Feature requests / Bug reports / Remarks
First of all I want to say that I am utterly in love with my brand new network based rack mixer!!! Wow!!! I still cannot believe that my dream of say 5-6 years ago actually CAME TRUE!!! What an incredible upgrade for all sound engineers that have struggled and struggled, over and over again, on gigs where they (so me included) had to run around like a mad horse bank and forth from the desk to stage, making it all work.
And finally back on a PreSonus mixer again with all these amazing sounding spacious sounding quality preamps. Yeah! And absolute gorgeous quality casing, good job on that too, build like a tank guys!
I was doing a 23 piece bigband on Saturday so I had the mixer, perfectly cased in a SKB RW4 rolling rack, for a real-life test drive! Armed with a MacBook Pro to record the whole thing and 2 iPads there I was and I had great fun doing a perfect show with utterly amazed and very pleased musicians. Even after chatting up their wives just sitting on a catered table they were totally convinced with the whole new concept. Faaaaantastic!
So, before I kick off with my rather huge requests and bug reports list, feeling a bit ashamed already for all that nagging that is about to come, I would like to make this loud and clear. I am very happy with my new PreSonus purchase!!!
Not intending to flood you all PreSonus masterminds with my criticism, here is my list of things that I found, divided in feature request, bugs and unclassifiable remarks. Some of the things I had already found out in the studio some days ahead, so I could avoid them in the live situation.
Universal Control AI Mac application: 22.214.171.124286
iPad UC app: 126.96.36.19942 (Built on Oct 24 2014) on 2 iPads, iPad Air and iPad 2
RM32AI firmware: SL 1.0.5651Feature requests, some more urgent than others, a bit in order of urgency:
Bugs, problems and some things that are questionable:
- Mix position selector Pre1 - Pre2 - Post: this is done for an entire monitor mix but it would be much more flexible to have it per channel (as well), like I am used to on other (big) mixers/consoles. E.g. for an instrument where a dramatic EQ is a necessity (like some percussion instruments, violins with pickups, ...) for both FOH and a monitor mix. How to mix these together with vocals on one monitor mix otherwise…
I was riding backing tracks connected on the Tape In and realised that it currently is impossible to do that for both FOH and monitors with one fader movement. Perhaps using a DCA/Group… I have to test that.
- Time alignment delay option (meters and milliseconds) on the main and mono outputs. I noticed that numeric values can be entered for Mix 13-16. Could a slider be made here in addition to or as a substitute of the input field, including the calculation to meters/feet at a given environment temperature? I would not need a hundred meter, a few meters is fine.
- Regarding the FX I have several questions.
My first more general question would be, what to expect of future software updates? To have just 2 different reverbs en 2 delays is for me a bit “skinny". Does the mixer have some DSP resources left for more effects and perhaps also creativity? I could perhaps live with like 4 FX slots if they would be loadable with various FX, so just 1 delay and 3 other FX e.g. different reverbs or even things like modulation stuff.
- Also I would love to see better long reverbs. I find the current ones a bit “limited” and frankly at first glance disappointing. I hear the long ones loop and they tend to be a little basic, I had trouble making them sound natural in a dry room.
- The FAT channel for the necessary colouring of the FX appears to be on the send busmasters. That I have never seen! Perhaps sound quality would be much better when moved to the returns instead. This is normal operation.
- More a new-product request, I would also be in for having an extra RM product-like FX unit, connected via DANTE, AVB or FireWire800, to expand FX possibilities, if the RM32AI would else runs out of DSP. Providing these could be loaded with a whole bunch of rich effects of all kinds, including of course magnificent reverbs.
- If you want to edit the reverb length, which I am usually doing a lot, you are looking at a big gray area with a very very tiny number. Could this be improved a bit?
- I would like to have the option to feed the delay into the reverb again.
- Muting the effects should be made easier instead of going into the FX busses first. A lot of clicking after every song! But this could be the case with the proposed customising/repatching feature. See below.
- Channel layout customising/repatching and channel filtering revised.
It would be great and most desirable to just see what is needed for a specific concert or occasion, saved as a scene. Channels that are not in use are hidden, so better overview and operation, less clutter.
Then there could be any combination of channels in a specific order, even combined with DCA faders (Group Masters), FX returns, Tape in, Dig Ret… all in one view,. I would not like to keep on clicking Aux inputs an Group Masters all the time.
As an idea, in addition to the button Aux Inputs in the main section there can be 4 Channel layout buttons: All, Repatched, DCA/Group Masters, Aux Inputs. By default, Repatched is also equal to all channels so it can quickly be customised to any view that is preferred. All always includes the FX returns A-D, Talkback, Tape in, Dig Ret (now part of the Aux Inputs) and DCAs.
Suggestion: organising channels could perhaps be made like to press and hold, so they all become moveable, just like moving Apps on the iPad. Or deleted from the Repatched view by pressing a X button. With a + button they can be put back.
- With linked channels, e.g. 1 and 2, could the stereo-channel not better be called "Ch. 1+2" instead of "Ch. 1" or "Ch. 2", whatever came first when linking? That would be more logical and easier when explaining the “desk” to another sound tech. In the same logic, should the analog or digital inputs be 1+2, same for the cosmetic change to the 1-32 matrix, so both XLR or FW symbols blue. Same for < > up/down channels in the fat channel preset section on the iPad app, a bit inconsequent behaviour here.
Same idea for linked mixes.
Would love to see that chaining symbol at the link button in the channel section. And why not even the overlapping double OO stereo symbol as a shade over these channel and/or mixes that are stereo.
- Speaking of which, not getting that XLR or FW panel so much, when in the channel settings and selecting the Input Source. Is this a future layout for patching? Automatically you are going to click on it. Of course a global Mic/FW input button is missing!
- Asked before by others but I would love to see the option to record straight to a USB3.0 device attached to RM32AI This might not be possible with the front USB input, or it might have to do with CPU resources. I could understand this. But it would be a killer not to carry a laptop and still being able to record 32 tracks. Perhaps by an option card with USB. Would be willing to spend some money on this.
- Channel names are too small, automatic scalable font welcome. So at some point when a name gets longer, the font size diminishes.
- I like the clutter free interface a lot. But just a bit more contrast and colors are welcome. Like selecting colours to symbols in the Channel Type section, thus creating easier optical distinction between groups.
The colors could also have effect on the Group Masters.
dB scale is just too hard to see, perhaps a bit more contrast and something like a stripe at unity gain, or the 0 point lit up.
- Symbols at monitor mix busses. I love working graphically instead of working with names. I rather see arrows where they are located on stage.
- Signal metering on the DCA/Group Masters, postfade summed representation.
- On the Mac app. when scrolling the faders left/right on a Apple Magic Trackpad it goes too fast, it currently moves all the way from left to right (so channels 1-19 to channels 14-32) in just 0.5 inch, could be a bit slower for more comfortable control.
- I would be better to have no flex channel when Main is selected, and would be even much more logical, so to move the GEQ button to the right where the main channel is and the position can be left open for another channel to view and operate! It is completely redundant to have it there (double Main channels), even confusing sometimes.
- Remote control of Capture within UC Surface!!! Just the record enable and transport controls would already be great, if not, a must have not having to go to the side of the stage to operate Capture on a laptop and then go back into the venue.
I reacon I could setup a VNC connection between the iPad and the laptop run by third party screen sharing apps but a less elegant solution and it can be a bit of a hassle sometimes to set this up on a computer that is not your own.
- And the possibility to use a controller like a MCU/Faderport/etc. with UC and/or Capture by implementing the Mackie MCU/Hui protocol. Many like me have a DAW controller laying around.
Would be awesome to add that to the network, via a Mac/PC for sure.
- It would be nice to know when the limiters kick in, could this be made visual?
- More use of colours on the different mixes. It is easy to mistake between the main, monitor and effect mixes if you only look at the coloured line op the fader knobs. Maybe just a thicker line or even a bit of translucency of the color in the fader knob.
- Extra Channel Type symbols: Acoustic guitar over DI, Bassguitar over DI, Double Bass over DI. I am very often using both sources (mic and DI) next to each other and like to distinguish these. So same symbols with a little DI mark added would be great. OK, the separate “DI Box” Channel Type could be used, perhaps…
- With a lot of channels, festival and such there is a lot of paperwork. And when something is changing on the spot you want to make the info available for other techs to prepare a setup. Or to setup the same show on a later moment. It would be fantastic if VC has just a little bit more administrative capabilities on board, like connecting a mic name to a channel along with the channel type. And some specific settings like mic attenuation switches, multicore details on stage, some remarks.
In addition to that more global project info like the name of the artist(s)/band/orchestra, the date, the name of the venue, the time of soundcheck, the showtime. If that could be shown when needed on VC, like a little name of the band where you can click on. Super! If that could be all used as an export function to create a picture or .pdf file, e.g. to iBooks, of maybe print directly from VC, awesome.
This way all techs with iPads all know about the project details. Ideally this should also be available for iPhones that are connected to the network, perhaps by a separate PreSonus app.
- Smaart, any RTA with different time modes… very welcome too. Wow, that one is coming ha?
- Sometimes a bit trouble to toggle the EQ on/off buttons, not always 100% responsive. On both iPads.
- Sometimes during operation the power light above the USB port goes red, and a bunch of input LEDs go green for a small moment of 1-2 seconds. Network problem?
- In the Device Settings > System the setting Peak Hold seems not to affect the iPads. Always peak hold on these. The do have effect on the UC on the Mac.
- Bug or related with the channel linking inconsistency between current Mac and iPad: FX sends when channels are linked, the setting of the odd channel on the iPad, e.g. channel 1, do not appear on the Mac, where only the even channels, e.g. channel 2, are visible.
- My iMac cannot see one of my (self powered) drives daisy-chain connected to the second FW800 port of the RM32AI expansion card for recording purpose. E.g. a big LaCie is fine but no luck with a smaller (brand-X) FW800 drive case. What could be the cause?
- When copy/pasting an (auxiliary) mix it does not copy the mix settings of the Aux inputs (FX, Talkback, Tape In and Dig Ret/DAW), a bit weird. Would be more logical to copy all.
- A little buggy with Presets… I am testing this with 2 different iPads. At some point when loading presets, and this happens very quickly, I cannot reset the Fat channel any more. Then on the other iPad I still can. Or sometimes what happens is that when trying to reset B it jumps to A and resets A, not B. Pretty easy to reproduce.
This could only be resolved by closing the app with the dubbleclick home > swipe up way and reopening the app.
- I was even able to let the mixer end up in a state where no audio came through a channel. The sound was coming in the channel, I saw the meter, but no sound when I moved the fader up. Was of course assigned to main. Was able to recover from this state with the app on the Mac. But I do not plan to take a computer with me all the time…
I am not able to reproduce it at the moment though. It happend with linked channels and fiddling with loading and resetting presets in the Fat channel.
- Sometimes on the iPad in the tiny EQ graph the light blue < C > is there and goes away temporally when tapping the pan. But I had it that it came back all the time when selecting another channel. All fine on the Mac application.
- Very often the mixer starts with channel 1-9 muted for no reason, although all channels were on previously.
- Crashes sometimes on iPad when changing decay times.
- It would be helpful for others to mention in the Owners Manual that the Dig Ret channel in the Aux inputs is for the stereo DAW output and that the system audio including iTunes and audio from a browser etc. is can be patched on this fader bij selecting Outputs 33/34 (e.g. in Logic Pro X, go to Audio > I/O assignments > Output).
For system audio playback, go to System Preferences > Sound > Output and select PreSonus FireStudio. Then in the Audio MIDI Setup, which can be found in Applications > Utilities, select PreSonus Firestudio and Output. Then go to Configure Speakers... > Stereo and make the left speaker no. 33 and the right speaker no. 34 and click Apply and Done. Play something now and on the RM32AI, audio should now come in on the Dig Ret channel.
In case nog audio comes through it could be necessary to re-check the above and in some instances it could even be necessary to reboot the computer and the mixer when PreSonus Firestudio does not appear in the list.
- It is not clear how to transfer settings from one unit to another. A USB stick plugged in the port in the front would be handy for that! Please incorporate the possibility to do off-line editing and transferring via the USB as well.
- UC software “feels” still a bit “unfinished”, hence the setting screens. Another serious thing: I was very easily locked out the mixer using Device Permissions, where I suddenly was asked for a code. No default code is mentioned in the Owners Manual.
Luckily I was testing this comfortably in the studio, this would have freaked me out when at a gig! Found the default code by a forum post…….12345. Not mentioned in the manual. Still a bit in contradiction with the "battle readiness". The default code can better be mentioned on the screen itself.
- The iPad app locks up when going in the settings and clicking op the button to create a backup. Probably logical that it can only write to a file on a PC/Mac, but it would be better to show a message that the backup can only be performed on a PC/Mac.
- On the iPad, every time you slide up that shortcut slider for adjusting brightness and such, the app resets and starts looking scanning devices. On the average you loose 5 possibly crucial seconds. Accidentally this happens when moving to another part of the channels. A workaround I found is to turn this feature off (in apps) in the iPad’s settings. The iPad mini 2 I tested was OK with this… So difference in iPad model behaviour.
- The configuration of QMix-AI on iPhone… Really? Is a computer always required to run this? The QMix-AI Reference Manual implies this, explaining AdHoc WiFi networking. This is in contrast with the typical hookup pictures in the RM-Series Owners Manual, where the iPhones seems to connect directly to the router and via the router to the RM32AI.
That’s it for the moment. Thank you for considering the above and keep up the good work. Looking forward to see future updates and in the meantime I will keep promoting your products like my life is depending on it! They are so much worth doing so.
Feel free to comment. I took the liberty to create a new post because of the size of this list and because it was not clear when the current software was released. Creating 3 posts was a going bit over the top anyway.