By Nikola Jeremić
[editor’s note: Nikola is a film composer and music director who resides in Belgrade, Serbia. He came to our attention via this video which caught my attention. I invited Nikola to supply us with a blog post on composing for film… and he supplied us with enough material for about 4 posts. 🙂 Nikola, thanks for going above and beyond. -Ryan]
I know that most of you composers out there have already committed yourselves to your most favorite DAW software, and I know how hard it is to start from scratch on something new. To tell you the truth, it was the same for me as well.
Here’s a true story: I accidentally came across PreSonus Studio One from a friend of mine who bought a PreSonus AudioBox and got Studio One bundled with it. He uses a different DAW, so I took Studio One for a test drive—and boy oh boy, was I mind-blown. I got addicted from the moment I started using it.
First of all Studio One LOOKS COOL! Second, it is totally easy to use even if you’re new to it. And last, but not least, every single track that you bounce from it sounds GREAT!
Since I am a composer myself, I like to make my own default template for writing orchestral pieces or contemporary hybrid soundtracks. It’s very easy to do that if you’re using Studio One. My default template for scoring consists of 6 instances of Native Instrument’s Kontakt that are loaded into Studio One. I have to point out that my PC is a bit older, so I can’t afford to load a bit more of virtual instruments because, believe it or not, I am using a 32bit Windows 7 based PC with 3.5GB of RAM and Intel Dual Core processor.
My main orchestral library is Symphobia. I’ve chosen it because it covers everything that I need, and it sounds great. I am layering the string section of Symphobia with LA Scoring Strings, Symphobia’s brass with Orchestral Brass Classic and Symphobia’s Woodwinds section with EastWest Symphonic Orchestra Woodwinds. My percussions are mostly from True Strike library, and my choir is Requiem Light.
Now then, having said that, my template is rather simple, yet very effective. Why 6 instances of Kontakt you wonder? My default template has strings, brass, woodwinds, choir & vocals, percussions and the sixth one is for other types of non-orchestral instruments. Every one of the 6 sections has its own Kontakt, and every Kontakt that’s loaded has 16 MIDI channels and lots of outputs (I’m using 16 stereo outputs in every Kontakt), so I’m using 16 instrument tracks for every Kontakt that’s loaded. And of course, they are all nicely sorted out into folders. So it’s a total of 96 instrument tracks. And here’s how my default edit window looks like when it opens up:
I’ve marked the sections of the orchestra in different colors for easier orientation. Strings are brown, brass is yellow, woodwinds are green, choir & vocals are blue, percussions are white and those other instruments are red. It’s easier to spot them when they’re in different colors if you are working with a big orchestral template. Of course, you can use your own color patterns as you see fit.
Studio One integrates with third-party VST instruments very easily. When you’ve created your desired number of tracks and sorted them out into folders, next thing that you should do is patch the instruments’ inputs into proper MIDI channels and route Kontakt patches into proper Kontakt outputs.
For example: I’ve named my string section tracks as Strings 1 – 16, and I’ve assigned them to their proper MIDI channels 1-16 to match the channels of Kontakt. I’ve also named the Kontakt instance for string section as “Strings”, so I know that it’s only using string patches. Strings 1 are using MIDI channel 1 of Kontakt, and the patch output inside Kontakt is routed into channel output 1 of Kontakt, as you can see on the picture shown. And that goes for every channel of every section in every instance of Kontakt.
Of course, I will rename the tracks properly when I have decided which articulations and which instrument from the section I am going to use for the project. And that varies from project to project. That is why I am naming the tracks as 1,2,3,4 etc. in each section. For example: String tracks are named “Strings 1”, “Strings 2”, etc. you get the point.
Next, activate those Kontakt outputs to be used as individual tracks in Studio One Console (Mixer). Here’s how you do it: You open the Console view (default is F3) and click on the bottom left side where it says “instr.”
Now the list of all of your loaded VST instruments will show. Click on the little arrow pointing down to the left of your first Kontakt and click “expand” on the drop-down menu. You have to check out all the channels of Kontakt that you want to use in order to be shown in the Console Window.
Repeat the same process for other instances of Kontakt hosting other orchestra sections and you’re good to go. When you want to save your template, the only thing that you need to do is click File/Save As Template, and name that template as you see fit. Every time you start a new orchestral session, you can load your template from the menu that opens up when you’re creating a new song. That’s pretty much how I do it.
So, to summarize it all: Create a new song and set up the options how you want it (my setup is on 48 kHz, 24 bit because that’s the standard sound setup when you’re writing music for video). Next you load a desired number of Kontakts that you want (or other samplers that you’re using), and create a desired number of instruments tracks for it. Sort out everything into folders and mark the tracks in different colors. Open the console view, select “instr.”, and check all the VST instrument outputs that you want to be active in the session. Finally, save the template and name it as you like. That’s it. Later on when you’re adding patches into Kontakt you will select the MIDI channel for the patch and assign the patch output to appropriate Kontakt output and rename the track in edit window.
Next post: we will pan our virtual orchestra across the stereo image using an orchestra chart for reference and apply reverb—and get these VSTs sounding just like the real thing!
[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:
Today on Tech Talk Live: PreSonus AmpireXT Sound Designer Alex Cronex will present a detailed discussion of all the new amplifier and cabinet modeling technology in Studio One 2.05! He and Justin Spence will also take a close look at the oft-overlooked IR Maker, which allows you to create your own impulse responses of real-life cabinets and microphones, and use them virtually in your recordings!
We recently received a kind e-mail from Mike Donahue. Mike’s a 20-year session drumming veteran from the NY/NJ area. He’s an instructor and clinician who specializes in musical motivational presentations for school kids. He’s labeled this endeavor “Rhythms for a Cause,” and he’s chosen the PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2 for his presentations. His e-mail follows:
Along with in-store charity drum clinics where I focus on teaching kids how to achieve their their goals and share my life stories with them as proof it can happen. I use music not just to entertain, but I also harness its power to teach them how I got where I am by talking about the legwork and dedication needed to make things happen. I also do in-store charity drum clinics.
I was introduced to your StudioLive 16.4.2 system and fell in love with it. Wow, what a breath of fresh air for the artist/user. When audience members get a chance to take a look at my drum kit and electronics, the StudioLive is definitely the topic of discussion. I’m a drummer, not an audio engineer, so the simplicity of the StudioLive in a live application for me was a revelation. The quality of sound I’m able to generate between my drum mixes, the board, and finally the PA system is second to none. I’ve spent way too much time in the past not only trying to figure out other boards, but trying to achieve a seemingly unreachable sound. Artists notice all the little things that get overlooked, whether that be sound quality, effects or the overall user experience. PreSonus did and continues to do an outstanding job delivering simplicity and near perfection to their end users.
I would love to share some words.
First, I love the StudioLive 24.4.2 console. It has been such a breeze to learn and also to teach my other volunteers. It has made mixing our live services so easy. The Studiolive console answered several of the problems I was facing with the previous console.
One of of my biggest issues was solving our stage mix.The monitor wedges on our platform were overpowering the front of house. I wanted to provide the best sound I could for my FOH and also give my musicians what they were looking for. With the StudioLive console I was able to separate my wedge mixes according to which musicians were in front of them. By separating the monitors, I was able to bring the stage volume down, give my musicians what they wanted, and FOH was not left overpowered.
The ability to store/backup/save scenes has proven priceless. After a computer crash we had to replace our computer, and with doing so our new computer did not have our stored scenes on it. I simply plugged in our usb drive and recovered our scenes to the new computer and we were off and running/worshiping.
The aux outputs on the console have been extremely beneficial. We run a live broadcast online for every service and we use some of the aux’s to send feeds to our internet for audio. By using these aux mixes we are able to utilizes all of the benefits of the SL console for our internet mix.
The connectivity with my iPad is priceless. My wife is on the Praise and Worship team and we have a two year old little girl. The StudioLive Remote allows for me to be able to keep an eye on my child while my wife sings. On the technical side the StudioLive Remote also allows me to hear and mix the service from the same location as someone in the congregation. Also, during special occasions I can edit aux mixes from the platform to get exactly what is needed.
The new QMix will save us a large sum of money when we build our new sanctuary.With the purchase of a few headphone amps my musicians on instruments will be able to adjust their own monitor mix. I have already began to use this in our current setting and I’m amazed by how easy and effective it is.
The processing power built into each channel (compressor, gate, eq’s,) is awesome. I couldn’t imagine the cost of purchasing the individual components for each channel, not to mention the footprint that it would require to house all of those components! I could go on and on about stuff, like the ability to copy and paste settings to other channels to give you a starting point is a massive time saver, among other things.
Finally, the PreSonus crew is amazing. The updates, the customer service, technical support, and the future upgrades that are coming keep proving to me that choosing the 24.4.2 console was the best decision I could have made. I have become a PreSonus fan to the point that I hope to get some of the PreSonus Swag and put my and my assistants name on it to use them as a type of uniform. It’s my way of doing a bit of advertising for a product that I think is absolutely incredible.
Thanks Jim Odom and the PreSonus Family for creating such an amazing product.
Sound & Media
Voice Of Pentecost
G-Hall Multimedia LLC
Baton Rouge, LA.
We’re very flattered that MunckMix has chosen PreSonus to record performances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Check out this video! MunckMix records and mixes performances live, and has CD recordings for sale at the end of the very same show!
Educated on a diverse array of instruments, including guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards, tuba, euphonium, and concert harp, North Palm Beach, Florida, native Daniel Lombardi played his first paid gig at the seasoned old age of 11 at the Shell Patio in nearby Port Charlotte.
As a young adult, Lombardi enlisted in the U.S. Army, joining the 8th Infantry Division Band. While stationed in Germany, he took correspondence courses in music, earning a master’s degree in arrangement and composition, with a minor in applied jazz theory and performance.
Since returning to the USA, Lombardi has performed as a sideman or featured player with such A-list aritsts as Willie Nelson, The Harry Connick Jr. Orchestra, John Michael Montgomery, Kenny Chesney, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer, and Billy Joe Shaver. He has also worked as a live-sound engineer.
Lombardi chose the PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2 digital mixer based on a combination of word-of-mouth and complimentary online reviews. “I first saw the PreSonus StudioLive board on the Internet two years ago,” he says. “Boston’s on the Beach, a club in Delray Beach, Florida, asked me to find a good console to record live bands with, as they wanted me to record all the bands that played there for a 30th-anniversary CD. After reading the specs and reviews, I consulted a friend who owned a StudioLive and highly recommended it. We purchased the 16.4.2.”
He is confident it was the right choice. “After I spent a few days learning how to use it, I was completely sold!” he exclaims. “I told Boston’s on the Beach that they can get rid of their rackmount EQ’s, compressors, and effect units, as the StudioLive is equipped with everything that’s usually required in a live P.A. rig.
“After the first live recording,” he continues, ”I realized this board was the clearest, most transparent live console I’d ever heard. The quality of the EQ, compression, and effects shocked me. The subtle tonal characteristics of all the instruments recorded were reproduced faithfully, and I realized the converters in the StudioLive console far outperformed all other converters I had ever used, including the Lynx Aurora, the Apogee Rosetta 800, and every Digidesign and Avid converter.”
Lombardi’s enthusiasm for the brand doesn’t end with the StudioLive mixers, however. Lombardi has been putting his PreSonus Monitor Station to good use during production of his first solo CD, Speak Easy, which is scheduled for release in July 2012. “I’m also using the Monitor Station for recording in my project studio,” he notes. “Every piece of PreSonus gear I have used, in a recording studio or live, has been of outstanding audio quality.”
Hey Pro Tools users! Al Tee put together this really helpful video about using the PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2 in conjunction with Pro Tools 9. There’s a lot of knowledge packed into these eight minutes! Check it out.
We were pretty sure going into PreSonusphere 2011 that there was going to be a PreSonusphere 2012. The overwhelming positive response we received last year confirmed this suspicion. So, while we’ve all been scratching our heads and tapping our watches to make sure they are working correctly, there’s really no two ways around it… it’s already time to start getting ready for the next one.
Save the date like for a wedding: on Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29, we will present PreSonusphere II: Electric Boogaloo at the Shaw Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One- and two-day passes will be available at very low prices. As we get closer to showtime we’ll announce details like who is speaking on what subject, suggestions for where you might like to stay, (I’ve already reserved Justin Spence’s couch) and deals on some nearby astonishing Louisiana chow. We’ll also let you know who’s playing the Thursday night pre-show party.
For more info, check out the PreSonusphere Press Release proper.
SoundPure studios posted this video a bit ago featuring Anthony Demaria taking us on a detailed tour of the ADL 600, our top-of-the-line microphone preamp. Anthony designed the unit, so there’s really no one more qualified on the planet to give the talk you see here.
This presentation gets a little in-depth—beyond the usual “sounds warm and punchy” rigamaroll—but bear with it, there’s something here for everyone. Fact is, if you’re considering buying an ADL 600, you likely mean business… and these sort of details really matter to a guy like you. And if you’re not yet considering buying an ADL 600, you may learn a thing or two about preamps. Big thanks to Anthony and Sound Pure Studios for sharing!