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Field Report: Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2
For three decades Flames Sports Network Radio has broadcast Liberty University athletics to fans across Virginia. The network now includes a sizeable portion of North Carolina. As the football program has grown, so has the radio broadcast. The crew consists of eight on-air voices on game day. The road equipment rack has become very heavy. To tackle this problem the local pro audio shop suggested the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 digital mixer.
The digital mixer age has dictated that engineers let go of tradition. Huge equipment racks and heavy mixing surfaces are no longer required. It's now all a function of DSP, which provides better usability and takes up much less room. Outboard processing is closer to your fingers than ever. Once delved into, digital mixing is not as foreign as it may seem.
The backfield and playing surface
On the rear of the StudioLive are familiar XLR or 1/4" TRS input jacks and TRS insert points for each channel. The inputs are loaded with class-A preamplifiers. Aux and group outs are handled on 1/4" TRS jacks. Main L/R outs are found on XLR or 1/4" TRS jacks. The mono output uses XLR as well, and both L/R and mono have level adjustment knobs that will attenuate and boost levels from -80dB to +6dB. Control room outputs allow for studio monitoring and RCA jacks provide unbalanced tape ins and outs. The input for a talkback microphone is also on the back panel. A unique feature is a bank of three DB-25 connectors for efficient bundling of the 24 direct outs. Two FireWire ports allow for PC or Mac control and recording software integration. An S/PDIF jack allows for digital mains output. Two aux inputs live on 1/4" TRS jacks.
The StudioLive boasts 100mm faders, knobs everywhere and illuminated, military grade quick-touch buttons. Twenty-four input faders have gain adjustment (-15dB attenuation to +65dB gain), solo and mute buttons. The four subgroups and mains are positioned at their normal spots. That however, is where the normal mixer layout stops. Now we're back to the fact that the mixer is purely digital and it's where live and studio sound hit pretty hard.
|Performance at a glance|
|■ Class A preamps on all input channels|
■ Fat Channel control of all inputs and outputs
■ FireWire connectivity
■ Store and Recall scenes for quick setup
■ 100mm faders
The StudioLive has a section at the top of the mixing surface for phantom power assignable to each input separately. The inputs can double as FireWire inputs when used with audio playback from a computer. Next down are the aux and effects sends. Each input channel can be assigned to any 10 of the aux outputs and either of the effects inputs. The aux outputs have level control knobs and can be set up for pre or post fader use and can be soloed to headphones and/or speakers. The effect sends can be muted. I use six aux sends for individual mixes to talent boxes, feed lines in the stadium and wireless equipment. I don't use the DSP effects for football coverage; however, the built-in delay and reverb boast excellent pre-programmed acoustic effects. I have used the effects for live concert mixing and they are impressive. Plate reverb, tap effects and ping-pong delays are just a few from which to choose and create.
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