[This just in from Charlie Bauerfeind, producer for genre-defining power metal pioneers, Helloween! In his search for the perfect DAW Controller for his ultra-compact-but-complex, MacBook Pro-based, live-broadcast setup for Helloween’s Rock in Rio Show on October 4th, he turned to Presonus’s Faderport 16.]
I was blown away by the ease of use in the FaderPort 16’s setup, and the incredible versatility in this most compact DAW controller. It was truly a plug-and-play experience, and made my job in Rio go perfectly smooth… My Pro Tools-based setup is comprised of several session-based pre-programmed automation parts… but the much bigger dynamic automation part needs to be handled flawlessly during the live performance. I’ve owned a FaderPort Classic for a long time, but the FaderPort 16 allowed me to deliver a great broadcast result for one of the biggest Rock festivals on this planet.
A big THANK YOU to the guys at PreSonus!
Just as we can use plug-ins to process audio, Studio One’s Note FX are plug-ins for MIDI data. They tend to be overshadowed by our shiny audio plug-ins, but have a lot of uses…like generating cool percussion parts.
This may sound like a stretch (“c’mon, can it really generate a musical percussion part?”), but the audio example will convince you. The first four measures are a percussion part created by the Arpeggiator NoteFX, the second four measures combine the percussion part with a house drum loop, and the final four measures are the house drum loop by itself—so you can hear how boring the loop sounds without the added percussion part.
This part was created with three conga and two bongo samples, each assigned to its own MIDI note. The initial “part” was just those five notes, each with a duration of four measures. It doesn’t really matter how long the notes are, you just want them to be continuous for the duration of the drum part. I then added the Note FX Arpeggiator plug-in to arpeggiate the notes (Fig. 1).
By themselves, the standard up/down and down/up patterns tend to sound overly repetitive. The Random option (outlined in red above) helps, but then you have a random percussion part, which doesn’t relate to the music. So let’s introduce the secret sauce: automation (Fig. 2).
The key here is automating the Play Mode and Rate. The Play Mode automation starts with up/down for a measure, then down/up, then random for a bit more than a measure, and then down/up again. This adds variety to the part, and when it repeats, the random section creates additional variations so that all the parts don’t sound the same.
But what really adds the human element is varying the Rate. It starts off as 1/16th, but then just before the third measure starts, does one beat that starts with 1/32nd notes and ramps down over the beat to 16th-note triplets. The last three beats of the four measures uses a 32nd-note Rate so that the “robot percussion” adds some tasty, faster fills to lead into the next measure. I used down/up during these faster parts, but random can sound good too.
The final touch is Swing, which is set to around 70% in the audio example. Note how even though the drum loop is metronomically correct, adding swing to the percussion part lets it “dance” on top of the drums.
Now, here’s a very important consideration: You may look at the above and think “this sounds too easy,” or maybe “but what are the exact settings I should use?” The answers are yes, it really is that easy; and the exact settings really don’t matter all that much—feel free to experiment. Studio One’s little robot percussionist is full of surprises, and the way to uncover those is to play around with the settings, and automate them to create variations.
Finally, I’d like to mention that I have a new eBook out! At 258 pages, “How to Create Compelling Mixes in Studio One” is considerably longer than my two previous Studio One books. I’ve been working on it for the past year, and it’s finally available in the eBook section of the PreSonus shop. Check it out—I sincerely hope it helps you make better mixes.
Let’s take a minute and acknowledge some of our favorite TV dads:
Now let’s introduce you to one of the coolest dads out there, Neil de Jong. He is the audio engineer and dad to two of the three-member tribal thrash-metal band Alien Weaponry. Like a good dad, he taught them the value of hard work. The band worked multiple jobs after school and on weekends, played tons of shows and funded all their own gear, full of instruments and recording equipment! Neil also served as the group’s manager until its recent signing to German music agency Das Maschine. He always went out of his way to teach his sons about Māori history and culture which is a massive influence on their music.
Alien Weaponry is a heavy metal band from Waipu, New Zealand, formed in 2010 by brothers Henry and Lewis de Jong. The band consists of Lewis de Jong (guitar and vocals), Henry de Jong (drums), and Ethan Trembath (bass guitar). Revolver Magazine called them “one of the best young metal bands in the world right now!”Alien Weaponry not only draws on the traditional Māori haka war-dance for their music, but often sing in the Māori language of Te Reo—and by doing so, are keeping the language alive. Pretty metal, right!?
They are currently killing it on tour, and we had the opportunity to hear all about it—and their rig, which includes a StudioLive RM32AI and a StudioLive CS18 AI. Neil took the time to answer a Q&A, below.
Hey Neil, give me some basic background info on your career and current projects.
I am 53 years old and have spent much of my life doing sound in one way or another. I spent my early years (like many) playing guitar in bands. When I was in my early 20s I landed a job working in a recording studio and trained there as a mastering engineer. I worked for many years on music and film projects as a post-production sound engineer and when Alien Weaponry started to make a name for themselves internationally I took on the role of live sound operator. I won Record Producer of the Year in last year’s New Zealand Music Awards for my work on Alien Weaponry’s album, Tū, which also won Best Rock Album and made dozens of Top Albums of 2018 lists worldwide.
What PreSonus product(s) have you used in the past and which do you currently use?
I work for Alien Weaponry, who are a young thrash metal band from New Zealand that I have had a long association with—I’m their dad! I started off with an StudioLive RM16AI and an iPad. This was initially to help the band out with a rehearsal space set up, but we found it made a great compact FOH rig too. I then acquired a 23-inch HP touchscreen to use which greatly enhanced the system. About two years ago, I acquired a CS18AI and an additional RM16 which I used for touring in Australasia with Alien Weaponry. I now own three RM32AI rigs, each with a CS18AI and AVB. I use these as my main touring rigs in the three main locations we tour in the world (North America, Europe, and Australasia) I still have the RM16s and recently bought a 24R for the rehearsal studio as the band wanted to record stuff straight to SD card. I have done some fly dates just with the 24R and a touch screen laptop.
For what applications are you using the product(s)?
I have been mixing on my RM32AI/CS18AI rigs at some of the world’s largest heavy metal festivals in Europe, America, and Australasia. (Download UK, HellFest France, Wacken Germany, Metaldays Slovenia, Chicago Open Air amongst others) The band also toured with Anthrax and Slayer last season in Europe and we played everything from 1,200 cap clubs to 20,000 cap arenas. I am almost always running the smallest mixing console at FOH, and it does raise eyebrows. Most guys are on the larger Midas, Digico or Avid consoles. After we play, many want to know what I am mixing on and are surprised by the sound.
What led you to choose these particular PreSonus product(s)? Was it the company’s reputation, audio quality, specific features, price, other factors?
At the time I was looking for a mixed setup I had investigated the lower-end offerings by Midas and the Behringer X32. I decided to go with the PreSonus RM partly based on the architecture and a recommendation from the guys in New Zealand who run The Rock Shop (from whom I purchased my first RM16AI) Price was definitely a consideration and as it was for a rehearsal space a small footprint was a huge factor too.
Having used the gear, what do you like most about the specific PreSonus product(s) you use so far?
I really like the architecture of the AI-Series stuff. I like that the CS18AI is only a control wing as well as the flexibility I have with iPads and touchscreen laptops. Our monitor mix guy mixes directly to the system with his iPad from the side of the stage during shows. He and the band are on in-ear monitors. I also really like the sound of the PreSonus preamps too and think they sound better than many more expensive options I have encountered at big shows. Certainly better than the Avid/Digidesign console in my opinion.
In each of the PreSonus product(s) you use, what features have proven particularly useful for your specific workflow and why?
I think the “stage box” layout of the RM32AI is perfect for big festival shows with all XLR inputs and outputs on the front of the box. We have our ears wired in on the DB24 connectors on the back, and they conveniently live in the same SKB rack. We have been up and running in as little as 10 minutes with mics all line-checked and ready to go. I also like were the Tap Tempo and FX Mute button are on the CS18IA—right under my thumb.
Any user tips or tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with PreSonus gear?
I like that I can run music for testing the rig from FOH and that our stage mix guy runs the house music from the RMs position on stage. He is able to do a “silent” soundcheck/line check using his in-ears and iPad. This is how we do all festival setups and did many of the shows with Anthrax and Slayer when there was just no time for a full soundcheck. The system has never let us down.
Any final comments about PreSonus, our products in general, and the PreSonus product(s) you use in particular?
I also like that my PreSonus rig is so portable and flexible. The first time we toured Europe, we did it in a splitter van, so space was a big issue and the smaller footprint of the FOH gear was very welcome. I also like the dark grey/ black color scheme of the StudioLive RM AI/CS18AI units. I’m glad to see the newer Series III units are using less blue… but then I work for a metal band, so black is king. It’s one of the reasons we use Audix mics, hahaha!
Apple is poised to release its next operating system, macOS X 10.15, “Catalina,” sometime in October of 2019. PreSonus has been working with Apple to qualify pre-release versions of this new OS with all of our products.
We have found changes in Catalina that affect compatibility with PreSonus hardware and software. Remain on current versions of macOS until further notice. We ask that you please wait for us to announce compatibility before updating your OS.
In the meantime, please be advised:
We will provide an update when we have qualified 10.15 for use with our products and what updates are needed to ensure proper compatibility.
Please also see the following article:
How long have you worked for PreSonus?
I have worked for PreSonus since February 2019.
Who’s your go-to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
When driving or clubbing, Malaa is always a safe bet. I’m also a massive fan of the German Synthpop band Seabound.
Everyone has a side gig, what’s yours? OR when you’re not at PreSonus, what are you up to?
Besides working for PreSonus, I’m producing, mixing and mastering for several Artists, primarily from the Electro-Industrial / Wave / Gothic scene. Check out Coma Alliance, We Are Temporary or V2A if you want to hear some of my work!
I took my first steps in semi-professional music production with Cubase more than 10 years ago. I knew my way around fairly well, though I always felt that there were just too many steps involved in getting the result that I wanted. When I decided to make producing, mixing, and mastering a full-time career, this annoyance became a serious issue—because I just couldn’t earn a living if each project took so long to finish.
That’s the main reason why I switched over to Studio One. Within just a couple days, I was able to work so much faster than before.
The February 1, 2019 tip covered a multiband processing “development system.” Instead of using the Splitter’s frequency split option, it added sends and buses to make everything accessible in the Mix view. The Multiband Dynamics processor created the bands, which made it easy to add compression or expansion to some of the bands. After creating the desired sound with this development system, I’d port it over to an FX Chain, use the Splitter, and bring out the controls to a macro.
Reader Sagi Sinai came up with a brilliant application for mixing that showed the value of the “development system” approach. But I realized that the Friday Tip has never covered a basic multiband processing application with the Splitter, which can split at up to four different frequencies to create five different bands. So, let’s correct that oversight.
Multiband processing is particularly effective with guitar distortion when you want a more defined, articulated sound, with the potential for a wide stereo image. Of course, that’s not always the desired result—sometimes a spawling, dirty sound is what you want. But a track processed with the multiband distortion can sound more focused, and often, fit better into a mix. The audio example plays through single-band distortion, then through multiband distortion. Both use the same post-distortion effects (Pro EQ, Binaural Pan, Open Air) with the same settings. Note the difference in the stereo imaging and articulation.
Let’s look at the Splitter-based FX Chain setup (Fig. 1).
Figure 1 The Splitter is set up to do multiband processing.
The Splitter is using its Frequency Split superpowers to create five bands; each band feeds an Ampire (using the Crunch Boutique amp, no stomps, and the 1 x 12 American cabinet). The Mixtool at the beginning gives about 10 dB of gain—because we’re filtering out so much sound in each band going into each Ampire, the extra gain helps hit the amp a little harder. The Pro EQ at the end (Fig. 2) produces one of my favorite amp sim curves: Rolling off the lows tightens up the sound (like going through an open-back cabinet), while shaving off the extreme highs produces a sweeter sound. The upper midrange lift adds some definition.
Figure 2: Mixtool and Pro EQ settings.
One of the Splitter’s cool features is that you can mute splits. This makes it easy to focus on, and optimize, one split at a time. For the audio example, I used the same Ampire sound for each split so you could hear the “raw” contrast between the single-band and multiband versions. You can always take this further, and optimize each band for its specific frequency range. The Dual Pans on the mids help create the stereo image; the highs and lows are centered to “anchor” the part.
Of course, it’s possible to apply multiband processing to any effect. For example, with delay you might not want to delay all frequencies—delaying low frequencies can add “mud” that doesn’t happen when you delay only the upper mids and treble. Also, long delays on the higher frequency bands and shorter, slapback-type delays on low-frequency bands may create a delay effect that fits better in a track. And splitting an instrument into multiple bands, then chorusing each one separately, can give gorgeous, lush chorusing effects.
So give multiband processing a try—the Splitter makes it easy, and there’s a ton of potential.
“No matter what we sent through these speakers, from the spoken word to electronic dance music, it all sounded great!”
Church Production goes on to share more about the awarding-winning ULT loudspeakers–read the rest of the article here!
Sound on Sound magazine also has a lot to say about our AIR family of loudspeakers.
“They’re compact, easy to move around, have plenty of DSP tuning options (including cardioid modes for multi-subwoofer arrays), and they sound great. Get in a room with them and see if they’re for.”
Starting now and running through the end of November 2019, take 25% OFF your purchase of any AIR and ULT Loudspeakers!
These include the following:
This offer is ONLY available in US and in Canada and is available NOW through the end of November 2019.
Check it out! Gregor’s got a new series of videos for new users of Studio One Prime. He covers everything from installation and setup to basic beatmaking, and even time-stretching and working with Ableton Live.
More to come from Gregor soon!
Want to make some music? Get started with Studio One Prime here.
From now until the end of 2019, when you purchase a StudioLive 32S or 64S, you get a FREE HD9/HP4 Headphone Pack. This includes a HP4 and four pairs of HD9 headphones via a mail-in rebate—the form is linked below!
Everyone is talking about the StudioLive Series III mixers. Read what Church Production Magazine had to say about the StudioLive 64S in a recent review:
“PreSonus deserves credit for effectively blurring the lines between hardware mixers, networked audio devices, computers and software. On the process side, they’ve also chipped away at the walls between rehearsal/sound check, live performance and recording. That’s a lofty vision, but all these convergences increase the complexity of the system tremendously.”
This offer is available worldwide and will run on October 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019.
It’s the fall, y’all and time for some deals!
For one month only, you have the opportunity to save 30% on the ENTIRE Sonal System line of add-ons!
Sonal System is a boutique sound design team based in Los Angeles, CA that create and develop content for all genres of music including country, pop, electronic, rock and rap. There’s something for everyone!
This special promotion includes over 50 add-ons and a few bundles! Here are just a few: