My successful journey with the PreSonus StudioLive AI – Series PA speakers has been fascinating! Day 1 proved to be an interesting day for the speakers and for me. We got an early start to be ready for a celebration scheduled that evening; 350 guests were expected to enjoy food and entertainment with a talented family who sing and play locally.
We loaded in that afternoon and proceeded to set up the gear. I had a SL24.4.2 console and the SLAI speakers. The SL18sAI speakers were placed on either side of the stage on a hardwood floor. I was supposed to have 4 husky lads help me place the speakers on top of 4-foot threaded poles. One slender, reluctant 20-year-old fellow was nearby, and I needed one more person—so I recruited a lady to help out. We placed the first SL312AI on top of its pole without incident. I explained what we had to do with the pin and speaker cabinet in order to get it mounted higher. The young man must have been confused; he flipped the speaker cabinet up and off the top of the pole! Luckily, I caught it and put it back on the pole. I explained again what we were trying to accomplish and then started to adjust the pole higher. This time he flipped the cabinet completely off the pole and I couldn’t catch it. The shiny new cabinet went 7 feet into the air, bounced on the hardwood floor a few times and came to a stop. Another fellow helped to put the speaker back on top of the pole and when everything was ready, I fired up the system, and both speakers worked. I was extremely grateful that the SL312AI had passed the drop test!
The SL328AI cabinets were my floor monitors and they worked beautifully! The family of performers danced, sang, played acoustic guitars, piano, and even a ukulele. Everything worked as designed and there were plenty of compliments all around.
My next gig was a large wedding and reception held in a state park near a hundred-year-old church. I played favorite tunes and then set up a microphone for the groom to serenade his lovely bride. The ladies were persuaded to sing as well. It was fun to hear them perform and see them make lasting memories. The speaker system was in direct sunlight the whole time and performed flawlessly! I again used the SL18sAI – SL312AI combination which delivers clear, punchy, fabulous sound.
The next trial for the SL speaker system was outdoors for the Orem Summerfest. It is a two-day event each June with acts ranging from opera to classic rock, dance, and martial arts. The stage is mostly covered but the down stage is in direct sunlight. Again, I used the SL328AI as monitors and they were in in the sun from 10 AM on for two days. I had brought along fans, but didn’t need to use them. The performers loved the speaker/monitors because they were clean and clear and loud! I especially liked them because they were low profile and the audience was able to see the feet of little children who danced and sang. As a side note, a Triple A engineer mixed on the SL32.4.2AI and of course, it sounded beautiful.
We set up a second system for the Saturday night Summerfest parade. I chose the venerable SL18sAI subwoofer and SL312AI top boxes. This smaller system provided great coverage for the grandstands and final stretch of the parade route. An estimated thousand people enjoyed clear announcements and commentary as the parade passed by. Some of the parade floats included sound, but of course they were pretty weak in comparison.
I recently tried another challenging adventure with the SL speakers! I registered the two SL328AI speakers with My PreSonus online account and then downloaded the software necessary to use SL Room Control. When I tried to have my Mac recognize the speakers with SL Room Control the error message indicated that no speakers were found. I tried calling Tech Support at PreSonus but my hold time exceeded 30 minutes and I was sent to a message center. I then got on the computer and sent Tech Support a request for help. The next morning I received a reply that included Knowledge Base and videos on how to install the software. I finally realized that the D-Link DIR 655 that I purchased several months ago had a password that was different than the default password installed in the speakers and that was problematic. I purchased an Ethernet cable and tried to change the default password in the speakers but apparently the D-Link DIR655 doesn’t support that. I then set about changing the password on the gigabit router—only then did the software recognize a speaker in the room.
I was able to experiment with several of the settings in the speakers and I was very pleased with the results.
The big lesson for me was to have the router user name as StudioLive and the password as StudioLive. If you do this, the speakers will be recognized by the SL Room Control software. I now plan to change the password on the SL32.4.2AI console to match everything else. (In a response from Presonus, we were informed that you can use any network name and password. The issues may hae been a router issue or perhaps the password was entered incorrectly. Hardwiring the speakers or using the default network name and password is definitely the quickest and easiest set-up though.)
I really like these speakers and am trying to find a way to purchase them! They give us sound guys super control over the environment where we do our work. It was a pleasure to use them!
(Update: After hearing the AI speakers, a client of Paul’s affiliated with the ‘80s pop group The Jets arranged to buy a pair of SL18s subs and 10 of the 328AI tops. These will be heading back to Tonga where they will be used in a ceremony celebrating the coronation of the Tongan king. We will be doing coverage of that event when it happens.)