Knowledge Base


Frequently Asked Questions about the SL AI CoActual Loud Speakers

16 Nov 2020

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions concerning the SL AI CoActual Loudspeaker Line


What are the differences between the three full-range models?

Each full-range PreSonus® StudioLive™ AI-series loudspeaker employs the same biamped, CoActual™ speaker for high- and mid-frequency reproduction. However, each model handles the low-frequency reproduction differently:


  • The 312AI features a 12-inch ferrite woofer, powered by two 500W amplifiers bridged together.
  • The 315AI features a 15-inch ferrite woofer, powered by two bridged 500W amplifiers. 
  • The 328AI features two 8-inch ferrite woofers, each powered by its own 500W amplifier.



How hard is it to blow up a StudioLive CoActual speaker?

We’re not saying you can’t blow up a StudioLive AI-series loudspeaker but you’re going to have to try mighty hard—and wear your earplugs!

StudioLive AI-series loudspeakers provide reliable operation at high SPLs by incorporating an innovative new multiband limiting architecture. This system evaluates the excursion and voice-coil temperature of every driver and uses that information to maximize the output of the loudspeaker while preserving the integrity of audio sources that span more than one band. This means that even when pushed to the limit, AI loudspeakers continue to provide clean and powerful vocals, without the harsh edginess that is characteristic of conventional protection schemes.

In addition, every StudioLive AI loudspeaker provides thermal and clip monitoring. The input sensitivity is scaled to pair with the average output of a professional mixer (+24 dBu), reducing the chances of clipping the inputs and overdriving the amplifier. Thermal monitoring alerts you if any of the onboard amplifiers start to overheat.


What does the LBR Source contour do?

StudioLive AI-series loudspeakers provide high-resolution, accurate reproduction of high-quality recordings and live mixes. When you play low-bit-rate MP3s, the unusual clarity of StudioLive AI speakers may reveal the artifacts of MP3 compression to an unflattering degree.

The LBR Source contour is specifically designed to reduce the audibility of these artifacts, making poorly compressed digital audio sound better.


What does the Floor Monitor contour do?

Because the gain structure of the StudioLive AI loudspeakers was designed to optimize the dynamic range of an entire PA system. 

Most other powered speakers in this price class aren't. Professional mixers output from 22 to 26 dBu—for example, StudioLive 
mixers output +24 dBu—and for optimal performance, the speakers should match that level.


Why would I want “studio-monitor accuracy” in a live sound speaker?

Many powered loudspeakers come preloaded with the “smiley-face” EQ. This scoops out the mid range and hypes up the high and low ends, but it also colors the audio. StudioLive AI loudspeakers simply amplify signals that are too quiet to be heard by a large audience.

Let’s say you’re listening to a singer and piano in one of those fantastic old churches where sound carries naturally and does not require artificial amplification. That performance is going to have an intimate and elemental quality and will not fatigue listeners’ ears. Both voice and piano will be heard without distortion or blurring.

A properly phase- and time-aligned speaker with a fairly linear frequency response can deliver this same experience on a much larger scale. The best studio reference monitors can deliver this “natural” listening experience but most PA speakers cannot. StudioLive AI loudspeakers, though, can deliver this “natural” quality even though they commonly operate at much higher SPLs than studio monitors do.


StudioLive AI loudspeakers seem to have more mid range than other speakers in this price point. Care to explain?

StudioLive AI speakers have more mid range because other speakers in this range have a reduced mid range response. Mid range frequencies get a bad reputation as the culprits of “edginess,” when in fact, poor crossover transitions and phase alignment are often the true guilty parties. A quick fix for this problem, from a conventional design standpoint, is to simply EQ the mid frequencies out.

StudioLive AI speakers have more mid range because other speakers in this range have a reduced mid range response. Mid range frequencies get a bad reputation as the culprits of “edginess,” when in fact, poor crossover transitions and phase alignment are often the true guilty parties. A quick fix for this problem, from a conventional design standpoint, is to simply EQ the mid frequencies out.

In contrast, StudioLive AI loudspeakers provide a “blank canvas” that allows the naturally pleasing tones of instruments in the mix to be heard and then subtly shaped as needed. In fact, one of the first things that seasoned FOH engineers find when they connect their existing mixer to AI loudspeaker is that they need to flatten all of their channel EQs!


How has CoActual™ technology improved on traditional coaxial designs?

Previous coaxial designs, while promising, have had problems. The compression driver diaphragm and woofer voice coil are widely separated, resulting in significant distance/time anomalies. The excursion of the woofer modulates the high frequencies, resulting in sonic artifacts that get worse as the driver gets louder (and the woofer cone excursion increases). The sound character changes dramatically with output level.

In contrast, the CoActual driver employed in StudioLive AI-series loudspeakers uses a single magnet structure, shared by the woofer and compression driver. This results in a much more compact, lightweight assembly. This magnet structure also keeps the compression-driver diaphragm located in close proximity to the woofer voice coil. With CoActual transducers, a purpose-built high-frequency horn is used for high frequency pattern control and to keep the HF energy off of the woofer cone. 

The woofer’s larger radiating surface works in conjunction with the HF horn to improve directional control at the bottom of the horn’s operating range. This increases directional control beyond what can be accomplished by the horn alone.

At the low-frequency end of its range, a coaxial horn “leaks” sound back onto the woofer cone. This reflects forward, out of time, and produces tonal colorations that don’t respond to conventional EQ. That’s where Fulcrum Acoustic’s ingenious (but extremely processor-intensive) DSP algorithms come in. TQ™ eliminates horn reflections, and therefore eliminates these colorations and spatial variability, removing one of the primary shortcomings of competitors’ designs. It allows high-efficiency bass transducers to cover the vocal range.

PreSonus’ cutting edge Active Integration DSP allows StudioLive AI loudspeakers to reap the benefits of TQ algorithms. It’s what enables AI loudspeakers to deliver clarity and coherence that has previously only been available in ultra-high-end systems.


How many fly-points do I need to suspend an AI loudspeaker?

Each full-range AI loudspeaker has 12 M10 flypoints. Two points and a pullback are required for safe suspension.

StudioLive 18sAI subwoofers cannot be suspended.


Do you offer rigging-hardware accessories?

The PreSonus M10AI-Kit is available for full-range AI loudspeaker models. This kit includes four pull-test rated M10 eye-bolts made of forged-steel that have been quenched, tempered, and hot-dip galvanized after threading. These eye-bolts meet or exceed all requirements of ASME B30.26, including design factor, proof load, and temperature requirements. PreSonus recommends seeking the assistance of a professional rigging manufacturer if you need custom mounting hardware for a specific installation.


Why don’t these loudspeakers seem as loud as my SPL meter says they are?

Inter-modulation distortion becomes increasingly uncomfortable at high volumes because the audio signal is blurred by artifacts that are not supposed to be present. This discomfort can increase the perceived loudness of a speaker. By maintaining transient reproduction, even at high volumes, the CoActual speakers used in StudioLive AI loudspeakers minimize distortion and produce clean, clear, consistent audio at any SPL.


Do the onboard amps have an auto-shutoff mode?

No. The amplifiers do not shut off on their own.


Can I turn off the front-panel LED in the grill?

At this time, you can’t. However, this is a planned feature upgrade for SL Room Control.


How do I configure these systems for four-way use?

Each of the three full-range StudioLive AI-series loudspeakers has been phase- and time-aligned to form a true 4-way system when paired with an 18sAI sub-woofer, with or without the 100 Hz high-pass filter engaged. For applications where a frequency overlap at 100 Hz is beneficial, you can  achieve bigger bass sound without any extra effort. For applications that require a more linear frequency response between the sub-woofer and full-range content, simply engage the high-pass filter on the full-range AI-series loudspeaker. This will also readjust the phase and time-alignment to keep it in phase with the 18sAI sub-woofer, enabling you to create the best four way system for your application.

The StudioLive 18sAI sub-woofer also provides three on board alignment delay presets so you can keep your four-way StudioLive AI PA system in alignment even if your sub-woofer is one or two meters away from the full-range system. When SL Room Control becomes available in Spring 2014, you will be able to customize the alignment delay settings further.


What is the difference between phase- and time- alignment?

Time-alignment is absolute where as phase-alignment is frequency dependent. In other words, phase-alignment applies to a specific frequency or band of frequencies, where as time-alignment is applied across the frequency spectrum.


Can I stream audio wirelessly to these loudspeakers using the USB LAN adapter included in the box?

No. The USB LAN adapter provides wireless connectivity so that your StudioLive AI loudspeaker can be remote-controlled when SL Room Control software becomes available.


When will the Dante option card for these speakers be available?

The Dante option card is in development and should be available around the end of 2014.


Once the Dante option card is available, can I use it in any networked audio situation?

Dante is an enclosed system, and the Dante option for StudioLive AI loudspeakers will allow the speakers to be seen on any Dante network. Audio networking protocols like MADI or EtherSound aren’t supported by the Dante protocol. The AVB specification has only recently been ratified but Audinate has stated that once AVB has become established, the Dante protocol will be compatible with it.


What accessories are available?

A protective soft cover is available for each StudioLive AI-series loudspeaker model. PreSonus also offers a dolly for the 18sAI subwoofer and an M10 kit for the full-range models. A threaded, pull-tested sub pole is also available for users who wish to mount a full-range StudioLive AI loudspeaker atop an 18sAI subwoofer.


What is the best way to gain stage the inputs on a full-range StudioLive AI loudspeaker?

Each full-range speaker provides both a mic and a line input with independent level control, as well as an overall speaker output-level control. The line input of the StudioLive AI loudspeakers has been calibrated to accept a +24 dBu signal and provides 24 dB of attenuation. The Speaker Output Level control provides another 24 dB of attenuation.

For most applications, we recommend setting the Line Input Level and the Speaker Output Level to 0 dB (fully clockwise), then lowering the Speaker Output Level as needed. This will allow you to operate your mixer at or around unity gain and will maximize the dynamic range of your mixer and your StudioLive AI loudspeakers. When not in use, leave the Mic level at the Off position.


What is the USB connection on the back panel used for?

The USB connection on the back panel is for updating the firmware using a USB thumb drive. The USB connection can also be used for the included USB Wi-Fi adapter to connect your StudioLive AI loudspeaker to a wireless router; this will enable wireless control using SL Room Control when the free software is released in Spring 2014.


What is the User layer?

The User layers stores custom EQ, level, and delay settings created in SL Room Control. These settings can be “layered” on top of any of the DSP contours and are stored locally on the speaker with or without SL Room Control connected. The custom User layer can be turned on or off by pressing and holding the DSP contour select button.


What are the Alignment presets on the 18sAI subwoofer used for?

Let’s say you normally mount your full-range PA speakers directly atop your subwoofer using the custom designed SP1BK sub pole. Whether with a StudioLive AI speaker or Brand X, with this configuration, your full-range system and subwoofer should be time-aligned for practical purposes, so you can leave the StudioLive 18sAI’s alignment setting at 0M (no delay).

But what if your sub can’t be set up directly beneath your full-range StudioLive loudspeaker? If the same low frequencies are reproduced by two sound sources that are set some distance apart, you’ll have problems with cancellation and reinforcement. Low frequencies in the crossover region between full-range and subwoofer have wavelengths that are several feet long (the wavelength of a 150 Hz wave is about 7.5 ft!), and reinforcement and cancellation will occur as the waves interact in the room.

The StudioLive 18sAI’s alignment delay presets compensate for this effect. For instance, if your full-range speaker is on a tripod stand adjacent to your subwoofer, the two speakers are typically about one meter apart. Choosing the 1M setting will delay the signal to the subwoofer’s onboard amp by about 2.9 ms, which compensates for that 1 meter offset.

If your full-range system is onstage, and the subwoofer is on the floor, assuming a typical stage, the two will probably be about two meters apart. The 2M setting adds about 5.9 ms of delay the signal going to the subwoofer amp, which compensates for a 2 meter offset.


Is the 18sAI output mono sum digital or analog?

The 18sAI output mono sum option occurs before the analog-to-digital converters. Because it is a purely passive analog sum, the output levels will be 3 dB lower than they are when the mono sum is not engaged.


How big is the voice coil in the 18sAI subwoofer?

The 18sAI uses a 4-inch voice coil.


Can the 18sAI be flown?

No. The StudioLive 18sAI was designed for floor placement and cannot be flown.


What does the Extended LF contour on the 18sAI do?

The Extended LF contour inserts a sub harmonic bass synthesizer to extend extreme deep bass response. This makes it a great setting to use for club installations and performances.


What can the line outputs on the 18sAI be used for?

The line outputs on the 18sAI are full-range through-puts and can be used to connect either full-range loudspeakers or to daisy chain multiple subwoofers for bigger and smoother bass response.


What processing is available in SL Room Control?

Each loudspeaker has its own 8-band parametric EQ, 8 notch filters with a Q of 24, an alignment delay of up to 500 ms, and a brick wall limiter in addition to the remote controllable features (high pass filters, DSP input level, DSP contours, etc.). Grouped speakers also get a 31-band graphic EQ and a relative level control.


Is the processing in SL Room Control available concurrently and can it be defeated?

All processing in SL Room Control is available all the time and can be globally defeated. Additionally, each processor (EQ, Notch Filters, etc) can be turned on or off individually without affecting the other settings.


Can Dante networking be made redundant?

The SL-Dante-SPK option card uses Audinate Ultimo chip when does not support redundancy at this time, however, by engaging Analog Failover mode, the analog inputs on the loudspeakers can be used as backups should the Dante network go down. Once Dante sync has been reestablished, the inputs will automatically switch back to the Dante network.


Can I use my analog inputs on the Dante network?

Yes! When StudioLive AI loudspeakers are in Analog Input mode, their analog inputs are transmitted to the Dante network and can be patched to any other loudspeaker or device on the network. In this way, you can create a Dante networked Front-of-House system with an analog or non-Dante compatible mixer.


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