In Part 1 (“A New Hope”) of the NI Kontroller trilogy, we covered how to integrate the DAW functions from Native Instruments’ Komplete Kontrol keyboards with Studio One. Let’s take this another step further.
In theory, Komplete Kontrol’s MIDI control surface application is only for stand-alone use, and requires using both an external power supply and the keyboard’s 5-pin DIN MIDI connectors for I/O. With a live rig, this makes sense; for use with a DAW, you have the NKS spec communicating over USB. But wouldn’t it be great to be able to use the Komplete keyboard’s control surface with non-NKS instruments, and even effects, in Studio One over USB? Well, you can.
For Windows, install MIDI-OX. This utility is key to letting us re-direct the MIDI messages at the Komplete keyboard’s external output to Studio One.
For Macs running Catalina, I currently don’t know of any way to use the MIDI Patchbay utility. This is similar to MIDI-OX, but hasn’t been updated since 2008, and system requirements stop at Mac OS X 10.14. You can try using it with pre-Catalina systems; if Apple’s Gatekeeper blocks the installation, you’ll need to allow it under Security & Privacy. Once you get it installed, it should work similarly to MIDI-OX if you choose Komplete Kontrol S-Series Port 1 for the MIDI input option (and consider that equivalent to Komplete Kontrol -1 in the following description), and choose Komplete Kontrol S-Series Port 2 for the MIDI output option (it should work similarly to Komplete Kontrol EXT-1, below). Mac users, please feel free to comment below about what does and does not work with the Mac.
Back to Windows…
A WORD OF CAUTION
At the moment, the Komplete Kontrol application’s template management is somewhat primitive. Any changes you make are saved when you close the MIDI controller application; there’s no “Save” or “Save as” command, nor can you manage individual templates—they’re all saved in a single .dat file.
However, if saving-by-closing doesn’t work for you, and you can’t seem to save new templates, there may be an esoteric Windows problem. This is particularly likely for those who upgraded to Windows 10 from an earlier version, because the folder holding the templates may be write-protected due to inheriting permissions. Here’s the fix.
Okay, now that’s out of the way. Hey!! Don’t blame me! It’s a Windows thing.
CREATING A STUDIO ONE-FRIENDLY TEMPLATE
You access the MIDI control surface when you push the Komplete keyboard’s MIDI button, which also defaults to opening if the Komplete keyboard doesn’t see an NKS instrument. The following procedure describes how to create the kind of template we want for Studio One’s plug-ins.
Note that you can choose whether the knobs cover an absolute range, as specified by the Range From and To controls, a Relative Range, or a Relative Offset. Since I don’t like my head to explode any more than necessary, I left this option on Absolute to start, knowing that I could change it later. You can also program keyboard parameters, pedals, the touchstrip, and the keyboard key colors—16 color choices in all. So, different templates can color the keys differently for visual confirmation that you’ve chosen the desired template (of course, I chose the color “mint” for the Mojito template).
So to recap, we’ve set up a general-purpose template, with a separate controller for each knob and switch, that we can use to create a custom control surface for non-NKS instruments and effects… as we’ll find out in part 3 of the NKS trilogy, Rise of the Controller.
The Studio Rats are a band hailing from the UK, led by none other than our good friend Mr. Paul Drew; a longtime Studio One user.
Starting off as a session guitar player with a small recording setup at home, Paul quickly got the bug for recording in a more serious way and moved on to having a commercial studio for artists to come in and record. While he was in the process of developing this, he got asked to write some songs for some pop acts. One of the bands were then taken on by a record company, and Paul was asked to be their in-house producer. There he met his business partners and formed DWB Music, Limited. DWB has sold songs all over the world and currently are at about 40 million sales and 100 million streams.
About a year ago, Paul got a bit tired of just working on programmed pop music and wanted to take a break to just work with live musicians. He now gets to do this with his current project The Studio Rats.
The core members are:
Having worked with many great singers and co-writers over the years, Paul invited a few of them to perform and co-write the songs. He also wanted to find a way to provide free content for music production, mixing and guitar playing online, so The Studio Rats YouTube Channel was created.
About the PreSonus audio tools that he employs:
Paul has been using Studio One DAW since version 2 for composing, recording and mixing, along with the Faderport controller and a Quantum audio interface that he uses for any sessions away from his home studio in Surrey, UK. Prior to adopting Studio One, he had a Pro Tools HDX System.
Studio One features that Paul enjoys:
A closing thought from the leader of The Studio Rats:
“PreSonus has been amazing with user feature requests. You don’t get this from the other DAW companies. I wholeheartedly recommend that people give Studio One a trial, you won’t look back.”
Studio One 4.53 introduced integration with Native Instruments’ Komplete series of keyboards, which is a big deal. Although these keyboards are theoretically dedicated to NKS-compatible plug-ins and mixer/transport hands-on control, with Windows systems (Mac fans, there’s more on this later) you can use the keyboard as a general-purpose, hands-on MIDI controller for non-NKS plug-ins, including all bundled PreSonus effects and instruments (as well as plug-ins from other manufacturers). Also, unlike standard NKS, you’ll be able to control effects, regardless of whether or not they’re inserted in an instrument track.
There’s a lot to cover, and since this is more like a tutorial than a tip, it’s split into three parts: DAW control with Studio One, creating custom templates for plug-ins, and how to apply the templates in your workflow.
INTEGRATING THE KEYBOARD
Choose Studio One > Options > External Devices, and click Add. Scroll to the entry for Native Instruments, unfold it, and select either your A/M or S series keyboard for Receive From and Send To. I’m using an S49 (Fig. 1).
INTEGRATING THE CONTROL SURFACE
Now let’s set up the Komplete keyboard as a new control surface. Again, choose Studio One > Options > External Devices, click Add, and scroll down to the entry for Native Instruments. Unfold it, and select Komplete Kontrol DAW – 1 for both Receive From and Send To (Fig. 2).
CHOOSING THE MODE OF OPERATION
To edit NKS plug-ins, press the PLUG-IN mode button in the keyboard’s cluster of six buttons, toward the upper right. Controls that don’t relate to a synth or effect, such as the Transport, Metronome, Tape Tempo, and the like remain active. When it’s time to mix and you want full integration with Studio One’s mixer, press the MIXER button.
The following describes how the control surface for the current S-series Mk2 keyboards integrates currently with Studio One; click here for information from PreSonus on suitability with other NI keyboards, and updates.
Transport. The Play, Rec, and Stop buttons do what you’d expect, but there’s more to the story than that—there are several nuanced options. The following assumes you’re starting from a stopped transport.
This takes care of the mixer and transport functions. Next week, we’ll cover how to create custom MIDI control setups using the Komplete Kontrol application, and that will prepare us for Part 3, which describes how to create “faux NKS” control surface capabilities for PreSonus instruments and effects. Yes, it really is possible…
ioStation24c: The collaborative partner for the solo artist.
When you’re a solo artist, you have to be more than just creative to realize your vision—you must also be a producer and an audio engineer. The ioStation 24c audio interface and production controller provides the tools needed for all of these diverse roles in a compact, ergonomic desktop design that will fit into any home studio.
Let’s take a minute to look at all the firsts PreSonus has had in our first 25 years, from 1995-2020. It’s been quite a ride, and we’ve been glad to have you along for it. In fact, we couldn’t have done it without your support and input. Thanks for taking the trip with us. The next 25? They’re going to be even better.
For a more detailed look at what all we’ve been up to for the past 25 years, and where we hope to go in the future, check out our recently-revised PreSonus History section.
1995 – Patented MIDI control over analog devices
1996 – the first multi-channel compressor with onboard bus link
1997 – the first stereo analog compressor with presets and manual control
1998 – Invented proprietary IDSS control
2000 – the first 8-channel mic preamp with ADAT output
2002 – The first Analog/Digital recording system over FireWire
2003 – the first rackmount monitoring controller with talkback
2004 – The first FireWire audio interface with eight onboard mic preamps
2005 – the first completely software-controlled audio interface
2006 – the first audio interface with integrated monitor control
2007 – the first single-Fader DAW control surface
2008 – the first digital mixer with continuously bidirectional FireWire interface.
2008 – the first dedicated recording application for a digital mixer
2009 – the first DAW with both recording and mastering
2010 – THE First DAW with direct-to-Soundcloud export
2011 – the first DAW with Melodyne integration
2011 – The first digital mixer control app on the Apple App Store
2012 – the first iPhone monitor mix control app in the App Store
2013 – the first cross-platform integration between software and hardware
2014 – the first powered loudspeaker with Dante™ connectivity
2015 – THE First DAW with cross-platform multitouch support
2016 – the First bi-directional control between a DAW and digital mixer
2018 – the First DAW with real-time pitch control over MIDI and audio
2018 – The first fully-integrated AVB ecosystem
2019 – invented Patent-pending constant directivity loudspeaker design
AND SO MANY MORE
– Patented MIDI control over analog devices
– the first multi-channel compressor with onboard bus link
– Invented proprietary IDSS control to provide manual adjustment over the drain current of an input FET amplifier
– the first 8-channel mic preamp with limiting and A/D conversion to ADAT
– the first Analog/Digital recording system over FireWire
– Invented adjacent filter limiting
– Invented adaptive noise cancellation
– the first rackmount center console monitoring controller with talkback
– the first FireWire audio interface with eight onboard mic preamps
– the first digital sidechain in an analog compressor
– the first solid-state/vacuum tube dual-path mic preamp
– the first audio interface to be networkable over FireWire
– the first completely software-controlled audio interface
– the first audio interface with integrated monitoring remote control
– the first single-fader DAW control surface
– the first FireWire interface for Roland VS hard disk recorders
– the first digital mixer with continuously bidirectional, per-channel FireWire interface
– the first dedicated recording application for a digital mixer
– the first DAW with recording and mastering on the same platform
– the first digital mixer with cascading over FireWire
– the First DAW with direct-to-Soundcloud export
– The first digital mixer control app to be available on Apple App Store
– the first iPad controlled audio interface
– the first iPhone monitor mix control app in the App Store
– the First digital mixer with integrated SMAART system measurement
– Invented proprietary UCNET protocol for cross-platform communication and control between software and hardware
– the first powered loudspeaker with onboard processing and iPad control
– the first powered loudspeaker with Dante™ connectivity
– the First DAW with cross-platform high-DPI and multitouch support
– the First and still only DAW with Scratch Pad alternate mix and arranger tool
– the First and still only DAW with Mix Engine FX for engine-level console emulation plug-ins
– the First bidirectional control and mix settings import/export between a DAW and digital mixer
– the First DAW with pitch control over MIDI and audio simultaneously (and in real-time)
– the first fully integrated AVB ecosystem
– Invented a patent-pending constant directivity loudspeaker design
– the first the single fader DAW control surface with integrated audio interface
Let’s take a closer look at the “Studio” in “StudioLive,” with special guest host Matt Osgood! In this six-video series, Matt covers everything from basic setup to recording with effects and remote control. Later in the series we get a look at StudioLive DAW Mode and automation writing in Studio One.
This is good stuff.
Please join us in welcoming the esteemed Joe Gilder to the PreSonus family! He has a new Studio One playlist full of tips started… with more episodes to come! Check it out below.
In the comments for last week’s tip on varipseed-type formant changes, reader Randy Hayes asked if it was possible to change the tempo similarly so that you could play along with something at a slower tempo, then speed it back up (while still being the correct key). This was a common technique with tape, but because pitch and speed were locked together, there would be formant changes—whether you wanted them or not—when you returned the slowed-down track to pitch.
One of the MIDI’s great features is that you can sloooooooow down the tempo, play along with the slowed-down track, then speed it up to make it seem like you have lightning-fast technique. The good news is that with audio, you can slow down Studio One’s tempo without changing pitch, which sounds great in theory. The bad news is that this isn’t always a painless solution, because Events recorded at a slower tempo will likely need to be time-stretched when you return to the original tempo, and you may also need to call up the Inspector for Events or Tracks to specify how the Events should relate to tempo. Also, if there’s a Tempo Track with tempo changes, then you have to offset all the tempo data, as well as make sure you restore it to the proper tempo when you’re done.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to record along with a song at a slowed-down tempo, and have the correct timing for the recorded part when you restore the song to its original tempo. This complements last week’s formant-changing trick; the technique starts off similarly but ends up quite differently.
Figure 1: Use the Export Mixdown function to create a premix.
Figure 2: Access the Speedup parameter by right-clicking on the premix.
Figure 3: The recorded guitar solo, with an added “dummy” Event that starts at the beginning of the song, prior to merging them together.
Figure 4: Once the newly recorded track goes to the start of the song, change the Speedup parameter to compensate for the slowdown.
Note that any vibrato will be sped up when you restore the new part to the original tempo. This may be something you want, but if not, just remember to apply a slower vibrato than usual. Also, the timing will be tighter—a note that’s off the beat by a bit will hit closer to the beat when sped up.
Sure, some people might think this is cheating. But back when recording studios started adding EQ or reverb to vocalists, that was considered cheating too. The technique is the skill with which we use our tools, and having “Studio One technique” can be just as important—and valid—as having technique on your chosen instrument.
Just remember, all that matters about music is the emotional impact on the listener. They don’t care what you did to produce that emotional impact!
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Back in the days of tape, when dinosaurs ruled the earth and gas station attendants checked your oil, variable-speed tape recorders allowed changing the pitch of all the tracks with a single control. This was useful for many applications. The most common were speeding up masters a bit to make them a little brighter and tighter, doing tape flanging, and perhaps the most popular, changing vocal formants. If you transposed the recorder’s pitch down a little bit, recorded a vocal as you sang along with the lower pitch, and then transposed back up again on playback, the vocal formant would be higher and brighter. Similarly, for a darker, warmer sound, you could transpose up, sing along with that, and transpose back down again. The same principle worked with other instruments, but vocals were the most popular candidates for this technique.
The main limitation (although it could also be an advantage in some situations) is that the tempo and pitch were interdependent—a higher pitch meant a faster speed, and a lower pitch, a slower speed. This was useful for masters, because you could speed up and brighten a track by upping the speed by 2% or so. The Friday tip for June 8, 2018 covered how to emulate true, variable speed tape effects when working on a final stereo mix.
A major advantage of today’s digital audio technology is that pitch and tempo can be independent, and one of Studio One’s attributes is that the audio engine retains its sound quality with reasonable pitch changes (e.g., a few semitones). This makes it very easy to do the old tape trick of changing vocal formants; here’s how.
This is especially useful when doubling parts, because the double can have a slightly different timbre. And with background vocals, shift some formants up, and some formants down, for a bigger, more interesting sound. And of course, if you just can’t quite hit that high note…you’re covered. I promise I won’t tell.
I also like using this with guitar and other instruments. I’ve gotten away with pitching guitar up 7 semitones for a bright sound that splits the difference between a standard guitar sound, and one that’s more like “Nashville” tuning (as described in the Friday Tip for December 1, 2019). At the other end of the tonal spectrum, playing along with the premix tuned up, and pitching back down, is like using a low tuning on a guitar—great for those massive metal guitar sounds.
As we enter 2020, thank you very much for your support of these blog posts, and your comments. Also, thank you for supporting the Studio One book series that I’m writing. When I wrote the first book, I wondered if there would be any demand for it, or whether I was just wasting my time. Well, you’ve answered that question… so now I’m working on book #5 of the series, about how to record great guitar sounds with Studio One. It won’t be done for a while, but it wouldn’t have been done at all without your support (or the great-sounding new amp sims, for that matter).
Finally, let’s all thank Ryan Roullard and Chad Schoonmaker, who wrangle the blog and social media each week to get this blog posted and promoted. It’s not like they don’t already have enough to do at PreSonus, which makes their involvement just that much more appreciated. Thanks guys!