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cross post - question from prospective buyer
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cmebane
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Joined: 29/07/2010 21:27:06
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I am considering a return to sound engineering/recording (hobby this time) after 25 years. While I have dabbled a bit since the pro days, I have learned a great deal of the new technology recently. I have narrowed my choices for a console to the Yammie 01V and the 24.4.2. The LS9 looks nice but more than I wish to spend. I am leaning towards the StudioLive for several reasons including the Fat Channel, recording support, and price. A little background.

o 6 years full time touring FOH
o had the absolute best of everything (except console) in the 80s (including one of the very first Lex 200s in the US)
o close musician friend who has a DAW and has a good hobby studio
o very tecnhical and computer literate (principal software developer for #1 company to work for in US)
o band from 80s is planning a series of live shows (4-6 a year)
o I want a live console for a few shows, ability to work the DAW studio with my friend, record all the live shows
o biggest concern (to buy or not) is getting enough usage to justify the expense

Based on this the 24.4.2 seems to fit the bill. I have been through all the literature, ProSoundWeb board bashing, Presonus videos, and 1/2 of the manual (I am recouperating from minor surgery so I have a lot of time this week (-:

So now some questions (more to follow). Thanks for any and all help.

1. Does this console seem like the right fit? Live shows will be limited but much more opportunity to work with DAW.
2. what is a good case (Gator has a molded case recommended by dealer)
3. What is the best laptop to interface for VSL and recording? Looking at MacBooks but pricey. Do they work better then Dells? I have seen issues with the chipsets so I'd prefer to start out with the proper gear since I don't have a laptop now.
4. I have an iPhone and S6D app and AudioInterface. Probably get an iPad soon so the MacBook integration is attractive. Can this be done on a Windows7 box as well?
5. How good is the digital reverb? I am spoiled by Lexicon and am considering an outboard. Any recommendations?
6. Can the internal fx returns be routed to a fader or are they only controlled in the fx sections.
7. Any other gotchas, recommendations, etc?

TIA
cam
DetourDJ
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Joined: 29/07/2010 16:59:22
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Location: Cleveland, TN, USA
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Hi Cam,
I can't opine on all your questions, but here are a few answers to your questions:

5) The reverb is very smooth, though basic. If you're spoiled by the sound and features of an outboard unit, then it's no problem to interface and use that unit. Once an engineer finds a favorite, it's hard to pull him/her away from it. If you're into stereo reverb with stereo input and output for great spatial imaging, then the outboard unit is the way to go. The built-in FX are mono-in and mono- or stereo-out, depending on which effect you choose. Still, try the internal FX...they're very clean and usable.

6) Yes, the internal FX can be routed to a submaster fader as a mono signal. Stereo FX may possibly be able to be routed in stereo to linked sub faders, but I'm not sure. Someone else would need to confirm that. I use one of the internal FX for a mono delay routed to the Sub 4 fader which allows me to easily modulate the level as needed. I don't attach any outboard gear, so I use the 2nd internal FX unit for a quick, easy reverb wash in club settings.

I use the StudioLive and Capture for recording and quick playback of live tracks, but when mixing recorded tracks I run the raw tracks into Studio One and do everything else there. The DAW offers so much more flexibility and automation, along with true stereo effects, it's really the best way to go for serious mastering as opposed to the StudioLive.
Larz Hanson
Detour DJ & Audio
Cleveland, TN
www.DetourDJ.com
DetourDJ@gmail.com

Setup:
StudioLive 16.4.2 AI
Apple Mac Mini 2.3Ghz, 4GB, 750GB/7200rpm
JBL PRX718S/635 speakers
[Email] [WWW]
PhilG
Presonoid
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Joined: 29/07/2010 01:46:55
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Location: Brisbane Australia
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cmebane wrote:

1. Does this console seem like the right fit? Live shows will be limited but much more opportunity to work with DAW.
2. what is a good case (Gator has a molded case recommended by dealer)
3. What is the best laptop to interface for VSL and recording? Looking at MacBooks but pricey. Do they work better then Dells? I have seen issues with the chipsets so I'd prefer to start out with the proper gear since I don't have a laptop now.
4. I have an iPhone and S6D app and AudioInterface. Probably get an iPad soon so the MacBook integration is attractive. Can this be done on a Windows7 box as well?
5. How good is the digital reverb? I am spoiled by Lexicon and am considering an outboard. Any recommendations?
6. Can the internal fx returns be routed to a fader or are they only controlled in the fx sections.
7. Any other gotchas, recommendations, etc?

TIA
cam


1) yes
2) custom made ones are always the best then you have have it built to suit your needs
3) Mac book pro - you know it will work every time without fail - windows based laptops seem to be hit and miss if they will work or not
4) yes you can vnc via windows to your mac book this is what I do - SL16 connected via firewire to Mac book pro > connected wirtelessly to a toshiba P200 running win7
5) stick with the lexicon unit if its what you like - there is nothing wrong with the presonus reverb its just not as feature rich as an external lexi unit
6) yes they can - you can assign them to a subgroup fader on the 16 board - not sure if you get more routing options on the 24
7) I highly recommend getting the Mac - for the slightly higher price its a big weight off my mind not having to worry about fire wire letency and audio glitches while recording - a custom case lets you get exactly what you want - maby you could have a case made that houses a snake plus the lexicon unit underneath with space for any wireless units - get a handle and some castors made up and you have a nice tight portable unit.

On a side note there is very lacking support for transport controls on the SL series - you want to go out and buy a faderport or something similar if you plan to be doing alot of work in your DAW

2 x SL16.4.2's
Audiobox USB
Studio One V2 Pro
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AMD FX-4170 / 16GB DDR3 / Win7x64 / Via 6308FW Onboard
/Mobile System
Toshiba Satellite P200 / 8GB DDR2 / Win7x64 / Ti FW & i7 13" MBP
/Wireless
Ipad v1 16gb - Samsung Galaxy Tab - Asus Black Diamond router

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talmen
Presonoid
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Joined: 28/07/2010 23:56:13
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1. Absolutely.
2. Gator+. (I have a 16.4.2 and a Gator case. Loving the Gator -- very light, very protective and strong.)
3. MacBook Pro -- hands down. (Not looking to stir up hate with the PC folks out there.) Not that spendy, worth every penny. Works. Check out these boards and see how many people on the Mac side are having serious problems. (Not many, I dare say.)
4. Yes.
5. Agree w/Detour DJ on reverb -- if your tastes are sophisticated, you'll no doubt want to use outboard. With that said, the reverb is OK enough for live use, as far as I'm concerned.
6. See DetourDJs post above.
7. If you are returning to this from the analog world of yesteryear, you may find working with a digital console to involve a bit of shift in terms of thinking. Reading the manual ahead of time is an excellent way to make sure you get started off on the right foot. You may find it takes a little practice to get used to a different way of thinking/functioning with an SL (if you don't have other digital console experience), but you get used to it quickly. I love my SL -- it is a freakin' swiss army knife of a compact mixer, has tremendous preamps, and the recording aspect (the reason I got mine) is really easy to manage live. Can't say enough about the easy integration with S1, either. At the risk of sounding like the unashamed cheerleader that I am, PreSonus just keeps pulling rabbits out of the ol' hat, too.
Field Kit:
MacBook Pro 9.2 i5 2.5 GHz, 8GB RAM,
OS 10.8.5;
A & H Qu-16, AB1818VSL, Alesis IO14 / IO26,
PreSonus S1 v2.6.2.25990, Boom Recorder 8.3.2

Studio Kit:
iMac 11.3, i7 (Quad) 2.93GHz, 8 GB RAM,
OS 10.9.3,
M-Audio FW1814, PreSonus Faderport,
PreSonus S1 Pro 2.6.2.25590
MikeRivers
Presonoid
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Joined: 28/07/2010 15:44:52
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cmebane wrote:
o biggest concern (to buy or not) is getting enough usage to justify the expense

Recognizing this is the first and most important step in your twelve-step program. But since you began your post that this was going to be a hobby, you have to be willing to throw away that concern. Hobbies are for spending money that you don't have to justify other than that you'll have fun, maybe get a little income (with no intention of recovering your investment, though it could happen), and not feel committed to using what you bought. There are many approaches to what you're looking to do, and the StudioLive is certainly one that's reasonable.

1. Does this console seem like the right fit? Live shows will be limited but much more opportunity to work with DAW.

As I said, it's certainly one approach. Are you the "I'd rather own the cow than buy milk" person? What other live equipment do you own? Do you have enough microphones, stands and cables to cover your live shows? Power amplifiers and speakers? Since you're talking about only a few shows a year, would it make more sense to look at alternatives for your DAW studio and rent an appropriate console for your live shows? Or maybe hire a sound company to do the whole job so you can concentrate on playing music for a couple of hours?

As far as what you'd need for your studio, well I happen to be the kind of person who likes to work on a console all the time, so I can appreciate your interest in this approach. The StudioLive together with a computer running a competent DAW program makes a good combination but you really need to think of the combination of the StudioLive and the computer as being your workstation, not that the console is the front end to the computer.

The console will make it easier to set up headphone and monitor mixes while tracking, and it's easy to play tracks back through the console and use the console for mixing what you've recorded. This is certainly a reasonable way of working, and it's an ideal setup for working a live show and recording all the inputs. But there are some DAW "things" that aren't fully integrated. For example, you can't use the console's knobs and faders to control the DAW mixer should you want to mix in the computer rather than the console. And there's no control flow in the opposite direction either - there's no provision for automating the console mix from the computer playback. There isn't even a set of "transport control" buttons on the console surface, so you need to go to the computer (mouse or keyboard) to start, stop, rewind, punch in, and so on.

While there's some good thought that's gone into signal routing so you can use Fat Channel processing both in tracking and mixing, ultimately most DAW users find themselves wanting to mix in one place or the other (the DAW or the console) and not have to jump back and forth between them. It's a workflow thing, and a matter of personal preference, of course. What I'm getting at here is that while it's a perfectly fine studio tool, you may find as you progress with your studio mixing that you're not using it for much more than a monitor controller.

2. what is a good case (Gator has a molded case recommended by dealer)

That's a pretty common question around here and you'll probably get some suggestions and opinions if you go to the "Archived from the old forums" section. But you're getting ahead of yourself here.

3. What is the best laptop to interface for VSL and recording? Looking at MacBooks but pricey. Do they work better then Dells? I have seen issues with the chipsets so I'd prefer to start out with the proper gear since I don't have a laptop now.

There's no real best, there's what works, and there are few that don't. Don't choose a computer based on its built-in Firewire port - the mixer may or may not be happy with the internal chipset, and as long as you get a laptop computer with a slot for an external interface card (ExpressCard is the current laptop standard) for $50 or less you can get a reliable console-computer Firewire connection independent of your choice of computer. The Mac/PC thing will never have a "best" choice, and there are seemingly random issues now and then with the newest versions of either platform's operating systems. Unless you pay someone to deliver a turnkey system to you, expect to do a little fooling around. Also, consider that you'll probably use the laptop for capturing live shows and will prefer a more conventional computer brick, keyboard, mouse, and monitor for your studio. It's much more flexible and expandable, and cheaper for the same power. If you restrict yourself to a laptop, you may find that you're paying too much for a higher powered processor, faster disk drive, and more memory that you don't need for "live" work.

4. I have an iPhone and S6D app and AudioInterface. Probably get an iPad soon so the MacBook integration is attractive. Can this be done on a Windows7 box as well?

Depends on what this "integration" is. What does this application do?

5. How good is the digital reverb? I am spoiled by Lexicon and am considering an outboard. Any recommendations?

My take on the built-in effects is that they're competent, fine for live concert work, fine for putting some "inspiration" on headphone mixes, and good enough for general mixdown. If all you'll be making is MP3 files for downloading, you can be content with it. But if you enjoy the flexibility and the characteristic sound of a Lexicon reverb, you won't find the same thing with the StudioLive. Of course you can always use an outboard hardware reverb. If you're mixing on a DAW, there are dozens of reverb plug-ins that offer a lot of flexibility and a wide choice of sounds, And there's a way that you can turn your computer into essentially an outboard processor when you're mixing on the StudioLive. Lots of choices, but maybe too many.

6. Can the internal fx returns be routed to a fader or are they only controlled in the fx sections.

You mean the knob? I think you can return the effect to a submaster, but I can't recall if you can return it to a channel. RTFM. You can download it.
7. Any other gotchas, recommendations, etc?

Yes. Too many. Visit your dealer and get your hands on it, as well as some other alternatives.
Visit http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com for some useful audio info
"It's much easier to look for a magic solution than it is to adapt to reality." - Allan Sloan
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cmebane
Prenoob

Joined: 29/07/2010 21:27:06
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Guys, thanks for all the help. It's nice to know the young sound studs are willing to help an old fart who hasn't lost the passion (or insanity).

Here are some answers and more questions.

o Yes, I fully understand the expensive hobby thing. This is someone who owns a 30' high end offshore fishing boat. Let me tell you about expensive hobbies. The entire purchase I am considering is less then just the radar in my electronics setup.
My concern wasn't the cost as much as would I be able to get enough usage given the live shows will number 4-6 yearly. I spoke with my bandmate/DAW studio buddy last night and he is excited to work with me so doing the hobby recording will provide some usage of the gear.

o We will indeed by contracting S/L but in the past I have been at the mercy of either clueless or slacker engineers. Also much of the new outboard gear is software driven making it difficult to walk up and get what you want. In the analog days I could find my way around most any decent unit but menu-driven devices require product specific knowledge. Often there isn't time so I ask the rig guy for a 1.5s plate and 125 ddl while feeling lucky to get that. I am amazed if they have any idea how to set a gate or a vox comp.
So in a nutshell, having my own outboard gear is just as attractive as owning the console. I would essentially own and fully control everything up to the system drive/xover.

o RTFM - LOL! When I was getting ready to return to college, I was training my replacement. I probably used that term daily. Even crew and band members would joke with the phrase. This was 84-85 timeframe. I'm not saying I coined the phrase but I darn sure was an early adopter.
And yes, I have the manual for the 24.4.2 already downloaded and partially read. I'm like Scotty - I LOVE to read manuals. In my sound days that was about the ONLY way to gain additional knowledge. Well, that and screwing things up the first time.

o I am still looking at laptops. I get the advantages of the macbook and have not ruled it out. However there are two issues. One is the relative cost and the other is that fact that I am a senior Windows developer. All of my systems, software, and work is on the Windows platform. But I am still looking at all options.

o The iPhone app and external interface/mic I mention is made by Andrew Smith of Studio 6 Digital. He did Sencore and other units and really knows the biz. They are working on SMAART for the platform as well. Very cool stuff. I also bought a AudioControl RTA from ebay last year in mint condition for $300. Patience is the key.

Q

o Is anyone running the VSL on a Dell, HP, etc laptop? I am considering the Dell Studio 15 and the macbook pro. I am also looking at reburbished units on ebay. Any comments on that approach?

o I read somewhere that the gator case cannot hold the board while in use. Is that correct?

I am looking at laptops today. Tomorrow starts our rehearsal schedule. I plan to make a decision in the following week. At this point it will be the SL if I go forward. The Yammie 01V doesn't seem to have as rich a feature set and is only 16 channels without additions.

Thanks all for answers, opinions, and patience.
cam

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 31/07/2010 16:27:42

talmen
Presonoid
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Joined: 28/07/2010 23:56:13
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The gator case I have is one where you have to pull the mixer out to use it. They may have more than one model, though, and for the SL24 I'm not certain what the Gator cases that fit it are like. I'm reasonably sure they would be similar.
Field Kit:
MacBook Pro 9.2 i5 2.5 GHz, 8GB RAM,
OS 10.8.5;
A & H Qu-16, AB1818VSL, Alesis IO14 / IO26,
PreSonus S1 v2.6.2.25990, Boom Recorder 8.3.2

Studio Kit:
iMac 11.3, i7 (Quad) 2.93GHz, 8 GB RAM,
OS 10.9.3,
M-Audio FW1814, PreSonus Faderport,
PreSonus S1 Pro 2.6.2.25590
fazmanicg
Presonic
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Joined: 28/07/2010 21:51:42
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You should have a look at Odyssey cases. They will make any case you need. I had them make me one for my SL 16. It has a 4 space rack below it. I keep 2 snakes connected at all times and store them in the case when transporting. These cases are top notch!

Http://www.odysseygear.com

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 31/07/2010 19:12:14

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cmebane
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Thanks for the tip. I really like that laptop shelf as well. Very cool.

Speaking of...I went to look at laptops today. After seeing lots of issues with Dell and other brands firewire interfaces on many message boards, I added the mac back into the mix. When I went to compare head to head, it was a landslide. The macbook pro is much sleeker, sexier, brighter, more simple with less buttons, and has a much better display. It wasn't close.

Now to justify the price...
LRS
Presonic
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cmebane wrote:Speaking of...I went to look at laptops today. After seeing lots of issues with Dell and other brands firewire interfaces on many message boards, I added the mac back into the mix. When I went to compare head to head, it was a landslide. The macbook pro is much sleeker, sexier, brighter, more simple with less buttons, and has a much better display. It wasn't close.

Now to justify the price...


Good boy, you won't be disappointed. I have been Windows and PC based for years, still have PC in the studio, but for live stuff the MacBook Pro wins hands down.

Enjoy...

Cheers
Graham
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cmebane
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Yeah, I was just on ebay checking them out. Some good deals on NIB but none had the 7200RPM drive. How important is that?
If there is any good news it is that I get a 6% corporate discount and if I buy next weekend I will save 7.75% due to a NC tax holiday. Cannot pass that one up!
MikeRivers
Presonoid
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Joined: 28/07/2010 15:44:52
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I thought that 5400 RPM drives were a thing of the past, but they seem to be making a comeback, probably because the lower speed gets them lower power consumption. That's important with laptops these days (always was, but with lighter and smaller ones, there isn't room for a larger battery) and a lot of the "book" external drives are using 5400 RPM 2.5" drives so they can run on USB power.

I was recording 8 tracks using the internal 5400 RPM drive on a Dell laptop that's probably 9 years old now, and the Mackie hard disk recorder (24 tracks) was originally designed around a 5400 RPM drive.

A lot of people, me included, prefer to record to an external drive now. For one thing, it helps with organizing projects, and second, you can get the speed you want and keep it away from system files. USB 2.0 is plenty fast enough. Firewire has some technical advantages, but it's usually better, if you can avoid it, to have your disk drive and audio interface (the StudioLive) on separate controllers.

One of the nice things about a PC laptop, in a backward sort of way, is that most of them don't come with Firewire ports, so you'll need to get one for the external I/O card slot (probably ExpressCard). This gives you the flexibility of swapping one out for another if its chipset turns out to be an unhappy match for the StudioLive. It's better than changing computers. If the Macs that you're looking at have an ExpressCard or CardBus slot that gives you the option of using an external Firewire interface for the audio and the built-in one for a Firewire external disk drive. That's probably the best deal if you can swing it, and if you're OK with a Mac, which it sounds like you are.
Visit http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com for some useful audio info
"It's much easier to look for a magic solution than it is to adapt to reality." - Allan Sloan
[WWW]
 
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