Studiolive 32Ai, 24Ai and 16Ai Consoles with Universal Control Ai, SL Remote Ai, and QMix Ai
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Hey everyone,

We have a 24.4.2AI mixer in a live sound setup. We're only using about 8 channels:
    - Lead & keyboard vocal (ch 2 & 3)
    - Lead guitar and keyboard (ch 6 & 8)
    - Kick & two overheads (ch 10, 11, 12; but had no real impact when testing without them)
    - Aux 1 & 2 for monitors Aux 9 & 10 stereo linked for streaming
    - FX A & C are ambient and mono delay (but I've also muted them and had the same results)
    - Everything is routed to the Mains, no subgroups or additional equipment
    - Main outputs are routed to a Crown XLS 1000 amp, then to two speakers

The presets used are:
    - Ch 2: Male vocal 1
    - Ch 3: Female vocal 2
    - Ch 6: Acoustic guitar
    - Ch 8: Keyboard
    - Ch 10: Kick drum
    - Ch 11 & 12: Overhead mics, phase centered on the snare

I have some experimenting with the drum mics but even when muted they the "issue" remains.

I've done the gain structure how PreSonus suggests with the input levels at around 50% (I believe that's -6 to -10 dbFS) and nothing is going above that, even during live normal playing. The channel faders are either at unity or below. Everything else is muted and faders are fully down. Also, the mains level output trim knob is at 12 o'clock position (neither boosted or attenuated).

The reason I mentioned the presets is because I don't think any of them really boosts anything, (unless the compressor has makeup gain?) I also checked the Output meters and nothing is high. I wish I could double check the presets that nothing is boosted but I don't have the mixer in front of me right now to verify.

The "problem" is that when I put the main fader up to unity, the mains meters are consistently in the first and second yellow bars. I have to bring the main fader down to almost just below -10 to keep it out of the yellow. I'd like to keep to keep it around unity but I'm not sure if my thinking needs to be adjusted.

I noticed in the PreSonusphere 2013 video "Mixing for the church"[1] that their mixer levels looked like they were consistently in the first & second yellows. Fader at -10 just seems too low and in the area that's a bit more coarse of adjustments than around unity.

Is there something I should be doing differently or some any advice on my thinking?

1: https://youtu.be/qaZBKzgxl_Q?t=1h7m57s (it also shows a couple channels clip, but even after bringing the gain down it looks like main meters are still consistently in the yellow? Hard to tell)

Thanks!
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by wahlerstudios on Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:11 pm
The display of the "meters" on your board either show the channels' input or output levels. There are two separate buttons for that (in the master section). You are not saying to what you refer, but generally I can recommend this approach:

First you need to watch your input levels and adjust the gains so that the meters stay more or less with the green or the first yellow bar. If there is red bar (only one on top) somewhere, your HAVE to reduce gain of that channel!

The second look should go to the output levels of your channels AFTER processing and faders and it is quite possible, that these levels are remarkably higher. Any processing adds volume, not only the "makeup gain". There are some presets that do have some "makeup gain" included, so bring that down anyway and if you see major differences between input and output levels, you really need to work on that!

SL16 | 32R | 16R | 3* 16M | SW5E

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by robolmos on Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:46 pm
wahlerstudios wroteFirst you need to watch your input levels and adjust the gains so that the meters stay more or less with the green or the first yellow bar. If there is red bar (only one on top) somewhere, your HAVE to reduce gain of that channel!


Thanks. Yup the meters are gained according to the inputs. Most are according to how PreSonus recommends at about 50%.

wahlerstudios wroteThe second look should go to the output levels of your channels AFTER processing and faders and it is quite possible, that these levels are remarkably higher.


Yup yup. The outputs are right around what the inputs were showing, nothing is much hotter than what the input was showing.

wahlerstudios wroteAny processing adds volume, not only the "makeup gain". There are some presets that do have some "makeup gain" included, so bring that down anyway and if you see major differences between input and output levels, you really need to work on that!


Gotcha. I'm not sure if the presets do, I listed them though in case someone had the time to point out which preset would do so, but with the outputs not showing anything out of the obvious I'm not sure.

Would "bringing it down" be via reducing the input gain, the processing gain (possible?) or the fader level? I'm still not sure why the mains are much higher though that I can't keep it near unity. Hmm.

Thanks
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by wahlerstudios on Sun Oct 09, 2016 6:41 pm
Yes, "bringing them down" means to turn down the makeup gain to zero. Just step through the channels and look at the bar "Gain". The encoder knob is right below. This level is set manually and is not affected by the faders.

Maybe you need to decide, what reference you want to follow. Your master fader does not need to be levelled at unity - I would even say it shouldn't! Start with the input faders and the gain at zero (turned off). Also master should be at zero. Move fader #1 to unity and turn up the gain until the input meter shows an appropriate level. If you want to use a preset, load it before (watch out makeup gains...)! Now raise the master volume to the level you need and then continue the levelling for all input channels. When you're finished all levels should be balanced with all faders at unity, ready for mixing.

Adjust the master fader only as needed. If you want to have your master at unity, you need to turn your amplifiers down...

Hope this helps.

SL16 | 32R | 16R | 3* 16M | SW5E

Apple routers | iPads | Alesis iO Docks | Yamaha S112, S15e, S10e, SM12, SM10 | LD Systems Curv 500 | Galaxy Audio Hot Spots | Mac mini | Lenovo Laptop | Studio One Artist 5.0.0 & Pro 3.5.6
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by robolmos on Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:06 pm
wahlerstudios wroteYes, "bringing them down" means to turn down the makeup gain to zero. Just step through the channels and look at the bar "Gain". The encoder knob is right below. This level is set manually and is not affected by the faders.


I see what you mean. I'll give that a shot when I have the mixer in front of me again.

wahlerstudios wroteMaybe you need to decide, what reference you want to follow. Your master fader does not need to be levelled at unity - I would even say it shouldn't!


Gotcha. That's what it was looking like a matter of style between setting gain to the fader rather than the input meters. I prefer to have a good signal for the board to maximize the SNR and let the faders sit where they sound fine.

wahlerstudios wroteAdjust the master fader only as needed. If you want to have your master at unity, you need to turn your amplifiers down...


OK. That's pretty much what it sounds like I'll need to do then since the channel output meters don't show anything abnormal. Since it sounds fine at -10 on the main fader, and the main meter only slightly touches the yellow, that's probably where I'll keep it.

I think it's close enough to fader unity for me. I'll probably decrease the amp's input attenuation as well (increase the level control) since it's a bit soft and the amps have some room.

If anyone else has any advice or tips on this subject please let me know!
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by SwitchBack on Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:19 pm
The internal gain structure is an old gripe I have with the SL mixers. There is too much gain (or too little attenuation) between the channel faders and the outputs.

Mixing channels means adding up the signals. That will always increase the output level: between 3dB (no correlation between the input signals) and 6dB (exactly the same signals) for every doubling of input channels. It is up to the designer of the mixer to decide how much compensation (i.e. fixed attenuation) is built into the mixing stages to compensate for this effect. PreSonus chose little or no attenuation so the mixer outputs tend to be too loud. Bringing down input gain and/or faders is the only way for users to compensate.

I wouldn't routinely bring down the makeup gain of the presets. Makeup gain is to compensate for output level lost due to compression. The setting is in a way a guide to how strong the input level was when the preset was created. Set your input gain for a channel to make the gain reduction from the preset's compressor (at input level peaks) match the makeup gain setting and your input level will be just about right for that preset.

And to avoid the 'yellows' on the main output simply bring down the main fader. It's a compromise...
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by roblof on Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:51 pm
Note that input meters and output meters uses different scales and therefor does not correlate 1:1. That one got me quite confused in the beginning...

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by klypeman on Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:38 am
Im mostly a hands on guy and I adjust so it sounds good, if I feel it is too loud I adjust the main out amplifier or the little knob in the back and then the main fader on the fly, I just feel that if it sounds good it is good (without going into the red). When there is recording going on I like to have the input levels at around two-third's on the input meters. In the end it mostly depends on the kind of music to be recorded in my mind.
My ten cents. :reading:

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by robolmos on Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:04 am
SwitchBack wroteMixing channels means adding up the signals. That will always increase the output level: between 3dB (no correlation between the input signals) and 6dB (exactly the same signals) for every doubling of input channels. It is up to the designer of the mixer to decide how much compensation (i.e. fixed attenuation) is built into the mixing stages to compensate for this effect. PreSonus chose little or no attenuation so the mixer outputs tend to be too loud. Bringing down input gain and/or faders is the only way for users to compensate.


Ahhh. That explains it then. I was pretty surprised that only running maybe 5 channels on a 24 channel mixer I was having to bring the main fader down so much. Then again I was also having some trouble remembering where the old analog mixer's main fader was positioned after running with an even older fill-in mixer until there were funds to replace it.

SwitchBack wroteI wouldn't routinely bring down the makeup gain of the presets. Makeup gain is to compensate for output level lost due to compression. The setting is in a way a guide to how strong the input level was when the preset was created. Set your input gain for a channel to make the gain reduction from the preset's compressor (at input level peaks) match the makeup gain setting and your input level will be just about right for that preset.


Great tip. I'll be giving that a look over next time.

SwitchBack wroteAnd to avoid the 'yellows' on the main output simply bring down the main fader. It's a compromise...


Compromise I don't have a problem because I have a better understanding now. Thanks!
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by robolmos on Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:15 am
roblof wroteNote that input meters and output meters uses different scales and therefor does not correlate 1:1. That one got me quite confused in the beginning...


Sorry, when I meant "output" I was referring to the Output button and using the channel meters as the reference. IIRC the input and output channel meters are both on the same -72 to 0 dBFS. Is that correct?

I do understand what you mean about the subgroup & main meters being in dbU instead and them have a different scale from each other.

Thanks
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by wahlerstudios on Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:42 am

SL16 | 32R | 16R | 3* 16M | SW5E

Apple routers | iPads | Alesis iO Docks | Yamaha S112, S15e, S10e, SM12, SM10 | LD Systems Curv 500 | Galaxy Audio Hot Spots | Mac mini | Lenovo Laptop | Studio One Artist 5.0.0 & Pro 3.5.6
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by andrewsutton1 on Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:25 pm
Hi Guys,

This is an old thread, but it is dealing with an issue I'm currently contemplating = ideal position of rear main output level control. The manual says...

"If the main output of your StudioLive is too high or too low when your faders are at or
near unity, you can use the output-level knob on the rear panel of the StudioLive
to adjust the level up or down until you have achieved the optimal volume."

But what is the 'ideal' starting position for the rear level control on the main outputs - 12 o'clock (vertical) or fully clockwise @ 0db?

It can be almost any position as I'm running the output via a Driverack speaker management system before the power amp and can clamp the level via its limiter which requires the power amp level controls to be adjusted anyway?

Don't want to get too anally retentive about it, but wondering if there is a preferred setting?

Many thanks.
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by SwitchBack on Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:02 pm
Two rules of thumb:
1. As loud as possible, because a strong signal into the cable means less amplification needed on the other end means less cable/interference noise in the next stage.
2. Never clip the inputs of whatever is connected to the outputs because best case that causes distortion and worst case you destroy something.

The basic idea is to have the mixer’s output meters bobbing somewhere round about the -10dB mark, peaks going up maybe slightly into the yellow. The output meters show you the actual digital level going into the DAC, so indirectly they show you the output voltage level from the DAC. With said meter levels and with the little pot on the back at 0dB the output level on the mixer outputs will be about right for a +4dBu professional grade amplifier, but it will definitely be too much for a -10dBu consumer grade audio amplifier. In that case turn down the little pot to what the amp’s input can still handle, but not much further.

Hope that helps :)
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by sjc193 on Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:37 am
My RM32 goes into a Driverack 260. I keep the knob on the back all the way up. Turn it to 11! :punk:

Always worked well for me. . .

Steve

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