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Spoons' Jeff Carter and Sandy Horne on PreSonus Studio One

08/04/2019

Sandy and Jeff

Spoons are a long-haul Canadian new wave band formed 1979 in Burlington. Jeff Carter is their longtime producer, collaborator, and husband to founding member/bassist Sandy Horne. Jeff got into Studio One after years in analog recording, including some time with PreSonus' FireStudio interfaces when collaborating with Sandy and helping her set up her studio.

When Studio One version 1 was released, they switched from Cubase and were able to collaborate so effortlessly together that Jeff actually credits Studio One with helping cement a relationship with Sandy-which culminated in their marriage!

On the other hand, Sandy calls this scenario the Hire-a-Husband program, so the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But they're married and happily making beautiful music together to this day. Jeff has a lot of nice things to say about why he chose Studio One and how he uses it:

Sandy and Jeff in the Studio

What PreSonus products have you used and which do you currently use?

I've used all kinds of PreSonus hardware, going back to the early FireStudios, then the Firestudio Project, and then the Firestudio Tube, which I still use on our older iMac system-the new system is using a Thunderbolt interface. Static in Transmission was recorded entirely with those various FireStudio interfaces, with the help of a Presonus HP4 headphone amp. We also use a new PreSonus Studio 26 as an interface for live shows, for the keyboard player's virtual instrument outputs and backing tracks. I've also had the opportunity to mix live on various versions of the StudioLive consoles, going back to the first generation, which has been a joy, as they've all had an intuitive layout, similar in philosophy to Studio One. I'm now using a Faderport Version 2 in the studio as well, which has been great for streamlining certain functions, like scrolling the timeline, mutes and solos, transports, and writing automation.

But overall, Studio One Professional has been far and away the most important addition to Sky Studios, and since its inception, we've used every subsequent version of it since the beginning. I have other DAWs pretty much all of the major ones; I keep them around, mostly just in case clients bring files in from other systems for me to mix; but even then, I'll bounce the stems over to Studio One, or just export the files as OMF-which is another fantastic addition to Studio One that's made my life so much easier!

Spoons' Latest Album

For what applications are you using Studio One Professional?

I use Studio One for almost anything audio and/or MIDI related: composing, recording, mixing, re-mixing, post-production, sound design, and mastering. Now, with Studio One, the big eye-opening moment for me happened with version 3, when the Console Shaper was first added. Finally, my mixes started to have some of that subtly-more dynamic, organic, and harmonically gelled-together sound that I had been chasing ever since my days mixing on that big ol' Trident console back in the 90s. When CTC-1 (on sale now!) came out soon after, I immediately bought it, and it's made a stunning difference. On New Day New World, I tended to use the Tube Mode on bass and certain synth busses, because there's a low-end warmth that it imparts that I really dig, and the Classic Mode was sometimes used on guitar or vocal busses-but the big winner was the Custom Mode, which was used on many things, but always used on drums, and on the 2 buss, boosting the drive and character parameters just enough to get the tracks into that sweet spot where things sound full, yet detailed, and open, yet tight. For all those who have Studio One Pro 3 or above, try it: you'll know what I'm talking about as soon as you hear it.

What led you to choose Studio One? Was it the company's reputation, audio quality, ease of use, specific features, price, other factors?

PreSonus has always had a solid reputation, but it was being shown real-world examples of how intuitive it is to work with that really sold me. With Long and McQuade, I almost always physically demonstrate Studio One, as opposed to just talking about it; the workflow sells itself. The audio quality of the 64-bit mix engine, especially with CTC-1 in use, is like nothing I've ever worked with, excluding large analog consoles. The Presonus Symphonic Orchestra Add-on is also great sounding, from the subtle, switchable articulation in the string sections, to the warm brass, to the orchestral timpani and percussion. You can hear it all over the opening track of New Day New World, and on the strings at the end of Love Recall. The pricing for Studio one is more than reasonable considering what you get; and the Artist version being included with even the least expensive PreSonus interfaces is honestly a total steal.

Screenshot of All the Wrong Things

What Studio One features have proven particularly useful and why?

The automation mapping is so simple that it encourages me to get more creative, easily automating subtle things like synth detuning, delay mixes, and feedback, or rotary speaker speeds. I'm no longer afraid to try things like that while working with an artist in the studio with me, as it doesn't really slow down the pace of work, or hamper the creative process, because it can be done so quickly. On previous DAWs, If it was too time-consuming or tedious, I might have to try things like that on my own time, or possibly not at all. There's a part in the dub/soca-influenced bridge of All the Wrong Things (In the Right Places), off New Day New World, where the guitar track pans wildly back and forth, but still in rhythm with the song, while you can hear the Analog Delay plug-in (the long echo on Gord's vocal) subtly deepening its modulation depth (which detunes the vocal only in the
LINK: http://blog.presonus.com/index.php/2019/04/08/spoons-jeff-carter-sandy...
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