PreSonus Blog

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Women in Pro Audio Vol. 2: Lisa Simmons, Songwriter/Producer at HeatRox Entertainment.


[Lisa Simmons is a Los Angeles native who began her musical career while attending the Los Angeles County High School For The Arts. Production Team SoulShock & Karlin, best known for Whitney Houston’s “HeartBreak Hotel” and Fantasia’s “Truth Is,” together with Elektra Records, signed Lisa to a joint record deal under Sylvia Rhone’s direction. It was during this time that Lisa discovered that she could write, and ended up writing nine out of twelve songs, including her first single to be released on Elektra Records. Her most recent placements include JoJo’s  “Coming for You” and “Good Ol'” Fantasia’s “Said I Wouldn’t No More,” Kelly Rowland’s “Tell me,” and Ross Lynch’s “Living in the Moment” from The Disney’s Channel’s Austin & Alley.]


Kudos to the PreSonus team for wanting to shed some light on women in audio production! Ironically, I was just speaking to our publisher’s engineer (who just happens to be female) about this very subject during NAMM, so you could not have checked in with me at a more perfect time.


First, I would like to say that I am a former recording artist who became a songwriter around the same time, so my experience with audio production did not necessarily begin in a traditional sense—I grew up playing the violin and a little Casio keyboard. 🙂 So, naturally I envisioned myself playing both these instruments on a recording, with my vocals accompanying them, I just didn’t envision that I would be the engineer—I had never heard of a female engineer back then.


Fortunately for me, at a certain time in my career;  I could not obtain any backing tracks, so by the grace of God, I was forced out of necessity to make my own and record them myself. I had a lot of ideas, and I needed to at least record them and see if it was something useable. Even then, when I was trying to create a home studio, I had no other female peers to assist me. All of the questions I had were answered by male peers in the industry—of course, I was thankful to get the assistance.


Since then it’s been a recurring theme to see more male engineers than female. I have only personally met two female engineers, and of course heard the work of one, Marcella Araica, who has made a huge impact over the last few years, as a mix engineer for Timbaland and DanJahandz. Why is this? I have asked so many of my female peers in the music industry: songwriters, vocal arrangers and producers. We all feel that there is a need to learn as much as we can, and we have individually made steps personally towards that goal, and towards empowering other women and men to do the same… but what about the other 95%?


Maybe engineering schools should seek more women through outreach programs in schools and performing arts centers. Perhaps if they were to engage more women in a career towards audio production it might help. It’s like what I remember  in elementary school: each student had the option of playing a musical instrument, and every instrument you could think of was presented, and all a student had to do was test each instrument and see what works best for them. This type of introduction and education could serve as a great starting point for any studio seeking more female engineers. Furthermore, this approach shows students how fun the production process can be! I started off wanting to be in the forefront, but there was always that part of me that wanted to be involved in the creative process.


I’m sure if more woman knew about music production early on, were instilled with a desire to learn the craft, and had the opportunity to work in some of the major recording studios after completing their required certificate for audio engineering, there would be a higher percentage of women in production. When I meet new songwriters and artist, I try to instill the value of learning how to produce their own vocals, and learning a DAW. (Studio One, by the way is amazing, so I have been telling everyone about that!) This way, if the aspiring songwriter just wants to put a idea down, or record a entire song, they will have that option. Of course, it takes away from me being the writer in that sense, but it does something far greater—it empowers others to learn to bring their music to life on their own.


Music has no gender or color, its a beautiful gift that everyone should experience and learn more about.


PreSonus and Nimbit at SXSW!

In Austin for SXSW? Check out this event!

PreSonus and Nimbit are proud to sponsor this showcase on Wednesday, March 13 at CTC Garden in Austin, which includes live performances from The Moth & The Flame, SIX60, The Royalty and The Rocketboys as well as a special screening of Butch Walker’s award-winning documentary “Out of Focus.”

We will be showcasing FanCheck.In, offering free downloads of the live performances!

ADL 700 demo from Pro Audio SuperStore

Making Of AMO + NAVAS rework for David Penn pres. Kadoc – The Night Train

Andrew J. Hulshult on Studio One for Game Audio

68690_518558918161798_699699084_n[This just in from Andrew Hulshult, who is using PreSonus Studio One on an upcoming remake of the PC FPS Classic, “Rise of the Triad.” I asked him to do a little piece on using Studio One in Audio for games, and instead of a blog post he wrote a book! It follows.]

Hey PreSonus!

Studio One has been more than a blessing for my workflow, time, and creativity while working with Interceptor and Apogee on Rise of The Triad. I can create, edit, mix, master and deliver a product to my team that they love within a very small window of time. I absolutely would not have been motivated enough from the constant crashes and saving issues of other previous DAWs to have the ability to work on this project if a good friend of mine had not introduced me to it. It is very refreshing to see a company that is obviously made up of hardcore musicians, wanting to make the technological struggles of a recording session a thing of the past.

Getting Started

In 2010, I was truly sick and tired of the problems I was having with sessions while trying multiple DAWs. I found things that I really enjoyed about each of them but unfortunately the bad outweighed the good for the most part. At this point in time I had seen that there was a remake of an old game I used to play called “Duke Nukem 3D.” The person making it at the time (Frederick Schriber) was working solo. Immediately, I decided to remake a couple of the songs from it and send them his way. They follow.

Duke Nukem 3D Reloaded theme remakes: “Grabbag” and “Stalker.”

Gear used:

Guitar: Les Paul standard, Mesa Boogie studio preamp, ProEQ, and Channel Strip.

Drums: BFD2 assigned to a bus with multiband compression.

Bass: Ibanez sr300 direct using Guitar Rig 4 with the Channel Strip on post.

Master Chain: Multiband Compression usually starting with the “slightly loud” preset and working from there, ProEQ, and a limiter.


I had recently seen my friend and engineer Kevin Deal (Bexarametric) use Studio One and I was very impressed with it, so I decided I would give it a shot. I bought a copy of it and was amazed at how easy it was to just drag and drop instruments into the DAW and how fast it was. I remade the entire theme song within a few hours and Studio One blew me away! I had never had a DAW this easy to use before. No crashes, no problems loading plugins, no edit problems after reopening a session, just raw power that was easy to use.

Getting the job

Although the mixes were VERY amateur at the time, Fred was very pleased with how fast I was able to get him these tracks and asked me to join the team and work on the music for the game! I was extremely excited that I got a super cool job on the side doing what I love to do. So I continued through about 6-7 more tracks with Frederick and the boys that would later become Interceptor Entertainment. I was able to create, mix, and give a shot at mastering (heh) with all these tracks very easily. Unfortunately the project was put on hold for reasons I cannot disclose… but before it was put on hold, we got lots of press on the game and we were receiving a lot of fan support.

Rise Of The Triad 

Not too long after the project was put on hold, Fred got a call from Apogee’s Terry Nagy. They wanted to do a remake of Rise of The Triad. I was told that I would have to send Terry a demo of a remake of one of the game’s most memorable songs, “Going Down the Fast Way,” by Lee Jackson, and I only had three days to do it. I was very excited at the time, but I was also extremely nervous. Here I was, some guy in his bedroom writing songs through a small interface into some cool software, and now I had to really prove myself to someone who had worked in the game industry for a good portion of his life with Apogee, 3D Realms, and Gathering Of Developers. They had quite a few auditions, and some pretty good ones at that, but after spending three days to re-create this monster of a song I presented it to them and they loved it! By the time I was finished, I couldn’t believe how much automation Studio One allowed me to do. It looked like I opened up a session of MS Paint and just started scribbling random lines all over the place. Right after they heard it, I got the job on Rise Of the Triad for music and some small voice-over work. I also created the trailer we used for the unveiling at QuakeCon 2012.

Rise of The Triad reveal Trailer: “Going Down the Fast Way”

Gear used:

Guitar: Schecter baritone black jack custom, a 60/40 blend of a Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp and the “Ultra Sonic” head and cab in Guitar Rig 5, ADA MP-1 V1.38 and Ampire with overdrive on some leads, Whammy pedal, 535Q Wah pedal, and the Studio One Channel Strip effect.

Drums: Studio Drummer and SSD Platinum (on one stereo channel), Multiband Compression, Channel Strip, Limiter, and Transient master.

Bass: Musicman Stingray through a Tech 21 bass driver set to a light overdrive, through the Guitar Rig 5 bass cab. Compression is set to very fast, and in some cases is blended with the Mojito synth playing the same notes very lightly to add a cool low-end effect.



Using Studio One with Game development

This software really shined when I found I was able to sync all my audio to video. So when the team needed to create another trailer that required some big percussive sounds, I could do it VERY quickly with the Presence library’s machine sounds! It was seamless creating  oddball stuff with Studio One. An example that comes to mind was this last trailer we did. I took a recording of a big floor tom, then stretched the audio with incredible ease, with no processing or real significant taxing on my CPU while doing it. After, I would create a Buswith OpenAir and find a cavernous space. I would then enhance the low end just a bit with ProEQ and some multiband compression. I would then create something very close to a long bass drop with some automation, chorus, compression, and Mojito. Then I would blend the two sounds together and I had the biggest drum hits ever! I did all this without leaving my seat once in about a twenty minute period…VERY cool.

With these projects, the ability to create a song in a small time frame is critical. I have a day job (as most of us do) that limits me to about two days a week to punch these songs out. So it is CRUCIAL that nothing gets in the way of my creative freedom. On any given day off, I will sit down and open up Studio One, and drag Ampire into a session then bring up the song I am recreating on the top window with a click track and learn the song. After I have some solid takes, I will check out how close they are to perfect with the transient detection and audio bending, so I can store those guitar licks for when I start building drum tracks. Next, I will open a drum plugin and start creating 4-5 beats over each section. After I find some riffs that play nicely with each other, I  drag them around and start seeing what arranges well with what, a sort of “trial and error” composition. I usually settle on a decision in an hour ot two. Mixing is what really takes the time, along with automation and mastering. I will say that being able to save my plugin presets on one channel has been a godsend though. I can recall these at any time on any session for drums and that rocks!

In Closing

I would say that anyone in the game industry that is looking for something simple and much more powerful and CPU-friendly than the stock audio automation built into most engines should give Studio One a try for sure. It will do wonders for you. I would not be doing any of this today if this product was not released. Thank you PreSonus and thanks to the PreSonus community for giving feedback regularly to help them build the audio monster that 2.5 is today. You all ROCK!

Harmony Central’s Footage of L’angelus and Keb’ Mo’ from NAMM 2013

Thanks to Harmony Central for this! This footage is from our new product launch party from NAMM 2013.

PreSonus is Proud to Sponsor Deli Mag’s StompBox Exhibit in Austin at SXSW!



[Headed to Austin for SXSW? We know your feet will be tired from pounding Austin’s hot concrete, but while you’re there, be sure to tread on over to The Deli Magazine’s StompBox Exhibit! Myraid stomps from good ol’ BOSS standbys to whacked-out Pigtronix weirdness will be equally represented by PreSonus headphone amplifiers. More info on the footacular stompstravaganza is copy/pasted from their press release below. Call it “journalism.”]

WHAT: StompBox Exhibit
WHEN: March 15-16, 2013
WHERE: Clayworks Gallery, 1209 E 6th St, Austin
AUSTIN, TX – After launching the “StompBox Exhibit” concept in 2011 – i.e. a compact display of guitar pedals which allows visitors to test and compare them in the headphones – and after the successes of the 2012 edition at Main Drag Music in Brooklyn – which saw 23 manufacturers and 5 sponsors involved – The Deli Magazine and Delicious Audio are presenting the first edition of the Austin StompBox Exhibit.
200+ Pedals in the “Live Music Capital of the World”

This free, interactive, in-the-headphones display of guitar pedals will coincide with the busiest days of the famous live music festival hosted by the Texan city every March. It’s scheduled for Friday and Saturday March 15 and 16 in a room facing Austin’s most frequented stroll: East 6th Street, in the middle of Austin’s East Side (the city’s “hipstery” neighborhood a few blocks East of downtown).

The exhibit will attract thousand of pro and semi-pro guitarists who will flood the Texas capital in search of gigs and exposure during the biggest live music event in the US. Musicians are invited to bring their own guitars and plug them in directly into the pedals (there will be demo guitars available). They will be able to test the pedals directly via headphones, which will be plugged into an amp emulation unit and a PreSonus headphone amp.

Sponsors and Participating Manufacturers


Headphones will be provided once again by Shure, amp emulation by Line6, pedal boards by PedalTrain, headphone preamps by PreSonus, Guitars by Reverend, cables by Planet Waves, guitar strings by D’Addario, and pedal power adapters by Visual Sound. Guitar accessories by Oknob will also be present.






This is the list of the participating stompbox manufacturers: 

TC Electronic
RAT – ProCo
EarthQuaker Devices
Bearfoot Pedals
Enormous Door
Station Audio
DIY Kits
ZT Amplifiers
Fairfield Circuitry


PreSonus LIVE Airs Thursday! 2p.m. CST / 3 p.m. EST / Noon PST / GMT -6

PreSonus LIVE Airs Thursday! 2p.m. CST / 3 p.m. EST / Noon PST / GMT -6

Following up our greatest PreSonus LIVE ever, join Justin as he mixes, masters, and releases the tracks we recorded with Briana Tyson,making them available for sale on Nimbit! Tune in and WIN! We’re giving away fashionable PreSonus T-Shirts.

Women in Pro Audio Vol 1: Katie Tavini, Producer/Mix Engineer/Mastering Engineer at Limefield Studio

[Katie Tavini is a professional audio engineer (producing, tracking, mixing, mastering) who began working at Limefield Studio in 2009. She now works as a freelance engineer throughout the UK across wide variety of genres. She also still regularly works from Limefield Studio (Manchester), but really enjoys working in different environments and acoustic spaces. She’s keen to take projects into new studios and can frequently be found with a bag full of gear heading out to work on location. She’s known for having amassed a selection of unusual microphones, that she’s keen to bring along to any studio or location recording.]

katie recordingAs a female engineer I feel pretty strongly about this!

My first degree course at Uni was Acoustics and Audio systems—I was the only girl out of 120 guys and absolutely hated it! But at 18, I didn’t know any better. I then went on to do a Music degree, majoring in classical violin performance, arrangement and recording studies.

I loved this, as we were pretty much just left to our own devices in the studio, and you found that the people who really wanted to do it came out with a great portfolio, and the people who weren’t that interested gradually stopped using the studios.

It was interesting to see that most of the people who weren’t really interested in audio were females. I think a lot of girls don’t really have that much of an interest in learning how to wire up a studio, or if they do get studio work and they realize that they’ll be sleeping on the floor of the studio and working away from home for the next two months they lose interest.

However, the female engineers I do know who have persevered with it now all have great reputations and are putting out some amazing work of a really high standard.

I’ve had some funny experiences from men in studios but I’m sure every female engineer has, at the end of the day if you’re passionate about something enough to make it your life then you’ll ignore it and focus on the main priority—helping bands make great new music.

Katie Tavini