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Review: The PreSonus StudioLive AR8c

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This post originally appeared in Bass Musician Magazine, by Author Ty Campbell

The PreSonus StudioLive AR8c is a hybrid mixer/audio interface that does it all: it records your synths, it mixes, it Bluetooths, it comes with a big software bundle of synths and processors…

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If you are into podcasts, live streaming, or music production, the PreSonus StudioLive AR8c is a great fit for anyone.

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I will say if you need more, there is also the AR12c and AR16c, but for now, we are focusing on the AR8c.

5 Things to Know About AR8c

My Setup

Currently, I am using the AR8c in a home studio for recording projects, music productions, and also as my outboard sound card.

To get further into my setup, I use the USB interface connected to my Mac. The AR8c main outputs then connect to my PreSonus HP4 headphone amplifier, which controls4 headphone outputsand monitor levels. From there I go into a sub and studio monitors. Channel 7/8 is a stereo channel and I use that to control the overall return level from my MAC. I use the main output volume to control the overall level. When channel 7/8 and the main outputs are set to unity (defined by “U” on the control) I get optimum output.

As far as specs, I’ll get into that a little later.

Recording

Recording with the PreSonus StudioLive AR8c is a breeze. It’s great to now be able to record more than one channel at a time, actually being able to lay down a scratch track then polish it up with the other musicians from there. My previous interface was a little limited in that aspect, so the AR8c is very welcome and refreshing.

The PreSonus StudioLive AR8c comes with PreSonus Capture software for one-click live recordings which can be exported and imported into PreSonus Studio One Artist DAW. Capture will export your tracks as either WAV or AIFF files and you can import them into your DAW.

Capture and Studio One Artist are included with the AR8c, and that’s not all of the options. It has a stereo SD Recorder that uses any SD/SDCH card up to 32 GB allowing you to record right to the SD card. This is great for recording a mobile podcast or even a band rehearsal, so no need to take your computer along. You can then transfer those files from the SD card to your DAW.

Effects

Not only is the AR8c great for recording, but it also has some pretty great effects as well. There are 16 effects altogether including reverbs, echos, delays, and even chorus. There is an FX control for the number of effects you wish to apply as well as a balance control, mute switch and dedicated send and return, and optional footswitch.

PreSonus StudioLive AR8c Specs

Getting into the specs of the mixer, it is an 8-channel analog mixer with 4 balanced mic inputs with XMAX mic preamps, 2 instrument/line inputs, and 6 balanced line-level inputs of which 2 are mono and 2 are stereo.

There is another channel that PreSonus calls the ‘Stereo Super Channel’, which is actually channel 7/8. This channel has Bluetooth connectivity, RCA inputs, 1/8 inch stereo input, and a switchable SD/USB stereo playback along with aux, balance, PFL, mute, and level. Make certain that if you are using a USB connection to your computer that the USB on the USB/SD Card Return switch is engaged for USB and disengaged for the SD card. As I mentioned earlier, you can record on the SD card and also play it back on the PreSonus StudioLive AR8c.

There are 2 stereo and 2 mono channels and each channel has level control, 3 band semi-parametric EQ, pan, mute, FX, aux, and PFL controls.

Channels 1 and 2 have switchable 1/4” line/instrument level inputs and low cut selectors, while stereo channels 3/4 and 5/6 have 1/4” line inputs and +10dB selectors. Phantom power is available on the AR8c.

The control room, aux, and effects outputs are 1/4” TRS, line-level, while the Main outputs are balanced XLR.

The headphone output is 1/4”, and the headphone amplifier is quite loud.

You also get a 1/4” footswitch jack (footswitch not included) for muting the effects return.

For those of you who want the complete tech specs, they can befound here.

Along with the included software of Studio One Artist and the Capture live multitrack recording software is a multitude of great software.

Included is software available for download, the Studio Magic Software Suite, which includes: Plugin Alliance – Brainworx bx_opto, SPL Attacker, Maag Audio EQ2, Lexicon MPX-i Reverb, Arturia Analog Lab Lite, Output Movement, Klanghelm SDRR2tube, UJA Virtual Drummer-PHAT 2, isotope Neutron – Elements, Native Instruments – Replika, Cherry Audio – Voltage Nucleus, Melodics – Studio Bundle, KV331 Audio – SynthMaster Player, UVI-Model D, and Ableton Live Lite.

Please note that the Studio Magic Suite is updated every year to bring you the latest and greatest software, new items may be added and some may go away.

Studio Magic

With all this software being included with the PreSonus StudioLive AR8c you have a full studio for all your recording needs.

For more on the PreSonus StudioLive AR8c, be sure to check out this great line from a PreSonus here or at a dealer near you!

View: PreSonus Studio One 5 Professional Review

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