Atlanta is a busy town for live music, and Alfred “AL-Tee” Williams is one of Atlanta’s busiest live-sound mixers. The veteran engineer has run the mix for a wide range of artists including Kool and the Gang, The SOS Band, Rachelle Farrell, Angie Stone, Bobby Brown, and a host of others.
Needless to say, AL-Tee has had his fingers on more than a few sets of faders over the years. And with no shortage of high-end mixing consoles to choose from, hisdesk of choice these days is the PreSonus StudioLive™ 16.4.2.
“I discovered the StudioLive completely by accident,” he says. “A friend of mine had purchased a StudioLive console, and he was raving about it. Now normally I’m not impressed when people go on and on about a piece of gear. But I was intrigued by some of the stuff he was telling me, and I felt like I really wanted to check it out.”
As AL-Tee explains, he got his hands on a StudioLive 16.4.2 console just a few days before mixing the annual Legendary Awards Show, which featured performances by five different bands and appearances by the likes of Tina Turner, (ex-Atlanta Hawks basketball star) Dominique Wilkins, Ted Turner, and numerous other Atlanta legends. “Normally I’d be pretty reluctant to mix a major show like that on a console I hadn’t had time to learn my way around yet,” he says. “But honestly, it took me no time at all to get up to speed. Everything was just seamless.”
Beyond the easy learning curve, AL-Tee was impressed with the StudioLive’s feature set. “I was just blown away by what the StudioLive can do,” he says. “I could see right away it had more features and more flexibility than some of the most expensive live consoles. I was able to record the entire show live to Capture and save the performances for mixing later on.”
AL-Tee put the StudioLive’s snapshot automation to use almost immediately. “A lot of the shows I do feature multiple sets from different bands and musicians,” he explains. “I’ve used the StudioLive for a number of other shows over the past few weeks, and I’ve been able to move easily from one show to another, save and recall scenes quickly, fine-tune effects settings, and do anything I can do with a more expensive console.”
He also wasted no time getting into the StudioLive’s remote mixing capability. “I got up from front-of-house and went into the audience with my iPad®,” he says. “I love it that I can move around the hall and control the mix from anywhere. It takes the guesswork out of what things sound like on the other side of the auditorium, and that helps me build a better mix. And the musicians love it too; we had a couple of guys up on stage controlling their monitor mixes with their iPhones®.”
Of course, the bottom line is what it sounds like, and AL-Tee reports that the StudioLive delivers. “The sound quality is just amazing,” he says. “It’s hands-down better-sounding and more powerful than a lot of the more expensive digital consoles. The mic preamps are so much better than anything else out there.”
AL-Tee’s enthusiasm is clearly contagious. “The club I used it at last week, the owner wants to buy one,” he reports. “And I’ve been talking about it to a bunch of people I know, and now two different churches here in Atlanta want to install them.”
“The StudioLive was obviously designed by people who come from old-school engineering backgrounds,” he continues. “It’s a digital console but you don’t have to use it that way. You can run it just like an analog console but you get all the benefits and features of a digital console. That’s the best thing about it: You can work in the box or out of the box.”
AL-Tee concludes, “Other manufacturers, they haven’t kept up with the technology. Their routing schemes aren’t nearly as flexible, and their sound is nowhere near as good. It’s amazing to me the features PreSonus has put into this console. At this price point, they’re going to change the entire industry.”