Bringing the world impeccable harmony and innovation in the use of the human voice since 2000, Korea’s MayTree is far and away the leading a capella act in their home country—but they aren’t stopping there. MayTree’s pristine, fun, and astonishingly diverse sonic repertoire has earned them success, not just as live performers, but also as successful voices-for-hire. It’s not just their vocal acrobatics that got them to this point, however. The band works hard. MayTree performs up to eight shows per week and has released three albums, with a fourth on the way.
Meanwhile, they’ve built up an ever-increasing roster of A-list commercial clients and have performed at some of Korea’s most prestigious venues. In fact, they are the only a cappella group that has played the Seoul Arts Center five times. MayTree earned third and first place in two different categories at the Taiwan International A Cappella Competition in 2009. In 2010, MayTree earned second-place recognition in the 2010 Seoul International A Cappella Competition. Along the way, they earned a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment.
MayTree has enlisted the PreSonus® StudioLive™ 16.0.2, Studio One® Professional 2, and ADL 700 to help them perform at the top of their game.
“We use our PreSonus products for live shows as well as for practice,” says Youngik-Song, MayTree’s engineer/manager. “We record rehearsals with Studio One to monitor how we sing and perform. As we can later listen to individual tracks, it is obviously a handy tool for us to improve MayTree's performances.
“I love the fact that the StudioLive and Studio One match perfectly,” Song continues. “We usually use our favorite plug-ins in Studio One when we perform live shows. We commonly send effects from Studio One to our StudioLive. We use a pitch shift on our bass vocal, and it doubles his voice. Then we lower one of them by an octave to create a fatter bass sound. It sounds very good, and we are asked many times how we create such profound bass frequencies while performing live! It is MayTree's trick.”
MayTree’s praise for the StudioLive go beyond running Studio One’s plug-ins live and recording rehearsals, however: “I’m amazed by the quality of the mic preamps in the StudioLive,” he says. “It has a phenomenal sound without requiring any EQ. I get much use from the Fat Channel, which gives me access to very high-quality effects. Moreover, the mixer itself is very compact and light, even though it includes massive functions. The weight and size are very helpful for musicians playing a lot of tours. Great job, PreSonus!”
While it’s understandable that one would be impressed with the StudioLive’s advanced digital features, Song doesn’t overlook the importance of good old-fashioned reliability. “The stability of the StudioLive when performing is very important to our success. It is one of the most important elements of a live show. The StudioLive is at such an affordable price for many musicians, and it guarantees great sonic quality but also stability.”
MayTree used the ADL 700 on three songs for their latest album: "5028," "Astrud," and "Summertime." “ADL 700 delivers much better clarity than the preamp we had been using,” observes Song. “It is very important for us to deliver lyrics accurately, as MayTree consists of voices only. We were very pleased with the accuracy of the ADL 700’s frequency response, especially the punchy sound at mid-range."
Song notes that MayTree did not need to use the ADL 700's EQ and compressor at first, "even though it contains a great EQ and a compressor that offers very natural sound. The ADL 700’s flexibility was very helpful; we could put the EQ before or after the compressor and bypass either of them. We sometimes record the bass vocal with the compressor set at a low threshold in order to create equal dynamics, and we put the EQ after the compressor to EQ certain frequency ranges."
Song closes with gratitude: “MayTree is very thankful to PreSonus and appreciate their products. As far as we know, all the staff at PreSonus are musicians. We think this causes musicians to feel very comfortable when using PreSonus products. We are glad to demonstrate exactly how musicians benefit from PreSonus products through our live shows and upcoming album. Thank you all at PreSonus. You guys are awesome!”