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Review: The PreSonus StudioLive AR8c is a Beast

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Review: The PreSonus StudioLive AR8c is a Beast
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The PreSonus StudioLive AR8c is a beast!

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

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 controls 4 headphone outputs and 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 be found 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.

Be sure to check out this great line from a PreSonus here or at a dealer near you!

David C Gross has been the bassist for a lot of folks. He has written 14 bass books and 3 instructional videos, hosts “The Notes From An Artist Radio Show” on www.cygnusradio.com Monday nights 8 PM EDT, and the “Notes From An Artist” podcast available on iTunes, Spotify and all podcast platforms.

NFAA brings you behind the scenes with individuals who forged a timeless musical canon – spanning rock, jazz, funk, blues, folk, country, and permutations thereof. Listen to stories and anecdotes hitherto untold and relive more than a few chronicles that have become lore with a fresh vision. It’s the soundtrack of our lives. Celebrate the past, live in the present, and anticipate the future – take Notes From An Artist

You can contact David @ www.thebassguitarchannel.com/contact for more information regarding his online lessons and world-renown correspondence course.

Bass Videos

Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

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Review: Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB…

Minuendo Lossless Earplugs Live 17dB – Hearing protection has always been front and center on my mind because I love music so much, I cannot imagine my life if I were unable to hear.

You might remember back in 2021, we had a good look at the Minuendo Lossless Earplugs featuring adjustable protection. This system has a lot of very good features but there was always the question of how much sound attenuation to choose.

Now, the great folks at Minuendo have come up with a new version of their earplugs that has a set 17dB noise reduction. You still get a lot of the great features of the adjustables but you just don’t have to think about the specific sound level. In addition, this new version of earplugs comes at a very attractive price point.

For more information, visit online at Minuendo.com

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

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Review: Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp

Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp: A Tribute to 90’s Iconic Sounds

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the realm of bass preamp/DI pedals, capturing the essence of iconic tones from the 90s can often feel like an elusive pursuit. However, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp emerges as a great option for bass players seeking to replicate the signature sounds of that era, particularly the revered tech21 SansAmp. With its robust feature set and compact design, the Tidal Wave offers a faithful homage to classic rock tones and low-gain distortions, all while providing modern conveniences for today’s bassist. Let’s delve into why the Joyo Tidal Wave stands out as a versatile and budget-friendly tool for both stage and studio.

Specs:

Measuring at 130 * 110 * 50 mm and weighing 442g, the Joyo Tidal Wave strikes a balance between portability and durability, making it ideal for gigging musicians and studio enthusiasts alike. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Tidal Wave ensures reliable performance in a variety of settings.

Controls:

At the heart of the Tidal Wave’s versatility lies its comprehensive control set, allowing bass players to sculpt their tone with precision. Key features include:

– Level: Sets the overall output volume of the pedal.

– Blend: Blends the dry signal with the cab-emulated signal, offering seamless integration of the pedal into any setup.

– Presence: Controls the dynamics of the high upper-mids, crucial for shaping drive tones.

– Drive: Introduces low-gain distortions and classic rock sounds into the clean tone.

– Treble, Middle, and Bass: Provides a 3-band EQ with frequency selectors for bass (40Hz – 80Hz) and mids (500Hz – 1KHz), offering ample control over tonal shaping.

– Middle Shift and Bass Shift: Allows for further fine-tuning of midrange and bass frequencies.

– Ground Lift: Helps eliminate ground loop noise in certain setups.

– DI Attenuation Switch: Adjusts the level of the DI output signal.

– LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal.

Performance:

True to its inspiration, the Joyo Tidal Wave excels in delivering classic rock tones and low-gain distortions reminiscent of the tech21 SansAmp. Whether you’re seeking gritty overdriven sounds or pristine clean tones, the Tidal Wave offers unparalleled flexibility and sonic versatility. The inclusion of a headphone out, XLR DI out with cab simulation, and throughout for the original bass sound make the Tidal Wave a versatile tool for both stage and studio applications. From practicing silently with headphones to crafting quality recordings in an ampless setup, the Tidal Wave delivers on all fronts with clarity, definition, and unmistakable character.

Pros:

The Tidal Wave boasts an array of advantages that set it apart from its direct competitors:

– Headphone Out: Transforms the pedal into a convenient practice tool.

– Size and Weight: Compact and lightweight design for easy transportation and setup.

– Rugged Construction: Durable build quality ensures longevity and reliability.

– DI and CabSim: Offers professional-grade direct recording capabilities with authentic cab simulation.

– Familiar Tones: Faithfully replicates the classic rock sounds of the tech21 SansAmp.

Cons:

While the Tidal Wave excels in many aspects, it does have a few drawbacks:

– Plastic Knobs: Knobs may feel less premium compared to pedals with metal controls.

– Cab Simulation Only on XLR Output: Limited cab simulation functionality may require additional routing for certain setups.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of classic rock tones from the 90s. With its faithful homage to the tech21 SansAmp, comprehensive control set, and modern conveniences like headphone out and XLR DI with cab simulation, the Tidal Wave offers bassists a versatile  tool for sculpting their sound with precision and finesse. Whether you’re seeking to replicate iconic tones from the past or forge new sonic territories, the Joyo Tidal Wave Preamp is sure to inspire creativity and elevate your playing to new heights.

Available online at Amazon.com

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Gear Reviews

Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

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Review: Joyo Scylla Compressor

Joyo Scylla Compressor: When Quality meets Budget-Friendly

Disclaimer: This pedal was kindly provided by Joyo for the purpose of this review. However, this does not influence our opinion or the content of our review. We strive to provide honest, unbiased, and accurate assessments to ensure that our readers receive truthful and helpful information.

In the diverse landscape of effects pedals for bass guitar, finding a compressor that strikes the balance between performance, versatility, and affordability can often feel like a daunting task. 

However, amidst the sea of options, one pedal stood out as a true diamond in the rough – the Joyo Scylla compressor. Despite its wallet-friendly price tag, the Scylla boasts a great array of features and controls typically reserved for pedals with much higher costs. Let’s take a closer look at why the Joyo Scylla is turning heads and earning praise among bassists on a budget.

Specs: The Joyo Scylla compressor measures in at 109 * 72 * 48 mm and weighs a mere 234g, making it both compact and lightweight – perfect for gigs or studio sessions where space is at a premium. With a power consumption of just 100 mA and a working voltage of DC 9V, the Scylla is efficient and versatile, compatible with a wide range of pedalboard setups.

Controls: What sets the Scylla apart from its direct competitors is its comprehensive control set, offering bassists a good amount of flexibility in shaping their sound. With six knobs, the Scylla allows for a very precise adjustment of key parameters:

  • Input Gain: Adjusts the amount of signal being fed into the compressor.
  • Output Volume: Controls the makeup gain after compression, ensuring consistent output levels.
  • Compression Ratio: Unlike traditional compressor pedals with preset ratio options, the Scylla features a continuous knob, allowing for seamless adjustment from subtle compression to limiter-like effects.
  • Attack and Release: Determine how quickly the compression engages and releases, offering a range of tonal possibilities from punchy and aggressive to smooth and subtle.
  • Output Tone Control: A unique feature not commonly found in compressor pedals, the tone knob adjusts the coloration of the compressed signal, adding warmth or brightness to your bass tone.
  • LED Light Switch Control: Allows users to customize the ambient lighting of the pedal, adding a touch of visual flair to their setup.
  • Performance: In practice, the Joyo Scylla delivers where it matters most – in sound quality and performance. Whether you’re aiming for a tight, punchy bass sound or smooth, sustained notes, the Scylla excels in providing transparent compression that enhances your playing without sacrificing dynamics. The granular control offered by its knobs allows for precise tailoring of compression settings to suit a wide range of playing styles and musical genres.
  • Pros: The Scylla’s strengths lie in its granular control, versatility, and compact design. Its sturdy build quality and diminutive size make it a welcome addition to any pedalboard, occupying minimal real estate without compromising on functionality. However, perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Scylla is its price point. Despite offering professional-grade features, the Scylla remains accessible to bassists of all budgets.
  • Cons: While the Joyo Scylla excels in many areas, it’s not without its drawbacks. One notable omission is the lack of metering, which may pose a challenge for users seeking visual feedback on compression levels. Additionally, the plastic knobs, while functional, may feel somewhat less premium compared to other pedals. 
  • Conclusion: In conclusion, the Joyo Scylla compressor emerges as a great option in the world of budget-friendly effects pedals for bass guitar. Its comprehensive control set, transparent compression, and compact design make it a compelling choice for bassists seeking professional-grade performance without breaking the bank. From its intuitive interface to its thoughtful touches like the tone knob and customizable LED lighting, the Scylla delivers a level of versatility and functionality that belies its modest price tag. For bassists looking to elevate their tone without compromising on quality or affordability, the Joyo Scylla compressor is a clear standout.

For more information, visit online at joyoaudio.com/product/265.html

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Bass Videos

String Instrument Humidifiers

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String Instrument Humidifiers

String Instrument Humidifiers

After living in some very humid parts of the country for decades, we moved to a dryer, much sunnier location. As a result, I started noticing some fret sprout on my string instruments and recently did a video on fret sprout correction.

It occurred to me that I should take a more preventative approach to string instrument humidification. Of course, I turned to my instrument maintenance experts, Music Nomad Equipment Care, for a solution and they suggested their Humitar series. (Note: They sent two press samples and I purchased the remainder online.)

Join me as I look at these useful tools for keeping my string instruments in tip-top condition.

The Humitar series is available online at Music Nomad Equipment Care, as well as Amazon.com

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Bass Videos

Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

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Review: CrystalBright Rombo Picks

CrystalBright Rombo Picks

PR Sample

Playing bass with a pick is still a touchy subject in our community. I believe you should be able to use whatever you need to get your sound. Even though I mostly play with my fingers, I like to check out innovative new picks that might have something new to offer, sonically speaking.

Judith and Carlos from Rombo recently contacted me about a new material called CrystalBright that they have been researching for the last 12 months and offered to send some prototype picks. After trying them out, I put together this video with my findings.

For more info check out @rombopicks

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