PreSonus Blog

Friday Tip: Colorization: It’s Not Just About Eye Candy

Some people think colorization is frivolous—but I don’t. I started using colorization when writing articles, because it was easy to identify elements in the illustrations (e.g., “the white audio is the unprocessed sound, the blue audio is compressed”). But the more I used colorization, the more I realized how useful it could be.

Customizing the “Dark” and “Light” Looks

Although a program’s look is usually personal preference, sometimes it’s utilitarian. When working in a video suite, the ambient lighting is often low, so that the eye’s persistence of vision doesn’t influence how you perceive the video. For this situation, a dark view is preferable. Conversely, those with weak or failing vision need a bright look. If you’re new to Studio One, you might want the labels to really “pop” but later on, as you become more familiar with the program, darken them somewhat. You may want a brighter look when working during daytime, and a more muted look at night. Fortunately, you can save presets for various looks, and call up the right look for the right conditions (although note that there are no keyboard shortcuts for choosing color presets).

Figure 1: From left to right: dark, moderate, and bright luminance settings.

You’ll find these edits under Options > General > Appearance. For a dark look, move the Background Luminance slider to the left and for a light look, to the right (Fig. 1). I like -50% for dark, and +1 for light. For the dark look, setting the Background Contrast at -100% means that the lettering won’t jump out at you. For the brightest possible look, bump the Background Contrast to 100% so that the lettering is clearly visible against the other light colors, and set Saturation to 100% to brighten the colors. Conversely, to tone down the light look, set Background Contrast and Saturation to 0%.

Hue Shift customizes the background of menu bars, empty fields that are normally gray, and the like. The higher the Saturation slider, the more pronounced the colorization.

The Arrangement sliders control the Arrangement and Edit view backgrounds (i.e., what’s behind the Events). I like to see the vertical lines in the Arrangement view, but also keep the background dark. So Arrangement Contrast is at 100%, and Luminance is the darkest possible value (around 10%) that still makes it easy to see horizontal lines in the Edit view (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: The view on the left uses 13% luminance and 100% contrast to make the horizontal background lines more pronounced.

Streamlining Workflow with Color

With a song containing dozens of tracks, it can be difficult to identify which Console channel strip controls which instrument, particularly with the Narrow console view. The text at the bottom of each channel strip helps, but you often need to rename tracks to fit in the allotted space. Even then, the way the brain works, it’s easier to identify based on color (as deciphered by your right brain) than text (as deciphered by your left brain). Without getting too much into how the brain’s hemispheres work, the right brain is associated more with creative tasks like making music, so you want to stay in that mode as much as possible; switching between the two hemispheres can interrupt the creative flow.

I’ve developed standard color schemes for various types of projects. Of course, choose whatever colors work for you; for example, if you’re doing orchestral work, you’d have a different roster of instruments and colors. With my scheme for rock/pop, lead instruments use a brighter version of a color (e.g., lead guitar bright blue, rhythm guitar dark blue).

  • Main drums – red
  • Percussion – yellow
  • Bass – brown
  • Guitar – blue
  • Voice – green
  • Keyboards and orchestral – purple
  • FX – lime green

Furthermore, similar instruments are grouped together in the mixer. So for vocals, you’ll see a block of green strips, for guitar a block of blue strips, etc. (Fig. 3)

Figure 3: A colorized console, with a bright look. The colorization makes it easy to see which faders control which instruments.

 

To colorize channel strips, choose Options > Advanced tab > Console tab (or click the Console’s wrench icon) and check “Colorize Channel Strips.” This colorizes the entire strip. However, if you find colorized strips too distracting, the name labels at the bottom (and the waveforms in the arrange view) are always colored according to your choices. Still, when the Console faders are extended to a higher-than-usual height, I find it easier to grab the correct fader with colored console strips.

In the Arrange view, you can colorize the track controls as well—click on the wrench icon, and click on “Colorize Track Controls.” Although sometimes this feels like too much color, nonetheless, it makes identifying tracks easier (especially with the track height set to a narrow height, like Overview).

Color isn’t really a trivial subject, once you get into it. It has helped my workflow, so I hope these tips serve you as well.

 

Extra TIP: Buy Craig Anderton’s Studio One eBook here for only $10 USD! 

 

Studio One 4.1.2 is available now!

Studio One 4.1.2 is a free maintenance update for all Studio One 4 users and includes a variety of improvements. Click “Check for Updates” in Studio One’s Start Page to get it! 

  • AAF Import/Export now supports volume automation
  • AAF Export is now compatible with MOTU Digital Performer 9 (using legacy mode)
  • A safety query has been added to the “Reset recent songs list” function
  • Saving versions of a song is now more flexible with added control over how they affect the original song
  • The song key signature is now included in the song meta data
  • Quantize macros have been updated
  • Multi-touch support now prevents “Mouse-as-Pointer” emulation for Plug-ins
  • Time-stretching events in Arrangement is now reflected in the Audio Editor

Please click here to check out the latest release notes for a full list of fixes and improvements.

Notion 6.5 Release Notes

Notion 6.5 is here! Launch Notion and you’ll be notified of the update. Click “install now” to get it! Release notes follow.

 

Notion 6.5 Release Notes

NEW FEATURES & ENHANCEMENTS

Studio One Integration

  • Drum tracks can now be transferred from Studio One and are automatically translated into standard drum set notation:

If you’re using Drum Patterns in Studio One, be sure to convert to a track before sending to Notion

 

  • Chords imported from Studio One’s chord track, now playback if slash notation is present
  • Chords imported from Studio One can now all be selected in one go with Select Special>Select Chord Symbols
  • Accidentals in imported chords from Studio One’s chord track now display correctly

 


MusicXML updates
MusicXML is a file format that you can use to import and export scores to and from other notation applications. Notion 6.5 has a number of updates to the support of MusicXML – not just on new articulations and symbols, but also major improvements in guitar tablature and with voices.

  • Tablature export and import reworked
  • Support for .musicxml file extension
  • Better handling of any missing slur end elements on import, to avoid very long slurs occurring
  • Voices on grand staff re-worked
  • When importing with time signatures that have a high numeral (e.g. 11/4), whole measure rests now show in empty measures
  • New elements imported:
    • sf, sfp, fp, sfz and fz
    • Beaming
    • Measured tremolos that include tuplets
    • Very short duration notes (down to 1024th notes)
    • Fermatas
    • Harmonic circle symbol / Open circle symbol
    • Snap (Bartok) pizzicato
    • Scoop, doit and fall-offt
  • New elements exported:
    • Clef changes
    • Pizz and arco
    • Pre-bends
    • sf, sfp, fp, sfz and fz
    • Mutes
    • Measured tremolos
    • Noteheads
    • Fermatas
    • Harmonic circle symbol / Open circle symbol
    • Snap (Bartok) pizzicato
    • Scoop, doit and fall-off

Tremolo

  • Entry behaviour changed: e.g. for a fingered tremolo with quarter duration, now insert two eighths before applying the tremolo.

Write this

Select the tremolo and click on the note

Notion displays this

                         

 

 

  • Tremolo can now be clicked onto the first note or in between notes
  • Stems now can go in either direction in a voice 2 tremolo

  • Fingered tremolos that include chords now play back

  • Fingered tremolos with 3-beams now play back, even if there is no sample present
  • Bug fixed for the second note of a fingered tremolo changing duration if tremolo clicked onto second note (now does nothing)
  • Bug fixed for a third note being added to an existing tremolo, if a tremolo is clicked onto the second note (now does nothing)

Slash notation

  • Bass note of chords now supported in playback
  • Augmentation dot has more spacing when using Jazz Font

  • Slashes now also play back from chords imported from Studio One

Rules

  • [Win] User preset techniques can now be inserted with the mouse when there are multiple techniques to choose from
    Solo/a2/a3/tutti expressions added to Rules Editor
  • Erroneous note-offs now not sent when ‘automatic note-offs’ is in a rule

Selection

  • [Win] Ctrl+click now works like right click so context menu can be accessed even in the absence of a mouse (if for example using a Windows tablet and attached keyboard)
  • [Win] Fix events not being able to be unselected on touchscreen
  • [Win] If palette is hidden, then right click no longer cancels selection
  • [Win] If palette is hidden, then right clicking on a note no longer auditions the note

General Fixes

  • Superfluous ‘File>Page Setup’ dialog removed – page sizes changed via Score>Full Score Options, or Score>Parts Options
  • Pasting into a different voice now does not remove any existing rest at the beginning of the destination measure
  • Default video framerate changed to 24fps so that the toolbar time display matches the score (framerate can be changed from the ‘Attach Video’ dialog)
  • [Win] Notion’s Studio One launcher now also looks for Studio One 4
  • Updated Studio One image in the ‘Send to Studio One’ dialog
  • Fix for text getting cut off in Instrument Settings in German language only
  • [macOS] Fix for Progression files (.prog) opening with Notion 6
  • User Guide and Shortcuts pdf updated with Jazz articulation shortcuts
  • [Win] Fix occasional issue in some Print/Print to PDF/Save scenarios
  • [Mac] Issue fixed if an instrument is double clicked in the ‘Change Instrument’ dialog

Friday Tips: The Virtual Pop Filter

Hate those p-pops and breath noises? So do I, especially when I’m being paid the big bucks for voiceovers and have to edit the pops out by hand. Granted, the Pauly pop filter is a fantastic solution—it’s the best pop filter I’ve ever tried—but its $300 price tag is pretty daunting. And no matter how hard you try to control pops at the source, sometimes those pesky, problematic pops work their way into a track anyway. So, it’s time for a do-it-yourself pop filter project. And because it’s virtual, this one doesn’t involve taking panty hose and stretching it over a hanger. Instead, we’ll stretch the Pro EQ into being a virtual pop filter.

The key is creating an ultra-steep cutoff frequency that kills the low frequencies, but lives below the range of the voice so it doesn’t thin out the vocal. The easiest way to create a steep cutoff is with multiple sharp notches (Fig. 1). There are four notches, all with a Q of 12 and a gain of -24 dB. Frequencies are 130, 140, 150, and 160 Hz.

 

Figure 1: Use notch filters to create a super-steep low frequency slope.

Now we need to get rid of the low frequencies. Enabling the Low Cut filter helps, but if we turn it up too far, it starts rounding off the slope, which makes it not as steep. A slope of 48 dB/octave, with a frequency around 90 Hz seems about right (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Adding a Low Cut filter starts carving away at the low frequencies.

That’s better, so it’s time for the coup de grâce—the Low Frequency Shelf stage. This gets rid of the remaining low frequencies, while still keeping the insanely steep slope (Fig. 3).

Figure 3: The Low Frequency Shelf completes the virtual pop filter.

However, note that the Low Frequency Shelf is also the key to versatility. By increasing the Q, you can add a low-frequency “bump” that’s just above the cutoff frequency. This adds extra depth, and a deep kind of vocal resonance that still keeps the p-pops under control.

Of course, every voice and mic is different, so you may want to edit the parameters somewhat. To preserve more bass, drop the frequency of all filter stages by 10 Hz and see if that helps. Conversely, if the p-pops are still too prominent, raise the frequency of all filter stages by 10 Hz until you hit the desired response…or if you’re impatient, use 20 to 30 Hz jumps.

In any event, you now have a super-steep low cut filter that can remove plosives, wind noises, most breath noises, earthquake sounds, and even the rumble from those pesky UFO flyovers—you might be surprised at just how effective this little project can be in banishing pops from your life.

Friday Tips: The Melodyne Envelope Flanger

This isn’t a joke—there really is an envelope-controlled flanger hidden inside Melodyne Essential that sounds particularly good with drums, but also works well with program material. The flanging is not your basic, boring “whoosh-whoosh-whoosh” LFO-driven flanging, but follows the amplitude envelope of the track being flanged. It’s all done with Melodyne Essential, although of course you can also do this with more advanced Melodyne versions. Here’s how simple it is to do envelope-followed flanging in Studio One.

  1. Duplicate the track or Event you want to flange.

  1. Select the copied Event, then type Ctrl+M (or right-click on the Event and choose Edit with Melodyne)
  2. In Melodyne, under Algorithm, choose Percussive and let Melodyne re-detect the pitches.

  1. “Select all” in Melodyne so that all the blobs are red, then start playback.
  2. Click in the “Pitch deviation (in cents) of selected note” field.
  3. Drag up or down a few cents to introduce flanging. I tend to like dragging down about -14 cents.

As with any flanging effect, you can regulate the mix of the flanged and dry sounds by altering the balance of the two tracks.

Note that altering the Pitch Deviation parameter indicates an offset from the current Pitch Deviation, not an absolute value. For example if you drag down to -10 cents,  release the mouse button, and click on the parameter again, the display will show 0 instead of -10. So if you drag up by +4 cents, the pitch deviation will now be at -6 cents, not +4. If you get too lost, just select all the blobs, choose the Percussion algorithm again, and Melodyne will set everything back to 0 cents after re-detecting the blobs.

And of course, I don’t expect you to believe that something this seemingly odd actually works, so check out the audio example. The first part is envelope-flanged drums, and the second part applies envelope flanging to program material from my [shameless plug] Joie de Vivre album. So next time you need envelope-controlled flanging, don’t reach for a stompbox—edit with Melodyne.

 

Save $100 on R-Series Monitors… per speaker!

Get the R-series monitors for $100 USD off… per speaker! That’s a savings of $200 USD per pair!

While the R-Series are available in both 6.5-inch and 8-inch woofer configurations, it’s really the tweeter that is the R-series’ not-so-secret weapon. The state-of-the-art Air Motion Transformer (AMT) technology that carries the high-end on these monitors allows for wide imaging, superior transient response, and nuanced reproduction of the highest audio frequencies a human being can hear—and probably some that only your cat can hear, too. The R-Series’ transparent and highly accurate sound make them ideal for use in both commercial and home recording studios as well as broadcast and post-production environments.

Regional pricing will vary slightly.

 

Get the Quantum 2 for Less! Limited Time…

Now you can get the fastest Thunderbolt interface on the planet for just $599 USD, down $100 from the old price. Get it while the price lasts!

Every design decision during Quantum 2’s engineering was made with one goal in mind: speed. Quantum 2 sports high-speed Thunderbolt connectivity and a no-frills, direct-to-DAW architecture, with no DSP. The result is our leanest, fastest, lowest-latency interface to date.

Cutting-edge 24-bit, 192 kHz converters with 120 dB of dynamic range and a surprising amount of expandability and software control options round out the package. You get 4 XLR combo jacks, but the Quantum 2 can be expanded via ADAT to a 22-in, 24-out interface. You can even stack up to four Quantum 2s to create a monster system with up to 80 ins and outs—despite its small size.

This means it can be an excellent traveling companion for mobile projects—it fits right in your pack—and when at home it can serve as the core of your studio. It’s a versatile device—and there’s never been a better time to buy one.

Regional pricing will vary slightly.

 

Buy a StudioLive, Get a FREE EarMix 16M!

New Year, New Deals!

Now through the end of February 2019, buy any StudioLive Series III Console and score a FREE EarMix 16M! All you need is to make your purchase and then fill out the simple rebate form attached below and you’re good to go!

Everyone is talking about the EarMix 16M! Recently Church Production reviewed the EarMix:

The EarMix 16M offers a scalable solution that lets you start with just a few personal mixers and keep expanding along with your growing music team.

Read the rest of the review here! 

Seriously, everyone is talking about the EarMix. Watch our buddy John Tendy of Tendy Media review the EarMix 16M!

 

 

To get your free EarMix 16M, you must have purchased a StudioLive Series III console between January 1, 2019 and February 28, 2019. Entry Form must be received at PreSonus by April 1, 2019.

 

Friday Tips: Studio One’s Hybrid Reverb

The previous tip on creating a dual-band reverb generated a fair amount of interest, so let’s do one more reverb-oriented tip before moving on to another topic.

Studio One has three different reverbs—Mixverb, Room Reverb, and OpenAIR—all of which have different attributes and personalities. I particularly like the Room Reverb for its sophisticated early reflections engine, and the OpenAIR’s wide selection of decay impulses (as well as the ability to load custom impulses I’ve made).

Until now, it never occurred to me how easy it is to create a “hybrid” reverb with the best of both worlds: using the Room Reverb solely as an early reflections engine, and the OpenAIR solely for the reverb decay. To review, reverb is a continuum—it starts with silence during the pre-delay phase when the sound first travels to hit a room’s surfaces, then morphs into early reflections as these sounds bounce around and create echoes, and finally, transforms into the reverb decay—the most complex component. Each one of these components affects the sound differently. In Studio One, these components don’t all have to be from the same reverb.

THE EARLY REFLECTIONS ENGINE

Start by inserting the Room Reverb into an FX Channel, and calling up the Default preset. Then set the Reverb Mix to 0.00 and the Dry/Wet Mix to 100%. The early reflections appear as discrete vertical lines. They’re outlined in red in the screen shot below.

 

If you haven’t experimented with using the Room Reverb as a reflections engine, before proceeding now would be a good time to use the following evaluation procedure and familiarize yourself with its talents.

 

  1. From the Browser, load the loop Crowish Acoustic Chorus 1.wav (Loops > Rock > Drums > Acoustic) into a stereo track. This loop is excellent for showcasing the effects of early reflections.
  2. Create a pre-fader send from this track to the FX Channel with the Room Reverb, and bring the drum channel fader all the way down for now so you hear only the effects of the Room Reverb.
  3. Let’s look at the Room parameters. Vary the Size parameter. The bigger the room, the further away the reflections, and the quieter they are.
  4. Set the Size to around 3.00. Vary Height. Note how at maximum height, the sound is more open; at minimum height, the sound is more constricted. Leave Height around 1.00.
  5. Now vary Width. With narrower widths, you can really hear that the early reflections are discrete echoes. As you increase width, the reflections blend together more. Leave Width around 2.00.
  6. The Geometry controls might as well be called the “stand here” controls. Turning up Distance moves you further away from the sound source. Asy varies your position in the left-right direction within the room.
  7. Plane is a fairly subtle effect. To hear what it does, repeat steps 3 and 4, and then set Size to around 3.00, Dist to 0.10, and Asy to 1.00. Plane spreads the sounds a bit more apart at the maximum setting.

 

Now that you know how to set up different early reflections sounds, let’s create the other half of our hybrid reverb.

THE REVERB DECAY

To provide the reverb decay, insert the OpenAIR reverb after the Room Reverb. Whenever you call up a new OpenAIR preset, do the following.

  1. Set ER/LR to 1.00.
  2. Set Predelay to minimum (-150.00 ms).
  3. Initially set Envelope Fade-in and Envelope ER/LR-Xover to 0.00 ms.

There are two ways to make a space for the early reflections so that they occur before the reverb tail: set an Envelope Fade-in time, an Envelope ER/LR-Xover time, or both. Because the ER/LR control is set to 1.00 there are no early reflections in the Open AIR preset, so if you set the ER/LR-Xover time to (for example) 25 ms, that basically acts like a 25 ms pre-delay for the reverb decay. This opens up a space for you to hear the early reflections before the reverb decay kicks in. If you prefer a smoother transition into the decay, increase the Envelope Fade-in time, or combine it with some ER/LR-Xover time to create a pre-delay along with a fade-in.

The OpenAIR Mix control sets the balance of the early reflections contributed by the Room Reverb and the longer decay tail contributed by the OpenAIR reverb. Choose 0% for reflections only, 100% for decay only.

…AND BEYOND

There are other advantages of the hybrid reverb approach. In the OpenAIR, you can include its early reflections to supplement the ones contributed by the Room Reverb. When you call up a new preset, instead of setting the ER/LR, Predelay, Envelope Fade-In, and Envelope ER/LR-Xover to the defaults mentioned above, bypass the Room Reverb and set the Open AIR’s early reflections as desired. Then, enable the Room Reverb to add its early reflections, and tweak as necessary.

It does take a little effort to edit your sound to perfection, so save it as an FX Chain and you’ll have it any time you want it.

New from iZotope

 

We’ve got amazing new stuff from iZotope over at shop.presonus.com! Check out the incredible mastering tools in Ozone, advanced audio restoration in RX 7, and the powerful mixing and analysis tools of Neutron… and more! These advanced audio tools are available both in full versions and lower-priced “Elements” editions. You can even get all of the Elements series in a single, affordable bundle!

Click here to shop and learn more about iZotope Add-ons for Studio One!