[This just in from Ian Ethan Case, who used some PreSonus gear on his latest album. Check out the video preview for some of his astonishing work.]
When I first set out to record Run Toward The Mountains, I wanted to go for the absolute best sound quality I could. I had a unique opportunity to record at a new state-of-the-art recording studio where I basically had unlimited free studio time, and access to some of the best mics, preamps, and converters that money can buy. I worked with the engineer there over the course of two or three days just working on different mic setups, just working on tone.
While I was happy with the sound we got, I also did some experimenting at home where I just have two really good mics and my FireStudio Project; no preamps, rack gear or $600 direct boxes. I was pretty shocked to find that I was actually getting just as good a sound with my home setup, and actually even preferred it a little bit over the “million dollar setup” at the studio! I’d always had great results from my FireStudio interfaces but this gave me a new respect for them, and gave me a feeling of freedom knowing I could record at home and know that I was getting world-class results. It’s a good thing, because I ended up spending two years working non-stop on this album (a 92-minute double-disc), whenever I wasn’t playing concerts. When you’re not on the clock you can take the time to make things right and achieve a level of tightness that’s tough to get to otherwise, and I’m really grateful I had a way to do that for this album.
When it came time to master it, I was so happy with how the tracks had come together that I decided to bring it to the top-tier mastering house in Boston (M-Works Mastering, in Cambridge). I was expecting the mastering engineer, who has worked with his share of Grammy-winning artists and producers, to kind of complain about the tracks I was giving him, as I did all the mixing myself and I’m not a real mix engineer. But he was actually really complimentary of the mixes and only made very small adjustments. I know it wouldn’t have been that way if the raw sound of the interface I recorded everything through wasn’t solid to begin with.
At this point I’m absolutely thrilled with how the album came out and have never been so proud of something I’ve put out there. I’m grateful that I had a way to do it the way I did it, recording at home, despite not having tens or hundreds of thousands to spend on gear.
[This just in from Fluff, AKA GuitaristFacts, who has an absolutely KILLER YouTube channel full of heavy metal riffage, gear demos, facial hair, and all the endeavors where the three coincide. He produces his videos as skillfully as produces his music, and he’s chosen some PreSonus gear to help him along the way. He was kind enough to share a few paragraphs about his recording tricks and experiences with PreSonus gear.]
Hello, my name is Ryan, but my friends call me “Fluff.” I make guitar-related gear demos on YouTube in my home studio for companies all over the world. Pickups, speakers, guitars, pedals, microphones, you name it. I also produce the occasional record and re-amp guitars for rock albums, and record about five days a week. For all of this work, I rely exclusively on couple of pieces PreSonus gear that I simply would be lost without.
I should probably mention that I try to capture every kind of guitar tone, from brutal to chiming. In order to produce a wide array of tones, I need an interface that offers flexible signal routing, low latency and high-quality instrument inputs, as well as low noise on the outputs. The PreSonus FireStudio Project is perfectly suited for all of these needs. Two instrument inputs, (I keep one set for guitar, one set for bass) loads of inputs and outputs and +48V power when needed to run my condenser microphone for when I do voice work. WIN!
I also use the PreSonus Studio Channel as my go-to mic preamp. The built-in EQ and compression make it extremely versatile for clean guitar tracks, vocals, huge distorted guitars, and bass cabinets. I am also a tube nut, and I find that replacing the stock tube (a high-gain tube with good midrange) with an inexpensive NOS 12AX7 JAN tube (usually about $30 on eBay) can really round off the harsh highs I sometimes experience while recording high-gain guitars, and fattens up my signal prior to going into my FireStudio Project.
When it comes time to record, I use a Heil PR30 about 90% of the time for guitars, as that mic has a very flat frequency response. Knowing this, I can get the microphone placed in the ballpark (usually around the area where the dust cap meets the speaker cone, on-axis) and then use the Studio Channel’s EQ to fine tune the highs and mids (I typically boost about 2dB in the 3K range with a medium Q) until I find a nice sonic pocket for the guitars to sit in the mix. If I want to add a bit of flavor, I will add a Shure SM57 plugged directly into the FireStudio Project and then bring the volume up on the SM57 to add some bite and ‘oomph’ for palm mutes on the distorted guitars.
As for the aforementioned re-amping, I plug straight into the FireStudio Project and adjust the input level so I am seeing an average -16dB, with peaks no louder than -12dB. This way I have some wiggle room when outputting the DI through my re-amping box (I use a Radial ProRMP), as sometimes I need a stronger signal to go over a long lead or something like that.
I am asked quite often which interface people should get when diving into home recording, and I always say PreSonus for two reasons: first, they have the computer driver experience that allows their products to work the first time, right out of them box, problem-free. Second, the customer service and support is outstanding. I found out first hand when I called about my 8-year-old FirePod interface and was treated like I was in The Rolling Stones.
Seriously, why can’t more companies operate this way?