I was asked by the esteemed online music school nextlevelsound.com if I could write a blog post giving 5 reasons why any EDM producer should consider Studio One. When starting to think about it I realized it was impossible to only mention 5 reasons so I asked if I could write a series of blogposts instead. But the theme will always be 5 reasons or features why you should consider Studio One.
This time I will be looking at 5 features that make it easy to start a new track idea with Studio One. One small disclaimer though, some of the features I will mention require the Pro version of Studio One.
When I start a new track it can sometimes feel overwhelming. We all know how easy it is to come up with an 8 bar killer idea and then after hearing the same loop for 4 hours you don't like the idea anymore and you try to come up with a new 8 bar idea and the process repeats itself.
What I do is that I always start by...
"Ableton Live 10" introduced a great new feature called "Collections"
"Collections" appear in the "Live" Browser Window
"Collections" are useful because they allow for another level of organization personalized to the way you work. You can add files, presets, Audio Racks, Instrument & Drum Racks, devices, samples, sets, etc. (anything that can be displayed in "Live's" Browser Window).
There is a maximum of 7 "Collections", coded by the color that, can be renamed. (Currently, the colors are hardcoded and can not be changed).
You could create a "Collection" for Compressors or EQs, for Instruments or Sounds.
For example, I created a "Collection" for the Racks that I have made and those of third-party producers that I work with.
To add an item to a "Collection" Right Click on the item and select a color. The item will now appear in the "Collection" assigned to that color.
Those of us who are working full time as music producers or audio engineers typically don't upgrade our operating system the minute a new release or update comes out.
Many of us have learned the hard way over time.
No matter how much "Apple" beta tests there will always be some compatibility issues with software or hardware when a new Operating System (OS) release or update comes out. (This also applies to the latest update of a plugin or application as well).
All it takes is one minor thing that some developer didn't take into account (or wasn't aware of) and we could be dead in the water; causing us to miss deadlines, having to recreate parts, or worse yet, entire sessions!
With "Digital Audio Workstations" ("DAW") upgrades we are cautious, knowing that, most likely, there will be hardware and/or software (plugin) incompatibilities with a new release.
Some engineers and producers NEVER...
In case you haven't noticed, Steinberg's Cubase 10 is out. You can download the free 30-day trial version to try the new features. The Cubase 10 Download link can be found on the Steinberg website. The download link for Cubase 10 Pro is at the bottom of the page.
Like every year the new version of Cubase offers a bunch of new tools and improvements. Since there is a lot of new stuff to talk about I broke up the top 10 items into 2 blog posts. In this post, I will show the first 5 of the best new features that improved my workflow greatly. Part 2 will cover an additional 5 features in an upcoming blog post.
The most common use of Side-Chaining is called "Ducking". It is commonly used by radio stations. As soon as the moderator speaks the music turns itself down automatically and after the moderator is done speaking the volume rises again. This is achieved by putting a compressor on the music with a side-chain...
VCA Faders and VCA Groups arrived in Logic Pro 10.1 We use them in our mixing workflow here at Next Level Sound. You might be asking, "What is a VCA Fader? Why should I use one?," or, "How do I create and use a VCA Fader?"
The VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) Fader comes from the "old-school" analog mixers (those big boards in studios like the SSL consoles) and is used as a channel gain. With a VCA the engineer can control multiple faders in a group with a single fader while preserving the level of each individual channel in the group.
[ VCAs Grouped Together ]
First, let's look at how a Standard Fader works. The amount of audio passing through a Standard Fader is determined by the position of the Fader itself. Moving it up or down determines how much or little of the signal passes through.
The VCA component of the Fader determines how much of the audio signal (level) will...
I think you will agree with me when I tell you that rendering third-party virtual multitimbral instruments is way more complicated than it should be in Cubase, especially, when creating individual mono audio files. Instruments are considered multitimbral when they have more than just the one main stereo output.
At maximum VST instruments can have up to 16 stereo outputs or a combination of at least one stereo and up to 30 mono outputs depending on the instruments default settings.
Let's talk about Native Instruments Battery Engine Output Settings, for example, which when customizing default to a minimum of 4 stereo outputs when trying to activate mono outputs. This setting cannot be changed.
[ NI Battery preferences settings ]
[ NI Battery activate output settings ]
The amount of calculations...
I thought this topic would make a good, and short read — as I have been asked these questions so many times:
The questions: When I mix as I produce, should I bounce out the dry stems or keep my channelstrip settings and FX? Should I keep my “production reverb”?
Should I bounce my mix stems with or without side-chaining? What about the mix buss inserts? Or should I just do simple raw production and then do a proper mix?
The answers of course to these questions can be very personal and contextual, but I want to share with you what I think works the best for both the production and mixing cycles.
I think the best practice when producing is to do only very basic channel stripping of individual elements, i.e. basic saturation, reductive EQ, and compression with the idea that you can and will do more later during the mix session.
While I think it’s fine to keep what I call “production reverb” (reverb is part of the sound design of a synth patch...
It’s true. The best plugins use up the most CPU! It’s just the way it is, and that won’t change anytime soon.
And we all like to use the best plugins — and sometimes many instances. So what do we do? Buy a new computer each month? Buy monster Octo systems that cost tens of thousands of dollars?
No. Regardless of how big a system you put together, you will still run out of CPU at some point. So what do you do?
In the audio preferences in any DAW, you will find a window to see your buffer size. When recording, keep it a low as possible to minimize latency, but when mixing and mastering, max it out!
This increase will give the CPU “more time to think” and will increase latency from the moment when you hit the spacebar until you hear the sound, but who cares?
Bigger buffer sizes eliminate...
The best part about a channelstrip workflow is the ability to systematically build a sound and then to ergonomically jump back and forth between the parameters within the modules.
Since EQ, saturation, compression, and filtering are all interdependent, the ability to make quick adjustments between these fundamental realms makes mixing fast, free and creative.
In that light, here’s a look at UAD’s beloved channel strips:
SSL is a favorite sound for Dance, Pop, and Urban Music. Sonically it has a tight, bright saturation in the mids and highs and a dynamic low end. Rich in harmonics, the SSL has a tight, short “ring” that is also smooth. Absolutely wicked on drums.
The Manley VOXBOX has a number of personalities depending on how you drive it. It can be very clean or rich in tube saturation. It also comes with a very easy-to-use de-esser and a compressor that is before the pre-amp stage to minimize distortion. And a...