PreSonus Blog

Yet Another Use for Event Envelopes

Vocals are super-important, because they form the primary connection to your listeners—so we’re always looking for ways to make those vocals more effective. This week’s tip is something I’ve overlooked for years, and now, I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner. Maybe I’m just a little slow sometimes…or maybe every other Studio One user has figured this out already!

As you may have noticed from previous articles, I’m not a fan of using lots of compression or limiting on vocals because it can detract from a vocal’s natural sound. However, in a dense arrangement with a lot going on, sometimes you need dynamics processing to maintain the voice’s parity with respect to the other instrument levels. Because the vocal is in context with a lot of other sounds, you don’t really notice the compression, let alone the associated artifacts.

Until…

I was working on a song with a lot of percussion, and limited the vocal pretty heavily. It sounded fine, but then at one point, the arrangement became sparse and the vocal really stood out…so you could hear the dynamics processing at work. Ugh.

Of course, I could have automated the limiter controls, but it was much easier to split the start and end of the verse that needed fixing, and lower the Event envelope so that the vocal hit the limiter less hard in that section (Fig. 1). I tweaked the Event envelope level just below the point where the limiting sounded obvious—yet the vocal seemed equally strong as it did in the rest of the song, due to the arrangement’s sparseness in that verse.

Figure 1: Reducing the selected vocal section by -2.6 took care of any issues with artifacts from dynamics processing.

 

This technique works with any sound where you want to dial back the perceived level, not with a fader or track automation, but by lowering the amount of dynamics processing. It works well with acoustic guitar, percussion, drum tracks…you name it.

What’s more, this technique is also a natural for amp sims. You can bring down a guitar’s Event Envelope to reduce the amount of distortion for a chunky rhythm effect, then slam the level back up when you want the sound to cut more.

As mentioned, there are other ways to achieve the same results. But taking the Event envelope route is fast and effective—try it!

  • Tom Slowcat

    Try out S1 5 new feature (finally!) and come back to me saying this is redundant to automations.

  • Jo Chouinard

    That’s what I’ve been doing but It’s just more steps instead of being able to simply automate the event pitch

  • Do you mean like pitch bending as opposed to what Melodyne can do? Would you expect the length to remain constant, or act like varispeed? If the latter, a workaround would be to load the event into a sampler, and record pitch bend messages.

  • Jo Chouinard

    Is pitch editing gonna be added to event enveloppes? PLEASE

  • Johnny Geib

    You guys need to be patient 😉

  • I agree with Terence, envelopes that do the same thing as automation would be redundant. However multi-point envelopes would be essential if the envelopes couldn’t move with events. The advantage of the event envelope’s simplicity is being able to make quick fade and level changes.

  • Terence Kearns

    track automation can be made to move with the clip. How is this not enough?

  • Tom Slowcat

    Studio One’s event “envelopes” are way too basic do deserve such appellation, I’m sorry to say. They pale in comparison to those in Pro Tools for instance. Are you ever going to implement multi-segments envelopes at some stage to make them actually useful?