I’m not one of those people who wants to do heavy compression all the time, but I do feel bass is an exception. Mics, speakers, and rooms tend to have response anomalies in the bass range; even if you’re using bass recorded direct, compression can help even out the response for a smoother, rounder sound.
Although stereo compressors are the usual go-to for bass, I often prefer a multiband dynamics processor because it can serve simultaneously as a compressor and EQ. Typically, I’ll apply a lot of compression to the lowest band (crossover below 200 Hz or so), light compression to the low-mid bands (as well as reduce their levels in the overall mix), and medium compression to the high-mid band (from about 1.2 kHz to 6 kHz). I often turn down the level for the band above 5-6 kHz or so (there’s not a lot happening up there with bass anyway), but sometimes I’ll set a ratio below 1.0 so that the highest band turns into an expander. If there’s any hiss in the very highest band, this will help reduce it. Another advantage of using Multiband Dynamics is that you can tweak the high and low band gain parameters so that the bass fits well with the rest of the tracks.
The preset in the following screenshot gives a sound like “Tuned Thunder,” thanks to heavy compression in the lowest band. To choose a loop that’s good for demoing this sound, choose Rock > Bass > Clean, and then select 08 02 P Ransack D riff.audioloop. Insert the Multiband Dynamics processor, and start with the default preset.
As with most dynamic processing presets, the effect is highly dependent on the input level. For this preset, normalize the bass loop. Then change the L band to 125 Hz, with a ratio of 15:1, and a Low Threshold of -30 dB. Mute the LM band.
With the Multiband Dynamics processor bypassed, observe the peak value for the bass track. Now enable Multiband Dynamics, and adjust the Low band’s Gain until the peak value matches the peak value with the Multiband Dynamics bypassed-—you’ll hear a big, fat, round sound that sort of tunnels through a mix.
Now let’s go to the other extreme. A significant treble boost can help a bass hold its own against other tracks, because the ear/brain combination will fill in the lower frequencies. The next screen shot shows settings for extreme articulation so the bass really “pops,” and cuts through a track. Again, start with the default preset but set the Low band frequency to 110 Hz or so.
The only band that’s compressed is the Mid band (320 – 1.2 kHz, with parameter settings shown in the screen shot). A bit of gain for the High Mid band emphasizes pick noise and harmonics—5 dB or so seems about right—and to compensate for the extra highs, add some gain to the low band below 110 Hz. Again, about 4-5 dB seems to work well.
When adjusting the Multiband Dynamics processor, note that you can zero in on the exact effect you want for each band by using the Solo and Mute buttons on individual stages. So next time you want to both compress and equalize bass, consider using Multiband Dynamics instead—and get the best of both worlds.
Hate to break it to you, but it’s time to get back to school!
Don’t worry! PreSonus has a deal to turn that frown upside down!
Now through October 2018 get a FREE copy of Notion when you purchase a PreSonus bundle! That’s $150 value for FREE!
Offer good on…
Everyone is talking about Notion like American Songwriter!
Notion 6 has lots of other progressive features to try out, but just knowing that this software can do what the big names in music notation are doing (for a lot less) is reason enough to check it out. If you can produce professional-looking scores, get great sounds, and some amazing features from easier to use software at this price, why look any further.
This offer is valid September 1 through October 31, 2018 and is available worldwide! Purchase must be made through an EDU dealer.
A rotating speaker is an extremely complex signal processor (as most mechanical signal processors are—like plate reverbs). It combines phase shifts, Doppler shifts, positional changes, timbral variations, and more. And of course, Studio One includes the Rotor processor, which does a fine job of capturing the classic rotating speaker sound.
However, I’ve always felt that rotating speakers have a lot more potential as an effect than just emulating physical versions—hence this FX chain. By “deconstructing” the elements that make up the rotating speaker sound, you can customize it not only to tweak the rotating speaker effect to your liking, but to create useful variations that don’t necessarily relate to “the real thing.” What if you want a speed that’s between slow and fast? Or a subtler effect that works well with guitar? Or simulate the way that the horn spins faster when changing speeds because it has less inertia than the woofer? This FX chain provides a useful, more subtle variation on Rotor’s rotating speaker sound—check out the audio example—but the best way to take advantage of this week’s tip is to download the multipreset, roll up your sleeves, and start playing around.
Rotating speaker basics. There are two rotating speakers—one high-frequency driver, and one low-frequency drum. A crossover splits the signal to these two paths, so we’ll start the emulation by setting the Splitter to Frequency Split mode around 800 Hz. Here’s the routing.
The high-frequency and low-frequency paths each go into a Flanger to provide Doppler and phase shifts, and an X-Trem for subtle panning to provide the positional cues. Let’s look at the individual module settings.
The Analog Delay adds a 23 ms reflection for a bit of a room sound vibe, with some modulation to add a Doppler shift accent. Finally, an Open Air reverb (using the 480 Hall from Medium Halls) creates a space for the rotating speaker.
Knob Control. This was the hardest part of the emulation, because changing speed has to alter (of course) Flanger speed, but also the Flanger’s LFO Width because you want less width at faster LFO speeds. The X-Trem speed and Analog Delay LFO speed also need to follow the range from slow to fast.
However, the curves for the control changes are quite challenging because the controls don’t all cover the same range. Fortunately you can “bend” curves in FX Chains, but you can’t have more than one node. As a result, I optimized the knob settings for the lowest and highest speeds—besides, a real rotating speaker switches to either speed, and “glides” between the two settings as it changes from one to the other. An additional subtlety is that the high-frequency “speaker” needs to rotate just a little faster than the low-frequency one. Also, they shouldn’t track each other exactly when going from the slowest to the fastest speed because with a physical rotating speaker, the low-frequency drum has more inertia.
All these curves do complicate editing any automation, because you need to write-enable each parameter when you turn the knob. So if you need to change some automation moves you made, I recommend not trying to edit each curve—just try another performance with the knob.
Oh, and don’t forget to try this on instruments other than organ!
I’ve always been fascinated with using one instrument to modulate another—like using a vocoder on guitar or pads, but with drums as the modulator instead of voice. This kind of processing is a natural for dance music, and using a noise gate’s sidechain to gate one instrument with another (e.g., bass gated by kick drum) is a common technique.
However, the sound of gating has always seemed somewhat abrupt to me, regardless of how I tweaked a gate’s attack, decay, threshold, and range parameters. I wanted something that felt a little more natural, a little less electro, and gave more flexibility. The answer is a bit off the wall, but try it—or at least listen to the audio example.
Setup requires copying the track you want to modulate (the middle track below), and then using the Mixtool to flip the copy’s audio 180 degrees out of phase (i.e., enable Invert Phase). This causes the audio from the original track and its copy to cancel. Then, insert a compressor in the copy, and feed its sidechain with a send from the track doing the modulating. In this case, it’s the drum track at the top.
When the compressor kicks in, it reduces the gain of the audio that’s out of phase, thus reducing the amount of cancellation. However, as you’ll hear in the example, the gain changes don’t have the same character as gating.
You can also take this technique further with automation. The screen shot shows automation that’s adjusting the compressor’s threshold; the lower the threshold, the less cancellation. Raising the threshold determines when the “gating” effect occurs. Also, it’s worth experimenting with the Auto and Adaptive modes for Attack and Release, as well as leaving them both turned off and setting their parameters manually.
Using a compressor for “gating” allows for flexibility that eluded me when adjusting a standard noise gate. If you want super-tight rhythmic sync between two instruments, this is an unusual—but useful—alternative to sidechain-based gating.
Pads that Loop Perfectly—Yes, It’s Possible!
Pads are hard to loop, because their flowing, continuous sound exposes loop points that are anything less than seamless—there will often be a click, pop, or other glitch. But there is a solution, so keep reading for how to create perfect loops for just about any pad.
Step 1. Record a pad that’s one measure longer than what you want to loop. For example, record five measures to create a loopable four-measure pad. Normalize, then reduce the level by -3 dB or so to accommodate peaks that may result from later crossfading. Then, bounce the clip to itself to make this level change permanent.
Step 2. Copy the clip, and then paste it (or alt+drag the clip) so the first measure of the copy overlaps the last measure or the original clip. In this example, the overlap extends across measure 5.
Step 3. Shift+click on the original clip and the copied clip so they’re both selected, then type X to create a crossfade. Move the crossfade nodes up to create a logarithmic fade.
Step 4. With both clips still selected, bounce to create a single clip. Split at the end of the first measure and at the end of where the clips overlapped (in this case, measure 6). Delete both ends so what’s left extends from the start of measure 2 to the end of measure 6. Bounce what’s left to itself, loop it, and you’ll hear a perfect 4-bar loop.
Note: In some particularly challenging cases, you may need to overlap the clip’s first two measures over the clip’s last two measures to create a suitable crossfade. However, if the pad is relatively consistent you almost certainly won’t encounter any issues.
Jason Klein, bassist of the Butcher Babies, tells us about how the band is using the PreSonus CS18AI & RM32AI systems for both their in-ear monitoring system as well as multi-track recording of their live shows via Capture and Studio One—all happening at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2016.
Learn more about the StudioLive Mix Systems here!
But if we had the option, doing what we love at the beach is high on our wish list. Somehow that’s just what Cory Davis, with 30A company based in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, has figured out how to do in his work at 30A Radio.
30A is a highway along Florida’s gulf coast offering visitors more than just a beach vacation. Fine dining, prefect sandy beaches, weekend farmers markets, bike trails… you’re not going to want to leave. It’s also where the Truman Show was filmed. You may have seen a bright blue bumper sticker when driving around town–it looks like this:
Davis is the Director of Sales for The 30A Company advertising department, and programs and manages 30A Radio. Davis recently got his hands on one of our AR12 Mixers and we wanted to hear how it was treating him and improving his workflow.
Learn more about our StudioLive AR Hybrid Mixers here!
Versatile, customizable, and easy to transport. Oh, and the sound? It will blow you away.
We’re proud to introduce this triple-pack of incredible vintage reverbs from Convology. These Add-ons, available at shop.presonus.com, have been meticulously modeled from many hard-to-find plate reverbs, spring reverbs, and digital reverb processors from across the globe. We can’t really overstate what an undertaking this was. The Convology Vintage Reverbs are available in a bundle pack, as well as individually.
These impulse responses work with Studio One 3 Professional’s Open AIR convolution reverb. Just download and install, and you’ll have all of the benefits of real-deal vintage ‘verb vibe… with none of the disadvantages:
This powerful collection of impulse responses brings back the sound of the early 80s reverb units. While many of today’s digital reverbs are renowned for their realistic quality, there’s an undeniable sonic mojo to some of the early digital efforts.
Full Listing of sampled reverb units
Digital Reverb 245 – (10 files) New York and Switzerland
Digital Reverb 246 – (20 files) Austria and Switzerland
Digital Reverb 248 – (16 files) Nashville, TN, and Denver, CO
Digital Reverb 250 – (26 files) Nashville, TN
Digital Reverb 245
The 245 was the 244 with the addition of pre-delay and a reflections settings. While the other German units incorporated some of these same reflection settings in algorithms, the 245 gave you the flexibility to really dial in those settings. When you look at these files, under the microscope, it’s interesting to see the early reflections (spikes) in the audio files. There was a great deal of audio engineering science that went into the reflections, how far or close together they would be, to emulate different rooms, halls, etc. The 245’s longest reverb time is around 5 seconds.
Digital Reverb 246
uses the algorithms from the 250 as does the 248, with a great deal of user control and flexibility. It also encompasses a slot for expanded memory similar to the 248. It has 6 program modes with a programmable low pass filter, reflections, and decay.
Digital Reverb 248
The 248 was the last unit made in this series and is treasured by many as being solid and quite nice sounding. The 248 was loaded with all kinds of presets and adjustable algorithms including, Baroque Church, Cathedral, Romanesque Church with numerous size rooms, halls and even stairwells, bathrooms and a preset called “Tiny Room.” The 248 is a very able processor and is used even today, like so many of these vintage units, by major recording artists around the world. One of our units was used by leading country artists such as Reba, Carrie Underwood, and Luke Bryan.
Digital Reverb 250
The first true DSP manufactured. The 250 uses 12-bit, 24k converters, low passed around 11Khz. This unit has large levers on top, weighs around 100 lbs and looks like it is from outer space – nicknamed the “R2D2.” No doubt, this is one of the finest DSPs from the era, with the few who own one of these remaining pieces of vintage outboard gear, still using them frequently and unabashedly. There is a 251 and 252 unit that are offshoots of this model. There were only around 250 of the original units made and then were adapted to the newer 251 interface and 252 upgrades with the 252 being a rack mounted version.
No two plate reverbs sound exactly alike. Even when made by the same company! Years of use, storage, re-conditioning, re-tuning, driver condition, pickups, and upgrades made to a plate unit each impart a sonic consequence. There’s a reason that some studios still reserve the space for a massive, heavy, expensive plate reverb—they tend to age like fine wines.
Full Listing of sampled reverb units
Plate Reverb Eco II (8 files) – Appleton, WI
Plate Reverb Eco III (13 files) – Sweden
Plate Reverb 140 Tube (16 files) – Nashville, TN
Plate Reverb 140 (19 files) – Finland
Plate Reverb 240 (15 files) – Los Angeles, CA
Plate Reverb Lawson (13 files) – Nashville, TN
Plate Reverb 140
For many, the 140s are viewed as king of the hill for a number of reasons. They were the first and came to market in the late 1950s. They tend to be a little warmer, tend to replicate, as they were originally designed, the sound of a concert hall and with limited EQing can for the most part, more readily replicate a dark, bright or a warm sounding room, etc. There are beautiful sounding files in every 140 model sampled—try them all along with very cool hybrid impulses that really are a solid addition to anyone’s convolution library!
Plate Reverb ECO
Tend to be brighter and a little more metallic sounding. Useful to bringing certain production elements out in the mix when you need it to cut through. These units were a little smaller than the Plate Reverb 140.
Plate Reverb 240
The 240 is darker sounding. Weighing 148 lbs, with dimensions of 1’ X 2’ X 2’. Some say better on shorter settings and for sound sources like drums. Originally designed as a way to make the original 140 (4’ X 8’) in a smaller and lighter box. It really was a technological feat for its time. They use a gold foil plate and are a hybrid between the original large 140 plate and early analog to digital rack mount and smaller floor units, although the 240 is totally analog.
Tends to be brighter, iwth a bump in the lower mids tends to warm them up. This unit was designed and built by Gene Lawson who continues to make microphones today at his shop in Nashville, TN. His microphones are well regarded and his tenure in the business is remarkable.
This impressive collection of impulse responses brings back the famous sound of no fewer than 26 spring reverb units, sampled in 6 different countries including Britain, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and the USA.
Many pieces of gear included in this Add-on have been used by major recording artists, like tube springs that have been used by The Rascals, Van Morrison, and in James Brown’s famous “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” (K-100 Spring)
For many who grew up in the era of plates and springs, most were drawn to plates for very good reasons. After careful consideration and reaching out to studios around the globe for the most interesting vintage springs that could be found and acoustically captured, some of these springs are just absolutely gorgeous with the spring and electronics of the units, really creating some fantastic sounding reverbs–the 3D audio quality that many engineers aim to find.
If you’ve always fancied yourself a plate reverb individual, this library will definitely change your mind. There are springs of all kinds, and yes, there are some boingy ones—gotta have a few for that vintage guitar, lead vocal, and organ sound, right? There’s also mono and stereo versions, along with a variety of lush and warm-sounding springs that nearly sound like a plate—they deliver the “reflections from nearby walls” as only a spring can—when light tremor and flutter of the spring occurs.
This spring reverb collection is complete with a wide range of springs, useful for a variety of applications. There are a good number of impulse response files in this library that you wouldn’t hesitate to apply to the lead vocal–they’re that good, and would absolutely compete with some of your favorite – digital or plate reverb presets. A number of leading engineers and producers use springs on a regular basis and some as their main “go-to” for reverb in general.
It’s been a long road since Bryce Avary first started putting out music under the name The Rocket Summer 16 years ago. With roots in pop and alt-rock, Avary showcases his talent by writing, producing and playing instruments on all 6 of his albums. The Rocket Summer is currently on tour for their newest record Zoetic which was released in February. We recently caught up with him to see how the tour was going and how the RM32AI Mixer was working for them.
Avary’s assembled a killer live band to take his songs on the road! They’re using the RM32AI Mixer for their in ear monitoring system and mixing everything on their own. Hear more of Avary’s thoughts in the video below.
The RM32AI is obviously a perfect fit for The Rocket Summer and it may be just what you’re missing. All summer long (and then some) select dealers in the USA are offering discounts of Kozmic proportions on StudioLive mixers – See more HERE!