 2 of them. So you can run a stereo source in here. And, on the final 2, not only do you have the 1/4 inch stereo, but you have the RCA stereo. Here's your Talk Back input and level control. It has that 48V phantom power so you can use a condenser microphone. And you have a Trim level control right here, just like the Trim control on the top of the mixer. The output section, you've got 2 balanced outputs here for the mains, left and right. and a Trim control, plus a mono output and a Trim control. You have firewire in and out. Again, 16 channels in, 16 channels out to go to your laptop...and you have a unique MIDI control. So you can take a foot switch, a foot pedal. You can control levels. You can control scenes and adjust scenes. So if you want to go ahead and have somebody that's mixing if you will, and and also performing, they can do it right from the stage. That's a very incredible feature that only this mixer has. And of course the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 works with PreSonus VSL software. So you can go ahead and plug in your laptop. Not only can you record with it, but you can control the mixer from the laptop. And, it's real time, whether you make an adjustment on the laptop or you make it on the board, both of them happen in real time. And one wonderful thing about VSL software is it also works with an iPad. So I can take one iPad or multiple numbers of iPads, run it through the VSL software on the laptop, and control my mixer. So if I wanted somebody on stage to have a laptop and control their Aux level or their Aux send, that's really easy to do. I just take an iPad run it through. They control that. You can have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 iPads working with the VSL software. And the incredible thing with PreSonus is that the VSL software, the iPad software, all of that is free. Updates are free. PreSonus is a fabulous company that supports their product. Builds them well. I think you're going to find the 16.0.2 to be a really ground-breaking mixer perfect for people that need, like I say, ten to twelve microphone inputs, and all the control you can ever imagine on one very compact package. ♪♫♪♫................[Music playing]

Video Details

Duration: 19 minutes and 24 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: CCI Solutions
Director: CCI Solutions
Views: 1,049
Posted by: ccisolutions on Aug 20, 2012

Detailed review and demonstration of the features and functions of the PreSonus 16.0.2 Digital Mixer by Ron Simonson, CEO and Chief Engineer and CCI Solutions. Ron gives a hands on review of this versatile mixer that is tiny in size but huge on what it can do for your live sound. This is an easy-to-use, easy to understand digital mixer with great iPad apps that allow for remote control which makes it possible to move around your space and check sound without being tied down to the mixing board.

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