Bill “The Buddha” Dickens, legendary electric bass guitarist, has been bestowed the 2019 NAMM Believe in Music Award!
This special award recognizes Bill’s work in supporting the music community and the role he has played in helping grow the NAMM Oral History program. Bill Dickens has been on the scene since 1971, and has played with many legendary performers, all of whom have added their genius to the history of American music. The Oral History Program archives the sights, sounds and creative art of many inventive musicians, past and present.
Bill is a pioneer in the music business. He is a composer, having written numerous #1 hits including, “Don’t Lose the Magic,” with Shawn Christopher and “In Case You Forgot” with Aretha Franklin. He is a performer, having played with many legendary performers, from Ramsey Lewis to Questlove, Leo Nocentelli to Chet Baker.
Bill recently added acting to his resume, and features in I Am Your Keeper, due to be released in 2019. “The Buddha” is also teacher and mentor to emerging artists having released a video and book with Alfred Publishing. Bill designed and invented the nine-string bass guitar and has developed the lowest playable note on the bass.
We’re proud of Bill and thankful to count him among our users!
The Bentley Boys
The Bentley Boys are Ireland’s premier corporate entertainment and wedding band. They were voted RSVP Wedding Band of the Year in 2013 and 2014 and Nominated Weddings Online Band of the Year for 2013, 2014 & 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Bentley Boys play all around Ireland and they tailor the band to every event to make sure the event is nothing short of sensational. Having been long-standing PreSonus users, we spoke to Dez Carpenter, Production Manager, about how PreSonus’ quality, price, and support ticks all the boxes for the Bentley Boys.
Dez is also a professional musician and has over 15 years experience playing professionally in Ireland. He came on board with Bentley Productions and Bentley Boys nearly ten years ago and has spent seven of these as their Production Manager. His roles within the company include event planning and execution, personnel management and training, and lead engineer. For Dez, having multiple systems out at any one time means he needs to have confidence in the product—which he’s found with PreSonus.
The Bentley Boys main digital mixer for stock is the StudioLive 16.0.2—and they have a lot of them! They have also now expanded to include the new StudioLive 24 (Series III) and StudioLive 24R rack mixer and are exploring the PA range to add to their inventory. In particular, the PreSonus AIR Series P.A. speakers have been selected to further enhance the quality of The Bentley Boys’ touring system. All of the PreSonus products are used for live FOH applications. High profile events, blue chip corporate clients, etc.
When asked what led the Bentley Boys to choose these particular PreSonus products, Dez Carpenter, Production Manager for the Bentley Boys states, “Our AV model is focused on small format, expandable, and minimal footprint equipment. The 16.0.2 was simply a no-brainer in terms of price, size, and functionality. It sounds better than anything else in its range, hands down. We’ve tried them all. The StudioLive 24 has transformed our larger events in terms of features and flexibility with the 24R.”
“PreSonus is a user-focused company,” he continues. “The community and support is so inclusive… you simply don’t get this from other companies. The equipment does exactly what it says on the tin, and it’s so intuitive. Training schedules are minimal, which is so important when taking on new personnel. The boards sound great, all our guys love using them and comment consistently how happy they are with their mixes.”
A big thing for the Bentley Boys that has proved to be particularly useful is that the presets work! “Before an event, I have total confidence to sit down in the lobby with the mixer and load my channels. I know that when the band is plugged in that my mix will be 95% of the way there. We get zero time on the majority of our events for soundcheck—the band is an afterthought most of the time, my mix position could be side stage, etc. To have total confidence in the product… I can’t put a value on that.”
When asked if there were any features on their wish list for PreSonus to add in future products, Dez explained that they are still working through the features on the StudioLive 24, and right now he can’t think of any. “I have been fortunate to A/B the StudioLive Series III alongside its competitors and without a doubt, it sounds better, is more flexible, and has a far better workflow. One of our events features two acts, split across two stages. The flexibility and layout of the DCAs are a big plus. The A/B option on each input is an awesome feature, along with the EQ variants. We are extremely happy to be working with the new additions to our PreSonus inventory and are greatly benefiting from even further flexibility the Series III mixers offer to our FOH requirements.”
“In 2017, I was invited by Pierpaolo Guerrini of PPG Studios to be a part of the preproduction of Sí alongside guitarist Daniele Bonaviri,” he continues. “The album production was given to the great producer Bob Ezrin who’s worked with Pink Floyd, KISS and Peter Gabriel.”
“We met several times in my studio—JGRStudio in Rome—and Pierpaolo’s Studio PPGStudio in Tuscany for the sound design process with Studio One and Pro Tools. During these sessions, I recorded all the acoustic guitars and sound design for the pre-production process of several tracks on the record. I also used Studio One for drum editing for some yet-unreleased acoustic versions… and we were quite impressed by how fast and accurate drum editing with Studio One is.”
“So now, Studio One is officially our DAW of choice and the most active in PPGStudio—Andrea’s main recording studio. It’s been an honor to work with Bob Ezrin, and I’m so proud to work with Andrea Bocelli, the most famous singer ever.”
As a huge fan of the DAW, Reynolds worked with us on the development of the new Studio One 4, and it’s his go-to DAW for many reasons.
“I was on Cubase for a while, and then I switched to Logic. I stayed in Logic for a long time, rather than moving to Pro Tools, because I found Logic more creative. But when I discovered Studio One I really liked it, and today it is absolutely perfect!”
“Pro Tools and Studio One are very similar, because Studio One is designed to make it very easy to convert to for Pro Tools users, who would find it a piece of cake. Where it differs is in the drag‐and‐drop workflow, which is super‐fast. You have a sidebar with all your plug‐ins listed in your folders, and you just pull a plug‐in on the channel or the bus, and it will set up the routing for you. It is designed to be super‐quick. It has also taken a leaf out of Ableton’s book, so all your samples can be previewed real‐time and will automatically loop in time. Plus it has gone next level, for example in that you can create splits of your plug‐in signals within your channels. So let’s say you have a lead vocal, and you want to do a parallel bus for it within that channel, you do the split inside the plug‐in, and this gives you a lot of control very easily. It is all very well thought‐out and the automation is fantastic, and so is the MIDI.”
Here’s more on what he has to say on Studio One. He’s basically the expert.
One more thing…. BTS’s latest release “IDOL” mixed by James, now holds the record for the biggest music video debut in YouTube’s history with over 45 million views in the first 24 hours! So that’s awesome.
Huge congrats to James and we’re so stoked for your success! Keep up with his success here.
Reverse audio was a common technique back in the days when doing it was a challenge (flipping tape reels over, recording, flipping them back). Now that reverse audio is easy to do, it’s uncommon…go figure. But let’s revive reverse audio with preverb—reverb that swells up to a sound, instead of decaying after it. We’ll first look at a method that requires having some silence before the clip to which you want to add preverb, then cover what to do if the clip starts at the beginning of a song. Note: the screen shot shows each step, but you’ll end up with only the two yellow clips to create preverb—the other clips are for illustration only (i.e., you don’t need to keep copying the clip).
Step 1. Start by copying the clip or track to which you want to add preverb. Use the Paint tool to draw a silent section in front of the copied clip that’s equal to or longer than the anticipated reverb decay tail you’ll add in the next step, then bounce the silent part and the copied clip together. Tip: Consider rolling off some of the low end on the copy so the kick is less prominent. Kicks don’t get along with reverb all that well, and preverb is no exception.
Step 2. Select the bounced clip and type Ctrl+R, or right-click and choose Audio > Reverse Audio. Insert your reverb of choice (the Open Air 480 Hall preset from Halls > Medium Halls is a good place to start) into the copied/reversed track or clip, then set the reverb’s Mix control to 100% for an all-wet mix.
Step 3. After your reverb sound is as desired, right-click on this clip and choose Mixdown Selection. This clip contains only the reverb sound.
Step 4. Reverse this clip, and now you’ll preverb when you play it along with the original clip. You can also try nudging the preverb left or right to play with the timing—for example if the reverb has pre-delay, the kick and reverberated kick might argue with each other.
To add preverb before the entire song starts so that the preverb leads up to the first sound, select all tracks and shift them to the right to open up a few measures at the song’s beginning. Now you can extend the copy of the track or clip you want preverbed to the project start so it includes silence. Continue by copying the original track, reversing, and following the steps detailed previously to add preverb, then shift the tracks back to the their original position.
To hear preverb in a musical context, go to https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/craiganderton and click on the free preview of song 2, “The Gift of Goodbye.” The preverb is on the guitar solo toward the middle of the song and then occurs again at the end, during the fadeout.
Everyone has heard the story of Saint Patrick—the patron saint that came to Ireland in the AD 400s and converted Ireland to Christianity. Each year on the 17th of March, it appears that everyone has a little bit of Irish in them when St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated! This is especially true here at PreSonus, where we can proudly say we have our own Irish relations based in Co. Cavan where our EMEA office PreSonus Europe Limited is based.
Two well-established Irish bands who have recently started using PreSonus gear are Le Boom and The Lost Brothers. We will be tracking their progress with them over the coming months… but see a quick intro into both bands below.
Le Boom is an indie-electro-house-pop duo based in Dublin, Ireland. They are known for their energetic live performances which feature a frenzy of glass-bottle beats, layered loops, catchy vocal hooks and sweaty fans who dance like no other fans in the world. Their song, “What We Do,” has featured in a number of ad campaigns for TV. According to the US’ Paste Magazine, Le Boom are “Breaking into America in a big way.”
“I recently started using Quantum in our live shows to run my drum samples through VST effects in real time. The lightning-fast latency is essential for this to go smoothly. So far I’ve been really impressed and the drivers have been rock solid.” —Aimie, Le Boom
Irish band The Lost Brothers are Oisin Leech from Meath and Mark Mccausland from Omagh. They have just released their fifth album to huge critical acclaim. In 2018 they tour UK, Ireland, Australia, and the US.
“With emotionally wrenching and confessional songwriting they have the remarkable ability of making a large room feel very intimate indeed. With a masterful blend of careful songwriting and tuneful harmonies, the Lost Brothers make a lasting impact.”
—The Huffington Post (live review)
Oisin of the lost brothers uses a Studio 68 interface to record demos in his home studio and while on the road.
“I just started out using the PreSonus Studio 68 and Studio One to record demos at home. I love the great clear sound from the XMAX preamps, and Studio One’s workflow has been really easy to adapt to.” – Oisin, The Lost Brothers
Watch him open and set up his new StudioLive and then make music with a Hockey Stick… yep!
A couple of weeks ago Dominik Scherer posted this amazing video of him drumming live underwater. He used a Studio 192 for the tracking, and an RML16AI and FaderPort 8 for the production. I had never heard or seen anything quite like it, and while the video is plenty interesting on its own, I reached out to Dominik to answer a few more questions about some of the unique challenges when one chooses to record drums aquatically. As if tracking live drums on dry land wasn’t difficult enough…
What microphones were used?
1x DPA 8011 hydrophone, mounted over a rack right at center of the drumset.
What sort of waterproofing was required?
We used acrylic drums and made them water proof. I also got water proof in Ear systems from In Ear Germany.
And we designed light sticks that were waterproof with Rohema Percussion.
Did the drums require any special care/tuning?
We tuned the drums very high and tuned the snares upside down to get a nice snare wire sound. I also used the wires for “scratching” sounds.
What sort of post-processing of the recording was required, if any?
We did some compressing and EQing as also some side chain processing with special delay sounds and room emulations to get a very special and unique sound.
What challenges came up that you didn’t expect?
Well – actually everything was a challenge. First of all I never used oxygen to dive. So I was very afraid of the effect it would have and if I could play with it. Playing underwater is completely different. You gotta plan every movement exactly and do a perfect stroke to hit the drum or the cymbal at the right time. And the pressure under water and the flowing body makes it even harder. As I always do no edits on my videos as far as the drum takes go, I had to play it all as a one take. That was really hard to stay focused, play perfectly and also try to perform in a visually good way… We also did a quite nice making-of video. Click here to watch it on Facebook.
Big thanks to Dominik for making this happen. Some drummers work hard and really go the extra mile… but this is the first time I’ve seen a drummer go an extra nautical mile.
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
Five years. I started off in Product Management and then moved into Marketing Dept and then Sales and then Education…. Next thing you know, they’ll be asking me to mop the floors.
What was the first 8 track, cassette, CD, digital download you purchased?
What’s your side hustle?
I play drums in a band called Minos the Saint. Maybe you have heard of us… I also am the orchestra director at Istrouma Baptist Church, where I do some drumming, conducting, and arranging (using Notion). I also do a lot of work with soloists and groups in the area, whether it be side-man drumming, engineering, mixing, or producing.
What other products do you have?
All of them…. haha. I use ADL700, ADL600, Studio One, RML32, Studio One remote, Central Station Plus, Temblor 10, Eris 5, Eris 8, Sceptre 8, FaderPort, Air 12.
Why did you choose Notion as your favorite?
As an educator, Notion is the easiest and most fun product to teach others. You can do so much with it and it helps your workflow—more on that later. I like sharing that with others.
Tell us about a successful event you worked.
I attend education conferences year-round and work one-on-one with teachers to find the best solution for their instructional, rehearsal and performance spaces.
What are you currently working on–What’s next for you?
In the summer, music educators and students are involved in many music camps, marching band activities, and Drum & Bugle Corps tours. PreSonus provides the on-the-field reinforcement for The Blue Devils, The Phantom Regiment, Spirit of Atlanta, and many other successful competitive programs. Marching groups these days have significantly more audio technology requirements, whether it be scenes, routing, or remote control. I’m working with them to ensure groups have an easy-to-use, powerful, and flexible solution that fits their needs.
Got some tips?
The power of Notion is in the simplicity of the workflow and the flexibility to use it across multiple devices. The graphic display appears very sleek, but it’s a very powerful notation program, with some surprisingly quick engraving tools. My first tip is to learn the keyboard shortcuts on a computer, which are super intuitive (q=quarter note, d=dot, <=crescendo, #=sharp). On a computer/laptop or iPad, I suggest the handwriting feature, which enables you to write directly on the score with a mouse, finger, stylus or the Apple Pencil.
Anything else you want to share?
Notion is tightly integrated with Studio One. Sometimes, the classical musician in me wants to compose in Notion, then send the score to Studio One (I simply click “Send to Studio One”), where I can then use Studio One to produce tracks around my score. Other times, I’d prefer to write a song on guitar and vocals, and then “Send to Notion” so I can write scoring around my song.