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98 Reasons to go with Studio One with Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees!

Some of the most memorable things to happen in the 90s include the following:

  • Y2K paranoia
  • Surfing on the World Wide Web
  • Using the word “BOO-YAH!” as often as possible
  • The Simpsons, South Park, Seinfeld, and Friends
  • Britney Spears…
  • …and boy bands.

Jeff Timmons is a singer, songwriter, producer, and founding member of the Grammy-nominated, iconic 90s pop group 98 Degrees! The group has six studio albums, has sold over 10 million records worldwide, and have eight Top 40 singles in the US. Additionally, Jeff has worked on numerous other projects including two solo albums and has continued to establish himself in the music industry as a producer. We connected with Jeff on Twitter and discovered his love for Studio One. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with him and ask a few questions regarding his work and Studio One.

Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?

We started 98 Degrees way back in 1995. We signed to Motown in ‘96, then were upstreamed to Universal shortly after. I’ve been producing and engineering since ‘99.

How has the music industry changed since your early days?

The obvious is the digital streaming component. It’s completely changed the game. There is a lot less artist development, unfortunately. But, your ability to be virally prolific is exponential and amazing.

Do you ever get sick of talking about 98 Degrees?

Not at all. Being a part of something like that has been a complete blessing. We’re very fortunate to have an amazing fanbase and to be still selling out shows 25 years later.

Describe the first time you wrote a song?

I first started writing songs in high school and I didn’t get into production until I built my first rig in the late 90s. I had all of this massive hardware in a road case and would cart it around from city to city, and back and forth from the tour bus. Wow, how times have changed!

Who has been an influence in your life?

From a production standpoint, everyone from Babyface, Max Martin, Anders Bagge, Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Timbaland… it’s a long list!

Have you ever wanted to give up on music?

A million times. Everyone knows it’s a hard business.

What keeps you going?

My love and passion for creating and playing with sounds won’t let me give up on it.

What do you like about Studio One?

The ease of use and GUI is amazing. The drag and drop of synths and VSTs, the new key detection feature, sequencing… these are all incredible features.

When did you first hear about Studio One?

I heard about it when it first came out. I’m always looking to get better, and my friend Dominic Rodriguez, who I really trust and is prolific in the K-pop space suggested I try it; I didn’t waste any time and joined. He was right!  Learning a new DAW is like learning a new language.

What features are you most impressed with in Studio One?

The ease of use, and how quickly I can get things laid out. Again, the new key detection is amazing. The fact that I can then change the key to match on all of the tracks in a non-destructive way is just mind-blowing. I recommend it to everyone.

Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One? 

I love how you can combine virtual instruments on single tracks. That’s incredible to me.

How easy/difficult was Studio One to learn? 

I’m still learning all of the tricks and features because there are so many, but it didn’t take me long to start flying with it.

Where do you go for inspiration? 

I get inspired by a lot of things. I’ll hear a new song, a riff or beat or melody of an old one, or a new idea will just pop into my head.

Recent projects? What’s next for you?

I’m working with a number of projects. I did all of the music for a show on Discovery Science called “Droned.” I’m working with a new hip-hop artist, a male vocal group called Overnight, and a young female pop sensation named Nicole Michelle.

 

Join the Studio One FAM today! 

 

Save 33% on Select Eris monitors in the USA and Canada

We’ve temporarily dropped the price of some Eris monitors in the USA and Canada; there’s never been a better time to get your own pair of our best-selling monitors! Hurry, this offer ends 12/31/18! 

Eligible monitors include:

 

 

Friday Tips: Multiband Dynamics for Bass? Yes!

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.

Back to School: Buy a PreSonus Bundle, Get a Free Copy of Notion 6!

Hate to break it to you, but it’s time to get back to school!

via GIPHY

 

Don’t worry! PreSonus has a deal to turn that frown upside down!

via GIPHY

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…

  • Audiobox 96 Studio
  • AudioBox 96 Ultimate Studio
  • iTwo Studio
  • HP4/HD9 pack

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.

Click here to find a PreSonus dealer near you!

 

Friday Tip: Rotating Speaker Emulator FX Chain

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!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD!

 

Listen here:

Friday Tip: Smoother, Gentler Sidechain Gating

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.

Friday Tip: Perfect Pads!

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.

Butcher Babies and the StudioLive CS18AI and RM32AI at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest in 2016!

BBabiesWatch!

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!

 

 

 

 

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The beach, an Airstream and the PreSonus AR12 Mixer

Don’t get us wrong–working at the PreSonus headquarters in Baton Rouge is awesome.

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:

30a4

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.

  • Tell us about yourself…
    • Graduated from LSU in broadcasting, been in radio for 25 years. We launched 30A Radio digitally over 2 years ago, broadcasting 100% online via our website, and our free 30A app for iPhone and Android. After leaving FM radio, I really wanted to find a fit digitally to take everything I had learned to the next level. Our main project is expanding the 30A lifestyle into perimeter markets and getting our 30A Radio Airstream to regional music festivals in the Southeast for interviews and sessions with our core artists.
  • What PreSonus products have you used and which do you currently use?30a1
    • We use the StudioLive AR12 USB for our Airstream performances, interviews, and podcasts.
  • What led you to choose the AR mixer?

    • The new AR 12 seemed to fit every capability we needed in such a tight space. We have performances and record in an Airstream. The ability to record directly on the mixer and PreSonus’ reputation was key… and being from Baton Rouge helped. GEAUX TIGERS!
  • Having used the AR Mixer, what do you like most about it? What are you using it for?
    • We use it for bands that stop in and they play songs which we produce and insert into rotation on 30A Radio. The easy to use functions, and recording on the board were key.
  • What mixer feature have proven particularly useful and why?
    • Recording easily was key. But the FX and low cut options help. We tend to record in areas that may have a lot of exterior noise, and we can limit some of that pretty easily with dynamic mics.
  • How does the AR Mixer compare to other mixers you have used? What’s better, what’s not as good, what does it give you that other mixers don’t?
    • It lets me work quickly, on the fly. Tuning up different mics is pretty easy for a guy that is learning to use a board for recording sessions. We have limited time to set up sometimes, and don’t want the band to have to wait too long. So making them sound great quickly is key.
  • Any features on your wish list for us to add in future updates?
    • Not sure if you can boost the headphone jacks a bit…but that would be one.
  • Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with the AR Mixer?
    • Recently had John Driskell Hopkins of the Zac Brown Band in the Airstream for a session. He has a home studio and helped fine tune his session. It was bike week at 30A so it was pretty noisy. John suggested using the low cut to get the “Harley” sound out… and it did! Bikes were passing right by us and we didn’t hear them at all on the recordings.

    30a3

  • What’s next for 30A Radio?
    • We are really not pushy with 30A Radio, it’s there for our fan base. We try to tell the story of our area, and give the vibe of what we see and do every day here. I guess what’s next is finding out what our limits are in the Airstream with bands and performances. Definitely have a bucket list of artists we’d love to host at some point. Either here or on the road.
  • Any final comments about PreSonus?
    • It really appears that you guys are user-friendly, and take suggestions and integrate them into upgrades and newer versions of your equipment. And that’s awesome!
  • What’s it like working at the beach?
    • It’s unreal to think what I have done in the past, got me to this great position. Working in a corporate environment and typical “sales” management for clusters of stations makes you age quickly. I took the best of what that environment was like, and came up with a new template for 30A Radio and our advertising department. Being able to have your feet in the sand, and do radio is quite amazing. We really do that…I swear. Now we can bring the beach to feeder markets for us with our Airstream studios.

30aphtot1

Learn more about our StudioLive AR Hybrid Mixers here!

Introducing the new AIR Loudspeakers from PreSonus

Versatile, customizable, and easy to transport. Oh, and the sound? It will blow you away.

Learn more about AIR by clicking here.