Bassist Brent Milligan on the Road with Steven Curtis Chapman and Studio One
Grammy-nominated producer and bassist Brent Milligan is on the road again, touring with multi-platinum singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman in support of his current album, re:creation. Milligan, a Baton Rouge native whose credits include Michael W. Smith, TobyMac, Backstreet Boys and a host of others, has been working with Chapman for a number of years as a band member, producer, and musical collaborator.
On the road, Milligan works with Chapman to lay down tunes and record unplugged-style videos on his laptop, using a PreSonus AudioBox 1818VSL recording system and Studio One 2 digital audio workstation. For Milligan, it’s a chance to capture some rare solo performances of Chapman’s songs while discovering the ins and outs of Studio One.
“We basically just lay down the performances wherever we can find a quiet space, whether it’s backstage, in a hotel room, whatever’s available,” says Milligan. “I just set up a camera and a couple of mics, and we’re good to go. It’s pretty organic.”
Although his studio in Nashville is based around another popular DAW, Milligan says he has been developing a new affinity for Studio One. “Even though I’m still learning my way around the user interface, the more I do with Studio One, the more I like it,” he says. “What’s nice is that I can take any of the tracks I recorded in Studio One, open them in my home setup, and Studio One immediately recognizes my current studio hardware. I don’t have to hook up the 1818 to get it working, so if I want to do something to the track, like add a cello or sweeten something, I can get right into it without a whole lot of setting things up.”
Though he’s still relatively new to Studio One, Milligan says that so far, he likes what he sees. “I’ll admit I’ve been a bit resistant to change,” he says. “I’ve been working with my old DAW for many years, and I’m just used to where things are, used to the key commands, the file-management system, and I’m very fast with it. But the more I work in Studio One, the more I like it, and the more intuitive it becomes.”
Milligan is also not the first to remark that Studio One just seems to sound better. “I would always laugh when I’d hear other people saying that one DAW sounded better than another – I mean, bits are bits, after all,” he says. “But listening to the stuff I’ve recorded in Studio One and comparing it to tracks I’ve recorded on my other system, I can honestly say I hear a difference. I don’t know if they’re using a different summing algorithm or what, but it really does seem to sound better. It’s more detailed, more dynamic.”
Milligan says he’s looking forward to getting further into Studio One. “My next thing will be to do a full production in Studio One,” he says. “Thus far I’m really enjoying working with it.”