PreSonus StudioLive 32 Series III Console

by George Petersen
in Technology Spotlight
The updated PreSonus StudioLive 32 Series III
The updated PreSonus StudioLive 32 Series III

It has been almost exactly three years since PreSonus launched the second generation of its flagship StudioLive 32.4.2AI, which then carried a street price of $3,999/street. Now PreSonus has unveiled its new frontrunner, the PreSonus StudioLive 32 Series III digital console, which takes the original concept way over the top, and adds a host of new features — ranging from a faster improved workflow, direct recording/virtual sound check playback to onboard SD media to the much-requested moving faders — and brings it in at a $2,699 street pricing.

Besides the clean, updated looks of the newcomer, the physical package has a 32.4 x 23-inch footprint. The Series III is less than an inch wider and two inches deeper than its predecessor, yet weighs in at 37.2 pounds. This is nearly 13 pounds less than the original and certainly something to appreciate during a 2:30 am load-out after a show.

What’s Inside?

Starting with what everyone wants to know, the Series III has 40 total inputs, with 32 channel inputs — 16 mic and 16 mic/line, with the latter on Combo XLR/TRS connectors, and all have PreSonus’ recallable XMAX Class-A preamps. Also standard are two stereo aux inputs, XLR talkback input and a Bluetooth 4.1 wireless tape input. A total of 24 DCAs offer flexible control of channel groups.

There are 26 total buses — 16 FlexMixes (these can be freely assigned/designated as aux, subgroup or matrix mixes); four dedicated subgroups; four internal effects sends; and the main stereo bus. On the output side, the rear panel sports 12 XLRs and four 1/4-inch TRS jacks for the 16 assignable FlexMix outs; four TRS subgroup outs; stereo RCA tape I/O; AES/EBU stereo digital out; XLR left/right main outs; XLR summed main output; and two TRS monitor outs.

The rear panel is straightforward and provides all the essentials.

Connectivity and Beyond

Networking — wired and wireless — is on everyone’s minds these days. Connection-wise, the Series III offers an Ethernet control port, USB 2.0 recording port (supporting 38 x38 recording/play) and Ethercon AVB audio networking. The latter connection allows the networking of multiple StudioLive 32 mixers and streaming up to 55 audio channels of audio to/from a Mac or Windows PC.

Along those lines, PreSonus offers free UC Surface touch-control software for Mac, Windows and iPad for mixing wirelessly or hardwired and workflow can be expanded by adding a second, third or a fourth screen. The mixer’s XMAX preamps are remotely controlled — perfect for tweaking parameters from the stage, while QMix-UC for iOS or Android devices lets musicians directly control their monitor mixes. The included Studio One Artist and Capture for Mac and Windows software assist in recording shows for archival or automated virtual sound checking, with support for Studio One or any ASIO/Core Audio-compatible software.

The console offers a clean, uncluttered surface.

Worksurface and Workflows

With the Series III, users won’t get lost in layers. The 33 touch-sensitive, motorized faders offer a choice of a 1-to-1 workflow (all channels assigned to the top layer; i.e., one fader per input channel) or a split layer configuration that splits the faders between inputs and outputs (including DCA’s and aux outs. Alternatively, users can easily create custom layers to place any channel or bus fader anywhere or in any desired order. Eight user-definable buttons are provided for recalling for mute groups, scenes, etc., along with select button with user assignable colors and transport controls.

Flanking a bright, 7-inch touch screen, the Fat Channel processing section (shown in Fig. 1, below) has been completely redesigned. Users can customize the Fat Channel layout, putting the most critical parameters right at their fingertips, next to the full-size meters for input level, gate and compressor gain reduction. Also new is the Fat Channel’s plug-in-style workflow with vintage-style EQ and compression options, highpass filter and polarity reverse on every channel. The new StudioLive 32 also offers 6-band, fully parametric EQ and delays on all mix outputs, along with eight 31-band graphic EQs. Four internal effects buses offer a selection of reverbs and delays with modern and vintage options, while four channel insert effects include chorus, flanger, overdrive and de-esser.

Another plus is the onboard real-time analyzer and signal generator.

Fig 1  The completely redesigned Fat Channel allows for fast tweaking.

All That Recall

StudioLive 32 Series III simplifies the process and accuracy of creating, saving and editing up to 100 customized scenes. An upcoming Scene Fades function lets users select individual channels and buses and define a fade-in/fade-out time for each scene change, something live theater users should appreciate. With Scene Safe, a scene change won’t alter the settings on designated “safe” channels. Similarly, Fat Channel presets have become like scenes for individual channels, not only saving input and Fat Channel settings but also aux send and bus assignments. And preset filters let users choose what they want to recall.

Besides the standard saving/copying/pasting of channel presets, the recallable channel preset options include channel type and name; input settings (preamp, phantom power, polarity, pan); Fat Channel A & B settings; bus assignments; aux and effects send levels/panning; DCA assignments; colors for the Select buttons; and eight Quick Scenes.

And More

The StudioLive 32 Series III’s 24-bit resolution converters operate at 44.1/48 kHz (sorry, not 96 kHz) and have dynamic range spec of 115 dB. The consoles are slated to begin shipping this month with a U.S. MAP price of $2,699.

At a Glance

StudioLive — The Next Generation

Among the powerful new features on PreSonus’ next-gen flagship digital console include 38x38 recording, 33 touch-sensitive moving faders, a redesigned Fat Channel and more.

PreSonus StudioLive 32 Series III

STATS

  • Input Channels: 40
  • Mic Preamps: (32) XMAX Class-A, recallable
  • Buses: 26 total
  • Digital Outputs: Ethercon AVB, USB 2,0, AES/EBU
  • Digital Conversion: 48k Hz; 24-bit
  • Footprint: 32.4 x 23 inches
  • Weight: 37.2 pounds
  • Street Price: $2,699
  • Manufacturer: PreSonus
  • More Info: www.presonus.com