Whether you’re new to the PreSonus family or you’ve been around since the 90s, you owe a huge thank you to THE Jim Odom, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at PreSonus. Jim is a member of the Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing, AES, NARAS, NAMM, and other industry associations. Jim holds a B.S. Degree in Computer Engineering from LSU right here in Baton Rouge, LA and has a graduate studies degree at the Investment Banking Institute – NY, and the Venture Capital Institute. He also studied Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music. He has received dozens of product awards, INC 5,000 Growth Award, and is the recipient of gold and platinum sales awards for various music and film projects. Pretty impressive, right??
To say the least, Jim has rallied together a group of employees who have accomplished a lot of the last 25 years. We thought it would be cool to highlight his story from the beginning and some of the products that helped shape who we are today!
So what were you doing before PreSonus?
Was owning a business something you dreamed of doing or did you just fall into it as the products came along?
What’s the process for having a great idea to getting it out the door?
What need was the DCP-8 supposed to meet?
At the time, did you have any data supporting the need for this product?
What was the biggest challenge? Major roadblocks?
How did you guys come together to build it?
How did you feel when it was complete?
When you think about the last 25 years, how does it make you feel seeing how far PreSonus has come?
Let’s take a minute to look at all the firsts PreSonus has had in our first 25 years, from 1995-2020. It’s been quite a ride, and we’ve been glad to have you along for it. In fact, we couldn’t have done it without your support and input. Thanks for taking the trip with us. The next 25? They’re going to be even better.
For a more detailed look at what all we’ve been up to for the past 25 years, and where we hope to go in the future, check out our recently-revised PreSonus History section.
1995 – Patented MIDI control over analog devices
1996 – the first multi-channel compressor with onboard bus link
1997 – the first stereo analog compressor with presets and manual control
1998 – Invented proprietary IDSS control
2000 – the first 8-channel mic preamp with ADAT output
2002 – The first Analog/Digital recording system over FireWire
2003 – the first rackmount monitoring controller with talkback
2004 – The first FireWire audio interface with eight onboard mic preamps
2005 – the first completely software-controlled audio interface
2006 – the first audio interface with integrated monitor control
2007 – the first single-Fader DAW control surface
2008 – the first digital mixer with continuously bidirectional FireWire interface.
2008 – the first dedicated recording application for a digital mixer
2009 – the first DAW with both recording and mastering
2010 – THE First DAW with direct-to-Soundcloud export
2011 – the first DAW with Melodyne integration
2011 – The first digital mixer control app on the Apple App Store
2012 – the first iPhone monitor mix control app in the App Store
2013 – the first cross-platform integration between software and hardware
2014 – the first powered loudspeaker with Dante™ connectivity
2015 – THE First DAW with cross-platform multitouch support
2016 – the First bi-directional control between a DAW and digital mixer
2018 – the First DAW with real-time pitch control over MIDI and audio
2018 – The first fully-integrated AVB ecosystem
2019 – invented Patent-pending constant directivity loudspeaker design
AND SO MANY MORE
– Patented MIDI control over analog devices
– the first multi-channel compressor with onboard bus link
– Invented proprietary IDSS control to provide manual adjustment over the drain current of an input FET amplifier
– the first 8-channel mic preamp with limiting and A/D conversion to ADAT
– the first Analog/Digital recording system over FireWire
– Invented adjacent filter limiting
– Invented adaptive noise cancellation
– the first rackmount center console monitoring controller with talkback
– the first FireWire audio interface with eight onboard mic preamps
– the first digital sidechain in an analog compressor
– the first solid-state/vacuum tube dual-path mic preamp
– the first audio interface to be networkable over FireWire
– the first completely software-controlled audio interface
– the first audio interface with integrated monitoring remote control
– the first single-fader DAW control surface
– the first FireWire interface for Roland VS hard disk recorders
– the first digital mixer with continuously bidirectional, per-channel FireWire interface
– the first dedicated recording application for a digital mixer
– the first DAW with recording and mastering on the same platform
– the first digital mixer with cascading over FireWire
– the First DAW with direct-to-Soundcloud export
– The first digital mixer control app to be available on Apple App Store
– the first iPad controlled audio interface
– the first iPhone monitor mix control app in the App Store
– the First digital mixer with integrated SMAART system measurement
– Invented proprietary UCNET protocol for cross-platform communication and control between software and hardware
– the first powered loudspeaker with onboard processing and iPad control
– the first powered loudspeaker with Dante™ connectivity
– the First DAW with cross-platform high-DPI and multitouch support
– the First and still only DAW with Scratch Pad alternate mix and arranger tool
– the First and still only DAW with Mix Engine FX for engine-level console emulation plug-ins
– the First bidirectional control and mix settings import/export between a DAW and digital mixer
– the First DAW with pitch control over MIDI and audio simultaneously (and in real-time)
– the first fully integrated AVB ecosystem
– Invented a patent-pending constant directivity loudspeaker design
– the first the single fader DAW control surface with integrated audio interface
My name is Ari and I’m the creator of Pure Synthetic Drums. In my day job, I’m a Quality Assurance Specialist at PreSonus Software in Hamburg/Germany. My job is to ensure the quality and stability of our software products. In my free time – and when I’m not hiking in the woods, cooking over an open fire or swing my sword – I immerse myself in audio technology, music production, and synthesis. This all adds up wonderfully.
As a percussion oriented Sound Set for Impact XT, Pure Synthetic Drums perfectly augments the already existing products “Analog Model Machine” and “EDM Synth Classics” for our Mai Tai synth. For many years, I’ve been interested in sound design and sonic exploration in order to better understand their structure and quality. Splitting up a sound into its components, then reconstruct it is absolutely fascinating! This was one of the core concepts of Pure Synthetic Drums (PSD).
With this Sound Set, musicians and sound designers are able to create all-new sounds from combining individual components. The underlying model is always the same: all sounds have their roots in synthetic waveforms. That’s the “Pure” part of the name. The idea came up when creating sounds on the Eurorack modular. For example, to create a type of 808 kick, you need a snappy envelope and a self-oscillating filter. Once you created such sound, it remains intact for as long as you don’t tweak any knobs, so you have to destroy one sound in order to create another. Which led to the idea of sampling these sounds in Studio One and make them available as part of the library.
Here I went one step further: instead of just sampling complete sounds, I also included their individual components in the library. This way you could combine the “click” portion of one kick drum with the “boom” portion of another. Or you could enhance the attack sound of a snare with filtered noise from an analog synthesizer – then extend the sound with an epic long release, more than any analog drum machine could ever deliver. The possible combinations are endless. As a user, you’re able to work with drum sounds and their raw components as if you had all of these analog synths and modular systems in your studio. Every single recorded sound is a direct output of a synthesizer—raw and unprocessed. No EQ, no compression—just “Pure.”
Over the course of two and a half years of conception, development and sound design, I’ve constantly drawn inspiration from drum machines, my own synthesizers, and even domestic and natural sounds. You wouldn’t believe how close the crackle of a campfire sounds compared to the filtered attack of an 808 kick. It’s all about finding the right filter parameter settings. So I went back and forth between the campfire and my modular synth lair—don’t worry, the fire was never unattended. Fireman Sam had an eye on it at all times… 😉
The result is a fully-modular product, made from modular synthetic components for creative use by musicians and sound designers. However, if you’re not into tweaking knobs, there are a total of 30 complete, ready to use Impact XT kits to play with, covering the full spectrum of available sounds. I’m an electronic drummer myself, so I made sure to follow the GM-standard key mapping. I’m able to play every kit from my e-drum kit instantly. My neighbors weren’t always pleased… If you’re tired of drumming, you can choose from a variety of included Musicloops representing each of the available drum kits. These include further freestyle grooves and pattern ideas.
Stylistically, the library is covering a variety of musical styles: electro house, minimal, hip-hop, R&B, trap, EDM, psy trance, synth pop, chillout, electronica. For the first time, the integrated step sequencer of Studio One is used here. That’s a lot of source material to choose from to build your own analog drum part.
Combine it with an ATOM and your next track is born.
mein Name ist Ari Ahrendt und ich bin der Macher der Pure Synthetic Drums. Bei PreSonus tagsüber als Quality Specialist, kümmere ich mich um die Qualität der Softwareprodukte. Und wenn ich in meiner Freizeit nicht im Wald und in der Natur unterwegs bin, draußen über Feuer koche oder ein Anderthalbhänder schwinge, beschäftige ich mich sehr viel und intensiv mit Tontechnik allgemein, Musikproduktion und synthetischer Klangerzeugung. Alles ergänzt sich wunderbar und hält die Balance.
Als percussion-orientiertes Soundset unterstützt und erweitert die PSD-Collection für Impact XT perfekt die beiden vorherigen Instrumenten-Soundsets “Analog Model Machine” und “EDM Synth Classics” für den Mai Tai Synthesizer. Mich interessiert schon viele Jahre Sounddesign und die Erforschung von Klängen, um ihre Struktur und Beschaffenheit zu ergründen. Es ist faszinierend, einen Klang in seine Bestandteile zu zerlegen, um ihn dann wieder neu zusammensetzen zu können. Das war auch einer der Grundideen der PSD-Collection.
Mit diesem Soundset gebe ich den Musikern und Sounddesignern die Möglichkeit, aus Einzelkomponenten Drumsounds völlig neu zu kreieren und zu kombinieren. Die Grundphilosophie bleibt dabei immer die Gleiche: Alle Sounds haben ihren klanglichen Ursprung in reinen Synthesizerwellenformen. Daher das “Pure” im Produktnamen. Die Idee entstand bei eigenem Sounddesign am Modularsystem. Um zb. eine artverwandte Kick der legendären 808-Bassdrum zu erschaffen, benötigt man knackige Hüllkurven und hauptsächlich ein Filter mit hoher Eigenresonanz. Ist dieser Klang erst einmal gepatched und alle Knöpfe eingestellt, ist der Sound komplett und bleibt auch solange bestehen, bis man die Knöpfe wieder verstellt. Um jedoch einen neuen Klang zu erstellen, muss man zwangsläufig den bestehenden Sound wieder zerstören. Also war die grundlegende Idee, diese fertigen Sounds in Studio One aufzunehmen und eine eigene Library anzufertigen, um die Klänge immer wieder sofort abrufbar zu haben.
Ich bin dabei aber noch einen Schritt weiter gegangen und habe nicht nur komplett fertige Sounds aufgenommen, sondern deren einzelne Bestandteile separat in die Library zusätzlich mit aufgenommen. So kann man beispielsweise eine Attackphase “Click” von einem Bassdrumsound mit einem Ausklang “Boom” einer anderen kombinieren. Ebenso kann man das Anschlaggeräusch einer Snare mit einem gefilterten Rauschen eines anderen Analogsynthesizers versehen. Und das mit einem viel längeren und epischen Ausklang, als es normalerweise analoge Drummachines hergeben. Die Kombinationsmöglichkeiten sind gigantisch. Der User wird damit in die Lage versetzt, Drumsounds oder deren Einzelkomponenten so zu benutzen, als würde er all die Synthesizer und Modularsysteme selbst besitzen. Alle aufgenommen Klänge des Soundsets sind reine Synthesizeroutputs ohne weitere klangliche Nachbearbeitung außerhalb der Synthesizer. Ohne EQing, ohne Kompression… eben “pure”.
In zweieinhalben Jahren Entwicklungszeit, Konzeptausarbeitung und reinem Sounddesign, habe ich mich immer wieder von Drummachines, meinen Synthesizern und sogar Geräuschen aus der Natur inspirieren lassen. Man glaubt gar nicht, wie ähnlich das Holzknacken eines Lagerfeuers an die gefilterte Attackphase einer 808 Bassdrum erinnert. Essenziell dabei ist die richtige Parameterstellung der Filter. Also bin ich immer schnell zwischen Feuerplatz und Modularkeller gewechselt und habe die feinen klanglichen Nuancen umgesetzt. Aber keine Angst, das Feuer war nie unbeaufsichtigt! Feuerwehrman Sam hatte stehts ein wachsames Auge darauf. 😉
Herausgekommen ist ein modulares Produkt, hergestellt aus modularen Synthesizerkomponenten zur kreativen Benutzung für Musiker und Sounddesigner. Und wer gar nicht viel selbst schrauben möchte, bekommt über 30 vollständig fertig zusammengestellte Impact-Drumkits zum sofortigen Einsatz, welche die klangliche Vielfalt der Soundlibrary wiederspiegeln. Als E-Drummer habe ich darauf geachtet, dem GM-Drum-Standard zu folgen. Somit kann ich jedes Set sofort mit meinen E-Drums spielen. Die Nachbarn wollten sich bestimmt schon einige Male beschweren. Aber aufgrund der massiven Analog-Kicks im Soundset, habe ich sie einfach nicht klingeln hören. Wenn einem abends dann die Arme lahm werden vom trommeln, kann man auch gut auf die mitgelieferte Musicloop-Library zurückgreifen. Dort habe ich jedes Drumkit-Kit einzeln präsentiert und darüber hinaus noch freestyle etliche Groove-Ideen festgehalten.
Die musikalische Abdeckung des Soundsets ist vielfältig und deckt etliche Styles ab, wie: Electro House, Minimal, Hiphop, R&B, Trap, EDM, PsyTrance, Synth Pop, Chillout, Electronica. Dabei wird auch erstmalig in einem Soundset der Studio One eigene Stepsequencer benutzt. Alles in Allem kann man sich so ganz entspannt einen Analog-Drum-Track zusammenklicken, ein Pad-Sound darunter legen, und die Basis für den nächsten Track ist damit schon geschaffen.
To be a good HR manager, you need to be a good listener–and that’s one of Ashley’s number one skills! Fortunately, she doesn’t have to hear all of us PreSonus folks complain her ear off all day, she occasionally gets free time to listen to her favorite music on either her Eris 4.5 monitors or her HD9 headphones in her office. Get to know more about Ashley for PreSonus Fam Friday!
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
Two and a half years!
What’s your official job title?
Human Resources Manager.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? Why did you choose to work here?
My favorite thing about my job is occasionally being able to problem solve in a way that significantly relieves or inspires one of our employees. I chose to work for PreSonus (and move to Baton Rouge!) because I love, love, love music. The way that our company passionately contributes to the music industry is inspiring for me. We function like a big family here in a lot of ways—that’s what has kept me around!
Choose a movie title for the story of your life.
“A Series of Hilariously Unfortunate Events.”
What was the first 8-track, cassette, CD or digital download you purchased?
I can’t remember if it was Backstreet Boys’ Backstreet’s Back or Aqua’s Aquarium. I’m going to say BSB because I have tickets to their 2019 tour and they’re in my blood.
Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Massive Attack, always.
What’s your go to Karaoke song?
“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles because it’s in my range and easy for me to sing when I’m intoxicated enough to choose karaoke.
Everyone has a side gig, what’s yours? OR when you’re not at PreSonus, what are you up to?
I assist with research in the field of psychology with former professors of mine at Southeastern Louisiana University. We actually just had an article published this year. I keep up with current research in the field, as well.
Tell us about a successful event you worked with PreSonus products.
InfoComm, NAMM, Install somewhere…. Unfortunately, I am not invited to most of these events because I have to stay on-site and do HR things. Our holiday parties and crawfish boils are fairly memorable, though!
Got any tips for us?
Eris 4.5s and the HD9s. My tips for the HD9s…
What are you currently working on at PreSonus? What’s next for you?
I am currently working on ways to maintain employee morale and make our benefits as user-friendly and relevant as possible. There have been recent shifts in the field of HR—various movements and millennial influences have challenged the field. It’s exciting to be a part of that change. I’m hoping to be a hardcore HR rockstar within the next 5 years minimum.
What’s the strangest talent you have?
I type 136 wpm and I have oddly sensitive ears. I’m a bit of an audiophile and if your sound system is too bright I’m gonna be the first one to point it out.
Anything else you want to share?
Yes! Adopt, don’t shop.
The one you’ve been waiting for…
The FaderPort 16!?!?!?!?!
It’s #PreSonusFAMFriday with Phil Knock!
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
I’ve worked for PreSonus for nearly a year.
What was the first 8 track, cassette, CD or digital download you purchased?
Do you guys remember Hit Clips? My first music purchase was an “All Star” by Smash Mouth Hit Clip.
Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Father John Misty, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Led Zeppelin.
Everyone has a side gig, what’s yours?
I find the field of Digital Signal Processing utterly fascinating. To that end, I’ve had a ton of fun tinkering with audio plugins using the JUCE framework, Kontakt, and MaxForLive.
Why did you choose this as your favorite?
Mixing is one thing, but writing fader automation with a mouse is a fate worse than death. Being able to navigate and interact with large sessions in Studio One or any other major DAW makes this product incredibly useful.
Got any tips for working with the FaderPort 16?
This might sound crazy, but it can sometimes be helpful to balance levels without looking at the computer screen. Even turn your screen off if you have to; at least temporarily. I find that it helps you focus more closely on what you’re actually hearing rather than what you’re expecting to hear looking at waveforms and user interfaces.
What’s your social media handles and is it ok to tag you?
For any aspiring engineers out there, you can feel free to add me on LinkedIn!
What’s your official job title?
Product Manager and Studio Manager.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? Why did you choose to work here?
Getting to be around musicians, music and music technology every day. I choose to work here for the reputation of the company, and the work culture of being around great musicians and engineers.
What was the first cassette, CD or digital download you purchased?
It was a cassette. Def Leppard. Pyromania. 1983.
Everyone has a side gig, what’s yours?
I am the FOH engineer for Phat Hat.
What do you love about the Quantum?
Speed, aggregation, and sound quality.
Why did you choose this as your favorite?
I choose the Quantum because of the low-latency over Thunderbolt, Ease of integration with Studio One, and audio performance. I’m also the Product Manager for it which is pretty great.
What other PreSonus products do you have?
I have a lot. Sceptre S6s, ADL 700, 16.4.2, Eris E66s, FaderPort, Central Station, Studio One Professional.
Mark Williams, our Director of International Sales and Business Development and International Sales Director of Mystery, was recently an honoree in the “Forty Under 40” spotlight from the Baton Rouge Business Report.
Thanks to Business Report for their continued support of PreSonus. They’re good folks over there. When you’re done with the video below, check out the full article over at Business Report’s website.
On Stage: Mark’s academic background includes a Bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Alabama and a Master’s degree in multimedia management from Northeastern Louisiana University. He gained practical broadcasting experience at WVUA radio, the University of Alabama Center for Public Television, and KNLU radio, and he also worked for MK Magazine in Chicago. Mark has DJ’d, mixed live sound, and recorded hundreds of bands at an assortment of clubs in several American cities. At Bluff Road Recording in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he worked with such artists as Master P, Silk the Shocker, Al Hirt, Mystikal, and Outcast. For six years, Mark did production, promotions, and marketing for Invisible Records, and material that he recorded, produced, or mastered has appeared in such TV shows and movies as The Wood, MTV, VH1, BET, and The Box.
Now in his twelfth year at PreSonus Audio Electronics, Mark Williams currently owns a recording studio and media label, ALAB Media, and plays in a rock band. His new album is being produced by Martin Atkins, whose credits include Public Image Limited, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails.
Behind the Desk: Mark’s PreSonus bandmates marvel at how he successfully manages a territory that encompasses the entire planet except for the United States. He has built the PreSonus global-distribution network from the ground up and handles sales, service, training, shipping, and warehousing for customers in more than 60 countries. He also manages OEM manufacturing, custom equipment development, and a lot more. Mark is like a multi-instrumentalist who can play every instrument well: we don’t know how he does it, but we’re thankful he’s in our band!
“Working at PreSonus is an absolute dream. The company is filled with wonderful people who are intelligent and passionate about our products and our industry. Everyone here is an engineer, musician, or enthusiast. It’s also fantastic that we still maintain our small, innovative company vibe yet can move quickly to produce goods for the global market.”