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"It's like a friend helping me set up the mix." "My life on the road became a lot easier." These are the kind of comments we hear about the StudioLive digital mixers from PreSonus. Their remarkable 24.4.2AI console can save you time and aggravation, whether you're recording and mixing down 24-track digital music in your home studio, or recalling all the settings and scene changes that worked so well for last Sunday's services, or running a virtual sound check while the band rests up at the hotel, or even letting a musician adjust his own stage monitor mix with his iPhone®. The StudioLive 24.4.2AI can do all of that and more, almost by itself.
Versatile mixer for live or studio sound
First of all, the PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2AI digital mixer can process 24 different input signals at once, and then combine them together to provide 12 different analog output mixes — that's a stereo main out plus 10 auxiliary outputs for stage monitors or special effects. (It actually has more channels than that, if you take into account the tape and auxiliary inputs; the effects, subgroup, and direct channel outputs; and all the digital ins and outs available through the FireWire and S/PDIF connections.) Secondly, as a digital interface, the StudioLive 24.4.2AI harnesses the enormous power and versatility of PreSonus' multi-track signal processing expertise and software design to make your studio recordings and live performances sound fantastic.
The Fat Channel stretches across the board — it's processing can be applied to every input, output, and effects bus.
Fat Channel digital signal processing
A mixer input channel usually consists of a skinny strip of controls running vertically from the top of the mixer's face to the bottom. PreSonus stretched one big channel strip horizontally across almost the entire width of the console, and jammed it full of all the sound processing controls, knobs, and meters you'll need in order to sculpt your music into perfect shape. When you "select" channel 1, the Fat Channel is dedicated to that channel; select channel 2 and…well you get the idea.
Fat Channel digital signal processing can be applied to every input, output, and effects bus, and includes gating, 4-band parametric EQ, dynamic compression, limiting, and a variable high-pass filter. You can save and recall Fat Channel settings, ensuring you can quickly recreate a particularly good-sounding mic and instrument set-up, for instance. Tired of re-EQing every time your guitarist switches from his Strat to his Les Paul? An A/B button lets you switch between two stored Fat Channel EQ/dynamic settings so you can change the sound quickly between songs.
Other digital features
In order to save space on the control surface and still provide you with precise metering, some of the Fat Channel controls and LED meter arrays also function as input channel level meters, as well as auxiliary mix level meters and send controls. You'll appreciate that there's a 31-band graphic EQ available on every auxiliary and main output, so you can tame room acoustics and eliminate feedback problems. Two reverb and two delay processors allow you to use four different kinds of ambient effects at the same time — and you can store and recall up to 100 effects presets, so you'll be ready for almost any special effects occasions when they arise.
PreSonus' Active Integration™ (the AI in the name) architecture takes all the hassle out of connecting your laptop to this console and using their amazing software. At its heart are high-speed 32-bit computer processors, a ton of memory, and the connectivity to create and control your own network of sound, whether live or in the studio. Taking it one step farther, if you add a WiFi router to the system, you can control almost all the functions of your StudioLive 24.4.2AI mixer wirelessly from an iPad®, or give musicians the power to control their own monitor mixes with their iPhone®.
Studio and live recording
For recording, you connect the StudioLive 24.4.2AI to your Mac® or Windows® computer with the included FireWire cable, making a complete digital audio workstation. Once connected, you'll enjoy the ease of analog control surfaces with the wide-ranging feature set that computer processing, recording, mixing, and archiving software bring into the control room. PreSonus includes a collection of integrated software packages that all play nicely together to help you produce the best possible recordings. The StudioLive 24.4.2 mixer is also compatible with almost all other standard DAW software packages.
StudioLive 24.4.2AI connection panel
24-channel digital mixer
- 24 mono mic/line inputs (XLR and 1/4" TRS)
- Class A XMAX™ microphone preamps
- insertion (I/O) jacks
- direct channel outputs (DB25 connectors)
- individual switchable phantom power (+48 volts)
- clip light, solo, and mute switch for every channel
- high-definition AD/DA converters
- 4 auxiliary inputs
- 10 auxiliary outputs and 4 effects buses
- 4 subgroups with direct outputs
- stereo L/R and mono analog outputs
Fat Channel processing available on all input and output channels and buses
- phase invert (only on input channels)
- variable high-pass filter (24-1,000 Hz, 6 dB/octave) (not available on subgroup or main outputs)
- noise gate/expander with Key Listen monitoring and Key Filter for frequency-dependent triggering
- dynamic compressor with Auto Mode attack/release preset
- 4-band parametric EQ with adjustable bandwidth (Q) on each band
- low: +/-15 dB at 35-465 Hz, shelving EQ switch
- low-mid: +/-15 dB at 90-1,200 Hz
- high-mid: +/-15 dB at 380-5,000 Hz
- high: +/-15 dB at 1,400-18,000 Hz, shelving EQ switch
- dynamic limiter: ratio inf:1, adjustable threshold
- pan control, channel assignment, and Stereo Link buttons
- save and recall Fat Channel settings (50 PreSonus presets, 49 user slots)
- Alt EQ and Dynamics button lets you A/B 2 Fat Channel settings
- four onboard digital effects processors (2 reverb, 2 delay)
- 9 kinds of reverbs, 4 kinds of delays
- 100 digital effects presets (50 PreSonus presets, 50 user slots)
- 31-band graphic EQ on all auxiliary and main L/R outputs
- two FireWire S800 interface connections
- USB 2.0 control port
- USB wireless LAN adapter
- Ethernet connection for optional WiFi router
- S/PDIF digital output
- PreSonus Active Integration™ software suite
- Capture™ multi-track recording
- Studio One® Artist DAW
- Virtual StudioLive-AI editor/library/control with Smaart Measurement Technology™ audio analysis
- StudioLive Remote-AI app for wireless iPad® control (free from Apple App Store)
- QMix™-AI aux-mix wireless control app for iPhone®/iPod® Touch (free from Apple App Store)
- system requirements for Virtual StudioLive-AI: 4 GB RAM and Mac OS X 10.7.5 or later, or Windows 7 or later
- store and recall mixer settings (up to 99 scenes)
- master and channel LED meters with peak indicators
- LCD display for DSP settings and controls
- stereo tape in/out
- headphone and control room outputs
- talkback mic input
- steel chassis
- optional customized road case available
- weight: 51 lbs.
- dimensions: 25-1/2"W x 7"H x 21-3/8"D
- warranty: 1 year
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
PreSonus StudioLive™ 24.4.2AI Reviews
What's in the box?
- PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2AI digital recording and performance mixer
- 6' FireWire 800 cable (9-pin-to-9-pin)
- IEC power cord
- USB wireless LAN adapter
- StudioLive Software Library (including Studio One Artist DVD / Capture CD / and Universal Control/Virtual StudioLive CD)
- StudioLive Software Library Manual
- Owner's Manual
Overview: The PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2AI is a 24-channel digital mixer that can be used for live sound or recording. Each of the 24 channels have an XLR balanced mic input and a balanced 1/4" TRS input. Powerful new software lets you control the StudioLive 24.4.2AI remotely from a laptop, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, as well as create and enhance dynamic recordings.
Active Integration: The StudioLive 24.4.2AI features Active Integration, which combines a powerful, 32-bit floating-point DSP, wireless and wired networking, USB 2.0 connectivity, and proprietary software to give you a new level of live sound and studio mixing capabilities. The StudioLive AI-series digital mixers include Wi-Fi remote control, as well as standard Ethernet communication and networking. Coupled with high-quality components and massive amounts of DSP processing, Active Integration provides a complete, networked, and integrated system.
Inputs: The StudioLive 24.4.2AI is equipped with the following inputs:
- 24 Mic/Line Inputs: Channels 1 through 24 are equipped with balanced female XLR mic connectors with Class A XMAX preamplifiers and balanced 1/4" line inputs. Each channel is controlled by a separate fader.
- Inserts: Each input channel has a direct-insert point with unbalanced 1/4" connectors. These can be used for external processors (compressors, EQs, filters, de-essers).
- 2 AUX Inputs: There are 2 line-level, balanced stereo auxiliary inputs (four 1/4" TRS inputs--2 left/mono and 2 right). These can be generally used as effects returns, but they can also be used for any line-level source, such as a keyboard.
- Talkback Mic Input: A female XLR input is provided for connecting an external talkback microphone. It has the same high-quality XMAX preamp that is found on the channel mic inputs. A rotary trim control is provided to adjust the gain of the Talkback input. (If desired, the talkback input can even be selected as a recording input.)
Outputs: The StudioLive 24.4.2AI has the following outputs:
- Mains: The separate left and right main outputs have
balanced male XLR connectors and balanced female 1/4" TRS connectors. There
is also a balanced male XLR mono output which carries a mono, summed version
of the stereo signal from the main bus.
- Main Output Trim: Rotary knobs on the rear panel control the maximum output level of the XLR and TRS main outputs, and can be attenuated to -40dB and boosted up to 0dB.
- Tape In/Out: Stereo RCA inputs and outputs are supplied for connecting a tape deck, CD player, or other consumer device. The tape-input level is controlled by the 2 Track In knob on the top panel.
- CR Outputs: Separate left and right control-room (monitor) outputs with balanced 1/4" TRS connectors. These can be used for control room speakers, and are controlled by the monitor knob on the top panel.
- Pre-Insert Balanced Direct Outputs: Three DB25 connectors divide the channels into groups of eight. You will need Balanced DB25 fan-out snakes (DB25-to-8 male XLRs or DB25-to-8 male 1/4" TRS) to connect to these direct outputs. The outputs are post-gain, pre-insert, and pre-A/D converter, and only the microphone preamps and line-level inputs are available through the direct outputs.
- Subgroup Outputs: Balanced mono 1/4" outputs are provided for each of the four subgroups. Subgroups allow you to combine multiple channels into a single bus so the overall level for the entire group is controlled by a single fader. The four subgroup outputs are controlled by the four separate faders on the top panel, each with its own level meter.
- AUX Outputs: There are ten Auxiliary outputs, each with balanced 1/4" TRS connectors. Aux mixes are routed to these outputs.
XMAX: The StudioLive's 24 XMAX preamplifiers are custom-designed, high-voltage, discrete, Class A microphone preamplifiers provide a wide dynamic range and extended frequency response. Their 30-volt power rails (compared to the 10 to 18-volt rails found in most other preamplifiers) provide more headroom, deeper lows, smoother highs, and delivers a richer overall sound.
Phantom Power: The StudioLive provides 48V phantom power for the microphone inputs on each channel. Phantom power is required for condenser mics, and can be individually enabled for each channel using the 48V button in the Fat Channel. It can be switched off for all channels where it is not required.
FireWire Ports: The Studio Live 24.4.2AI has two 40-in/26-out, standard 9-pin FireWire s800 ports on the back panel. Either port can be used to connect the mixer to your computer. The second port can be used to daisy-chain additional StudioLive 24.4.2AI mixers, connect devices (such as an external hard drive), or to daisy-chain an interface for additional recording inputs.
Ethernet Port: A standard RJ45 jack is provided on the rear panel for connecting the StudioLive mixer to LAN network. When you add a wireless router, you can wirelessly control the unit from virtually anywhere, using a laptop, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. This is especially helpful when you need to use your remote device in a different room from the mixer.
S/PDIF Digital Output: The S/PDIF (coaxial) digital output (female RCA) receives the same signal as the main outputs, however, any bus can be routed to the S/PDIF output.
USB Port: The Type A USB port on the front panel is for use with the included USB Wi-Fi module. This USB dongle helps you connect your StudioLive AI-series mixer to a wireless network.
Fat Channel: The StudioLive 24.4.2AI's unique Fat Channel transforms this compact mixer into the equivalent of a large console with over 100 signal processors. The Fat Channel lets you add dynamics processing and EQ to every input and output, and even compare them with an "A/B" button. Each channel and bus has its own compressor, limiter, gate/expander, and 4-band parametric EQ. Each input channel, aux and FX bus has a high-pass filter, plus you can invert the polarity of each input channel.
Select Display: The Fat Channel has a bright LED readout of the selected channel, so you'll always know what you're working on: Input Channels (channel number), Subgroup (S1-S4), Aux Outputs (A1-A9, AA), FX buses (A-D: FA-FD), Auxiliary Inputs (RA and RB), and Main Bus (MA). The selected channel also features a 16-ladder LED meter with Level and Gain Reduction indications.
Dynamics Processing and EQ: The main function of the Fat Channel is to provide dynamics processing and filtering for every input and output. The processing section consists of the following parts:
- Polarity Invert: 0° or 180°
- High Pass Filter: 24 Hz to 1 kHz (slope: -12dB/8va)
- Gate: with On/Off, Expander, and Key Listen buttons
- Frequency: 40 to 16k Hz
- Threshold: 0 to -84 dB
- Range: 0 to -84 dB
- Attack: 0.02 to 500 milliseconds
- Release: 0.05 to 2 seconds
- Threshold: -56 to 0 dB
- Ratio: 1:1 to 14:1
- Attack: 0.2 to 150 milliseconds
- Release: 2.5 to 900 milliseconds
- Gain: 0 to +28 dB
- Equalizer: Gain Control -15 to +15, Q Control
- Low: 36 to 465 Hz
- Low/Mid: 90 to 1.2k Hz
- High/Mid: 380 to 5k Hz
- High: 1.4k to 18k Hz
- Limiter: On/Off (ratio ∞:1)
Digital Effects: The StudioLive 16.4.2 has four programmable, 32-bit DSP internal effects processors, marked A, B, C, and D. The processors for FX A and FX B are dedicated to reverb and the built-in reverb library, while FX C and FX D handle delay and the library of delay presets. The effects buses can be routed to any of the subgroups, aux buses, or the main outputs. You can choose from the following effects:
- Ambience: Natural, Lively
- Small Room: Closet, Studio A, Studio B, Bedroom
- Bright Room: Kitchen, Tile Floors, Tile Bathroom, Concrete Floors
- Small Hall: Radio Booth, Small Club, Big Club
- Bright Hall (Brick House, Linoleum Room, Tile Room)
- Warm Hall: Log Cabin, Wood Floors, Brick Club, High Ceilings
- Gated Hall: GateVerb Short, GateVerb Med, GateVerb Long, GateVerb Extreme
- Plate: Shimmer, Thick, Drums, Vox
- Mono Delay: M: Short Slap, M: Long Slap, M: Triplet, M: Triplet
- Filter Delay: Analog Slap, Analog Trip, Analog 8th
- Stereo Delay: Slap Quick, Long Slap, Spacey, Long Tail, ST: Triplet
- Ping Pong Delay: Quick, Slap, Spacey, Trip, Purple Rain
PreSonus Studio One Artist: The PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2AI comes with Studio One Artist digital audio workstation software. Studio One Artist delivers the core audio and MIDI functions needed to record, edit, and mix music. It comes bundled with over thirty 32-bit Native Effects plug-ins and virtual instruments. Studio One is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later, and Windows 7 (x64/x86 SP1) and Windows 8 (x64/x86).
Virtual StudioLive-AI: Virtual StudioLive-AI (VSL-AI) was written exclusively for StudioLive mixers. VSL-AI provides a complete visual representation of the mixer on your Firewire-equipped Mac or PC, and gives you bi-directional control of the mixer using a mouse, trackpad, or trackball. Virtual StudioLive-AI provides drag-and-drop control of the mixer's channels, subgroups, aux sends, and main levels, as well as Fat Channel, effects, and graphic EQ settings. You can save your settings for instant recall anytime. VSL-AI includes Smaart Measurement Technology for instant analysis and adjustment of your sound system.
StudioLive Remote-AI and QMix-AI Apps: Designed for use with Apple iOS devices, StudioLive Remote-AI (iPad) and QMix-AI (iPhone, iPod touch) give you wireless control over the StudioLive mixer. These apps allow you to perform sound checks on the spot, whether it's on stage or in the outer perimeters of the room. StudioLive Remote-AI provides extensive touch control of the mixer via the iPad, while QMix-AI gives you control of individual monitor (Aux) mixes using an iPhone or iPod touch. StudioLive Remote-AI and QMix-AI are available free from the Apple App Store.
Capture: With Capture, you can make multi-channel digital recordings from your laptop. This enables you to instantly record your live gig, church service, or presentation in just two mouse clicks. Capture automatically maps to the outputs of the mixer to automatically record all of the input channels. The software also lets you insert markers during a live recording for editing later.