The controversy about whether people can tell the difference on playback between audio recorded at 96 kHz that’s played back at 44.1 kHz or a higher sample rate (such as 96 kHz) has never really been resolved. However, under some circumstances, recording at a higher sample rate can give an obvious, audible improvement in sound quality. In this week’s tip we’ll investigate why this happens, and in next week’s tip, tell how to obtain the benefits of recording at a higher sample rate in Studio One with 44.1 and 48 kHz projects.
REALLY? CONVINCE ME!
A Song’s sample rate can make a difference with sounds generated “in the box,” for instance using a virtual instrument plug-in that synthesizes a sound, or distortion created by an amp simulator. Any improvement heard with high sample rates comes from eliminating foldover distortion, also known as aliasing.
Theory time: A digital system can accurately represent audio at frequencies lower than half the sampling rate (e.g., 22.05 kHz in a 44.1 kHz project). If an algorithm within a plug-in generates harmonic content above this Nyquist limit—say, at 40 kHz—then you won’t hear a 40 kHz tone, but you will hear the aliasing created when this tone “folds down” below the Nyquist limit (to 4.1 kHz, in this case). Aliasing thus appears within the audible range, but is harmonically unrelated to the original signal, and generally sounds pretty ugly.
Foldover distortion can happen with synthesized waveforms that are rich in harmonics, like pulse waves with sharp rise and fall times. (Amp sims can also be problematic; although their harmonics may be weak, if you’re applying 60 dB of gain to create overdrive or distortion, the harmonics can be strong enough to cause audible aliasing).
SO IS IT A PROBLEM, OR NOT?
Not all plug-ins will exhibit these problems, for one of four reasons:
Many modern virtual instruments and amp sims oversample, and DAWs can handle higher sample rates, so you’d think that might be the end of it. Unfortunately, there can be limitations with oversampling and higher project sample rates.
Furthermore, with plug-ins that oversample, the sound quality will be influenced by the quality of the sample-rate conversion algorithms. It’s not necessarily easy to perform high-quality sample-rate conversion: check out comparisons for various DAWs at http://src.infinitewave.ca (where, incidentally, Studio One rates as one of the best), and remember that the conversion algorithms for a plug-in might be more “relaxed” than what’s used in a DAW.
So what’s a musician to do? In next week’s Friday Tip of the Week, we’ll cover how to do upsampling in Studio One to reap the benefits of high-sample-rate recording at lower sample rates. Meanwhile, if you still need to be convinced recording at different sample rates makes a difference, check out this audio example of a synthesizer recorded in Studio One first at 44.1 kHz, and then at 96 kHz:
A Sweeter, Beefier Ampire
Let’s transform Ampire’s Crunch American from a motor scooter into a Harley. Here’s our point of departure:
Insert the Multiband Dynamics before Ampire. The default patch is fine, but drag the High Mid and High gain and ratio settings down all the way. The goal here is to add a bit of compression to give more even distortion in the mids and lower mids but also, to get rid of high frequencies that, when distorted, create harsh harmonics.
After Ampire, insert the Pro EQ. The steep notch around 8 kHz gets rid of the whistling sound you’ll really notice in the before-and-after audio example, while the high-frequency shelf adds brightness to offset the reduced high frequencies going into Ampire. But this time, we’re increasing the “good,” post-distortion high frequencies instead of the nasty pre-distortion ones.
Those two processors alone make a big difference, but let’s face it—people don’t listen to an amp with their ear a couple inches from the speaker, but in a room. So, let’s create a room and give the sound a stereo image with the Open Air convolution reverb. I’ve loaded one of my custom, synthetic IR responses; these are my go-to impulses for pretty much everything I do involving convolution reverb, and may be available in the PreSonus shop someday. Meanwhile, feel free to use your own favorite impulses.
Of course, you can take this concept a lot further with the Channel Editor if you want to tweak specific parameters to optimize the sound for your particular playing style, choice of pickups, pickup type, and the like…hmmm, seems like that might be a good topic for a future tip.
That’s it! Now all that’s left is to compare the before and after example below. Hopefully you’ll agree that the “after” is a lot more like a Harley than a motor scooter.
If you’re looking to get your 808 on without shelling out $3,500 on ebay—and don’t forget that a MIDI-sync mod will run you for another couple hundred—this is the right pack for you at less than 1/100th of the price. But drum machines don’t begin and end with X0X kick drums, so the exclusive Goldbaby Essentials Soundset for Impact features a whopping 500 samples from beatboxes of yore, arranged into 32 Impact drum kit presets and 124 new musicloops.
This collection is very different than that no-name drum machine sample collection you regrettably BitTorrented a while back. You know the one I’m talking about: rife with clipping, inconsistent filenames, and varied sample rates. You got what you didn’t pay for. Goldbaby Essentials has been meticulously, professionally sampled by a real pro, and processed with warm, saturated, real-analog-tape-saturated goodness. Add to that the money, space, and time you’re saving when compared to buying all those drum machines and sampling them yourself—and you can’t deny that Goldbaby Essentials is even better than the real thing(s).
This bundle give your arrangements and orchestrations new depth and control and there’s a ton included:
All of which were performed and recorded by principal and second players from the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios in London.
These sounds are only compatible with Notion version 5 or higher!
The Studio 192 and 192 Mobile rank among our most versatile interfaces, offering incredibly high sample rates for their price and robust monitoring and connectivity options. And until the end of March 2018, they’re available for a lot less money.
Hook up a Studio 192 family interface to a laptop with the included Studio One DAW, and you’ll have remote software control of the preamp levels on the interface, eliminating the need to constantly get up from your seat and tweak while establishing levels. You’ll be capturing those levels in sterling 192 kHz.
As your needs grow and you find yourself needing more inputs, the Studio 192 interfaces are expandable via additional hardware like the Digimax DP88. Add to that advanced monitoring capabilities, word clock, and S/PDIF, and you’ve got a powerhouse in a small package.
Protect your investment! Our versatile ULT loudspeakers are as handsome as they are powerful, so why not keep them that way? From now until March 31, 2018, customers in the USA will get free travel bags with purchase of ULT Loudspeakers. Read on to find out a little more about the ULT line. First thing to know: “ULT” means “Ultra Long Throw.”
The ULT active loudspeakers combine the widest horizontal dispersion of any loudspeaker in their class with a focused vertical dispersion for an ultra-long throw. The result is even coverage throughout the space, enabling the audience to hear clearly wherever they are. Featuring PreSonus’ proprietary Pivot X110 horn, a custom 12-inch low-frequency driver, and plenty of biamped Class D power in a lightweight design with the performance characteristics that only wood can offer, ULT loudspeakers deliver first-rate speech intelligibility and natural music reproduction. This makes them a great choice for both mobile use and permanent installations.
Qualifying products include:
The prolific crew over at Sample Magic has brewed up some kind of spell that allows them to conjure loops of stellar quality while keeping them exceptionally affordable. They’ve just cast us a ton of new loop content for Studio One, covering everything from hip-hop’s Golden Era to today’s Festival Trap, and a few unexpected things in between like Organic Electronic. Click on any of the artwork to head over to shop.presonus.com and listen to audio demos!
Inspired by the groundbreaking hip hop scene of the late 80s and early 90s, Golden Era is an expansive 1.2GB collection of classic MPC beats and breaks, retro vinyl-styled loops, soul and jazz-infused melodics, afro-laced percussive grooves, analogue layers, 520+ dusty drum hits and 70+ stabs spanning Rhodes, Hammond, assorted analogue synths, live bass hits and electric guitar licks.
Inspired by the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Jurassic 5, Golden Era delivers six folders jam-packed with old school beats and breaks, mellow live bass, fat analogue subs, retro synths, soulful keys, live percussion grooves, characterful FX layers and more.
All loops are tempo-synced at either 80, 90 or 100bpm and loops are key-labeled where applicable.
Monstrous, moody, monolithic: Raw Techno delivers stacks of uncompromising analogue-derived sounds that are authentically rooted in the monochrome Berlin aesthetic. Packed with pummelling 909-led grooves, raw 303 lines, industrial synths drones, menacing bass tones, dark dub chords and 300+ high-grade drum hits and kits, Raw Techno distils the best of this singular sound into one essential collection.
The collection contains tempo-synced loops at 125, 127, 132 and 135bpm. All loops are key-labeled where applicable for total convenience.
Epic textures, lo-fi beats and melancholy kissed grooves with a modern twist. Ambient House is equal parts melodic chill and driving tech-house in a sound that’s swept Balearic climates and clubs across the nation. Atmospheric chords and introspective arpeggios from rich analogue sources, tape saturated beat-constructions and classic mono synths.
Brimming with choice, this contemporary collection contains over 1.2GB of evolving poly-synths, skippy hats, organic live percussion, sizzling sequences, laid-back pads, thundering beats and upper, downer, all-arounder FX served in pristine 24-bit Wav with MIDI where appropriate. Flexibility is the name of the game with 4 x exclusive drum kits and 4 x multi-sampled analogue synths (Roland Juno 60, Korg MS-20, Korg Volca) included.
From the best-selling producer of Future Electronica comes ‘Future Soul’ a fusion of maximalist beats, epic evolving melodics and hook-laden vocal chops. Positioned at the intersection of LA Beat, Future R&B and Neo-Soul this 1.4GB+ collection takes its cues from hardcore-digital production as well as vintage funk and soul vibes to devastating effect.
Inspired by the multi-faceted sounds of Snakehips, Jack U and Kaytranada no stone has been left unturned in providing the most-authethenic analogue and digital loops, samples, patches and MIDI available today. Key and tempo-labelled at 90 BPM expect full-track inspiration loops, rich astral pads, fat layered hits, syncopated trap grooves and much more.
Euphoric, in-your-face and hard hitting, Festival Trap is 100% guaranteed to get your production blazing dancefloors. Jammed with sub blasting grooves, hyper leads, glo-fi melodic synths and cone-rupturing 808 boom, Festival Trap offers up the best of classic dirty south grooves, combining elements of electronica and future pop. Inspiration assured for your next main-room smash.
Dive into 1.2GB+ full-track inspiration and music loops ready baked, chopped and mangled to perfection. Choc-filled with full fat drum fills, twisted bleeps, pitched vocal loops and rich polyphonic pads, tempo-synced and key-labelled 100/140bpm MIDI is provided as standard across all pitched folders.
With warped space sound design, retro analogue hoovers and frenzied liquid drum grooves, Eclectic Drum & Bass combines the very best of Neuro, Tech-Step and Liquid genres across 1GB+ of loops, samples, MIDI and patches at 174bpm. Rich polyphonic pads, rip-roaring riser FX, sitar-style FM leads and cone-quaking subs in the style of Noisia, Ulterior Motive, Pendulum, Amoss and Artificial Intelligence for maximum dancefloor impact and after-hours bliss!
Pooling an awe-inspiring collection of sounds from Sample Magic’s award-winning team of producers, Future Beat includes a diverse selection of forward thinking loops, hits and over 40 presets for Lives onboard synths. Expertly worked into a extensive library of Live Sets, clips, and fully designed Drum and Instrument Racks, Future Beat weighs in at a mammoth 4GB+. Punchy drums, low slung bass, silken leads, analogue inspired pads and much more… Sampled from an impressive array of analogue and digital gear.
11 Drum Racks provide all the percussive fuel you need to power your grooves. The ten standard Racks have been put together to cover the spectrum of urban flavours, from laid-back R&B jams to brooding trap workouts and everything in between. Alternatively, the Selector kit lets you effortlessly browse 180 kicks, snares, claps, hi-hats and other percussion within a single Rack to build your own custom kits in seconds – just the thing for getting rhythmic ideas down fast.
Synths to go
Every one of Future Beat’s Instrument Racks is based on an Operator, Analog or multisampled Simpler patch feeding into an extended chain of effects. The sampled Instruments were created using a who’s-who of vintage and modern synths, including the Roland Juno-6, Korg Mono/Poly and Nord Lead 2x. Sonically expansive and easy to play, every one of them has been specifically built to best reproduce today’s urban sound.
FX, Sets, loops and one-shots
Also included are 10 colourful Effects Racks, and 5 fully produced Live Sets putting Future Beat’s Drum and Instrument Racks into action. Use their component beats, basslines, leads and chord progressions as is, or as starting points for your own ideas.
Finally, the Pack wraps up with 250 inspirational drum and music loops (the latter with MIDI files for alternative sound sourcing), and 100 one-shot synth and FX samples.
Covering the full spectrum of modern trap, footwork, hip-hop and R&B, Future Beat gives beginners a complete construction kit of easily manipulated building blocks, and experienced producers everything they need to compose new tracks in note-by-note detail from the ground up, or find those vital missing elements required to finish existing ones.
Dust off your MPC for an old-school collection of bass heavy grooves, soulful keys and treasure trove vinyl funk. From the best-selling producer of Golden Era comes over 1GB+ of classic hip-hop, rare groove cuts and trip-hop vibes. Take a dip into a vintage archive of masterfully crafted breaks chops, booming 808s, jazzy horn stabs, tape saturated atmospheres and silky guitar loops across 90 – 110bpm.
The Ibiza season draws to a close but the white isle spirit lives on in Sleepless House with 1.04GB of raw tech and jackin’ house sounds. Create your instant retro house classic with snappy analogue drum beats, wide and boomy bass, glitchy vocal snippets, epic chord lines and much more. A genre-spanning collection of loops, MIDI and one-shots guaranteed to inject Balearic bliss to your tracks.
At the crossroads of Bonobo, Ninja Tune and Four Tet exists ’Organic Electronica’ – as musical and rootsy as it is original and contemporary. Floaty vocal melodies combine with rich analogue pads, shuffling acoustic breaks anchor organic bells and pumping subs. Combining the best of exotic and other-worldy soundscapes, get to grips with 1.1GB+ of loops, kits and MIDI for the ultimate in ethereal electronica.
The $10 Presence XT Solid-State Drive
One of Studio One Pro’s assets is that it comes with a lot of content—well over 20 GB. But of course, you need to figure out where you’re going to put it. If you have a laptop with an SSD boot drive, every gigabyte counts and you might not want it living on your system disk. Also, although the old saying goes “you can never be too rich or too thin,” I’d add “and you can never have too fast a load time for samples.”
Like many people, I use three separate drives on my desktop: system, projects, and samples (including SoundSets and loops). With USB 3.0 flash drives coming down in price, you can put all of Studio One’s SoundSets on a 32 GB flash drive, which at my last price check was $10 (I took it a little further, and spent an extra $20 for a USB 3.0 128 GB flash drive that can spew out data wicked fast).
I deleted the default SoundSet folder, copied all my SoundSets over to the flash drive, then added the flash drive location at Studio One > Options > Locations > Soundsets (in this case, it’s H:\Sound Sets). Note that you can’t delete the default location for Sound Sets, so unless you actually delete the Sound Sets in the default location, Studio One will still see them.
USB 3.0 flash drives are super-fast for reading (and still pretty fast for writing). You’ll see the difference when Studio One scans the Sound Sets, and also, when loading instruments that take up a couple hundred megabytes. Furthermore, Sound Sets are compatible with Mac or Windows. So when I want to take my SSD-based MacBook Pro (which never seems to have quite enough space) on the road, I just pop the flash drive out of my Windows desktop, and take the Sound Sets with me. Yes, it’s literally “good to go.”
Get some cash in your stocking this year? Click the image above to visit shop.presonus.com and get some Studio One or Notion Add-ons for half price! Hurry, sale ends Dec. 29!
The Dim Solo function lets you hear a soloed track at full volume, and the rest of the mix at a considerably lower (dimmed) level. This is very handy when making edits on a track that need to be done in context, but you need to hear the track being edited at a louder volume to make sure you don’t miss any details.
Although Studio One doesn’t have a Dim Solo function per se, it’s easy to set one up!
Now you can bring down the Main bus level to choose the amount of “dimming” for all the tracks except for the one assigned to Sub 1, whose track fader controls its level relative to the rest of the mix—make it as loud as you want, and the other tracks as soft as you want.
And how about two bonus Solo tips…