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Ricki and the Flash Rocks with PreSonus, Part 2

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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.

Ricki and the Flash Rocks with PreSonus, Part 1

 

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!

Introducing the StudioLive Production Suite—StudioLive AI Console Mixers Plus Studio One 3 Professional

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From August 1 through October 31, 2015, customers who buy any StudioLive AI console mixer will also get automatically upgraded to Studio One 3 Professional. If you’re looking for a professional studio solution (even in your very own home), this is the way to go.

StudioLive AI Mixers make a great choice for studio production work for 3 reasons: great sound, flexibility, and software integration.

Let’s Start with Great Sound

  • 96 kHz HD Recording Mode
  • XMAX Preamps
  • Burr Brown Converters
  • The same 64-bit summing, eq, and compression as Studio One 3 Professional

 

Flexibility For Every Studio Environment

  • An integrated FireWire 800 Audio Interface with LOTS of channels (48 x 34 with a StudioLive 32.4.2)
  • Inserts on each channel for integrating external gear
  • 14 Auxes for independent headphone mixes
  • Dedicated Fat Channels and effects processing processing for getting a great sound while tracking (with no latency).
  • Independent Solo Bus
  • Summing Control Room Bus
  • Talkback and more

 

Tight Software Integration

  • QMix for every player, so they can control their mix levels from their iPhone while recording
  • Make your mix environment more accurate through Smaart analysis and StudioLive’s EQ on the master bus
  • Use Spectral Analysis to head off Phase problems
  • Now with Studio One 3 Artist…and through October 31st, Studio One 3 Professional! (more on this below)

 

Benefits of the Studio One / StudioLive Connection

The StudioLive AI mixers and Studio One 3 play very nicely together. In fact, any settings you make in the StudioLive’s Fat Channel during recording are non-destructive—these settings can be imported into your Studio One session for additional tweaking during your mix process. Furthermore, StudioOne includes template configurations for all of our mixers and interfaces, so once you’ve connected the StudioLive to your computer and fired up Studio One, you’ve only got to make about two clicks before you’re recording. Smart stuff!  

With all the additional effects, instruments, editing and Sound Design capabilities (like parallel processing FX chains) that come with the auto upgrade to Studio One 3 Professional.  The StudioLive Production Suite is the ultimate solution for your recording studio (while still an incredible solution for live sound production and recording).

This offer is available worldwide. Just get yourself a StudioLive AI before October 31 2015, and you’ll receive a download link for Studio One 3 Professional in your my.presonus.com account when you register your mixer.

 

 

Get a $200 Instant Rebate When you Buy a StudioLive RM16AI Before June 30

RM16_Rebate_Digital_Flyer_05-01-15Until June 30, we’re offering $200 the purchase of the StudioLive RM16AI in the USA. No rebate forms, no mail-in anything, just money in your wallet. This is a similar offer to the $300-500 off we’re offering on the StudioLive AI Console mixers, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

Make no mistake—because we kinda did. The StudioLive RM16AI is a 32-channel mixer. While it boasts 16 analog XLR inputs on the face, (I bet your face only has 5) there’s another 16 digital inputs available under the hood that allow you to pipe in multi-channel audio from a workstation or laptop. This positions the RM16AI as an exceptional choice for a gigging band that makes heavy use use of backing tracks—a model that is becoming increasingly common. For example, Check out what Startisan has been doing with it:

 

Of course, since there’s no faders, you also get UC Surface control software (for Mac, Windows, and iPad), Capture 2, QMix AI, and Studio One Artist. The mixer additionaly features monstrous onboard Fat Channel DSP, Wi-Fi and wired networking—plus built-in AVB.  It’s a real powerhouse, despite an inability to adhere to long-established conventions of nomenclature. Click here to learn more about all that good stuff.

But perhaps coolest of ALL, and why this is such a good deal right now—the RM16AI is designed to be elegantly controlled by the StudioLive CS18AI moving fader Ethernet/AVB Control Surface, allowing complete hardware control of all mixer features.

Oh, and the StudioLive RM16AI is also one of Mix Magazine’s “Most Innovative Products of 2014.” We’re flattered and thankful for the recognition.

Click here to find a dealer!

AVB Option Card for StudioLive AI Mixers—the SL-AVB-MIX

The SL-AVB-MIX card for StudioLive AI console mixers is coming soon!

This will allow you to connect a StudioLive AI console mixer at front of house to a StudioLive RM rackmount mixer onstage, allowing you to use it as a stage box—eliminating the need for an obnoxious, heavy snake. Ray is happy to show you how to hook it all up, as well as answer some frequently asked questions.

And, until April 30—if you buy a StudioLive RM or StudioLive AI mixer, we’ll add the option card FREE! Click here for more details on that.

We expect the SL-AVB-MIX card to be available early to mid April, 2015.

A Typical Gig with the PreSonus StudioLive RM32AI Rack Mixer

Rick’s band Phat Hat took the StudioLive RM32AI digital mixer out for a gig at Baton Rouge’s Varsity Theatre. The gig went great! Rick explains why.

For more on the StudioLive RM32AI, click here.

Update for UC Surface and Universal Control AI Now Available for RM Mixers

We’ve released an update to Universal Control AI and UC Surface for the StudioLive RM mixers.UC-Available-now

Click here for the full change log, download links, and update instructions.

.@NothingMoreRock’s World Tour with the StudioLive RM32AI! #RMWorldTour

Here’s Jonny Hawkins from Nothing More discussing his band’s use of the RM32AI for running backing tracks and monitors during the Juggernaut tour with Periphery! Thanks for your support, guys!

.@SWAudio on the RM Series Mixers at #NAMM2015

Thanks to StreamWorks Audio for the coverage from NAMM! For more on the RM series mixers, click here.

Recording a Jazz Band: Audio Solutions from PreSonus

PreSonus offers you a full solution for jazz band rehearsal and recording. Take a look at how the Louisiana All State Jazz Ensemble takes advantage of the StudioLive AI family!