Much has been written about what it takes to be a musical success. Tour hard. The real money’s in the merch. Engage your fans. You’ve heard all that a million times. Austin’s Alpha Rev is 13 years and four albums into their career with no sign of slowing down, and have proven what many music bloggers seem to have overlooked; despite myriad flavor-of-the-week “best practices” for being a sonic success, ultimately the song is the thing.
And upon listening to Alpha Rev, the elephant in the room becomes so very obvious. Alpha Rev’s foundation lay in a folky/rootsy acoustic aesthetic; familiar territory for seasoned songsmiths. Bolster said traditional Americana instrumentation with a killer rhythm section and a bevy of pedal steel and mandolin, and you’re a step closer to arriving at the Alpha Rev gestalt. Add lofty, layered vocal melodies, elegant application of dynamics, and patiently-building crescendos that border on cinematic, and one could begin to imagine their sound.
Or, hell, one could just bloody well listen to it, because a ton of their stuff is available on the Alpha Rev Nimbit Store, including their three full-length albums and a B-side compilation.
Strongly recommended. Good stuff. Check out New Morning.
Interested in Nimbit? Sign up for free here.
As you may or may not know, we recently had a big hook-writing contest called #GetYourHooksIn, which put up the offer of an incredible recording package in exchange for a good hook. Diego entered said contest and placed third.
That said, Diego—more than any of the 300+ entrants—deserves an honorable mention. He chose to not only write and record his hook to enter the contest, but also to document every step of his process, and make the whole thing available on YouTube, for free, for the betterment of producers the world over. He covers several important topics that stand apart from the run-of-the-mill YouTube world of mixing, EQing, compression, etc. Instead, Diego focuses on topics like lyric writing picking the right singer for the song, and the importance of the first listen.
Check out the playlist below, as there’s clearly been a lot of time put into this and there are some wonderful tips in here. English speakers can turn on subtitles by clicking the CC button near the bottom right of the video player.
Here’s is Diego’s final entry:
If you’d like to hear the winning entries of #GetYourHooksIn, click the following links:
[This just in from Jean Madani, producer and recordist in Beirut! Jean has been an audio professional for his entire adult life, and PreSonus has been a part of his process for nearly as long. Lately, he has begun using Studio One (and a few other pieces of PreSonus gear) for all of his digital audio needs. But enough from me—let’s hear about it from the man himself!]
MY STUDIO ONE STORY
I have been recording, mixing, performing, and producing for and with different artists and different types of music for more than thirteen years, in genres ranging from traditional Arabic music, to pop, rock, hip hop, and jazz.
I have probably used every major DAW available, but Studio One has been my DAW of choice ever since I came across it in a studio session two years ago. Khalil Chahine, an excellent engineer and friend of mine from Germany recommended it to me. I had been complaining during a tracking session about how slowly the session was going with the DAW we were using at the time. I found it to be so needlessly time-consuming and clunky. So, we promptly switched to Studio One mid-session, and I never looked back. In all honesty, it’s the single best decision I have made in my career as an audio engineer.
The wealth of good things I have to say about Studio One could fill a whole book, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll try to summarize what I like best here. My very first impression was that of pleasant surprise at how fast the software started up. I have tons of plug-ins, so launching any DAW used to be a painfully long wait. Studio One got up and running for me in less than fifteen seconds, and in a matter of two hours I was running Studio One like a pro. It was just simply that intuitive.
The drag and drop features really speed up my workflow, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that they were like a gift from audio heaven. Tasks that took me hours to complete in other DAWs take up mere minutes now. Also, the ease in which audio quantizing is handled in Studio One beats any other DAW out there in my opinion, and the native plug-ins like Pro EQ are simply amazing, and very transparent.
I often record traditional Middle Eastern instruments such as the oud, buzuk, and riq. I’ve found that applying algorithmic EQ can be destructive to the unique character of these instruments’ sound. EQing these instruments while faithfully retaining their desirable frequencies used to be very tricky, but with the “Pro EQ”, this previously critical and sensitive process has become like second nature to me. I almost never use any other EQ in my sessions at all anymore.
I also really like the thorough one-click integration Studio One has with Melodyne; with just one click, audio becomes MIDI. Another favorite feature of mine is the bank scenes. It’s extremely helpful when wrestling with intimidatingly large sessions. At the moment, I’m mixing an Arabic Fusion album, in which smallest session weighs in at about seventy tracks, minimum. Suffice to say, the ability to save and re-load specific channel selections is helping to immensely un-clutter both my workflow and my monitor screen.
To sum up, Studio One has made my workflow faster and my mixes translate much better than ever before. I don’t think I will be using any other DAW again in the foreseeable future, and I feel that it deserves to be the new industry standard.
In addition to Studio One, I also use a PreSonus Studio Channel and the BlueTube DP preamps. The quality of results I get from both products is consistently outstanding. I get a clear, warm sound when I use the BlueTube’s solid state option, and when I want those extra harmonics, the tube option does the job and then some. I ran a comparison test with so-called “high-end” preamps, and got results that stand toe-to-toe with the supposed best out there. Also, I recently tried adding tube saturation to the signal chain while recording an oud in an acoustic session with the Studio Channel, and it yielded very pleasant results.
Finally, I use a FaderPort in conjunction with Studio One, making its already fast workflow even faster and easier. I like the smooth fader and response so much, that I wish PreSonus would make a larger DAW controller with even more faders!
I choose PreSonus for the simple reason of that they really deliver what they claim to offer, with quality that far exceeds the price point.
Here are some shots of Jean teaching a Studio One / StudioLive workshop at LAU!
Jean Madani’s current projects:
We hauled some video hardware down to Vegas for InfoComm and shot some vids at the booth. If you couldn’t tune in to PreSonus LIVE for this coverage, you can catch it all below! Learn a bit about StudioLive AI Mixer Cascading, Dante, and the latest member of the PreSonus fam’—WorxAudio!
While you’re at it, here’s a the full press releases from our InfoComm 2014 announcements.
Hey there! Here’s the entire 30-Day Worship Tools series of videos, available in a single convenient playlist. These are bite-size tidbits from none other than Doug Gould of WorshipMD, addressing the use of the StudioLive AI mixers during worship services, and includes tips on EQ, making the most of rehearsals, sound check tips, and much, much more.
For info on the StudioLive AI digital mixers, click here.
For more from Doug Gould and Worship MD, click here.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Rusted Root are all about the sonic melting pot, and their status as mainstays of the sweaty outdoor music festival scene probably helps with the “melting” part. Start with a hearty spoonful of jam band folk and fold in a 1/2 cup of vocal harmony. Season liberally with Latin American and African percussion spices. Add genius and let simmer for 45 minutes. Serves 3 Million.
Check out their music by getting a free track here. and when you’re done with that, check out their Nimbit store, which is absolutely stocked. There’s a diverse array of tees (long-sleeve, short-sleeve, no-sleeve) and other apparel, as well as cool merch, including Rusted Root-branded earplugs. In true jam band tradition, there is also a bevy of live tracks to be found. Many—if not all—of their studio albums are available as well, dating all the way back to 1992, so you can root through Root’s roots.
Interested in Nimbit? Sign up for free here. Rusted Root has sold 3 Million records. And if Nimbit’s good enough for them… just sayin’.
Get a free track from Rusted Root below. Note that if and when you sign up for Nimbit, you’ll be able to create your own promo widgets just like this one. Although, it would probably be best for them to give away your music, and not Rusted Roots’.
How utterly proper that the tech industry heads down to Las Vegas in early summer to share their hottest news. See, the InfoComm show is to all things A/V what NAMM is to music. It’s not just about PA speakers and mixers, there are 3D 4K HD TVs, weird new computers, and nary a stringed instrument in sight around here.
So, what the heck are we doing here, anyhow? A lot. The reason we fit in at InfoComm this year—even better than years past—is because we’re stepping up our live sound game in a major way—more on that later. But in the meantime, the best way to answer this question is to click here for your free ticket, and then come and join us. Here’s what we have going on, and where to find it.
First of all, Doug Gould of WorshipMD will be giving FREE mixing instructions at The Technologies for Worship Pavilion, booth C4846. Doug has been a good friend to PreSonus for some time now, and his videos are among the most-watched on our YouTube channel. Come learn a thing or two from the man in person! Doug presents at the following times:
You can get the details on all of the new members of the PreSonus fam first-hand in our Demo Room, N104. Here’s a schedule:
By the way—Attend a StudioLive AI PA & Worx PA Speaker Demonstration and get a FREE Active Integration Universal USB Adaptor, a $19.99 value!
InfoComm press releases, complete with old-skool journalistic integrity:
(click titles for full release)
WorxAudio makes some incredible line array speakers, subs and monitors for big big Iron-Maiden calibur live shows, as well as some really high-endy installs for house of worship and pro touring. We’re stronger with the guys from Worx in our corner, and we think you’ll be thrilled to find some of the great things that come with having us on board.
We’re working with the fine crew at OBEDIA, to bring you monster powerhouse Studio One workstations, available in desktop and rackmount versions.
Cascade a couple of StudioLive AI Mixers together and get a 64-channel recording, networked, remotely controllable behemoth of a mixer for under $8,000. You can even mix and match StudioLive AI mixers of different channel counts.
Create complete networked audio systems by adding the new SL-Dante-SPK upgrade to StudioLive AI Loudspeakers. This makes the StudioLive AI loudspeakers the first Dante-enabled active loudspeakers on the planet.
Other handy wheres ‘n’ whens:
PreSonus advocate and Studio One pro Christopher “AudioCzar” Smith just got his hands on the Monitor Station V2, and quickly put together this video illustrating his thoughts on the unit—and they’re all positive! Tremendous thanks to him for doing this.
Czar is the kind of guy who goes the extra mile for producers with a penchant for learning. When he’s not producing music, he’s also producing excellent videos full of Studio One tips. Click here to see all of the Czar’s vids, or check him out on www.audioczar.net