Kenny “Ace” Bott
Kenny “Ace” Bott has been in the live sound game for more than 40 years, so it’s safe to say that the guy has seen—and heard—a lot. When he talks, folks would be wise to listen.
Bott got his first major front-of-house gig in 1980, when he was hired as the live engineer for the D.C. Hawks, Ted Nugent’s backing band. From there, he enjoyed a five-year haul with the Romantics before moving on to a PR gig at Chrysler Corporation, which saw him continuing to oversee live sound for corporate events.
After a brief stint as the house sound engineer at Pontiac, Michigan’s, Crofoot Ballroom in 2009, Bott moved to his current gig as the Production Manager and FOH engineer for Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Toby Keith’s keeps the man plenty busy; he has overseen a whopping 560 productions in less than three years.
A PreSonus® enthusiast through and through, Bott has chosen the StudioLive™ 24.4.2 digital mixer as his weapon of choice—but his adventures with PreSonus didn’t start there. “I first became aware of PreSonus at my friend’s studio,” recalls Bott. “He was using the M80 preamp with great success. His positive experience with the M80 made me decide to purchase a PreSonus ACP88 compressor/limiter/gate. This was long before this great piece of gear became an industry standard. The gates on the ACP88 are like pure magic when it comes to making drums sound their best in a live environment. My ACP88 still has a prominent place in my rack, and it’s my first go-to piece of gear when looking to correct imperfections.
“I was so happy with the ACP88’s performance and reliability that I purchased the StudioLive 24.4.2,” Bott continues. “It’s a powerhouse that has elevated the quality of my live shows! Having a four-band parametric EQ, compressor, and gate available on each channel has made my life much easier. I can correct tonal issues coming from the stage without affecting other channels in the mix, and I no longer have to use outboard equipment for signal processing or main and monitor EQ.”
While the StudioLive’s price point is attractive to many, Bott has a hard time putting a price on reliability. “Price was not a factor in my purchasing decision,” Bott asserts. “The dependability of PreSonus products had been proven to me already! Knowing I can have that reliability in the studio and in the live concert environment is more important to me than price. I have had zero issues regarding the quality of all of the PreSonus gear I have purchased. Not having to spend money or lose time on needless repairs outweighs any price issues.”
Bott takes advantage of the StudioLive’s software integration to the fullest. In fact, he leverages nearly every PreSonus software package available. “I use the 24.4.2 with my MacBook Pro. On the Mac, I run the PreSonus VSL software, Capture™, and Studio One®,” says Bott. “I use my iPad to mix everything remotely via VSL Remote. I also use QMix™ so the musicians can control their own monitor mix. It’s fun to show them just how easy PreSonus can make their life on stage!”
Bott’s early-adopter approach to PreSonus software is also reflected in his use of the Smaart Measurement Technology offered in the StudioLive 24.4.2 and 16.4.2.
“The addition of the Smaart® Real Time Analyzer has been most helpful,” Bott praises. “I use the RTA to ring out the room during sound check, which saves me from having to EQ every single channel! This gives me a great starting point to build a live mix that sounds clear and polished.”
Despite his extensive experience with all things PreSonus and FOH, Bott’s list-topping “favorite feature” isn’t even a feature, per se. “The 24.4.2’s ease-of-use is its best feature!” Bott proclaims. “For those used to working on an analog board, the transition is very easy. And for digital users, the features of this console are everything we have come to expect from PreSonus. “If you’re looking to create a stress-free work environment, and are ready to move on to a digital board, a PreSonus console is the best bang for the buck,” Bott avows. “Hands down.”