Questions & Answers

Home, multi-track recording solution

0 votes
asked Jun 26, 2018 in StudioLive Series III by tonyrapa (1,070 points)
edited Jun 27, 2018 by tonyrapa


I'm dazed and confused by the array of options PreSonus offers, so I'm hoping someone here can point me in the right direction.

What I'm looking for is a home, multi-track recording solution - like a Tascam DP-32SD or Zoom R24 but better. Which Studio Live option would be the right choice?

Here's a little more info:

  • I'll be mainly recording guitars, physical synths and physical drum pads, so it would be nice to be able to plug instruments directly into the console - more than one at a time if possible - without using DI boxes.
  • I'd like to be able to record one or more tracks at a time while still being able to play-back what's already been recorded whilst recording - in other words overdubbing without using a DAW.
  • I'd like the option of not necessarily using a DAW to create a finished product - ie, mixing and mastering directly in the console if that's possible.

Ok, like I said, I hope that someone can point me in the right direction of one of PreSonus's Studio Live consoles.

Many thanks in advance,


4 Answers

+1 vote
answered Jun 27, 2018 by yveshaeghen (890 points)
edited Jun 28, 2018 by yveshaeghen
Best answer

I came from a Tascam DP32-SD and am now on the SL32 series 3. While the quality and the possibilities are more than a few steps up, I don't think you will get even close to the simple workflow of the tascam DP32 without a computer. Many of the things will not even be possible using the onboard recorder in the SL32. That was a disappointment for me too, but I was aware of it before buying the console ...

That being said, with a computer and the included Studio One you are back in business with regards to recording, overdubbing, (auto) punch-in, etc. ... It becomes almost as simple as with the DP32 with a good setup, (except for some required source switching between recording and listening if you want to use a zero-latency setup). It will require some effort to climb the learning curve (well it did for me), but the rewards are there.

Hope this helps a bit


Edito: Here is how I achieve zero-latency monitoring for the overdubs. It's possible this is not optimal, but it works best for me because there is zero latency (well technically just a tiny bit from AD-DA conversion) on the recorded instrument. As far as I understand it this is not achievable with the low-z modes (blue or green) in Studio One as this still involves some buffering and USB-bus use.

As I said basically the main thing is that there is NO latency on the sound of instruments that you are recording. I.e. when you hit a string the sound is immediate, be it thru monitors or, better, thru headphones (remember 1 m from a speaker = 3 ms delay). You thus want too avoid round tripping the RECORDED sound to the computer, go through some processing and then come back in the main bus before going though the monitors or headphones.

Thus you make sure an channel on the mixer being recorded/overdubbed is sending to the main output bus ON the SL32, while the main bus on the computer in Studio One (S1) is muted. This is called hardware monitoring. The channel being recorded is using the 'analog' source on the SL32. Any of the tracks already recorded on the computer play back to their own individual channels on the SL32 (so their output is not set to the main bus in S1, but to an output which goes to an SL32 channel). These are in the 'USB' source mode. By doing it so the SL32 fat channel DSP is the same during recording and playback, and no extra processing latencies (plugins) are introduced. There is however, a round-trip latency introduced by USB: one-way for the playback, and one-way for the recorded sound going to S1 on the computer. However, I think S1 takes this into account and I found this to not be a problem. To be sure, use the smallest buffers in S1 possible without crackling or pops ... (64 samples for me as I use no plugins during recording).

This setup allows me to use the faders on the board to mix the playback (all the faders in S1 are at 0dB) while overdubbing and recording tracks. The only thing you need to do is to switch the source from USB to analog for recording, and back to USB for playback.

Once all the tracks are recorded you can start mixing on the computer by instantiating fat channel inserts in S1 on the channels and synchronizing them with the SL32 fat channels. Then sync the S1 faders with your SL32 faders and route all the S1 channels to the main bus. If done properly the main bus output on S1 should be more or less the same as the main SL32 output. You can then further improve your mix with SL1 effects that are not present on the SL32 and refine your mix. You can use DAW mode on the SL32 to control S1 also.

Recently I have used a more complex setup with sends that allows me to alternate recording and mix without having to sync as much (faders, fat channels), but would take us too far. Also that system would work even better if S1 would have pre-insert sends which it hasn't. As a consequence I still have to turn of any fat channel inserts when doing recording to avoid applying fat channel processing twice to the same audio. Anyway I digress ...

So basically, in S1 each instrument has an output channel TO the SL32, and any instrument that can be recorded has an input channel FROM the SL32. E.g.

Drum: SL32 channel 1, S1 output 1 (I don't have a drummer, we use a midi track in S1)

Guitar: SL32 channel 17-18 from a Fractal AX8, S1 output 17-18, S1 input 17-18.

etc. ....

Good luck!
+1 vote
answered Jun 26, 2018 by benpierce (99,400 points)
Pretty much every Series III StudioLive console can do all of that. All of the consoles can record up to 34 channels (32 plus the main mix) via USB or with the onboard SD recorder.
0 votes
answered Jun 27, 2018 by tonyrapa (1,070 points)
edited Jun 27, 2018 by tonyrapa

Thanks benpierce!

Can any of the other consoles in the Studio Live series do that too (not just the Series III)?


By the way - for point 2 above, I should have said "the ability to overdub without using a DAW".... is this still possible?

0 votes
answered Jun 28, 2018 by tonyrapa (1,070 points)
edited Jun 29, 2018 by tonyrapa

Thanks yveshaeghen!

Ah, that is dissapointing about the overdubbing. Therefore, can I ask about the latency, please? Using the SL 32 III and Studio One DAW, can you truly be latency free for overdubbing (and what do you mean about source-switching)?

Thanks in advance.

Once again, thanks very much... that's about as comprehensive as it gets! You've been more than helpful! I think the SL 32/24/16 will be be the right tool moving forward. It would have been nice to be DAWless sometimes, but acheiving near zero latency is ultimately what I want. And I hope this will help those with a similar need too.