PreSonus Blog

Studio One 5.4 is here!


Studio One 5.4 adds new features, enhancement, and powerful workflow improvements to Studio One 5. This is a free update for Studio One 5 users and PreSonus Sphere members. Click “Check for Updates” from Studio One’s Start Page to get it!

 

Native support for Apple Silicon (M1) processors

 

With Studio One 5.4, PreSonus introduces native support for M1-based Apple computers. Native mode for Studio One 5.4 offers additional CPU optimization for better overall CPU performance. To achieve optimal performance, Native mode requires all VST plug-ins, instruments, and hardware drivers to also provide Native support. To that end, nearly all PreSonus application software, plug-ins, and hardware drivers now support full native compatibility with M1-based Macs.

 

Plug-in Nap

 

Studio One 5.4 introduces a new Plug-in Nap option that improves overall CPU performance by pausing processing for any plug-ins that are not currently passing audio. The status for each plug-in can be monitored in the updated Performance Monitor.

Plug-in Nap is automatically suspended when the plug-in window is opened. With this new option enabled, you can run more plug-ins in your session. Plug-in Nap does not currently support virtual instruments.

Export multiple formats in one pass

 

With only a single format selected, switching formats is as easy as clicking on a different format. Checking additional formats adds them to the selection. When a Publisher is selected (such as “Send to Notion,”) Studio One ensures that the default format of that publisher is part of the selection. Settings are now remembered when closing the “Export Mixdown” window. PreSonus Sphere members are able to export multiple formats simultaneously into a single PreSonus Sphere Workspace.

 

Realtime chord display in editor

 

A new Chord display for notes from the editor has been added to the Note Editor inspector underneath the existing Input Chord display. This display has two states, depending on the context:

“Current Chord” shows the chord detected from notes at the current play position, as well as the next upcoming chord.
“Selected Chord” shows the chord detected from the current note event selection. For multiple selected notes, the chord is determined from exactly these notes (can also be an arpeggio). For a single selected note, the detection looks for overlapping notes to determine the chord.
The current chord is displayed inside the tooltip, as well as on mouseover when editing notes.

The floating Chord Display can be set to show the current chord from the Chord Track, the input chord, or the currently selected chord in the editor. When showing chords from the Chord Track, the window shows both the current and next chord, as well as a progress bar to indicate the time to the next chord change–making it a great tool for recording and performing artists, as well as teachers and students.

 

Updated Plug-in Manager

 

The Plug-in Manager in Studio One 5.4 has a new Version column so you can make sure your plug-in library is always up to date; and a new Statistics tab provides useful information.

Third-party plug-ins that fail during the Studio One launch scan are now moved to a Blocklist inside the Plug-in Manager so they don’t interfere with your session. You have the ability to manually reset the blocklist, remove individual plug-ins, or move problematic plug-ins manually to the Blocklist by simply dragging and dropping them.

 

Performance optimization for Mix Engine FX

Like Plug-in Nap, Studio One Mix Engine FX plug-ins from PreSonus also now use less CPU processing when channels are silent. This improvement is available for all Mix Engine FX version 1.1 or newer and is automatically active on any session using Mix Engine FX.

 

Autosave just got better

New in version 5.4, Autosave will wait to complete until playback is no longer in progress. In addition, Autosave now takes less time by always using cached plug-in data. The “Use cached plug-in data on save” option now affects manual Save only.

 

Improved chord detection

Detecting chords from audio in Studio One 5.4 now delivers more accurate results and improved timing. Chords detected from note events are now more accurate as well. The full set of chords that are available in the Chord Selector can be recognized from music parts.

This produces more consistent results when dragging chord events from the Chord Track to the arrangement and back.

 

“Copy external files” option for Songs, Projects, and Shows

The option “Ask to copy external files when saving Song…” has been renamed to “Ask to copy external files when saving Document” and now also works for Projects and Shows, as it did before for Songs: When a document is saved, a dialog offers to copy all “external” files (outside the Song/Project/Show) folder that have been added since the last save. This question only appears once for each file.

An essential file management feature—now available for all Studio One document formats!

 

“Remove all” option for sends

 

A convenient “Remove all” option for sends is now available in the Console. Click on the drop-down arrow next to Sends to access the new command. This command can also be applied to groups of Channels simultaneously.

 

Full Studio One 5.4 video playlist:

Learn more about Studio One 

Shop Studio One

 

 

Retro Mix Legends 1.1: Now with more Boost!

Due to popular demand, we’ve added new functionality to two Retro Mix Legends Mix Engine Effects: Alpine Desk and Brit Console. This is a free update to existing owners of either (or both) plug-ins.

The #1 user request we received after releasing Alpine Desk and Brit Console was simple: more Boost! 

The Boost option was originally intended to accurately recreate the grit and saturation inherent in driving the gain stages of popular consoles. Of course it makes sense that modeling clean, accurate, high-quality consoles would result in sonic artifacts that can be pretty subtle. It just turned out that Boost was too subtle for some users.

But hey, you asked for it, so we’re glad to announce: Alpine Desk and Brit Console now each have two different levels of Boost available: “on,” and “crank!” This makes the overall range of Boost available via the Drive control very wide indeed! It ranges from barely audible to… well, to borderline ridiculous. 

Look, we understand that consoles aren’t stompboxes. But we also understand the impulse to throw accuracy out the window and just get loud once in a while. 

Additionally, as of Studio One 5.4, Retro Mix Legends plug-ins (including Porta Cassette) feature the same performance improvements as CTC-1 and other Mix Engine Effects—their processing is selectively paused when channels aren’t processing audio—making for more efficient use of your CPU.

To update your Brit Console and/or Alpine Desk, choose “Studio One Extensions” from the drop-down menu, followed by “Check for Updates.”

Check for Updates

If you do not already own the Retro Mix Legends Mix FX Plug-ins, you can pick them up HERE

Or you can get them included in PreSonus Sphere here for only $14.95/month. 

CMP (Craftmaster Productions): BOOST KNOB & Studio One

CMP is a sample creator and music producer from Miami, Florida.

He was introduced to Studio One via version 2 back in 2010, after being victim to a home invasion where his studio was picked apart clean. Newly-armed with a PC laptop gifted from one of his sympathetic colleagues, he went straight to Guitar Center where Studio One was sold to him on the promise that he could use familiar key commands from Logic. 

After installing the software and navigating around for a day, Studio One was his primary choice moving forward. CMP had used Cubase and Pro Tools previously, so there were features that instantly felt very familiar yet noticeably improved upon. From the Zoom In/Out functions, to the streamlined bus routing and the linear drag ‘n’ drop workflow… everything in Studio One seemed to work the way he wished it would have worked in other DAWs.

CMP now brings his excitement for Studio One with him to every studio session. As a producer in the hip-hop community, he started his Craftmaster Productions YouTube Channel in 2015 to showcase his passion for Studio One, and immediately began attracting the interest of other Studio One users online.

After a year of amazing feedback and growth on the platform, he created StudioOneTutorials.com, a place where the Studio One community could come and directly request content and courses from CMP. He also offers custom templates for Studio One via CMPKits.com along with compositions for producers to sample and flip, as well as his various MIDI products.

If you’re a Studio One user with even a passing interest in beatmaking production, subscribe to CMP on YouTube.

He’s been heavily supporting Studio One for a long time, and we’re all the better for it!

Hi-Hat Humanizing

Nothing is more bothersome to me than a 16th note hi-hat pattern with a constant velocity—like the following.

Audio Example 1

“Humanizing,” which usually introduces random changes, attempts to add more interest. But human drummers don’t really randomize (unless they’ve had too many beers). Even if the beats are off a little bit, there’s usually some conscious thought behind the overall timing.

So, what works for me is a mix of deliberate tweaking and what I call “successive humanization,” which applies humanization more than once, in an incremental way. With hi-hats, my goal is rock solid downbeats to maintain the timing, slightly humanized offbeats, and the most humanizing on everything that’s not the downbeat or offbeat. This adds variety without negatively impacting the rhythm.

Let’s fix that obnoxious 16th-note pattern. To start, select all the notes, and bring them down to just below 30% (fig. 1).

Figure 1: All the velocities are slightly below 30%.

 

Next, we’ll use Macros to select specific notes for editing. Select all the notes, click on the Macro View button (between Q and Action), click Action in the Macro Edit menu, and choose Note Selection > Select Notes Downbeat. Raise all the downbeats to just below 95% or so. Then, choose Note Selection again, but this time select Offbeat, and raise the offbeats to just below 50%. Now your notes look like fig. 2.

Figure 2: The downbeats are just below 95%, and the offbeats are just below 50%.

 

The part sounds like this…we’re on our way.

Audio Example 2

Close the Macro view. Now we’ll humanize the lowest-velocity notes a little bit. Select all the notes. Click on Action, and under Global, choose Select Notes. Choose Range, set Velocity from 1% to 30%, and click OK (fig. 3). This is why we wanted to set the notes slightly below 30%—to make sure we caught all of them in this step.

Figure 3: Getting ready to humanize notes with velocities under 30%.

Choose Action > Humanize. We’re going to Humanize the notes downward a bit, so set Add Velocity Range to -10% and 0% (fig. 4).

Figure 4: Humanizing has been restricted to lowering velocities somewhere between 0% and -10%, but only for notes with velocities under 30%.

Let’s introduce some successive humanization. Click on Action, and again, Select Notes. Choose Range, set Velocity from 1% to 50%, and click OK. Now we’ll humanize velocity for the notes that were originally under 50% and also those that were under 30%. Humanize again to -10%, as done in the previous step. There’s a little more variety in the following audio example.

Audio Example 3

 

Now let’s humanize the start times a bit, but only for the notes below 50%—we want rock-solid downbeats. Select the notes under 50% as you did in the previous step, but this time, for the Humanize menu don’t alter velocity. Just humanize the start time between -0.00.10% and 0.00.10% (fig. 5).

Figure 5: This will humanize start times for all notes currently below 50%.

Now our notes look like fig. 6. Look closely to see the changes caused by humanization.

 

Figure 6: The sequence now has humanized start times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And it sounds like…
Audio Example 4

At this point, the Macros and humanization options have added some much-needed variations. Although I feel drum parts always need at least a little of the human touch, thanks to Studio One doing most of the work, at this point only a few small changes are needed. Also, a little filtering can make the harder hits brighter. (Tip: When editing the filter parameters, turning the Resonance way up temporarily makes the range that’s being covered far more obvious.) Fig. 7 shows the final sequence.

Figure 7: This adds a few manual velocity tweaks, along with filter editing to make higher-velocity sounds brighter.

The point of the filter was to give a more subdued hi-hat sound, as you’ll hear in the next audio example. If you want a more metronomic effect, you’d probably prefer the previous audio example…but of course, it all depends on context.

Audio Example 5

You can even try one final humanize on everything—a little velocity, and little start time—and see what happens. If you don’t like it…well, that’s why “undo” exists!

 

 

Add More Inputs to Your Audio Interface

 

I never liked patch bays. I certainly didn’t like wiring them, and I didn’t like having to interrupt my creative flow to patch various connections. In my perfect world, everything would patch to its own input and be ready to go, so that you never had to re-patch anything—just assign a track to an input, and hit record.

With enough audio interface inputs, you can do that. But many audio interfaces seem to default to 8 line/mic ins. This makes it easy to run out of inputs, especially as synth fanatics gravitate toward re-introducing hardware to their setups (and want to take advantage of Studio One 5’s Aux Channels). We’ll assume you don’t actually want to get rid of your interface with 8 mic/line ins…you just want more. There are three main solutions:

  • Use a mixer with audio interfacing capabilities. A StudioLive will certainly do the job, but it could be overkill for a home studio, unless it’s also what you use for gigs.
  • Aggregate interfaces. We’re getting closer—simply add another interface to work alongside your existing one. It’s easy to aggregate interfaces on the Mac using Core Audio, but with Windows, ASIO almost never works for this. So, you need to use Windows’ native drivers. The newer WASAPI drivers have latency that’s close to Core Audio, but aren’t widely supported. So, you may be stuck with the older (slooooow) drivers. Another issue is needing to give up another USB port for the second interface, and besides, using different applets to control different interfaces can be a hassle.
  • ADAT optical interface. This is my preferred solution, which works with both Mac and Windows. It’s especially appropriate if you record at 44.1 or 48 kHz, because then you can add another 8 inputs per ADAT optical port. (At 88.2 or 96 kHz, you’re limited to 4 channels per port, and not all audio interfaces are compatible with higher sample rates for optical audio.)

Why ADAT Optical Is Cool

I started with a PreSonus Studio 192 interface, graduated to a PreSonus 1824c, but kept the Studio 192 as an analog input expander. The 192 has two ADAT optical ports, so it can send/receive 16 channels at 44.1 or 48 kHz over a digital audio “light pipe” connection. The 1824c has one ADAT port for input and one for output, so patching one of the Studio 192’s optical outs to the 1824c’s optical in gave a total of 16 analog inputs. This accommodates my gear without having to re-patch.

Another advantage is that the Studio 192 has +48V available for individual mic inputs, whereas the 1824c’s +48V option is global for all inputs. So, I can easily use a mix of ribbon, dynamic, and condenser mics with the 192, while leaving +48V off for the 1824c.

The interface being used as an “expander” doesn’t require a permanent USB connection to your computer (although you may need a temporary connection to change the interface’s default settings, if you can’t do that from the front panel). And, you don’t need an interface with lots of bells and whistles—just 8 inputs, and an ADAT out. A quick look at the used market shows plenty of ways to add another 8 channels to your audio interface for a few hundred dollars, although this could also be a good reason to upgrade to a better interface, and use the older one as an expander.

Because the 1824c has an ADAT input, both interfaces show up in the Song Setup menu. The inputs from the ADAT light pipe look, act, and are assigned like any other inputs (Fig. 1).

Figure 1: It even kind of looks like a patch bay, but I never have to patch any physical connections.

Time for a Caution…

…and that caution involves timing. Always set the ADAT expander as the master clock, so that it’s transmitting clock signals to the main interface, which is set to receive the clock (Fig. 2). If the main interface is the master, then the expander will be free-running and unsynchronized. The audio will seem to work, but you’ll get occasional pops and clicks when the units drift out of sync (which they will do over time).

Figure 2: Make sure the main interface syncs to the expander’s clock.

Patch bays? Who needs ’em? I like virtual patch bays a lot more.

Claim Your 342 Free Ampire Cabs

Add the cabs from the 3rd gen Ampire with the ones from the High-Density expansion pack, and you have 19 cabs.

Surprise! You actually have 342 cabs. Not all of them sound fabulous, but some do—especially if you throw a Pro EQ into the mix. What’s more, with clean sounds, the new cabs give “varitone”-like filtering effects that almost sound like you have an infinite supply of different bodies and pickups. We’ll show how to take advantage of these new cabs with Studio One’s Pro and Artist versions.

How It Works (Pro Version)

With Pro, the Splitter is the star (fig. 1). The Ampire at the top provides your amp sound (optionally with effects), but don’t load a cabinet. Split the amp’s output into two parallel paths, each with an Ampire that has only a cabinet (no amps or effects). Insert a Mixtool in one of the parallel paths, and click its Invert button.

Figure 1: FX Chain setup for Studio One Pro.

If you select the same cab for both parallel paths, you won’t hear anything, because they cancel. But with two different cabs, what they have in common cancels, while their various modeled resonances remain. This creates the sound of a different, distinctive cab. Of course, you can also play with the cab mic positions to generate even more possible sounds…the mind boggles.

Finally, add another Mixtool at the output so you can increase the gain. This compensates for the reduced level due to one path being out of phase. If you want to add a Pro EQ (recommended), insert it before the Mixtool.

 

How It Works (Artist Version)

Fig. 2 shows how to set up busing to do this in Artist, although Pro users might prefer this option because the editable elements are more exposed.

  • The Ampire in the PRS Green channel (which has an amp only, with no cab) has one send that goes to Bus 1, which has a cab-only Ampire.
  • Another send goes to Bus 2, with another cab-only Ampire, as well as a Mixtool to invert the phase.
  • The Bus 1 and 2 outputs go to the FX3 channel, which sums the standard and out-of-phase cabs together. The FX3 channel also has a Mixtool to provide makeup gain.

Figure 2: Setup for the Artist version.

Note that if you choose the same cab for the Ampires in Bus 1 and Bus 2, and your original channel’s fader (in this case, PRS Green) is all the way down, you should hear nothing due to the cancellation. If you hear something, either the sends to the buses, the bus levels, Ampire output controls, or mic settings are not identical for the two channels.

But Wait—There’s More!

The composite cab sound in the FX3 bus can often benefit from adding a Pro EQ before the final Mixtool. Typically you’ll roll off the bass, or make the treble less bright, depending on the cabs. And again, let me remind you to try this with clean sounds—it’s sort of like out-of-phase pickup wiring, but with hundreds of options.

One limitation is that there’s no way to change cabs with a control panel knob or with automation. To explore the various sounds, choose a cab for the Ampire in one of the buses, then run through the cabs in the other bus’s Ampire. Some sounds won’t be all that useful, others will be distinct and novel, and some that don’t appear to be useful at first come into their own with just a touch of EQ.

Want an audio example? Sure. This combines the VC 20 and with an out-of-phase British II, with a little low-frequency rolloff. The Open Air reverb uses an impulse from my Surreal Reverb Impulse Responses pack. You’re on your own for checking out the other 341 combinations!

When you find a combination of cabs that works, write it down—with this many cabs to choose from, you might not find it again.

 

Notion iOS 2.6.1 Release Notes

Notion iOS 2.6.1 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. 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:

  • Hairpins (cresc / decrescendo lines) now move as expected when dragged for the first time
  • Mixer now always updates between different files opening
  • Mixer now always shows on importing a MusicXML file that has a part with multiple instruments in the same voice
  • Fixed occasional spacing issue between notes in voice 1 and 2
  • Fix an issue when tying voice 2 notes across a bar line when voice 1 has the same note
  • Fix for issue with joined stems
  • German translation corrected for common/cut time and ‘Hide end of system courtesy’
  • General performance improvements in playback
  • Minimum requirements: Apple iOS9 or higher (please note, Notion 2.x will be the final version to support iOS9 and iOS10)

Notion 6.8.2 Now Available

Notion 6.8.2 Maintenance Release

Notion 6.8.2 Build 18133 is now available for Windows and macOS. It is a free update for Notion 6 owners or PreSonus Sphere members, and it can be obtained by clicking “Check for Updates” within Notion, or downloading from your PreSonus Sphere or myPreSonus account. All the changes are below.

 

Notion Facebook GroupPlease join us over at our new official Facebook user group for news, tips and community support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PreSonusNotionUsers

 


ALL FIXES

Improvements

  • ‘Insert multiple barlines’ tool added. Go to Tools Menu>Insert Barlines, or Right click>Tools>Insert Barlines
  • ‘Double at Interval’ tool added to right click>Notes (as well as still being available from the numeric keypad)
  • ‘Note after same’ condition for rules added

Fixes

  • Notion 6 now runs as expected when using an interface that presents more than 64 channels
  • [Win] Crash fixed when exporting MIDI or sending or Studio One when there is no audio device available
  • [macOS] Scrollbars enabled by default to improve graphics performance on Big Sur
  • Fix for playback not starting, if a range object (e.g. decrescendo) is dragged past the final measure line
  • Fixed occasional spacing issue between notes in voice 1 and 2
  • Fix an issue when tying voice 2 notes across a bar line when voice 1 has the same note
  • Fix for issue with joined stems
  • Fix issue when using the Fill with Rests tool, if a measure is overfull.
  • German translation corrected for common/cut time and ‘Hide end of system courtesy’
  • [macOS] More space added to text labels for translations
  • General performance improvements in playback

Mid-Side Reverb for Studio One Artist (and Pro)

 

But first: free stuff news! The eBook How to Create Compelling Mixes in Studio One Version 2.0 is now available as a free update to anyone who bought the original version (for new buyers, it’s $14.95)—just go to your PreSonus account, and download it. There’s new material on mix referencing and LCR mixing, numerous tweaks, additional tips, and a new layout that’s more smartphone- and tablet-friendly.

Okay…back to reverb. The blog post Mid-Side Meets Reverb used the Splitter, which is included only in Studio One Pro. However, when the post got comments like “OMG! Just did this for a simple guitar and vocal demo, and now it sounds massive and super-professional. This technique really gives space and depth to the mix!,” I thought I’d better come up with an Artist-friendly version. Pro users might even prefer this bus-oriented implementation. And because the tip is dedicated to reverb, it’s simpler than the more general-purpose blog post on Mid-Side Processing with Artist (which includes a refresher course on mid-side processing, if you need more background).

How It Works

It’s common practice to use a track send to feed audio to a reverb bus. But with this mid-side technique, there are two sends, which feed two reverb buses. One bus has reverb for the Mid (centered) audio (like bass, kick, snare, etc.), while the other reverb processes the Sides (what’s panned more toward the left and right, like hi-hat, doubled guitars, background vocalists, room mics, etc.). This can give an outstanding stereo image, more flexible editing, and you can use different reverbs for the mid and sides. Also, for those who like to use a dedicated vocal reverb, if the vocal is mixed to center it won’t be influenced by the reverb used on other instruments.

Fig. 1 applies this technique to processing a mixed drum loop.

Figure 1: Mid and Sides reverb buses, being fed by a mixed drum loop.

The mid audio is just the sum of the left and right channels, so all we need is a Dual Pan before the mid reverb, with both controls panned to center (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: Dual Pan settings for the Mid reverb bus.

Fig. 3 shows the effects used in the Sides reverb bus.

Figure 3:  Effects for the Sides reverb bus.


When a signal enters the Sides bus, the first Mixtool encodes the audio. The sides end up on what would usually be a stereo signal’s right channel, while the mids occupy what would normally be the left channel. By setting the Dual Pan Input Balance to right, only the sides go to your reverb of choice (it doesn’t have to be Room Reverb). Then, the processed sides go to the bottom Mixtool, which decodes the sides back into standard stereo.

Now you’re ready to choose your balance of the Mid and Sides reverb. Note that bringing up the sides widens the stereo image. The audio example plays a 4-measure drum loop without reverb, then only the mid reverb, then only the sides, then both together, then fades out on the dry drums.

For the reverbs, my go-to is the Open Air reverb, with impulses from the Surreal Reverb Impulse Responses pack. The Sides reverb uses the 4.00s Bright impulse, while the Mid uses the 2.00s Thinner impulse. The “Thinner” impulse reduces the bass response, so instruments like kick and bass don’t clutter up the reverb, but snare and other midrange instruments panned to center get reverb.

Happy ambiance!

So…What Does the CTC-1 Really Sound Like?

Good question, because the effect is subtle. If you play with the various controls while listening to a mix, you can tell that something is different, but you may not know exactly what. So, let’s find out what the CTC-1 actually contributes to the sound.

Bear in mind that Mix FX work across multiple buses, and the overall effect depends on the audio being sent through them, as well as the control settings. So while this tip can’t tell you what the CTC-1 will sound like under various conditions, you’ll get a sense of the character associated with each of the CTC-1’s mixer emulations. Note that the audio examples are not mixed songs, but only the effect added by the CTC-1 to mixes, and amplified so you can hear the effect clearly.

Also, it doesn’t look like PreSonus is letting up on Mix FX development any time soon (PortaCassettes and Alps, anyone?), so this tip should be handy in the future as well.

The Test Setup

  1. Load a track with a stereo mix of a song you like.
  2. Duplicate (complete) the track, and invert the copy’s polarity (phase). To invert the polarity, you can insert a Mixtool and click on the Invert Left and Invert Right buttons. Or enable the channel’s Input Controls, and flip the polarity with those (as shown in fig. 1).

Figure 1: Test setup for evaluating the CTC-1 mixer’s various characters.

  1. Insert a Bus, and assign the out-of-phase track’s output to the Bus input. The Bus output goes to the Main output, as does the in-phase track output. Make sure the Main output’s Mix FX is set to None.
  2. Set all faders to 0 dB, and start playback. With the Bus’s Mix FX set to None, you should hear nothing—the only audio sources are the original track, and the out-of-phase track playing back through the Bus. If you hear anything, then the faders are not at the same levels, the out-of-phase track is somehow getting into the Main bus, or the Main bus has a Mix FX enabled.

Now you can check out various CTC-1 mixers. Fig. 2 shows the default setting used for the tests. In the audio examples, the only changes are setting the Character control to 1.0, or to 10. 1.0 is the most faithful representation of the console being emulated, while 10 adds the equivalent of a sonic exclamation mark.

Figure 2: Default CTC-1 control settings used for these tests.

Let’s Start Testing!

Note that there’s a continuum of Character control settings between 1.0 and 10.  Settings other than those in the audio examples can make a major difference in the overall sound, and you can really hear them with this kind of nulling test.

Here’s what the Classic mixer sounds like. Its main effect is in the midrange, which a Character setting of 10 really emphasizes. Among other things, this gives a forward sound for vocals.

The Tube sound kicks up the low end, but turning up the Character control emphasizes a slightly higher midrange frequency than the Classic sound, while retaining the bass.

The Custom mixer is about adding brightness mojo and bass. Bob Marley would probably have loved this. Turning up Character emphasizes lower midrange frequencies than the other two.

Snake Oil, or the Real Deal?

I don’t have the mixers on which these settings were modeled, so I can’t say whether this is the real deal. But I can say it’s definitely not snake oil. The effect is far more nuanced then just EQ, and the audio examples confirm that Studio One owners who say the CTC-1 adds some kind of mysterious fairy dust are right…it does add some kind of mysterious fairy dust.

These audio examples should make it easier to get the sound you want. For example, if you like the way the Custom hits the bass and treble, but it’s a bit much, then simply turn up the Character control for a little more midrange. If your mix is already pretty much where you want it, but it needs to pop a bit more, the Classic is the droid you’re looking for. The Tube really does remind me of all those years I spent on tube consoles, especially if I turn up Character a little bit.

Sure, you just turn select mixer emulations, and play with controls, until something sounds “right.” But I must say that running these tests have made it much easier to zero in, quickly, on the sound I want.