Strange days have been upon us for a while now. We wanted to take a minute to let you, as a creator, know something: we see you. In fact, the world sees you. And hears you. How do we know?
Because in a time when many businesses have had to close—temporarily or even permanently—dealers of musical instruments and associated accouterments are, frankly, kickin’ ass. So much so, in fact, that Rolling Stone ran an article on the matter. And when was the last time you read a Rolling Stone article on something as thrilling as audio interface sales trends?
Look, the day’s going to come when this is all over. And we know that as a musician or a creator, you’re going to come out of this thing with something priceless. Because you’re a creative, and you know what to do with idle hands—you get some art made. Make some music. Jumpstart that podcast idea. You get to work during this weird time, and create… not just for yourself, but for the people around you who need to know they’re not alone.
In ten years, people are going to be telling stories about that time when I am Legend almost happened for real back in 2020, and how it kept us from our friends and families. And some of them will most certainly remember the songs you wrote about it. They’ll remember the socially-distant concerts performed to passersby from front porches. They’ll recall the Skype/Zoom/Google Hangout/FaceTime/live-streamed online collaborations and performances; family members huddled around tablets like some sort of digital 21st-century e-campfire.They might even be listening to the 500th episode of that podcast you launched three weeks ago.
This too shall pass. But when we look back on the moments that were made a little more tolerable, a little brighter—and daresay even fun—it’s going to be because we had creators like you to chronicle the experience and immortalize your unique experience of it your art of choice: song, podcast, vlog, or something in between.
What you’re doing as an artist is as important to our history as this pandemic itself, and PreSonus wants you to know that we’re honored to have some small part in your process. Thanks for choosing us, and if Studio One or Notion or your AudioBox has helped you realize your creative vision.. well, that helps us sleep at night, and it’s why we’re all working from our kitchens and spare bedrooms to keep PreSonus running… to support you.
Because what you’re doing is so important, we’re gonna keep Studio One and Notion at 30% off, for another month.
I’m not surprised. Or do you ever have one of those days? Of course you do! Wouldn’t it be great to go down to the beach, listen to the waves for a while, and chill to those soothing sounds? The only problem for me is that going to the beach would involve a 7-hour drive.
Hence the De-Stresser FX Chain, which doesn’t sound exactly like the ocean—but emulates its desirable sonic effects. If you’re already stressed out, then you probably don’t want to take the time to assemble this chain, so feel free to go to the download link. Load the FX Chain into a channel, but note that you must enable input monitoring, because the sound source is the plug-in Tone Generator’s white noise option.
Figure 1: Effects used to create the De-Stresser’s virtual ocean.
Fig. 1 shows the FX Chain’s “block diagram.” The Splitter adds variety to the overall sound by feeding dual asynchronous “waves,” as generated by the X-Trems (set for tremolo mode). The X-Trem LFO’s lowest rate is 0.10 Hz; this should be slow enough, but for even slower waves, you can sync to tempo with a long note value, and set a really slow tempo.
Waves also have a little filtering as they break on the beach, which the Autofilters provide. The Pro EQs tailor the low- and high-frequency content to alter the waves’ apparent size and distance.
And of course, there’s the ever-popular Binaural Pan at the end. This helps create a more realistic stereo image when listening on headphones.
Figure 2: The Macro Controls panel.
Regarding the Macro Controls panel (Fig. 2), the two Timbre controls alter the filter type for the two Autofilters. This provides additional variety, so choose whichever filter type combination you prefer. Crest alters the X-Trem depth, so higher values increase the difference between the waves’ peaks and troughs.
The Sci-Fi Ocean control adds resonance to the filtering. This isn’t designed to enhance the realism, but it’s kinda fun. Another subtle sci-fi sound involves setting the two Timbre controls to the Comb response.
As you move further away from real waves, the sound has fewer high frequencies. So, Distance controls the Pro EQ HC (High Cut) filters. Similarly, Wave Size controls the LC filter, because bigger waves have more of a low-frequency component. The Calmer control varies the Autofilter mix; turning it up gives smaller, shallower waves.
When you want to relax, this makes a soothing background. Put on good headphones, and you can lose yourself in the sound. It also makes a relaxing environmental sound when played over speakers at a low level. If your computer has Bluetooth, and you have Bluetooth speakers, try playing this in the background at the end of a long day.
This is just one example of the kind of environmental sounds and effects you can make with Studio One, so let me know if this type of tip interests you. I’ve also done rain, rocket engines, howling gales, the engine room of an interstellar cargo ship, cosmic thuds, various soundscapes, and even backgrounds designed to encourage theta and delta brain waves. I made the last one originally for a friend of mine whose children had a hard time going to sleep, and burned it to CD. When I asked what he thought, he said “no one has ever heard how it ends.” So I guess it worked! Chalk up another unusual Studio One application.
The entire Notion Percussion bundle is a palette of drums, rhythm shakers, cymbals, noise makers and sound effects from around the globe.
The entire bundle is available in this single convenient download, or you can pick and choose from the various collections available in the bundle. Get just the sizzle cymbal, bongo, or duck call that works just right for you and your project—for 30% less!
Tenor Drum, Side Drum, Piccolo Snare, Long Drum, Bongos, Bongos w/ Sticks, and Bodhran.
The drum samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(53.7 MB download)
Splash Cymbal, Finger Cymbal, Sizzle Cymbal, and Chinese Bo.
The cymbal samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(101.7 MB download)
Hand Clap, Champagne Bottle, Church Bell, Car Horn (low & high), Siren, Thunder Sheet, Wind Machine, Lead Pipe (low & high), Flower Pots, Hammer, Lion’s Roar, Cuckoo, Referee Whistle, Duck Call, Train Whistle, and Nightingale.
The effects samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(42.3 MB download)
Tuned Gongs, Almglocken, Saw, Hand Bells, Wine Glasses, Whistling, and Whistling (Vibrato).
The pitched percussion samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(148.4 MB download)
Cuica, Ocean Drum, Log Drum 1, Bodhran, Slide Whistle, Anvil, Sand Blocks, Rainstick, Drum Sticks, Agogo (low & high), Brake Drum (low & high), Ratchet (low & high), Whip Flexatone, Vibrastick, Vibraslap (low & high), Water Gong, and Bell Tree.
The percussion samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(88.7 MB download)
This offer is available now through June 7, 2020, and is offered worldwide.
Save 5o% on the CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper right out of the PreSonus Shop!
The CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper is the second in its series of Mix Engine FX plug-ins for Studio One. The add-on, which works with Studio One Professional 3.3.1 and later, provides three great-sounding models of classic British, vintage tube, and custom consoles and adds several major enhancements to the Mix Engine FX environment.
HURRY! This offer is valid now through June 7, 2020, and is available worldwide.
Now through the end of the week SAVE 50% on all Impulse Record and DrivenSounds libraries right out of the PreSonus Shop!
If you are looking for some heavy and blazing kits… DrivenSounds has you covered!
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Impulse Record, a Grammy considered household name in the recording industry is offering another great discount this week!
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This offer is only available worldwide now through June 7, 2020 and available right in the PreSonus Shop.
After last week’s thrilling cliff-hanger about how to preserve your WAV files for future generations, let’s look at how to export all your stereo audio tracks and have them incorporate effects processing, automation, level, and panning. There are several ways to do this; although you can drag files into a Browser folder, and choose Wave File with rendered Insert FX, Studio One’s feature to save stems is much easier and also includes any effects added by effects in Bus and FX Channels. (We’ll also look at how to archive Instrument tracks.)
Saving as stems, where you choose individual Tracks or Channels, makes archiving processed files a breeze. For archiving, I choose Tracks because they’re what I’ll want to bring in for a remix. For example, if you’re using an instrument where multiple outputs feed into a stereo mix, Channels will save the mix, but Tracks will render the individual Instrument sounds into their own tracks.
When you export everything as stems, and bring them back into an empty Song, playback will sound exactly like the Song whose stems you exported. However, note that saving as stems does not necessarily preserve the Song’s organization; for example, tracks inside a folder track are rendered as individual tracks, not as part of a folder. I find this preferable anyway. Also, if you just drag the tracks back into an empty song, they’ll be alphabetized by track name. If this is an issue, number each track in the desired order before exporting.
Select Song > Export Stems. Choose whether you want to export what’s represented by Tracks in the Arrange view, or by Channels in the Console. Again, for archiving, I recommend Tracks (Fig. 1).
Figure 1: The Song > Export Stems option is your friend.
If there’s anything you don’t want to save, uncheck the box next to the track name. Muted tracks are unchecked by default, but if you check them, the tracks are exported properly, and open unmuted.
Note that if an audio track is being sent to effects in a Bus or FX Channel, the exported track will include any added effects. Basically, you’ll save whatever you would hear with Solo enabled. In the Arrange view, each track is soloed as it’s rendered, so you can monitor the archiving progress as it occurs.
In Part 1 on saving raw WAV files, we noted that different approaches required different amounts of storage space. Saving stems requires the most amount of storage space because it saves all tracks from start to end (or whatever area in the timeline you select), even if a track-only has a few seconds of audio in it. However, this also means that the tracks are suitable for importing into programs that don’t recognize Broadcast WAV Files. Start all tracks from the beginning of a song, or at least from the same start point, and they’ll all sync up properly.
Note that the tracks will be affected by your Main fader inserts and processing, including any volume automation that creates a fadeout. I don’t use processors in the Main channel inserts, because I reserve any stereo 2-track processing for the Project page (hey, it’s Studio One—we have the technology!). I’d recommend bypassing any Main channel effects, because if you’re going to use archived files for a remix, you probably don’t want to be locked in to any processing applied to the stereo mix. I also prefer to disable automation Read for volume levels, because the fade may need to last longer with a remix. Keep your options open.
However, the Main fader is useful if you try to save the stems and get an indication that clipping has occurred. Reduce the Main fader by slightly more than the amount of clipping (e.g., if the warning says a file was 1 dB over, lower the Main channel fader by -1.1 dB). Another option would be to isolate the track(s) causing the clipping and reduce their levels; but reducing the Main channel fader maintains the proportional level of the mixed tracks.
Saving an Instrument track as a stem automatically renders it into audio. While that’s very convenient, you have other options.
When you drag an Instrument track’s Event to the Browser, you can save it as a Standard MIDI File (.mid) or as a Musicloop feature (press Shift to select between the two). Think of a Musicloop, a unique Studio One feature, as an Instrument track “channel strip”—when you bring it back into a project, it creates a Channel in the mixer, includes any Insert effects, zeroes the Channel fader, and incorporates the soft synth so you can edit it. Of course, if you’re collaborating with someone who doesn’t have the same soft synth or insert effects, they won’t be available (that’s another reason to stay in the Studio One ecosystem when collaborating if at all possible). But, you’ll still have the note events in a track.
There are three cautions when exporting Instrument track Parts as Musicloops or MIDI files.
The bottom line: Before exporting an Instrument track as a Musicloop or MIDI file, I recommend deleting any muted Parts, selecting all Instrument Parts by typing G to create a single Part, then extending the Part’s start to the Song’s beginning (Fig. 2).
Figure 2: The bottom track has prepped the top track to make it stem-export-friendly.
You can make sure that Instrument tracks import into the Song in the desired placement, by using Transform to Audio Track. As mentioned above, it’s best to delete unmuted sections, and type G to make multiple Parts into a single Part. However, you don’t need to extend the track’s beginning.
However, unlike a Musicloop, this is only an audio file. When you bring it into a song, the resulting Channel does not include the soft synth, insert effects, etc.
Finally…it’s a good idea to save any presets used in your various virtual instruments into the same folder as your archived tracks. You never know…right?
And now you know how to archive your Songs. Next week, we’ll get back to Fun Stuff.
Last month, we had the opportunity to sponsor an event called “Band Together NOLA” for a virtual, live-streamed festival with more than 20 acts!
PJ Morton, Tank and the Bangas, Jon Cleary and more New Orleans’ musical heavy hitters played an online benefit festival to raise relief funds for the city’s musicians who have been out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, over $40,000 has been raised!
The Band Together virtual festival also featured Ivan Neville, Kermit Ruffins, Galactic’s Stanton Moore, Nigel Hall, Cupid, Dawn Richard, Water Seed, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Sean Ardoin, Flow Tribe, Glen David Andrews, Hasizzle, Shane Theriot, Elizabeth Lyons, Fermin Ceballo, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Kelly Love Jones, LeTrainiump, and Caren Green.
Our friend, Steve Himelfarb, was the engineer for six of the acts using a StudioLive 32 and Studio One Professional. We took some time to talk about his experience with the live stream and his career.
Our interview with Steve follows.
Tell us about Band Together NOLA. How did it come to be? What was your role?
New Orleans is known for its tourism, food, and of course live music. The pandemic has put much of that to a halt which has left musicians our of work. The Band Together Online Benefit Concert took place on April 25 and helped New Orleans musicians whose livelihoods have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am a part of multiple non-profits, and serving the community has always been something that I strive to do no matter where I live or what job I have. I was approached with the opportunity to participate with Lou Hill and Kermit Ruffins, it was a no-brainer. I was in!
Sounds like a huge undertaking. Did you know what you were getting into before you got started?
Yes and no. I had taken a break from the audio industry to focus on several other projects. Three years ago, my childhood friend, Tori Amos, had a show in New Orleans. From the stage, she says, “I’d like to thank the person responsible for me being here… Thank you Steve!” From that moment on, I knew I wanted to get back into recording and producing music and saying “Yes” to whatever opportunities came my way. Getting back into audio after a 20-year hiatus was like learning a whole new language that sounded familiar. Everything was the same but what changed was the technology. So, yes, it did seem like a huge undertaking but I was up and willing for the challenge.
We used a PreSonus StudioLive 32, multiple PX-1 mics and Studio One Professional, of course.
After watching the live stream, it looks like you recorded in multiple locations. How challenging was it recording in multiple locations?
We recorded six bands, all on the fly. Each band did a few songs, then we had a soundcheck for the next band all while doing our best to keep social distance guidelines. It was super hectic and everything was happening so fast. The onboard EQ and limiters on the 32 were AMAZING! We had no problem at all. This was very important and there was no room for a hiccup because everything was moving so fast. Once one band left, we had to wash down the stage and all the cables and mics to get ready for the next band to arrive. With the StudioLive 32, it was really a best-case scenario. Set up was easy, no distortion at all, the mixes sounded great.
What’s something you learned about live streaming?
With these harsh conditions and because everything is happening so fast, you have to be able to trust the gear you’re using. Be prepared, make sure the equipment is working, and use PreSonus.
Notion iOS 2.5.2 Maintenance Release
An update is now available to the recent 2.5 release 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: https://www.facebook.com/groups/PreSonusNotionUsers
It’s another edition of PreSonus Fam Friday. This one comes to us from across the pond! Meet Steve O’Brien. Steve had 19 years of experience in MI retail with a particular focus on guitar related products and service and 17 years of experience in various event production roles including guitar technician, sound engineer, stage management and production management. He joined the PreSonus family over in the Ireland office as a Sales Executive. Get to know more about Steve here!
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
What’s your official job title?
Sales Executive EMEA
What’s your favourite thing about your job? Why did you choose to work here?
I’ve been involved in the MI business for over 20 years. I was looking for a change from Retail and PreSonus had an opening. It seemed like a logical progression and I really wanted to stay in the industry. My favourite thing about PreSonus so far is the family atmosphere across the whole company. I was made to feel at home immediately like I’d known people I’d just met for years.
What was the first 8-track, cassette, CD or digital download you purchased?
Too young (ahem) for 8-Track, the first cassette was Bad by Michael Jackson, CD was The Heart of Saturday Night by Tom Waits and Download was Royal Blood’s first Album.
Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Songs for the Deaf by QOTSA will never let you down. Still blows me away after all these years.
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
I wouldn’t inflict my singing voice on anyone, not even myself in the shower.
Everyone has a side gig, what’s yours? OR when you’re not at PreSonus, what are you up to?
I’ve worked as a Backline Tech for about 15 years. I’m not a great musician and discovered I was better at the production side of things years ago. Currently off the road what with starting the new job and the coronavirus situation. Next up, hopefully, is a week on the road with Paul Brady later this year.
What instruments do you play?
I own some guitars
Tell us about a successful event you worked with PreSonus products. InfoComm, NAMM, Install somewhere:
This Paul Brady Tour will be using PreSonus StudioLive console and rack mixers as stage boxes. All over AVB network. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it in action.
Got any tips for working with Studio One?
Is cereal soup? Why or why not?
Yes, Cereal counts as breakfast, lunch and dinner, always will.
What’s invisible but you wish people could see?
RF interference, I spent a lot of my retail days explaining this to guitarists, would have been much easier if it was visible, like cartoon stink lines or something.
What is something that everyone looks stupid doing?
Playing Electronic drums with headphones on, all the moves and faces with none of the noise.
What’s the strangest talent you have?
No matter where I am, I can always find the light switch in a dark room.
You’re forgiven if you scoot down to something more interesting in this blog, but here’s the deal. I always archive finished projects, because remixing older projects can sometimes give them a second life—for example, I’ve stripped vocals from some songs, and remixed the instrument tracks for video backgrounds. Some have been remixed for other purposes. Some really ancient songs have been remixed because I know more than I did when I mixed them originally.
You can archive to hard drives, SSDs, the cloud…your choice. I prefer Blu-Ray optical media, because it’s more robust than conventional DVDs, has a rated minimum shelf life that will outlive me (at which point my kid can use the discs as coasters), and can be stored in a bank’s safe deposit box.
Superficially, archiving may seem to be the same process as collaboration, because you’re exporting tracks. However, collaboration often occurs during the recording process, and may involve exporting stems—a single track that contains a submix of drums, background vocals, or whatever. Archiving occurs after a song is complete, finished, and mixed. This matters for dealing with details like Event FX and instruments with multiple outputs. By the time I’m doing a final mix, Event FX (and Melodyne pitch correction, which is treated like an Event FX) have been rendered into a file, because I want those edits to be permanent. When collaborating, you might want to not render these edits, in case your collaborator has different ideas of how a track should sound.
With multiple-output instruments, while recording I’m fine with having all the outputs appear over a single channel—but for the final mix, I want each output to be on its own channel for individual processing. Similarly, I want tracks in a Folder track to be exposed and archived individually, not submixed.
So, it’s important to consider why you want to archive, and what you will need in the future. My biggest problem when trying to open really old songs is that some plug-ins may no longer be functional, due to OS incompatibilities, not being installed, being replaced with an update that doesn’t load automatically in place of an older version, different preset formats, etc. Another problem may be some glitch or issue in the audio itself, at which point I need a raw, unprocessed file for fixing the issue before re-applying the processing.
Because I can’t predict exactly what I’ll need years into the future, I have three different archives.
In this week’s tip, we’ll look at exporting raw WAV files. We’ll cover exporting files with processing (effects and automation), and exporting virtual instruments as audio, in next week’s tip.
Studio One’s audio files use the Broadcast Wave Format. This format time-stamps a file with its location on the timeline. When using any of the options we’ll describe, raw (unprocessed) audio files are saved with the following characteristics:
Important: When you drag Broadcast WAV Files back into an empty Song, they won’t be aligned to their time stamp. You need to select them all, and choose Edit > Move to Origin.
The easiest way to save files is by dragging them into a Browser folder. When the files hover over the Browser folder (Fig. 1), select one of three options—Wave File, Wave File with rendered Insert FX, or Audioloop—by cycling through the three options with the QWERTY keyboard’s Shift key. We’ll be archiving raw WAV files, so choose Wave File for the options we’re covering.
Figure 1: The three file options available when dragging to a folder in the Browser are Wave File, Wave File with rendered Insert FX, or Audioloop.
As an example, Fig. 2 shows the basic Song we’ll be archiving. Note that there are multiple Events, and they’re non-contiguous—they’ve been split, muted, etc.
Figure 2: This shows the Events in the Song being archived, for comparison with how they look when saving, or reloading into an empty Song.
Select all the audio Events in your Song, and then drag them into the Browser’s Raw Tracks folder you created (or whatever you named it). The files take up minimal storage space, because nothing is saved that isn’t data in a Song. However, I don’t recommend this option, because when you drag the stored Events back into a Song, each Event ends up on its own track (Fig. 3). So if a Song has 60 different Events, you’ll have 60 tracks. It takes time to consolidate all the original track Events into their original tracks, and then delete the empty tracks that result from moving so many Events into individual tracks.
Figure 3: These files have all been moved to their origin, so they line up properly on the timeline. However, exporting all audio Events as WAV files makes it time-consuming to reconstruct a Song, especially if the tracks were named ambiguously.
Figure 4: Before archiving, the Events in individual tracks have now been joined into a single track Event by selecting the track’s Events, and typing Ctrl+B.
After dragging the files back into an empty Song, select all the files, and then after choosing Edit > Move to Origin, all the files will line up according to their time stamps, and look like they did in Fig. 4. Compare this to Fig. 3, where the individual, non-bounced Events were exported.
When collaborating with someone whose program can’t read Broadcast WAV Files, all imported audio files need to start at the beginning of the Song so that after importing, they’re synched on the timeline. For collaborations it’s more likely you’ll export Stems, as we’ll cover in Part 2, but sometimes the following file type is handy to have around.
Figure 5: All tracks now consist of a single Event, which starts at the Song’s beginning.
When you bring them back into an empty Song, they look like Fig. 5. Extending all audio tracks to the beginning and end is why they take up more memory than the previous options. Note that you will probably need to include the tempo when exchanging files with someone using a different program.
To give a rough idea of the memory differences among the three options, here are the results based on a typical song.
Option 1: 302 MB
Option 2: 407 MB
Option 3: 656 MB
You’re not asleep yet? Cool!! In Part 2, we’ll take this further, and conclude the archiving process.