PreSonus held the second annual PreSonuSphere User’s Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (nice place, by the way!) on September 28 and 29, 2012. As a presenter, when I walked in one of the organizers said “I hope you’re ready for big audiences. I think it’s going to be bigger than last year—the attendance might even double.” Well, he was wrong; it was nearly triple, with 481 attendees.
I talked a bit about last year’s event in issue #145, and if you saw that article, you know my takeaway was extremely positive. Second-year events are dicey—there’s always the danger of a “sophomore slump”—but once again, the company pulled it off. And if you want to know why, just look at the picture: PreSonuSphere was all about music.
Sure, it was PreSonus-centric in the sense that workshops and clinics used PreSonus gear, but the primary goal was a two-way street where users could learn more about how to apply their gear, and PreSonus could learn more about their users. Although I’ve always joked that the typical PreSonus focus group is an employee saying “Hey, I have a gig tonight, it would be really cool if there was a box that could...,” it seems not only is that actually pretty close to the truth, but for the company, PreSonuSphere was one giant, celebratory focus group-meets-party.
Though that’s all cool, there’s definitely more to the story. As I looked out over the audience and talked to several of the PreSonus execs, I realized that the takeaway from this year's event was something considerably more important, and potentially far more earth-shaking for musicians, than anything that happened at the event itself: this is the new music industry.
Recording labels used to provide A&R people to search out acts—now we have YouTube, where the number of “likes” reflects a sort of A&R squad, and the internet in general, where groups can make themselves known (and might even be found). They also coughed up the advances necessary to cover the high costs of recording studios, but now companies like PreSonus provide the recording studio—at dirt-cheap prices compared to recording in the “good ol’ days.” And what about distribution? PreSonus recently acquired Nimbit, a “direct-to-fan” site that allows people to upload and sell music. Nor are they alone, when you consider other sites like Broadjam and Groovezoo.
The major labels are finding it harder and harder to compete with this new music scene. It’s not that they’re necessarily out of touch; it’s just that the model isn’t as relevant to today’s new world. PreSonus in particular is an interesting case, because none of this is by accident: They’re making a conscious effort to provide what musicians need “from riff to release.” If that doesn’t define the totality of the music business, I don’t know what does.
On the first day of PreSonuSphere, the execs sat down for “Breakfast with the Chiefs,” and I captured the whole thing on video. It’s fairly long—about 45 minutes—with the first half being more about the state of the PreSonus, and the second half devoted to Q&A from attendees. But take the time to check it out; this isn’t just about company hype, but a particular vision of where the music industry will be going. Based on what I saw last month in Baton Rouge, it’s already on its way. —Craig Anderton
|This Week on HC|
Hey, Where Did the Threads Go?!?
Some forums are very topical, and move fast. Some (especially sub-forums) are more about reference material or specialized subjects, and move at at a more leisurely pace.
If you’ve gone into one of the latter and wondered where all the threads went, no, they weren’t deleted—check the Thread Display Options drop-down menu (on the main landing page for a forum, not within individual threads). There you can set the forum to display only threads that are more recent than a day old, all the way to displaying threads from the beginning of the forum itself.
This setting is individual for each forum. For example, if you’re thick-skinned enough to handle The Political Party, you can restrict it to show only threads that are newer than a few days old so your browsing can stay topical. But if you’re into High-Tech Guitar, it’s a forum where a lot of times someone posts a question, there’s an answer, and as there’s nothing more to add—so eventually, the thread drops off the front page. For that forum, you can choose “Beginning.”
The default setting is 45 days, which seems about right for the average forum. But as we all know, there’s nothing really “average” about Harmony Central, so feel free to customize each forum’s thread display to what works best for you.
by Craig Anderton
The Trad Pro II morphs a sonic and visual tradition with some modern—but subtle—tweaks
by Phil O'Keefe
by Phil O'Keefe
|Jon Chappell's News Picks|
New and Noteworthy from the Music Industry
A new interactive catalog of premium guitars and basses featuring video, audio, and high-resultion 360-degrees views.
a phrase-based instrument featuring a 60-piece string
This book provides a detailed look inside one of Avid’s latest Pro Tools release. Instructor, Glenn Lorbecki walks you through the best ways to get the most of out of Pro Tools 10. See and experience the new features incorporated in this powerful software offering, all the way from the new ways it handles data, memory, and gain functions to some seemingly small updates that make a huge difference in your productivity.
All Pro Series 3 guitars feature a solid cedar top, solid sapele back and sapele sides, scalloped hand-cut “X” bracing for optimum voicing, a smooth, comfortable all-satin finish and artful wood marquetry. All feature a mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, a pin-less rosewood bridge for easy string changes, a split bone saddle for faultless intonation, and a bone nut and gold machine heads with amber buttons. On-board electronics include the Takamine Palathetic pickup and latest-generation CT4B II three-band preamplifier.
Lace Music Products introduces the 5.0 version of its highly acclaimed X-Bar™ and Deathbar™ versions for ERG guitars. After many requests from players needed a longer version, the new 5.0 models are 5 inches in length, and are intended for use with 9 and 10 string designed guitars. Applications are for straight or fan fretted instruments for maximum string to string coverage of 4.35 inches.
Hot on the coattails of EHX’s revolutionary wah pedal, the Crying Tone, the brand new Talking Pedal, brings vocal expression to the guitar player (no plastic tube or mic’ required). The pedal uses the proprietary design shared by all of EHX’s Next Step Effects.
The Q4 is a line level device designed to interface with balanced pro audio recording systems. It features four EQ bands with fixed low and high frequency shelving at 100Hz and 10kHz, plus two semi-parametric mid bands that span between 300Hz ~ 2.4kHz and 1kHz ~ 12kHz respectively. Each mid band is also equipped with choice of wide or narrow Q to open up the sweet spot or tighten it for surgical precision. All frequencies are set with up to 12dB of boost or cut. The EQ may be bypassed to compare the pre and post effect.
A few of this week's top discussions from our Forums
The 1980s often gets a bad rap for letting big hair, spandex, and bombastic metal ballads run amok, but it was also the heyday of U2, Guns N’ Roses, The Smiths, Dire Straits, and Michael Jackson. This collection of photos (and ensuing discussions) recalls the great guitar gear that was all the rage in the ’80s.
There are only two kinds of amps in the world: those with the knobs on top and those with the knobs on the front. The opening poster wonders why anyone would ever put the knobs on top (can’t see ’em from the stage, can’t stack anything on top of ’em), but there are actually good historical reasons for doing so.
This fascinating thread looks at what “feel” is all about, and how it affects different types of music. Best of all, check out the embedded audio/video examples that really bring the topic to life.
The Keys, Synths & Samplers community debates the merits of also playing guitar—and proves that keyboard players can be a pretty open-minded group of people, and offer some very interesting insights on the topic.
“Favorite” is seen through the bass lens of the Bass forum, but even if you don’t play bass, there are some fine suggestions here if you want to expand your live performance repertoire with some songs you’ll enjoy playing as much as your audience enjoys listening to them.
Interesting: Overdub backing tracks to the original artist’s song, then send the overdubs to the house and the original track to the drummer for reference. Does it work? Does it create a better “feel” than the click track/quantization option? Find out here.
Despite a “parental advisory” for language, the debate here is spirited, honest, and realistic. It also touches on music schools, and whether attending one can help or hinder your goals.
It’s a song that tends to bring out strong emotions in musicians. Some players really dislike it, yet it remains a popular choice with crowds at wedding receptions, bars, and clubs. Even if you dislike a song, should you play it anyway in order to give people what they want to hear? Is it really such a bad song? The Effects forum weighs in.
You already have a good dynamic mic for miking your guitar amp, but you’d like to add a second mic for additional tonal options—preferably one that also works for vocals and other instruments. This thread delivers on what to look for in your “second mic.”
It’s another Harmony Central band soap opera, but with a twist: How many mics do you really need to put on a drum set?
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Editorial Craig Anderton, Editor in Chief • Jon Chappell, Senior Editor • Phil O’Keefe, Associate Editor • Chris Loeffler, Reviews Editor
Publisher • Kirit Sarvaiya
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