Sometimes Garageband just isn't enough...
For those of you looking to get more involved in homegrown recording or even for those of you who've done quite a bit of digital recording and mixing who are looking for something with the Bigfoot Music ringing endorsement (and after all, who could blame you? We're geniuses!), look no further than this article! Here's what we like to recommend...
PRESONUS AUDIOBOX AND STUDIO ONE 3:
The good folks at Presonus have been cranking out top-quality recording equipment since the mid 90's and began to really make a household name for themselves with their flagship AudioBox interfaces and devastatingly impressive Studio One software in the later 00's. With the rising interest and investment in home recording, electronic composition, and independent production, Presonus has sought to meet the demands of every bedroom rocker, EDM slinger and audio engineer from beginner to pro with high-dollar quality DAWs and equipment without the...well, high dollars. And here at Bigfoot, we think they're doing a bang up job of that.
Here are our reasons for proudly flying the Presonus flag:
1) No Bloat Software:
Before we start jumping into the hardware and equipment, let's talk about Presonus' super cool recording software that comes paired with every AudioBox interface you purchase right from the get-go. Unlike other older DAWs such as Logic or ProTools, we've found Studio One to have lived up to their claims of being much more streamlined, intuitive, user-friendly, and frankly, less bloated than their competitors. Though its been considered an industry standard for many years, anyone who has had hands-on experience with ProTools (especially more recent versions) can vouch for the sometimes sluggish, cumbersome and buggy operating performance from what has now become a behemoth of a DAW. Error messages are common. System crashes are par for the course unless you happen to be one of the lucky ducks with an overwhelming amount of computer processing power. The common complaint of these industry-standard DAWs is their ability to bog down fast and become stifling and inefficient. No good there.
In doing a bit of research, I found that more and more professional audio engineers are making the switch from the time-tested ProTools, Cubase, and Logic programs to Studio One for its slicker performance, more reliable processing, and superior workflow. The reason Studio One isn't nearly as chunky and hypertensive as its predecessors is do to the fact that every version of the Studio One is crafted from the ground up, meaning updates aren't piling up on top of each other bogging down the software with each “improvement”. The result is a lean, mean mixing machine that is preferred over the older DAWs. No severe cases of software bloat due to updates that just pile on top of themselves over time to create fat, stacked up programs that are intimidating for beginners and often unnecessarily complicated even for the seasoned DAW user. Presonus offers fresh, new software that prides itself on being intuitive to the modern user and beginner friendly, as well as having the capability to dive in depth and get real gritty and elaborate if the need arises.
2) Keepin' It Tight:
For those of you DAW nerds out there, you know that integration between a set-ups' software and hardware is a big deal. Nowadays, a lot of the software out there is indeed cross compatible with most of the hardware, but you will find that the companies who make both their software and hardware are more likely to create something that gels best and creates an overall better product in the end. Presonus' AudioBox interfaces are some of the coolest audio interfaces on the market with state-of-the-art mic preamps, analog/digital processing, and high-end 24-bit, 96 kHz converters for the cleanest, clearest sound. Even if you don't have Studio One software and prefer to stick to your favorite DAW, the Presonus Audio interfaces can certainly compliment your current set-up. And it goes both ways: Studio One software is compatible with almost any other interface on the market!
But it cannot be denied that the AudioBox interfaces complete with their native Studio One software result in a slick, efficient pairing that makes for the best recording and production any home or professional engineer can put their money down on. Ooh, which reminds me...
3) You Can Actually Afford These:
At Bigfoot, we definitely understand the plight of the average musician and artist, which is why we're usually fans of companies that can pull off some of the highest quality stuff without making you cough up too many benjamins. Presonus is certainly one of those companies, successfully making professional level software and equipment with price tags that won't scare the pants off you. For example, Presonus' ever-popular VSL series interface/software packages start at only $199.99 (that's including interface, 5-foot USB cable, Virtual StudioLive and Studio One 3 software). Even their deluxe 8-input, rackmount 1818VSL model only tops out at around five hundred clams (again, that's interface, cable, AND software all at once). Pretty reasonable for a full-meal deal, right?
All current models of the AudioBox package are equipped with Studio One version 3. This new version has some fresh features including creative new workflow improvements, new instruments, and an all-around sprucing up of the already excellent DAW that we've come to know and love here at the shop. If you go the popular route and pick up your own Audiobox USB/VSL interface package, you also get the Virtual StudioLive software which brings me to one of the other reasons why Presonus is our top-dog set-up...
4) Live Studio Monitoring (with or without Effects):
One of the coolest and unfortunately often overlooked features of the AudioBox VSL interface is the ability to dial in gain, compression and add FX to the monitor mix during your recorded performances using the Virtual StudioLive software included in the package. Being able to create an authentic sounding, nearly-zero latency live monitor mix from your computer is a huge benefit to the quality of the performance during recording and will ultimately give you a more improved track. For those of you who primarily use your DAWs to compose electronic music from scratch, this may not seem like a big deal, but for any of you who've ever gotten to work in a live studio recording session I'm sure you will appreciate the added feature of giving the sound in your monitors a more organic, life-like feel. With the VSL software, this is made possible and easy so you can ensure the best possible, most professional recording.
This is old-school way of interface monitoring: no effects or processing, the signal is split to the monitor outs before being sent to the computer, vs the Presonus VSL way which sends a processed signal back out to the interface from the computer with effects, compression, and gain processing.
5) You Can Go Mobile:
As of 2014, Presonus now makes an Audiobox USB interface that is iPad compatible, meaning you can take your recording on the road! The AudioBox iSeries comes with two different interface models to choose from (the iOne or iTwo) each complete with a copy of the Studio One software. These interfaces can be used in concordance with any other laptop or desk computer as per usual, but the cool part about the iSeries is their compatibility with the Apple iPad and other current iDevices (how many iTimes can I type iWords into this iParagraph with an I in iFront of it?) After downloading the free Capture Duo app for the iPad, you can record directly from the interface to your iPad and then wirelessly send those tracks to your desktop computer to be further tweaked in Studio One. It's almost like magic. Sweet, science-y magic.
All this to say, we very strongly recommend stopping by the shop and picking our ENORMOUS brains on the subject of Presonus and the Presonus AudioBox/Studio One packages we proudly sell. We have also had tons of experience using these DAWs and interfaces, so consider us your personal local tech support for any questions (Presonus also provides an excellent online knowledge base, so I also recommend snooping around on their web page and checking out the latest and greatest).
Stay excellent and have a good week!