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.”
During the early 2000s, I had some success in The Netherlands and Europe with Hard and Jumpstyle productions, including a Number 1 and several Top 10 hits. Back then I was awarded for being the best dance act in the Netherlands under the pseudonym Jekyll & Hyde. Later on, I veered more into the commercial side of dance music as a ‘ghost’ producer for other artists for whom I’ve produced lots of tracks.
After releasing official remixes for artists like Will.I.Am, Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Major Lazor, Deadmau5 and Shakira among others, I started dedicating some more time towards educating the new generation of producers in 2017 and released a best-selling book full of practical studio tips, with a second book on the way.
So I’ve been currently using Studio One as my main production DAW… and purely for Electronic Dance Music production in my home studio. I don’t do much live recording anymore.
I was a Cubase user for all my production career, but I got fed up with the workflow speed. Then I saw a demonstration of Studio One back in 2014. The ease of use and the speed of the workflow really made me want to try it out and I have used it ever since. The transition was easier than I’d expected!
Every DAW has certain features that make them unique. But for me personally, Studio One has the most to offer. It looks good in the sense that you can have everything on 1 screen: Arrangement, Mixer, Browser, Inspector, and it’s still easy to work. So it gives me speed in an easy view space, which means I can fully focus on being creative!
There’s one particular feature I really love. Sometimes in the begin stages of the track, my project looks like a mess. So finding a specific track in a mixer can prove to be difficult. In Studio One I just double-click on the track and the mixer pops open with that track highlighted and I can make adjustments right away.
Also, the fact that you can analyze a groove from a specific loop. And then apply that same groove to all your other stuff.
One important feature that is a bit hidden is the use of ‘ghost notes’. Let’s say I made a chord progression that I want to use as a non-editable overlay for reference, while I’m making the melody. I would go in the piano roll, click on the 4 horizontal lines in the left upper corner and then click on the reference track, making sure to click the pencil tool OFF so it can not be edited but only used as a reference. I know this is a feature that is loved by a lot of dance producers. But I didn’t know Studio One had that until recently!
All in all, I think Studio One has done a great job creating a solid DAW. Looking forward to future versions!!!
Häzel is a Grammy-nominated producer, sound designer and mixer based in Melbourne, Australia who has been in the music industry for about 15 years and have worked with people such as Gallant, Drake, The Beatchild, Mad Clown, Joanna Borromeo, TFOX and was part of a duo called Zebrahim with my friend Ebrahim (eebsofresh). He has also composed music for commercials and worked on sound designing for filmmaker Mikael Colombu for a little, along with producing content for The Weeknd and Cee-lo Green among others.
Currently armed with Studio One Professional Version 4 in tandem with a Studio 192 interface, a pair of Eris 8 monitors and an ATOM controller, this is the setup Hazel uses on a daily basis for anything that has to do with music and sound.
Words from the man himself:
“I compose, record and arrange with it, I mix with it and use it for sound designing. I have it on my laptop as well as my workstation in my home studio and I take it with me when working in bigger studios… I actually find that it is becoming more and more common to find it in well-established studios. Cant’ wait until it becomes the industry standard!
Some of my fellow musician friends recommended it to me a while ago and like everyone else at first I was a little skeptical in making the change until the day I felt limited by the functionalities of some other DAW’s, in terms of the cluttered workflow they bring and just how power-hungry most of them are.
At some points as my ideas were getting more complex, I was forced to use multiple software applications for the different things I was trying to achieve. I needed something new and decided to try Studio One Pro Version 3. I’ve always trusted PreSonus as a brand because I already had a Firebox which served me well for many years. It took me literally one day to make the decision to do the switch. Studio One had everything I needed in one place, it sounded great (if not better) and was very stable ( which I wasn’t used to!), capable of running on anything I could get my hands on and without the need of a dongle. I remember having to bounce or “freeze” tracks before to save CPU, i can’t think of one time I had to do that ever since, even on my bootcamp 12″ MacBook Air.
With every update I get inspired by some new function I didn’t think I needed and then it finds its way into my workflow. You can basically create something or make anything sound good just with the built-in Add-On’s straight out of the box. I love the sound of the Console Shaper, the genius and simple way to sidechain on the latest update, the waveform slip editing and one of the functions I use the most is the event stretching by holding the ALT modifier key.
Fast editing is really key. For me it really just comes to creativity always, I like to test things, sounds, FX, anything really. I like to keep moving and Studio One allows me to do just that. I don’t feel limited or obstructed by the software I’m using. It just feels natural to me.
Anyone who has ever worked in this industry or has ever used a DAW at some point will find it familiar to start with. And when you have an idea of how a function should work, well there’s a big chance that that’s exactly how it works on Studio One, always the most logical and intuitive way in my opinion. Dragging and dropping anything, anywhere or converting file formats with two clicks. I found myself to be a lot more creative with this workflow, I can continuously be doing things, adding/removing sounds and rarely even pause or stop whatever I’m working on. I haven’t found myself missing a function from what I was using before apart from scrubbing which I only used when working to a video, but I can’t think of anything else really.
The only function I can think of that I wish it had so I didn’t have to use anything else would be a manual sample slicing option directly from the Sample One XT virtual instrument (wink, wink!) But there has been so much improvement compared to when I first started within Version 3 so hopefully, that will be coming at some point.
ONE THING: there is a function that I haven’t heard many people talk about which is the waveform slip editing I mentioned previously. When editing an event if you hold ALT and CTRL keys you can slide the waveform left and right. It is an AMAZING tool to make corrections on the fly or simply just to create swing on your drum tracks on. I use all the time and others probably would too, once they discover this feature!
PreSonus has really been setting a new standard with their Studio One DAW and it surpasses everything else with every update. I think that what people like me appreciate the most as a user, is to feel like the company you’re investing yourself on is listening to your opinion and is always working towards improving its products based on your feedback and experience, and it shows.
Every update in the last year only has fulfilled almost every request I can think of and they did it for free. That’s just exemplary to me. And I know that there’s more good stuff coming. Long live PreSonus and Studio One.”
Thank you, Häzel… we wish you continued success in all of your creative audio endeavors, bro.
Tommy Finke, also known as T.D. Finck von Finckenstein, is a singer-songwriter as well as a composer of electronic computer music, theatre music, and modern dance based in Bochum, Germany. He accomplishes all this alongside a Faderport 8, a Studio 1810 and, of course, Studio One 4.5! Take a few minutes and read all about his career and workflow and what his Studio One favorites are.
Please give us some basic background info on your career and current projects.
I am what you might call a jack of all trades. When I started making music I was writing songs for myself and for different punk-music bands I was a member of at that time – those were the typical middle-class-kids-pretending-to-be-punks punk bands, but we were honest and had a lot of fun.
My love for pseudonyms originates from that punk-milieu: I am known as Tommy Finke, T.D. Finck von Finckenstein, sometimes just Finck von Finckenstein, but Thomas David Finke is my given name.
Since someone also had to record and mix the trashy demos, I got into recording and serious music-making during that process. Later I studied Electronic Composition / Modern Music at Folkwang University of Arts in Essen, Germany to improve my skills as a composer, since I thought there should be more than INTRO/VERSE/REFRAIN in my musical repertoire and I really liked the work of Karlheinz Stockhausen or John Cage, to name a few.
I collaborated with German artists on their video installations and composed music for contemporary dance as well as film music and was touring as a singer/songwriter with my own songs, which I still do.
In 2013, I got a call from Theatre Dortmund and they asked me if I wanted to be part of a theatre project with live-sampling and looping on stage. Of course, I wanted it! I programmed a system in Max/MSP for the performance and was live on stage. This lead to more theatre projects and in 2015, I became musical director of Schauspiel Dortmund, the acting department of Theatre Dortmund. In this position, I use all my skills from composing for a piece, recording the music, songwriting, rehearsing with the actors, mastering for the theatre sound system. Every theatre piece has to have a special and unique approach and this keeps my brain and ears busy. I like that a lot.
And as if that was not enough, I founded the record label Retter des Rock Records in 2008 to release my first singer/songwriter album but soon released other people’s music as well.
And this year I established Finck von Finckenstein Music and Sound Art Publishing in cooperation with Schacht Musikverlage in Hamburg, Germany because I wanted to keep all royalties of my work in good hands: mine.
Stream Finke’s music on Spotify here:
What PreSonus products have you used and which do you currently use?
I remember having used a PreSonus Firepod in 2009 alongside my MOTU 828 MkII at that time but I really don’t know where I have left it. It‘s just gone and I am sad about that. Right now I am using a Faderport 8, a Studio 1810 and, of course, Studio One 4, the software that made me a complete PreSonus fanboy. Furthermore, I am looking forward to buying either a StudioLive console or one of the rack mixers. And if I hadn’t bought a UAD Apollo 8 just before you released the Quantum 4848 I’d also be a proud owner of that great interface.
For what applications are you using Studio One Professional?
Studio One is my main DAW. I use it for composing, songwriting, mixing, recording, sound design, mastering, basically everything except for live performances. Might do that, too in the future…
What Studio One feature has proven particularly useful and why?
Pipeline is my favorite feature in Studio One right now! I have always been trapped between the two worlds of analog accidents and the ability to recall a project 100% and work later from the same point where I left it. Pipeline helps you with that. Let me tell you what I recently managed to do with Pipeline XT: I built myself a Neve rack mixer out of a Neve 8816 summing mixer and a 8804 fader expansion. Of course, I was able to send every output to the mixer and record the sum into Studio One. But what I really wanted was a way to get the analog and digital world play nicely together, because sometimes you don’t want your kick drum or another signal with a huge impact to mess up your sum compressor or whatever you apply. So I thought to myself “Since Pipeline XT should be able to calculate all the latency I’d get, I should be able to route just SOME of my tracks into the 8816 and feed the sum back into another instance of Pipeline XT…“ And guess what? It works. I can have a beat in my DAW while I send the guitars and synths out into the analog domain and both are combined in perfect sync in the main bus of Studio One.
Naturally, I had to tweak some stuff here and there until it really worked. For example, the sum-return could not be a bus track in StudioOne but a normal track (because busses work differently with latency and the return-bus had no reference for calculating the input latency when just fed with an input via Pipeline XT…) while the sends had to be bus tracks for routing reasons. But that was just some trial and error work until I felt like I finally got the one thing I was searching for for years now. It took me 2 days but I am sure with Pro Tools it would have taken weeks and a lot of hair loss or even erectile dysfunction.
How does Studio One compare to other DAW’s you have used? What’s better, what’s not as good, what does it give you that other DAW’s don’t?
When I started recording and writing music at the age of 16, I had a Yamaha MD-8 minidisc recorder which was paired with a Steinberg Midi Sequencer on an Atari ST computer. Then I had Steinberg Cubase on my PC when I was 20. With 25, I bought a Mac and was introduced to Logic which was like a different world to me. I kept using Logic until 2015. I had to switch to Pro Tools due to production in a studio that needed projects being delivered as Pro Tools projects. At the theatre, I was always using Ableton Live due to its qualities in scene-based and looped music. I even used Bitwig and Digital Performer. So you could say I know every major DAW. When my Faderport 8 came with Studio One and I opened the DAW for the first time my impression was “Wow, this looks and feels like someone took Cubase, Logic, Pro Tools and took the best of each of them.“ Few weeks of running Pro Tools alongside, then abandoning Pro Tools. I would say Studio One is the fastest way for me to get my ideas out of my head and into the world.
Which Studio One feature or concept doesn’t get enough spotlight (or isn’t talked about enough) in your opinion?
I am a big fan of the tempo track. I like it when musical tempos, even EDM, changes over time. (Please, DJs and DJanes, don’t kill me…) So when I am ready with a basic arrangement of my track I tweak the tempo track until it sounds more natural. Sometimes I go the extra mile and take an old track that had no click at all by Led Zeppelin, The Who or Bob Dylan, feed it into Melodyne, have a tempo analysis and – thanks to ARA – import the tempo into my arrangement to get a certain feeling. It works like a charm. Though I must say I like the tempo recognition of Cubase better than Melodyne’s, so sometimes I search for my Cubase Dongle and start it up just to create a tempo map and head back to StudioOne. Maybe StudioOne needs a tempo recognition outside of Melodyne… anyway, tempo track is a great feature, just like macros and the arranger track, btw.
Any features on your wish list for us to add in future updates?
5.1 or even 7.1 mixing would be great for mixing film tracks. Also, it would be great to have a dedicated track for your movie where you could even cut the film a little.
But what I‘d really like is a live-looping option. Not like in Ableton Live, something more like a live-looper. I‘ve recently bought a software called ALK2 by a Berlin-based software company. They have developed something I have never seen before: an arrangement looper. I say: check it out and buy that company‘s idea and integrate it into Studio One. If live-looping was part of Studio One, I‘d use it for live gigs as well.
Any useful tips/tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One that would be of interest to our user base?
Since I already told you about my experience with Pipeline XT there’s not much more to say from my side. But I would strongly recommend the great Studio One User Forums at PreSonus’ website and on Facebook. A lot of helpful people with many magic tricks up their sleeves!
Any final comments about PreSonus and Studio One?
Yes: thank you for “Mix the Music“!
Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?
At one point in my journey, I told myself, “if I don’t make it in the music business by 27, then I should stop.” But that was a ridiculous thought. Music is more than “making it” whatever that means. I couldn’t stop now, it would kill me.
Over here stateside, ‘Tis the season for family, over-eating, traveling, watching football, and more eating. You may not be a huge fan of the holidays, but I love them! The holidays have something for everyone, much like a recent podcast I came across on Twitter called The F.A.N. Show.
The F.A.N. Show is a one-man, award-winning sports variety show based in Spokane, WA—and it’s in a league of its own. There’s something for every fan. The show is hosted by Richard Tieman, who is a musician, producer, sports fanatic, and Studio One user. After five years of recording 440 podcast episodes on the same AudioBox iTwo he purchased in 2015, Richard shows no signs of slowing down. We wanted to know more about how his podcast came to be so successful.
Tell us about your background. How long have you been in the audio industry?
I was a drummer for a punk rock band since I was 17, and loved music, performing live, and traveling to different cities. I also love a variety of things like football, the outdoors, pop culture, and even pro wrestling. I had a knack for entertaining people, and I’ve always been comfortable on a microphone. I met my wife seven years ago and we’ve been married for five, and she is my single greatest supporter and biggest fan. I’ve been in audio for about 15 years. 10 years ago I got really passionate about it when I started hosting karaoke at a local bar while I was still touring with my band. Then when we broke up five years later, a friend suggested that I should start my own podcast, so I figured… why not?
It’s changed quite a bit. When I was in the band, podcasts weren’t very popular yet. Not many people even knew what they were. Recording and editing equipment and software were super expensive, so you had to really have a passion for audio/video in order to justify going all-in on the idea. I remember making a business proposal for starting my own karaoke and entertainment company in 2015, and the money I needed for karaoke equipment and songs, just to get started, was about $3,000. Now, everyone and their mom has a podcast or YouTube channel and the cost to buy a “starter kit” for those is around $300. Quite the difference.
What’s your favorite podcast right now?
As a wrestling fan, he’s one of my favorites. He’s also the frontman for the band Fozzy, and he doesn’t just interview wrestlers. He has a wide variety of different guests and that’s what I love about his show. The mix. I guess his podcast is what inspired me to branch out to talk about more than just football. Yes, I love football, but I love other things as well. Music, comics, the outdoors. Why limit myself?
Tell us about your podcast.
At first, it was just me and my thoughts about football and my 49ers. It’s the sport I know well, and the one I felt the most comfortable talking about. I also hated all the irrelevant news you started to see and hear on mainstream sports media. It was less about stats and highlights and more rumors and gossip. I wouldn’t say I started my podcast out of spite, but the idea of being different was certainly appealing. What was a weekly podcast called The ButtFumble Show is now a live-streamed variety show that airs three times a week and covers a little bit of everything: The F.A.N. Show. “Everyone’s a FAN of something, and we have something for every fan.”
Where did the idea for your podcast come from?
The rooftop of a bar in downtown Spokane where my 10-year high school reunion was happening. My buddy Cameron and I were talking about his Seahawks and my 49ers. and going back and forth about their last season and stuff that needed to happen in the offseason. He was really impressed with not only my knowledge of my team and the league, but that I could carry a conversation and could back up my opinions with facts. So he asked if I had ever thought of becoming a sports analyst, and I laughed and said, no thanks. That’s when he suggested starting my own podcast.
How does your first podcast compare to your most recent?
Oh boy. My first episode was terrible. 20 minutes of me sitting in a chair in the spare room of our house, just rambling on about the upcoming season and what to watch for. I’d never used any PreSonus equipment before, or any podcasting equipment for that matter, so my mic was turned down really low and I didn’t know how to edit the recording. Like I said, terrible. Now, almost 440 episodes later, I have my own intro theme, I have segments, sound effects, I know how to edit and get the best sound quality I want. My best episode is always my next episode.
There are so many podcasts these days. How do you stand out?
In all honesty, I can’t say that I do “stand out.” I know that I’ve learned a lot in five years of doing my podcast, and even though all the changes and trying new things, I’ve always stuck to what I believe and not trying to conform to certain styles just to get clicks or downloads. My fans are my fans, and as long as they tune in and listen, I’ll keep doing it. But I do know what makes my show “different,” is that even after five years, I’m still doing it. Not everyone who has thought “Hey, I can do that,” has actually done it for very long. Some guys I know that started podcasts never made it past 10 episodes. I’m about to do my 440th. I pride myself on constantly wanting to learn and get better. Try new things. And I’m persistent.
Be ready for criticism and be open to feedback. Feedback is one of the hardest things because it’s not all good feedback, but you need people supporting you that will be honest with you and tell you what they liked and more importantly, what they didn’t like. That, and to be consistently persistent. Like I said, I know people that never made it more than 10 episodes. There will be a lot of excuses you can make for yourself, but if it’s really something you’re passionate about, you’ll make it a priority. I’ll tell anyone and everyone what programs or equipment I use, and people think I’m crazy for giving away my “secrets to success.” That’s not the secret. I don’t even have a secret. I just made my show a priority and have built a brand as a result.
How did you first hear of PreSonus?
Google. Haha. I talked with my wife about the podcast idea and since the band had broken up and I was going back to school for my AA degree in Business Management, she said I needed a hobby and thought the podcast would be good for me. So we searched “Podcasting kits” and the 2nd or 3rd result was the “PreSonus AudioBox iTwo.” About $220, it came with the AudioBox, mic, mic cord, headphones, and Studio One for editing. Connect it to the USB port on your computer and you’re ready to roll. I loved how simple the set up was, and that it didn’t take up a lot of space. It travels easily too, so it’s easy to take with me when I do podcasts on location.
What PreSonus products do you use?
I still use that same AudioBox iTwo (five years later) and I absolutely love it. I actually want to get another one so I can have one for my studio and one specifically for traveling. Or have one as a backup at the very least. You can never be too prepared when it comes to technology. I’ve since upgraded my mics, but still use Studio One and that same box for my show.
Why was PreSonus a good option for you? Was it easy to learn?
It was convenient, easy to use, and not a lot of extras. The less you have to worry about when it comes to recording, editing, and producing, the better. Not everyone has a producer or even an assistant, so if you’re a “one-man show” like I am, PreSonus is amazing. There was definitely a learning curve. A lot of it was self-explanatory, but I have a lot of audio friends that were happy to help me. YouTube is also an amazing learning tool, haha.
All the time. I’ll take it to local events like Comic-Con and interview special guests and cosplayers, or I’ll go to the comedy club and interview the comedians in the green room before their show. I’ve even interviewed bands at our local concert house before their shows. But my favorite time of the year is my annual tour. I take the AudioBox and my set up and go to different events across the country like BattleBots, or arena football games and I’ll host tailgate parties and use it for a live stream, or I’ll interview players and coaches after the game. I’ve gotten pretty good at setting up in hotel rooms and at arenas.
Recent projects? What’s next for you?
I just finished my third tour, which was awesome, and I was also hired to do media for different events where I would go and interview players, coaches, staff, cast and crew and publish them as podcasts to help promote the events. The show has a great following and I’ve gotten more and more opportunities like these as a result. I recently accepted the position of Director of Communications for the Sioux Falls Storm. An indoor football team that had heard of me and my podcast and wanted me to be apart of their winning team for 2020. I will be doing that as well as continuing what I do with my podcast. I’m hoping 2020 is my biggest year yet and that moving to a new city will hopefully create new opportunities. The new owners of the Storm were very adamant about me continuing to do my podcast and continuing to grow my brand, so that is what I will look to do next year!
Where can we listen to your podcast?
The F.A.N. Show is available on most major podcasting platforms including:
Instagram isn’t just for cute, filtered images of yourself and your dog or gear! It’s a great community uniting musicians and artists brave enough to put their best work out there. One of those Instagram accounts is run by our friend and Studio One user, Adam Sullivan—one of the front men for New Arcades, a UK duo inspired by nostalgic memories of 80s cinema and vintage synth sounds. Think of blue skies, urban nightlife, and hazy sunrises and you have the New Arcades!
Studio One is Adam’s go-to DAW since 2.0! He also has a FaderPort and StudioLive 24R.
Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?
I’ve been a musician from a very young age, nowadays I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. I obtained a degree in music technology and sound engineering/composition at Lancaster University (UK). We started creating music and mixing tracks in 2008 and haven’t quit. It has become more and more serious in the last few years. This all in conjunction with being one of the main FOH Engineers at my church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton. Now I mix various artists’ tracks and create my own music for New Arcades. Additionally, my side project is known as “Shred Ministries” which has developed quite a decent following from the church/Christian scene as a comical reproduction of modern worship. Check it out on YouTube for a laugh.
How has the music industry changed since your early days?
Less and less are the labels willing to part with cash in order to promote, the risk is far greater for the artist it seems unless you are manufactured by the giant label themselves. Back in early days with medium independents, there might be a decent(ish) advance in exchange for the master copyright recordings. But it’s tragically at the point now, where for a promise of exposure, and (hopefully) enough money made is usually in exchange for the masters… I think now you have to do so much work, have many friends help push and support you and really drive home the music you create and believe in passionately. I stand by never giving up my masters indefinitely, and I would encourage all artists to be the same even if the promise of a bright future is tempting. Another area: digital music plugins have just stepped up… I now use a kemper when I play live, it’s just fantastic! It sounds incredible and it now would be for me favored over a guitar amp in a room! which I feel is insane! Nothing better than authentically playing the instrument though–somehow that’s always been the same.
Describe the first time you wrote a song? Produced it?
It was a co-write with my fellow band members. I’ve always produced and mixed the tracks but my first one was a pop/Indie/Rock track. I was dead proud! I look back on it now though, it was the early days, I’ve progressed, as has the DAW and the plugins! 😉
Who has been an influence in your life?
Chris and Tom Alge. Absolutely phenomenal mix engineers. Clarity and Punch. Love them.
Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?
A few times I have thought about stopping but I absolutely cannot help my need to create and ultimately, I persevere. I think also having a writing partner and bandmate always helps! Especially when you are both in tune, have similar styles and principles in your songwriting.
What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?
The first thing that caught my eye was back in 2011: Studio One 2.0. It had this simple “Drag and drop” feature. I just loved how easy it was to slap something on the channel… The layout of the mix window and the integration of Melodyne. That, along with the power and depth of the EQ, Room Reverb, and Compressor that came with the package as standard had me hooked!
What PreSonus products do you use?
Studio One 4.5, FaderPort, various bundled software. StudioLive 24R rack mixer. I also use it in conjunction with the StudioLive 24 mix desk that I TOTALLY love!) It works great for all my function work, and is such a flexible setup.
When did you first hear about Studio One?
I was actually referred to it by a friend. They said they’d seen a review in Sound on Sound, which is very well respected. I went home, downloaded the free trial and haven’t looked back!
What features are you most impressed with your gear?
The interface of the Q-Mix and UC Surface app is great. The sound of the preamps in the Series III equipment. Capture 3.0 is fantastic also. Onboard SD card stem recording on the desk itself. I’ve yet to put the StudioLive 24 in with my DAW, but I’ve seen it can be a great surface, along with the remote control iPad app for vocal booth recording.
Super easy actually! I had a decent understanding of several other DAWs. But Studio One was quite intuitive. I watched a few tutorials and just trial and error massively reap benefits. Studio One 4 is so powerful and versatile. Go exploring!
Where do you go for support?
YouTube, forums, etc. I have friends who are also well-established producers/mix engineers who I can pick the brains of on the regs. But I’m quite independent and I hate being defeated by things—so I usually resolve things myself!
Where do you go for inspiration?
I listen to other artists in the scene or genre I’m in, I watch movies that inspire creativity and put you in a hungry mindset… A bit like watching the movie “Creed” would make you want to train your socks off and chin someone in the ring. 😉 I do similar for my music. There are so many inspiring artists and creators out there, listening to fantastic scores and tracks just make me want to compete to be the best and make something as exciting and epic.
Recent projects? What’s next for you?
I just finished my album for my band New Arcades. I’ve been working on it since 2012! It’s being mastered as we speak, so hopefully won’t be long before it drops. Recently also did a track for well know acoustic/folk artist Roo Panes. He is a fantastic performer and the song we worked on together was called “Thinking Of Japan.” Everything has been recorded and mixed on Studio One. Next, will continue to do loads of live events and functions using all the gear, hopefully, make my own second album and work with more and more artists.
[This just in from Nigel of DMT Productions!]
Hi everyone, my name is Nigel Trego, I am the Technical Director at DMT Productions, a UK-based events production company. DMT specialises in producing live events for theatres, arenas and large festivals—from sound, lighting and projection to filming, photography and FX. DMT has been operating for ten years and has a team of 20-plus specialists including sound engineers, lighting engineers, dancers, performers, AV techs, drone, and Steadicam operators, photographers, and pyrotechnicians. DMT Productions have chosen the PreSonus Studiolive Series III Ecosystem as our touring mix package.
DMT currently has:
DMT Production engineers have worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, Blood, Sweat and Tears, James, Texas, The Alarm, Westlife, Grace Jones, and Snow Patrol—to name a few.
We are at present engaged with several projects based in theatres, arenas and large festivals predominantly in the EU. As I write this, members of our team are working on a project filming with US-based Nitro Circus in Wales, helping to promote their World Games event across the UK.
Our current featured artist is Donna Marie, a multi-award-winning artist in her own right and the National Tribute and Music Award official #1 Lady Gaga Tribute and Impersonator for the last seven years. We are currently working for Donna to produce her UK tour of A Star is Born This Way, a tribute to the Oscar-winning film A Star is Born, in act one followed by a second act of full-on Gaga hits. The show features live and pre-recorded video, a live band, dancers, and pyrotechnics, and will be featured in a number of UK theatres—and even some arenas where Lady Gaga herself has performed!
DMT uses the PreSonus StudioLive Ecosystem exclusively. We use the PreSonus Studiolive 32R as a stage box and the StudioLive 16 at front of house. The logical layering and compact size of the StudioLive 16 make it perfect for all venue FOH sizes (some venues have limited FOH space, especially festivals) and it is easily transportable in the crew bus. We chose the PreSonus StudioLive Ecosystem for many reasons; previous experience with the StudioLive AI series and the legacy StudioLive products not only gave us the confidence in reliability and sound quality but also confidence in the ease-of-use. The layout is logical, and the Fat Channel allows for fast and clear access to parameters that are essential to a live performance. Naturally, we evaluated the competition with products such as Allen and Heath SQ-series and of course the Behringer X32 range. When compared via price vs. features/performance/
The feature sets of the Studiolive Series 3 Ecosystem are in abundance and too many to mention in this blog. However, we have some favorites! AVB is a clear winner. Great performance and flexibility allowing us to route any signal to whatever we want without having to buy expensive (licensed) AV networking expansion cards. We were using Focusrite Saffire Pro 40s as audio I/O for our sequenced stems—one of the only I/O devices that can handle 10 individual outputs (we run some of our stems in stereo). Now we can hook up a USB cable from our show control Mac straight to the StudioLive rack or console mixers and have as many USB audio channels for stems as we need; we can then route USB across the AVB network with practically zero latency. Most consoles have complicated menus for digital patching and for configuring matrices. We find the PreSonus very intuitive and easy-to-use at the console level—but even easier via UC Surface on a tablet.
QMix-UC is also a fantastic feature. Our bands play with a click so that their performance is in sync with pre-recorded video and pre-recorded stems; thus monitor mix set-up is critical. Using an in-house desk can take up to an hour to get the perfect IEM mix for all band members, and even then that might need to change during the performance. The ability for the band to adjust their monitor mixes via the PreSonus QMix-UC app is now something that we cannot live without. Event setup time and sound check duration are dramatically reduced allowing us to focus on other areas of the production. Additionally, we save on the cost of a monitor desk and engineer. The project and scene management is second to none. Project, scenes and even the Fat Channel library can be exported/imported to/from a tablet or PC over USB or Wi-Fi.
Our sound engineers love the PreSonus workflow and use the Fat Channel Collection Vol. 1 plug-in suite extensively. We are, however, excited about future PreSonus integration with Waves using the Waves AVB Soundgrid Bridge announced earlier this year.
The ability for us to record 34 channels of 48K multi-track at live events to SD Card (and Mac/PC) is also a fantastic feature. This allows us to take the recording back to the studio and load it straight into Studio One to mix for video production that we then use for further event promotion. We used this feature extensively during a multi-tribute festival this year where our camera operators filmed the entire three-day event. Our sound engineer took the FOH multi-track recordings back to the studio to mix. We were able to create professional video packages that we then provided to the bands that were performing, which they in turn now use as their promotional material for their socials and web.
The majority of the time, our engineers seldom use the console mixer, tablet at FOH is the way forward for them. Other great PreSonus features include the ability to share scenes between the different mixers, no matter the form factor, this is great to have a backup mix ready to go in case of an HW failure. Virtual sound check is a great tool and the ability to use two mixers in tandem is superb. Let me elaborate on that. We have the 32R set as “standalone” at drum riser position with all stage mics and instruments feeding it and the 32R is, in turn, feeding the IEMs, stage wedges and the main PA. Our show control MacBook is hooked up to the 32R via USB and digitally patched running 10 channels of USB audio. All of the 32R channels (including USB) are sent over AVB to the FOH console and the FOH console mixes (Matrix and Aux) sent back to the 32R over AVB. The flexibility of digital patching in conjunction with AVB is incredibly powerful. This allows us to benefit from the USB channels on the 32R at riser position while retaining full mix control at FOH.
One of our productions was to headline a festival this summer on a clifftop in beautiful West Wales, we had an audience of around 5000 at this particular event. We had decided to take our 32R (running on a Relio UPS) and feed the event PA (via their mixer) from the Left and Right channels of the 32R to allow us to soundcheck quickly. The event who supplied PA had a mixing desk they used for the other bands performing that evening of which we only used the two channels (Left/Right). Just before our performance began the heavens opened! Once the rain had stopped we managed to wipe the stage dry, tip the water out of the keyboard player’s keyboard and start the gig! After a spectacular video-based intro, three bars in on the first song, the power went out, no sound, no lights, no video.
The band continued to play, they were on IEMs from the 32R. Fortunately, the stage wedges were also working, they were on a different power feed to the main PA, so we turned them to face the crowd. It turns out that water had worked it’s way into the mains Distro taking out one of the electrical phases. It took the event organisers 13 minutes to fix the issue only to find their networked stage box had blown, so still no sound! We plugged the PreSonus 32R directly into the event’s amps and away we went! The show must go on. The reason for telling this story is because when we plugged the PreSonus directly into the amps, the difference in the sound quality was incredible, so much so that a number of people came over to FOH to comment on how good the sound was and to ask why it wasn’t as good for the other bands that were on during the event (not using our PreSonus). The event organisers were over the moon that the event continued during the power outage and commended DMT for keeping the audience entertained and stopping them from leaving the event.
One of the most attractive things that PreSonus has to offer is that the end-user has a voice. Development of their hardware and software is continuous, user feature requests are taken seriously and the majority of them appear in the next software builds. The support infrastructure is excellent. We have called PreSonus UK on many occasions, the staff are very knowledgeable, friendly, and take a vested interest in helping to resolve even the most complex of problems, efficiently and with haste. On top of that, they are really nice guys that obviously love what they do. Interaction on social media by the PreSonus team is also a major plus point. To be able to reach out to people like Rick Naqvi, Jonny Doyle and Seth Martin on the StudioLive FaceBook Group is a great value-added commodity that is seldom seen with other companies.
For us at DMT Productions, PreSonus is a brand that we trust and we love using the products.
To find out more about DMT Productions, please feel free to visit our websites:-
Let’s take a minute and acknowledge some of our favorite TV dads:
Now let’s introduce you to one of the coolest dads out there, Neil de Jong. He is the audio engineer and dad to two of the three-member tribal thrash-metal band Alien Weaponry. Like a good dad, he taught them the value of hard work. The band worked multiple jobs after school and on weekends, played tons of shows and funded all their own gear, full of instruments and recording equipment! Neil also served as the group’s manager until its recent signing to German music agency Das Maschine. He always went out of his way to teach his sons about Māori history and culture which is a massive influence on their music.
Alien Weaponry is a heavy metal band from Waipu, New Zealand, formed in 2010 by brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong. The band consists of Lewis de Jong (guitar and vocals), Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass guitar). Revolver Magazine called them “one of the best young metal bands in the world right now!”Alien Weaponry not only draws on the traditional Māori haka war-dance for their music, but often sing in the Māori language of Te Reo—and by doing so, are keeping the language alive. Pretty metal, right!?
They are currently killing it on tour, and we had the opportunity to hear all about it—and their rig, which includes a StudioLive RM32AI and a StudioLive CS18 AI. Neil took the time to answer a Q&A, below.
Hey Neil, give me some basic background info on your career and current projects.
I am 53 years old and have spent much of my life doing sound in one way or another. I spent my early years (like many) playing guitar in bands. When I was in my early 20s I landed a job working in a recording studio and trained there as a mastering engineer. I worked for many years on music and film projects as a post-production sound engineer and when Alien Weaponry started to make a name for themselves internationally I took on the role of live sound operator. I won Record Producer of the Year in last year’s New Zealand Music Awards for my work on Alien Weaponry’s album, Tū, which also won Best Rock Album and made dozens of Top Albums of 2018 lists worldwide.
What PreSonus product(s) have you used in the past and which do you currently use?
I work for Alien Weaponry, who are a young thrash metal band from New Zealand that I have had a long association with—I’m their dad! I started off with an StudioLive RM16AI and an iPad. This was initially to help the band out with a rehearsal space set up, but we found it made a great compact FOH rig too. I then acquired a 23-inch HP touchscreen to use which greatly enhanced the system. About two years ago, I acquired a CS18AI and an additional RM16 which I used for touring in Australasia with Alien Weaponry. I now own three RM32AI rigs, each with a CS18AI and AVB. I use these as my main touring rigs in the three main locations we tour in the world (North America, Europe, and Australasia) I still have the RM16s and recently bought a 24R for the rehearsal studio as the band wanted to record stuff straight to SD card. I have done some fly dates just with the 24R and a touch screen laptop.
For what applications are you using the product(s)?
I have been mixing on my RM32AI/CS18AI rigs at some of the world’s largest heavy metal festivals in Europe, America, and Australasia. (Download UK, HellFest France, Wacken Germany, Metaldays Slovenia, Chicago Open Air amongst others) The band also toured with Anthrax and Slayer last season in Europe and we played everything from 1,200 cap clubs to 20,000 cap arenas. I am almost always running the smallest mixing console at FOH, and it does raise eyebrows. Most guys are on the larger Midas, Digico or Avid consoles. After we play, many want to know what I am mixing on and are surprised by the sound.
What led you to choose these particular PreSonus product(s)? Was it the company’s reputation, audio quality, specific features, price, other factors?
At the time I was looking for a mixed setup I had investigated the lower-end offerings by Midas and the Behringer X32. I decided to go with the PreSonus RM partly based on the architecture and a recommendation from the guys in New Zealand who run The Rock Shop (from whom I purchased my first RM16AI) Price was definitely a consideration and as it was for a rehearsal space a small footprint was a huge factor too.
Having used the gear, what do you like most about the specific PreSonus product(s) you use so far?
I really like the architecture of the AI-Series stuff. I like that the CS18AI is only a control wing as well as the flexibility I have with iPads and touchscreen laptops. Our monitor mix guy mixes directly to the system with his iPad from the side of the stage during shows. He and the band are on in-ear monitors. I also really like the sound of the PreSonus preamps too and think they sound better than many more expensive options I have encountered at big shows. Certainly better than the Avid/Digidesign console in my opinion.
In each of the PreSonus product(s) you use, what features have proven particularly useful for your specific workflow and why?
I think the “stage box” layout of the RM32AI is perfect for big festival shows with all XLR inputs and outputs on the front of the box. We have our ears wired in on the DB24 connectors on the back, and they conveniently live in the same SKB rack. We have been up and running in as little as 10 minutes with mics all line-checked and ready to go. I also like were the Tap Tempo and FX Mute button are on the CS18IA—right under my thumb.
Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with PreSonus gear?
I like that I can run music for testing the rig from FOH and that our stage mix guy runs the house music from the RMs position on stage. He is able to do a “silent” soundcheck/line check using his in-ears and iPad. This is how we do all festival setups and did many of the shows with Anthrax and Slayer when there was just no time for a full soundcheck. The system has never let us down.
Any final comments about PreSonus, our products in general, and the PreSonus product(s) you use in particular?
I also like that my PreSonus rig is so portable and flexible. The first time we toured Europe, we did it in a splitter van, so space was a big issue and the smaller footprint of the FOH gear was very welcome. I also like the dark grey/ black color scheme of the StudioLive RM AI/CS18AI units. I’m glad to see the newer Series III units are using less blue… but then I work for a metal band, so black is king. It’s one of the reasons we use Audix mics, hahaha!
She’s also talented, brave, stylish, expressive, funny, creative, gifted, innovative, hip, original… OK, we’ll stop now. She’s a singer, songwriter, producer, and DJ from London. Specializing in what she describes as “limitless, soulful, future R&B,” her music is an amalgamation of 90s RnB influences and her love for digital audio experimentation. Emmavie has credits with a number of artists both in the UK and internationally, including collaborations with IAMNOBODI, Budgie, ROMderful, Jarreau Vandal, Dornik, Alfa Mist, Barney Artist and Jay Prince.
We connected with her on Instagram after we noticed her love for Studio One, and she quickly became an office favorite. Read more about Emmavie, her music and career and love for Studio One here.
Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making beats since I was 11 years old, but I started playing around with sounds a little younger. I remember, I started teaching myself how to play basic melodies and chords on a Casio keyboard my dad bought me from Argos in primary school. I used this to play with the built-in drum sounds too, and when I moved to secondary school, I needed a way of recording this. I started teaching myself how to make beats after school. There were no YouTube tutorials back then, so it was a calamitous process. I think that would explain why my sound is so experimental now.
When I first decided I was confident enough to share my music, MySpace was the number one social media platform for independent artists to be seen… and even then, the only way to professionally release and sell your music was to be distributed through a record label. These days, you can top the charts with a song you’ve made in your bedroom/home studio! The days of needing a label to gain traction are dwindling. In fact, the perception of releasing independently without industry backing but gaining a lot of traction and virality is possibly an even more attractive narrative, nowadays. When I started making music, being signed and moving to a million-dollar studio was at the top of my list of goals. Now, I can make music anywhere. I make beats on the plane and outside in the park. My new focus is the groundwork: studying, practicing, becoming the best at what you do and building your own core following. Without these, a label will rarely sniff in your direction.
Describe the first time you wrote a song? Produced it?
I wrote my first song at eight years old with my younger brother using a karaoke machine. I can’t remember how that went but we used to practice and perform it for our parents, haha! I was a quiet kid, and I discovered writing lyrics was a good guise to get my thoughts out. My dad played so much old-skool R&B and Neo soul where everyone sang about being in love, and I guess a part of me wanted to feel like that too so I started writing about love but at 11, what did I know about it? The earliest song I can remember producing was called “Are you okay?” and it was a song asking my imaginary love interest to tell me what’s up when things aren’t smooth between us. Clearly, I was listening to music beyond my years. It was an intense eight-bar R&B loop with The Neptunes-style drums and ridiculously loud synths. I recorded the vocals on a £10 Logitech microphone from Argos!
Who has been an influence in your life?
The most influence I’ve had in my life has been from my friendships and adverse life experiences. I’ve had the same best friends for 18 years and it shocks me how much we’ve grown with each other. We both spend so much time working out all the issues of the world and working through all of thoughts together, we’re each other’s therapists. After all this intense self-analysis and critical thought, you end up in a place of understanding. And when you know something you can confidently talk, write and convert it into art; and that’s what’s kept me writing hundreds of songs over the years.
Musically, it’s been artists like Missy Elliott, Pharrell, Timbaland, Jon B, and Musiq Soulchild. I became obsessed with electronic music listening to Dorian Concept, Hudson Mohawk and Monte Booker on Soundcloud and because I couldn’t play an instrument, I learned how to manipulate samples like they do in order to get the desired effect.
I’ve wanted to give up on music many times! At times, it’s difficult to stay motivated when you’re working away, making and sharing music and your bills are piling up. It’s difficult not to compare yourself to others because you need examples of success in order to set goals for yourself, but the comparison is the thief of joy. In my career, I’ve had a lot of people make me huge promises and then let me down but later on, I learned that the direction and trajectory of my life and career is no one else’s responsibility but mine. Confidence and self-belief is what keeps me going. When you have confidence, it allows you to act and send out messages of intent to others which causes them to believe and invest in you. The confidence comes from practicing and knowing that now I can make a song without difficulty.
What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?
It just works for my brain. I need to be able to work fast when inspiration hits. I have used every DAW, and so many things about the layout of other programs just didn’t lend itself well to my brain. All of the functions are so easily accessible and placed where it just makes sense. It feels like I can do everything I need to ever do by just right clicking.
When did you first hear about Studio One?
Approximately three years ago, I was introduced to Studio one by a studio engineer who was mixing and mastering a single of mine. I watched him using it and he was adamant I should try it and then a few months after that, whilst I was running a music production demonstration, two producers approached me at the end and told me that they thought I would love it. This piqued my interest.
Any tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One?
One of my tricks is I automate the tempo to do a slight increase or decrease when my beat is about to do a flip. It’s so subtle and might only change by as little as 3bpm but it makes such a difference to the feel. I might make the climb/descent happen in a space of three seconds, so it’s quick… but it’s felt.
An obvious piece of advice but somebody needs to hear this because so many of us experience the devastation of losing all of our music at least once in our careers. DOUBLE BACK UP ALL OF YOUR PROJECT FILES! Make sure not just your .MP3s and .WAVs exist in three places but your entire project file. On your computer, on an external hard drive and online e.g DropBox, Google Drive.
In my experience, Studio One is the easiest DAW to learn. It’s been the easiest to teach on, too.
Where do you go for support?
YouTube tutorials, mostly. And luckily, I have access to producers who’s work I admire that also use Studio One so I go to them for tips.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I go outside. Eventually, the intense pull to create will draw me back inside. I listen to and study old music – Cuban Jazz and 90s R&B are my go-tos right now.
Recent projects? What’s next for you?
I just recently released my debut album, Honeymoon. 13 songs all written, produced and recorded by me in my home studio. It’s had national and international radio play, including being played on the countries top radio station, BBC Radio 1. Next, I will be working with Native Instruments and Nike to present “School of Bop,” a workshop for young artists to learn more about music production and writing and during these demonstrations, I always use Studio One.