[This just in from Scigor of SFGames. He has been using Studio One Prime in the development of a forthcoming game, and is doing some fascinating things with it!]
And I’m the (crazy) mastermind behind SFGames, an indie games development team made of creative waywards.
SFGames is a team of artists and professionals joined together to work on various projects, starting on our first game with the working title of “Operation Cerulean Dew”—an action survival/horror game with sci-fi elements. We are lucky enough to be part of OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) partnership, so in addition to our main game, we have the chance to make new projects exclusively for Virtual Reality. We grabbed a great opportunity to develop an educational project for the Centenary of the Great War. And we have another cinematic VR project in the pipeline, a fantastic journey about human imagination and the spark of creativeness.
Illustration and character design are my main activity but I’m also a 3D enthusiast, passionate about video games and animation, and interested in many others artistic fields like music and cinema; a kind of “factotum” artist. But I’m not a pro musician; my approach is very self-taught and by ear. So why do I take care of sound design by myself?
Because I’m fascinated by how any forms of art are inextricably linked—creative ways to express emotions and ideas. For any idea that I write, every illustration that I paint, or melody that I record, I cannot think of these as separated things. If you’re creative, you can develop anything with the right methods and skills—but you will also need the right tools!
All this led me to a new approach to sound design and scoring, since these projects represent VR experiences addressed to a much more cinematic style in a “real” 3D space. While Francesco (our musician) has been working with Pro Tools and Logic, I’ve always tried to get by with free software as GarageBand, Ardour, and Audacity—but non of them offered enough. A couple of years ago I came across Studio One, which I found amazing from the beginning, mostly due to its great sound engine, so I was immediately convinced to use it in my work. It’s one of the very few programs that I was able to use right away without reading the manual!
I must say that are many artists like me with the need for a friendly and intuitive interface like Studio One, and while some state that the user interface doesn’t matter when you make music, I believe otherwise. Complex and hard-to-use interfaces become boring over time, and we are forced to waste too much time to learn how to use it, rather than create.
I’m working in a Windows multi-monitor environment, with a Wacom Cintiq tablet with touch screen as second monitor, and because this setup makes it hard use a standard keyboard (my tablet is huge), I mapped the most used key commands to a programmable Logitech G13 gameboard. Studio One works perfectly with my tablet, and it’s so responsive that I can “paint” music!
Even if Francesco is the one that works on the main soundtrack, I also have ideas that sometime I want use in our games. My workflow starts with a simple idea or direction to follow, a main theme using my simple template for scoring. So I basically rough out what the theme should sound like: add some instruments (a free orchestral library), some textures and colors, just to blend and fill the sound. And Studio One helps hugely on “sketching” quick ideas. Once I’ve reached my technical limitations, I send everything to Francesco who provides a professional rework of my ideas.
When it comes to sound recording and editing, I start with recording foley and sound effects on my own, if I have the right gear available. When I cannot do this by myself, I send some samples (sometimes made with my own voice on a webcam, as a guide) to Francesco: I give him a sound assets list and he records all needed sounds with extra variations. I remix everything in Studio One, and once I’ve finalized the sounds, I export the stems as sound cues for Unreal Engine.
I like that Studio One Prime is almost a complete DAW per se, very important in the Indie world! I find it very user friendly and works smoothly on any platform; I can still use it on my five years old MacBook Pro, and I don’t notice a difference in performance.
Also, I cannot work without the visual workflow and tool palette that Studio One provides me. Intuitive, simple, direct. What I need and in the right place. And scratch pads! I never get tired to say how useful they are for someone like me who doesn’t have knowledge of reading or writing musical notation, but has a lot of ideas to remember! And last but not least, I have never had a crash.
There are still many things I want to explore and experiment with Studio One, like the powerful macro system and the Mix Engine FX , very useful to give emphasis and personality to a set of sound effects all at once. As I said at the beginning, I’m not a professional musician, but Studio One fits my workflow naturally, and makes me feel as I’ve always use it. It simply sounds better!
I recommend Studio One 3 to indie developers and artists on a budget who want to start with a free yet powerful DAW, and later can move to more powerful versions for cheap.
We are still getting off the ground, so follow us on! It would help a lot if you can spread the word!
New at shop.presonus.com… Add-ons from Bingoshakerz! This is the first batch of add-ons we’ve received for the shop from this formidable production team… and from the sounds of things, we’re looking forward to more! These add-ons cover some diverse sonic territory—from contemporary, soulful vocals to late 1970s funk—and don’t overlook the Afro House Collection!
But enough talk. What you really need to do is hear these, am I right?
These Add-Ons are compatible with Studio One Prime, Artist, and Professional (Versions 3.5.5 and higher.)
SonalSystem is so good. They have been producing some of the highest-quality sample/loop collections available on our shop, and in Dec. 2018 only they are all 30% off!
Recent additions include Sonal SynthPop, which is a unique library of complete multi-track songs that you can pick apart, re-mix, re-assemble, or directly lift from, royaty-free, for your own productions! Classic drum loops like Biscuits and Gravy and Heavy Hitter round out the offering, along with several flavors of indie and hard rock guitar in Echo Park and Power Tools.
Many SonalSystem Add-ons are available in three editions: Gold, Silver, and Platinum, so you only need to pay for the right tool for your job. They are compatible with Studio One Prime, Artist, and Professional (Versions 3.5.4 and higher).
Jonathan Penson is the Norwegian Refugee Council Regional Education Adviser for East Africa and Yemen. We recently learned about his experience with the Mtendeli refugee camp in Tanzania, where a youth music program is using Studio One Prime to teach digital music skills to young Burundian refugees. Jonathan was able to spend some time with us to answer some questions about Mtendeli, its beneficiaries, and the students involved in this incredible story.
First of all, for readers not familiar with the situation affecting the youth in your program, please tell us how Music for Mtendeli came to be.
Mtendeli refugee camp in western Tanzania hosts close to forty thousand refugees fleeing political violence in Burundi. A high proportion of the refugees are youth. But, without the opportunity to work or leave the camp, there is very little to do, and frustrations run high. In addition, many youths experienced traumatic events in their home country. So we started a music project as part of a creative arts program, with the aim of providing a positive outlet for youths’ energies, and music therapy.
The Norwegian Refugee Council started the youth center in the camp in 2017. We run the creative arts program alongside vocational skills training and literacy and numeracy classes. We train youth in the creative use of ICT, as well as for business, and the youth organize clubs for music, theatre, and modern and traditional dance. We are hoping to start photography courses.
The music program combines traditional skills such as drumming – for which Burundians are famed – with cutting-edge technology. We want to nurture refugee youths’ talents, and the plan is to start a modest music studio that will help them to record and share their music.
How many of the youth are involved in the Digital Music program? How many staff? How long has the program been running?
More than 200 youths have benefited from the program since it began last year. This includes music students using virtual instruments and those who have learned to use DAW software to produce and edit music. We have one ICT instructor, Deo, who has a keen interest in digital music production.
What styles of music are the most popular for them to produce and record?
We find there are two distinct music ‘camps’ with the camp: gospel and non-gospel. In the non-gospel camp, R ‘n’ B and hip-hop are very popular, but you will also hear a lot of popular African artists, especially from Congo.
Is there any cross-pollination between the programs at Mtendeli? For example, do the music students produce music for the dance program?
There is direct cross-pollination between the producers and dancers, with the modern dance club using some music from the music class. They also use popular music downloaded from the Internet and other sources.
We would love to hear some of the music that has come from the program if you can send us links or files! Can you?
We would certainly like to do this in the future. For the moment, we need to build the skills of the students. They currently don’t have keyboards, headphones or mice to operate the DAW, making composition very difficult. We’re working on getting these to them – we’re talking to a music technology company about donating them. (The center has been generously funded by humanitarian donors, but this project might be a bit too left-field for them.)
What opportunities are there for our readers to support the program?
We currently have a fund-raising page open. We’ll use the funds to pay for shipping the music equipment to the camp. Logistically, this is complex and costly. We’d love for your readers to contribute that way
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
We asked this to the dancers and music students in Mtendeli. They’d love to produce professional-sounding music and share it, but they need more musical equipment and facilities before they can really get going. They’d also like more teaching staff, and a more comprehensive DAW–they’re currently using the free version of PreSonus Studio One. All we have at the moment is the laptops, the DAW, the space–and the energy, creativity and enthusiasm of 200 young people!
But this isn’t about the fundraising – it’s about fulfilling people’s potential, raising awareness about refugees, and linking musicians. In time, we’d like a platform for showcasing our youths’ talents–so if any readers can support that, get in touch!
With kind regards,
MVP Loops from Los Angeles has released a steady stream of killer hip-hop, EDM, and instrumental loop content for producers since 2009, and we’re ecstatic to offer all of them for 30% off for the month of November right from the PreSonus Shop!
Here’s a little more about MVP Loops:
Sample Magic is back! Well, they never really went away. But it has been a little while since they’ve had new stuff available at shop.presonus.com, and this time around they brought a whopping nine sample packs for your Studio One productions!
These loop and sample packs sound incredible, (almost magical, right?) and are compatible with Studio One Prime, Artist and Professional (Version 3.5.6 and higher). They also include Impact preset kits for making your own beats.
Assorted live instrumentation, Tycho-esque melodics and processed beats are the foundations of Indie Chill 2: Over 700 MB of overdriven keys, live bass guitars, and palm-muted Gibsons—this collection comes stocked with euphoric sounds blending the best of chilled electronica to ambient and indie rock/alternative. Featuring even more sounds, drum hits and high-quality guitar and bass loops, Indie Chill 2 is the perfect toolkit for any and all types of electronica and ambient music.
Future beats with a distinct retro flavour… The ultimate oxymoron brings succulent synths together with machine-drummed beats in Retro Future – a 900MB+ assortment of era-defining pop sensibilities and epic synthesized landscapes. Dive into an action-packed excursion of soundtrack themed melodics, pumping arpeggios, Disco-drummed beats and Tron-hinged analogue heaven.
An artful collage of west coast hip-hop, sample-heavy electronica and chilled trap – pulling in elements of jazz, funk and soul along the way – Low End Theory is a 799MB exploration of the influential LA beat scene made famous by the likes of Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Daedelus.
Spanning the edgy and experimental to the hazy and hypnotic, Low End Theory comes packed with punchy low-slung beats, thick and fuzzy bass, languid keys, kaleidoscopic synths, skittish percussion, wildly pitched vocals, heavily processed FX and stacks of characterful drum hits and melodic shots expertly crafted from over 100 hours of analogue jams, field recording trips and late-night studio sessions.
Fusing the leftfield sound of downtempo, trip hop, LA Beat and IDM; Glitched Beats delivers 390MB+ of futuristic rhythms, wavetable bass, abstract elements and glitched textures. Including an assortment of WAV and MIDI, Glitched Beats is produced using cutting-edge sound design software and processing to give instant, top quality inspiration-starters.
Deep, contemporary garage beats and lush melodics for ambient and evolving tracks. Classic vocal vibes combine with experimental electronics and modern sound-design for a diverse and slamming collection. Get to grips with over 500MB of shuffling acoustic rhythms, booming subby basslines, lush chord stabs, hooky vox shots and more.
From the creators of the best-selling Chillwave Trilogy comes Lo-fi Electronica, an 840MB+ collection of dusky beats, polaroid-tinged music loops, and beach-hazed melodics. Inspired by a leftfield approach to chillout, indie and synth-pop, Lo-fi Electronica is the product of a love affair with thrift store synths, garage-sale guitar pedals, and tape machines.
Modern beats, warm subs, and club-ready melodies: Future Pop 2 blends the best of the digital era’s hip-hop, R&B, and trap scenes. Processed through the finest hardware, we’ve once again gone all out with this 550MB+ futuristic collection of fat one-shots, pulsating loops, and ethereal FX.
Powerful, deep, and emotive – Organic Techno is an energetic and vigorous assortment of the very latest in modern techno production. Armed with analogue sequences, fluttering arps, harmonically-intriguing mallets, hypnotic percussive drums and immersive atmospheres, this collection is guaranteed to get the inspiration flowing and the mind creative.
We’ve got two tremendous new sample/loop collections from SonalSystem, the brilliant minds who brought us the lauded “Biscuits and Gravy” drum loops a while back. Now, they’ve got a killer hip-hop pack and an indie guitar pack, and each is available in three editions: Gold, Silver, and Platinum and are compatible with Studio One Prime, Artist, and Professional (Versions 3.5.4 and higher). Click here to shop!
Crafted with a focus on composition, this library is a perfect companion for producers, film/tv composers and songwriters across genres who are looking for inspiration along with studio quality sounds to complete their vision.
Music City Drums vol.2 – Boom Bap: These hip-hop drums were recorded using an extensive collection of vintage drums, classic mic pres, and choice microphones. Because Sonal System took an old-school approach to recording and sampling, the timeless and gritty vibe of hip-hop’s golden era can now be a bold, colorful addition to your sonic palette.
Explore 250 exciting presets for your Mai Tai synth engine in Studio One! EDM Synth Classics is the follow-up to our hugely successful Analog Model Machine from Ari Ahrendt.
Take your Mai Tai sound library to a new level with EDM Synth Classics, the follow-up title to the hugely successful Analog Model Machine! Modern, club-friendly, extreme and aggressive—these 250 presets are tailored for classic and contemporary EDM, electro house, minimal, psytrance, dance hall, chill, progressive, and hardstyle. These versatile presets include basses, mono and poly leads, pads, drums and effects that are right at home in clubs, festivals, soundtracks, videos, or radio spots.
EDM Synth Classics are made for ultra-fast editing and expressive live performance. Use the modwheel for drastic sound-shaping and morphing and create completely different sounds by saving a fixed modwheel position within your song. All presets are volume-matched for added usability and compatibility. Drum sounds are tuned to the General MIDI (GM) map (kick drums on C, snares on D), making it easy to create entire drum kits from either multiple instances of Mai Tai on separate tracks or inside a Multi Instrument (Studio One Professional only).
Create Virtual “Room Mics”
Room mics can add ambiance and enhance the stereo image, but with close-miking and direct injection recording, we lose that sense of space. The lack of room mics is particularly noticeable with an instrument recorded direct, when it’s mixed with miked acoustic or electric tracks; the direct track just won’t seem to mesh quite right with the other sounds.
Room mics add short, discrete echos. Splitting the audio into four Analog Delay processors as parallel inserts does a fine job of emulating room ambiance.
First, set up the Splitter for four splits, and choose Channel Split for the Split Mode.
Set the controls on the four delays identically except for the four time parameters; turn off Sync and choose 11, 13, 17, and 23 ms. These are prime numbers so they don’t create resonances with each other.
Now use the Channel Editor to create macro knobs for controlling the Mix, Feedback, and High Cut. Assign Knob 1 to the Mix controls on all four delays. Set this to go from minimum to maximum so that if you use this FX Chain as a bus effect, you can set Mix for maximum (no dry signal). Otherwise, when used as an Insert, you’ll likely keep the Mix at 50% or below.
The second knob controls Feedback level. I’ve limited the maximum amount to around 60% for each of the delays. Experiment with this knob depending on the audio source; more feedback gives more diffusion. With percussive instruments like drums, you’ll want more feedback than with sustained instruments.
The third knob controls the amount of High Cut for the delays. Set this so the High Cut doesn’t go much lower than 2.5 kHz.
To hear what this FX Chain can do, load a mono AudioLoop like Guitar > Pop > Dry > 01a Basement Jam E min. Set Mix and Feedback to around 40%, and High Cut to 7 kHz or so. You’ll hear the guitar playing in a room, with a lifelike stereo image.
And don’t forget to save the FX Chain—you’ll likely want to use it again!
Sample TEKK is an excellent producer of sample content for PresenceXT. They mix things up a bit and produce unique sample packs with character and definition; they stand out in a mix and don’t sound quite like anyone else’s. For example, they’ve got a sample set of a piano left out in the rain and exposed to the elements. SampleTEKK had the guts, in 2017, to create a sample pack of an old piano recorded to tape in an old studio on old microphones and release it in freakin’ mono. And they got the tapes from the original “I’m not in Love” Choir? Dope.
These sample sets are compatible with Studio One Prime, Artist, and Professional version 3.3.4 or higher—and are on sale this month! Check out the video demos below to hear and feel these collections for yourself.
The White Grand
Sample Tekk recorded The White Grand with the finest equipment available, using a specially-designed digital recording technique to give you unequaled performance and sound. Prepare to explore a tactile and expressive feast, not heard in many sampled pianos today.
Get the crazy ethereal choir sounds of “I’m Not In Love” by 10CC with INIL Choir! These choirs are unique—the combination of voices and the way they were produced have given them a sound that’s truly one of a kind. Now, SampleTekk, in cooperation with Eric Stewart of 10CC are very proud to release of The INIL Choir, thus taking one of the most famous analog samples into the digital era.
Great-sounding Rhodes for Studio One, recorded through a Fender Twin as the Rhodes was intended to be heard. Sample Tekk didn’t go for 80s sheen and gloss with lots of tines and overtones. The Tubed Rhodes is more representative the 70’s: a gritty, hard-core rythm’n’blues kind of sound.
The Rain Piano
Somber sounds of a piano that has been left out in the rain and elements. Musical, but with extra overtones and character. The Rain Piano has become a kind of a synonym for character pianos. It has been used and is still used on countless productions where you want something that adds a different flavor rather than using a normal piano.
Old School piano recorded with vintage mics, tape, and preamps. In glorious MONO!