PreSonus Blog

PreSonus Sphere is here. But what is it, exactly?

 

PreSonus Sphere is a global community of creative enthusiasts and respected professionals brought together by and for the love of music-making. A PreSonus Sphere membership grants you access to an extensive library of creative software tools, as well as Cloud collaboration tools and storage, chat with Studio One and Notion experts from around the globe, and access to exclusive promotions, training, and events. And we’ll be adding more and more stuff each month, all for a low monthly or annual membership.

PreSonus Sphere membership benefits include licenses for the complete collection of PreSonus’ award-winning software solutions for recording, mixing, scoring, and producing, including Studio One Professional and Notion, plus over 100 libraries of samples, effects, and loops, including the complete Spark Collection sample and loop libraries and Tom Brechtlein Drums. Members also get every plug-in and Studio One Add-on that PreSonus makes, including Ampire, Channel Strip Collection, CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper, Fat Channel XT, Presence XT Editor, and much more.

But PreSonus Sphere is far more than a huge toolbox; it is first and foremost a creative community. Modern musicians work with talented people from all over the world, and PreSonus Sphere makes it easy to share projects with other members using a PreSonus Sphere workspace. A live chat lets members communicate in real time with their global production teams to make sure everyone’s on the same page and striving toward the same goal.

Sphere membership includes 30 GB of cloud storage for backups, stems, collaboration, and more. When you need more space, PreSonus Sphere lets you upgrade to 100 GB of cloud storage space for $3.99/mo. PreSonus Exchange has always been a great way for Studio One users to share presets, loops, and more; PreSonus Sphere users now have access to a new exclusive portal loaded with custom-designed tools and curated content by featured PreSonus artists.

PreSonus Sphere members will be invited to exclusive events and training sessions where they’ll meet like-minded PreSonus Sphere users and expand their collaboration networks. Need a quick production tip or workflow trick? In addition to the growing Exchange community and active user groups, PreSonus has gathered Studio One power users from around the globe to answer questions in members-only chats.

Each month PreSonus Sphere members can expect something new, whether it’s exclusive content or a special surprise gift to thank them for being members—and there are no additional upgrade costs or hidden fees. PreSonus has also teamed up with partners to give PreSonus Sphere members exclusive offers throughout the year.

Visit Sphere.PreSonus.com to get started for $14.95 U.S. per month, or $164.95 per year.

 

PreSonus Sphere is a global community of music makers that includes an extensive software library, Cloud collaboration tools and storage, chat with Studio One experts, and much more.

 

 

 

Studio One 5’s Tape Emulator

 

Although Studio One 5 doesn’t have a tape emulator plug-in per se, it can emulate some of the most important characteristics that people associate with “the tape sound.” Truly emulating tape can go down a serious rabbit hole because tape is a complicated signal processor; no two vintage tape recorders sounded the same because they required alignment (influenced by the engineer’s preferences), used different tape formulations, and were in various states of maintenance. However, emulating three important characteristics provides what most people want from tape emulation.

  • Tape saturates, which rounds off waveform peaks and affects dynamic range. This gives a higher average level, which is part of why tape sounds “punchy.”
  • Head “bump.” The frequency of a bass range peak (around 2 dB) depends on the tape speed and the tape machine. At 15 IPS, a typical peak is in the 40-70 Hz range, and at 30 IPS, in the 70-150 Hz range. However, at 30 IPS, the bass response drops off below the bump—sometimes drastically, sometimes gently. Even though in theory 30 IPS offered better fidelity, many engineers preferred to work at 15 IPS due to the bass response characteristics (and they saved money by using half as much tape for the same recording time).
  • Tape is a flawed recording medium that trades off noise, high-frequency response, and distortion. For example, some engineers aligned their machines to underbias the tape, which increased distortion but gave more highs; other engineers did the reverse and made up for the lack of highs with subsequent equalization.

Check out the audio example to hear what this FX Chain can do. The first part is unprocessed, while the second part uses the default FX Chain control settings with a little underbiasing and head bump. The difference is subtle, but it adds that extra “something.”

 

 

The Tape Emulator FX Chain

This FX Chain starts with a Splitter, which creates three signal paths: one for saturation, one for hiss, and one for hum (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: FX Chain block diagram.

 

After auditioning all available Studio One 5 saturation options, I liked the TriComp best for this application. The Pro EQ stage preceding the TriComp provides the head bump EQ and has a control to emulate the effect of underbiasing tape (more highs, which pushes more high-frequency level into the TriComp and therefore increases distortion in that range) or overbiasing (less highs, less distortion).

At first, I wasn’t going to include tape hiss and hum, but if someone needs to use this FX Chain for sound design (i.e., an actor starts a tape in a theatrical production), then including hiss and hum sounds more authentic. An additional knob chooses 50 or 60 Hz hum, which represents the power standards in different countries. (Note that the closest you can get to these frequencies is 50.4 and 59.1 Hz, but that’s good enough). However, I draw the line at including wow and flutter! Good riddance to both of them.

Because creating three splits reduces each split’s level, the TriComp Gain control provides makeup gain.

Turning Bump on adds a boost at the specified frequency, but also adds a 48 dB low-cut filter around 23 Hz to emulate the loss of very low frequencies due to the head bump. As a result, depending on the program material, adding the bump may increase or decrease the total apparent bass response. For additional flexibility, if you turn Bump Amount down all the way, the Bump On/Off switch enables or disables only the 48 dB/octave low-cut filter.

Fig. 2 shows some typical spectra from using the FX Chain.

Figure 2: The top curve shows the head bump enabled, with underbiasing. The lower curve shows minimal added bump, but with the ultra-low cut filter enabled, and overbiasing.

Roll Tape!

The controls default to rational settings (Fig. 3), which are used in the audio example. But as usual with my FX chains, the settings can go beyond the realm of good taste if needed.

 

Figure 3: Control panel for the Tape Emulator.

For example, I rarely go over 2-3% saturation, but I know some of you are itching to kick it up to 10%. Ditto tape hiss, in case you want to emulate recording on an ancient Radio Shack cassette recorder—with Radio Shack tape. Just remember that the Bias control is clockwise to overbias (less highs), and counter-clockwise to underbias (more highs).

There’s a lot of mythology around tape emulations, and you can find some very good plug-ins that nail the sound of tape. But try this FX Chain—it may give you exactly what you want. Best of all, I promise you’ll never have to clean or demagnetize its tape heads.

Download the Tape Emulator.multipreset here!

The Jambalaya King: Johnny McAndrew

We’ve all heard the saying, “To know him is to love him.” This sentiment could not be more true for PreSonus’ very own Johnny McAndrew. From trade shows to demos and Vic Viper video shoots to cooking Louisiana’s best Jambalaya, there’s no doubt Johnny has made a lasting impact on PreSonus’ culture of family, humor, fun, creativity, and hard work. He’s been around for almost 17 years of PreSonus’ 25 years as a company and has some of the best stories from the last quarter-century. Get to know our Territory Manager for the US and Canada below.

 

 

How long have you worked at PreSonus? 

I was hired as the 19th employee in February of 2004, so 16 and a half years. 

When was the first time you heard about PreSonus?
It would’ve been around the year 2000. I was learning to run sound at the Spanish Moon in Baton Rouge, LA and we were using a few of the outboard compressor/ limiters known as the ACP88. I soon found out that this fancy blue piece of gear with the cool lights was designed and built above an old antique store—right up the street from Galaxy Music, the music store I was working at downtown. I remember being fascinated that there was a pro audio company just a few blocks over, designing useful products for musicians and audio engineers all over the world. A few years later, some friends of mine that worked here reached out to let me know that they were hiring and wanted someone that “could do a bunch of different things.”

 

Is there are particular moment or memory that happened at NAMM that stands out for you?
There are so many, and most of my favorite memories have to do with my friends and partners I get to see, but I’ll go with day 1 of my first Winter NAMM in 2010. I remember being on a plane from Louisiana headed to California and I couldn’t believe that I was getting paid to go to what seemed like a mythical show that I had only seen in guitar magazines growing up. I got off the plane, dropped my bags off at the hotel and headed straight to the show. While waiting in line to get my badge I notice I’m right behind the coolest bass player of all time, Sir Bootsy Collins. I make a beeline to the booth and soon as I get on the trade show floor, the very first person I see is Dave Mustaine from Megadeth followed by Kerry King from Slayer and Tommy Lee from Motley Crue. I walk straight up to my assigned area to demo what would have been the original StudioLive series and Studio One version 1, and the first person I talk to about the console is Johnny Hiland, who happens to be one my favorite guitar players and he was just as gracious as can be. I know I’m going a little heavy on the name dropping, but it was it a lot to absorb in the first 15 minutes of being at the Anaheim Convention Center; it’s always surreal because you never know who you’re going to end up seeing or showing gear to at that show. Except for Sinbad. You will always, without fail, see Sinbad every single year at Winter NAMM. He’s as nice and funny as you’d think but what you might not know is that he is a total tech/gearhead.

 

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of? If so, why?
That’s a difficult question because I will often blow right past a milestone, or a noteworthy achievement that I should probably take the time to acknowledge or enjoy, but I’m always thinking of the next month, the next quarter, or the next year. I can’t really point to a particular contribution or achievement but just seeing what we’ve done as a whole over the past 25 years, while constantly refining our process is something to be proud of. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved for 16 of those years and it’s been an awesome journey to see where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

What PreSonus product are you most proud of?
It depends on when you ask me and whether I’m recording or running live sound. Currently, I’m pretty stoked on PreSonus Sphere because of the collaboration aspect that will continue to improve over time. I love the idea of bringing people together through creativity. If I’m going with a vintage memory that really made an early impression on me, I‘m really proud of the ADL 600 because that was the first product I had a hand in as I was doing QA at the time. To see the product from its inception, which started as a schematic on a napkin, to working late nights with Robert Creel and the engineers so that we could get it out the door, to see it get accepted by the market and used on some really serious records was such cool thing to be part of.

What inspires you to keep showing up to work at PreSonus?
So many things. I could go on and on about the people I get to work with, the process, the technology, and the products, but I on my most challenging day, I always think about friends that have called or texted after the first time they set up their interface with Studio One and how excited they were to start creating. The idea that there’s some kid out in the world, that could be the next Stevie Wonder and they’re using our gear to create something is as motivating as it is humbling. It’s truly a privilege to serve the creative community and to hopefully help create an exquisite user experience.

 

What is or was the biggest challenge you faced during your time here?
When you work for a technology company in a highly competitive field, you’re basically signing up for an endless barrage of obstacles while someone says it can’t be done or we’ve always done it this way so why should we change it? Combine those daily challenges with a healthy dose of the year 2020 and you’ve got one massive rock to push up the hill. That being said, I really don’t think about the perceived obstacle in front of us but rather how we can all move forward together.

What do you think other people should know about PreSonus that they don’t?
Our COO, Jim Boitnott, created the spices that are sold on our web store. Our senior product manager, Ray Tantzen, should probably have his own cooking show where he talks proper methods of using a smoker. Colby Huval in the sales department makes better Cajun Sausage and Tasso than 99.99% of people in Louisiana, which puts him in the running for the best worldwide. Our Shipping Admin, Shawn Lee, is one of the most talented musicians and songwriters I’ve ever heard. Chad Schoonmaker in marketing is one of the best abstract artists I’ve ever seen. Product Specialist, Gregor Beyerle and Software Engineer Michael Cole are two of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life.


I think we have the most talented group of cooks, musicians, creatives, and engineers that truly care per capita of any other company on the planet. You can learn something inspiring and unique from all the folks at our offices in Louisiana, Ireland and Germany.

How has working at PreSonus changed you? (for the better)
Just doing something that I love and feeling like I have a sense of purpose when I walk into work every day gives me focus. Acknowledging how lucky I am to get to do something that I care about forces me to be present and enjoy the moment as opposed to looking too far ahead. 

Considering all your time and effort you’ve spent at PreSonus, what’s something you’re excited to see PreSonus accomplish in the next 5 years?
I hope we continue to push the envelope of what is possible when designing products for creative people while giving the user a great experience. Let’s make it better and more fun!

Learn more about PreSonus Sphere here! 

 

What’s New in Studio One 5.1

Studio One 5.1 has arrived! This update is free to PreSonus Sphere members, or anyone else who owns Studio One 5—Artist or Professional editions. Fire up Studio One and click “Check for Updates” to get it!

This update addresses many user requests, particularly in the realms of composition and notation, but if you’re less old-school and more no-school, don’t fret! We’ve got plenty of updates for you including Retrospective Record, External Instrument support for the Show Page, and a ton of workflow streamlining. All are detailed below.

 

1. Score Printing

Version 5.1 adds score printing to Studio One Professional. Scores and individual parts can now be printed directly from Studio One! Printing is supported for any number of tracks, from single instruments to full orchestral arrangements. Several other composition enhancements along with Score Printing are featured in this video:

2. Retrospective Recording

Never miss another great song idea again! Retrospective Recording captures everything you play on your keyboard or controller—even without hitting record! It works invisibly in the background on a track-by-track basis.

 

3. Powerful Track/Channel search and filter options

Managing large projects with a huge track and channel count is now faster and easier than ever with the addition of powerful search and filter options.

 

4. Bypass option for Clip Gain Envelopes

Clip Gain Envelops can now be bypassed from the Event context menu and the Event Inspector, making it quick and easy to compare the result of your Gain Envelopes without losing any of your adjustments.

 

5. Combined Time/Key Signature Track

The Score View will reflect any Key Signature changes added to Studio One’s new Signature Track. These will also transfer to Notion when sending a score between applications.

 

6. Secondary Timeline Ruler option

View minutes:seconds with bars and beats at the same time! A must for film composers.

 

7. Global Tracks in Editors

Global Tracks can now be displayed inside Editors and used as guides when editing audio or Note Events in Piano View and Drum View.

 

8. External Instruments support on Show Page

External MIDI instruments are now supported using Virtual Instrument Players. Patches can include program change and bank change messages so you can control an entire MIDI rig from your Show!

 

9. Ampire/Pedalboard Update

Drag and drop stompbox settings between Ampire and Pedalboard, so go ahead and steal that Big Fuzz tone from your guitarist… we won’t tell!

 

10. TONS of Extended Integration with ATOM controller

Note Events in the Pattern Editor are now colorized to match the pad colors in Impact, ATOM and ATOM SQ, so you always know which sound is being triggered and which pad is controlling it. And there’s a new library of inspirational drum patterns and variations patterns in Musicloops format for easy, drag-and-drop saving and export.

 

Too much to list!

Studio One 5.1 is a significant update and is free to owners of Studio One 5 Artist and Professional. Click here for the full change log, and click “Check for Updates” in Studio One’s start page to get all these new features now!

 

 

Notion 6.8 Now Available

Notion 6.8 Maintenance Release

Notion 6.8.0 Build 18060 is now available, adding compatibility with the updated Score Editor of Studio One 5.1, Portuguese as a new supported language, and more. Notion 6.8 is a free update for Notion 6 owners or PreSonus Sphere members that can be obtained by clicking “Check for Updates” within Notion, or download from your PreSonus Sphere or myPreSonus account.


NEW

Compatible with Studio One 5.1

Studio One 5.1 adds new functions to its score editor, including print, page layout, transposition and key signature changes. These items are now supported when you send score data between Studio One and Notion 6.8. To see more about Studio One 5 and its new Score Editor, click here.

Studio One 5.1 Now Available!

New score elements that can be exchanged with Studio One:

  • Key signature changes
  • Instrument transposition
  • Staff name and abbreviation
  • Page size and orientation
  • Page margins
  • Notation font size
  • Staff and system spacing
  • Bar number options
  • Overall text size
  • Multi-measure rest options

For a full guide to Studio One and Notion transfer, see updated User Guide (Chapter 15.7)


ALL FIXES

Import/Export Improvements

  • If the track order is changed in Studio One, then the order is retained when importing into Notion
  • Scores with instrument names that contain special characters now import as expected to Studio One
  • Fix for sending audio from Notion to Studio One when there is a slash mark in the instrument name
  • Avoid importing metronome marks, time- and key signatures twice on import from Studio One
  • Half notes will now split into tied notes on Studio One or MIDI import, if they are syncopated and across the middle of a bar
  • Fix for drawing a tie if only element is present in a MusicXML file
  • Imported MIDI tempo now cleaner to read when there are many consecutive tempo changes

Video Window

  • [Win] Fix video window showing only its caption when opening for the first time after installation
  • [Win] Fix video window keeping the previous video’s aspect ratio after changing the video
  • [Win] Fix video window moving around when resizing

Languages/Documentation

  • New language – Portuguese
  • New Portuguese Quick Reference Guide and Shortcuts pdf’s added to Notion, to your user account, and to the website here
  • [Win] Installer language fixes
  • Some translation improvements in Korean

General

  • [Win] Fix for ‘Save As’ crash if an External MIDI port is set in ‘Preferences>MIDI IO’
  • [macOS] Fix for starting Notion when an existing PreSonus Sphere membership expires
  • [macOS] Add fix for plug-ins that use legacy copy protection
  • Fix crash on entering glissando/portamento into part with only one staff
  • Crash fixed if beaming tool is accidentally used on a tablature staff
  • Version number scheme for Notion changed – Now 6.x.x Build xxxxx

How to Make Spotify Happy

 

With physical audio media in its twilight, streaming has become the primary way to distribute music. A wonderful side effect has been the end of the loudness wars, because streaming services like Spotify turn levels up or down as needed to attain a specific, consistent perceived level—squashing a master won’t make it sound any louder.

However, the “garbage in, garbage out” law remains in effect, so you need to submit music that meets a streaming service’s specs. For example, Spotify prefers files with an LUFS of -14.0 (according to the EBU R128 standard), and a True Peak reading of -1.0 or lower. This avoids adding distortion when transcoding to lossy formats. If the LUFS reading is above -14.0, then Spotify wants a True Peak value under -2.0.

Fortunately, when you Detect Loudness for a track on the mastering page, you’ll see a readout of the LUFS and LRA (a measure of overall dynamic range), as well as the True Peak, RMS (average signal level), and DC offset for the left and right channels. Fig. 1 shows an example of the specs generated by detecting loudness.

Figure 1: Although the LUFS reading meets Spotify’s specs, True Peak doesn’t, and the RMS value of the left and right channels isn’t balanced.

 

 Note that this hits Spotify’s desired LUFS, but the left channel’s True Peak value is higher than what’s ideal. This readout also shows that the average RMS levels for each channel are somewhat different—the left channel is 1.2 dB louder than the right one, which also accounts for the higher True Peak value. This may be the way the artist wants the mix to sound, but it could also indicate a potential problem with the mix, where the overall sound isn’t properly centered.

A simple fix is to insert a Dual Pan into the Inserts section. Use the Input Balance control to “weight” the stereo image more to one side for a better balance. After doing so and readjusting the LUFS, we can now give Spotify exactly what it wants (Fig. 2). Also note that the left and right channels are perfectly balanced.

Figure 2: The True Peak and RMS values are now identical, so the two channels are more balanced than they were without the Dual Pan.

 A Crucial Consideration!

You don’t want to mix or master based on numbers, but on what you hear. If you set up Dual Pan to balance the channels, make sure that you enable/bypass the plug-in and compare the two options. You might find that balancing the left and right channels not only accommodates Spotify’s requirements, but improves the mix’s overall balance. If it doesn’t, then leave the balance alone, and lower the track’s overall output level so that True Peak is under -1.0 for both channels (or under -2.0 for LUFS values above ‑14.0). This will likely lower the LUFS reading, but don’t worry about it: Spotify will turn up the track anyway to reach -14.0 LUFS.

Coda: I always thought that squashing dynamic range to try and win the loudness wars made listening to music a less pleasant experience, and that’s one of the reasons CD sales kept declining. Does the end of the loudness wars correspond to the current music industry rebound from streaming? I don’t know… but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Sonarworks Reference 4 Headphone Edition 30% Off for Seven Days!

Click here to shop!

Sonarworks Reference 4 Headphone Edition is 30% Off starting Friday, October 16 through Thursday, October 22!

Finally, you can mix with confidence on your current setup. Sonarworks Reference 4 HE removes unwanted colouration from your headphones. With the Sonarworks SR (Studio Reference) sound, you can focus on music instead of worrying about the sound in the studio or on-the-go.

Reference 4 Headphone Edition includes:
  • Reference 4 Systemwide: Sonarworks SR applied to all audio output
  • Reference 4 Plugin: Sonarworks SR with zero latency in your DAW
  • Headphone profiles: See the list of supported models here: https://www.sonarworks.com/reference/headphones

This offer is available worldwide right in the PreSonus Shop. It is valid today through October 22, 2020.

Shop NOW!

 

Select Image Sounds products up to 80% off for one week!

ACT FAST!

Now through October 22, SAVE up to 80% on select Image Sounds products right out of the PreSonus Shop! That’s over 50 loop bundles up for grabs at the best price all year—products from Image Sounds have never been this low-priced in our shop, grab ’em while you can!

This offer is available worldwide starting today through October 22.

Click here to shop!

 

One Week ONLY – Notion Acoustic Bundle 50% off!

Shop NOW!

For ONE week only… Save 50% on the Notion Acoustic Bundle!

  • Recorded by Brad Newell, Neil Zaza, and David Doucet
  • Includes sample variations for open strings, hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, and left-hand and right-hand fingering control
  • Tab and chord progression input capability with the Notion Fretboard interface
  • For use with Notion 5.1 or later and Progression 3 or later

Included in this bundle is BanjoMandolin, Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar, and Ukulele.

This offer is available right in the PreSonus Shop, offered worldwide, and is valid now through October 22, 2020.

Click here to shop.

 

SAVE 50% on ALL Spark Collection Products!

Click here to shop!

GREAT NEWS!

Already at a LOW price, the price for all Spark Collections is now even lower for the next SEVEN days only!

We announced the Spark Collection back in 2019; here’s a little snippet about it:

Hit the ground running with the Spark Collection of loops and add-ons from PreSonus! These low-priced loop packs are a great place to start making music for less. These professional, royalty-free tracks are a great source of inspiration for starting a new song, learning how to mix, or adding a little flavor to your existing compositions. We’ve launched Spark Collections with a whopping 35 packs… with many more to come!

Everything from trap, reggae, pop, and sound FX are available in the Spark Collections–NOW ALL for 50% off! 

This offer is valid starting today, October 16, 2020, runs through October 22, and is offered worldwide!

Click here to shop.

Notion iOS 2.5.5 Release Notes

Notion iOS 2.5.5 Maintenance Release

A maintenance update is now available for Notion iOS, the best-selling notation app on iOS. This is a free update for Notion iOS owners that can be obtained by visiting Notion in the App Store on your device, or checking your available updates in the App Store.

All the changes are below—if you missed all the major news for v2.5 itself, check it out here.

And while you’re here, please join us at our new official Facebook user group for news, tips and community support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PreSonusNotionUsers

 


All Fixes and Enhancements:

New:

  • New language: Portuguese

Sounds Menu fixes:

  • In Store tab, Notion now shows a check mark (instead of a cloud) for purchased bundles
  • In Store tab, now shows a check for instruments purchased in bundles
  • In Store tab, icons are force refreshed after tapping Restore Purchases
  • In Sounds tab, instruments are reloaded after restoring purchases
  • Notion no longer restarts purchase downloads when the app launches

Languages:

  • (iOS13 and later) Can now change preferred language for just Notion, rather than following the language set globally for the device. Go to Device Settings>Notion>Preferred Language
  • ‘Choose Instruments’ now localised as expected in New Score dialog
  • Improved Korean translations in score setup
  • Template documents localised
  • Templates now open as expected in all languages

General:

  • Fix for drawing a tie if only “tied” element is present in an imported MusicXML file
  • Fix for Chord Root changing on iPhone only version of Chord Library when selecting extensions
  • Half notes will now split into tied notes on MIDI import, if they are syncopated and across the middle of a bar
  • General performance improvements
  • Minimum requirements: Apple iOS9 or higher (please note, Notion 2.5.x will be the final version to support iOS9 and iOS10)