PreSonus Blog

Notion 6.7 Now Available

Notion 6.7 Maintenance Release

Notion 6.7 is now available, adding compatibility with the new Score Editor of Studio One 5.0 and our new PreSonus Sphere membership. Notion 6.7 is a free update for Notion 6 owners that can be obtained by clicking “Check for Updates” within Notion, or download from your MyPreSonus account. Please note the new minimum requirements for installation on both macOS and Windows.


NEW

Support for Studio One 5

You can now transfer your score from Studio One’s new Score Editor to Notion or vice versa. To see more about Studio One 5 and its new Score Editor, click here.

Studio One 5 Now Available!

  • Notion 6 compatible with the new Score Editor in Studio One 5.0. Start your scores in Studio One, send to Notion for further layout and editing. Or send to Studio One from Notion, either as MIDI for further playback editing, or as the score, so you can keep on composing
  • New options to send either score data (to Studio One 5.0 or later) or use the legacy transfer of MIDI data (to Studio One 3.3 or later)

PreSonus Sphere

PreSonus Sphere membership benefits include licenses for the complete collection of PreSonus’ award-winning software solutions for recording, mixing, scoring, and producing, including Studio One Professional and Notion, plus over 100 libraries of samples, effects, and loops. To see more about PreSonus Sphere and to join, click here.

PreSonus Sphere Membership now available

In addition to these creative tools, PreSonus Sphere members are also given Cloud collaboration tools and storage, chat with Studio One and Notion experts from around the globe, access to exclusive promotions, training, and events, with much more being added each month—all for a low monthly or annual membership.

  • Notion 6 can be activated with PreSonus Sphere, or with a standalone Notion 6 license as normal
  • If Studio One 5 or the PreSonus Hub application is present on the same computer with an activated Sphere license, Notion will automatically activate with Sphere

ALL FIXES AND ENHANCEMENTS

New Minimum Requirements

  • Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • macOS 10.13 High Sierra (64-bit only)

Support for Studio One v5

  • Compatible with the new Score Editor in Studio One v5.0. See updated User Guide for all info (Chapter 15.7)
  • New options in Notion to send either Score data (to version 5.0 or later), or legacy MIDI data transfer (to Studio One 3.3 or later)
  • [Win] Notion will now launch the latest version of Studio One that it finds on the local machine
  • [Win] Fix for sending to Studio One with non-ASCII characters in filename
  • ‘Send to Studio One’ dialog selects ‘This Computer’ by default if available
  • In the ‘Send to Studio One’ dialog, other computers on the network are only listed once if found via different network interfaces
  • Chords with accidentals in the bass note in Studio One’s Chord Track are now displayed correctly when sent to Notion (e.g. A/C#)

PreSonus Sphere

  • Compatible with PreSonus Sphere membership
  • If Studio One or PreSonus Hub is present with activated subscription, Notion will automatically activate with Sphere on opening
  • Sphere membership can be manually deactivated in Studio One or PreSonus Hub application – if it has been deactivated then Notion will fall back on standalone licence if one existed before Sphere, or Demo mode if not
  • You can manually Update the licence timer in Notion’s Software Activation menu. This is useful to prevent Notion requiring activation if you are offline at a critical moment (e.g. using Notion live on stage, or you plan on using it on a long journey)

Handwriting

  • Handle incomplete ties when handwriting in Continuous view
  • Fix clef and key signature issues when handwriting in Continuous view

Languages

  • [Win] Installer fixes for font and font size
  • [macOS] Korean/Chinese/Japanese fonts now showing as expected for EULA during install
  • Now uses original language expression text in Chinese localization (e.g. arco, pizz)
  • On Windows, ‘Groß’ and ‘Klein’ now used in Transposition dialog, not ‘Dur’ and ‘Moll’ when in German
  • Occasional crash fixed when Italian language is set and Notion is offline

Documentation

  • Updated User Guide, including chapter on Studio One 5 integration (Chapter 15.7)
  • Updated Quick Reference Guides in all languages
  • Updated EULA

General

  • Occasional crash when opening mixer fixed
  • Notion now sends Tempo Track if being controlled by ReWire, when Sending to Studio One or exporting a MIDI file
  • Notion cursor now does not return to start position on stop in ReWire session
  • [Win]Installer updated
  • [Win] Dialogs now have resizing controls only if they are actually resizable
  • [macOS] Fix for missing security entitlement for Synsopos
  • Note that Soundcloud export is currently unavailable, as the API used is no longer supported by Soundcloud

Studio One 5 has arrived. What’s New?

Studio One 5.0 is here, and it’s packed with major new features. As usual with Studio One upgrades and updates, we’ve added a combination of innovative new features and your most-requested features.

The Show Page

Studio One 5 introduces a powerful, fully-integrated, live performance environment capable of running complete shows from a single computer. The Show Page combines playback of backing tracks with patch management for virtual and real instrument players inside a single window. Studio One Song channel strips, mixdowns, and virtual instrument patches can be directly exported to the Show, simplifying setup. Setlist items can be rearranged and skipped on the fly. With a dedicated full-screen performance view, adaptive real-time controls and a large meter, running a show is simple and reliable, whether you’re playing with backing tracks, controlling virtual instruments, running plug-ins as a virtual effects rack, or all three at the same time.

Composition Tools

Composers and arrangers will appreciate Studio One 5’s new dedicated Score View for the Note Editor. Based on PreSonus’ Notion® music composition and notation software, the new Score View is available on its own or as a companion side-by-side view with the Piano and Drum views, allowing users to enter, view, and edit notes in standard music notation. The Score View is available per track, so you can edit note data in Score View on one track while using Piano or Drum View on other tracks. Any number of tracks can be viewed simultaneously, so you can work on just one melody line or on chords over an entire orchestral section at once. Notes can be entered manually, in real-time or step recording modes. A basic set of musical symbols is provided, and the symbols directly control playback, allowing you to add tremolos, crescendos, and more and hear it all in real time.

Native Effects Overhaul

Native Effects plug-ins have undergone a major revision, including new features and a new modern interface with separate dark and light themes.

 

Studio One’s Native Effects plug-in set has a well-earned reputation for exceptional sound quality, and now they’re even better. With version 5, Native Effects have undergone a major revision, adding new features and improvements for many effects, along with a new modern interface with separate dark and light themes. All dynamics effects now have sidechain inputs, and plug-ins with a filter option now have the filter added to the sidechain input as well, enabling more control over the sidechain signal and eliminating the need to add a separate filter up front. Several plug-ins with a Drive parameter now have a State Space Modeled drive stage for natural analog-sounding saturation. The Pro EQ plug-in adds major new features, including a linear-phase low-cut filter, 12th-octave spectrum display, and input and output meters with adjustable range and peak hold. Several other plug-ins have received significant enhancements for sound quality or better handling. The Studio One plug-in suite never looked or sounded this good.

Workflow Improvements


 

Producers will be delighted with the expanded mixer scenes in Studio One 5. Users can now capture snapshots of the entire mixer at any time and can recall snapshots in a variety of different ways, with an assortment of recall options. In addition to limiting scene recall to specific parameters, recalling a scene may be limited to selected channels only. A dedicated Listen bus is also among the improvements to the Studio One mixer, letting users monitor Solo signals through a separate output channel or tune their room using advanced calibration plug-ins while leaving their main mix unaffected.

Studio One 5 includes many more new features, such as audio Clip Gain Envelopes, which provide an additional layer of gain control applied directly on an audio clip—perfect for repairing sections of audio that are too loud or too soft without using a dynamics processor. Aux inputs now allow external audio sources to be fed directly into the mixer without requiring an associated track, so external instruments can be used like virtual instruments within Studio One. (Quantum 4848 interface owners take note: This is also great for outboard processor returns!) Version 5 also adds support for key switch articulations, chasing external timecode (MTC), MPE and MIDI Poly Pressure support, recording in 64-bit floating-point WAV format, and cross-platform support for hardware-accelerated graphics.

With version 5, Studio One Artist now has built-in support for VST and AU plug-ins, ReWire, and Studio One Remote control software for iPad and Android tablets. These features were formerly available for Studio One Artist only as separate Add-ons.

How to get it

Studio One 5 Professional is available now for a U.S. street price of $399.95; updates from Studio One 4 Professional are $149.95. Studio One 5 Artist is available now for a U.S. street price of $99.95; updates from version 4 are $49.95. For additional upgrade and crossgrade options and educational pricing, check with your PreSonus dealer or visit our online shop.

Studio One 5 Professional is also available as part of the new PreSonus Sphere. A global community of creative enthusiasts and respected professionals, PreSonus Sphere membership benefits provide access to PreSonus’ entire library of software, including Studio One Professional; award-winning Notion notation software; every Studio One and Notion Add-on; the complete collection of PreSonus-developed plug-ins; over 100 sample and loop libraries; cloud storage; collaboration tools; and much more. PreSonus Sphere membership rates are available either monthly ($14.95) or annually ($164.95).

www.presonus.com/sphere.

For more information about Studio One 5, including system requirements, please visit www.presonus.com/products/Studio-One.

Yet Another Use for Event Envelopes

Vocals are super-important, because they form the primary connection to your listeners—so we’re always looking for ways to make those vocals more effective. This week’s tip is something I’ve overlooked for years, and now, I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner. Maybe I’m just a little slow sometimes…or maybe every other Studio One user has figured this out already!

As you may have noticed from previous articles, I’m not a fan of using lots of compression or limiting on vocals because it can detract from a vocal’s natural sound. However, in a dense arrangement with a lot going on, sometimes you need dynamics processing to maintain the voice’s parity with respect to the other instrument levels. Because the vocal is in context with a lot of other sounds, you don’t really notice the compression, let alone the associated artifacts.

Until…

I was working on a song with a lot of percussion, and limited the vocal pretty heavily. It sounded fine, but then at one point, the arrangement became sparse and the vocal really stood out…so you could hear the dynamics processing at work. Ugh.

Of course, I could have automated the limiter controls, but it was much easier to split the start and end of the verse that needed fixing, and lower the Event envelope so that the vocal hit the limiter less hard in that section (Fig. 1). I tweaked the Event envelope level just below the point where the limiting sounded obvious—yet the vocal seemed equally strong as it did in the rest of the song, due to the arrangement’s sparseness in that verse.

Figure 1: Reducing the selected vocal section by -2.6 took care of any issues with artifacts from dynamics processing.

 

This technique works with any sound where you want to dial back the perceived level, not with a fader or track automation, but by lowering the amount of dynamics processing. It works well with acoustic guitar, percussion, drum tracks…you name it.

What’s more, this technique is also a natural for amp sims. You can bring down a guitar’s Event Envelope to reduce the amount of distortion for a chunky rhythm effect, then slam the level back up when you want the sound to cut more.

As mentioned, there are other ways to achieve the same results. But taking the Event envelope route is fast and effective—try it!

David Torkanowsky: Livestreaming in the Big Easy with StudioLive 32SC

[For those of you who don’t know already about the talented New Orleans based jazz pianist David Torkanowsky, you are about to. Lucky for us, New Orleans is just an hour drive to the Southeast of Baton Rouge (where PreSonus is based out of).

We’re honored to have our relationship with David: not only is he a true master improvising musician from the city where Jazz was born, he is also in tune with the latest 21st century audio technology that helps artists actualize and share their sound to audiences world-wide.

Without any further ado, we’ll let him take it from here…]

I’m David Torkanowsky and I’ve been lucky to have grown up in New Orleans under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis, Danny Barker, James Black, Al Hirt and other Smithsonian-level greats… too many to mention.

I’ve also toured and recorded with artists as different as Al Hirt and Al Jarreau, Boney James, and Joe Henderson. I’ve been M.D. for the great vocalist Dianne Reeves.

The touring and performance economic model for all musicians, regardless of genre, has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many artists, myself included, have navigated a sudden and steep learning curve regarding our social media presence. New Orleans has always tended toward the organic and away from the technical aspects of playing music, which I love… but that paradigm has proven to be a headwind as we move toward our new reality.

Online work has moved from being one of the revenue channels in our business model to the only viable channel.

 

Posted by PreSonus Audio Electronics on Thursday, May 28, 2020

 

So, I’ve been producing, directing and playing in livestreams from The Bayou Bar at The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans for the past month, with artists such as: Ivan Neville, Nigel Hall, The Tin Men, Zachary Richard, Meschiya Lake, Sasha Masakowski, Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Davell Crawford, and jazz great Cyrille Aimée.

Many cats are teaching online, and many more are performing live. These live performances have completely replaced the in-person delivery of our art. Although, in many respects, it will never duplicate the transformative experience of being in the same space. The only way we can minimize this disparity is by presenting this content in the best possible way. Primarily, it has to sound good! Most of the streams that I’ve seen, some with world-class artists, don’t really touch me because they sound less than average. A solo acoustic instrument can sound just okay through an iPhone mic, but it’s never truly impactful. Add any other instruments, and you can just forget about it.

That’s why the PreSonus partnership has been such an asset.

I’ve gotten a massive amount of feedback (the good kind!) from the listening public about how amazing these artists are sounding on these social media live broadcasts, and there’s one reason:

The PreSonus StudioLive 32SC. Their newest Series III S line of consoles are exactly what the doctor ordered to mix streamed performances. I’m using the 32SC, the powerful and compact member of the Series III family. The Fat Channel technology makes tweaking the impact of a particular instrument intuitive and fast. The EQ, Compression and digital FX are all super usable. It’s a game-changer. It’s one serious piece of gear!

Contact David for professional inquiries: torkanowsky@me.com

[Incidentally, from now until Aug 31, 2020, anybody who buys a qualifying StudioLive Mixer will get a pair of Eris E7 monitors for free!]


Get a free PX-1 mic when you buy a qualifying StudioLive rack mixer!

 

 

Get a FREE PX-1 mic when you buy a qualifying StudioLive Rack Mixer through August 2020!

That’s a $129 USD value for FREE! Buy one of the following and score a free PX-1:

  • StudioLive 32R
  • StudioLive 24R
  • StudioLive 16R

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 large-diaphragm condenser microphone, the PX-1 features a 25mm, 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.

Check out what Worship Musician said about the Studiolive 24R:

“Obviously, I love using this unit as a stage box, but where I think this little rack unit would shine would be either in a portable system or in a venue where you don’t necessarily have a great space (or a well-placed space) for a sound desk.”

Mitch Bohannon, Worship Musician, December 2017

 

 

Get a free pair of Eris E7 XTs when you buy a StudioLive Series III S Mixer!

 

Get a FREE pair of Eris E7 XT studio monitors when you buy a qualifying StudioLive Series III S Mixer through August 2020!

That’s a $448 USD value for FREE! Buy one of the following and score a free pair of Eris E7 XTs:

  • StudioLive 64S
  • StudioLive 32S
  • StudioLive 32SX
  • StudioLive 32 SC

With their smooth, accurate frequency response; powerful amplification with tons of headroom; and acoustic tuning functions that ensure you always get the best sound… it’s no wonder that the original Eris-series studio monitors have been a runaway hit since their introduction. The Eris E7 XT builds on the Eris XT-series adding big, controlled bass in a compact form that will fit into a studio of nearly any size. Deep lows and a wide, more controlled sweet spot (thanks to its EBM waveguide design) mean that our best-selling studio monitors just got even better.

Check out what Worship Musician said about the Studiolive 64S:

“Currently, there is no other option for these kinds of features at this price. That’s a homerun for PreSonus, and for churches looking to step up their game in the digital console world.” 

—Matt Kees, Worship Musician, May 2019

This offer is available WORLDWIDE, so click the links below to get the rebate form and find the closest PreSonus dealer near you!

Jakubu Griffin: using the StudioLive 24R as a USB Audio Interface

[Jakubu Griffin is truly one of Las Vegas and NYC’s most versatile drummers. Son of trombonist Dick Griffin (who played with the legendary Rahsaan Roland Kirk), he has been surrounded by music from an early age. Growing up with many musical instruments and influences around him, he was always drawn to percussion and can remember playing the drums as early as age 3 or 4. He started studying classical piano at age 5, and later added the trumpet. 

Jakubu has performed and led groups all over the world. While living in Las Vegas in the early 2000s, He was featured in David Cassidy and Sheena Easton’s “At The Copa” at the Rio Resort. After that, he was musical contractor and drummer on a show featuring Chaka Khan, Peabo Bryson, and Melissa Manchester called Signed, Sealed, Delivered: a Celebration of Stevie Wonder’s Music at the Venetian Resort.

Griffin has also been a musical director for Kings Productions, as well as Norwegian and Premier cruise lines. Back in the NYC area where he grew up, he has performed and recorded with award winning jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, Ryko/Warner recording artist Matt White, and Broadway stars Tracie Thoms (Rent, Case) and Shoshana Bean (Wicked). Jakubu is currently playing with the legendary Las Vegas singer Clint Holmes. He was also the house drummer for Cirque Du Soleil’s production of Zarkana which premiered at NYC’s world famous Radio City Music Hall in June of 2011, moving on to Madrid, as well as having a historic run at the Kremlin Theater in Moscow in 2012. Jakubu’s powerful, yet very musical drumming reputation has been highly appreciated by many musicians and music lovers both here and abroad.

When not on the road, he’s kept busy at home recording and teaching. But, with the recent stay-at-home measures implemented due to COVID-19, working in his own studio has become his primary focus.

Jakubu has graciously given us a virtual “walk-through” of his home studio environment, where the StudioLive 24R is the centerpiece and his dedicated audio interface to his DAW of choice, Studio One. Let’s check out his setup and how he’s been using our products in action at home.]

Jakubu: My first audio interface was the PreSonus Studio 192 along with the DigiMax DP88. As a drummer, I need to have at least 8 channels dedicated to drums in my space at all times for my own use. With the Studio 192 and DP88 giving me 16 total channels and great preamps, I was able to stack them in a rack and run my 8 drum channels into the DP88 using the Studio 192 rear channels for my keyboards, bass, extra drum channels etc. and even leaving the 2 front channels open for a vocalist or instrument to plug right in. As my studio evolved, I graduated to the StudioLive 24R rack mixer, as well as the NSB 8.8 AVB Networked Stage Box to expand channel inputs in my other rooms. Since I don’t have the space for a console mixer on my workstation, the StudioLive 24R is the perfect solution for me with UC Control as my console. I use the HP60 for 6 stereo headphone mixes. With a router plus the network control via Wi-Fi of the StudioLive 24R, my clients have the option of using the QMix-UC app to control their own headphone mixes. The PreSonus Monitor Station allows me flexibility to switch between my different sets of of studio monitors and speakers, and also gives me 4 more headphone outputs if needed. I’ve used other DAWs, but I’m completely sold on Studio One Professional because it’s just more user/musician friendly. I understood more about using Studio One in 24 hours than I’ve learned on other DAWs after countless months of usage. I’m a musician first, not an engineer.

Jakubudrum Studios is my home as well as my recording space. I have three isolated rooms on one floor. I have eight CCTV cameras installed, and video monitors in every room for visual communication. My main “studio” room is my acoustically-treated drum and keyboard room, as well as my control booth. My living room is my large room and features my Baldwin L grand piano. My smaller acoustically-treated room is great for acoustic bass as well as other instruments, and it also serves as a vocal booth and isolated amp miking room. I’ve done several live recording sessions in the studio with different configurations ranging from solo piano to live strings… and various band sizes, genres, horn combinations, etc. I do a lot of drum and percussion tracking for projects myself, but I’ve also engineered tons of keyboard track layering sessions, instrument tracking sessions, vocal tracking, and my space is perfect for tracking bass and drums together. I record voice-overs as well, and I’m currently producing an audiobook session.

Now that I have the StudioLive 24R, I have the luxury of using 14 dedicated drum channels just for myself. I usually use two different sets of overhead mics simultaneously, another stereo room mic, and a subkick along with my normal kick, snare, hi hat, and tom mic combinations.

I also use seven channels for my keyboards, and a channel for my bass amp to run direct with a pre amp. I use the NSB 8.8 Stage Box in the other rooms to mic the piano, horns, strings, vocals, etc. I use the 12 outputs from the 24R mixer to sum 2 outputs to each of the 6 stereo inputs of the HP60 headphone amp and made them stereo mixes from UC Control. Again, I have a router connected to the 24R mixer and a network setup so people have the option of using QMix-UC to control their own headphone mixes. I have two sets of studio monitors, but I also have small PA for the keyboards, rehearsals, gigs etc. The monitor station is actually one of my favorite pieces of PreSonus gear to be honest. I love the versatility I have with 2 sets of monitors, but I even use the PA as a 3rd reference sometimes. The Monitor Stations onboard talkback routed through the HP60 is perfect for my setup, plus I’m the type of guy that just needs a big volume knob in my life since I don’t have a console.

So, funny story: I actually learned about PreSonus through another drummer, Dre Boyd, who is also an Artist with them. We both met and quickly became good friends working for the Cirque Du Soleil company. I finally had the space and needed an interface to start getting into recording and he highly recommended the Studio 192 and DP88. I’m an impulse buyer, but he told me to wait so he could “hook me up” with his representative at PreSonus. Well I’m impatient and went ahead with the purchase of the interfaces anyway. I was ecstatic, but then a couple weeks later Dre let me know that the PreSonus Artist Relations Manager was none other than my college buddy, Perry Tee… so I should have waited!!! Not only do I love the products, PreSonus reconnected me with an old friend, who happens to be on guitar in this video below that we produced remotely with 4 other buddies using Studio One Professional:

I love the power and versatility that I have with the StudioLive 24R mixer, especially for low-end instruments. Now I have the ability to mic an acoustic bass and get a warm, powerful tone without any need for a DI or outboard preamp. Its considerably better for my drum miking as well. I get better headphone mixes, and I have plenty of room and power to hear my kick drum perfectly which can be a problem in regular interfaces without external pre amps. The ability to control mixes across Wi-Fi is a true bonus allowing my clients the flexibility to control their own mixes with QMix-UC. The HP60 is a great solution for my headphone needs with 6 channels, and stereo mixes plus the Monitor Station is one of my favorite additions to the studio, and has made my work flow much smoother and faster. The onboard talkback is perfect for my space. Studio One is absolutely the best DAW available, in my opinion. I know has everything I could possibly need for my studio. Everything in my setup works seamlessly. I couldn’t be more satisfied with the sounds, and results I get with my gear.

Every piece of gear is perfectly matched and catered to the needs of my workflow and studio ecosystem… thank you, PreSonus!

For professional inquiries, contact: jakubudrum@gmail.com

[Incidentally, from now until Aug 31, 2020, anybody who buys a qualifying StudioLive Rack Mixer will get a PX-1 microphone for free!]

Mastering Martha Davis—for Vinyl!

Martha Davis is best known for her string of hit singles in the 80s with the Motels.

 

Songs like “Suddenly Last Summer” and “Only the Lonely” were Top 10 hits that remain on playlists to this day, but her varied (and ongoing) career includes solo albums, an acting stint in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” creating music for several films (including “Moscow on the Hudson,” “Teachers,” “The Golden Child, and her “Soul Man” duet with Sly Stone), and working in theater. She still tours—at least when there’s not a pandemic—and amazingly, her voice is better than it was in the 80s. But, it took Studio One’ Project Page to bring a solo album back to life that had been all but written off ten years ago.

 

The collection of songs on “I Have My Standards” (Fig. 1) was meant to be an album of jazz standards, with orchestration—but the twist was that Martha had written the “standards.” She cut a demo album with longtime musical collaborator Marty Jourard (piano, tenor sax), Allen Hunter (bass), Paul Pulvirente (drums), and Felix Mercer (clarinet). However, the budget to do the orchestration never materialized, and the record was never finished.

Figure 1: The cover of “I Have My Standards.”

When Martha found out I did mastering, she mentioned “the album that never was” and being curious, I asked to listen to it. I was floored. The songs were deep, the vocals flawless, and the instrumentation excellent. I heard the lack of orchestration as an advantage because the sparse, emotional treatments were compelling in themselves.

 

Except…being a demo, there were technical problems. Among other issues, the acoustic bass overpowered the song on some of the demos, the mic had a boxy quality that was no friend to Martha’s voice, and there were mix and level issues that resulted in a lack of clarity. I asked if she could locate the multitracks so I could remix before mastering, yet no one had any idea where they were. Oh, and the project had to be mastered for vinyl—she wanted to put it out on 180-gram vinyl for her nascent record label, Remarkable Records.

 

ENTER STUDIO ONE

 

Fortunately, the songs were recorded with the same basic setup. Although I’m usually not a fan of “one size fits all” mastering chains, in this case, there weren’t too many variations among the songs (Fig. 2).

Figure 2: The Project Page mastering chain.

The Splitter separated the frequencies below 178 Hz from the rest of the audio. With vinyl, bass needs to be centered, and the dynamics need to be controlled—hence the Limiter, and the Dual Pan. with both left and right channels set to center.

 

Another reason for the Splitter was that in some songs, the acoustic bass overpowered the mix. Note the fader at the end of the Dual Pan, set to -9.0 dB to help keep the bass under control. This setting worked for most of the songs but for one of them, I had to pull the level down by -13.8 dB to get the right balance. The frequency splitting was crucial.

 

For the rest of the audio, EQ was by far the most important process. Fig. 3 shows the setting that was used on most of the songs. Remember that the RIAA curve for vinyl (which boosts treble massively on the vinyl, then cuts it on playback) isn’t a fan of high frequencies, so the highs were often cut on vinyl masters. Although the steep high-cut filter wasn’t needed on all the songs, when necessary this gave a sound that was more consistent with vinyl records.

Figure 3: Initial EQ settings for the songs.

 

The substantial dip at 625 removed the muffled quality by making the highs more prominent. The dips at 2.72 and 3.06 kHz were tricky—they were essential in removing a resonance on Martha’s voice that took away from of the openness and intimacy. Almost all the songs needed the dip at 8 kHz, where treble energy from recording the individual tracks “bunched up.” Bass wasn’t an issue, because the split took care of that.

 

The Binaural pan was set between 124% and 137%, depending on the song. This mainly had the effect of spreading out the reverb more than the instruments, which enveloped the sound in an ambiance it didn’t have otherwise. This also moved the reverb a bit out of the center, so there could be more focus on the voice.

 

Finally, I’m not much of a believer in “special sauce” processors, but the Scheps Parallel Particles from Waves was ideal (Fig. 4).

Figure 4: The Scheps Parallel Particles plug-in added just the right amount of “air.”

 

After taming the highs to accommodate vinyl mastering, I wanted to restore a perception of high frequencies. Adding a significant amount of the Air parameter, with just a touch of Thick and Bite for a little more midrange presence, did exactly what was needed.

 

FINAL TOUCHES

 

I was aiming for a LUFS of -12. This was a bit of a compromise between vinyl and streaming. A little compression would make it easier for the vinyl cutter to optimize the levels for vinyl, and besides, being a little “hotter” than the typical streaming target of -14 LUFS was fine. For the last stage of dynamics control, I used IK Multimedia’s Stealth Limiter (which is designed for mastering), in the Project Page’s Post slot. It’s a transparent but CPU-intensive plug-in, hence using only one instance as the final limiter. The songs were the levels I wanted, so they needed only very slight tweaks to hit the Stealth Limiter a little harder or softer to reach the -12 LUFS goal.

 

It was easy to generate timings from the Project Page, so that those cutting the vinyl would know where to put the bands between cuts…and we were on our way. The vinyl hits the world in August (available from themotels.com and specialty record stores). The digital release is available now on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Amazon Disk on Demand, and you can hear it on Pandora, Shazam, iHeart Radio, and YouTube Music. Most of these have ways to preview the songs, and I think it’s well worth following some of the links to check out music that sounds like it’s frozen in time, yet curiously modern.

 

I checked out some of the customer reviews on Amazon. While they’re all over-the-top about Martha’s voice and songs, as you might expect my favorite is the one that said “The album is mastered in such a way that you would think that Martha Davis is actually in the same room with you.” Mission accomplished (Fig. 5)!

Figure 5: Martha with the author.

 

Summer Madness with UJAM – HUGE Savings!


This summer may look different than summers in the past but our friends at UJAM are here to shine a little light on the madness!

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Punch Up Analog Drums with CTC-1

Remember those old drum machines, like E-Mu’s Drumulator and Roland’s TR-808? In an amazing twist of fate, those relics from the 80s are back in fashion—but I find it difficult to wrest a lively, modern sound out of them. Usually, the solution involves choosing separate outputs from Impact XT, EQ, a careful choice of room ambiance, short delays, limiting, and maybe some saturation.

However, the CTC-1 can get you most of the way there with a single effect, which has helped my workflow when it’s time to have vintage drum sounds fit in a modern context. (Note that you need the CTC-1 for this; the bundled, free Console Emulator doesn’t have the console emulation or controls that seem to work best with dinosaur drums.)

Mono Tracks with a Stereo Mix

We need a more sophisticated mix setup than just sending the drums to Impact’s mixed stereo output. After all, a Console Emulator doesn’t do much good if you’re not mixing the drum sounds the way you would in a console. So, each drum goes to its own mono mixer channel, like the way drums were mixed in the days of Tapeosaurus Rex. You then add effects to individual drums and pan them as appropriate. This mixing paradigm is also what allows the CTC-1 to apply its crosstalk mojo.

Fig. 1 shows the setup used for the audio example. It’s basically just drums and the CTC-1, aside from a little Open Air reverb and a touch of EQ on the snare.

Figure 1: The individual drums go to their own mono channels in Studio One, and then sum into a drum bus that includes the CTC-1.

However, I recommend not putting insert effects on the drums until after you’ve set up the CTC-1. It has its own way of changing the sound, and you might want to accentuate, or de-emphasize, those changes.

Tweaking the CTC-1

Figure 2: CTC-1 control settings for the audio example.

I much prefer the Tube console emulation for this application. Turning up Drive adds just the right amount of grit for my taste, but the Crosstalk control is the star of the show. Instead of having each drum be a pinpoint in the stereo field, the various mono tracks “glue” together in a way that sounds more like miked physical drums. Generally, I don’t feel the need to add lots of Character. But in this case, the CTC-1 is being pushed somewhat beyond doing only console emulation. Character brings up the highs a bit and adds “snap” to those normally dull, 8- or 12-bit sounds recorded at compromised sample rates (remember, back in those days, memory was expensive).

But of course, the proof is in the listening! In the following example, the first four measures bypass the CTC-1, while the second four measures enable the console emulation effect. In addition to the crisper sound, note how the crosstalk makes the toms, cowbell, and rim feel more integrated with the overall mix instead of sounding isolated…enough said.