All of the inputs were routed into a StudioLive™ 32.4.2AI console. Besides doing the live mix, the other half of my job was to ensure that every note was “Captured” during both rehearsals and filming.
Here’s how we did it:
Neil Citron, Mark Wolfson, and I wired the stage and then set up two recording systems. The first was set up on my MacBook Pro, running Mac OS X 10.8.5 and connected to the console using FireWire. I was running Universal Control-AI (with Virtual StudioLive-AI control software) and recording with Capture 2.0.
We connected the DB25 outputs of the 32.4.2AI to a Tascam X48 recorder because we needed to track SMPTE time code. This way, we also had two copies of each recording; as anyone who has ever lost a file knows, you need to back up, back up, back up.
The great thing about recording with Capture™ is it is literally effortless. Once my FireWire connection was secure and I knew the computer and console were talking to each other, all I had to do was open Capture and make one mouse click, and we were rolling! Of course, it helps to have the drive path set and the files named. I find that, given the option, it helps to set this up in advance, although the only really crucial setting is the file path.
We noticed that, according to the X48’s meters, the DB25 analog output was 6 dB lower than the digital signal coming into Capture. I’m not sure why the levels were different but comparing the WAV files in Studio One confirmed the difference.
Jeff Pullman, C.A.S, was the Production Sound mixer for the film and was a pleasure to work with. He also was very helpful in getting some sound isolation products so we could have a cleaner recording.
We did some test tracks with Neil playing so we could make sure the rig was running; then we started rehearsals.
The five musicians that make up the band Ricki and the Flash are all top shelf players. Their credits are the stuff of legends; you hear them on the radio every day. Of the five, only bass player Rick Rosas and drummer Joe Vitale had played together before, as the rhythm section of the reunion tour for the legendary Buffalo Springfield (no relation to Rick Springfield).
Bernie Worrell is a visionary funk keyboardist and a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. His credits include Parliament/Funkadelic and Talking Heads. Rick Springfield is a fantastic guitarist who also played Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital.
Meryl Streep, of course, is one of the most renowned actresses in the world.
To get them to be Ricki and the Flash, we set up in the World Famous Rodeo Bar in the Murray Hill district of Manhattan. The Rodeo Bar is a long, narrow room with a brick wall behind the band. We were in a small space, and they were very LOUD.
We set up the band in an authentic club configuration and laid out the monitors for them. We used three StudioLive™ 312AI cabinets for the vocalists and keyboard position and a StudioLive 315AI for the drum wedge.
When we first set up the wedges, we decided to just use them in the standard DSP configuration. The speakers use Dave Gunness’ TQ™ (Temporal Equalization) settings to correct for the acoustical issues that arise in a coaxial design. In addition, each box has DSP settings designed to assist the user in different acoustic situations. There are four settings on the back of the speaker, accessed by a small button. The settings are: Normal (full range for front-of-house), LBR Source (for low-bit-rate digital audio, such as MP3 playback), Floor Monitor (for stage wedge), and a custom User preset.
Neil Citron is a long-time studio engineer, guitarist, and all around great guy. He ran the Mothership for Steve Vai for 15 years and is a member of the Sapphire Group, a bunch of audiophiles in Los Angeles. Neil has incredible ears and was brought in to teach Meryl guitar, be the music director, and record the performances.
Neil and I set up the wedges, supervised by Mark Wolfson, and we ran some program material through them. We really liked the sound of the default Normal setting, so we left it. As soon as the band showed up, we quickly realized that the stage mix just wasn’t “there.” A quick button-push, and the boxes were in Stage Monitor mode; they sat perfectly in the mix, with no additional EQ required.
We used one StudioLive 312AI plus one StudioLive 18sAI subwoofer per side of the “house” PA. We put the top boxes on using the SP1BK subwoofer pole; this also allowed us to steer the top box to reduce reflections off of the brick walls.
Thanks to Brad Graham, Rapco generously provided us with microphone cable and snakes to wire the stage. We wired the guitars using Radial JDX DIs to get the sound of the amplifier, not the guitar. We used Radial JDIs on the bass and keys. Thanks to Roxanne Ricks of Audio-Technica, we had A-T mics on the Leslie and hi-hat. We also used the fantastic A-T ribbons for ambient room miking. We had triggers on the drum kit; more about that later.
Here were the basic challenges:
I’ll get into the recording aspect in the next part.
I need to give major props to Gary Goetzman, the producer, who took five musicians who had not played together before (with the exception of the rhythm section) and turned them into a real band in two weeks. Everyone was at the top of their game, and the professionalism of the band and producer really shone through.
Hello everyone, I’m Phil Garfinkel, the Special Projects Liaison for PreSonus® Audio Electronics. I’m writing about the shooting of a new movie, Ricki and the Flash, discussing the PreSonus products that we used and how we used them.
First, a little about the film: Ricki and the Flash stars Meryl Streep as Ricki, an aspiring rock star who leaves the Midwest to “make it” in California. Her band, The Flash, features the talents of Rick Springfield on guitar, Bernie Worrell on keyboards, Joe Vitale on drums, and Rick Rosas on bass.
We set up the band in an authentic club configuration, with plenty of PreSonus equipment to reinforce their sound. We recorded with Capture™ and used Studio One® to create reference recordings. I was on site as the PreSonus tech, mixing the live show.
Here is a quick overview of what we used from PreSonus:
The movie is directed by Jonathan Demme and produced by Gary Goetzman and Marc Platt, all Oscar winning veterans. Jonathan and Gary wanted the band to play, not just pretend to play along to tracks; I was brought in to mix front-of-house and monitors and to take a 32-track feed to capture the music as it happened.
We faced some unusual challenges. Thanks to teamwork and a mutual obsession for excellence (and some pretty great gear), Mark, Neil, and I worked through it to help Jonathan and Gary make an excellent soundtrack for the film.
Special thanks to Roxanne Ricks at Audio-Technica for helping us get high quality microphones and wireless systems, Peter Janis at Radial Engineering for getting us some fantastic Direct Boxes, and Brad Graham at Rapco-Horizon for helping with cable needs.
Thanks also to my cohorts in audio-land, Mark Wolfson and Neil Citron, who led the charge for this journey. Also Jeff Pullman, C.A.S, the film’s Production Sound Mixer, who worked with us.
Ricky and the Flash opens in theaters everywhere on August 7.
Rational Acoustics Smaart Basics Course Coming to PreSonus HQ in Baton Rouge, Aug. 10-11—Sign up here
Our good friend Chris Tsanjoures from Rational Acoustics will be in Baton Rouge to teach his Smaart Basics class at the PreSonus world headquarters on August 10 and 11. The class is open to the public – so if you’ve been wanting to step up your audio game using the full Smaart v.7 software – this is an opportunity that you do not want to miss. For the uninitiated, Smaart is a dual-channel, FFT-based software platform we use in our work as audio engineers to view the frequency content of signals or measure the response of our loudspeaker systems. If you’ve used the RM or StudioLive software control applications, you’ve already had a glimpse at some very basic Smaart Measurement Technology features – now is your chance to start using Smaart v.7 like a Pro!
The Smaart Basics class curriculum covers the configuration, operation, and fundamental concepts of RTA, Spectrograph, Transfer Function and Impulse Response measurements. At the completion of the course, each attendee will have been given a functional knowledge of how Smaart operates as a tool and how to use it to perform essential system engineering tasks such as loudspeaker equalization, delay systems alignment, subwoofer alignment/arraying, multi-position live averaging and much much more.
Oh, and in true PreSonus tradition, we’ll see to it that every attendee will be well-fed.
Monday August 10, 2015 – Tuesday August 11, 2015
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Course description: http://www.rationalacoustics.
PreSonus Audio Inc.
18011 Grand Bay Court
Baton Rouge, LA United States 70809
About the Instructor: Chris Tsanjoures is a Product Manager at Rational Acoustics. This puts him in a unique position to split his time between the development of the Smaart Platform, and training folks on the use and theory behind it. Chris holds a BA in Music Production & Technology from the Hartt School of Music and is an active freelance sound engineer for various production companies throughout the North East.
PreSonus offers you a full solution for jazz band rehearsal and recording. Take a look at how the Louisiana All State Jazz Ensemble takes advantage of the StudioLive AI family!
With the arrival of the StudioLive RM-series rackmount mixers, we’ve received a lot of questions about the functionality. 96K? Can they be cascaded? What about the Dante cards? When can I get one?
We’ve answered those questions (and more) in the RM-series mixer FAQ, which can be had by clicking here. But we’ve also gotten a lot of other questions that we feel are worthy of their own FAQ—particularly regarding Ray’s beard. While we understand and appreciate your curiosity, we have had to keep some secrets for a while for competitive reasons—but, the cat is out of the bag and we can go public with the announcement of the Garibaldi FH16K. Read below for more info.
The Garibaldi FH16K is a true-analog face-mountable beard that allows for maintaining facial warmth in the coming winter months, as well as unsurpassed soup and juice filtering. Beta testers of the Garibaldi have reported up to a 30% increase in their dates-per-week ratio shortly after concluding installation. Garibaldi is compatible with all walks of life, and enjoys cross-fashion compatibility with both corduroys and flannel.
While currently only compatible with human males over the age of 14, we plan to broaden availability to women and younger users through a hormone therapy add-on kit available in Q3 2015. At the time of this writing we have no plans to make the beard available to Androids.
*Gandalf has not yet tested for compatibility with OSX Mordor, please wait before updating your OS
The StudioLive RM32AI and RM16AI created the most significant online buzz in our history of product releases. We were up to a whopping 16,000 views of our release videos for these products in mere days, and responding to the Facebook and YouTube comment threads on the matter have seen Ray Tantzen, our Sr. Product Manager, seriously distracted from bringing his next stroke of genius to store shelves, venues, and studios. Don’t worry, he’ll catch up—and thanks for all your great questions. With the cat out of the proverbial bag, we’ve done our best to keep up with customer interest. Fact is, if you really want to get to know one of these things, the best thing you can do is get one of these things. But where? When? Who?
Click any of the icons above to get the ball rolling on a preorder!
If you’ve heard the RM-series mixer buzz but don’t yet understand what all the fuss is about, take a look at the videos in the playlist below to learn a bit more.
Here’s a couple videos regarding the RMAI line from Sweetwater and Full Compass.
A firmware update for the StudioLive 32.4.2AI, 24.4.2AI and 16.4.2AI mixers has been released to the web! You’ll need to log in to my.presonus.com to get it.
In this release is a New Feature!
As of firmware version 1.0.5436, the StudioLive AI mixer line will have the ability to cascade two mixers together to create one large mixer. Start with a 16.4.2AI, 24.4.2AI, or 32.4.2AI, then cascade a second StudioLive AI mixer of any frame size to create custom-sized mixing consoles with the hardware and software advantages of StudioLive Active Integration™ systems.
For full details on this update, please click here to download the PDF.
For troubleshooting your cascaded mixer setup, click here.
The Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps won their 16th World Championship on Saturday with a record-breaking score of 99.65—the highest in the history of the competition!
The PreSonus family is extremely proud of the organization, and we have the utmost respect for the members and staff who worked tirelessly all summer and kept improving until the very end. Congrats!