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Console choices: live sound and recording

Once diametrically opposite, live sound and recording are now frequently interchangeable. Nowhere is this better expressed than in the ranges offered by Louisiana-based PreSonus, now sporting a new generation of its proprietary Active Integration (AI) technology. Wesley Elianna Smith is product manager at PreSonus Audio Electronics: “We’ve overcome previous limitations,” she says. “It’s now on the same platform as the Studio One DAW, completing full integration; FireWire 400 bandwidth has improved; and we’ve added networking so you don’t need a computer as the intermediary between your mixer and your remote devices. StudioLive mixers now share the same DSP as Studio One. All capture and play is now synchronised and automated.”

Word is spreading. Here’s Gus Laux, tour manager for country legend Don Williams: “In considering a monitor console for Mr Williams, four things were important to us: the preamp stage; sonic quality; dependability; and price point. First with StudioLive 24:4:2 and then moving to the 32:4:2:AI, our criteria were not only met but exceeded. Not only did the PreSonus desk deliver the qualities we were looking for but it also enabled us to capture many live performances with it versatility.” And with Ace Baker, at FOH for guitar maestro Joe Satriani, the sentiment continues: “Besides running sound for Satch’s live shows, I believe that I also have a huge responsibility to future generations to record every note that I can,” he states. “How many once-in-a lifetime performances have been left to vanish into thin air? Imagine if they‘d been able to multitrack every single Hendrix show or every single Stevie Ray Vaughn show… The SL32 gives me an incredibly easy option – it’s affordable, it’s roadworthy, and it sounds great.”

Avid, of course, pioneered the integration of recording when the home of Pro Tools added a live desk portfolio. According to Derk Hagedorn, manager for Avid Live Sound Systems and Artist Series controllers, the S3L is now the state of this particular art. “The S3L is perfectly designed to meet the requirements of touring,” he states. “It’s comprised of a high-performance HDX-powered processing engine running industry standard AAX plug-ins, scalable remote I/O, up to 64 inputs, and a compact control surface. A fault-tolerant Gigabit Ethernet network connects all devices and uses the open Ethernet AVB and EUCON standards for maximum performance and flexibility.

“Avid S3L also offers unmatched Pro Tools recording and playback for show archiving and Virtual Soundcheck – simply by connecting a laptop to the system’s Ethernet AVB network to record and playback up to 64 tracks of audio. When used together, Pro Tools and the S3L deliver tightly integrated recording and mixing control of live productions. As they’re run on the Avid MediaCentral Platform, users benefit from unparalleled integration between these and other Avid products and services to connect artists with their audiences in more powerful and efficient ways.” Artists recently to tour with the S3L include Massive Attack, Primal Scream and the Happy Mondays.

DiGiCo MD James Gordon underscores the Surrey-based manufacturer’s unique proposals. “Core processing is no longer about channels and busses, which are outmoded analogue concepts,” he says. “It’s about scaleable networks, with nodes. Also, for rental companies to get return on investment by servicing multiple applications with the same hardware, we’ve created frames that can switch between FOH, monitors, broadcast and theatre. The relevant features can simply be turned on and off. We start with the 12-fader SD11, processing up to 40 channels, and scale up from there. I think you can trip over yourself to fill all the gaps. Better to make a range that offers greater flexibility and access to a wider market place.”