[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.
Notion for iOS 2.0.135:
Fixes and Enhancements:
Notion 5.2.380 for Mac and Windows has the following fixes and enhancements.This update went live on Friday, September 4:
By the way, you can save nearly half off on Notion for iPad and iPhone, for a limited time only. Offer expires October 31!
When announcing the winners of a contest, it’s customary for someone in my position to say something to the effect of “choosing a winner was hard.” That was less the case with our BIAS FX Caption Contest—the winners here really stood out from the rest of the pack, and each member on our highly-qualified panel of humorists laughed with equal aplomb at the Grand Prize Winner. But first, the runner-ups.
The following two captions deservedly win an AudioBox iOne Interface, Studio One 3 Artist, Progression 3, and BIAS FX for iPad.
First, there’s this funny, down-to-Earth, and frankly quite relatable gem from Timothy L.:
Next up, from Matt C., should probably win some sort of Dennis Miller bonus award for its left-field reference. Plus, when you look at the age of most of the pedals in the shot, his choice of “1989” is kinda dead-on.
The Grand Prize winner below was submitted by Jeff K. When you consider the letter-to-humor ratio here, you’ve got one of the most efficient funny captions in the history of such contests. Jeff wins the big ol’ prize batch of Studio One 3 Professional, Progression 3, an AudioBox iOne Interface, BIAS Amp Pro, and BIAS FX for iPad.
Congrats and thanks to all for participating—we’ll be e-mailing the winners ASAP.
[This just in from PreSonus artist and good friend Brian Botkiller. His latest record was produced on a StudioLive and in Studio One!]
For my new record, In Case of Revolution, I tracked all my vocals and did all of my mixing in Studio One, as well as instrumental tracking. I began the record in the Studio One 2 era, but I finished the record in Studio One 3. I also mastered 52 songs in Studio One last year bfor a project I was part of called “Weekly Beats,” which challenged participants to write and release one song per week in 2014. I managed to finish the project, and Studio One was integral to that. It was so easy to take stems into Studio One, mix them, then go into the Project section to begin the mastering process. I built a template which I was able to start from, which made the whole process much easier.
[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.
[This just in from Ryan Gruss over at The LoopLoft. He’s put together a demo song for Studio One 3 featuring loops from Matt Chamberlain Drums Vol. 1 and is making it available to anyone who is interested for free!]
To take Studio One 3 for my first test drive, I wanted to see how quickly and easily I could create a drum mix and song arrangement with the multitrack loops from The Loop Loft’s Matt Chamberlain Drums Vol 1 collection. These drums were recorded at Matt’s personal studio located inside of the famed Sound City complex in Los Angeles and feature 15 channels of 96 kHz / 24 bit audio, so they were the perfect specimen for putting this new DAW through its paces.
Within ten minutes, I had a full “pop/rock” arrangement (intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus/outro) inside of Studio One. I was able to quickly drag and drop the multitrack loops directly into the session, label the song sections with markers, bus the drum tracks (and create their own folder) and most importantly: create a great sounding drum mix.
My favorite new feature in Studio One 3 are the FX Chain presets for drums, which are great for speeding up my mixing workflow. Just by dragging and dropping them into a drum track, I instantly had a great starting point, complete with gating, EQ, and compression. I utilized all these drum presets across all of the close miked drums; kick, snare, toms etc., and tweaked as necessary.
So, now that I’ve created a quick drum mix and arrangement. I wanted to share it with all of the Studio One users out there to let them experiment with mixing and arranging tracks from one of the world’s best session drummers. Try rearranging the session. Dial in your own mixes, speed things up or slow them down—the loops will stay locked to the session tempo! Experience Matt Chamberlain’s power, feel and musicality for yourself!
Click here to download the Studio One 3 demo Song file described above. Submitting your e-mail gets you download access, as well as 40% off the Matt Chamberlain library!
When we started rehearsals for Ricki and the Flash, we discovered that some things had to be changed. Part of what we faced was the reality of working with musicians who were used to the big stage in a club environment.
A brief review of our cast:
Drums and backing vocals: Joe Vitale. Joe has drummed for, among others, Joe Walsh (he co-wrote “Rocky Mountain Way” with Joe); Stills-Young Band; The Eagles; Crosby, Stills and Nash; and the re-formed Buffalo Springfield. Joe has written a book about his life as a musician called Backstage Pass.
Bass: Rick Rosas, aka Rick The Bass Player. Rick played most recently with Neil Young in Crazy Horse. He was also part of the Buffalo Springfield reunion. Rick passed away a few weeks after finishing the band scenes, and we miss him very much.
Keys: Bernie Worrell. Bernie was a member of Parliament/Funkadelic and joined Talking Heads for a number of albums. He’s in Jonathan Demme’s concert classic film Stop Making Sense and has played on countless sessions with artists as diverse as Keith Richards, Jack Bruce, Dee Lite, and Bootsy’s Rubber Band.
Lead guitar and backing vocals: Rick Springfield. Rick has been on the big stage since the late 1960s, first with Zoot, and then as a solo artist. For a time, Rick starred in the soap opera General Hospital, and he has many hit records, including “Speak to the Sky,” “Jessie’s Girl,” and “I’ve Done Everything for You.”
Rhythm guitar and lead vocals: Meryl Streep. One of the most well regarded actresses in the world, Meryl learned to play guitar for this movie. Meryl had never played in a band before but she has sung in many films, including Mama Mia and the recent Into the Woods, so she adapted quickly to the role of Ricki.
I have been “pushing faders” as a front-of-house (and sometimes monitor) engineer since 1979. I’ve mixed in wretched bars with “thrift-store” PA systems, and I’ve mixed bands at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. My background is live sound; working on a movie required some adjustment in my approach to mixing.
Music coordinator Mark Wolfson and Neil Citron, the music wrangler, have worked together for many years. Among other projects, they worked on the film That Thing You Do (also with Ricki director Jonathan Demme and producer Gary Goetzman). On this film, I worked with Mark and Neil to create an authentic club band feel.
One thing that we encountered from the get-go was a reluctance to show microphones on camera. This created some interesting challenges, as we had to find a way to capture the sound without showing any microphones beyond the vocal mics. Some solutions were simple: We could take a DI off of the bass, and we used triggers on the drums and then used drum samples that we sampled from Joe’s Drum Workshop kit. We hid the hi-hat and overhead mics as best we could.
Thanks to Audio-Technica, we had excellent condensers: an ATM 450 on the hi-hat and an ATM 4050 on the overheads. We were able to hide the ATM 650 dynamic on the Leslie high side and the ATM 250 dynamic on the Leslie low side.
The guitar amps presented a problem, though. We needed to capture an authentic sound without showing mics. Trying to mic the back of the amps proved unwieldy at best. It also didn’t sound so great.
Neil and I put our heads together and decided to call our friend Peter Janis at Radial Engineering. Peter sent us two JDX active speaker-simulator direct boxes. We were able to plug out of Meryl’s Fender 65 Deluxe reissue and Rick’s Fender Bassman 410. The Bassman reissue proved tricky because the speaker output has an RCA connector; we had to make two ¼”-to-RCA custom connectors. At the time, the JDX required an external supply, as well; now it’s available with the option to run on 48V phantom power.
We also used two of the new Audio-Technica AT 4080 active ribbon mics for room/ambience miking. These mics sound glorious, and they really helped Neil and Mark re-create the room sound when they did the mixing later.
With the system tuned, we were ready to watch five musician/actors become a band.
[This just in from Dave Hinson of Hinson Sound in Bethlehem, PA!]
Dave Hinson Sound has been one of the sound vendors at Musikfest in Bethlehem for 15 years. Musikfest is the nation’s largest free music festival, boasting performances on 16 stages over 10 days. Our line array rig is deployed at the Volksplatz tent.
This year we became the sound vendor at the Main Street stage. When the contract was awarded, I called Rick Scott at Parsons Audio to order a pair of StudioLive 328AIs with the companion sub—The StudioLive 18sAI.
PreSonus was my first and only choice since hearing these speakers at a Dante class in Philadelphia back in April. I was first impressed with their sound, and they became a must have when I learned they were Dante-ready, and fully compatible with my Yamaha CL consoles.
The group depicted below The Boiled Owls, performing a mix of Americana, bluegrass & folk music.