These PreSonus Studio One Tutorials starring Gregor Beyerle will help you learn how to make beats on Studio One – and more! You’ll find everything you need to know to get started producing in Studio One in this breakthrough series—from set-up and Studio One basics to more advanced topics like the Project page.
Sometimes when you’re mixing, sounds conflict because they have too much energy in the same part of the spectrum. The usual solutions are to lower the level of the sound deemed less important, or use EQ to try to ensure that each sound carves out its own part of the spectrum. This week’s tip presents an entirely different solution. It’s the kind of tip where people will likely go “yeah, whatever…” until they run into this problem, try the tip, and find that amazingly enough, it works.
But we’ll also take advantage of this tip to describe how to make a simple FX Chain. FX Chains are an extremely powerful Studio One feature, so if you haven’t gotten into creating your own yet, this is a good project for getting started.
HOW IT WORKS
The Tightener creates four sharp, narrow notches in a Pro EQ, at frequencies related to the musical key. For example in the key of A, the notches are at 110 Hz, 220 Hz, 440 Hz, and 880 Hz. If you have, for example, a song in the key of A where the guitar conflicts with the piano, to have less piano and more guitar, insert the Tightener FX Chain for the key of A into the piano track, and increase the depth of the notches. Here’s how to create a Tightener FX Chain.
Figure 1: The filter settings for the key of A Tightener, with the notches set to maximum depth.
6. Ctrl+click on LF-Gain, LMF-Gain, MF-Gain, and HMF-Gain to select all four parameters. The FX Chain Editor should now look like Fig.
Figure 2: The FX Chain Editor shows the Pro EQ parameters used for the tightener.
Figure 3: Adjust one of the graphs so that the maximum value is 0, then copy and paste to the other graphs.
Figure 4: Don’t forget to store your FX Chains, so you can use them again.
And now you have a Tightener FX Chain! But you’ll want one for each key. It’s easy enough to do—type new frequencies into the four EQ bands, rename the control for the appropriate key, and then save the FX Chain under the name of the new key. For example, if you change the frequencies to 147 Hz, 294 Hz, 587 Hz, and 1175 Hz, you now have a key of D tightener. Here are the frequencies for all the keys (Fig. 5).
Figure 5: Frequencies for an octave’s worth of tighteners.
You need to be a little strategic about applying this FX Chain; it’s needed only when you want to help keep instruments from stepping on each other.
So that you can get started experimenting with this as easily as possible, all the Tightener FX Chains are available for download. After downloading, place them in the folder Studio One Songs and Projects\Presets\PreSonus\FX Chains\Tighteners, or wherever you specified the location for presets in Studio One > Options > Locations > User Data.
But even if you download them, try your hand at creating an FX Chain if you haven’t done so already. They’re really handy.
For the next 7 days, SAVE 50% on one of the PreSonus Shop’s top-selling add-ons, the Audio Batch Converter!
Audio Batch Converter is a versatile audio file conversion tool for PreSonus Studio One. It provides a wide range of features to process audio offline while working hand in hand with the powerful audio editing and mixing functions available in Studio One – regardless of which version you use (Prime, Artist, and Professional are all supported).
Studio One Expert shared some thoughts recently about the add-on.
Presonus’ Audio Batch Converter is a powerful audio file conversion tool for Studio One. If you ever find yourself needing to perform repetitive tasks changing formats and applying processing to multiple files then this might save you a lot of time.
Instagram isn’t just for cute, filtered images of yourself and your dog or gear! It’s a great community uniting musicians and artists brave enough to put their best work out there. One of those Instagram accounts is run by our friend and Studio One user, Adam Sullivan—one of the front men for New Arcades, a UK duo inspired by nostalgic memories of 80s cinema and vintage synth sounds. Think of blue skies, urban nightlife, and hazy sunrises and you have the New Arcades!
Studio One is Adam’s go-to DAW since 2.0! He also has a FaderPort and StudioLive 24R.
Give us some background on yourself. How long have you been making music?
I’ve been a musician from a very young age, nowadays I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. I obtained a degree in music technology and sound engineering/composition at Lancaster University (UK). We started creating music and mixing tracks in 2008 and haven’t quit. It has become more and more serious in the last few years. This all in conjunction with being one of the main FOH Engineers at my church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton. Now I mix various artists’ tracks and create my own music for New Arcades. Additionally, my side project is known as “Shred Ministries” which has developed quite a decent following from the church/Christian scene as a comical reproduction of modern worship. Check it out on YouTube for a laugh.
How has the music industry changed since your early days?
Less and less are the labels willing to part with cash in order to promote, the risk is far greater for the artist it seems unless you are manufactured by the giant label themselves. Back in early days with medium independents, there might be a decent(ish) advance in exchange for the master copyright recordings. But it’s tragically at the point now, where for a promise of exposure, and (hopefully) enough money made is usually in exchange for the masters… I think now you have to do so much work, have many friends help push and support you and really drive home the music you create and believe in passionately. I stand by never giving up my masters indefinitely, and I would encourage all artists to be the same even if the promise of a bright future is tempting. Another area: digital music plugins have just stepped up… I now use a kemper when I play live, it’s just fantastic! It sounds incredible and it now would be for me favored over a guitar amp in a room! which I feel is insane! Nothing better than authentically playing the instrument though–somehow that’s always been the same.
Describe the first time you wrote a song? Produced it?
It was a co-write with my fellow band members. I’ve always produced and mixed the tracks but my first one was a pop/Indie/Rock track. I was dead proud! I look back on it now though, it was the early days, I’ve progressed, as has the DAW and the plugins! 😉
Who has been an influence in your life?
Chris and Tom Alge. Absolutely phenomenal mix engineers. Clarity and Punch. Love them.
Have you ever wanted to give up on music? What keeps you going?
A few times I have thought about stopping but I absolutely cannot help my need to create and ultimately, I persevere. I think also having a writing partner and bandmate always helps! Especially when you are both in tune, have similar styles and principles in your songwriting.
What do you like about PreSonus? What caught your eye?
The first thing that caught my eye was back in 2011: Studio One 2.0. It had this simple “Drag and drop” feature. I just loved how easy it was to slap something on the channel… The layout of the mix window and the integration of Melodyne. That, along with the power and depth of the EQ, Room Reverb, and Compressor that came with the package as standard had me hooked!
What PreSonus products do you use?
Studio One 4.5, FaderPort, various bundled software. StudioLive 24R rack mixer. I also use it in conjunction with the StudioLive 24 mix desk that I TOTALLY love!) It works great for all my function work, and is such a flexible setup.
When did you first hear about Studio One?
I was actually referred to it by a friend. They said they’d seen a review in Sound on Sound, which is very well respected. I went home, downloaded the free trial and haven’t looked back!
What features are you most impressed with your gear?
The interface of the Q-Mix and UC Surface app is great. The sound of the preamps in the Series III equipment. Capture 3.0 is fantastic also. Onboard SD card stem recording on the desk itself. I’ve yet to put the StudioLive 24 in with my DAW, but I’ve seen it can be a great surface, along with the remote control iPad app for vocal booth recording.
Super easy actually! I had a decent understanding of several other DAWs. But Studio One was quite intuitive. I watched a few tutorials and just trial and error massively reap benefits. Studio One 4 is so powerful and versatile. Go exploring!
Where do you go for support?
YouTube, forums, etc. I have friends who are also well-established producers/mix engineers who I can pick the brains of on the regs. But I’m quite independent and I hate being defeated by things—so I usually resolve things myself!
Where do you go for inspiration?
I listen to other artists in the scene or genre I’m in, I watch movies that inspire creativity and put you in a hungry mindset… A bit like watching the movie “Creed” would make you want to train your socks off and chin someone in the ring. 😉 I do similar for my music. There are so many inspiring artists and creators out there, listening to fantastic scores and tracks just make me want to compete to be the best and make something as exciting and epic.
Recent projects? What’s next for you?
I just finished my album for my band New Arcades. I’ve been working on it since 2012! It’s being mastered as we speak, so hopefully won’t be long before it drops. Recently also did a track for well know acoustic/folk artist Roo Panes. He is a fantastic performer and the song we worked on together was called “Thinking Of Japan.” Everything has been recorded and mixed on Studio One. Next, will continue to do loads of live events and functions using all the gear, hopefully, make my own second album and work with more and more artists.
These recordings of a real-deal 1970s P-bass have been recorded in immaculate detail. Make no mistake—this isn’t a one-sound-per-MIDI note sample pack like that SoundFont from 1998 that you found on some “Free samples” website. There is a LOT for you to work with here—the packs include many different right-hand dynamics, left hand positions, hammer-ons, slides, dead notes and harmonics. There’s also a bevy of scripting at hand here, including valuable presets for you keyboardists out there who want to emulate bass playing via MIDI. Last but not least, each pack includes Musicloops in a variety of styles, including MIDI note data and effects chains per Musicloop.
There are four packs in the e-Bass collection: Vintage Finger, Vintage Pick, Classic Finger, and Classic Pick, and this offer gives you all four.
Here’s a bit about the production of this pack:
“We used a Millenia TD-1 tube channel for the Vintage Bass instruments, and an Avalon DI preamp for the Classic Bass. We also recorded the bass via an Ampeg SVT top with 112 speaker, just as a sound reference. However, we ended up using only the DI signals for our eBass instruments. The DI signal provides great flexibility for additional processing with amp simulators and EQ, so the reference amp recording was a tremendous help when we designed the Instrument+FX presets—we could always compare them to the real thing. Strings were medium 045-105 round-wound for the classic and the same gauge flat-wound strings for the vintage. The pickup set was the original from 1975.”
On October 11, our own Software Specialist Gregor Beyerle attended WAVE AKADEMIE Berlin’s Dissertation Presentation of Audio Engineering and 3-D/Game Design to demonstrate the StudioLive 32SC mixer’s DAW mode in conjunction with Studio One. The StudioLive 32SC is the new centerpiece of WAVE AKADEMIE’s “Soundlab,” where a large variety of both hardware and software instruments are accessible to the students.
Students and lecturers alike were amazed by the hybrid workflow of the StudioLive 32SC, which excels at integrating tons of outboard gear (like drum machines and synths) with software instruments, especially when used with Studio One. The ability to assign any channel to send or receive via analog, USB, or network gives WAVE AKADEMIE the flexibility they need in their Soundlab.
The ability to multitrack record jam sessions onto an SD card was also received with great enthusiasm, as it enables the students to record songs directly into the mixer before getting them into Studio One for post production.
Check out photos and video from the event below, and visit Wave-akademie.de for more information on upcoming events!
Available NOW at shop.presonus.com from Craig Anderton… How to Create Compelling Mixes in Studio One! This is Craig’s third book on Studio One, and it weighs in at a whopping 258 pages!
Mixing is where you create an experience that transports the listener into your musical world. And now, renowned music technology expert Craig Anderton brings his years of production and mixing expertise to an easy-to-understand, comprehensive guide about all aspects of mixing. Chapters include Mixing Philosophies, Technical Basics, Mixing with Computers, How to Use Plug-Ins, Mixing and MIDI, Prepare for the Mix, Adjust Equalization, Dynamics Processing, Sidechaining, Add Other Effects, Create a Soundstage, Mix Automation, Final Timing Tweaks, and Review and Export.
Profusely illustrated, and loaded with constructive, practical, meaningful advice that will improve your mixes dramatically, this 258-page eBook sets the standard for discovering how to make compelling mixes in Studio One.
Chapter 1: Mixing Philosophies
Chapter 2: Technical Basics
Chapter 3: Mixing with Computers
Chapter 4: How to Use Plug-Ins
Chapter 5: Mixing and MIDI
Chapter 6: Prepare for the Mix
Chapter 7: Adjust Equalization
Chapter 8: Dynamics Processing
Chapter 9: Sidechaining
Chapter 10: Add Other Effects
Chapter 11: Create a Soundstage
Chapter 12: Mix Automation
Chapter 13: Final Timing Tweaks
Chapter 14: Review and Export
Appendix A: Mixing with Noise
Appendix B: Calibrating Levels
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.
September is winding down, but we still have one week left to celebrate Studio One’s 10th anniversary—so it’s time for another Friday Tip with 10 Tips! Let’s take a look at some practical, convenient techniques you can do with Presence XT. And yes, there’s a fun downloadable preset at the end.
The Artist Instruments folder has a bunch of drum kits. However, I like to fine-tune drum pitches—higher pitches for a tighter, more beatbox/analog drum sound, or lower for a big rock vibe. Although the Sample Shift control can change pitch, it also changes where the drum appears on the keyboard. For example, if you Sample Shift a snare on the F key by +3, then the drum is lower in pitch, but it now plays back on D instead of F.
There’s a simpler way to tune your drums. Set Env 2 to Full Sustain, and modulate Pitch with it. Turn the modulation amount up to tighten the sound, or down to loosen.
According to Presence, you can’t control effects parameters with the mod wheel—but there are a lot of useful techniques you can do with a mod wheel, other than control vibrato. Here’s one way to control the effects with your keyboard controller’s mod wheel.
Now you can link anything you want with the mod wheel, including effects. For example…
Adding distortion to bass is a beautiful thing, and it’s even more beautiful when you can control the distortion amount with the mod wheel.
The Sample Start Mod control can add major expressiveness because it lets you control the attack’s character via velocity. Here’s how it works: when Sample Start Mod turned counter-clockwise off-center, with low velocities playback starts further into the sample, past the initial attack. But higher velocities trigger the full attack sound. For example, with an instrument like Slap Bass, this technique can emphasize the slap component with high velocities, while lower velocities bypass the slap. However, Sample Start Mod can affect any instrument with a defined attack.
Because a sample may not start at a zero-crossing, you may hear a click with some velocity values. Adding a little bit of Amp Env attack (usually only a millisecond or two) fixes this.
Call up the Vox > Choir > Choir Full preset. Set Transpose to -12, and Sample Shift to Semi-Tone: 12. You might also want to slather on some more reverb by turning up the Size and Mix, but regardless, you’re ready for your next moody movie soundtrack, or Gregorian chants dance remix.
Let’s face it, John Coltrane fans—a sampler will never replace a sax player. However, the Winds > Baritone Sax > Baritone Sax Full preset is pretty good, so it seemed like a useful starting point for something a little more expressive. There are several treaks, but the main action is with the modulation.
The penultimate touch is some vibrato by modulating Pitch. I used LFO set to about 4.5 Hz, with 680 ms of Delay time, controlled by the Mod Wheel (although I think Aftertouch is an even better choice, if your controller supports it). And of course, we want some reverb. The existing reverb is okay, but push the Size to 2.45 seconds, and Mix to 45%. Yeah, that’s the ticket! You might also want to choose Mono, unless you know any saxes that play chords. And yes, I’ve provided a downloadable preset for your playing pleasure—scroll down to the end.
Set the bend to +7 for bend up, and 0 for bend down. Now when you want to slide down to a note, start at the top of the mod wheel, and then bring it down at whatever rate you want. It’s impossible to “overshoot” the target note, even when using the virtual mod wheel on the instrument GUI, with bend down set to 0.
The pitch of analog synths drifts over time. Although Presence XT has a random LFO waveform, it’s stepped, and there’s no way you can “round off” the corners to create smooth variations. But there’s a solution (isn’t there always…). Use the sine waveform for LFO 1 and set it to a low rate, like 0.1 Hz. Select the random waveform for LFO 2, set to a slightly faster rate (like 0.4 Hz), and use it to modulate LFO 1. Meanwhile, use LFO 1 to modulate pitch; you don’t need to use much modulation to obtain a useful effect. Try this with Artist Instruments > Synths > Analog Fifths—you’ll be impressed.
There might be a tendency to overlook the editor because Presence XT does enough on its own. And yes, I know the editor is $79.99. But, it’s cheaper than getting another sampler, and the capabilities are impressive. It’s easy to figure out, and it doesn’t take long to add samples—for example, you can specify the root note, high note, and low note by hitting keys. When using per-note samples, you can do fine-tuning, as well as add expressive features like sample start. Presence XT Editor is also a development system, so if you come up with some amazing presets, you can put them into a saleable bundle, and even password-protect it. If you’re into sound design and creating sample-based instruments, I highly recommend unlocking Presence XT’s Editor page.
Presence XT can load sounds from other formats—EXS, Giga, Kontakt version 4 (and below), and Sound Fonts. Finally, check out Tip 1 in the September 13 Friday Tip on using ATOM as an auxiliary keyboard. This makes it easy to access the keyswitching in Presence XT presets that contain this feature, even if you have only a four-octave keyboard.
I hope y’all enjoyed this month’s special editions of the Friday Tip. Happy birthday, Studio One!
We’ve got a lot to cover in this blog post, so we’ll start with the most exciting thing…
From now until 2020, you (and everyone you know) can get 25% off Studio One Professional, and 33% off Upgrades and Crossgrades to Studio One Professional! If you’re still running an older version, Studio One Artist, or want to add Studio One to your existing workflow with another DAW… there’s never been a better time!
But that’s not all! Our own Gregor Beyerle, Software Specialist, has put together this incredible retrospective video covering the history of Studio One. Check it out:
Also, we have had a giveaway running for most of the month, and will be announcing the grand prize winner next week after we hear back from them and confirm eligibility. In the meantime, here are some of our favorite submissions so far:
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🇬🇧: What I really love about making music is that music doesn’t see colors, races, countries or languages. You can tell and understand everything with just a single chord or melody. It’s perfect. 🇪🇸:Lo que amo de hacer música, es que la música no ve colores, razas, países o lenguajes. Puedes decir y entender todo con tan solo un acorde a o melodía. Es perfecta. Y tú, ¿que amas de hacer música? #🎵 #🇻🇪 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #studioonegiveaway #andreew #presonus
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Thanks to everyone who entered!