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Monthly Archives: May 2022


Studio One’s FM Synthesizer

On the surface, Mai Tai is an easy-to-program, fine-sounding virtual analog subtractive synthesizer. But let’s dig deeper—and unlock its unique FM synthesis talents (fig. 1).

Figure 1: Check out the sound of this 2-operator FM synthesis patch and the end of the post, and download the preset.

Mai Tai FM synthesis is possible because the LFOs go up to 8 kHz, and can also track the keyboard. So, using an LFO in the audible range to modulate oscillator pitch provides the basics of FM synthesis. What’s more, LFO 2 can modulate LFO 1’s frequency, which allows for 2-operator FM synthesis. However, note that you’ll probably want to use either the 80s or Normal quality setting. Oversampling with the High or Supreme settings can add more unpredictability because of the higher bandwidth…but then again, it can also add interesting variables.

For basic FM synthesis , try this: set Osc 1 to a sine wave. Set LFO 1’s waveform to sine, and enable its Key button. Assign LFO 1 to modulate Osc 1, and turn up modulation all the way. Vary the LFO frequency control in the audio range, and you’ll be greeted with a huge variety of bell and chime-like effects. Then, throw some delay and reverb on it—instant ambient sounds.

Basic FM Synthesis

You can also try other LFO waveforms, but let’s take this further. Turn up Osc 1’s Spread control past 80%, and you start to enter a world of tremolo and psycho-acoustic panning. Note that the following audio example uses no effects—just a long release time on the amplitude envelope. Changing the modulation depth gives wildly different sounds; for the next audio example it’s up about halfway.

Spread Control Turned Up

Let’s do one more “nice” sound before we get nasty. This uses the LFO to modulate Osc 1’s Pan instead of pitch, which creates a stereo image from Osc 1’s output.

FM Panning

Okay, it’s time for some sci-fi sound design. Here’s what happens when you modulate both Osc 1 Pitch and Pan, choose Sawtooth for Osc 1 and LFO, turn up Spread, and bend pitch up. Again, there are no effects.

Sci-Fi Sound Design

How about a nasty bass? The previous presets are all simple, but this one brings in another oscillator, adds envelopes for both the filter and VCA, and overlays a hint of distortion. Rather than take up the space to describe the parameters, you can just download the CA Nasty Bass.preset.

Nasty Bass

Note that for “pitched” sounds, the LFO setting is quite critical. Sometimes, offsetting the pitch for the Osc the LFO is driving can fine-tune the preset.

Finally, here’s a 2-Operator FM preset, where LFO 1 is modulating Osc 1, and LFO 2 is modulating LFO 1. Feel free to download the preset, I think it’s a pretty cool sound.

2-Op Big Sound

However, tuning is extremely tricky when one LFO is modulating another. This preset plays back 1 semitone sharp compared to concert pitch—sorry. Of course, there are plenty of ways to transpose it, either by shifting your controller down a semitone, or transposing the rendered audio. Like most FM synth presets, when you find something you like, save it! You may never find it again, and changing just one parameter might bring the whole house of cards falling down.

Now go have fun with your shiny new FM synth…that’s been around since Studio One 3 😊

Download the CA Nasty Bass preset here!

Download the CA 2-Op Big Sound here!

PreSonus Sound: Chiara Luzzana

“I don’t need a musical instrument when life plays the best notes”

Chiara Luzzana (2022)

We at PreSonus are extremely thrilled to hear and see Chiara Luzzana put her unique spin of sampling and *PLAYING* our hardware and software products musically in the creation of her performance video above.

Be sure to also watch her accompanying behind-the-scenes video (below) to learn how she hears and creates sound compositions from objects found in her world!

Chiara is a highly innovative and visionary sound designer.  She designs the sound of the most important brands in the world.

She has defined a real compositional method, unique in the field of sound brandingAs a kid, she studied guitar, clarinet and piano, but something in that method of teaching blocked her creativity. As she developed into an eclectic artist, she wanted to break the rules imposed by musical notation, to create music starting from noise to create visionary soundtracks.

As a former student at Berkelee College of Music, Chiara investigated how the brain reacts to sounds and vice versa, in order to structure every project with a specific mission.

Her sound works are a journey into the soul and psycho-acoustics, not just music. 

She studied to become an audio engineer in 2005, and has collected certifications and specializations in every field, from the neurobiology of musical cognition to the construction of microphones, to nourish her obsessive passion regarding every single detail related to sound.


“It is in the noise and in its harmonious imperfection that my creativity finds inspiration”

Chiara Luzzana (2022)

Chiara is also a public speaker from the Italian and foreign stages; through talks and sound performances, she tells the importance of sound in communication and in everyday life.

Chiara has made more than 100 talks from 2015 to today, including an invitation as a speaker to the  Senate of the Italian Republic, several TED talks, and was even shared the same stage with Elon Musk, at Tech Week 2021. 

Her workshops are held in Milan and Shanghai. 

Winner of the “Muse Creative Award” 2017 for the “Best Soundtrack”. Winner of the “Muse Creative  Award” 2019 for the “Best Sound Project”. Finalist of “Music + Sound Award” in 2016.  Winner of “Best Soundtrack” for the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation.

Capturing The UNLV Symphonic Wind Ensemble with Quantum 2626 and Studio One

“The way I found out about Studio One and PreSonus: I had lunch with Bob Moses (president of the Audio Engineering Society at one time)… and I asked him some questions about what he would recommend: what company was reliable, had integrity and specifically he said ‘you should look at PreSonus’ so that’s what I came away with”

Kevin Paez, Musician/Audio Engineer @bunnytonemusic (2022)

Under the musical direction of Conductor, Thomas Leslie and the production team of Wendell Yuponce, executive producer, David Garcia, recording engineer and mixer and Kevin Paez, assistant recording engineer; the award winning University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) Symphonic Wind Ensemble recently worked with special guest artists: John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Part Metheny, Herbie Hancock, numerous others), Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea,  Elton John, Billy Joel, numerous others), Mitchell Forman (Phil Woods, Carla Bley, Wayne Shorter, numerous others) and Bernie Dresel (Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, numerous others) and have recently completed initial tracking of a new recording project with a slate of all new wind orchestra works.

PreSonus Studio One DAW and Quantum 2626 audio interface captured the creative musical magic that flowed out over the span of nine days as the musicians tracked live onstage at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall on the UNLV campus.

This musical collection was commissioned to highlight the groundbreaking curriculum at the UNLV Wind Studies Department, which has an extensive history in expanding the repertoire of wind orchestra compositions and allowing students within the program the unique opportunity to interact with living composers of note while adding to the overall evolution of musical expression within the field of wind orchestra.

Become a Grouping Groupie

Recently, I did some mix consulting on a 60-track project centered around Ukrainian relief—and as someone who usually works with far fewer tracks, it reminded me just how valuable grouping can be. Although Studio One’s grouping in early days was basic, over the years it has grown up, gone to graduate school, and gotten a high-paying job. In the process, I’ve become a groupie for grouping.

Creating Groups

This process hasn’t changed—control+click on the channels you want to group, or shift+click for contiguous channels. This applies to both the Mix and Arrangement views. Then, right-click and choose Group Selected Tracks.

Working with Groups

Click on the Group icon (the three little people, outlined in orange in fig. 1), and the Groups appear (lime-green outline) at the top of the Channels List. Clicking on a Group highlights the grouped tracks in the Channel List, and shows the Group’s name to the right of the Channel. (Note that in wide console view, a Group icon appears above the faders of grouped tracks.)

The group button in brackets (red outline) toward the upper left of the Group box turns grouping on and off. For example, if you want to make some quick edits to a couple of channels without affecting other channels in any group, turn off grouping, make your edits, and turn grouping back on again. Another way to suspend grouping is to hold Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) while you change a parameter in a Group. 

Figure 1:  How to show Groups.

In the Channel List, clicking the white dot next to a Group suspends only that Group. However, if the Group is nested within another “master” group, then the rules change. In the example above, the Timbales are a Group, and Percussion—which includes the Timbales—is another Group. With Timbales turned off, any changes made to channels in the Percussion Group will still affect the Timbales, because Timbales are part of the Percussion Group. However, turning off grouping for the Percussion Group allows editing the Timbales independently.

Choosing Group Attributes

Right-click on a Group to choose the Group’s attributes. These include color, Rename Group, Dissolve Group, and 6 different parameters—Volume, Pan, Mute/Solo, Record/Monitor, Inserts, and Sends (fig. 2).

Figure 2: Grouping options.

The Editing attribute isn’t a “parameter” per se, but covers editing operations. This is powerful, because edit operations affect all members of the Group—split an event in one grouped track, and it splits events at the same place in all grouped tracks. The same is true for move, quantize, normalize, transpose, tune, etc. However, for instruments with individual outputs, note that edit operations apply only to audio when you group their Console channels. To have edits operations apply to the instrument tracks for individual outs, you need to group the instrument tracks separately, in the Arrange view.

Being able to choose attributes selectively is great. For example, I often Group Solo/Mute and Editing, and leave the other parameters alone while I’m setting up the mix. Then, I’ll add in Volume. (Note that if you use Insert to add an effect to all Grouped tracks, the effect parameters aren’t grouped, but you can Expand, Bypass, Remove, and Disable all grouped effects in the Console view.)

You can also edit the Group to which a channel belongs. In the Channel List, right-click on one of the grouped tracks, select Group Assignment, then check or uncheck a Group, as appropriate (fig. 3).

Figure 3: The Timbales Group is also being assigned to the Percussion Group.

So, there you have it: everything you need to become a groupie. Grouping is a great feature, so be sure to take advantage of it.

KRIS XEN: Modern Fusionist with PreSonus Studio One

Kris Xenopoulos, AKA “KRIS XEN” is a South African guitar player, musician and producer.

Most well-known for his work with South African death metal outfit, Vulvodynia and the meme-tastic comedy metal band xavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffx, KRIS XEN does not only have heavy riffs on his mind, but also manages to blend multiple genres into a seamlessly flowing track.

He’s also explored instrumental, guitar-driven music with his prog band Technopath… and now Kris is now branching out as a solo artist.

“I’ve been using PreSonus gear since I was 16 years old, I couldn’t be happier to be working with a brand that’s been such a big part of my life over the years.”

—KRIS XEN (2022)

KRIS XEN takes you on a musical journey that could only be described as modern fusion.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in Durban, he starting off as a drummer at the age of 11 and became addicted to guitars as a young teenager. He started his first bands at the age of 13 and eventually became a member of one of the most famous death metal outfits in South Africa; Vulvodynia. He is constantly evolving as a guitarist, producer and musician, and developed a great love for expanding his musical knowledge and touring.

During the pandemic Kris focused hard on writing, recording guitar and producing Vulvodynia’s most recent offering Praenuntius Infiniti from his home studio. The album was mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson.

Kris shows Studio One to mix/mastering engineer, Christian Donaldson

He has played in Ron Bumblefoot Thal’s (ex-Guns N Roses, Sons Of Apollo) band, done multiple headlining tours in Europe with Vulvodynia and Xavleg, and has headlined tours in the States, Australia, and Africa with Vulvodynia.

In Technopath, Kris has worked with some legendary musicians such as Brian Beller (Bass for The Aristocrats, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani), Mattias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen) and Nick Johnston.

Kris has also been featured in Guitar World Magazine and was the cover page for “New Voices In Guitar,” outlining “10 fresh guitarists to keep an ear out for in the coming year” for 2020.

Kris has just released a signature guitar with Ormsby Guitars, available worldwide and is presently on tour throughout the United States with Vulvodynia.

Follow KRIS XEN on Instagram for tour information and musical updates!



Join PreSonus Sphere today to check out KRIS XEN’s exclusive Presets and more by other PreSonus artists!

Only $14.95 per month for Studio One Professional, Notion, and so much more.

Unlock the Power of Impact XT’s Multiple Outs

We all know Impact XT is cool—but it’s at its coolest when you use the individual audio outputs, because then you can add exquisite effects to individual drums.

How Multiple Outputs Work, Part 1: Impact Setup

Let’s zoom out. Impact has 16 potential outputs, which can be mono or stereo. The reason for saying “potential” is that you can use as many as you want, in whatever configuration you want—all stereo, all mono, or a mix of mono and stereo outputs.

You assign a drum to one of the 16 outputs by clicking on the little number in a pad’s lower right, and choosing from one of the 16 outputs, either stereo or mono. More than one drum can feed a single output. For example, fig. 1 shows an Impact layout for a recent song. All the drums go to their own outputs, except that Perc1 and Perc2 feed the same output because they’re going to be processed, and have their levels adjusted, simultaneously.

Figure 1:  Impact XT setup for sending 7 drums to specific outputs.

Part 2: Console Setup

Now we’ll have the drums show up in the console. Open the Instruments panel, click on the downward arrow, and choose Expand to see Impact XT’s outputs. You’ll see all the Impact outputs (you may have to scroll to see more than the 16 stereo outputs). They’ll have an St (stereo) or M (mono) prefix, followed by the output number. Check the box that corresponds to each output that you’re using. It doesn’t hurt to check outputs you’re not using, but they’ll take up space in the console, and serve no purpose.

Next, simplify your life by renaming the console channels to reflect the drum names (fig. 2). The names will then show up in the Instruments panel. This lets you think of the console channels as sounds instead of just outputs.

Figure 2: The outputs have been named, and the drums go through a variety of processing.

Part 3: The Payoff

So why bother doing all this instead of just using a stereo output? Because we can do all kinds of fun processing. In this example:

  • The Snare channel is going to a bus with Room Reverb, set for a loooong decay. It’s followed by a Gate.
  • The Kick channel has a send that feeds the Gate’s sidechain, so when the kick hits, it lets through the snare’s reverb.
  • The Hat1 sound’s Analog Delay adds some motion.
  • The Cymbal goes through another Gate, set for a long attack time to give an attack delay effect. This is followed by the Open Air convolution reverb, which uses the “8.00s Thin” idealized reverb impulse from my Surreal Reverb Impulse Responses pack.

This processing transforms a dancehall-type beat into something more chill. The audio example’s first half plays what the loop would be like without processing, while the second half includes the processing—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of what multiple outputs can do.

Impact XT Multiple Outs.mp3