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Category Archives: Artist


Heartcast Media in Washington, DC and the StudioLive 16

Heartcast Media is a dedicated full-service studio in Washington, D.C. that works with clients to create high quality, authentic podcast content that inspires, educates and connects. Molly Ruland and her team specialize in working with entrepreneurs, visionaries, and businesses of all sizes who have an impactful point-of-view.

Woman-owned Heartcast Media is the vision of Molly Ruland who is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations bring their authentic, original content to life through podcasts. A sister-company to One Love Massive, Heartcast Media clients range from go-go bands to conservative political commentators.

They’re also PreSonus users—and have recorded 85 bands and 150 podcasts in the past 11 months alone!

We think Molly’s business idea is genius, and of course we’re glad that they’ve chosen the StudioLive 16 for their time-sensitive workflow. From the Heartcast website:

We have fully embraced technology and have figured out how to eliminate post production with real time video editing and audio mastering. We deliver all files within 48 hours of recording, typically within 3-4.

We’re proud to be a part of their process, so we wanted to hear more about how this whole operation works. Read all about Molly and Heartcast Media….

Tell us about your background. How long have you been in the audio industry? 

I have owned and operated a multimedia company for the last 20 years. I was primarily focused on artist bookings and events. Creating an aesthetic has always been my passion. 

How has the audio industry changed since your early days?

Everything is so streamlined now, and the gatekeepers have been removed. I love the idea of accessibility and practicality. Information is readily available which has opened doors for people who weren’t always welcome at the table, and I think that’s great. 

How did Heartcast Media come about? 

After recording 85 bands and 150 podcasts in 11 months, I realized that my passion and vision align perfectly through podcast production. I love amplifying voices, I always have. I saw a need in the market for high-quality turnkey podcast production, so I created the business to solve that problem. We do things differently—we embrace technology, and by doing so we are able to eliminate the need for a lot of post-production. This saves people time and money and our clients love that. 

What’s your favorite podcast right now? Are you allowed to have a favorite? 

Tom Bilyeu’s Impact Theory. No question, hands down. Game changer for me. 

Tell us about your podcast. Where did the idea for your podcast come from? How does your first podcast compare to your most recent? 

I have just launched The Lower Third Podcast because I know so many amazing people whom I garner so much inspiration from, and I wanted to interview and talk to them about mindset and passion. It’s a work in progress. I am looking forward to producing more episodes. However, my passion is producing other people’s podcast and helping them be successful. 

There are so many podcasts these days. How do you stand out? 

Having a plan for your podcast is imperative. Every podcaster should examine how and if their podcast is providing value. If there isn’t a clear answer, you don’t have a podcast yet. 

What challenges do you face recording a podcast?  

I am positive that most people don’t understand how much work goes into creating and producing a podcast. It’s a lot of work. It’s not cheap either, and anyone who tells you can start a podcast for $100 is delusional. If you are going to start a podcast you have to have a lot of resilience and a strong sense of self, because it will be a heavy rock to push uphill until you get momentum. It will not happen overnight. 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a podcast? 

Have a plan, understand the workload, and always be open to being wrong. 

How did you first hear of PreSonus?

I learned about PreSonus through Adam Levin at Chuck Levin’s Music Center in Wheaton, Maryland. It’s legendary. 

What PreSonus products do you use?

I have the StudioLive 16 in my studio, and we love it. It’s a little more than we need for podcasts, but we also produce live music events so it’s great to have a board that can do both. It’s a solid piece of equipment with really great features that fit our needs. It’s a beautiful board, what’s not to love?

Recent projects? What’s next for you?

My goal is to produce the best podcasts coming out of the East Coast by elevating and amplifying voices in my community that will make the world a better place, one conversation at a time. Every city should have a Heartcast Media. 

Stay connected with Heartcast Media on Instagram! 

Learn more about the StudioLive family here! 

Rich Mahan Discusses Podcasting and the Quantum

We recently had the opportunity to hear from Rich Mahan who is a guitarist, singer-songwriter, podcaster, and a PreSonus user! If you’re not familiar with Rhino, we’re excited to introduce you to it. It is important and very well-respected reissue label, the label home of Warner Music’s legendary catalog. Currently living in Nashville, Rich where he records his podcast titled the Rhino Podcast. This biweekly podcast dives into classic artist and albums, interviews with musicians and lots of behind the scenes stories about some of the most legendary music. Their latest episode discusses Prince and it’s very entertaining!  Read all about his thoughts on the growing a creating a podcast, the industry, gear and the Quantum 2!

 

Tell us about your background. How long have you been in the audio industry? 

I started recording in the mid 90’s on a Vestax 4 track cassette recorder, moved up to a Tascam 388 reel to reel, and then to computer-based recording around 2003, starting originally using Vegas.  I’ve been working in Pro Tools now for about 15 years.

How has the Audio industry changed since your early days?

The gear keeps getting better and better.  The quality you can capture in a home studio or out in the field is unreal, and digital editing has changed everything.  You can repair audio problems now that you simply couldn’t before, problems that would necessitate re-recording a part.

What’s your favorite podcast right now?

I love Cocaine & Rhinestones, by Tyler Mahan Coe (No relation).  It’s about 20th-century country music, it’s really well researched and produced, and I’ve learned a ton listening to it.

Tell us about your podcast. Where did the idea for your podcast come from? How does your first podcast compare to your most recent? 

The idea for the Rhino Podcast came from both Rhino and me and my co-host Dennis Scheyer.  We pitched the idea to them and they said, “We’ve been wanting to do a podcast…” so it came together pretty easily.  The format since the 1st episode has changed here and there, but basically, it’s still the same.  Every once in awhile Rhino will want to add or take something out, so it is a living, breathing thing that progresses as it goes.

There are so many podcasts these days. How do you stand out? 

There are a number of reasons why the Rhino Podcast stands out. First and foremost, we are fortunate to be working with the greatest musicians and artists of our time.  Rhino Entertainment is the catalog arm of Warner Music Group, so we cover any classic recordings from Atlantic, Warner Brothers, Reprise, Elektra, Sire… there’s a wealth of musical riches to explore, and it’s been thrilling to interview the artists who have created the soundtracks of our lives. On the production side of things, we hold ourselves to a high standard of audio quality; we fight hard to avoid using telephone audio for production purposes.  If we can’t interview an artist in person, then we get them into a studio or send a recordist to them to capture high-quality audio for production, and just use the phone to talk with each other, everyone wearing a microphone headset or phone earbuds so there’s no monitor bleed into the mics. I spend a lot of time removing background noise and cleaning things up, removing lip smacks, getting fades perfect, and generally being a perfectionist. I don’t let anything go. If I hear an issue, I fix it.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a podcast? 

Really learn how to record and edit well to make a professional sounding product.  Record and edit as often as you can, and practice, practice, practice. Record your friends’ bands or your own music, interview your parents or grandparents and clean up the audio by removing ums, uhs, stutters and stammers, click and pops.  Learn how the room you’re recording in affects the sound of your recording. Experiment with different microphones, and buy the best gear for the job that you can afford. Garbage in, garbage out. There’s a saying that you need to get 10,000 hours of experience to really start cooking, and there’s something to that.

How did you first hear of PreSonus?

I first heard of PreSonus when I was building my first ProTools rig.  I wanted better preamps than my Digi002 offered, and I scored a PreSonus Eureka channel strip on the recommendation of a friend.  It was great to get a good clean preamp, compression, and EQ all in a one-rack space unit. I liked the sound of it so much that I then bought two PreSonus MP20’s for tracking drums.  That improved my recordings at that time dramatically.

What PreSonus products do you use?

Currently, I’m using a Quantum 2.

Why did you decide to go with Quantum? 

There are a few reasons I went with the Quantum. Firstly because it has 4 mic inputs, along with a ton of other I/O options, which I need when interviewing multiple subjects simultaneously.  Another huge feature is that the Quantum has 2 Thunderbolt ports which allow me to plug in my bus-powered thunderbolt drive into the Quantum, and then the Quantum into my Macbook Pro. Thirdly, I love the smaller footprint, its’ not as wide as a piece of rack gear, so it fits easily into my messenger bag making it really easy to carry onto an airplane.  And last but certainly not least, it is dead quiet, and there’s plenty of gain in the preamps to drive a Shure SM7B, which is my VO microphone of choice. The Quantum sounds awesome.

What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye? 

The folks at PreSonus really are the best to work with.  If you have an issue or need to figure something out, you can get help and get back up and running quickly.  But another great thing is their gear is intuitive and easy to use. It’s easy to get great tones with their gear.

Recent projects? What’s next for you?

I just released a new album entitled, “Hot Chicken Wisdom.”  I was able to put the Quantum to use while tracking parts, especially when I was traveling and wanted to have friends lay down parts away from my studio.  I think if you listen to the record you’ll hear that we got some great tones, besides it’s the perfect summer soundtrack!  

Next up for me is some touring to support Hot Chicken Wisdom, and I have a second Podcast in pre-production that I can’t announce quite yet, but I’m really excited about it.   Anyone who wants to keep up with me can check me out at richmahan.com.

 

Follow Rich on Facebook Here! 

 

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Artist Denny White Discusses Career and Studio One!

We were recently introduced to Denny White via his artist bro and Studio One fan Josh Cumbee. Denny combines pop and electronic beats, soulful blues vocals, and a singer/songwriter style that takes listeners on a trip! Living in Los Angeles has awarded him opportunities to play alongside acts such as Young the Giant, Dawes, and Tove Styrke. He JUST released some vocal sample packs with our friends at Splice, and he’s currently working on a collection of singles leading up to his debut full-length album coming out soon! We recently had the opportunity to chat with him about his career and his gear.

 

Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?

I grew up in a sleepy California suburb called Hemet and music was always at the centerpiece of everything we did. I fell slowly into making music as a career, and still find it crazy that I call this my  “job.” My freshman year of college, I met my good buddy Brent Kutlze, who produced my first solo EP and mentored me early on. I saw first hand how he wrote & produced for other artists, while also being a full-time one himself in his band OneRepublic. Releasing that first EP led to me meeting a manager, doing hundreds of co-writes, moving to LA, and eventually signing a publishing deal with Warner Chappell.

 

How has the music industry changed since your early days?

It’s such a catch-22… everything’s changed while nothing has at the same time. I was technically streaming music in high school with Limewire and MySpace, but couldn’t have dreamed it would morph into streaming as we know it today. On the recording side, I’m still producing on a laptop like I was in college, but everything is light years better and faster than anything I could have imagined then. One of the biggest changes is the vast amounts of knowledge and resources available to everyone now. The industry once sounded like some mysterious faraway place that only a few had access to, but now that glass ceiling has been shattered. I’ve written with kids who know about publishing, licensing, producing, and even their own frequency preferences on a vocal, thanks to amazing resources like Pensado’s Place, or podcasts like Ross Golan’s And the Writer is

 

Describe the first time you wrote a song.

My first song was written for a school talent show, and I hope to find a dusty VHS tape someday with a little me on it, most likely singing a mid-tempo Ben Folds-esque piano tune.

 

Who has been an influence in your life?

Hands down my wife’s been the biggest influence in my life. Musically, I’ve been the benefactor of so many talented friends and collaborators who’ve had an influence on me as well over the years, Brent Kutlze, Michael Brun, David Hodges, Alex Delicata, Steve Wilmot, and Jeff Sojka to name a few!

 

Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?

I’ve never wanted to give up on music per se, but have definitely contemplated other career paths, as this one has the propensity to drive you mad; you really have to love it despite the wild ebb and flow of the industry and embrace the process daily. My faith and family keep me going on days I don’t want to. 

 

How did you first hear of PreSonus?

I’ve always known about PreSonus but knew little about the products until really hearing about Studio One from my freakishly talented friend Josh Cumbee last year. 

What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?

I remember being in Josh’s studio and was immediately intrigued when I saw the Start Page of Studio One. It felt so unique and custom to Josh. The first feature that caught my eye was the window in the middle where you can upload your own art, that prints on every mixdown. Also, the organization of seeing all recent files on the left, without having to scroll through a list or search your hard drive immediately spoke to my OCD-ness.

 

What PreSonus products do you use?

I use Studio One, Monitor Station v2, and just snagged the newest FaderPort for even more control! 

 

What features are you most impressed with in Studio One?

I really dig Console Shaper, and the immediate vibe it can give to any blank start. The hybrid dual buffer engine is insane and makes it possible to work in large projects that historically would have been a cluster cuss, and allows me to use instances of soft synths that are taxing on CPU like Kontact or Vengeance Avenger up until the finish line. Tracklist organization, Fat Channel, and “Candleblower” bass in Mai Tai are a few of the other million things I love in it.

 

Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One?

Recently I released a Vocal pack on Splice, and Sample One XT made all my vocal chops feel so much more creative and important-sounding than anything I could have accomplished in my sad old DAW’s sampler. First I’d record pass of adlibs, tune with the integrated Melodyne (insanely fast,) then map individual samples across 3-5 keys and quickly explore new melody ideas. Another huge lifehack is I have “W” set to “Locate Mouse Cursor.” It’s insane how much time these things have saved me, and now I’m able to be creative almost immediately. 

 

How easy/difficult was Studio One to learn?

The transition was so easy. I was very reluctant at first, thinking It’d take way too much time, but after doing a few sessions in it I was back at full speed with a whole new perspective on producing.

Where do you go for support?

From the Knowledgebase to millions of videos on YouTube, or texting one of my friends about Studio One, there’s never a shortage of support.

Recent projects? What’s next for you?

Last week I released my first Vocal Sample Pack on Splice that I’m really proud of. Currently, I’m in the middle of writing for my album, while also producing a record for Gabriel Conte!

Keep up with Denny on Instagram! 

Check out his work on Spotify!

 

 

Buy his Vocal Sample Pack from Splice Here! 

Justin Lassen on the Making of Black Fox Society: Abstract

Justin Lassen is a composer, producer, sound designer, and good friend to PreSonus. Justin has had his hands in a LOT of music, TV, and video game projects over the years, but is perhaps best known for his best-selling sound library “White Rabbit Asylum.” Always one to outdo himself, Justin has followed it up with a spiritual successor called “Black Fox Society: Abstract,” available now at shop.presonus.com.

Let’s be clear from the get-go… this is not just another sound library. Justin spent ten years traveling to obscure corners of the earth to record strange and unheard sounds for this project, and then spent another year just editing them all together for this massive 3.7 gigabyte collection of loops, instrumentals, and industrial beats—all inspired by mysterious secret societies. He was kind enough to take the time to share some stories (and AMAZING photos!) of how this all came to be. Strap in, this one’s quite a ride.

Talk to us a little bit about some of the mysterious locations you went to—22+ countries is a LOT!

Secret societies have fascinated me for years. When I lived in Europe in my twenties, I became aware of so much history the world never hears about. Everything in these ancient cities is literally built on top of the previous generations. This means there are a lot of hidden spaces and forgotten stories to uncover. I knew that every country in the world has stories to tell, but I focused especially on the places that have shaped the world as we know it today.

I was drawn to places where I knew groups of influencers have gathered throughout time. So, I would start with plans to visit places that I knew would not only be visually intriguing but would also provide unique sound environments that could be crafted into high-quality ambient concepts. The most surprising part was what I would find along the way. As I talked to locals and explored some less-traveled roads, I found spaces that had a unique vibe, and I would stop and capture the environment before moving on.

Staying flexible in both my expectations of what I would actually capture, as well as where it would happen, allowed for some unexpected opportunities to capture some once-in-a-lifetime material.

For example, when I was in Korea, I received a tip from a local contact about a secret shamanic temple up in the mountains outside of the city. With very few people around, I was able to capture much of the mystical ambiance that was available among those sacred stones. Distant chanting and ceremonial bells enriched the environment more than I could have hoped.

In Europe, where so much history has been buried through the years, I made a point of going off the beaten path. This led me into ancient grottos, up decaying staircases, through ruins and forgotten graveyards full of nameless stones. You can’t be in these places without feeling something.

You might think that this is the magic behind Black Fox Society, but it’s these feelings that inspired me to take the recordings I collected around the world and shape them into individual works of art that evoke specific emotions, reminders of what I felt in these places.

What sort of field recording gear did you use?

My primary field recording equipment was Zoom F4, Sennheiser Ambeo-VR Mic, and a Roland R-07 Recorder w/ Roland binaural headset/mic combo. I also brought a Netbook on my trip, several hard drives, and a ton of SD cards for the various recorders and camera equipment. I also used the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset for some cool unique recording situations.

Any fave mics, recorders, etc? Binaural mics?

With all of that gear, and using all of it in each country and location, what ended up being my favorite piece of gear was the Ambeo Smart HeadSet, particularly when going into places that I wasn’t able to bring all of the mics, XLR cables, recorders. It ended up capturing some really beautiful audio that felt “3D” and even made me feel like I was “there” on playback. Upon returning from my trip, I actually got a ton of new equipment and microphones that I plan on bringing with me on my next set of adventures.

How do you keep such a huge collection of .WAV files organized when you’re busy traveling? One SD Card per location? Strict file naming conventions?

Keeping the files organized is easier than you might expect. I was walking an average of 10 miles per day in most cities. I was usually pretty tired by the end of the day! It was a non-negotiable routine when I would get back to my computer to download the work from that day. I would organize it by city and by date. I kept a concise log of my itinerary, including notes of where I went and what I did that day. I organized the video, pictures, and drone footage the same way and that helped keep everything straight.

The most important thing to know about the file management is that at the end of the day, the project didn’t demand location-specific end products. Creating the library was a much more artistic venture than just a single track pulled from a cathedral in Prague, for example. Each ambient loop in the library has 8 to 17 layers in them, each layer coming from different parts of the trip and world. The color of each audio sample was more important than the locale in deciding how it would be used in the final content.

The file names were simple, based on date and city. My criteria for what was worth including was determined beforehand, so I didn’t need to filter my content much when I got back. I ended up using almost every single thing I recorded!

Did you have any issues getting all of that recording gear and media from country-to-country (through international customs) in your travels?

Yes, actually. I was at airports almost every other day, and no airport ever took it easy on me. I had to take everything out of its case, out of the bag each time, to show them that it wasn’t some elaborate mechanism. I even had to throw away batteries and things in some countries. I think the next time I do a trip like this I want to simplify the gear even more. What a lesson to learn. What is very good news is that recording equipment is getting smaller and smaller, even for ultra-high-definition audio. Taking the drone out of its case was also not fun at all. The 4K camera and gimbal system also looked strange on scanners, so that had to come out of the bag as well. I almost missed a few flights because of some of the security screenings taking longer than they should have. I’ll pack lighter next time… and I thought I was pretty light to begin with!

What were some challenging moments in the field and why?

Some of the most challenging moments for me was the physicality of this kind of immense travel. Walking 10 miles a day on foot, meant I needed shoes that would keep me alive and moving forward. A lot of people saw my Instagram during the travels and thought it looked like a fun trip and gorgeous photos and stories. Parts of it were fun, but most of it was insanely long hours and hard work. Not just the recording aspect, but moving from place to place, getting equipment out at the drop of a hat if we happened to venture upon something unplanned but totally interesting and worth capturing. A lot of this trip was filled with those surprise moments.

Other challenges included making sure we didn’t get lazy with organizing the content. At the end of each night, no matter how tired, I had to make sure to file things away, organize things on the hard drives (multiple hard drives for backup) from all the SD cards and recording equipment.

I got sick during parts of the trip, but still had to keep moving forward. I had a goal and a dream, and a lot of tickets booked. I couldn’t miss flights or trains or cars, even if I was sick, I had to venture forward and keep on schedule and on track. In a lot of ways, it’s like a band on tour. Band tours are hard and grueling work. You’re expected to perform in each city, and there is no “fun time,” as each day in between is only used to travel to the next set of destinations. I didn’t get to stop and rest very often at all if ever. Carrying an entire studio on my back, gear and everything as we walked was also hard work. My feet were sore, but I knew I had to get through all of these countries and try to find the best audio I could find. I made sure to do a lot of research in between travel to pick interesting places that fit the sounds and environments I was going after.

Did you discover any amazing new foods/dishes that were firsts?

We always ate the best food in each country in general, but one of my absolute favorite places to eat was Thailand! That country has some awesome food. In particular, I had the honor of feasting on the award-winning menu of Chef Bee Satongun (who was awarded Best Female Chef in Asia, 2018.) So pretty amazing and humbling to be eating dishes from one of the best of the best in all of Asia! Her food has so many flavors and textures that create little worlds of their own! She was an artist. She even let me bring recording equipment into her kitchen to capture foley design, sound design and ambiance while she was cooking and creating her masterpieces. We recorded all kinds of ambisonic stuff even with food! 😊

How did the people and the countries’ overall vibe and energy affect your project sonically?

 

People always affect my creative process wherever I am in the world. Sonically, each group of humans spoke different languages, so that created a new ambiance wherever we went. Humans have different tonal qualities depending on the language they speak. If you add large groups of them together, you get very different textures in general. For crowds, trains, or cityscapes, it is the people, the human beings, with voices that bring those places to life. Night markets in Korea vs. day markets in Thailand or heavily touristed areas in Europe all had their own tones and chatter. Even different train tunnels and docks of people sounded different from place to place.

Each country also had its own general vibe and energy. Of all the places I went, I think I really loved Ireland the most. The people there were so warm, friendly and caring. Not to say that there aren’t warm and friendly people in other places, but for me, I felt right at home in Ireland. Driving through the countryside (on the wrong side of the road, haha) was beautiful to experience. It’s these kinds of vibes and energies that differ in all these places. The jungles in Thailand or even getting to play with an elephant in a river was one of my most memorable experiences. Yes, we recorded audio from my playtime with the elephant, but being near this beautiful creature had a pure energy around it that I will remember until the day I die. I got to do so many things and meet so many people that it will be years of stories that I can recall for years to come!

OK, let’s not forget that getting there is only HALF the fun. You spent a year editing this stuff together, so here’s some post-production questions:

 

Any particular tricks or processing that came in particularly handy?

I love the “markers” in Studio One, especially when “exporting”, it makes cataloging and batch exporting so much easier for one-shots and custom sound design layers. I didn’t want to just make a generic “found sound” kind of library, so I did a lot of editing, manipulation and huge chains of plugins to process and change the audio for some of the layers. I wanted to maintain the realism of the raw samples and augment them with stories and sonic ideas. However, I still wanted to maintain the vibe of the places I visited. I collected my own impulse responses (IR) when I could in certain places, and then used those to further edit location audio in other places, to create an amalgamation of different textures and moods. Like taking the reverb IR from a cathedral in one country and using it to process the outdoor space of a jungle or a cave and so on. There were no “rules.” I didn’t want to give myself any barriers. I wasn’t making a “documentary” about world travel. I was telling a story about secret places and societies. I was using the sounds I found all over the world simply as colors, that I could dip into and paint new landscapes and seemingly otherworldly places to explore. My body explored these places on the trip, but my mind further explored these places back home in the studio on a deeper level.

I love being able to collect the spirit of a place or situation and go for hyper-realism in some situations and majestic imagination in others. That is my favorite thing about sound design and audio editing. Every sample, every foley design, every hit, every texture, every ambient space can be broken apart and put back together in a million different ways like lego bricks. Although I have a pretty generously-sized library that I released, the trip still has over five terabytes of raw audio collected as a well of inspiration for future dreams and future projects to come. It was an amazing journey. I felt like Indiana Jones in some places.

You mention that Black Fox Society is ideal for use in VR and games. What are some of the considerations made in the tracking phase as opposed to recording sounds for traditional stereo use? 

I work in Unreal and Unity engines a lot on the games that I get to work on, so I’ve had years of experience in implementing audio assets into interactive programs, attractions, rides, video games and virtual reality experiences, including the 2018 Emmy-nominated Spider-Man VR Experience which I was Audio Director for. I have been getting more heavily involved with surround audio in the last half decade, more-so than any time in my career—although I started doing surround remixing and composing with DTS back in 2004! For Black Fox Society to be useful for me as a sound designer for these kinds of experiences, I wanted to make sure that the audio felt “spatial” and like I’m “there.”The more spatial, the more useful for me and other sound designers in these fields.

I made sure to collect a lot of 3D audio/binaural audio, particularly because it can translate well for video games, VR, trailers, and movies alike. Ambisonic audio is great because you can collapse it down to a binaural field with very straightforward plugins. I relied heavily on environmental captures, impulse responses, and natural spatial audio in the places I traveled. I made sure to sit still and collect several minutes of each place I visited and cut out the most useful parts and augment with other audio captures to create little audio paintings. I didn’t want a “generic” library with no soul, so I made sure to mix and match different environments together to create the illusion of new places and new worlds (and new stories, as you can tell from the titles that evoke interesting emotions!) That was my favorite part of all of this sound design. I wanted to make a plethora of useful ambient audio that could be used in a number of different scenarios and still feel fresh to each new sound designer working on their own projects.

How did this library differ for you in terms of the workflow process, compared to say… White Rabbit Asylum?

White Rabbit Asylum was a more drawn-out casual creation process. It was collected over a decade from any kind of recorder I had on me at the time. From really bad microphones to really good ones and everything in between (cell phones, tape recorders, (yes, tape!) cameras, early generation portable recorders, etc.) White Rabbit Asylum did not have binaural audio or surround audio. It was merely a collection of interesting audio from my travels and adventures around the world at that time in my life. It was like a photograph or snapshot of where I was in that time of my life. White Rabbit Asylum was never meant to be a “library,” it sort of just happened naturally and organically over time from an enormous amount of collected and recorded audio. I was approached by Sony to release it as a “library,” so I edited and composed some interesting loops and story ideas with all that audio and created a haunted, surreal, otherworldly vibe with that collection. I wanted to make a library that I would want to use as well. I’m very proud of it to this day as a piece of my history.

Black Fox Society is a more deliberate approach. I traveled the world knowing I would eventually create a new library from the content I collected and recorded. It’s a spiritual successor for sure. Almost five years ago my friend Jim and I met in Louisiana and found that he was a fan and user of my previous library. He and many others have asked me over the years “When are you going to create another library?” I never quite had an answer for that because I was always busy working on so many different kinds of projects. I was doing a lot of pioneering surround work, 3D audio, binaural and ambisonic audio for Virtual Reality immersive experiential attractions and projects in these new industries. I was going out and collecting new audio for each new project, one at a time. Designing stuff from the ground up from scratch. Very tedious.

There aren’t a lot of libraries on the market with ready-to-go loopable immersive audio, so I wanted to put in a lot of hard work and heart and soul into this library so that not only would I want to use it but it might inspire others to use it for their own dreams and visions too. I wanted to create a library that could help not only me, but other VR producers and sound designers, attraction designers, film and video game editors fall into these beautiful sonic worlds. I hope that this inspires a bunch of new experiences and immersive stories for years to come. I especially love how all the layers work together in different ways for different moods and feelings.

More from Justin:

 

 

 

 

Glenn Rosenstein on the FaderPort 16 and and the StudioLive Ecosystem

This just in from Glenn Rosenstein, a three-time Grammy-winning mix engineer whose credits include U2, Madonna, Talking Heads, The Ramones, James Brown, Miles Davis and many others. His work in film and television has landed him both an Oscar and a Golden Globe while working on projects including The Sopranos, Celebrity Circus, The Last Emperor, Blown Away, Married To The Mob, Charmed, Beverly Hills 90210, All My Children and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. We recently got in touch with him to get his perspective on all things PreSonus.

Hey Glenn. Tell us about yourself!

I’ve had a fun career that’s led me to many musical adventures. I started early on at Power Station in NYC, then as a staff engineer at Sigma Sound Studio. I became an independent mixer, then producer, eventually winning some Grammys and selling a bunch of records, back when that was a possibility. I’m still producing both for my Sony labels, as well as independently. I partner in a number of project studios in Nashville, Muscle Shoals, and New York, as well as having a room at historic Fame Studios. 

What PreSonus products have you used and which do you currently use?

I’ve always been a PreSonus user. As time goes on, PreSonus continues to release products that almost anticipate my needs. I started out with the ADL 600, a very tasty stereo mic pre from a few years back. I’ve put together a pretty cool room in my Muscle Shoals facility that’s centered around the StudioLive 64S, along with some great AVB powered PreSonus peripherals: The StudioLive 32R, the EarMix 16M, and the SW5E among them. Also to be found are the PreSonus R80 monitors and, of course, Studio One. And I always travel with my Faderport 16. Always.

For what applications are you using the products?

My PreSonus facility is very much a writing/production room that is easily convertible to a full-blown production studio. I like the creative ease and intuitive design that is integrated into all of the PreSonus cosmos of products. It’s simple to start off small—just creating some beats or a few phrases on guitar or a vocal idea—and easily push that to a bigger, more robust production without having to shift rigs.

What led you to choose these particular PreSonus products?

I had a pretty solid awareness of the PreSonus offerings for many years and was fortunate enough to meet and spend some time with Jim Odom. His backstory is steeped in music production and performance, and, ultimately, creating solutions that he wanted for himself. I liked that a lot. I still do. I totally get the narrative of PreSonus products, their evolution over the past few years, and their remarkable value. Jim and his team are always pushing the boundaries—they’re taking insane amounts of features and options and putting them in boxes that should cost five times what they’re asking. I have no idea how they get it done, but they do. And all that filters down into very usable tools that sound great and are fun to work with.

Having used the gear, what do you like most about the specific PreSonus products you use?

Let’s talk about the Faderport 16: A 16-channel control surface that fits under your arm—brilliant design and execution. Regardless of my preferred DAW, I always feel right at home. I’m in a hotel, it’s there. I’m in a rehearsal room, it’s there. Perfect combination of small footprint and functionality.

 

Glenn’s website

 

Mixing Competition with Recording Revolution, Splice, and Briana Tyson

We’ve partnered with Splice, The Recording Revolution, and Briana Tyson for a mixing competition!

Practice your chops bringing stems from Briana to life and share your best mixing tips and tricks with the rest of the community! Here’s how it works. Click the link below to visit Splice and download the project files and stems for Once all the mixes are in, Graham from Recording Revolution will listen through the mixes and choose the one he thinks is radio ready to win his premiere mixing course Mixing University, a pair of Eris E66 Monitors and a copy of Studio One 4 Professional, an Eyeball microphone cover from Kaotica, a video call with Briana Tyson, and consideration from Briana Tyson for official release! 

Click here to learn more and sign up!

 

 

Spoons’ Jeff Carter and Sandy Horne on PreSonus Studio One

Sandy and Jeff

Spoons are a long-haul Canadian new wave band formed 1979 in Burlington. Jeff Carter is their longtime producer, collaborator, and husband to founding member/bassist Sandy Horne. Jeff got into Studio One after years in analog recording, including some time with PreSonus’ FireStudio interfaces when collaborating with Sandy and helping her set up her studio.

When Studio One version 1 was released, they switched from Cubase… and were able to collaborate so effortlessly together that Jeff actually credits Studio One with helping cement a relationship with Sandy—which culminated in their marriage! 

On the other hand, Sandy calls this scenario the “Hire-a-Husband” program, so the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But they’re married and happily making beautiful music together to this day. Jeff has a lot of nice things to say about why he chose Studio One and how he uses it:

 

Sandy and Jeff in the Studio

What PreSonus products have you used and which do you currently use?

I’ve used all kinds of PreSonus hardware, going back to the early FireStudios, then the Firestudio Project, and then the Firestudio Tube, which I still use on our older iMac system—the new system is using a Thunderbolt interface. Static in Transmission was recorded entirely with those various FireStudio interfaces, with the help of a Presonus HP4 headphone amp. We also use a new PreSonus Studio 26 as an interface for live shows, for the keyboard player’s virtual instrument outputs and backing tracks. I’ve also had the opportunity to mix live on various versions of the StudioLive consoles, going back to the first generation, which has been a joy, as they’ve all had an intuitive layout, similar in philosophy to Studio One. I’m now using a Faderport Version 2 in the studio as well, which has been great for streamlining certain functions, like scrolling the timeline, mutes and solos, transports, and writing automation.

But overall, Studio One Professional has been far and away the most important addition to Sky Studios, and since its inception, we’ve used every subsequent version of it since the beginning. I have other DAWs… pretty much all of the major ones; I keep them around, mostly just in case clients bring files in from other systems for me to mix; but even then, I’ll bounce the stems over to Studio One, or just export the files as OMF—which is another fantastic addition to Studio One that’s made my life so much easier!

Spoons’ Latest Album

For what applications are you using Studio One Professional?

I use Studio One for almost anything audio and/or MIDI related: composing, recording, mixing, re-mixing, post-production, sound design, and mastering. Now, with Studio One, the big eye-opening moment for me happened with version 3, when the Console Shaper was first added. Finally, my mixes started to have some of that subtly-more dynamic, organic, and harmonically “gelled-together” sound that I had been chasing ever since my days mixing on that big ol’ Trident console back in the 90s. When CTC-1 (on sale now!) came out soon after, I immediately bought it, and it’s made a stunning difference. On New Day New World, I tended to use the Tube Mode on bass and certain synth busses, because there’s a low-end warmth that it imparts that I really dig, and the Classic Mode was sometimes used on guitar or vocal busses—but the big winner was the Custom Mode, which was used on many things, but always used on drums, and on the 2 buss, boosting the “drive” and “character” parameters just enough to get the tracks into that sweet spot where things sound full, yet detailed, and open, yet tight. For all those who have Studio One Pro 3 or above, try it: you’ll know what I’m talking about as soon as you hear it.

 

What led you to choose Studio One? Was it the company’s reputation, audio quality, ease of use, specific features, price, other factors?

PreSonus has always had a solid reputation, but it was being shown real-world examples of how intuitive it is to work with that really sold me. With Long and McQuade, I almost always physically demonstrate Studio One, as opposed to just talking about it; the workflow sells itself. The audio quality of the 64-bit mix engine, especially with CTC-1 in use, is like nothing I’ve ever worked with, excluding large analog consoles. The Presonus Symphonic Orchestra Add-on is also great sounding, from the subtle, switchable articulation in the string sections, to the warm brass, to the orchestral timpani and percussion. You can hear it all over the opening track of New Day New World, and on the strings at the end of “Love Recall.” The pricing for Studio one is more than reasonable considering what you get; and the Artist version being included with even the least expensive PreSonus interfaces is honestly a total steal.

 

Screenshot of “All the Wrong Things”

What Studio One features have proven particularly useful and why?

The automation mapping is so simple that it encourages me to get more creative, easily automating subtle things like synth detuning, delay mixes, and feedback, or rotary speaker speeds. I’m no longer afraid to try things like that while working with an artist in the studio with me, as it doesn’t really slow down the pace of work, or hamper the creative process, because it can be done so quickly. On previous DAWs, If it was too time-consuming or tedious, I might have to try things like that on my own time, or possibly not at all. There’s a part in the dub/soca-influenced bridge of “All the Wrong Things (In the Right Places),” off New Day New World, where the guitar track pans wildly back and forth, but still in rhythm with the song, while you can hear the Analog Delay plug-in (the long echo on Gord’s vocal) subtly deepening its modulation depth (which detunes the vocal only in the feedback loop), which were all relatively easy to do with the preset automation shapes coupled with the transform function.

Being able to cross-fade overlapping audio clips with just the press of the “x” key, and adjusting the slip points and volume offsets of clips with such easily variable curves is dynamite… something I use all the time. The VCA implementation is logical, and being able to easily write VCA automation to tracks is a real-time saver as well.

The new chord track has come in very handy too; in “Repeatable,” there’s a guitar solo that comes in around the one minute mark that I thought was too similar to the one near the end of the song, so I extracted the chords from another (rhythm) guitar track, then transposed that first solo up 5 or 6 semitones (which obviously put it out of key), but then set it to follow the rhythm guitar’s chord track, which not only put the solo back in key, but it made sure the lead part still followed the song’s changes, creating this new solo part that had the same feel as the later solo, but with a new, higher-pitched variation on the notes, making it quite distinct.

 

How does Studio One compare to other DAWs you have used? What does it give you that other DAWs don’t? 

“Sandy_Pants.JPG”

Like I’ve mentioned, workflow is one of the biggest reasons to use Studio One; automation assignments of almost anything that moves on-screen are only a right-click away (or a simple drag-to-track from the little hand in the top right) Clip gain offsets, slip edits, and fade-in/fade-out/crossfade edits are super easy and fast. Time-stretching clips to bar and beat lines is a similarly-simple Alt+drag. In Studio One, I use custom keyboard shortcuts for changing the note values in the drum editor; that way I can switch between painting in 8th note/16th note/and 32nd note hi-hat rolls, for example, on the fly. In most DAWs, that’s not something that’s easy to set up, if possible at all.

The new Tempo editor, with its easy to draw in curves, is a vast improvement over the previous version; I used those curves to give a subtly-increasing energy-boost to the choruses of “All the Wrong Things”.

The MIDI editing is, and has always been great, and it’s not cluttered, and the automatic assignment of sample-pad names (Kick 1, Snare 2, etc.) to lanes in the drum editor is a huge time-saver, and about as easy as I could imagine it being. But I’d really like to see 1/8D and 16D (duplet) showing up by default in the quantize options, along with ⅓ and ⅔ (33.3% and 66.6%) swing values. Would be handy for the jazz and hip-hop crowds as well. Along those lines, I use the X-Trem effect a lot, like on the rhythmic guitar stutter in “Life on Demand,” and the quick, sliced-up synth in the chorus of “Snowglobes.”

Being able to extract MIDI note data from audio recordings (via the Melodyne Editor) is something I never imagined possible, and it’s so simple to do: just drag the “Melodyned” audio clip to an instrument track! I used that trick to create a sub-octave synth bass (triggering the Mai Tai analog synth plugin) that follows along with Sandy’s live electric bass all the way through “All the Wrong Things,” and in certain parts of several other tracks.

 

Which Studio One feature or concept doesn’t get enough spotlight (or isn’t talked about enough) in your opinion?

CTC-1 and Mix Engine effects doesn’t get near enough praise! Especially the “custom” model. Absolute magic. There’s a screen-shot here of the mixer, with lots of instances of CTC-1 open on all the busses. I’d like to try out the Softube tape shortly as well, as it looks very promising.

CTC-1 in use all over “All the Wrong Things”

Mai Tai is also a fantastic-sounding yet still perhaps under-praised synth; I used it all over this record, not only for pads and sub-bass, but critically, the main, echoed synth-patch which sets the overall tone and vibe of “Landing Lights” is a Mai Tai patch (Poly-Arp3), that I modified to be a bit tighter and pluckier.

 

Any useful tips/tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One that would be of interest to our user base?

Jeff and Gord of Spoons in the Studio

With Mai Tai, you can get some FM-ish (frequency modulation synthesis) tones out of it, by modulating the rate of LFO 1 (set to max speed) with the rate of LFO2 (also set fairly high, which sends LFO 1 into audio rates) and then assigning LFO1 to oscillator pitch. Then, modulating the rate or amount of LFO2 can give you some cool, edgy/grindy synth FX patches, that are somewhat controllable, but still musical. I used that trick to create the wild “CPU-freaking out” synth-madness you hear on “Perfect Exception”. Of course, I’d LOVE to see a simple, dedicated FM synth added at some point (or even straight-up FM added to Mai Tai!)

Another thing I discovered was a variation on Craig Anderton’s “Tonal Verb” concept, that he wrote about a while ago on the Presonus blog.

But instead of using two nearly identical reverbs on an FX buss, I use the same technique to create two nearly-identical, but out of phase compressors, inserted directly, just changing the attack or release on one or the other; all you end up hearing is the difference between the attack (or release) portions, and I’ve used this to get rid of excessive decay or resonance in snare and shaker parts, setting one compressor’s attack to “0”, and opening the other one up a bit, leaving only the transients. Use longer attacks on both comps to create “soft” guitar or drum parts, where the pick attacks and stick hits swell in.

Similar concept can be used with two near-identical but out-of-phase EQs, where one EQ has peak or valley points and the other doesn’t; all you hear is what’s “inside” those difference-peaks, and nothing else…sort like a multi-band bandpass filter. Great for capturing only the “ring” or resonance points of an interesting, but otherwise-messy snare sample, which can be blended in with other, cleaner snares. ( I used this on one of the drum layers in “Repeatable”, where the original loop was recorded from a drum loop in a vox amplug practice device, that had a neat character that I only wanted to capture certain parts of) The groove extraction feature came in very handy there as well, as I was able easily match up the feel of that sampled drum loop with my added Impact drum samples.

 

Any final comments about PreSonus and Studio One?

This is the second interview with me that PreSonus has been so kind to do; the first one came out almost eight years ago after Static in Transmission was released. I have to say that PreSonus, as a company, has not only had great support for me and thousands of other customers, but you’ve seemed to go out of your way to encourage and inspire musicians of all kinds. In the past eight years, I’ve grown more and more comfortable with Studio One, but despite that level of comfort, I’m still discovering new things I can do with it every week, partly thanks to the great articles and learning videos you post on your blog. It’s been an incredibly satisfying and exciting experience growing along with your software and your company, and I look forward to it remaining an integral part of my musical life. Thanks for making great software!

Jeff Carter and Sandy Horne—Spoons.

Keep up with Spoons:

 

 

 

 

98 Reasons to go with Studio One with Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees!

Some of the most memorable things to happen in the 90s include the following:

  • Y2K paranoia
  • Surfing on the World Wide Web
  • Using the word “BOO-YAH!” as often as possible
  • The Simpsons, South Park, Seinfeld, and Friends
  • Britney Spears…
  • …and boy bands.

Jeff Timmons is a singer, songwriter, producer, and founding member of the Grammy-nominated, iconic 90s pop group 98 Degrees! The group has six studio albums, has sold over 10 million records worldwide, and have eight Top 40 singles in the US. Additionally, Jeff has worked on numerous other projects including two solo albums and has continued to establish himself in the music industry as a producer. We connected with Jeff on Twitter and discovered his love for Studio One. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with him and ask a few questions regarding his work and Studio One.

Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?

We started 98 Degrees way back in 1995. We signed to Motown in ‘96, then were upstreamed to Universal shortly after. I’ve been producing and engineering since ‘99.

How has the music industry changed since your early days?

The obvious is the digital streaming component. It’s completely changed the game. There is a lot less artist development, unfortunately. But, your ability to be virally prolific is exponential and amazing.

Do you ever get sick of talking about 98 Degrees?

Not at all. Being a part of something like that has been a complete blessing. We’re very fortunate to have an amazing fanbase and to be still selling out shows 25 years later.

Describe the first time you wrote a song?

I first started writing songs in high school and I didn’t get into production until I built my first rig in the late 90s. I had all of this massive hardware in a road case and would cart it around from city to city, and back and forth from the tour bus. Wow, how times have changed!

Who has been an influence in your life?

From a production standpoint, everyone from Babyface, Max Martin, Anders Bagge, Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, Timbaland… it’s a long list!

Have you ever wanted to give up on music?

A million times. Everyone knows it’s a hard business.

What keeps you going?

My love and passion for creating and playing with sounds won’t let me give up on it.

What do you like about Studio One?

The ease of use and GUI is amazing. The drag and drop of synths and VSTs, the new key detection feature, sequencing… these are all incredible features.

When did you first hear about Studio One?

I heard about it when it first came out. I’m always looking to get better, and my friend Dominic Rodriguez, who I really trust and is prolific in the K-pop space suggested I try it; I didn’t waste any time and joined. He was right!  Learning a new DAW is like learning a new language.

What features are you most impressed with in Studio One?

The ease of use, and how quickly I can get things laid out. Again, the new key detection is amazing. The fact that I can then change the key to match on all of the tracks in a non-destructive way is just mind-blowing. I recommend it to everyone.

Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One? 

I love how you can combine virtual instruments on single tracks. That’s incredible to me.

How easy/difficult was Studio One to learn? 

I’m still learning all of the tricks and features because there are so many, but it didn’t take me long to start flying with it.

Where do you go for inspiration? 

I get inspired by a lot of things. I’ll hear a new song, a riff or beat or melody of an old one, or a new idea will just pop into my head.

Recent projects? What’s next for you?

I’m working with a number of projects. I did all of the music for a show on Discovery Science called “Droned.” I’m working with a new hip-hop artist, a male vocal group called Overnight, and a young female pop sensation named Nicole Michelle.

 

Join the Studio One FAM today! 

 

ATB on Studio One


Producer, DJ and songwriter ATB—also known as Andre Tanneberger, is a 25-year veteran of the international music business. His sharp rise began when he founded his first project, Sequential One, in 1993. After a string of hits until 1998, Andre moved on to focus on his own music as ATB. When his debut single “9 PM (Till I Come)” shot to the very top of the UK charts and scored top 10 successes in many other countries around the globe. He followed with an impressive string of hits like “Ecstasy”, “Let U Go,” “What About Us,” “Move On,” “When It Ends It Starts Again,” and “Connected.” Gold and platinum awards in numerous territories underlined his status, mirrored by his constant presence in the prestigious DJ Mag Top 100 rankings for a decade and a half. ATB is one of just a handful of musicians to have emerged from the German club scene to become worldwide superstars–from Australia to Asia, Mexico to Poland, Russia and, above all, in the USA. 

Given his impressive resume, we’re really glad to report that ATB is an enthusiastic Studio One user. We were able to have a Q&A session with him recently where he talked about his use of Studio One.

What PreSonus products have you used and which do you currently use?

Presonus Studio One is by far my favorite PreSonus product. I switched from Apple Logic Pro years ago. The other PreSonus tool I’m using is the Classic Faderport which is absolutely essential for me.

For what applications are you using Studio One Professional? 

I’m Using Studio One Professional for the entire process of creating music. Starting with composing, sound design, going over to recording, editing, mixing and also mastering, I simply do everything in Studio One. I do have three workspaces so I can work from everywhere. Most of the times I’m in my main studio in Bochum, Germany to write and produce songs for my project ATB.

What led you to choose Studio One? Was it the company’s reputation, audio quality, ease of use, specific features, price, other factors?

Honestly, I never thought about the price. 🙂 I found this demo CD of Studio One in a friend’s office at Musicstore Germany back in 2013 and asked him “What the hell is this?” He told me some things about Studio One and that he really likes some features. I went back in my studio, checked the demo version and the next day I switched over from Logic Pro to Studio One. The reason was the speed of creating music. The personalized folders with my favorite plugins and favorite plugin settings, the audio editing, the speed and look of the GUI, and the audio quality which sounded awesome. So many features… like dragging and dropping ideas to my “faves” folder including MIDI and all plugins made me so much faster while creating music. And this is absolutely essential to me. Tools are there for pushing your creativity, not to outbreak it.

What Studio One features have proven particularly useful and why? 

I love the scratchpad as it makes arranging super easy. This is something which helps me to be very fast in trying new arrangements and in cutting out or copying entire parts of a track. Also, many drag & drop functions are really helpful, like saving channel strips via drag & drop. The macros are great tools to speed up steps while editing.

How does Studio One compare to other DAWs you have used? 

Studio One is faster than most other DAWs and also very intuitive. How often did I think, “How great it would be to simply do this and that to reach my goal like cutting my master, doing fades and just drag and drop it to my master folder in Studio One…” and it worked! Also, the integration of Melodyne is the ultimate weapon. I’m saving so much time and I can change things on the run without any bridge or without using it as a stand-alone app. It feels like I have an “all-in-one” solution.

Which Studio One feature or concept doesn’t get enough spotlight (or isn’t talked about enough) in your opinion?

What we mentioned while talking to other producers like the JUNKX team—Robin Schulz, etc.: they worked on Ableton Live and never thought that Studio One gives you the amount of speed you need to use your creativity as much as possible. It can be so fast and may other producers don’t know about it!! The integration of Melodyne and other apps via ARA is something which is really amazing and some producers might not know about it.

Also, most guys we’ve talked about Studio One over the last three years thought that it’s a DAW for rock music producers. Not a very modern and fast developing producer tool also for electronic music and pop etc.

Any useful tips/tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One that would be of interest to our user base?

Using the drag & drop function for MIDI files in case you’re having an idea or sound which doesn’t fit to the track you’re actually working at but which could really be amazing and inspiring for another one is a great tool. You’ll never forget any idea you once had, as you can create an acoustic note in a second.

Any final comments about PreSonus and Studio One?

I’m really looking forward to new developments in Studio One. I’m sure you guys will have the next surprise already in your pocket 😉

 

Follow ATB!