International SuperSales Agent and all-around sharp dresser Mark Williams sent me these recently. MAN, who’s camera IS that?
Corona, CA, May 2012… Located in the heart of this bustling Southern California city, the Fender Center for Music Education is a busy place. The 33,000-square foot building is home to a music school, a museum, two performance venues, and a recording studio, and the Center is buzzing with activity throughout most of the year.
Run by the nonprofit Fender Museum of Music and the Arts Foundation, the Fender Center’s main focus is to provide music education to young people at low or no cost. As the Center’s audio engineer Kelly McGuire explains, the program has made an impact on a great many kids’ lives.
“Our program is called Kids Rock Free,” says McGuire. “It’s a low-cost lesson program for kids from 7 to 17 years old. We’ve been doing this for going on about 12 years now, and over 12,000 kids have been through the program.” The Center is also home to two live performance venues. “We have an outdoor concert venue where we do summer concerts like Steve Miller Band, and we also have a smaller nightclub venue,” says McGuire.
As a non-profit, the Center doesn’t rely on deep corporate pockets, counting instead on the support of donors. “Steve Miller and Paul Rogers have been really supportive,” says McGuire. “They’ve both put on benefit fundraisers for us, and companies like PreSonus have been there for us since the beginning.”
McGuire has been mixing a variety of projects on the Center’s StudioLive 24.4.2 console. “For one of our first projects, we put together a three-concert TV series starring Deana Carter.” The project was a collaboration with nearby Lucas Oil. “They’re our neighbors here in Corona,” says McGuire, “and they have a full TV production studio that turns out about 100 shows per year. There are lots of musicians working over there, and they’re huge supporters of our program, and they came up with the idea of doing a show with us, originating from our venue, and aired on their network.”
McGuire approached Carter and her band about the idea. “When I approached Deana, Max and David about doing this show, I just had a really good feeling about it,” he says. “I said, ‘Let’s try it out because I think you’re really going to like it. The audio’s going to be good, and the video’s going to look fantastic.’ And that’s exactly how it turned out.”
As McGuire points out, the StudioLive enabled him to wear multiple hats during the shows, handling the live mix, monitors, TV feeds, and live recording. “I was able to mix the show live, mix a couple of other sources for the TV track, and run five monitor mixes for the band, and at the same time I was tracking the show to a MacBook, using Studio One to edit it later. That’s what’s so cool about the StudioLive. There is really nothing else that I can think of that makes the whole process so effortless and streamlined.”
While the initial show with Deana Carter was put together as a showcase, the response both at the Center and at Lucas Oil has been so positive that plans are already in the works for several new productions. Upcoming shows will include members of Grand Funk Railroad, .38 Special, and Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.
But the StudioLive has been busy on more than just TV shows. “I’ve also been using the console for other stuff, including some shows, some studio recording, and some projects with the kids,” says McGuire. “It’s going to be in use all summer, pretty much all the time, including some of our outdoor concerts.”
If you’re looking for SlashVaiSteen-style shredtacularity, you’ve come to the wrong place. (but you should check out this Ampire demo.) Today’s Quick Tip is all about Justin Spence, and his use of the Solo features on the StudioLive mixers. There’s more to it than you may realize at first glance, so kindly give this video multiple, sustained glances that qualify as more of a “watch.”
This one-two knockout comes to us (and subsequently you) from GastroMusicology, a team that created a PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 introduction video so thorough, so detailed, and so compelling, that it had to be split up in to two entirely separate videos.
Kinda like “Kill Bill,” except with this you don’t have to pay twice to watch what is pretty much one movie.
Part 1 of 2:
Part 2 of 2:
Now that I’ve mentioned EQ, it seems appropriate to explain the processing of orchestra sections. I’m not that experienced in mixing, and am still learning the ropes, but I’ll try to describe my workflow as best as I can. My motto is “If it sounds good already, don’t touch it.” I told you that I like Symphobia because it has that “film sound” that us composers are going for… and to be honest, I do not EQ Symphobia patches at all. But, I’m tampering a bit with LA Scoring Strings. I like the way they are recorded dry and up close, so it gives me room to EQ them nicely.
What I have noticed is that LA Scoring Strings violin patches are rather harsh in the upper register, and sometimes it really hurts my ears. So, I like to roll off the harsh frequencies (and some low frequencies) with Studio One Pro EQ.
If you are familiar with using other parametric and graphic EQs, you’ll feel at home with Pro EQ. I like to boost a couple of dBs in low-mids and high-mids to give a sense of air to the violins. In the picture below you can see how my EQ graphic chart looks like for the violin. Of course, if you have your own way of doing this, feel free to experiment.
Some people like to solo tracks and listen to them individually before processing them. That’s cool, but if you’re going to achieve a proper mix of the instruments you will have to monitor them in the entire section. Feel free to monitor your string section instruments together and try to hear where you should apply your EQ. Every string section instrument has its own frequency range and you should pay great attention to all of them. Roll off the frequencies that you don’t hear normally in the instrument group, and pay attention to those that are relevant to the instrument. Like you saw on the EQ chart for the violins: violins don’t have low frequencies, so cut them, otherwise you’ll have chaos in your mix. Double basses don’t have high frequencies, so cut those, too… and so on.
I use the same approach to my brass section as well. I monitor the entire section and roll off the frequencies that I don’t need and concentrate on those that are relevant. Tuba is in lows, of course, trombones occupy low mids and high mids, most horns are also in low and high mids, and trumpets are in the high mids and highs.
Here’s an example of my Horns section being processed with Studio One Pro EQ.
It’s the same as with the strings. I don’t process the Symphobia patch, but I pay attention to close setup of individual brass in Orchestral Brass Classic. Sometimes I even notch some of the peaking frequencies, because brass can get very loud.
I rarely use woodwinds in my pieces, so all I can say about them is that I rarely EQ them, and when I do, I notch the peaks and roll off the lows on flutes, clarinets and english horns. I don’t use bassoon that much, but I would treat it similar to double bass. If you have ideas about them, feel free to share.
As far as the percussion goes, I like to layer them as well. Some would say that it’s a bit unnecessary, but for achieving a fuller sound, you have to blend mic positions on them as well. Most of the time I use True Strike library for percussions. What I like about it is that it has three different mic positions: Close, Stage and Far. When using all three of those patches for a single instrument, you can achieve pretty nice results. A while ago I got a great tip from my friend composer Jason Graves, whose game composition credits include Dead Space, Command & Conquer: Tiberium Twilight, and Blazing Angels. He says:
“Pick a single track to have the low energy, and put a high-pass filter on the rest at, say, 300-500HZ. Try using EQ on the different instruments and see what you can scoop out of each one, preferably different freq for each inst, in the 500-5k range. Also pan them to give them space, but the really low stuff needs to be centered.”
So, if it works for him, it sure does work for me, and it will work for you as well!
Now, as far as that layering goes with True Strike, feel free to experiment with different level blends of those three mic position patches.
When it comes to choirs and vocals, I am treating them as any pop or rock producer would treat them. I like to use the presets for vocals in Studio One and tweak them a bit.
That pretty much covers the basics of orchestral EQ processing in Studio One. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 4, which is a more detailed topic than you may at first think: orchestral reverb!
[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:
Las Vegas, NV, May 2012… Join PreSonus for a very special live webcast, direct from the InfoComm Show in Las Vegas.
Tune in for Connecting Your Customers with StudioLive™, a 30-minute presentation that will cover the broad range of advanced control and connectivity between PreSonus StudioLive consoles and laptop computers, iPads®, iPhones®, and iPod touches®.
From iPad-based wireless mixer control with StudioLive-Remote and iPhone/iPod touch monitor control via QMix™, to multitrack recording and production with CaptureTM and Studio OneTM Artist, PreSonus is the only compact digital mixer that offers such a wide range of software integration – for free!
The presentation will also take a look into the ever-expanding integration between PreSonus products and Rational Acoustics’ acclaimed Smaart™ audio-analysis technologies. Optimizing system EQ has never been this fast and easy.
Four 30-minute presentations will be broadcast live from the PreSonus Demo Room (N105) at InfoComm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, June 13, 14, and 15 at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. (All times are Pacific Daylight Time) A live Q&A from attendees will follow each session.
A special bonus for those attending the show in person: PreSonus will give away a free seven-port USB hub and free 2GB USB drive to attendees at the end of each presentation.
So join us online at http://livestream.com/presonuslive to catch all the action as it happens, or to view it later.
To schedule an email reminder, visit us at http://presonus.com/community/presonuslive/
How do you avoid getting a call in the middle of a gig when you are using your iPhone to control QMix? Good question. I’ll show you this trick, as well as a neat way to handle your break music on the same iPhone or iPod Touch you that are using to control your monitor mix.
I’ve enjoyed watching a lot of your YouTube videos over the course of learning how to produce/engineer, especially the ones regarding the StudioLive boards. Recently, I’ve started engineering all the audio for Savage Classical Guitar and when it came time to upgrade (albeit a small upgrade compared to the very large studio I also work in) I knew immediately that PreSonus was the right choice for us. I was very happy to hear that someone on your end found our videos and liked what they saw, and more importantly heard! I’d love to have at least 4 preamps so I could add room mics, but the AudioBox 44VSL blows all the competition away, and I couldn’t be happier with it!
If there’s anything Savage Classical Guitar or I can do to help you guys out in the future, please let us know!
Producer. Engineer. Guitarist.
Media – Savage Classical Guitar
For those of you who were under some kind of an anti-PreSonus rock last week, we had a big industry first over here. We got a bunch of world-class musicians together, made (most of ) a record, and broadcast the entire performance live via our LiveStream channel. It was pretty epic.
And you missed it. Well, that’s ok, we taped it. Or Tivo’d it, or whatever. Well, no, actually, we made it. But whatever—just—here. It may not be the same as sweet potato pie stright from the oven, but we saved you a few slices in the freezer. We knew you’d show up sooner or later. Dig in.