PreSonus Blog

[editor’s note: all good stories start at the beginning: Here is Part 1, here is part 2.]

 

PART 3:

Now that I’ve mentioned EQ, it seems appropriate to explain the processing of orchestra sections. I’m not that experienced in mixing, and am still learning the ropes, but I’ll try to describe my workflow as best as I can. My motto is “If it sounds good already, don’t touch it.” I told you that I like Symphobia because it has that “film sound” that us composers are going for… and to be honest, I do not EQ Symphobia patches at all. But, I’m tampering a bit with LA Scoring Strings. I like the way they are recorded dry and up close, so it gives me room to EQ them nicely.

What I have noticed is that LA Scoring Strings violin patches are rather harsh in the upper register, and sometimes it really hurts my ears. So, I like to roll off the harsh frequencies (and some low frequencies) with Studio One Pro EQ.

If you are familiar with using other parametric and graphic EQs, you’ll feel at home with Pro EQ. I like to boost a couple of dBs in low-mids and high-mids to give a sense of air to the violins. In the picture below you can see how my EQ graphic chart looks like for the violin. Of course, if you have your own way of doing this, feel free to experiment.

Violin EQ

Some people like to solo tracks and listen to them individually before processing them. That’s cool, but if you’re going to achieve a proper mix of the instruments you will have to monitor them in the entire section. Feel free to monitor your string section instruments together and try to hear where you should apply your EQ. Every string section instrument has its own frequency range and you should pay great attention to all of them. Roll off the frequencies that you don’t hear normally in the instrument group, and pay attention to those that are relevant to the instrument. Like you saw on the EQ chart for the violins: violins don’t have low frequencies, so cut them, otherwise you’ll have chaos in your mix. Double basses don’t have high frequencies, so cut those, too… and so on.

I use the same approach to my brass section as well. I monitor the entire section and roll off the frequencies that I don’t need and concentrate on those that are relevant. Tuba is in lows, of course, trombones occupy low mids and high mids, most horns are also in low and high mids, and trumpets are in the high mids and highs.

Here’s an example of my Horns section being processed with Studio One Pro EQ.

Horns EQ

It’s the same as with the strings. I don’t process the Symphobia patch, but I pay attention to close setup of individual brass in Orchestral Brass Classic. Sometimes I even notch some of the peaking frequencies, because brass can get very loud.

I rarely use woodwinds in my pieces, so all I can say about them is that I rarely EQ them, and when I do, I notch the peaks and roll off the lows on flutes, clarinets and english horns. I don’t use bassoon that much, but I would treat it similar to double bass. If you have ideas about them, feel free to share.

As far as the percussion goes, I like to layer them as well. Some would say that it’s a bit unnecessary, but for achieving a fuller sound, you have to blend mic positions on them as well. Most of the time I use True Strike library for percussions. What I like about it is that it has three different mic positions: Close, Stage and Far. When using all three of those patches for a single instrument, you can achieve pretty nice results. A while ago I got a great tip from my friend composer Jason Graves, whose game composition credits include Dead Space, Command & Conquer: Tiberium Twilight, and Blazing Angels. He says:

“Pick a single track to have the low energy, and put a high-pass filter on the rest at, say, 300-500HZ. Try using EQ on the different instruments and see what you can scoop out of each one, preferably different freq for each inst, in the 500-5k range. Also pan them to give them space, but the really low stuff needs to be centered.”
So, if it works for him, it sure does work for me, and it will work for you as well!  :)

Now, as far as that layering goes with True Strike, feel free to experiment with different level blends of those three mic position patches.

Percussion EQ

When it comes to choirs and vocals, I am treating them as any pop or rock producer would treat them. I like to use the presets for vocals in Studio One and tweak them a bit.

Vocal EQ

That pretty much covers the basics of orchestral EQ processing in Studio One. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 4, which is a more detailed topic than you may at first think: orchestral reverb!

[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:

  1. Part One: Intro and DAW setup
  2. Part Two: Panning and placement of instruments
  3. Part Three: EQ
  4. Part Four: Reverb
  5. Part Five: Video

Category Studio One | 4 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Las Vegas, NV, May 2012… Join PreSonus for a very special live webcast, direct from the InfoComm Show in Las Vegas.

Tune in for Connecting Your Customers with StudioLive™, a 30-minute presentation that will cover the broad range of advanced control and connectivity between PreSonus StudioLive consoles and laptop computers, iPads®, iPhones®, and iPod touches®.

From iPad-based wireless mixer control with StudioLive-Remote and iPhone/iPod touch monitor control via QMix™, to multitrack recording and production with CaptureTM and Studio OneTM Artist, PreSonus is the only compact digital mixer that offers such a wide range of software integration – for free!

The presentation will also take a look into the ever-expanding integration between PreSonus products and Rational Acoustics’ acclaimed Smaart™ audio-analysis technologies. Optimizing system EQ has never been this fast and easy.

Four 30-minute presentations will be broadcast live from the PreSonus Demo Room (N105) at InfoComm on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, June 13, 14, and 15 at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. (All times are Pacific Daylight Time) A live Q&A from attendees will follow each session.

A special bonus for those attending the show in person: PreSonus will give away a free seven-port USB hub and free 2GB USB drive to attendees at the end of each presentation.

So join us online at http://livestream.com/presonuslive to catch all the action as it happens, or to view it later.

To schedule an email reminder, visit us at http://presonus.com/community/presonuslive/

Category StudioLive Remote | 2 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



How do you avoid getting a call in the middle of a gig when you are using your iPhone to control QMix? Good question. I’ll show you this trick, as well as a neat way to handle your break music on the same iPhone or iPod Touch you that are using to control your monitor mix.

Category StudioLive Remote | 1 Comment »
Posted by RickNaqvi



Such Savagery!

May 21,2012

[editor’s note: Another in a seemingly never-ending series of polite praise that gets sent to Rick Naqvi. To Dan and the crew at Savage Classical Guitar: Thanks for writing, keep sharing these excellent videos!]
Hi Rick,

I’ve enjoyed watching a lot of your YouTube videos over the course of learning how to produce/engineer, especially the ones regarding the StudioLive boards. Recently, I’ve started engineering all the audio for Savage Classical Guitar and when it came time to upgrade (albeit a small upgrade compared to the very large studio I also work in) I knew immediately that PreSonus was the right choice for us. I was very happy to hear that someone on your end found our videos and liked what they saw, and more importantly heard!  I’d love to have at least 4 preamps so I could add room mics, but the AudioBox 44VSL blows all the competition away, and I couldn’t be happier with it!

If there’s anything Savage Classical Guitar or I can do to help you guys out in the future, please let us know!

Thanks,
Dan Bouza
Producer. Engineer. Guitarist.
Media – Savage Classical Guitar

Category StudioLive 24.4.2 | 1 Comment »
Posted by RickNaqvi



For those of you who were under some kind of  an anti-PreSonus rock last week, we had a big industry first over here. We got a bunch of world-class musicians together, made (most of ) a record, and broadcast the entire performance live via our LiveStream channel. It was pretty epic.

And you missed it. Well, that’s ok, we taped it. Or Tivo’d it, or whatever. Well, no, actually, we made it. But whatever—just—here. It may not be the same as sweet potato pie stright from the oven, but we saved you a few slices in the freezer. We knew you’d show up sooner or later. Dig in.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Category Tech Talk Live | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



On Tour in the Bush

May 17,2012

[Editor’s note: the below e-mail comes to us from Ewan Buckley of the Desert Feet Tour. I couldn’t resist sharing!]

Earlier this year I invited National Audio to be a part of the Desert Feet Tour’s work bringing musical inspiration, education and opportunities to some of the most remote Indigenous communities in Australia. In particular we sought a mixing desk that allowed us to multi-track record and mix down. This recording system is the backbone of our live shows allowing us to give outback musicians a recording of themselves—a unique opportunity most would never have!

On tour storage space is very limited. We often have little time to set up our concerts under the stars. An added challenge is the inevitable army of little hands that descend, attached to kids offering to help with the set-up, plugging leads in wherever they fit, asking questions about everything we have, pushing every button and sliding every fader!

So how has the addition of the Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 come to be so valued?

It has saved us the space of carrying all the usual rack gear – compressors, EQs, effects units, gates – all of these are contained within the amazing Fat Channel, which is available on all 24 channels! I now have 24 compressors, 24 gates, 24 limiters, 24 EQs and a multi-effects unit, all in the same space as my old analog mixing desk. We used to have to carry an additional 10RU road case of processing gear, plus a box of patch leads; this itself would generally take 30 minutes to set up. Now we have only the one road case containing the precious StudioLive, and it takes me only the time to plug in the input multicore leads to set up. Truly amazing.

Furthermore it is extremely easy to get a great sound. I often don’t have the time to fine-tune or do much of a sound check between arrival and setup, so to be able to just drag-and-drop presets using Universal Control, with further tweaking effects shown graphically right in front of me is invaluable. And then to be able to copy these presets between channels – incredible.

Compare this to my previous regime; I would need to patch my mixing desk Direct Outs to a recording interface which was plugged into my computer. From here I would need to take the outputs from the interface back into my mixer.

Now I just plug in a single firewire cable and BAM: I have all the ins and outs that I need! I open up the Capture software and simply hit record – and every channel is recorded perfectly every time.

So, my friends at NAS, the point of all this is to express how very impressed I am with the service and support from National Audio Systems and Presonus in supplying us with this desk. The StudioLive is faultless, performing flawlessly in the very dusty conditions we subject our gear to. Its features are truly impressive. The dynamics, effects processors and EQs are all excellent, the software is intuitive, easy to use, highly functional and worked seamlessly with my MacBook Pro. The few technical queries I did have were answered on the Presonus forums. All-round excellent stuff.

I’ve attached some photos of the old and the new gear in use – please feel free to use these however you wish, as well as this letter itself, to promote your fantastic service and brilliant product.

Yours sincerely,
Ewan Buckley

Sound Engineer on the Desert Feet Tour
Desert Feet Inc.

More from Desert Feet:

Photobucket
Soundcloud
Youtube
Twitter
Facebook

Category StudioLive 24.4.2 | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Ever had to change your input list right before a gig? This video will show you how to configure Virtual StudioLive to add, change or edit channels in a just a few seconds. Then these changes will be visible to every musician on stage via their iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad!

Category StudioLive Remote | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Today is the big day! Tune in at 2:00p.m. CST for an interview with Terence Higgins… and then watch him make a record! This webinar will continue on Thursday and Friday at 11:00 a.m. CST both days. Join us in this piece of industry (and Internet) history!

Click here to join:
http://www.presonus.com/community/presonuslive/

Category Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



Justin Spence doin' thangs.

Let’s step back and take a look at the big picture. Things, they are a-changin’, and while we make an effort to stay humble, facts is just that. Facts! Look:

Reviews for Studio One 2 are off the charts. Sales, too. The StudioLive series of mixers are the best-selling mixer line over at Guitar Center. (Those search results are sorted by best-selling, you see.) We’re building great partnerships with amazing companies like SoundCloudRational Acoustics and Celemony. There’s also a bunch of other stuff we can’t even tell you about yet… but you’d get to know if you joined us.

So, it seems as though somehow we are doing something correctly, which means growth, which means we need more FRESH BODIES! If the idea of mucking around with a pack of  audio nerds in the hot Louisiana sun sounds like your idea of a killer work-week, than maybe we should talk.

Here’s the type of professionals we’re looking for, click the titles for the official job descriptions:

Director of Software Development
Program Manager
Senior Industrial Designer
Mechanical Engineer
Technical Support Representative (Do your part in the fight against hold times!)

So, if you think of yourself and PreSonus as a match made in gumbo, click the above job title of your choosing, read the Job Description, and dutifully carry out the contact instructions that follow.

Please don’t call about job availability. Crystal, our HR director, is kinda slammed right now. Growth, remember?

Category Jobs | 5 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard



PART II:

So, the next thing I am going to explain is how I pan the instruments properly to simulate orchestral placement for each instrument section. This is the chart I reference when panning my instruments.

Panning is where all of those stereo tracks from Kontakt (see part 1) will come in handy, because these are all sections of multiple instruments within the orchestra. Some people would use mono track for a single section and pan them left or right according to the orchestra sitting chart. That is okay, but what you have to realize that what we’re doing with virtual orchestra is that we’re SIMULATING a live orchestra setup. Those instruments are panned left or right, but their sound travels and expands in multiple directions. That’s why a stereo track is more useful.

Usually orchestras are recorded by using multiple microphone positions. For example: The entire orchestra is recorded with a Decca Tree mic setup that’s positioned behind the conductor and is picking up the full orchestra’s sound. In addition, every section of the orchestra has its own stereo mic pair that is positioned very closely to the performers.

What most audio engineers are doing in a setup like this is simply layering the full orchestra sound with close mic positions, and they mix the individual sections more easily through those close mic setups. Here’s what I do:

I use the full string section from Symphobia (e.g. Sustain strings) and layer it with LA Scoring Strings sustain patches. What I like about this approach is that Symphobia has the “room sound” and LA Scoring Strings are very dry, because of their close mic setup. Now, according to the chart above, I ould pan the Symphobia strings from -100 to +100, and individual sections of LA Scoring Strings I pan appropriately to the chart (e.g. first violins from -100 to -20, Cellos from +12.5 to +73, etc).
I repeat this process for every instrument section in the orchestra. If I was using Symphobia Brass, I would pan it from -37.5 to +37.5 according to the chart, and layer that patch with individual patches of Orchestral Brass horns, trombones, trumpets and tuba panned appropriately to their position within the orchestra. I’ve noticed that Studio One doesn’t have the option for dual panning for the stereo track, so I use Binaural Pan as an insert to take care of that problem. (Note to the developers: Make sure you include this in the next patch please!) [editor’s note: We hear you!]
Although this can be taken care of when bouncing tracks by bouncing a single stereo track as dual mono, this approach introduces a problem. If you’re applying EQ on that stereo pair, you will have to insert an EQ on both mono tracks or route the mono tracks into a stereo submix, and then apply the EQ on the submix.

As a matter of fact, that seems like a good stopping point. Next time, we’ll take a look at EQing our orchestra to minimize competition between instruments for your ear’s attention. We’ll follow that up with a few words on reverb, and how to accurately re-create our orchestra’s cavernous environ.

[Update! For your convenience, here’s the rest of the blogs in this series:

  1. Part One: Intro and DAW setup
  2. Part Two: Panning and placement of instruments
  3. Part Three: EQ
  4. Part Four: Reverb
  5. Part Five: Video

Category Studio One | 5 Comments »
Posted by Ryan Roullard