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!
When announcing the winners of a contest, it’s customary for someone in my position to say something to the effect of “choosing a winner was hard.” That was less the case with our BIAS FX Caption Contest—the winners here really stood out from the rest of the pack, and each member on our highly-qualified panel of humorists laughed with equal aplomb at the Grand Prize Winner. But first, the runner-ups.
The following two captions deservedly win an AudioBox iOne Interface, Studio One 3 Artist, Progression 3, and BIAS FX for iPad.
First, there’s this funny, down-to-Earth, and frankly quite relatable gem from Timothy L.:
Next up, from Matt C., should probably win some sort of Dennis Miller bonus award for its left-field reference. Plus, when you look at the age of most of the pedals in the shot, his choice of “1989” is kinda dead-on.
The Grand Prize winner below was submitted by Jeff K. When you consider the letter-to-humor ratio here, you’ve got one of the most efficient funny captions in the history of such contests. Jeff wins the big ol’ prize batch of Studio One 3 Professional, Progression 3, an AudioBox iOne Interface, BIAS Amp Pro, and BIAS FX for iPad.
Congrats and thanks to all for participating—we’ll be e-mailing the winners ASAP.
With the arrival of the StudioLive RM-series rackmount mixers, we’ve received a lot of questions about the functionality. 96K? Can they be cascaded? What about the Dante cards? When can I get one?
We’ve answered those questions (and more) in the RM-series mixer FAQ, which can be had by clicking here. But we’ve also gotten a lot of other questions that we feel are worthy of their own FAQ—particularly regarding Ray’s beard. While we understand and appreciate your curiosity, we have had to keep some secrets for a while for competitive reasons—but, the cat is out of the bag and we can go public with the announcement of the Garibaldi FH16K. Read below for more info.
The Garibaldi FH16K is a true-analog face-mountable beard that allows for maintaining facial warmth in the coming winter months, as well as unsurpassed soup and juice filtering. Beta testers of the Garibaldi have reported up to a 30% increase in their dates-per-week ratio shortly after concluding installation. Garibaldi is compatible with all walks of life, and enjoys cross-fashion compatibility with both corduroys and flannel.
While currently only compatible with human males over the age of 14, we plan to broaden availability to women and younger users through a hormone therapy add-on kit available in Q3 2015. At the time of this writing we have no plans to make the beard available to Androids.
*Gandalf has not yet tested for compatibility with OSX Mordor, please wait before updating your OS