[Editor’s note: the below e-mail comes to us from Ewan Buckley of the Desert Feet Tour. I couldn’t resist sharing!]
Earlier this year I invited National Audio to be a part of the Desert Feet Tour’s work bringing musical inspiration, education and opportunities to some of the most remote Indigenous communities in Australia. In particular we sought a mixing desk that allowed us to multi-track record and mix down. This recording system is the backbone of our live shows allowing us to give outback musicians a recording of themselves—a unique opportunity most would never have!
On tour storage space is very limited. We often have little time to set up our concerts under the stars. An added challenge is the inevitable army of little hands that descend, attached to kids offering to help with the set-up, plugging leads in wherever they fit, asking questions about everything we have, pushing every button and sliding every fader!
So how has the addition of the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 come to be so valued?
It has saved us the space of carrying all the usual rack gear – compressors, EQs, effects units, gates – all of these are contained within the amazing Fat Channel, which is available on all 24 channels! I now have 24 compressors, 24 gates, 24 limiters, 24 EQs and a multi-effects unit, all in the same space as my old analog mixing desk. We used to have to carry an additional 10RU road case of processing gear, plus a box of patch leads; this itself would generally take 30 minutes to set up. Now we have only the one road case containing the precious StudioLive, and it takes me only the time to plug in the input multicore leads to set up. Truly amazing.
Furthermore it is extremely easy to get a great sound. I often don’t have the time to fine-tune or do much of a sound check between arrival and setup, so to be able to just drag-and-drop presets using Universal Control, with further tweaking effects shown graphically right in front of me is invaluable. And then to be able to copy these presets between channels – incredible.
Compare this to my previous regime; I would need to patch my mixing desk Direct Outs to a recording interface which was plugged into my computer. From here I would need to take the outputs from the interface back into my mixer.
Now I just plug in a single firewire cable and BAM: I have all the ins and outs that I need! I open up the Capture software and simply hit record – and every channel is recorded perfectly every time.
So, my friends at NAS, the point of all this is to express how very impressed I am with the service and support from National Audio Systems and Presonus in supplying us with this desk. The StudioLive is faultless, performing flawlessly in the very dusty conditions we subject our gear to. Its features are truly impressive. The dynamics, effects processors and EQs are all excellent, the software is intuitive, easy to use, highly functional and worked seamlessly with my MacBook Pro. The few technical queries I did have were answered on the Presonus forums. All-round excellent stuff.
I’ve attached some photos of the old and the new gear in use – please feel free to use these however you wish, as well as this letter itself, to promote your fantastic service and brilliant product.
Sound Engineer on the Desert Feet Tour
Desert Feet Inc.
More from Desert Feet:
Ever had to change your input list right before a gig? This video will show you how to configure Virtual StudioLive to add, change or edit channels in a just a few seconds. Then these changes will be visible to every musician on stage via their iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad!
Today is the big day! Tune in at 2:00p.m. CST for an interview with Terence Higgins… and then watch him make a record! This webinar will continue on Thursday and Friday at 11:00 a.m. CST both days. Join us in this piece of industry (and Internet) history!
Let’s step back and take a look at the big picture. Things, they are a-changin’, and while we make an effort to stay humble, facts is just that. Facts! Look:
Reviews for Studio One 2 are off the charts. Sales, too. The StudioLive series of mixers are the best-selling mixer line over at Guitar Center. (Those search results are sorted by best-selling, you see.) We’re building great partnerships with amazing companies like SoundCloud, Rational Acoustics and Celemony. There’s also a bunch of other stuff we can’t even tell you about yet… but you’d get to know if you joined us.
So, it seems as though somehow we are doing something correctly, which means growth, which means we need more FRESH BODIES! If the idea of mucking around with a pack of audio nerds in the hot Louisiana sun sounds like your idea of a killer work-week, than maybe we should talk.
Here’s the type of professionals we’re looking for, click the titles for the official job descriptions:
So, if you think of yourself and PreSonus as a match made in gumbo, click the above job title of your choosing, read the Job Description, and dutifully carry out the contact instructions that follow.
Please don’t call about job availability. Crystal, our HR director, is kinda slammed right now. Growth, remember?
So, the next thing I am going to explain is how I pan the instruments properly to simulate orchestral placement for each instrument section. This is the chart I reference when panning my instruments.
Panning is where all of those stereo tracks from Kontakt (see part 1) will come in handy, because these are all sections of multiple instruments within the orchestra. Some people would use mono track for a single section and pan them left or right according to the orchestra sitting chart. That is okay, but what you have to realize that what we’re doing with virtual orchestra is that we’re SIMULATING a live orchestra setup. Those instruments are panned left or right, but their sound travels and expands in multiple directions. That’s why a stereo track is more useful.
Usually orchestras are recorded by using multiple microphone positions. For example: The entire orchestra is recorded with a Decca Tree mic setup that’s positioned behind the conductor and is picking up the full orchestra’s sound. In addition, every section of the orchestra has its own stereo mic pair that is positioned very closely to the performers.
What most audio engineers are doing in a setup like this is simply layering the full orchestra sound with close mic positions, and they mix the individual sections more easily through those close mic setups. Here’s what I do:
I use the full string section from Symphobia (e.g. Sustain strings) and layer it with LA Scoring Strings sustain patches. What I like about this approach is that Symphobia has the “room sound” and LA Scoring Strings are very dry, because of their close mic setup. Now, according to the chart above, I ould pan the Symphobia strings from -100 to +100, and individual sections of LA Scoring Strings I pan appropriately to the chart (e.g. first violins from -100 to -20, Cellos from +12.5 to +73, etc).
I repeat this process for every instrument section in the orchestra. If I was using Symphobia Brass, I would pan it from -37.5 to +37.5 according to the chart, and layer that patch with individual patches of Orchestral Brass horns, trombones, trumpets and tuba panned appropriately to their position within the orchestra. I’ve noticed that Studio One doesn’t have the option for dual panning for the stereo track, so I use Binaural Pan as an insert to take care of that problem. (Note to the developers: Make sure you include this in the next patch please!) [editor’s note: We hear you!]
Although this can be taken care of when bouncing tracks by bouncing a single stereo track as dual mono, this approach introduces a problem. If you’re applying EQ on that stereo pair, you will have to insert an EQ on both mono tracks or route the mono tracks into a stereo submix, and then apply the EQ on the submix.
As a matter of fact, that seems like a good stopping point. Next time, we’ll take a look at EQing our orchestra to minimize competition between instruments for your ear’s attention. We’ll follow that up with a few words on reverb, and how to accurately re-create our orchestra’s cavernous environ.
[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:
Music is sadly, quietly littered with many heroes whose contributions are sometimes criminally overlooked: Hawkins. Dale. Quorthon. Haack. Every time I find out about another one of these stalwarts, I sigh quietly, gave a the ceiling, and my grey heart sheds a tear for the poor ol’ PreSonus knowledgebase.
Did you know about it? No? EXACTLY. It isn’t right that people don’t know about the knowledgebase, so go look at it, and make your little buddies look at it too. It’s over here.
Like all things PreSonus, our knowledgebase is an ever-improving labor of love, a sort of dumping ground for feats of braindom from great PreSonus minds: Spence. Hasenback. Harris. Hillman. It’s bursting at its little HTML seams with Studio One tutorials, tips for initializing pesky ASIO drivers, setting up chained FireStudio projects in ProTools 9, you name it. And it’s free, and it’s online, and accessible from your phone, and, and, and.
Point is: while we love to hear from you, the answer to your tech support question may well have already been answered in the PreSonus Knowledgebase—and it’s worth a search.
In order to do our great knowledgebase justice, I’ve started a Twitter series called “KB’s Greatest Hits.” Starting yesterday or so, I began tweeting out links to great knowlegebase articles once-per-day. Check ’em out, learn up, and please retweet and share! Let’s not let the PreSonus knowledgebase to be lost to history like so many great contributors.
Studio One is available in a number of versions: Artist, Producer, and Professional. In this video, longtime PreSonus advocate Byron Gaither breaks down not only why Studio One is right for you—but also WHICH Studio One is right for you. From bedroom producers to established rock stars, you’ve likely heard rumblings of people quitting their old DAW for PreSonus Studio One.
So, you should take a good look at this—we’ve got a version of Studio One in your size.
Here’s a sort update potpourri video. Byron’s back, and he’s taken the time to bust out a video with details on everything new in Studio One 2.0.5: The Macro Toolbar, MIDI Control of ANY command in Studio One, (WUT?) Tab-to-Transients, on and on and on. Track re-sizing.
It just keeps getting BETTER. What’s your favorite new feature in Studio One?
WAKE UP. This is important. I know that “Track Management” doesn’t have the same zing as “Transient Beat Detection,” “Groove Templates” or “Lap Dance,” but pay attention.
You kids today have too many options. One of the potential pitfalls of a DAW with unlimited tracks and drag’n’drop instrument placement is that an overzealous producer might just use too many tracks. It doesn’t take long until you have to scroll down to find your MIDI, and your audio tracks are up top, your rack tom is next to the hydrocrystalophone track, and damned if you know where the vocal is.
Proper track management avoids all this. You have a lot of options: Folder tracks, color-coding… oh, just watch the video. And go clean your room.