PreSonus Blog

SuperKick—Tune and Enhance Your Kick Drum

If you do hip-hop or EDM, you’re in the right place.

This tip turns wimpy kicks into superkicks, using a different technique compared to drum replacement (see the Friday Tip for February 9, 2018). Listen to the audio example, and you’ll hear why this is cool.

Audio Example: The second four measures add the SuperKick effect to the loop in the first four measures. The added kick is 40 Hz…so don’t expect to hear anything on laptop speakers!

The basic concept is to add another track with a low-frequency sine wave, tuned to your pitch of choice. This can be a WAV file, but this example uses the highly-underrated, and extremely useful, Tone Generator plug-in set to a floor-shaking 40 Hz sine wave. A Bus “listens” to the loop, and uses EQ to filter out everything except the kick; you don’t hear this audio, but it gates the Tone Generator’s sine wave so that it tracks the kick. Fig. 1 shows the setup.

 

Figure 1: Setup to tune and enhance the kick in an existing loop.

  1. Track 1 is your drum loop; the audio example uses the Warehouse Tech Musicloop included in Studio One. Insert a pre-fader Send that goes to a Bus (named “EQ Bus” in this example). The reason for a pre-fader send is you’ll want to turn the Track fader down when tweaking the EQ and Gate responses covered later.
  2. Insert the Pro EQ into the EQ Bus. Tweak the response to filter out everything but the kick. The High Cut’s 48 dB/octave slope will probably do the job, although if there’s a lot of other bass action (like floor toms or bass) you may need to add an additional Peaking stage. Zero in on the kick’s lowest audible frequency, and apply a narrow boost.
  3. Add a Track, and insert the Tone Generator. Turn it on, then set it to produce a constant, low-frequency sine wave. Follow the tone Generator with a Gate.
  4. Add a pre-fader send from the EQ Bus to the Gate’s sidechain.
  5. To produce the most reliable triggering, the Gate settings and the Send level going to the Gate’s sidechain are crucial. Set the Threshold Close just slightly lower than the Open setting. Release determines how long the kick will last; 5 to 10 ms of hold minimizes “chattering.” Start by setting the Open and Threshold controls as shown, and adjust the Send to the sidechain for the most reliable triggering. If the kick tone doesn’t trigger, even with the Send to the sidechain turned up, lower the Open and Threshold close controls. If the kick tone stays on all the time, lower the Send level.

With the loop fader down so you’re not distracted, play with the Tone Generator frequency, EQ frequency to isolate the kick sound, and Gate settings until there’s reliable kick triggering. How you set the gate provides various options: extend the Release for a “hum drum” effect, or for more expressiveness, automate the release time. Increasing the Hold time alters the character as well.=

And after everything is set up…stand back while the floors shake!

Buy Studio One for LESS now!

 

 

PreSonus Solution: How to have a Worship Service in the Midst of Covid-19

When making ministry decisions, it’s important to ask yourself questions beyond just budgetary concerns.

Ask yourself and your team things like: 

  • “How will this help?” 
  • “What am I/we doing to be a good steward of the equipment, money, resources, and manpower given to me/us?” 
  • “What is the best use of those resources?”

As countries and cities around the globe slowly ease shelter-in-place orders, it’s vital to understand that even as we can begin to open the doors to our houses of worship, members of our congregation and newcomers as well may not feel comfortable coming together in confined spaces. With that said, many houses of worship are turning to outdoor services as a viable, serious, stand-alone option during this pleasant summer season as an easy, safe, and affordable alternative to reduced indoor occupancy.  

 

Thankfully, you can easily put the pieces into place to accommodate an outdoor service… you might even have most of what you need already. PreSonus offers systems that are affordable, expandable, easy to use, and best of all, great-sounding. Find out what thousands of outdoor venues already know – PreSonus has a solution to fit your needs, regardless of budget, size, or skill level. With a three-year warranty on our mixers and an amazing six-year warranty on our speaker systems, you’ll have the peace of mind about your equipment that your people will have about your concerns for their well-being.

Learn more about the PreSonus Air Loudspeakers here: https://www.presonus.com/products/AIR-Loudspeakers

Find a StudioLive Series III Rack Mixer that’s right for you here: https://www.presonus.com/products/StudioLive-Series-III-Rack-Mixers

WATCH more here:

Studio One 4.6.2 is here

To get this free update for Studio One 4 users, just click “Check for updates” from Studio One’s Start Page!

Here’s the complete change log:

New features and improvements:

  • Improved ARA chord integration (Melodyne 5 compatibility)
  • Added Quantum 2626 Device Template
Fixes:
  • [Ampire] Audible pop on instantiation
  • [Ampire] Loud click when switching thru Wah models
  • [Melodyne] Crash when using “Copy Song Data to Note Assignment”
  • [Presence XT] Sample start modulation shifts loop start as well
  • [Windows] Slow redraw moving less than 51 items
  • [Windows] Crash on duplicating / moving / replacing arranger sections
  • [Windows] Fat Channel Plug-ins not working on certain systems
  • Multi Instruments w/ NoteFX missing Fader/Inserts when recalled
  • Pattern Part “Variations” are not recalled correctly
  • Automation not responding on scroll wheel in Pattern Melodic Mode
  • Menu item “Assign in ascending order” should not appear pipeline’s port menus
  • Redraw problems in Scratchpad timeline
  • Potential crash on playback when an audio event has an invalid length or offset
  • “Tab to Transients” doesn’t work in .multitrack files
  • VST2 plugins do not report key switches

Thanks for making us part of your process—software sale extended… again!

Strange days have been upon us for a while now. We wanted to take a minute to let you, as a creator, know something: we see you. In fact, the world sees you. And hears you. How do we know?

Because in a time when many businesses have had to close—temporarily or even permanently—dealers of musical instruments and associated accouterments are, frankly, kickin’ ass. So much so, in fact, that Rolling Stone ran an article on the matter. And when was the last time you read a Rolling Stone article on something as thrilling as audio interface sales trends?

 

Look, the day’s going to come when this is all over. And we know that as a musician or a creator, you’re going to come out of this thing with something priceless. Because you’re a creative, and you know what to do with idle hands—you get some art made. Make some music. Jumpstart that podcast idea. You get to work during this weird time, and create… not just for yourself, but for the people around you who need to know they’re not alone.

In ten years, people are going to be telling stories about that time when I am Legend almost happened for real back in 2020, and how it kept us from our friends and families. And some of them will most certainly remember the songs you wrote about it. They’ll remember the socially-distant concerts performed to passersby from front porches. They’ll recall the Skype/Zoom/Google Hangout/FaceTime/live-streamed online collaborations and performances; family members huddled around tablets like some sort of digital 21st-century e-campfire.They might even be listening to the 500th episode of that podcast you launched three weeks ago.

This too shall pass. But when we look back on the moments that were made a little more tolerable, a little brighter—and daresay even fun—it’s going to be because we had creators like you to chronicle the experience and immortalize your unique experience of it your art of choice: song, podcast, vlog, or something in between.

What you’re doing as an artist is as important to our history as this pandemic itself, and PreSonus wants you to know that we’re honored to have some small part in your process. Thanks for choosing us, and if Studio One or Notion or your AudioBox has helped you realize your creative vision.. well, that helps us sleep at night, and it’s why we’re all working from our kitchens and spare bedrooms to keep PreSonus running… to support you.

Because what you’re doing is so important, we’re gonna keep Studio One and Notion at 30% off, for another month.  

Keep safe, keep creating. Thank you for keeping us inspired.

 

The De-Stresser FX Chain

Feeling a little bit stressed?

I’m not surprised. Or do you ever have one of those days? Of course you do! Wouldn’t it be great to go down to the beach, listen to the waves for a while, and chill to those soothing sounds? The only problem for me is that going to the beach would involve a 7-hour drive.

Hence the De-Stresser FX Chain, which doesn’t sound exactly like the ocean—but emulates its desirable sonic effects. If you’re already stressed out, then you probably don’t want to take the time to assemble this chain, so feel free to go to the download link. Load the FX Chain into a channel, but note that you must enable input monitoring, because the sound source is the plug-in Tone Generator’s white noise option.

About the FX Chain

Figure 1: Effects used to create the De-Stresser’s virtual ocean.

Fig. 1 shows the FX Chain’s “block diagram.” The Splitter adds variety to the overall sound by feeding dual asynchronous “waves,” as generated by the X-Trems (set for tremolo mode). The X-Trem LFO’s lowest rate is 0.10 Hz; this should be slow enough, but for even slower waves, you can sync to tempo with a long note value, and set a really slow tempo.

Waves also have a little filtering as they break on the beach, which the Autofilters provide. The Pro EQs tailor the low- and high-frequency content to alter the waves’ apparent size and distance.

And of course, there’s the ever-popular Binaural Pan at the end. This helps create a more realistic stereo image when listening on headphones.

Macro Controls

Figure 2: The Macro Controls panel.

Regarding the Macro Controls panel (Fig. 2), the two Timbre controls alter the filter type for the two Autofilters. This provides additional variety, so choose whichever filter type combination you prefer. Crest alters the X-Trem depth, so higher values increase the difference between the waves’ peaks and troughs.

The Sci-Fi Ocean control adds resonance to the filtering. This isn’t designed to enhance the realism, but it’s kinda fun. Another subtle sci-fi sound involves setting the two Timbre controls to the Comb response.

As you move further away from real waves, the sound has fewer high frequencies. So, Distance controls the Pro EQ HC (High Cut) filters. Similarly, Wave Size controls the LC filter, because bigger waves have more of a low-frequency component. The Calmer control varies the Autofilter mix; turning it up gives smaller, shallower waves.

When you want to relax, this makes a soothing background. Put on good headphones, and you can lose yourself in the sound. It also makes a relaxing environmental sound when played over speakers at a low level. If your computer has Bluetooth, and you have Bluetooth speakers, try playing this in the background at the end of a long day.

Son of the Beach

This is just one example of the kind of environmental sounds and effects you can make with Studio One, so let me know if this type of tip interests you. I’ve also done rain, rocket engines, howling gales, the engine room of an interstellar cargo ship, cosmic thuds, various soundscapes, and even backgrounds designed to encourage theta and delta brain waves. I made the last one originally for a friend of mine whose children had a hard time going to sleep, and burned it to CD. When I asked what he thought, he said “no one has ever heard how it ends.” So I guess it worked! Chalk up another unusual Studio One application.

 

Download the De-Stresser FX Chain here!

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BUY NOW – Seven Day Savings on Notion’s Percussion Bundle

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The Percussion Bundle is the percussionist’s toolbox.

The entire Notion Percussion bundle is a palette of drums, rhythm shakers, cymbals, noise makers and sound effects from around the globe.

Click here to shop!

The entire bundle is available in this single convenient download, or you can pick and choose from the various collections available in the bundle. Get just the sizzle cymbal, bongo, or duck call that works just right for you and your project—for 30% less!

Drums
Tenor Drum, Side Drum, Piccolo Snare, Long Drum, Bongos, Bongos w/ Sticks, and Bodhran.
The drum samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(53.7 MB download)

Cymbals
Splash Cymbal, Finger Cymbal, Sizzle Cymbal, and Chinese Bo.
The cymbal samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(101.7 MB download)

Effects
Hand Clap, Champagne Bottle, Church Bell, Car Horn (low & high), Siren, Thunder Sheet, Wind Machine, Lead Pipe (low & high), Flower Pots, Hammer, Lion’s Roar, Cuckoo, Referee Whistle, Duck Call, Train Whistle, and Nightingale.
The effects samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(42.3 MB download)

Pitched Percussion
Tuned Gongs, Almglocken, Saw, Hand Bells, Wine Glasses, Whistling, and Whistling (Vibrato).
The pitched percussion samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(148.4 MB download)

Percussion
Cuica, Ocean Drum, Log Drum 1, Bodhran, Slide Whistle, Anvil, Sand Blocks, Rainstick, Drum Sticks, Agogo (low & high), Brake Drum (low & high), Ratchet (low & high), Whip Flexatone, Vibrastick, Vibraslap (low & high), Water Gong, and Bell Tree.
The percussion samples were played by Neil Percy of the London Symphony Orchestra.
(88.7 MB download)

This offer is available now through June 7, 2020, and is offered worldwide.

Save 50% on the CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper!

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This week only…

Save 5o% on the CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper right out of the PreSonus Shop!

The CTC-1 Pro Console Shaper is the second in its series of Mix Engine FX plug-ins for Studio One. The add-on, which works with Studio One Professional 3.3.1 and later, provides three great-sounding models of classic British, vintage tube, and custom consoles and adds several major enhancements to the Mix Engine FX environment.

HURRY! This offer is valid now through June 7, 2020, and is available worldwide.

SEVEN Days to Save on All Impulse Record and DrivenSounds!

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HURRY – Flash sale!

Now through the end of the week SAVE 50% on all Impulse Record and DrivenSounds libraries right out of the PreSonus Shop!

If you are looking for some heavy and blazing kits… DrivenSounds has you covered!

Discounted titles include:

  • Hip Hop General
  • R&B Trap Engine

Impulse Record, a Grammy considered household name in the recording industry is offering another great discount this week!

Discounted titles include:

  • Cinematic Vox
  • Vintage Brass

This offer is only available worldwide now through June 7, 2020 and available right in the PreSonus Shop.

Into the Archives, Part 2

After last week’s thrilling cliff-hanger about how to preserve your WAV files for future generations, let’s look at how to export all your stereo audio tracks and have them incorporate effects processing, automation, level, and panning. There are several ways to do this; although you can drag files into a Browser folder, and choose Wave File with rendered Insert FX, Studio One’s feature to save stems is much easier and also includes any effects added by effects in Bus and FX Channels. (We’ll also look at how to archive Instrument tracks.)

Saving as stems, where you choose individual Tracks or Channels, makes archiving processed files a breeze. For archiving, I choose Tracks because they’re what I’ll want to bring in for a remix. For example, if you’re using an instrument where multiple outputs feed into a stereo mix, Channels will save the mix, but Tracks will render the individual Instrument sounds into their own tracks.

When you export everything as stems, and bring them back into an empty Song, playback will sound exactly like the Song whose stems you exported. However, note that saving as stems does not necessarily preserve the Song’s organization; for example, tracks inside a folder track are rendered as individual tracks, not as part of a folder. I find this preferable anyway. Also, if you just drag the tracks back into an empty song, they’ll be alphabetized by track name. If this is an issue, number each track in the desired order before exporting.

SAVING STEMS

Select Song > Export Stems. Choose whether you want to export what’s represented by Tracks in the Arrange view, or by Channels in the Console. Again, for archiving, I recommend Tracks (Fig. 1).

 

Figure 1: The Song > Export Stems option is your friend.

If there’s anything you don’t want to save, uncheck the box next to the track name. Muted tracks are unchecked by default, but if you check them, the tracks are exported properly, and open unmuted.

Note that if an audio track is being sent to effects in a Bus or FX Channel, the exported track will include any added effects. Basically, you’ll save whatever you would hear with Solo enabled. In the Arrange view, each track is soloed as it’s rendered, so you can monitor the archiving progress as it occurs.

In Part 1 on saving raw WAV files, we noted that different approaches required different amounts of storage space. Saving stems requires the most amount of storage space because it saves all tracks from start to end (or whatever area in the timeline you select), even if a track-only has a few seconds of audio in it. However, this also means that the tracks are suitable for importing into programs that don’t recognize Broadcast WAV Files. Start all tracks from the beginning of a song, or at least from the same start point, and they’ll all sync up properly.

WHAT ABOUT THE MAIN FADER SETTINGS?

Note that the tracks will be affected by your Main fader inserts and processing, including any volume automation that creates a fadeout. I don’t use processors in the Main channel inserts, because I reserve any stereo 2-track processing for the Project page (hey, it’s Studio One—we have the technology!). I’d recommend bypassing any Main channel effects, because if you’re going to use archived files for a remix, you probably don’t want to be locked in to any processing applied to the stereo mix. I also prefer to disable automation Read for volume levels, because the fade may need to last longer with a remix. Keep your options open.

However, the Main fader is useful if you try to save the stems and get an indication that clipping has occurred. Reduce the Main fader by slightly more than the amount of clipping (e.g., if the warning says a file was 1 dB over, lower the Main channel fader by -1.1 dB). Another option would be to isolate the track(s) causing the clipping and reduce their levels; but reducing the Main channel fader maintains the proportional level of the mixed tracks.

SAVING INSTRUMENT AUDIO

Saving an Instrument track as a stem automatically renders it into audio. While that’s very convenient, you have other options.

When you drag an Instrument track’s Event to the Browser, you can save it as a Standard MIDI File (.mid) or as a Musicloop feature (press Shift to select between the two). Think of a Musicloop, a unique Studio One feature, as an Instrument track “channel strip”—when you bring it back into a project, it creates a Channel in the mixer, includes any Insert effects, zeroes the Channel fader, and incorporates the soft synth so you can edit it. Of course, if you’re collaborating with someone who doesn’t have the same soft synth or insert effects, they won’t be available (that’s another reason to stay in the Studio One ecosystem when collaborating if at all possible). But, you’ll still have the note events in a track.

There are three cautions when exporting Instrument track Parts as Musicloops or MIDI files.

  • The Instrument track Parts are exported as MIDI files, which aren’t (yet) time-stamped similarly to Broadcast WAV Files. Therefore, the first event starts at the song’s beginning, regardless of where it occurs in the Song.
  • Mutes aren’t recognized, so the file you bring back will include any muted notes.
  • If there are multiple Instrument Parts in a track, you can drag them into the Browser and save them as a Musicloop. However, this will save a Musicloop for each Part. You can bring them all into the same track, one a time, but then you have to place them properly. If you bring them all in at once, they’ll create as many Channels/Tracks as there are Instrument Parts, and all Parts will start at the Song’s beginning…not very friendly.

The bottom line: Before exporting an Instrument track as a Musicloop or MIDI file, I recommend deleting any muted Parts, selecting all Instrument Parts by typing G to create a single Part, then extending the Part’s start to the Song’s beginning (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: The bottom track has prepped the top track to make it stem-export-friendly.

You can make sure that Instrument tracks import into the Song in the desired placement, by using Transform to Audio Track. As mentioned above, it’s best to delete unmuted sections, and type G to make multiple Parts into a single Part. However, you don’t need to extend the track’s beginning.

  1. Right-click in the track’s header, and select Transform to Audio Track.
  2. Drag the resulting audio file into the Browser. Now, the file is a standard Broadcast WAV Format file.
  3. When you drag the file into a Song, select it and choose Edit > Move to Origin to place it properly on the timeline.

However, unlike a Musicloop, this is only an audio file. When you bring it into a song, the resulting Channel does not include the soft synth, insert effects, etc.

Finally…it’s a good idea to save any presets used in your various virtual instruments into the same folder as your archived tracks. You never know…right?

And now you know how to archive your Songs. Next week, we’ll get back to Fun Stuff.

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Band Together NOLA with StudioLive and Studio One!

PreSonus is honored to support all efforts by first responders and health care workers across the globe during this odd, hard time.

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.

Before we get started here are four fun facts about Steve:

  • He owns New Orleans Cake Cafe and Bakery off Chartres Street. He got his start in pastry selling them door to door–he literally baked the cakes and sold them by the slice to his neighbors. This grew into a cake shop in the French Quarter that ran for several years, and now a storefront cake shop, bakery, and restaurant.
  • One of Steve’s first jobs was at Capitol Records in LA. His job was to digitize old tapes from the 40s and 50s. Nat King Cole, Sinatra, etc. This is where he recognized the magic of making music and fell in love with it.
  • One of the first artists he worked with was none other than Shelia E! While they were working on her sound and style in the studio, Prince would call to check in on how she was doing.
  • During the COVID-19 crisis, not only has Steve shared his audio engineering talent for this benefit, but he also donated over 250 meals a day for six weeks to multiple local hospital first responders. He along with his wife, Becky, and small staff prepared the meals and delivered the meals daily! What a guy!

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.

What PreSonus gear was used? 

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.

 

Follow the New Orleans Cake Cafe and Bakery on Facebook! 

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