If you’re into metal, and if you’ve visited YouTube, chances are you’ve come across a video or two by Stockholm’s Ola Englund. Ola is the poster headbanger for YouTube success: At the time of this writing, his YouTube channel has accumulated 38,639 subscribers and 14,482,165 total views. Content-wise, Englund delivers real-deal amp reviews, performance-technique tutorials, and mixing competitions. Given the viewership stats, it’s clear that he’s on to something good.
Inspired by Nirvana to pick up a guitar in 1994, Englund quickly discovered heavier music and decided to form his own metal band, Feared. During Feared’s ten-year run, Englund earned an audio-engineering degree and built a recording studio in Stockholm dubbed Midtown Music. Englund’s arrival as a true force in the metal scene was finally cemented, however, when he joined longtime American metal stalwarts Six Feet Under (on guitar, naturally) in 2012.
Englund chose the PreSonus AudioBox VSL interfaces for bringing his brand of heavy to an ever-growing global audience and has added PreSonus Studio One Professional 2 to his toolkit, as well.
“I'd always been hearing good things about PreSonus, and it actually started with me getting in contact with their German division [PreSonus Software Ltd.] about making impulses,” Englund begins. “So I got the AudioBox 22VSL to give it a spin, and I was very happy with how the preamps sounded. Since I do a lot of re-amping and external routing, I don't want a preamp that colors the sound too much. A re-amped signal should sound exactly like it would if I was to plug in an amp straight from the guitar.”
The transparent preamps of the AudioBox 22VSL prompted Englund to pick up another AudioBox. “I use the AudioBox 1818VSL at home and the 22VSL when I'm mobile. I'm now a full-time member of Six Feet Under, so I'm out touring a lot—and I always have my MacBook and AudioBox 22VSL! I also use the FaderPort for quick navigation and control of my DAW. I also take advantage of AudioBox’s VSL functionality. I always keep VSL open and use it for routing, putting effects on my preamp signals for listening, etc. It just makes sense for any audio interface to have this mixer layout for all the inputs and outputs.”
Englund’s relationship to PreSonus doesn’t begin and end with hardware, however. “I'm starting to learn Studio One 2 now, and I like how it works,” Englund explains. “I've used the built-in IR Maker for all impulses I've been making for the last year. It's so easy to work with that it's hard for me to justify why anyone shouldn't use it!”
Englund is happy to offer a studio secret when prompted. “A trick that I always do for recording guitar: I use one instrument input on the front panel of the AudioBox 1818VSL to record the direct signal of my guitar. I reroute the same signal from an output on the back, going to my amplifier, with a Shure SM57 capturing the amp sound. In the AudioBox VSL software, I mute the DI input so all I hear is the amplifier signal. (The DI signal isn't really something I want to listen to while tracking, since I just use it if I want to re-amp later.) But I’m still recording both the DI and the amplified signal. That way, I can dial in a desirable sound and keep myself in the mood for playing, with a chance to re-amp the DI later if I ever want to use a different amplifier.”
Englund closes with forward-thinking optimism. “I just wanted to say that the guys at PreSonus USA and Germany are truly awesome and friendly people—the type of people I want to work with and collaborate with. I can always trust my PreSonus stuff to work, whatever situation I'm in. That's comforting when I'm going to bed every night.”