Prolific multi-instrumentalist Amber Leigh maintains a full calendar. When not fulfilling her ambitious schedule of over 200 headlining performances per year, she's crafting compelling ballads with little regard for genre boundaries. While she’s fluent in mandolin and guitar, it's the fiddle that has fostered her unique voice as a songwriter and composer. She has become known for boldly mixing country, rock, and Celtic influences—without sacrificing the pop sensibility that makes her music commercially viable.
Leigh and her band have opened for many A-list acts, including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Sugarland, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. She has appeared on multiple major television networks, including TCN, USA Network, NBC, CBS, and FOX.
Her fourth album, Reckless, was recorded in Nashville and produced by Billy Austin, Michelle Poe, and Grammy Award winner Silvio Richetto, and it made heavy use of PreSonus equipment. At the heart of the recording rig are two StudioLive 16.4.2 consoles, cascaded for a total of 32 input channels.
Leigh’s audio engineer, Holland Ryan, provides some insight into the band’s recording process. “The StudioLive 16.4.2 consoles were chosen because of their ease of use, compatibility with Pro Tools, high quality, and clear sounding mic preamps,” Ryan explains. “The ability to instantly hear the recording using Capture made it a very useful tool for the band. Any changes that needed to be made were instant and very easy to achieve with these consoles and software.”
Onstage, Leigh's band employs a PreSonus AudioBox USB interface, taking advantage of the device's portability and ease-of-use for a slightly unusual application. “We're currently using the AudioBox USB for pre-sequenced tracks and a click track,” says Ryan. “The AudioBox USB features easy plug-and-play functionality with our MacBook Pro. It allows us to get high-quality sound for front of house and in our in-ear monitors, while not occupying a big footprint on stage.”
Continues Ryan, “The AudioBox USB is used as our in/out to front-of-house, which is connected from our MacBook Pro via USB, where we are using Logic Pro 9 for the sequenced playback during the show. The laptop is set up with all the pre-sequenced loops and clicks so our drummer, Matt, can cue the entire playback during the show. The AudioBox USB has only two channels, so one of the outputs is used for loops, and the second output is used to send the click track to front-of-house through two active D.I. boxes, and then it’s sent to the five band members—all of which have stereo in-ear mixes.”
The band is planning to stick with PreSonus for Leigh’s upcoming record. “We are about to go back to the studio and finish the remainder of our new CD, where we will again use a pair of StudioLive 24.4.2 consoles and Capture to lay down all of the tracks. The tracks from our last batch of songs were so clean and pristine coming from the StudioLive that we will never use anything but a PreSonus StudioLive from now on for multitracking.”
Ryan concludes, “Having used many different options for tracking in the past, ranging from the very expensive and esoteric to inexpensive multitrack devices, the PreSonus StudioLive consoles have been hands-down the best sounding, and the easiest to use.”