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Snowballing sales for StudioLive

PreSonus' StudioLive mixer range began shipping in 2009, and sales have since snowballed to "in excess of 50,000" units. PSNEurope takes a look at the compact desk's big success.

Following a late-August groundbreaking ceremony for its new high-tech headquarters and research facility in Baton Rouge, USA, PreSonus CEO Jim Mack revealed that the company’s revenues had increased by more than 50% last year. No one product is fully responsible for the company’s success, but one has stood out in terms of its broad appeal across both live and studio markets: the first StudioLive mixer range. The 16-channel PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2 began shipping in 2009, and since then, the company has released two new versions: the budget-friendly StudioLive 16.0.2 and the beefier 24-channel StudioLive 24.4.2. All three models have won the Musikmesse International Press Award (MIPA) for Mixing Desk (Project Studio) in three consecutive years, starting in 2010 – and demand is definitely growing. “From a retail perspective, I would say it’s selling really well for a mixer at that price. We were pushing it at first, but it seems to have snowballed a little, and it’s the sort of product customers are phoning up and asking for now. I definitely think word is getting around,” says Tom Osborne from UK retailer Absolute Music. Although the company won’t disclose exact figures, PreSonus says it has shifted “in excess of 50,000 units” of the StudioLive mixers worldwide, with unexpected market penetration in certain sectors. “It’s actually encroaching into territory that’s pretty much been the province of the $50,000-100,000 range consoles. It’s surprising how much of a dent its made there,” says PreSonus publicist Daniel Keller. He adds that the desks are also selling to “a lot of niche markets” such as theme parks, where rack-mounted automated mixers are more the norm. ESPN has used a StudioLive 16.4.2 to mix their Wide World of Sports broadcast. The Fender museum mixes its concerts with them. And the house of worship market can’t help but sing its praises: one of the largest church organisations in America, LifeWay Christian Resources, recently bought 31 StudioLive 24.4.2 mixers for its summer camps, colleges, and retreat centres. Included among notable users is Michael ‘Ace’ Baker (pictured), who used a StudioLive 24.4.2 to capture multi-track recordings of American ‘supergroup’ Chickenfoot’s European tour earlier this year. Baker used the same mixer as the exclusive FOH, monitor and recording console for ex-Mr. Big guitarist Paul Gilbert’s “Fuzz Universe” European tour. Music retailers credit StudioLive’s success to its feature set: “Looking back a few years, you’re looking at a minimum of £5,000 for something equivalent. It’s quite unique to have something around the £2,000 mark that covers so much,” says Li Daguerre of Digital Village. “We’re certainly pushing it as a good product, but we definitely get people coming in asking for it. There’s a growing awareness of it. From its inception it was always quite unique for that price; I think we had people interested in it before it even came out, to be honest.” PreSonus’ public relations manager, Steve Oppenheimer adds: “It’s the combination of hardware features, quality, and price that got the product well launched before we issued any of the control software details and updates, but the software details have helped to significantly increase sales, and the updates keep the momentum going.” In the case of the StudioLive 24.4.2 those features include 24 Class A XMAX preamps, four subgroups, 10 aux mixes, and because it also doubles as an audio interface, it needs only a FireWire cable to record directly to a laptop. Ample processing power is provided via two programmable, 32-bit stereo DSP effects engines that, along with levels and EQ, can be fully stored and recalled. Both mix levels and individual monitor levels can be controlled wirelessly using iDevices and two separate free apps. Performances can be recorded directly into your DAW of choice, or using the bundled PreSonus Capture or Studio One Artist software. “Capture,” says Keller, “is a very simple, high-quality recording application that is preconfigured to work with the StudioLive, so you can focus on mixing the show; recording happens without you having to think about it. Studio One Artist is a full-featured DAW, so you can record to Capture and edit in Studio One or do the whole job in Studio One.” Finally, PreSonus recently acquired Nimbit – a ‘direct-to-fan’ platform through which individuals can easily promote and sell music via iTunes, Spotify, Facebook or a website. Now fully integrated into StudioOne, uploading and selling music can be accomplished by selecting File>Export and upload to Nimbit within the software. “You can take a live performance, mix it down and master it, immediately upload it via Nimbit, and be selling your music literally within hours of an actual performance,” adds Keller. It is certainly not the only compact mixer out there; Mackie, Behringer, Yamaha, and others all cater to the compact market. The difference with StudioLive, says Keller, is: “They hit a price point that could not be argued with. The feature-to-price comparison: that’s why they’ve done as well as they have.”