Digital Mixing Console
By Jamie Rio
I first took out a piece of PreSonus equipment back in the mid ‘90s. I was impressed with the gear and (after I met with the company) was equally impressed with the techs from Baton Rouge, Louisiana (the home of PreSonus). Fast forward a decade and a half, and I am very excited to tell you about the new StudioLive16.0.2 digital mixing console. So here we go.
THE MIXING CONSOLE:
The 16.0.2 is the smallest mixer in the PreSonus digital line. It incorporates many of the features of its big brother (the 24.4.2) and sister (the 16.4.2). There are, however, a couple of things you don’t get with the baby version, which I will get to later.
The mixer sports 8 XLR mono channels with ¼ inch TRS line level inputs and 4 stereo TRS and XLR channels, using a total of 12 XMAX preamps. And those XMAX pre’s sound really good. In fact the whole console sounds great. Back to the I/O, there are also straight-up unbalanced, no phono pre-amp RCAs on Channels 13/14 and 15/16. The outputs of the mixer include left/right TRS and XLR main outs, XLR mono out, 4 ¼ inch aux outs, left/right ¼ inch outs, FireWire ports and a Midi in and out. The main and mono XLR outputs are fitted with level control knobs. On the working surface, PreSonus gives you 12 faders (for the channels), 4 aux faders and a main fader.
Above each fader is the select button which accesses my favorite feature, the Fat Channel. The Fat Channel makes up the main face of the board. Here you have great compression and limiting, gates, high pass filter, notch filter and parametric equalization, just to mention a few of the processes available. Also the aux sends and main fader can access the Fat Channel. Of course you can save all your valuable settings.
(On the EQ. To be picky about it—and to shut up the audio geeks before the get wound up—these are actually “semi-parametric EQs.” A fully parametric EQ would have a separate notch filter. So there...)
PreSonus loaded the StudioLive 16.0.2 with two digital effects processors. These cannot be programmed per channel (I guess that would be asking a lot) but they are very nice sounding none the less. And they are on dedicated buses so they don’t take up an aux send which is nice.)
You can use the Capture software for recording within the mixer and edit with the StudioOne Artist software. Virtual StudioLive is used to connect the 16.0.2 with a computer (Mac or PC) and StudioLive Remote is used to operate the mixer with an iPad. And the new—free download—QMix app allows control of individual aux mixes from the stage, wireless from an iPhone or iPod Touch. Also, if that doesn’t seem flexible enough, you can even control major functions including main volume, FX level, plus FX and scene changes from a MIDI pedal.
That is the quick overview of the StudioLive and you don’t need to much more information to successfully operate this mixer. After getting the board hooked up and operating, I was able to figure out about 90% of the features in about 10 minutes. It is not that I am that smart it’s just that the board is that easy to understand and operate.
There were only two things that seemed s little short sighted from PreSonus. The first is that there is only one graphic EQ available for the mains. The other is that you cannot link (daisy-chain) two 16.0.2s together. (If you need more recording--not live--inputs, you can chain-in a FireStudio series FireWire audio interface. The linking thing didn’t really matter to me but I would have liked another graphic EQ. Church installs can be “challenging” and there are times when being able to EQ one side of the PA differently than the other side can be a needed tool.
That said, this mixer is loaded with tons of cool stuff for only about $1300.