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Monthly Archives: September 2022


Studio One 6 has Arrived!

Studio One 6 Professional

Here’s a quick FAQ of all you need to know about Studio One 6:

What’s new in Studio One 6?

A lot. Studio One 6 is our most personal update ever, fulfilling seven of the top eight feature requests over at Answers.PreSonus.com.

Click here to view the What’s New in Studio One 6 page for all the details. [LINK TO WHAT’s NEW PAGE]

If you don’t want to read that whole page now, here’s a short list of what’s new:

Smart Templates; a customizable UI; a Lyric Track and Lyrics Lanes; A Global Video Track with basic video editing; Track Presets; Online Collaboration tools; Vocoder; De-Esser; a dynamic function for ProEQ3; MPE support for Mai Tai, Sample One XT, and Presence XT; sidechaining in virtual instruments; control Sends from faders (Fader Flip); new stereo panning modes; Channel overview… and more.

Click here to see the full changelog. (Forum link)

[WHAT’s NEW VIDEO EMBED]

If I am a PreSonus Sphere member, do I have to pay extra for Studio One 6?

No, you already paid for it. If you’re a PreSonus Sphere member it’s already in your account.  Click here to go get Studio One 6.

Do I have to start using Studio One 6 right away if I’m in the middle of a project? 

No! You also still have access to Studio One 5, so if you’re in the middle of a high-priority project, you’re welcome to upgrade whenever it’s most convenient. 

But I just bought Studio One 5!

That’s OK. If you bought Studio One 5 on or after Aug. 1, 2022, just log into your MyPreSonus account to redeem your complimentary upgrade. Important: You must redeem this offer before January 1, 2023. 

Where do I get it and how much does it cost?

Studio One 6 Professional is available as part of a PreSonus Sphere Membership along with just about every piece of software PreSonus makes and tons of exclusive content and features. 

Both Studio One 6 Professional and Artist editions are also available as standalone purchases, or as an upgrade from a previous version. 

Studio One 6 Artist is also available for free with select PreSonus hardware.

Prices vary slightly by region, but you can check out our shop to see the pricing in your area:

I want to try before I buy.

That’s not a question, but we understand. The 30-day demo of Studio One 6 will be available soon! In the meantime, we invite you to try a month of PreSonus Sphere for $14.95 and test drive the ultimate platform for music creation and just about every piece of software we make. There’s no commitment, cancel anytime. 

Five One-Stage EQ Fixes

These simple EQ settings can fix a variety of issues. Just remember that often, a little goes a long way. When boosting or cutting with EQ, try the “rule of half”—boost or cut by what you think is the correct amount, then cut it in half and live with the sound for a while before deciding you need more.

1. Magic Fairy Dust

Figure 1: 10 kHz is the magic fairy dust frequency.

This trick dates back to the days of tape, when multitrack projects would start to lose high frequencies due to constant playback and self-erasure. Adding some high-frequency spice on the stereo mixes or masters helped compensate for any dullness. Although we don’t need to add as much compensation with DAWs, a somewhat narrow, moderate boost at 10 kHz (fig. 1) adds sparkle and brightness that gives a sheen to cymbals, percussion, and even vocals.

2. Clean Out Mud from Your Reverb

Figure 2: Remove muddiness from reverb.

This is especially useful for drum reverb. Reverberated kick can produce a muddy, indistinct sound that interferes with clarity in the bass range. Rolling off some low frequencies (fig. 2) prior to going into reverb eliminates the mud, and tightens the reverb. Note that you don’t need to use the linear-phase EQ for this application, because it doesn’t matter if there are some phase shifts about the cutoff frequency—it’s just going through reverb anyway. Also, if your CPU is straining, you don’t need to use the Pro EQ2’s High Quality mode.

3. Make Vocals More Intelligible

Figure 3: Here’s a quick fix for indistinct vocals.

This tip applies not just to singing, but to narration, voiceovers, and podcasts. A fairly broad boost in the 3 to 5 kHz range (fig. 3) increases intelligibility and adds brightness that helps lift a vocal in the mix. The optimum frequency depends on the voice and mic, but don’t overdo the boost. The human ear is most sensitive in this region, so too much boosting leads to listener fatigue—and you don’t want listeners to get tired of your vocals.

4. Tighten Your Master

Figure 4: A slight, lower midrange dip can tighten masters.

For a brighter, tighter pop sound when mastering, a slight dip in the 250-300 Hz region (fig. 4) reduces any potential muddiness. This can occur because many instruments have energy in this region, which unbalances the sound. Again, though, you be sparing. This region also contributes “warmth” to the sound, and you don’t want to reduce that too much.

5. Selectively Push Frequencies into Processing

Figure 5: EQ curve for playing lead guitar into overdrive and distortion.

This tip is most relevant with dynamics processing and amp sims. The sound of dynamics processors depends on whether audio goes above a threshold or not, while amp sims depend on a signal level being high enough to go into distortion.

Fig. 5 shows settings that precede an amp sim set for lead sounds. With these settings, the guitar’s high notes go into distortion more readily than low notes. The lead notes sustain longer, and you don’t have to hit the strings as hard to get the same amount of level as the lower strings. Although this goes against the conventional wisdom of placing EQ after compression, we’re using the EQ to modify the subsequent effect, not specifically to change the tone. Besides, conventional wisdom is overrated 😊

Heads-up: Version 1.3 of The Huge Book of Studio One Tips and Tricks is now available! This 637-page book with 230 innovative tips is a free update to owners of previous versions ($19.95 to new buyers). Download the update from your PreSonus or Sweetwater account the same way you downloaded your previous version. For more information, check out the series of Studio One eBooks. Also, there’s a dedicated support forum if you have questions about the tips, or suggestions for future revisions.

Two Crucial Tips for Quantizing Rhythm Guitar

Quantizing audio works best with short, percussive sounds—like drums. Rhythm guitar is more of a challenge, because the attacks aren’t always defined well, and volume fluctuations can add spurious transients as a chord decays. I know quite a few guitarists who set up their quantize parameters, hit “Apply,” and then wonder why the guitar part sounds worse, not better. So, they hit “Undo” and assume quantizing doesn’t work well for guitar. But it can, if you know the two tips in this week’s blog post.

To start the quantization process, select the event, open it in the Edit view, right-click on it, and choose Detect Transients. Do not choose Quantize, because we’ll need to edit some of the transient markers prior to quantizing. Then open the Audio Bend panel. The default transient detection is Standard analysis, with a Threshold of 80% (fig. 1). These are good initial settings for guitar.

Figure 1: Default Detection Mode and Threshold settings.

Tip #1: First, Do No Harm

With complex chords and lots of strings vibrating, Studio One may dutifully identify each attack with a transient marker. However, when listening, you might not hear any attacks in those places. Applying quantization to places that don’t need to be quantized can degrade the sound.

In fig. 2, after playing back the part, it didn’t seem the markers colored red (top view) needed to be there—only the marker between the two chord attacks correlated to an audible transient.

Figure 2: Removing unnecessary transient markers produces better-sounding audio.

Quantizing with all the markers in place created awkwardly stretched audio (middle view). After removing the markers in red and quantizing (bottom view), the quantization occurred exactly as desired.

Bottom line: If a transient marker doesn’t correlate to a transient you can hear, you’re probably better off deleting it. Sometimes, lowering the Threshold percentage in the Audio Bend panel takes care of removing unneeded markers for the entire Event.

Tip #2: Simplify Double Attacks

This is a big problem with rhythm guitar, because it’s physically impossible to hit all 6 strings at the same time. In fig. 3’s top view, note the doubled attack just before 3.4 (one of the attacks is colored red for clarity).

Figure 3: Ambiguous attack transients can cause problems, but there’s an easy fix.

The middle view applies quantization. Studio One has dutifully shifted the two transients to 16th notes, as instructed by the quantization parameters. But this overstretches the audio between the two transients, and doesn’t sound good.

The bottom view shows the audio after removing the transient shown in red in the top view, and then applying quantization. Studio One has shifted the remaining attack transient to the nearest 16th note, which is what we want.

Here’s another tip that relates to fig. 3. Note how the quantized transients at 3.4 and 4 seem a little late, like they missed the first part of the attack. However, I’ve found that if Studio One doesn’t have to deal with double attacks, it makes good judgment calls about where to define the chord’s attack. I’ve tried placing the transient closer to where the attack starts and quantizing, but most of the time, the chord then sounds a little late. Trust the force.

In any case, a little manual tweaking prior to quantization can make the difference between a natural-sounding part that doesn’t seem quantized, and quantized audio with unwanted glitches. I never quantize a rhythm guitar part without looking over the transients first, and making sure they don’t exhibit any of the issues described here.

Magic Stereo

For me, the gold standard for sound isn’t what comes out a studio, but live music. One of the reasons is that mono sound does not exist in an acoustic environment—it’s always interacting with the acoustic environment.

Sure, we can add reverb to give a mono instrument like electric guitar a static position in a stereo field. However, that will always require some kind of time-based manipulation. For a recent song project, I wanted a background guitar part to have motion within a stereo field—but without using any kind of delay, reverb, panning, or EQ. In other words: dry, electric, mono-output guitar with a stereo image. Impossible? Let’s find out.

The Track Setup

The way this works is so simple I’m surprised I never figured it out before. Fig. 1 shows the track layout.  The guitar (with added chorus, as required by the song) pans full left, and has two sends. One send provides the guitar’s audio to a bus. The other send controls the sidechain of a Compressor inserted in the bus. The bus is panned full right.

Figure 1: Track layout for the magic stereo effect.

As the Compressor’s level changes, there’s a sense of motion as the dynamics and levels in the left and right channels change. Even better, these changes are tied to the instrument’s dynamics. This makes for a more natural effect.

This audio example plays the guitar by itself, panned to center, and going through the PreSonus chorus.

Guitar without Magic Stereo

Now let’s hear the magic stereo effect. Although it’s most obvious on headphones, you’ll hear the effect on speakers as well.

Guitar with Magic Stereo

The final audio example plays it in context with the mix. It adds a sense of animation to the guitar you can’t get in any other way. I also included this example because the drums are following the chord track. It has nothing to do with this tip, but I love the cool melodic quality it adds.

Effect in context

Compressor Settings

The Compressor settings are crucial. The ones shown in fig. 2 are a good place to start.

Figure 2: Compressor settings for the Magic Stereo effect.

Adjust the settings by panning the source track full left. Increase the processed track’s level until both channels are at about the same level. Experiment with the Compressor’s Threshold to find the sweet spot between the compressor having no effect, or having too much of an effect. The Release can also affect this—too short or too long a release neuters the effect.  You’ll likely have to readjust the processed channel’s level quite a bit as you zero in on the ideal settings.

With 15 ms Attack, both channels have their attacks hit at the same time and with the same intensity. So, the attack sound appears in the center, has the advantage of center-channel buildup, and helps anchor the part. As the audio decays and the channels are more dissimilar, the audio “wanders” more in the stereo field.

This technique is also great with background vocals. I didn’t use it in this song because there was so much motion going on overall I wanted the background vocals to be a constant. However I’ve used this technique with other songs, and it’s very effective—especially if you have multiple tracks of background vocals, and you apply individual magic stereo processing to each one.

Instant Inspiration!

The MIDI-oriented Songwriter’s Assistant tip makes it easy to play around with chord progressions. This new tip is about experimenting with, and recording, audio chord progressions in real time—keep the sections you like, discard the rest, and build your song from there. It’s a simple, eight-step process.

1. Start with an empty Song. Enable the Chord Track, then use the Paint tool to create a Chord Track that runs the length of how long you expect to be trying out different chord progressions. The chord itself doesn’t matter.

2. Double-click on the Chord Track, then enable the Chord Selector’s Instrument Input and Speaker buttons (fig. 1).

Figure 1: Click the Instrument Input and Speaker buttons, outlined in orange.

3. Create a stereo audio track. Assign its input to Instruments > Chord Preview, and record-enable it. We’ll call the track Chord Progression (fig. 2).

Figure 2: Track layout for this tip.

4. Click on the Instrument Editor button in the Chord Preview mixer channel to open Mai Tai. This is the sound used for the Chord Track preview. For this tip to work correctly, it’s crucial to make the edits in fig. 3 to the Chord Preview preset. (After making the edits, I overwrote the original preset.)

Figure 3: Edit the Chord Preview preset parameters outlined in orange.

5. At this point, you’ll usually enter a rough tempo (you can always tweak the tempo later), enable the metronome, and select a 1-bar precount.

6. With the Chord Selector visible, start recording in the Chord Progression track. Click on a chord in the Chord Selector (however, the first chord must be different than the one that’s currently selected) to record its sound into the Chord Progression track. Continue selecting chords to create various chord progressions. Note: the chord will play for only a finite amount of time after you click on it, and it won’t play if you click on it again. To extend a chord’s playback, my workaround is to alternate clicking between the original chord and Power Chord (under Type).

7. Some of the progressions you try might be useful, some might not be—no problem. Keep the chord progressions that work, delete the rest, move them around on the timeline…whatever.

10 . At this point, you’ve probably forgotten which chords you played and when. Right-click on the recorded Event, and choose Audio > Extract to Chord Track. This automagically shows your chord progression (fig. 4). You may need to do a little cleanup, like extending a chord over where there’s silence—but your song is on its way.

Figure 4: I liked the section from measure 20 to measure 28. The rest will be discarded.

If you extended a chord’s length by using the workaround described in step 6, when you extract to the Chord Track, the chord extends for the time you clicked between the chord and Power Chord. Furthermore, it retains the chord type. For example, if you click on Dm, Power Chord, Dm, Power Chord, Dm, all of those will be represented as a single Dm chord “bar” in the Chord Track when extracted. Nice.

Now you can record other parts on other tracks, and have them follow the Chord Track. And here’s an extra tip: Read over the Chord Track documentation when you get a chance, and re-visit my previous Chord Track tips—the Chord Track is an incredibly powerful feature.

Heads-up: Version 1.3 of The Huge Book of Studio One Tips and Tricks is now available! This 637-page book with 230 innovative tips is a free update to owners of previous versions ($19.95 to new buyers). Download the update from your PreSonus or Sweetwater account the same way you downloaded your previous version. For more information, check out the series of Studio One eBooks. Also, there’s a dedicated support forum if you have questions about the tips, or suggestions for future revisions.