[This just in from Steve Cook, session bassist extraordinaire!]
This music business is a funny one. We have our steady gigs, we have producers that like to call on us for different sessions, then there’s the ‘X’ factor: the random gig calls. Sometimes they are for a used car lot sale or a hot dog stand dedication, however sometimes they are from the largest pickup manufacturer in the world. I like hot dogs, and I like Seymour Duncan pickups a whole lot as well.
The voice on the other end of the phone was Kathy Duncan, the head of Seymour Duncan, and her request was a simple one: “Can you record samples of every one of our bass pickups? You have creative liberty to do whatever you like, we just need the samples to be consistent, and representative of the pickups their truest form.”
Well, that narrows it down a bit, doesn’t it?
There were a couple of hurdles to leap in order to make this happen. First, we needed to find all the instruments required in which to install the pickups. Second, I found a tech that would come to the recording sessions and basically work on an assembly line of removing and installing pickups. For example, as I tracked the first P-bass pickup, he would be installing the first Jazz bass pickups, then we’d swap instruments, and move on to the second in each type, and so on.
Where the logistics were a bit daunting, the one constant on which I could rely was my recording set up. For this project (and all my home recording projects), I run PreSonus Studio One through a couple of FireStudio Projects, controlled with a FaderPort. The Class-A preamps in the FireStudios sound amazing, and Studio One is an incredibly fluid and easy platform in which to work. The FaderPort made the whole process easy. I had controls under my left hand with a bass in my right. The finished files sound great, and I (and thankfully Seymour Duncan) were happy with the results.
The project was really a lot of fun for me for several reasons. Rarely do we get to sample dozens of pickups at the same time. As I go back and listen to the individual tracks, I have been able to pinpoint exact tones I like paired with certain instruments, and I know exactly which pickups to install in my personal basses—mission accomplished! I also liked getting to know my Studio One software and other PreSonus products more in-depth, and that I have great sounding tools at my fingertips.
Thanks PreSonus, for continuing to impress, and for keeping us Nashville musicians rockin’! You can hear the demos over at the new Seymour Duncan site.
[This just in from Ian Ethan Case, who used some PreSonus gear on his latest album. Check out the video preview for some of his astonishing work.]
When I first set out to record Run Toward The Mountains, I wanted to go for the absolute best sound quality I could. I had a unique opportunity to record at a new state-of-the-art recording studio where I basically had unlimited free studio time, and access to some of the best mics, preamps, and converters that money can buy. I worked with the engineer there over the course of two or three days just working on different mic setups, just working on tone.
While I was happy with the sound we got, I also did some experimenting at home where I just have two really good mics and my FireStudio Project; no preamps, rack gear or $600 direct boxes. I was pretty shocked to find that I was actually getting just as good a sound with my home setup, and actually even preferred it a little bit over the “million dollar setup” at the studio! I’d always had great results from my FireStudio interfaces but this gave me a new respect for them, and gave me a feeling of freedom knowing I could record at home and know that I was getting world-class results. It’s a good thing, because I ended up spending two years working non-stop on this album (a 92-minute double-disc), whenever I wasn’t playing concerts. When you’re not on the clock you can take the time to make things right and achieve a level of tightness that’s tough to get to otherwise, and I’m really grateful I had a way to do that for this album.
When it came time to master it, I was so happy with how the tracks had come together that I decided to bring it to the top-tier mastering house in Boston (M-Works Mastering, in Cambridge). I was expecting the mastering engineer, who has worked with his share of Grammy-winning artists and producers, to kind of complain about the tracks I was giving him, as I did all the mixing myself and I’m not a real mix engineer. But he was actually really complimentary of the mixes and only made very small adjustments. I know it wouldn’t have been that way if the raw sound of the interface I recorded everything through wasn’t solid to begin with.
At this point I’m absolutely thrilled with how the album came out and have never been so proud of something I’ve put out there. I’m grateful that I had a way to do it the way I did it, recording at home, despite not having tens or hundreds of thousands to spend on gear.
Here’s innovative and versatile PreSonus Artist Ian Ethan, performing “The Comforter” in his inimitable style on an 18-string acoustic doubleneck. Ian employs a lot of extended technique and looping to great effect. This is just one man and a doubleneck guitar, but it sounds like two guitars and a drum! Regarding the recording of this work, Ian says:
“I recorded this on-location at Ceaser Photography with my FireStudio Project and a laptop, as usual – a super easy and effective portable rig. I think it may be my best recorded double-neck sound to date, even compared to stuff I’ve recorded in big high-end studios. I’m in the middle of recording my new album as well, at home, using a daisy-chained Firestudio Mobile and FireStudio 2626 to capture all of the live loop signals as well as the various pickup and internal mic outputs from my doubleneck, along with the external mics—a Royer 121 ribbon and Miktek CV4 tube condenser. I’m thrilled with how it’s sounding so far!”
[This just in from Fluff, AKA GuitaristFacts, who has an absolutely KILLER YouTube channel full of heavy metal riffage, gear demos, facial hair, and all the endeavors where the three coincide. He produces his videos as skillfully as produces his music, and he’s chosen some PreSonus gear to help him along the way. He was kind enough to share a few paragraphs about his recording tricks and experiences with PreSonus gear.]
Hello, my name is Ryan, but my friends call me “Fluff.” I make guitar-related gear demos on YouTube in my home studio for companies all over the world. Pickups, speakers, guitars, pedals, microphones, you name it. I also produce the occasional record and re-amp guitars for rock albums, and record about five days a week. For all of this work, I rely exclusively on couple of pieces PreSonus gear that I simply would be lost without.
I should probably mention that I try to capture every kind of guitar tone, from brutal to chiming. In order to produce a wide array of tones, I need an interface that offers flexible signal routing, low latency and high-quality instrument inputs, as well as low noise on the outputs. The PreSonus FireStudio Project is perfectly suited for all of these needs. Two instrument inputs, (I keep one set for guitar, one set for bass) loads of inputs and outputs and +48V power when needed to run my condenser microphone for when I do voice work. WIN!
I also use the PreSonus Studio Channel as my go-to mic preamp. The built-in EQ and compression make it extremely versatile for clean guitar tracks, vocals, huge distorted guitars, and bass cabinets. I am also a tube nut, and I find that replacing the stock tube (a high-gain tube with good midrange) with an inexpensive NOS 12AX7 JAN tube (usually about $30 on eBay) can really round off the harsh highs I sometimes experience while recording high-gain guitars, and fattens up my signal prior to going into my FireStudio Project.
When it comes time to record, I use a Heil PR30 about 90% of the time for guitars, as that mic has a very flat frequency response. Knowing this, I can get the microphone placed in the ballpark (usually around the area where the dust cap meets the speaker cone, on-axis) and then use the Studio Channel’s EQ to fine tune the highs and mids (I typically boost about 2dB in the 3K range with a medium Q) until I find a nice sonic pocket for the guitars to sit in the mix. If I want to add a bit of flavor, I will add a Shure SM57 plugged directly into the FireStudio Project and then bring the volume up on the SM57 to add some bite and ‘oomph’ for palm mutes on the distorted guitars.
As for the aforementioned re-amping, I plug straight into the FireStudio Project and adjust the input level so I am seeing an average -16dB, with peaks no louder than -12dB. This way I have some wiggle room when outputting the DI through my re-amping box (I use a Radial ProRMP), as sometimes I need a stronger signal to go over a long lead or something like that.
I am asked quite often which interface people should get when diving into home recording, and I always say PreSonus for two reasons: first, they have the computer driver experience that allows their products to work the first time, right out of them box, problem-free. Second, the customer service and support is outstanding. I found out first hand when I called about my 8-year-old FirePod interface and was treated like I was in The Rolling Stones.
Seriously, why can’t more companies operate this way?
This just in from Bobby Duthu, PreSonus enthusiast, recordist, pro drummer, and all around great guy! He had posted some photos to our Facebook album of user studios of his home studio that piqued my interest… so I checked in with him and found him very open to sharing some of the methods to his madness.
Thanks for the kind words and also for the compliment of posting me on your site and blog. My rig is simple really. My interface consists of two FireStudio Projects daisy-chained together, resulting in 16 available mic inputs for ease of drum set miking. For software, I use Studio One Artist on a MacBook Pro.
My drum set recording techniques are also fairly simple, actually. My studio room is 30×20, very live-sounding, and features a 6-piece Sonor Designer Series drum set and Paiste 2002 cymbals.
I start by making a determination of how the drums should sound based on the particular song being tracked. I like to begin this process by attempting to achieve the desired sound acoustically, and slowly add effects if necessary. If effects are needed, I take full advantage of any number of plug-ins and/or sends included in Studio One Artist, like reverb and compression for example, but the emphasis remains on the acoustic sound of the drums.
Have a great weekend!
“In live concerts, there are improvisational aspects that cannot be captured in studio recordings. We had a chance to speak with Nobumasa Yamada, known for his works with Love Psychedelico, about his passion in recording these live concerts and his techniques using PreSonus mobile recording gear. Mr. Yamada shared how he built his system, the actual set-up and some techniques, based on the recording of Kemono held in Ogikubo Velvet Sun.”
Read the full article here.