Like many pro audio professionals who have hit the big-time, Leo Montoya tells a familiar story of humble beginnings. Time spent recording and producing local acts in his home studio during his college years earned him a big break when he landed work with a TV show, NBC’s The After After Party with Steven Michael Quezada & The James Douglas Show. While maintaining his TV gig, he also tours full-time as crew chief and monitor engineer for The James Douglas Show, which performs 200 to 250 shows per year.
When not on the road, Montoya wrangles other TV, film, and band projects at ReckShop Studios/The DraftRoom B in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He recently enjoyed a song placement on The Today Show with the song “Sexy in my High Heels.”
Both Montoya’s live touring rig and ReckShop Studios/The DraftRoom Southwest are loaded with PreSonus gear, including AudioBox VSL interfaces and a TubePRE, HP4, Studio Channel, Eureka, Monitor Station, StudioLive 24.4.2, and the venerable ACP88! “I use PreSonus gear in the studio where I record, compose, write, and mix. I also rely on PreSonus in live settings for front-of-house and monitor duties,” Montoya says. “I was first drawn to PreSonus products because of the price point, especially when first building my home studio. Many of the products fit in commercial and personal studios and sound great in both!”
While most proud parents claim to love all their children the same, Montoya doesn’t have a hard time picking a favorite. “The Monitor Station is one of the most practical pieces in my studio,” he asserts. “It gives me the monitoring flexibility that competing products don’t. It’s passive and has a built-in talkback mic and four headphone outputs—all in a small footprint. Furthermore, I can choose between three separate monitors and listen to them in any order or combination that I want. This has proven extremely helpful. I have a set of nearfields on A, a set of midfields on B, and a subwoofer on C. I can demo all three at the same time or any combination of the three. Most monitoring options do not offer this versatility.”
Montoya finds the StudioLive 24.4.2 digital mixer indispensable for front-of-house and monitor mixing. “The StudioLive is a great product that has a lot of usable features, again in a small housing,” he states. “Its intuitive layout makes for an incredibly fast workflow. I particularly enjoy using the StudioLive in a festival setting. The StudioLive Remote iPad app is quite versatile and offers all the control I need. I don’t have to touch the board itself, and I’m able to walk the crowd during a show and dial in the right fix for any problem areas!”
As a seasoned StudioLive devotee, Montoya offers a pro tip for other StudioLive users. “Engineers using a StudioLive should create backups of their scenes,” Montoya recommends. “Have them with you at all times, ready to upload into a house mixer. If the venue has a StudioLive installed, you can have some instrument-specific presets ready to go. This allows you to start the show with a solid foundation, significantly cutting down on time spent with soundcheck!”
Montoya’s commitment to PreSonus is almost as strong as his commitment to music. “I’m excited to check out all the new exciting products from PreSonus! The ADL 700 channel strip, Sceptre and Eris monitors, StudioLive AI-series mixers—PreSonus continues to provide a quality product at an affordable price!”