Imagine our surprise when Studio One, a FaderPort 8, and a pair of Scepters are prominently displayed with Taylor’s music in the background. We had to find out more about this project, the studio, the engineers, and how Studio One helped TWO of Taylor’s secret albums come to life, Folklore and Evermore. Here’s our interview with Jonathan Gautier, sound engineer and owner of Sound House Studio in Lakeland, FL.
Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?
I started playing the piano at age five. My parents pretty much nurtured rather than forced learning music, so I latched on rather quickly. From 5th grade to 8th grade, I went to a performing arts school, Rochelle School of the Arts, where my mother taught shortly after we moved from Boston to Lakeland. While there, I played cello in the orchestra and sang in the choir. After middle school, I got accepted into Harrison Arts Center for piano. Throughout this whole time, I was playing in church and playing in bands. After high school, I went to the University of Central Florida where I studied Digital Music/Music Production and later received my master’s degree in Music/Music Technology.
How has the music industry changed since your early days?
I’m 36, so I am not sure if I would be considered “old school,” but I feel like the music industry is changing for the better since I started. More tools are accessible than when I started, and you can definitely make music at a better quality. I started out on the original Mbox and a Tascam 4-track in high school, and now people are making better quality music on their phones than I ever did. I also feel that artists are being more responsible with their songs, especially on how they brand themselves, where they want to record, and how they want to use streaming platforms.
Who has been an influence in your life?
My dad was one of my major influences in my life. He, along with my mother, definitely understood the dream that I had to be a producer and own a studio. My dad always would tell me that the world needs dreamers.
Can you please share with us about the Taylor Swift project?
One of our clients, Rob Hecht, aka “Bobby Hawk,” comes to the studio frequently to record violin for various artists, all of which are not disclosed to us. Not even a day before Folklore is released, we get a text from Bobby and he tells us that we have a credit on Taylor Swift’s new album. It was definitely a surreal experience because it came out of nowhere. I almost didn’t want to believe it and when Bobby sent us the link to the credits, sure enough on the song “August” there it is: violins by Bobby Hawk recorded at Sound House Studios by Jonathan Gautier and Michael Williams! (Michael is our other engineer.) We also received another credit on her sister album, Evermore, which was just released on the song “Gold Rush.”
What was your first PreSonus product? What all do you have now?
I have known about PreSonus for a while now. They were one of the first products that I started to build a studio around. My first PreSonus product was the two-channel tube preamp, the BlueTube, and then I had the Digimax LT that I used for an extra eight channels along with my Digi003 rack. Now I use Studio One for my DAW, a FaderPort 8 production controller, Eris 8s as monitors, and a DigiMax DP88.
When did you first hear about Studio One?
Definitely Joe Gilder and Home Studio Corner even before he was heavily involved with PreSonus. Also, the tech director at our church talked about it a lot.
Any user tips or tricks based on your experience with Studio One?
One of my favorite features in Studio One is the Pipeline XT plugin that allows you to use your outboard gear as plug-ins. That was a game-changer for me. I also think pocketing audio tracks using the cursor and Option-Command to line things up over global quantizing is better, at least for me.
How easy/difficult was Studio One to learn?
Coming from Pro Tools, I felt that the learning curve was easier than I thought it would be. I also love the wealth of online resources there are for Studio One, so I never felt stuck. Since making the switch to Studio One and having other PreSonus gear, I have felt that I have been able to be more productive in my studio than ever before.
Recent projects? What’s next for you?
Well, aside from the Taylor Swift stuff, I produced an album project for my church, Access, and another church, Redemption Church. Currently producing album projects for a few local artists: Hana McCartnety and Giselle Gutierrez, as well as mixing virtual choir performances for schools around the country and live recording and mixing for churches for their live streaming. You can check out our new releases on our Spotify Playlist!
HUGE congrats to Jonathan and Bobby for all their success from everyone at PreSonus… and Happy Birthday to Taylor Swift!
Holiday Shopping Pro Tip: If you wait until the last minute…it only takes a minute! It’s not too late to find the most perfect gift for the music lover in your life. Scroll through some of our most popular gift ideas and get your stocking stuffed today!
Just about every software product we make can be yours for a low monthly membership fee—or an even lower annual fee. Studio One Professional, Notion, all of our Add-ons and Plug-ins, over 100 content libraries, and more… You’ll always have the latest version of all PreSonus software, ready-to-go, and you’ll never pay extra for updates or upgrades for as long as you’re a PreSonus Sphere member. And we’re adding new stuff to the offering with every passing month.
PreSonus® Eris-series studio monitors are used worldwide by audio engineers who need to hear every detail of their recordings. Ideal for gaming and home video production, the Eris E3.5 employs the same technology as the larger Eris models to deliver studio-quality sound, with smooth and accurate frequency response. Yet they’re compact enough to fit almost anywhere… like under a Christmas tree.
Now for LESS than $100 you get:
Whether you’re looking for a USB microphone for streaming, vlogging, podcasting, or a simple recording solution for voice-overs or your home studio, Revelator is designed to deliver polished, professional-sounding results with ease. 16 easy-to-use, professionally-crafted presets and fully editable, award-winning StudioLive EQ and compression processing plus voice effects and reverb give you studio-quality sound with minimal effort. Revelator also provides three different polar patterns in one USB microphone to provide maximum flexibility.
Two stereo loopback channels make recording and mixing audio from multiple applications like Skype or Discord quick and easy. Built-in monitoring and an onboard headphone amplifier let you listen to your performance in real-time. So whether you’re recording in Studio One or going live on Instagram, Revelator is right there with you to make you sound—and look—professional.
High-definition, desktop audio interface and production controller with USB-C™ compatible connectivity; two transparent XMAX mic preamps plus two switchable line/instrument inputs combined with a powerful DAW controller that includes a touch-sensitive, motorized, 100 mm fader; DAW recording transport; innovative Session Navigator that simplifies controlling and recording in your favorite DAW; support for HUI and Mackie Control emulation; native control of Studio One®; Studio One Artist included.
Both a flexible performance controller and a tightly integrated production environment, PreSonus®’ ATOM™ pad controller and included Studio One Artist production software let you create and perform with ease. The most versatile pad controller in its class, ATOM is compatible with most music software and lets you perform and produce with virtual instruments and trigger samples and loops in real-time, using 16 full-size, velocity- and pressure-sensitive RGB pads; 4 programmable rotary encoders; 20 assignable buttons; and 8 assignable pad banks. To fuel your creativity, you get an MVP Loops library custom-designed for ATOM, in addition to more than 2 GB of Studio One content.
A great choice for mobile musicians, guitarists, and podcasters, the 2-in, 2-out AudioBox USB® 96 audio interface is bus-powered, compact, ruggedly built, and works with virtually any PC or Mac recording software. It boasts two combo mic/instrument inputs with high-performance Class A mic preamplifiers, MIDI I/O, and professional-quality, 24-bit, 96 kHz converters. And it comes with PreSonus’ amazing Studio One® Artist DAW software for Mac® and Windows®.
Designed for musicians and performers who demand outstanding audio quality, the PreSonus PX-1 cardioid condenser microphone is an ideal solution for recording vocals, guitar, podcasts, and much more. A true side-address, large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the PX-1 features a 25 mm, gold-sputtered capsule designed to provide exceptional clarity throughout its frequency response range. Rugged construction and top-quality performance specifications make the PX-1 large diaphragm microphone an excellent addition for any home recording or streaming studio.
A superior solution for anyone who mixes in the box, only the FaderPort 16 provides 16 100 mm touch-sensitive, motorized faders in a compact chassis that easily sits on any desk. Like PreSonus®’ popular FaderPort 8, the FaderPort 16 features digital scribble strip displays; mute and solo for every channel; complete automation and transport control; plus level, pan, send, and plug-in control modes for every fader. The unique Session Navigator makes mixing and controlling your favorite DAW application quick and easy by putting eight critical functions under your fingers, including navigation, zoom, and master fader control. The FaderPort 16 is compatible with virtually any DAW host for Mac® or Windows®, with support for HUI and Mackie Control, including customized Mackie Control modes for Logic, Cubase, and Sonar. Its native Studio One® support provides even more functionality with PreSonus’ easy-to-use DAW, including Control Link support as well as parameter follow, allowing you quick access to any control under your mouse. Its ergonomic design makes it a comfortable companion to your keyboard and mouse.
Record, produce, mix, master, and perform all from a single, intuitive application. Designed with ease of use at its core, Studio One® 5 is your creative partner from studio to stage. Studio One is driven by tools that enhance your creativity without getting in the way; we pioneered its drag-and-drop workflow that continues to be imitated elsewhere. Laborious tasks that take five steps in other DAWs usually only take… One. A popular example: you can convert MIDI to audio and back with a simple drag-and-drop.
Last month, we had the opportunity to sponsor an event called “Band Together NOLA” for a virtual, live-streamed festival with more than 20 acts!
PJ Morton, Tank and the Bangas, Jon Cleary and more New Orleans’ musical heavy hitters played an online benefit festival to raise relief funds for the city’s musicians who have been out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, over $40,000 has been raised!
The Band Together virtual festival also featured Ivan Neville, Kermit Ruffins, Galactic’s Stanton Moore, Nigel Hall, Cupid, Dawn Richard, Water Seed, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Sean Ardoin, Flow Tribe, Glen David Andrews, Hasizzle, Shane Theriot, Elizabeth Lyons, Fermin Ceballo, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Kelly Love Jones, LeTrainiump, and Caren Green.
Our friend, Steve Himelfarb, was the engineer for six of the acts using a StudioLive 32 and Studio One Professional. We took some time to talk about his experience with the live stream and his career.
Our interview with Steve follows.
Tell us about Band Together NOLA. How did it come to be? What was your role?
New Orleans is known for its tourism, food, and of course live music. The pandemic has put much of that to a halt which has left musicians our of work. The Band Together Online Benefit Concert took place on April 25 and helped New Orleans musicians whose livelihoods have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am a part of multiple non-profits, and serving the community has always been something that I strive to do no matter where I live or what job I have. I was approached with the opportunity to participate with Lou Hill and Kermit Ruffins, it was a no-brainer. I was in!
Sounds like a huge undertaking. Did you know what you were getting into before you got started?
Yes and no. I had taken a break from the audio industry to focus on several other projects. Three years ago, my childhood friend, Tori Amos, had a show in New Orleans. From the stage, she says, “I’d like to thank the person responsible for me being here… Thank you Steve!” From that moment on, I knew I wanted to get back into recording and producing music and saying “Yes” to whatever opportunities came my way. Getting back into audio after a 20-year hiatus was like learning a whole new language that sounded familiar. Everything was the same but what changed was the technology. So, yes, it did seem like a huge undertaking but I was up and willing for the challenge.
We used a PreSonus StudioLive 32, multiple PX-1 mics and Studio One Professional, of course.
After watching the live stream, it looks like you recorded in multiple locations. How challenging was it recording in multiple locations?
We recorded six bands, all on the fly. Each band did a few songs, then we had a soundcheck for the next band all while doing our best to keep social distance guidelines. It was super hectic and everything was happening so fast. The onboard EQ and limiters on the 32 were AMAZING! We had no problem at all. This was very important and there was no room for a hiccup because everything was moving so fast. Once one band left, we had to wash down the stage and all the cables and mics to get ready for the next band to arrive. With the StudioLive 32, it was really a best-case scenario. Set up was easy, no distortion at all, the mixes sounded great.
What’s something you learned about live streaming?
With these harsh conditions and because everything is happening so fast, you have to be able to trust the gear you’re using. Be prepared, make sure the equipment is working, and use PreSonus.
It’s another edition of PreSonus Fam Friday. This one comes to us from across the pond! Meet Steve O’Brien. Steve had 19 years of experience in MI retail with a particular focus on guitar related products and service and 17 years of experience in various event production roles including guitar technician, sound engineer, stage management and production management. He joined the PreSonus family over in the Ireland office as a Sales Executive. Get to know more about Steve here!
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
What’s your official job title?
Sales Executive EMEA
What’s your favourite thing about your job? Why did you choose to work here?
I’ve been involved in the MI business for over 20 years. I was looking for a change from Retail and PreSonus had an opening. It seemed like a logical progression and I really wanted to stay in the industry. My favourite thing about PreSonus so far is the family atmosphere across the whole company. I was made to feel at home immediately like I’d known people I’d just met for years.
What was the first 8-track, cassette, CD or digital download you purchased?
Too young (ahem) for 8-Track, the first cassette was Bad by Michael Jackson, CD was The Heart of Saturday Night by Tom Waits and Download was Royal Blood’s first Album.
Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Songs for the Deaf by QOTSA will never let you down. Still blows me away after all these years.
What’s your go-to Karaoke song?
I wouldn’t inflict my singing voice on anyone, not even myself in the shower.
Everyone has a side gig, what’s yours? OR when you’re not at PreSonus, what are you up to?
I’ve worked as a Backline Tech for about 15 years. I’m not a great musician and discovered I was better at the production side of things years ago. Currently off the road what with starting the new job and the coronavirus situation. Next up, hopefully, is a week on the road with Paul Brady later this year.
What instruments do you play?
I own some guitars
Tell us about a successful event you worked with PreSonus products. InfoComm, NAMM, Install somewhere:
This Paul Brady Tour will be using PreSonus StudioLive console and rack mixers as stage boxes. All over AVB network. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it in action.
Got any tips for working with Studio One?
Is cereal soup? Why or why not?
Yes, Cereal counts as breakfast, lunch and dinner, always will.
What’s invisible but you wish people could see?
RF interference, I spent a lot of my retail days explaining this to guitarists, would have been much easier if it was visible, like cartoon stink lines or something.
What is something that everyone looks stupid doing?
Playing Electronic drums with headphones on, all the moves and faces with none of the noise.
What’s the strangest talent you have?
No matter where I am, I can always find the light switch in a dark room.
It’s inspiring to see what our customers have created during these strange days of quarantine and isolation. As soon as you open your social media accounts, one thing is certain: Creativity has thrived over the last few months. We wanted to take a minute and share some of the after-hours projects and live streams PreSonus employees have been a part of during this time. Enjoy!
“My PreSonus family is so awesome, please check out the first of the “PreSonus Isolation Jams” – Gregor Beyerle, who lives in Germany and is our Software Product Specialist started this track and sent it to me. I was immediately excited about what he created which inspired me to add some synth effects and saxophones. I then passed it to Rick Naqvi, our SVP of sales who added those awesome guitars. Next, the track was sent to Ben Livingston who works in our inside sales department who added his funky drums. Finally, we punted the track over to Richard Gaspard, who’s in charge of our worship market, he added his “rockin'” bass guitar… and sent the files back. I then doubled this really cool riff Richard played with horns and Rick and I mixed the music and sent the final mix to Gregor who created this awesome video. Oh, this was all done remotely, in our home studios on all PreSonus recording gear. I have to say I’m really proud to work for this company especially with all the talented people! Nothing can keep us from creating music, not even this virus! I hope you all enjoy our jam!”
“My wife and I formed the duo Highs and Lows, a musical experiment of arranging iconic songs as just bass (upright and electric) and vocals (mostly her on lead and the two of us on backgrounds). The point is to create very sparse arrangements, but also songs that feature the six-string bass as a solo instrument, covering any instrumental solos as part of the recorded performance. All mics used are either PreSonus PM-2 or PX-1, and everything is recorded through either a PreSonus Studio 26 or AudioBox 22VSL. All audio is edited and mixed in Studio One 4 Professional and video shot on iPhone 11 and edited in Adobe Premier using a shot template I created in Adobe Photoshop.”
Watch their performance here and subscribe to their YouTube channel:
“Some guys meet their buddies on the weekend to play golf or poker. We make music while practicing Social Distancing… remotely from our separate homes using Studio One.”
Eric Levy (keyboards): Night Ranger, Garaj Mahal
Jakubu Griffin (drums): Cirque Du Soleil Zarkana, Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, Pearcy Sledge, David Cassidy, Pharez Whitted
Jon Cornell (bass): SNL Band, Jackie Greene, Grand Canyon
Alex Painter (voice): Life On Mars Tribute To David Bowie, Solo Artist
Most of us who work here at PreSonus are musicians 🎤🎹🎸🎺🎷🎻🥁or audio engineers 🎧.
And some of us are also gamers 🎮in addition to that.
For those of you who can relate, check out this interesting and fun video that PreSonus Artist/Endorser Nik Jeremić just created and shared with us recently. He’s using an Xbox One game controller to trigger samples in Studio One:
Rick is as much of a staple to PreSonus as drag and drop is to Studio One. He loves his team, music, and his job! After spending a quarter-century serving the PreSonus family, he is the expert when it comes to selling PreSonus with passion and enthusiasm. If you’ve met him, you love him (and you’re probably still hypnotized by the Rick Effect.) And if you haven’t met him, here’s your chance to get to know him better.
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
This coming October will be my 25th year at PreSonus. I was employee #5 or #6 I believe.
What was your job title when you started? What is your job title now?
Well, I was the first guy in sales so I guess my title would have been “Rick Naqvi, Sales Guy.” Today my role is Senior Vice President of Global Sales.
What were you doing before working at PreSonus?
In my early 20s, I was playing in two bands (Zaemon and Chris LeBlanc Band), running a recording studio and working in a music store called BeBop Music Shop. I was finishing a Marketing degree at LSU at that time as well.
I knew Jim Odom from the local music scene. He was one of our hometown guitar heroes and although he was a few years older than me, we went to the same high school and even took guitar lessons from the same guy. I did a recording session with him in the early ’90s and he used to come into the music store I worked at. I remember him bringing in the prototype of the very first PreSonus product, the DCP-8, about a year before PreSonus started. When Jim approached me about being a part of a startup company, it was a no-brainer for me.
Let’s talk about the Rick Naqvi Effect. People LOVE you and recognize you as the face of PreSonus. How did this come to be? How has it helped you?
Haha!! LOL. Well, I guess since this year will be my 25th year of working at PreSonus, I’m definitely one of the blessed people that found something to do with their lives that has spanned pretty much my entire adulthood. I’ve always been passionate about music and technology and I love people. So PreSonus has been the perfect place for me. I’m in awe of the fact that people use our products to share and experience music together with each other. That’s the part of this job that never gets old. I love being part of a team whose mission is to help people make music.
The Firepod was the first recording interface with eight microphone preamps in 1U. So you could basically mic an entire drumkit at once. Or record a small rhythm section. It was also one of the first interfaces that allowed for multiple units to be used at the same time. So if you needed 16 simultaneous inputs, you could chain two of them together, and so on.
Any fun stories about the FirePod?
Here’s a true story. The original design for the FirePod had eight inputs but only two mic preamps. Jim Odom was beta testing one of the early prototypes and took it home to record his son’s band. When he realized it was going to be a hassle to hook up additional outboard preamps, he came to work the next day and changed the design of the Firepod to include the other six preamps. We literally had to reshoot images for a tradeshow launch that was happening a few months later. However, putting eight preamps on the Firepod solved a huge need, not only for Jim but for tons of customers. It was one of our most successful products without a doubt.
What has been one of the biggest challenges of working at PreSonus? Major roadblocks?
Working for a technology company has its ups and downs. There have been good years and not so good ones too. Sometimes you create a product that really resonates with people and other times there are challenges that keep a product from its full potential. There’s nothing more important to us than delighting our customers. And when we can’t do that, it is a major bummer for us. Thankfully, our mistakes give us the experience to get better and that’s what we strive to do every day.
In 1995, how did you define success?
One of my first job tasks was to contact dealers and try to tell them about our product. I had a copy of Music Trades that had a list of the Top 100 US Dealers. So I literally picked up the phone and started cold calling people! It was so hard to tell people about a brand new product from a brand new company that they had never heard of. It was amazing just to get someone on the phone who would give me the time of day. Amazingly a bunch of people that got called by a 25-year-old Rick Naqvi are still in the business and are some of our most trusted dealers and life-long friends.
Tell us a cool NAMM story. Or any other PreSonus story.
One time at a NAMM Show I had to give a DigiMax demo to Steven Seagal. Turns out he’s a musician and had a studio at the time. It might have been one of the strangest demos of my life. He was super serious and never cracked a smile. When I told him you could only do 96k using AES outputs, not ADAT, I thought he might judo chop me or something.
When you think about the last 25 years, how does it make you feel seeing how far PreSonus has come?
It really doesn’t seem like I’ve worked for one company. It seems like I’ve worked for about 5 different companies. I’ve been through three building moves and I’ve seen tons of people come and go. I’ve seen kids of our employees grow up and start families of their own. It’s truly humbling to have been a part of this great journey.
See what we did there?
So you’re stuck at home social distancing yourself, you’ve watched everything on TV, nothing new is streaming, you probably should shower—but here you are reading another blog post. Welcome to the club. We thought it would be helpful to suggest some things you can do during this time of isolation.
I know it seems like the end of the world as we know it… but it’s not. We’ll look back and remember the time Covid-19 tried to ruin 2020… and we might even write some songs about it to share as well.
This is a fun one going on with our friends at Splice. Mix “Nobody’s Gonna Love You” into a radio-ready track to win hardware and software from us, the Mixing University course from Recording Revolution, an Eyeball microphone cover, and a call with Briana Tyson.
Watch him open and set up his new StudioLive and then make music with a Hockey Stick… yep!