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This article was originally published in issue #39
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Studiomaster is a UK-based company that has a long history in powered and unpowered PA mixing consoles and loudspeakers. It’s fair to say that the company has had its ups and downs in the past but, over the last few years, Studiomaster has been on a significant upward trajectory fuelled by the new products that it has been launching into its markets.
The Livesys5 is a 150 Watt active PA/Monitor speaker with a flexible integrated mixer section. Its Class D amplifier drives a ported, full-range 5” loudspeaker and is capable of 300 Watts of peak power, making the Livesys5 ideal for “spot monitor” applications on stage. Although it obviously isn’t going to sound like a full-size PA system, the available power also allows its possible use in smaller situations where a larger PA would be inappropriate.
The low-noise onboard mixer is well thought-out with two Mic/Line inputs on XLR / ¼” Jack combination connectors, each with its own Level control and common switchable 48V phantom power. A third input, again with its own Level control, carries both RCA phono and mini-jack connectors allowing the connection of an mp3 player, CD or computer. Channel 1’s input impedance can be switched to cope with direct connection to an instrument, turning that channel into a DI box. A vocal echo effect can be applied either to both Channels 1 and 2 or just to Channel 2. A 3-band EQ acting at 100Hz, 2.5kHz and 12kHz and an overall Main Level control complete the front panel. At the rear, another combination XLR/Jack socket allows the connection of a stage monitor signal or a feed from another Livesys5, and the Thru XLR output is mic/line level selectable so that you can send the Livesys5 mixer output to, for example, a FOH mixer or another Livesys5.
The moulded cabinet has an integral socket on its bottom side which mates with a moulded insert to allow you to position the Livesys5 on a microphone stand. A threaded insert on the top takes an adaptor to which you can attach a boom-arm so that a standing vocalist has a personal monitor that is already in the perfect position.
Given the restrictions of its mid-heavy 5” loudspeaker, the Livesys5 is a capable performer that is certainly capable of cutting through on stage. You can position the Livesys5 on a mic stand and get it much closer to your ears than you could with a conventional monitor, and you can use its 3-band EQ to tailor the sound quite effectively to bring up the bass and boost or trim the treble.
I didn’t feel that the Livesys5 was capable of adequately handling a keyboard or a bass guitar at high volumes, but in a quieter band environment - in a restaurant or small club, for example - it could prove useful in monitoring either of these. Where the Livesys5 works well is as a monitor for vocals and acoustic instruments, where its mid-focussed voicing helps those sources cut through.
The Studiomaster Livesys5 could prove to be an ideal solution in those situations where its small size, power and midrange bias would enable it to cut through onstage instrumentation or to provide a level of reinforcement in an environment where a larger loudspeaker would be either unsuitable or overkill. It is a very useful little loudspeaker that, with a bit if tweaking of the onboard EQ, can fit neatly into either of those two roles.
Given the Livesys5’s competitive pricing, it is one of those loudspeakers that is going to prove very popular not only on its own account, but also as a relatively inexpensive problem solver for a great many musicians and live sound engineers. I really liked it and it seems to me to be pretty much perfect for what it is.