Presonus Studio Live 24.4.2 or Behringer X32

I have some end-of-the-academic year money for a digital mixer. We're a community college, and the determining factors for the best mixer choice are budget ($2-3k), enough physical channel faders without changing pages (min 24), and minimum of searching through menus to find EQ, etc. The mixer will be used for musical theatre and the occasional band. I also expect to use it with multitrack 'raw' playback so a student can practice mixing, listening to how EQ, compression, reverb, etc effects the sound on different vocals and instruments.

The current digital mixer is a Yamaha 01v96v2. In mixing wireless microphones live, the students have had difficulty managing the two pages of faders (16 channels on page one, eight on page two) and finding the right menu for channel compression and EQ. The analog mixer, a Soundcraft Lx7, is fine but I really miss compression/gating/high pass filters and effects.

I was looking first at the Presonus Studio Live (24.4.2), and I had an opportunity to mix a country swing band (luckily they are really good musicians) on a 16.4.2 and found the controls very intuitive until I started looking for the main out graphic eq. I was just a stand-in for the regular guy who couldn't make that show, so I didn't mess with too much.

I'm now considering the Behringer X32 - I like the ipad control, the Midas preamps, the effects engine, the easy integration with a digital snake - but it looks like I'm still mostly limited to controlling 16 channels and 8 DCA's at a time. But the X32 seems to be garnering a big following while the Studiolive might be towards the end of its lifecycle.

So, I'm asking for as simple an answer as you can give me.
  • Is the X32 limited to controlling 16 input faders per page?
  • Is the X32 channel EQ/compression/gating very easy to find and change or is it more similar to the 01V96 and potentially buried under some menus.
  • Is the Studiolive a mature console or is it towards the end of the product lifecycle and not a good choice to teach with?
  • Is there a digital snake option for the StudioLive series? If not built in, what are my most economical options?
I've asked similar questions to my preferred audio rep, but wanted to hear from as many sources as I can.
 
Last edited:

museav

CBMod
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Departed Member
So, I'm asking for as simple an answer as you can give me.
  • Is the X32 limited to controlling 16 input faders per page?
  • Is the X32 channel EQ/compression/gating very easy to find and change or is it more similar to the 01V96 and potentially buried under some menus.
  • Is the Studiolive a mature console or is it towards the end of the product lifecycle and not a good choice to teach with?
  • Is there a digital snake option for the StudioLive series? If not built in, what are my most economical options?
I've asked similar questions to my preferred audio rep, but wanted to hear from as many sources as I can.
The X32 has a bank 16 faders for which the layers are Channels 1-16, Channels 17-32, the aux in and effect returns and the 16 Mix Buses. The other bank of 8 faders are on layers that toggle between Group/DCA 1-8, Mix Bus 1-8, Mix Bus 9-16 and Matrix 1-6 plus mono/center. So yes, you can only have 16 of the mono channels or aux/effect returns on the surface at once but keep in mind that you can assign what is assigned to each channel, so Channel 1 is not limited to being related to Input 1 and can be assigned to any of the inputs or mix buses that you select.

Select a channel and the related channel processing controls can pop up on the screen as well as being assigned to the physical controls on the mixer surface.

The StudioLive has been around a while. The upcoming SL 32.4.2AI seems to show the PreSonus is committed to the general concept for at least some time, but with increasing competition I believe the StudioLive mixers as they are may have an increasingly limited market.

In terms of a stage snake there is no digital snake option for the StudioLive and the general consensus seems to be that none of the current models are likely to ever have such a capability. I also don't know if there are any third party digital snakes that integrate with the StudioLive in any way, such as allowing remote control of the digital snake preamps from the console. This is exactly one of issues I think may need to be addressed for the StudioLive to stay more relevant for mainstream live sound use. Many SL proponents argue that a digital snake capability is not needed as you can leave the mixer at the stage and use wireless mixing but that not only does not allow any digital patching but with the StudioLive's manual preamps, non-motorized faders and implementation of scene recall it is also not a very practical approach in many situations.
 
Thanks very much for the thorough response. On the X32, I would think that I could route channels 1-16 to faders 1-16, faders 17-23 to bus 1-7 (just one channel per bus), and fader 24 as mono out.

Seems my next step is to get my hands on an X32 and try it out. Unless there's another option in the $2-3k range with a large surface control and easy, clear access to the basic channel controls.
 

museav

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Thanks very much for the thorough response. On the X32, I would think that I could route channels 1-16 to faders 1-16, faders 17-23 to bus 1-7 (just one channel per bus), and fader 24 as mono out.
That sounds right. What many people don't initially understand is that say that for some reason your Pastor's mic ends up on Input 23, that Input could then be assigned to Channel 1 or Channel 16 or whatever channel you wanted for it to be where you wanted it on the control surface.

Seems my next step is to get my hands on an X32 and try it out. Unless there's another option in the $2-3k range with a large surface control and easy, clear access to the basic channel controls.
You might want to download the X32 control software, although not as good as actually having the mixer in front of you, you can learn quite a bit about the potential setup and functionality with that. Since you mentioned the SL 24.4.2 you might also look at the Soundcraft Si Expression 2 or the 32 input Si Expression 3, they're within or just over that range. The Roland M200i is also just over those numbers, on the positive side with the Roland is the digital snake compatibility, on the negative side is that it has has only 16 mic/line inputs along with 8 line inputs and it pretty much needs an iPad for practical operation.
 

Spresley

Member
I would think that I could route channels 1-16 to faders 1-16, faders 17-23 to bus 1-7 (just one channel per bus), and fader 24 as mono out.

Why would you require 24 faders access "all the time"...
Why don't you set a group of channels (drum kit), whatever, up on ONE dca, Bass on Two, Gtrs on 3, keys on 4....and use that and "bury" those faders on the first layer, and work on the second layer...

There should be no reason why you can't mix your first 16 channels off 4-5 dcas, then keep the desk on 17-32 for your "vocal" and want to monitor channels.

Besides, if you can't flip between two layers (keeping where you are straight), you probably have no business behind a console...:rolleyes:
 
Why would you require 24 faders access "all the time"...
Why don't you set a group of channels (drum kit), whatever, up on ONE dca, Bass on Two, Gtrs on 3, keys on 4....and use that and "bury" those faders on the first layer, and work on the second layer...

I refer you to the original post to address your questions. Your response is invalid for my production and education situation.
 

Spresley

Member
I refer you to the original post to address your questions. Your response is invalid for my production and education situation.
I re-read your initial post, and I still do not see any glaring requirement for 24 faders. "Finding eq and compression" on a channel is part of a real world exercise outside your class room, so if your students progress and find themselves out in the real world on various other desks where 24 faders with everything laid out will not be available..... Best of luck on your search.
 

TDN

Member
It might be pushing your budget, but I'd look at the digital line of consoles from Soundcraft. We got the SI Compact 32 last year, and it's been great for live mixing. Dedicated controls for EQ, compression, etc. all the time right along the top of the console. You really only have to use the menu screen to patch, everything else is at your fingertips. The 32 channel version was about 5k a year ago, I don't know what the 24 channel cost would be. It might be out of your price range, but I'd recommend looking into it and seeing what pricing you might be able to get.

There is also the SI Expression series, which has a similar feature set. I don't know much about it.
 

Footer

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Premium Member
I refer you to the original post to address your questions. Your response is invalid for my production and education situation.

There is still a point there. The day of a handle for every channel is gone with the exception of the M7. None of the modern professional consoles work this way. Most are either a 24 fader or 16 fader layout. We are stuck with layers... it is just the way it is. My feeling is that at the point where you can mix more then 16 channels you can also handle layers. The X32 is layed out much better then the old yamaha stuff so it is a bit harder to get "lost". Teaching digital audio without teaching layers is giving a serious disservice to your students. We have done shows here with 48 inputs on an SC48... which has 16 faders and it works fine. You have to use your DCA's and your direct selects but it can be done. I can bring up a page of a trouble channel on a digital way before I can walk to the other side of our heritage.
 
Dear Kevin,

Joe Sanborn here with MUSIC Group.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions.

I agree with Brad that you may want to download our XiControl software or our XControl really gives you a feel for the console and runs on Mac, Windows and Linux.
If you have an iPad check out the "X32 Engineers QuickStart Guide" app in the Apple app store. It is on the X32 product page in the Downloads tab in PDF version as well.

Best Regards,
Joe Sanborn
Manager, Product Support
MUSIC Group
BEHRINGER
 

OneEng

Member
I have some end-of-the-academic year money for a digital mixer. We're a community college, and the determining factors for the best mixer choice are budget ($2-3k), enough physical channel faders without changing pages (min 24), and minimum of searching through menus to find EQ, etc. The mixer will be used for musical theatre and the occasional band. I also expect to use it with multitrack 'raw' playback so a student can practice mixing, listening to how EQ, compression, reverb, etc effects the sound on different vocals and instruments.

The current digital mixer is a Yamaha 01v96v2. In mixing wireless microphones live, the students have had difficulty managing the two pages of faders (16 channels on page one, eight on page two) and finding the right menu for channel compression and EQ. The analog mixer, a Soundcraft Lx7, is fine but I really miss compression/gating/high pass filters and effects.

I was looking first at the Presonus Studio Live (24.4.2), and I had an opportunity to mix a country swing band (luckily they are really good musicians) on a 16.4.2 and found the controls very intuitive until I started looking for the main out graphic eq. I was just a stand-in for the regular guy who couldn't make that show, so I didn't mess with too much.

I'm now considering the Behringer X32 - I like the ipad control, the Midas preamps, the effects engine, the easy integration with a digital snake - but it looks like I'm still mostly limited to controlling 16 channels and 8 DCA's at a time. But the X32 seems to be garnering a big following while the Studiolive might be towards the end of its lifecycle.

So, I'm asking for as simple an answer as you can give me.
  • Is the X32 limited to controlling 16 input faders per page?
  • Is the X32 channel EQ/compression/gating very easy to find and change or is it more similar to the 01V96 and potentially buried under some menus.
  • Is the Studiolive a mature console or is it towards the end of the product lifecycle and not a good choice to teach with?
  • Is there a digital snake option for the StudioLive series? If not built in, what are my most economical options?
I've asked similar questions to my preferred audio rep, but wanted to hear from as many sources as I can.

1) Yes, the X32 is limited to controlling 16 input faders per page; however, it has LCD scribble strips. When you change layers, the names of the channels, colors, and icons associated with the channel all change too. It is quite easy to understand what you are controlling when you change layers IMHO, and I am coming from an analog MixWiz.

2) I found it much easier than the Yamaha, but not quite as simple as the StudioLive ... again, this coming from an analog board user looking to get into digital. The board has "view" buttons on each section (eq, preamp, dynamics, etc). When you select a channel, the buttons and knobs associated with these sections obviously are going to be related to the channel you select, but with a button press of the "select" for any of those sections, you get all the additional stuff instantly on the LCD control section for the deep dive into whatever it is you are tweaking. For example, if you select channel 1, then press "view" on the eq section, you get a nice graphic on the LCD showing you how the parametric eq is shaping the tone of that channel. When you change the Q of a band for instance, you can see the width of the filter graphically change.

3) I can't see the StudioLive surviving in its current form. While it is true that the StudioLive is easier to learn (especially for someone used to analog mixers), this is only true because it does so much less than the X32. I think it is also important for your students to gain an understanding of mixer signal routing. The StudioLive is very limited in this regard while the X32 is very flexible and a great tool for learning IMHO.

4) As others have stated, the SL does not support a digital snake of any kind to my understanding.

The utility abilities of the X32 also far outstripe the StudioLive (integrated stereo recording direct to a USB stick for example, or the ability to play back .wav files directly off of a USB stick).

I think for training and education purposes, the SoundCraft Expression Si isn't going to do it for you. In order to re-mix using a previous multi-track recording, you need to purchase a $1000.00 MADI card interface while the X32 includes this option.

Being able to record and then use the recording for training seems to me to be essential in your stated purpose.

Good luck with your decision!
 

TimmyP1955

Well-Known Member
Other than having the scribble strips as an aid, I don't think that a student who can't grasp the operation of an O1V96 will be much more successful on an X32. Would I rather have the X32? You bet! (I might even prefer it over the LS9.)

I agree that having a console w/o layers will leave your students unprepared for a lot of what they will encounter elsewhere, so I'd take the StudioLive off the list. A&H GLD would be good, but is a lot more expensive than the Behringer (though I'm sure it's a better unit).
 

Blake

Member
My HS recently upgraded to an x32 and although I truly miss our old Allen and Heath ML5000 analog board, I really do love the capability of the x32 and with good knowledge of computers and sound design it's fairly simple to learn.

Sent from my Galaxy S3
 

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