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 Antony Bedez, Audio Engineer!]

Hey PreSonus! My name is Antony BEDEZ and I’m a French studio and live sound engineer.  Recently,  my bassist brother and I made a
CD from a concert given in France with drummer Steve Ferrone, who has worked with Michael Jackson, Average White Band, Eric Clapton, Slash, and others. I’ve taken care of all
the audio process from the live sound to the mastering.

After his participation on my brother’s last album, Investigations, we decided to invite him to France and
play with him live. With many friends of ours…

FOH and monitors were all recorded via the StudioLive 24.4.2, and the multi-track recording via Capture.

You can hear sounds and learn about the project, musicians here:
http://www.franckbedez.com/steveferroneandfriends/

We’re very proud of the sound and quality of the music, considering the time we had to organize the project!

Best regards,
Antony BEDEZ

Category StudioLive 24.4.2 | 627 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



[This just in from Byron Gaither, our very own consummate audio expert and Studio One know-it-all!]

Here are some photos from the 2nd L.A. PreSonus Meetup. We had an open mic for anyone to perform on. We recorded them via Capture, and the entire show was run through the StudioLive 32.4.2AI and StudioLive AI PA speakers. We were then able to open up their songs in Studio One for quick mixes. This is only the second event like this we’ve done, and we had double the turnout of the first!
If you live in the Los Angeles area and are interested in PreSonus, industry networking, or both, you should come on out to the next event; they are hosted monthly. You can learn more and sign up at our Meetup.com page by clicking here.

Category StudioLive PA Systems | 70 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



[This just in from Kirk Farmer of the Dirty Rumors, who are living the PreSonus life to the fullest!]

Thanks for the invitation to be included in your blog. We are called Dirty Rumors. We’re a quasi rock band / jam band from Roanoke, VA comprised of Kirk Farmer, (Me) on lead vocal and guitar, Tim (Caesar) O’Sullivan on lead guitar, Scott Sutton on bass, Ben Hite on keys, and Thomas Wilson on drums. We’re more of a jam band than anything. Our live performances are heavy on the long instrumental jams with variety of influxes including rock, funk, blues and county. We actually have a large collection of live tracks that can be streamed from our website. Most of which were also recorded using the same equipment and software we used to record the EP. The EP is called Unity Gain and was released online through TuneCore.com in January.

I was originally introduced to PreSonus when I worked as a recording engineer in Raleigh, NC. I saw a demo of the StudioLive 16.4.2 at a show put on by one of your distributors in Greensboro. I was particularly impressed with it’s ease of use and by the transparency of the preamps.

I few years later, I relocated to Roanoke,VA and brought on a business partner named Nate Potter in order to expand my mastering studio, K-14 Studios service offerings to include mobile, multi-track recording. Nate was also a big fan of the Presonus gear and owned a 16.4.2, and also introduced me to Studio One.

Tim and I formed Dirty Rumors in September of 2012. When we made the decision to record our EP, it was only logical that Nate and I produce and engineer the project using the PreSonus gear that we had been using to record our clients with.

As mentioned before, we primarily use the 16.4.2 for tracking. One of the great things about this setup is its mobility. All we need is the board, the laptop, the snake and some mics and we’re in business—literally! We use Capture to track everything, including overdubs. Once we get the tracks back to the studio, we use a FirePod as a speaker/headphone interface, and mix the sessions on Studio One. We also use Studio One’s project page for mastering.

The things we like most about the PreSonus hardware are the quick setup time and the preamp quality. With other digital mixers, we can potentially spend a significant amount of time just getting the board settings where we want them. Using any outboard gear  just adds to the process. With the 16.4.2, we can be powered up and signal and level checked in less than 10 minutes.

As far as the preamps are concerned, the transparency and gain insures a good recording the first time, every time. This is paramount when recording a live show where we might not get a second take. They also allow for a great deal of flexibility during the mixdown process. We can make a lot more creative decisions about the overall sound of the project when we don’t have to contend with preamp coloration introduced by your hardware.

On the software side, Studio One is undoubtedly the most flexible and user-friendly DAW I’ve ever used. It’s intuitive, powerful, and very easy on my CPU. In the past, I’ve primarily used Pro Tools and Audition, both for their different strengths: Pro Tools for tracking and Audition for mastering. Studio One combines the best of both worlds in one very dynamic suite.

Nate and I are currently working on a video project for a band from Lynchburg, VA. Again, we used the PreSonus gear for the tracking, and continue to use Studio One for the post- production processing. Our last major project was the Unity Gain EP, which we created ourselves from start to finish. Dirty Rumors is rumored to be recording a concert video in May at the new amphitheater in downtown Roanoke. We plan to use the 16.4.2, tied in to the FOH board through a splitter snake to record the audio from the show.  We’re also talking about recording a full length album this summer, and PreSonus is along for the ride every step of the way!

Category StudioLive 16.4.2 | 2,748 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



The kind sports at Hero’s Last Mission put together this exceptional video describing their workflow with the StudioLive 16.4.2. They are using the board to its fullest in both the studio and onstage, taking advantage of features like QMix personal monitoring and scene recall for saving board settings appropriate to multiple venues. Furthermore, they record live shows to Capture and then mix later in Studio One!

Hero’s Last Mission is taking advantage of the full PreSonus solution. Are you?

Category StudioLive 16.4.2 | 218 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Rick, Justin, and our hard-workin’ video team just wrapped up a series of no-less-than 14 new videos covering the StudioLive AI digital mixers and Capture 2. Topics include editing and saving your Fat Channel presets, connecting your StudioLive AI to wireless devices, Quick Mix Scenes, and tons more, all divvied-up into brief, tender, bite-sized morsels. Dig in, eat up, and pig out on our feast of knowledge.

StudioLive AI Mixer playlist:

 

Capture 2 playlist:

Category StudioLive 32.4.2AI | 125 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Here’s Travis Brockway, live sound engineer for Shane and Shane and Phil Wickham, recently brought the entire PreSonus Active Integration package on the road for the bands’ Christmas Tour. Here, he discusses his experience with the StudioLive AI mixers, and why they’re the right fit for small-to-medium sized churches.

Furthermore, he takes a look at the StudioLive AI speakers, and how they make for the best possible live performances—and how  Capture 2,  Studio One, and Nimbit make for effortless recording, editing and online distribution of performances and services.

For more on the Active Integration family, click on any of the following:

 

Category StudioLive PA Systems | 135 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



[This just in from Scott Szeryk!]

Hey PreSonus, I hope all is going well!!  We have just released out latest live video “Celtic Rainbow,” all recorded at the Aeolian Hall, in London Canada, June 8, 2012. on Studio One and the StudioLive 24.4.2.
Here is some insight as to how we recorded our show, “Live at the Aeolian Hall.”

We multi-tracked the entire show via the Studio Live 24.4.2 into Capture.  Great care was taken on ensure that the instrument sources all sounded top notch (drums, bass, guitar, keys) and appropriate mics and DIs were used to capture the sounds of the instruments.

Drum mics were as follows:

  • AKG D112—kick
  • Shure SM 57s—snare top and bottom
  • Shure KSM 32’s—toms
  • Shure KSM 137—hi-hat and ride
  • AKG 414s—overheads

For post-production (mixing and mastering) we used Studio One, and things were kept pretty simple as the performances and sounds were good at the source.  I’m not a “fix it in the mix” type of engineer, so the sounds have to be great to begin with. Also we didn’t use any drum samples whatsoever. The drums sounded great and basic EQing (cut some of the boxey mids) and slight compression (just a hint, 2:1 with slow attack to keep the bass response) were used on the drums, and that’s it. Guitars were plugged straight into the Fractal AXE FX2, bass and keys ran DI.  The XMAX preamps on the StudioLive are so good that it helped the mix come together pretty quick!

Guitar Manifesto can be purchased by clicking here.

Category StudioLive | 129 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



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