A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

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A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby IraSeigel » Fri Sep 26, 2014 9:46 am

Is there anyone here who has some experience with either of these consoles? I've used iLive desks, and I've looked over a Presonus user's shoulder (the engineer for Colin Hay, I believe), but I've not actually used these 2.

I understand the Presonus preamps are pretty decent. I like the portability that both of these could offer, compared to something "portable" like a DM2000.

Any thoughts as to UI, build quality, sound, workflow would be very helpful. Recording/mixing 24 tracks, which I believe these can do internally or to an HD24XR, is the goal.

Cheers.
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Re: A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby BrentEvans » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:35 am

The A&H Is better than the Presonus IMHO. I've used and installed both, and I have a Qu-16. On the Presonus, all the aux sends and GEQs are pots and LEDs, they're on the faders on the Qu. A&H has a custom fader layer, presonus is fixed architecture. A&H has FX returns on faders, presonus doesn't, but it can be assigned to a subgroup, which A&H doesn't have.

The Presonus interface is firewire, A&H is USB. Presonus is expandable, A&H can do digital stageboxes, but the stageboxes don't expand the channel count. UI on the A&H and the A&H ipad app is far superior. Neither console is a DAW controller.

Ultimately the feature sets are different, so you just have to look at what you need the most. For me, that was interface, so A&H won. Presonus does have some points in its favor though.
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Re: A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby RBIngraham » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:11 pm

I personally have only had short demos of each... in an office... so no real world first hand experience or first ear experience either.

But keep in mind that our resident golden ear, Joe Lepore, doesn't have too much nice to say about the sound quality of the Presonus. Now I believe that was the older models, so maybe the new ones are improved.
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Re: A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby IraSeigel » Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:45 pm

Thanks RB.
Altho the (new?) Presonus pres have received some great reviews in other forums, when I had the chance to see the StudioLive in use by another engineer, I came away thinking it was kind of a toy. I'm not familiar at all with the Qu series, altho I've had some positive experiences with the iLive UI. I'm not sure if Qu shares the iLive UI, however.

If I could manage to transport a DM2000 I would consider it, but in a road case they're too massive and heavy for easy transport. An 02R96 shares the same UI, I believe, as the 01V, which I'm not a fan of. Altho with either of these two Yamahas, recording within the console is not possible. AFAIK, the Qu and the StudioLive are the only ones to offer that functionality, especially at that price point.

And then there's the UFX or Metric Halo (and JoeCo BlackBox), which can record right to USB. You'd still need a mixer for monitoring, with SAC possibly, or a dedicated hardware mixer.

Never mind me, I'm just thinking out loud...
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Re: A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby jlklein » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:51 am

I have a Studiolive 16.4.2 classic for our vocal group, after demo'ing SAC for a year (I still use SAC at my church for fixed and portable installs). The main reason we went with the Presonus was some instability with SAC and the control surface, which I attribute to an old computer and interface (ProMix01) along with my limited experience at the time with the program, however, the group as a whole felt more comfortable with a more traditional desk. Especially since they get me up there to sing occasionally and weren't real comfortable with filling in for me and computer mixing (most of the group is in their 60's and 70's). In retrospect, I wish I'd stuck with SAC longer as I lost a lot of nice functionality even for a small group setup.

Sound-wise, the Presonus isn't bad at all, but on the same speakers and monitors that SAC was on it was definitely not as detailed and crisp, and I think less responsive to EQ adjustments than with SAC. However, still very workable. I don't particular like not having motorized faders, which if you don't ever leave the desk is no big deal, but if you use the iPad or Virtual StudioLive (VSL) for remote setup or adjustment the fader locate feature is kind of daunting to use live (is it sync'd? is it not?). I also don't like that the auxes are completely post or pre for all channels, rather than channel selectable, and you only have two effects channels to choose from (4 now with the new desks). I like to run my music tracks post fader so I can easily compensate for level changes between tracks in the mains and monitors simultaneously, and run vocals and instruments in the typical pre fader setup (we also have guitar/keys). With the StudioLive it's all or nothing, so I run pre-fader and then have to separately adjust main and monitor levels to keep backing track levels consistent.

I'm not to wild about the interface overall, as there are a fair amount of button-multi-pushes necessary to reach some of the menus, and then you have to remember which label to read on the overlays. I don't like that Solo doesn't over-ride listening to the Main mix through the headphones...you have to deselect the main mix button to hear only the Solo selection. GEQ adjustments take multiple button pushes through the main screen menu and then are spread across multiple pages as they can only adjust 16 bands at a time and must be done separately (i.e. Left/Right outputs are not linked, although you can do this via the iPad app). In my opinion it is a must to have a laptop connected to take advantage of the VSL interface, which adds a lot more flexibility (as does the iPad app). Factory and User Channel Presets are much easier to work with that way and can even be done piecemeal (EQ, dynamics, or all of the above), and scenes are much easier to save and jump around between (forget doing that easily with the onscreen display).

So, overall it can work fine for you, depending on your needs, and there's a fair bit of stuff you can do with it, but there are some gotchas that my influence your decision. I can still get good sound out of it, it just takes more work than SAC did, however no one is complaining and our audiences likes us as much as always when we play out, so that's the important thing. There are a lot more choices now than when I picked mine up, though, and I would say do your homework very diligently regarding what features you need and what each board offers. I probably would not have gone with the StudioLive had some of these choices been around, but they weren't.

Hope this helps,
Jeff
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Re: A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby IraSeigel » Mon Sep 29, 2014 12:01 pm

Jeff,
Thanks for relaying your very valuable experiences with the console. Your working knowledge of the desk is impressive.

Since posting my original question, I've branched out to also consider the Venice F from Midas. It doesn't have "ITB" recording, as the Qu and PreSonus do, but I'd love to have Midas pres and EQs again. I haven't heard any in-depth reviews yet of the console, so I'm still looking.
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Re: A&H Qu vs Presonus StudioLive

Postby IraSeigel » Tue Oct 21, 2014 5:05 pm

Hey all,
I just took possession of an A&H Zed R-16. I'll report back when I've had a few hours with it. I decided to go analog with the mixer, rather than a Qu series or Presonus. I'm not planning on using the FW/ADAT portion yet, just the analog. I've read some comments that seem to cast some doubts about the A/D portion of the console (the FW and ADAT sections). If anyone knows of a shop that could do mods in this area, please let me know. Black Lion won't. Thanks.
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