PreSonus Studiolive 16.4.2ai Review
Church Use: Powerful and Affordable Live/Studio Mixing Console
Features: It’s rare to see a quality digital mixer under $2000 and even rarer to find one as powerful and versatile as the Studiolive 16.4.2ai. For use in both the studio and as a live mixer, the Studiolive AI features a combination of software and hardware to make it a perfect option any application. 16 ins, 6 aux sends, 4 FX sends, and stereo main outputs give plenty of I/O options and the ability to use digital gate, EQ, compression, and effects on each track makes the mixer extremely powerful in a live setting.
Application: One of the best features of the Presonus Studiolive AI is the software/hardware integration. FOH engineers can mix wirelessly on an iPad without using a computer at all, while musicians can mix their own monitors wirelessly from a user-friendly iPhone app. Studiolive AI connects to a computer via firewire for use with almost any DAW for playback and recording, and allows access to included software StudioOne, Capture, and Smaart Measurement Technology. Another feature we loved was the analog inputs. Easy-to-use, musician-friendly, and controllable via wireless network, we loved the workflow and power of the Studiolive 16.4.2ai.
Workflow: While the unique layout of the Studiolive took us a little time to get used to, once we figured it out, it was easy to see why it’s the one of easiest digital mixers on the market to use. The “fat channel” strip for each channel shows all of the EQ and dynamic processing right above the faders without having to go into a menu or use any secondary functions on the board. The Studiolive 16.4.2ai even allows the user to create two separate EQ and compression settings for each channel to A/B the two settings and switch back and forth seamlessly. The iPad workflow is amazing, showing graphic EQ and compression on each channel and allowing the user to drag around frequencies and visualize each EQ curve and compressor threshold. If 16 channels isn’t enough for your church, the Studiolive ai comes in 24 and 32 channel versions as well.
Sound: The sound quality of the 16.4.2ai blew us away. The XMAX mic preamps are extremely transparent but make the each instrument fat and big. The separation of instruments was extremely apparent when we started using the board to live mix an entire band, giving a clear, punchy and defined mix. EQ and compression sounds natural and smooth and the built-in FX is phenomenal. Our favorite feature was the ability to EQ the verb on the fly, going from dark and moody to bright and spacious depending on the song.
Overall: At this price point, the Studiolive 16.4.2ai is hands down the very best digital mixer you can get your hands on. For right under 2k, you get a mixer with 16 channels, 6 aux sends, and 2 dedicated FX channels that all sound phenomenal and best of all, the store and recall work perfectly every time you turn it on.
More: Incredible value for the money, wireless control
Less: 16 channels may not be quite enough for bigger stages
For more information visit presonus.com