We’ve got two tremendous new sample/loop collections from SonalSystem, the brilliant minds who brought us the lauded “Biscuits and Gravy” drum loops a while back. Now, they’ve got a killer hip-hop pack and an indie guitar pack, and each is available in three editions: Gold, Silver, and Platinum and are compatible with Studio One Prime, Artist, and Professional (Versions 3.5.4 and higher). Click here to shop!
Crafted with a focus on composition, this library is a perfect companion for producers, film/tv composers and songwriters across genres who are looking for inspiration along with studio quality sounds to complete their vision.
Music City Drums vol.2 – Boom Bap: These hip-hop drums were recorded using an extensive collection of vintage drums, classic mic pres, and choice microphones. Because Sonal System took an old-school approach to recording and sampling, the timeless and gritty vibe of hip-hop’s golden era can now be a bold, colorful addition to your sonic palette.
In the previous Friday Tip of the Week, we covered how recording soft synths and amp sims at higher sample rates (like 96 kHz) can give higher sound quality in some situations. However, we also discussed some issues involved with recording at higher sample rates that aren’t so wonderful.
So this week, it’s time for a solution. Offline upsampling to higher sample rates can let you retain the CPU efficiencies of running at a lower sample rate, while reaping the sonic benefits of recording at higher sample rates… and you can do this in Studio One by upsampling in a separate project, rendering the file, and then importing the rendered file back into your original project.
But wait—wouldn’t you lose the benefits of upsampling when you later convert the sample rate back down to 44.1 kHz? The answer is no: Rendering at the higher sample rate eliminates any foldover distortion in the audio range, sample-rate converters include an anti-alias filter to avoid this problem, and 44.1 kHz has no problem playing back sounds in the audio range.
However, note that upsampling can’t fix audio that already has aliasing distortion; upsampling audio to 96 kHz that already contains foldover distortion will simply reproduce the existing distortion. This technique applies only to audio created in the computer. Similarly, it’s unlikely that upsampling something recorded via a computer’s audio interface will yield any benefits, because the audio interface itself will have already band-limited the signal’s frequency range so there will be no harmonics that interfere with the clock frequency.
UPSAMPLING IN STUDIO ONE
We’ll assume a 44.1 kHz project sampling rate, and that the virtual instrument’s MIDI track has been finalized but you haven’t transformed it to audio yet. Here’s how to upsample virtual instruments.
That’s all there is to it. If you want to upsample an amp sim, the process is similar: export the (presumably guitar) track, save the amp sim preset, render at 96 kHz, then import the rendered file into the 44.1 kHz project.
Listen to the audio example “Upsampling with Amp Sim,” which plays the sound of an amp sim at 44.1 kHz and then after upsampling to 96 kHz. The difference isn’t as dramatic as last week’s synth example, but you’ll still hear that the upsampled version is clearer, with more presence.
Do bear in mind you may not want the difference caused by upsampling. When I did an upsampling demo at a seminar with a particular synthesizer, most people preferred the sound with the aliasing because the upsampled sound was brighter than what they expected. However when I did upsampling with an amp sim, and with a different synth, the consensus was that the upsampled version sounded much better. Regardless, the point is now you have a choice—hear the instrument the way it’s supposed to be heard to decide if you like that better, or leave it as is. After all, distortion isn’t necessarily that horrible—think of how many guitar players wouldn’t have a career without it!
Although upsampling isn’t a panacea, don’t dismiss it either. Even with synths that don’t oversample, upsampling may make no audible difference. However, sometimes synths that do oversample still benefit from upsampling; with some sounds, it can take 4x or even 8x oversampling to reproduce the sound accurately. As always, use your ears to decide which sound works best in your music.
What’s a Crossgrade, you ask? It’s a way for users who have already invested in another DAW to switch to Studio One for less money! And even better: until March 31 2018, we’re lowering the existing crossgrade price by 33%! This brings the price down from $299 to $199 USD; regional discounts will vary by a small amount.
To get the Crossgrade, all you need to do is find a local dealer, online dealer, or contact PreSonus directly with a copy of the UPC code or original purchase receipt for the other DAW in an email to email@example.com.
Qualifying DAWs include:
The controversy about whether people can tell the difference on playback between audio recorded at 96 kHz that’s played back at 44.1 kHz or a higher sample rate (such as 96 kHz) has never really been resolved. However, under some circumstances, recording at a higher sample rate can give an obvious, audible improvement in sound quality. In this week’s tip we’ll investigate why this happens, and in next week’s tip, tell how to obtain the benefits of recording at a higher sample rate in Studio One with 44.1 and 48 kHz projects.
REALLY? CONVINCE ME!
A Song’s sample rate can make a difference with sounds generated “in the box,” for instance using a virtual instrument plug-in that synthesizes a sound, or distortion created by an amp simulator. Any improvement heard with high sample rates comes from eliminating foldover distortion, also known as aliasing.
Theory time: A digital system can accurately represent audio at frequencies lower than half the sampling rate (e.g., 22.05 kHz in a 44.1 kHz project). If an algorithm within a plug-in generates harmonic content above this Nyquist limit—say, at 40 kHz—then you won’t hear a 40 kHz tone, but you will hear the aliasing created when this tone “folds down” below the Nyquist limit (to 4.1 kHz, in this case). Aliasing thus appears within the audible range, but is harmonically unrelated to the original signal, and generally sounds pretty ugly.
Foldover distortion can happen with synthesized waveforms that are rich in harmonics, like pulse waves with sharp rise and fall times. (Amp sims can also be problematic; although their harmonics may be weak, if you’re applying 60 dB of gain to create overdrive or distortion, the harmonics can be strong enough to cause audible aliasing).
SO IS IT A PROBLEM, OR NOT?
Not all plug-ins will exhibit these problems, for one of four reasons:
Many modern virtual instruments and amp sims oversample, and DAWs can handle higher sample rates, so you’d think that might be the end of it. Unfortunately, there can be limitations with oversampling and higher project sample rates.
Furthermore, with plug-ins that oversample, the sound quality will be influenced by the quality of the sample-rate conversion algorithms. It’s not necessarily easy to perform high-quality sample-rate conversion: check out comparisons for various DAWs at http://src.infinitewave.ca (where, incidentally, Studio One rates as one of the best), and remember that the conversion algorithms for a plug-in might be more “relaxed” than what’s used in a DAW.
So what’s a musician to do? In next week’s Friday Tip of the Week, we’ll cover how to do upsampling in Studio One to reap the benefits of high-sample-rate recording at lower sample rates. Meanwhile, if you still need to be convinced recording at different sample rates makes a difference, check out this audio example of a synthesizer recorded in Studio One first at 44.1 kHz, and then at 96 kHz:
A Sweeter, Beefier Ampire
Let’s transform Ampire’s Crunch American from a motor scooter into a Harley. Here’s our point of departure:
Insert the Multiband Dynamics before Ampire. The default patch is fine, but drag the High Mid and High gain and ratio settings down all the way. The goal here is to add a bit of compression to give more even distortion in the mids and lower mids but also, to get rid of high frequencies that, when distorted, create harsh harmonics.
After Ampire, insert the Pro EQ. The steep notch around 8 kHz gets rid of the whistling sound you’ll really notice in the before-and-after audio example, while the high-frequency shelf adds brightness to offset the reduced high frequencies going into Ampire. But this time, we’re increasing the “good,” post-distortion high frequencies instead of the nasty pre-distortion ones.
Those two processors alone make a big difference, but let’s face it—people don’t listen to an amp with their ear a couple inches from the speaker, but in a room. So, let’s create a room and give the sound a stereo image with the Open Air convolution reverb. I’ve loaded one of my custom, synthetic IR responses; these are my go-to impulses for pretty much everything I do involving convolution reverb, and may be available in the PreSonus shop someday. Meanwhile, feel free to use your own favorite impulses.
Of course, you can take this concept a lot further with the Channel Editor if you want to tweak specific parameters to optimize the sound for your particular playing style, choice of pickups, pickup type, and the like…hmmm, seems like that might be a good topic for a future tip.
That’s it! Now all that’s left is to compare the before and after example below. Hopefully you’ll agree that the “after” is a lot more like a Harley than a motor scooter.
If you’re looking to get your 808 on without shelling out $3,500 on ebay—and don’t forget that a MIDI-sync mod will run you for another couple hundred—this is the right pack for you at less than 1/100th of the price. But drum machines don’t begin and end with X0X kick drums, so the exclusive Goldbaby Essentials Soundset for Impact features a whopping 500 samples from beatboxes of yore, arranged into 32 Impact drum kit presets and 124 new musicloops.
This collection is very different than that no-name drum machine sample collection you regrettably BitTorrented a while back. You know the one I’m talking about: rife with clipping, inconsistent filenames, and varied sample rates. You got what you didn’t pay for. Goldbaby Essentials has been meticulously, professionally sampled by a real pro, and processed with warm, saturated, real-analog-tape-saturated goodness. Add to that the money, space, and time you’re saving when compared to buying all those drum machines and sampling them yourself—and you can’t deny that Goldbaby Essentials is even better than the real thing(s).
This bundle give your arrangements and orchestrations new depth and control and there’s a ton included:
All of which were performed and recorded by principal and second players from the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.
These sounds are only compatible with Notion version 5 or higher!
The Studio 192 and 192 Mobile rank among our most versatile interfaces, offering incredibly high sample rates for their price and robust monitoring and connectivity options. And until the end of March 2018, they’re available for a lot less money.
Hook up a Studio 192 family interface to a laptop with the included Studio One DAW, and you’ll have remote software control of the preamp levels on the interface, eliminating the need to constantly get up from your seat and tweak while establishing levels. You’ll be capturing those levels in sterling 192 kHz.
As your needs grow and you find yourself needing more inputs, the Studio 192 interfaces are expandable via additional hardware like the Digimax DP88. Add to that advanced monitoring capabilities, word clock, and S/PDIF, and you’ve got a powerhouse in a small package.
Protect your investment! Our versatile ULT loudspeakers are as handsome as they are powerful, so why not keep them that way? From now until March 31, 2018, customers in the USA will get free travel bags with purchase of ULT Loudspeakers. Read on to find out a little more about the ULT line. First thing to know: “ULT” means “Ultra Long Throw.”
The ULT active loudspeakers combine the widest horizontal dispersion of any loudspeaker in their class with a focused vertical dispersion for an ultra-long throw. The result is even coverage throughout the space, enabling the audience to hear clearly wherever they are. Featuring PreSonus’ proprietary Pivot X110 horn, a custom 12-inch low-frequency driver, and plenty of biamped Class D power in a lightweight design with the performance characteristics that only wood can offer, ULT loudspeakers deliver first-rate speech intelligibility and natural music reproduction. This makes them a great choice for both mobile use and permanent installations.
Qualifying products include: