PreSonus Blog

 

Ricki and the Flash poster (1)Hello everyone, I’m Phil Garfinkel, the Special Projects Liaison for PreSonus® Audio Electronics. I’m writing about the shooting of a new movie, Ricki and the Flash, discussing the PreSonus products that we used and how we used them.

First, a little about the film: Ricki and the Flash stars Meryl Streep as Ricki, an aspiring rock star who leaves the Midwest to “make it” in California. Her band, The Flash, features the talents of Rick Springfield on guitar, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Joe Vitale on drums, and Rick Rosas on bass.

We set up the band in an authentic club configuration, with plenty of PreSonus equipment to reinforce their sound. We recorded with Capture™ and used Studio One® to create reference recordings. I was on site as the PreSonus tech, mixing the live show.

Here is a quick overview of what we used from PreSonus:

 

The movie is directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by Gary Goetzman and Marc Platt, all Oscar winning veterans. Jonathan and Gary wanted the band to play, not just pretend to play along to tracks; I was brought in to mix front-of-house and monitors and to take a 32-track feed to capture the music as it happened.

We faced some unusual challenges. Thanks to teamwork and a mutual obsession for excellence (and some pretty great gear), Mark, Neil, and I worked through it to help Jonathan and Gary make an excellent soundtrack for the film.

Special thanks to Roxanne Ricks at Audio-Technica for helping us get high quality microphones and wireless systems, Peter Janis at Radial Engineering for getting us some fantastic Direct Boxes, and Brad Graham at Rapco-Horizon for helping with cable needs.

Thanks also to my cohorts in audio-land, Mark Wolfson and Neil Citron, who led the charge for this journey. Also Jeff Pullman, C.A.S, the film’s Production Sound Mixer, who worked with us.

Ricky and the Flash opens in theaters everywhere on August 7.

 

Click here for part 2!

Category StudioLive PA Systems | 2 Comments »
Posted by Phil Garfinkel



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The five musicians that make up the band Ricki and the Flash are all top shelf players. Their credits are the stuff of legends; you hear them on the radio every day. Of the five, only bass player Rick Rosas and drummer Joe Vitale had played together before, as the rhythm section of the reunion tour for the legendary Buffalo Springfield (no relation to Rick Springfield).

Bernie Worrell is a visionary funk keyboardist and a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. His credits include Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads. Rick Springfield is a fantastic guitarist who also played Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital.

Meryl Streep, of course, is one of the most renowned actresses in the world.

To get them to be Ricki and the Flash, we set up in the World Famous Rodeo Bar in the Murray Hill district of Manhattan. The Rodeo Bar is a long, narrow room with a brick wall behind the band. We were in a small space, and they were very LOUD.

We set up the band in an authentic club configuration and laid out the monitors for them. We used three StudioLive™ 312AI cabinets for the vocalists and keyboard position and a StudioLive 315AI for the drum wedge.

When we first set up the wedges, we decided to just use them in the standard DSP configuration. The speakers use Dave Gunness’ TQ™ (Temporal Equalization) settings to correct for the acoustical issues that arise in a coaxial design. In addition, each box has DSP settings designed to assist the user in different acoustic situations. There are four settings on the back of the speaker, accessed by a small button. The settings are: Normal (full range for front-of-house), LBR Source (for low-bit-rate digital audio, such as MP3 playback), Floor Monitor (for stage wedge), and a custom User preset.

Neil Citron is a long-time studio engineer, guitarist, and all around great guy. He ran the Mothership for Steve Vai for 15 years and is a member of the Sapphire Group, a bunch of audiophiles in Los Angeles. Neil has incredible ears and was brought in to teach Meryl guitar, be the music director, and record the performances.

Neil and I set up the wedges, supervised by Mark Wolfson, and we ran some program material through them. We really liked the sound of the default Normal setting, so we left it. As soon as the band showed up, we quickly realized that the stage mix just wasn’t “there.” A quick button-push, and the boxes were in Stage Monitor mode; they sat perfectly in the mix, with no additional EQ required.

We used one StudioLive 312AI plus one StudioLive 18sAI subwoofer per side of the “house” PA. We put the top boxes on using the SP1BK subwoofer pole; this also allowed us to steer the top box to reduce reflections off of the brick walls.

Thanks to Brad Graham, Rapco generously provided us with microphone cable and snakes to wire the stage. We wired the guitars using Radial JDX DIs to get the sound of the amplifier, not the guitar. We used Radial JDIs on the bass and keys. Thanks to Roxanne Ricks of Audio-Technica, we had A-T mics on the Leslie and hi-hat. We also used the fantastic A-T ribbons for ambient room miking. We had triggers on the drum kit; more about that later.

Here were the basic challenges:

  • Make sure the musicians can hear each other and the singers can hear their voices.
  • Make sure the levels into the recordings were right.
  • Get a good balanced mix for the audience.
  • Make it feel like a real show, which it was.

I’ll get into the recording aspect in the next part.

I need to give major props to Gary Goetzman, the producer, who took five musicians who had not played together before (with the exception of the rhythm section) and turned them into a real band in two weeks. Everyone was at the top of their game, and the professionalism of the band and producer really shone through.

Category StudioLive PA Systems | 0 Comments »
Posted by Phil Garfinkel



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Photo Credit: Mark Wolfson

Continued from Part 2…

All of the inputs were routed into a StudioLive™ 32.4.2AI console. Besides doing the live mix, the other half of my job was to ensure that every note was “Captured” during both rehearsals and filming.

Here’s how we did it:

Neil Citron, Mark Wolfson, and I wired the stage and then set up two recording systems. The first was set up on my MacBook Pro, running Mac OS X 10.8.5 and connected to the console using FireWire. I was running Universal Control-AI (with Virtual StudioLive-AI control software) and recording with Capture 2.0.

We connected the DB25 outputs of the 32.4.2AI to a Tascam X48 recorder because we needed to track SMPTE time code. This way, we also had two copies of each recording; as anyone who has ever lost a file knows, you need to back up, back up, back up.

The great thing about recording with Capture™ is it is literally effortless. Once my FireWire connection was secure and I knew the computer and console were talking to each other, all I had to do was open Capture and make one mouse click, and we were rolling! Of course, it helps to have the drive path set and the files named. I find that, given the option, it helps to set this up in advance, although the only really crucial setting is the file path.

We noticed that, according to the X48’s meters, the DB25 analog output was 6 dB lower than the digital signal coming into Capture. I’m not sure why the levels were different but comparing the WAV files in Studio One confirmed the difference.

Jeff Pullman, C.A.S, was the Production Sound mixer for the film and was a pleasure to work with. He also was very helpful in getting some sound isolation products so we could have a cleaner recording.

We did some test tracks with Neil playing so we could make sure the rig was running; then we started rehearsals.

Category StudioLive PA Systems | 0 Comments »
Posted by Phil Garfinkel



[This just in from John Taglieri from Dawg Pound Studios!]

Hey there, I’m John Taglieri from Dawg Pound Studios. Based in Hanson, Massachusetts, our studio boasts a 200 square foot live room full of drums, vintage amps, a ’64 Hammond, and close to 30 mostly-vintage guitars and basses to choose from. Our control room is full of great digital and outboard gear to help make sure we capture the music as accurately as it is performed—and make it sound amazing. I’ve produced close to 20 CDs for myself and clients, and as an engineer/producer have had two Billboard charting CDs (a #74 and a #112), a #1 single on Amazon, a total of 11 top ten singles on Amazon & iTunes, as well as a Best-Selling Alternative EP on iTunes. The studio has been touted as having a great-sounding live room, and a control room that sounds true. What you hear at the mix area is what it sounds like out in the real world as well.

One thing I’m proud of is that we use a lot of PreSonus gear in the studio. When I had my studio at its old location in New Jersey, it was very piecemeal. I started really working with PreSonus when I moved the studio to Massachusetts three years ago. I did the studio build from scratch and wanted the best gear that I would feel comfortable with. The room didn’t exist, so I worked with an acoustic engineer to get the design right, got some help from Auralex to tune it, and then chose PreSonus for workflow, live room monitoring and control room mixing. Currently I’m using the following;

For my latest EP, Days Like These, we had a great and fun situation. We assembled top musicians from all over the country, including Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Michelle Branch), Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean, Ludacris), Alan Bowers (Rachel Allyn), Chad Cunningham, as well as myself on drums. We also got Lee Turner (Darius Rucker) & Eric Ragno (Kiss, Alice Cooper) on keys and Greg Juliano on bass. Keith LuBrant, Joe Gilder & myself handled guitars, and we used writers from the US & Australia.

Tracks were cut in eight different studios around the country, as well as at Dawg Pound Studios, and on all different DAWs. We then used DropBox to get the .WAVs to Dawg Pound Studios, where Studio One Professional 2 was used to assemble and mix all the tracks. Dozens of tracks were done in-house as well as sent in. All songs started at my studio with acoustic guitar, vocals, and click tracks, and ended with final mixes. The workflow was effortless. Working with Studio One and my FaderPort, mixing was a great experience. I had just added the FaderPort to the system and I can’t tell you how much it streamlines mixing. It makes subtle mix, pan and FX moves far easier than using my trackpad. I run a tricked-out Mac Mini with a Bluetooth keyboard and trackpad. We must have done something right because the EP debuted on release week on the Billboard Independent Album chart at #112, which was quite an honor.

Running PreSonus in my studio has brought my studio up to a level of quality that I can truly be proud of. I am putting out sounds rivaling any other studio thanks to the quality of my inputs, the workflow, the ease of mixing, true quality stock plugins, great preamps, and I know my clients love the custom monitoring setup in the live room during tracking. Stop by the studio’s website and Facebook and check us out!

 

Category StudioLive 24.4.2 | 219 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Taylor Nauta consistently sounds great, and we felt that the ADL 700 and ADL 600 preamps would really do his tones justice. So, we invited him by the new HQ, brought him to the live room, and recorded a few tracks.

Taylor’s voice is running through the ADL 700, and his guitar is recorded through a direct input into the first channel of the ADL 600, as well as by a mic run into the second channel.

Category PreSonus LIVE | 3,285 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Recording a guitarist with as signature a technique as Steve Dodds introduces some unusual recording quandaries. Fortunately for 5aint, his PreSonus AL 700, ADL 600, StudioLive digital mixer, and Studio One DAW provided everything he needed for the task at hand.

Dodds’ signature “guitabla” stylings are in high demand, as he has been a prolific session player and frequent collaborator with the likes of Steven Stills, Sarah McLachlan, Karen Eden, and more, having worked on projects with notable producers like David Kershenbaum, Jill Joes, Alan Moulder, and Martin Page. His more recent focus has been on his dynamic, genre-blending solo material.

 

Category Studio One | 140 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



PreSonus was proud to be a part of the 2013 ASCAP Songwriters Retreat, held September 25th to October 4th at the 14th-century Château Marouatte in the Dordogne region of France—an inspiring place for the lyrically inclined.

And that’s the point. ASCAP has designed this retreat to bring out the best in talented writers. This year’s 30+ participants were divided into different groups, every day, to write and record, keeping collaborative spirits fresh and healthy. At the end of the session, attendees return home with renewed artistic vigor, their hearts and hard drives full of song.

In fact, a dozen of the songs written at the camp this year are already on hold for major label artists, including The Temper Trap, Kelly Clarkson, Melanie Fiona, Nylo, Jessie Malakouti, and Jon Bellion.

PreSonus was happy to provide a metric heap of equipment to foster the creative process, including:

Photos from the event follow, as well as a kind thank-you video from the songwriters themselves. You’re welcome, folks, and we hope you wrote enough hits to fill a 14th-century dining hall. Read more about it here.


 

 

Category StudioLive 16.0.2 | 369 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



 

[We decided it best to give some recognition to our more vocal advocates—and what better way than via a blog series?]

Who are you, where are you, and what do you do? 

Rhett Mouton: Producer, engineer, writer/composer.

How were you introduced to PreSonus?

Years ago I was asked by a young band to go to their rehearsal studio to help them record a song. That rehearsal studio turned out to be in Jim Odom’s back yard.

What PreSonus software/hardware do you use and for what purpose?

I use the Central Station for monitoring, ADL 600 for obvious reasons, StudioLive 24.4.2 for live sound and multitracking, Studio One 2 Professional for writing, composing, producing, mixing and mastering.

What’s so great about PreSonus, anyhow?

They always seem to be thinking a step ahead of the curve when developing new products.

What’s the last big project that you worked on using PreSonus gear?

I produced, mixed, and mastered a band called Meriwether’s debut album titled, “Make Your Move” which resulted in a distribution deal and record deal with Suretone/Interscope records.

What are you working on now—or next?

I am currently mixing and mastering projects for clients. I am also composing/writing original music with the intention of licensing for placement in film, television and video games.

Where can our readers learn more about you online?

rmmaudio.com

Facebook.com/rmmaudio

Facebook.com/rhettmouton

Category Studio One | 105 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Rick and the RACK OF DOOM

Hey there! I got something for ya. Here’s a pile of 30-second tracks from the sessions we did recently with Briana Tyson. Every signal on this recording was recorded direct via an ADL 700 or ADL 600 preamp. Because we could.

No other processors were used in these recordings. The guitars were recorded with Shure SM57s and Royer R-121s, and the bass was ran direct into an ADL 700. The stereo sources—keys, drum overheads, and two room mics were ran through the ADL 600s.

Here’s the mic list for this session:

Kick (Shure Beta 52)
Snare (Shure SM57)
Hi Tom (Sennheiser 421)
Low Tom (Sennheiser 421)
Stereo Overheads (Neumann K184’s)
Stereo Room Mics (AudioTechica 4080)
Bass Guitar (Direct)
Electric Guitar (SM 57)
Electric Guitar (Royer 121)
Female Vocal (Brauner VM1)
Keyboard (Yamaha P100 direct)

These tracks are available via SoundCloud for download. Help yourself to them and do with them what you will. Mix ’em up! Or down.

We hope you think they sound as amazing as we do.

Here’s the tracks:

 

Here’s video of this session:

Category Artist | 2,838 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



[UPDATE: Here’s a handy PDF of all the ADL 700 dealers. You’re welcome!]

 

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No compromises. This is, hands-down, our finest tube preamp to date. And while we hope you believe us, fact is that “must be heard to be believed” really is true. So, we’d like you to check out the following video starring PreSonus Artist Briana Tyson her cadre of usual suspects from around the PreSonus office. This video, a very special episode of PreSonus LIVE, feature the entire band running through ADL 600 and ADL 700 preamps. Guitars, keys, bass, overheads—everything.

We recognize that YouTube’s streaming audio quality is going to be a bottleneck here, so we are encouraging those interested in the ADL 700 Channel Strip to find one at their nearby US PreSonus dealer. We’ve arranged an elite team of dealers who have agreed to set up in-store demo units of the ADL 700 so you can pop in and experience it for yourself. They are:

Arizona:

Pure Wave Audio
Tucson
248 W. Elm St, 85705
(520) 622-3895
www.purewaveaudio.com

 

California:

Westlake Audio
North Hollywood
4101 Lankershim Blvd.
(323) 845-1145
www.westlakepro.com

GC Pro
Sherman Oaks
14209 Ventura Blvd.
(818) 990-8332
www.guitarcenter.com

GC Pro
West LA
10831 West Pico Blvd.
(310) 475-0637
www.guitarcenter.com

GC Pro
Hollywood
7425 Sunset Blvd.
(323) 874-1060
www.guitarcenter.com

 

Colorado:

Sonic Sense Denver
1500 West Hampden ­Avenue, Suite 3H
(303) 753-0201
www.sonicsense.com

Sweetwave Audio
Louisville
1795 Plaza Drive
(303) 258-0563
www.sweetwaveaudio.com

 

Florida:

GC Pro
Hallandale
1101 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd.
(954) 456-7890
www.guitarcenter.com

Sam Ash Tampa
Tampa
7726 Cheri Ct.
(813) 888-7876
www.samash.com

Sam Ash Miami Lakes
Miami Lakes
5360 NW 167th St.
(305) 628-3510
www.samash.com

 

Georgia

GC Pro
Atlanta
1485 Northeast Expy
(404) 320-7253
www.guitarcenter.com

 

Illinois

GC Pro
Central Chicago
2633 North Halsted
(773) 248-2808
www.guitarcenter.com

 

Indiana

Sweetwater
Fort Wayne
5501 U.S. Hwy 30 W
(800) 222-4700
www.sweetwater.com

 

Massachusetts

GC Pro
Boston
1255 Boylston St.
(617) 247-1389
www.guitarcenter.com

 

Maryland:

Washington Music Center
Wheaton
11151 Veirs Mill Road
(301) 946-8808
www.chucklevins.com

 

Minnesota:

Swift Music
Saint Paul
771 Raymond Ave
(651) 330-4738
www.swiftmusic.net

Missouri

Springfield
Audio Acoustics, Inc.
800 N. Cedarbrook
(417)869-0770
www.proaudiosuperstore.com
 

New York:

Alto Music
Middletown
180 Carpenter Ave
845.692.6922
www.altomusic.com

B&H Photo and Video
New York
420 9th Ave. at 34th St.
(800) 606-6969
www.bhphotovideo.com

Dale Pro Audio
New York
22 W 19th St
(888) 462-7828
www.daleproaudio.com

GC Pro
Manhattan
25 W. 14th Street
(212) 463-7500
www.guitarcenter.com

Sam Ash Carle Place
Carle Place
385 Old Country Rd
(516) 333-8700
www.samash.com

Sam Ash Manhattan
New York City
333 West 34th
212) 719-2299
www.samash.com

 

North Carolina:

Sam Ash Charlotte
Charlotte
5533 Westpark Drive
(704) 522-9253
www.samash.com

 

Tennessee:

GC Pro
Nashville
721 Thompson Lane
(615) 297-7770
www.guitarcenter.com

Sam Ash Nashville
Madison
1647 Gallatin Pike North
(615) 860-7475
www.samash.com

 

Texas:

Rock & Roll Rentals
Austin
1420 W Oltorf
(512) 447-5305
www.rocknrollrentals.com

Sam Ash San Antonio
San Antonio
25 NE Loop 410 at ­McCullough
(210) 530-9777
www.samash.com

GC Pro
Dallas
814 N Central Expy
(214) 692-9999
www.guitarcenter.com

 

Wisconsin:

Full Compass Madison
9770 Silicon Prairie
Parkway
(800) 356-5844
www.fullcompass.com

 

Quebec:

Studio Economik
215 St-Augustin
Montreal, Quebec
Canada, H4C2N7
(514)-937-2000
www.economik.com

 

 

 

Online Only:

American Musical Supply
(800) 458-4076
www.americanmusical.com/PreSonus

Musician’s Friend
800-449-9128
www.musiciansfriend.com

Sound Pure
(888) 528-9703
www.soundpure.com

Vintage King
(888) 653-1184 ext 3
www.vintageking.com

 

 

Category Artist | 261 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



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