Jean Madani’s Studio One Solution in Beirut, Lebanon
[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:
- Rayan el Haber: album to be released this year (Arabic fusion )
- Jad Nasr: album to be released this year (acoustic folk)
- Fer2et 3a Nota: to be released this month (Arabic fusion)
- Oumaima el Khalil: starts recording this July, to be released early 2015 (acappella)