zplane talks to Arnd Kaiser From PreSonus

Oct 11., 2022


PreSonus is one of our longstanding licensees, having utilized several of our software tools in Studio One for over a decade. Arnd Kaiser is their General Manager in Hamburg and has a history with us going back years, so we decided to chat with him about our mutual history and the ways in which zplane has contributed to Studio One’s success as a workstation.

– Hi Arnd. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. To start things off, can you tell us how you got into the audio industry?

Sure. My path was similar to that of many others: I played in bands and worked in a local music store during my school years and afterwards. That’s where I was offered my first job as a Product Manager for a distributor that worked with brands like Ensoniq, Oberheim, Kurzweil and later Alesis. My next career move was working at Alesis as the International Marketing Manager, where I had the privilege of working on products like the ADAT and the A6 Andromeda analog synthesizer. 

– It seems you spent a number of years at Steinberg. Can you tell us about your time there?

I joined Steinberg as Senior Product Planning Manager for Cubase in 2003, shortly after the acquisition by Pinnacle. In this role I managed every Cubase release from version 2 to version 6. After Steinberg was acquired by Yamaha, I got involved in the development of their first Steinberg-branded controllers and audio interfaces

– You’ve had a number of years working as a Product Manager for different companies.  What does that kind of job entail?

Based on each company’s operations, there are different definitions of what a Product Manager does. In some companies it’s very technical and R&D-related, whilst in others it’s more marketing-oriented and outward facing. I’ve done both, and ideally it’s a combination of the two, which is the case at PreSonus. In any regard, the Product Manager should represent the voice of the customer, and one of his main tasks is to translate customer needs into new features and improvements to the product.

As a Product Manager, I really enjoy talking to users about ideas or challenges they might have, then discussing these with developers and coming up with solutions. It’s also inspiring to talk to zplane about new technologies and come up with ideas on how to turn them into user features. 

– It’s been said that Studio One is one of the fastest-growing DAWs on the market. Is that true?

There’s no definitive answer to this question since DAW sales and user numbers aren’t published. However, we regularly check with our technology partners who occasionally share pieces of their survey data with us. Based on this data, Studio One has been the fastest growing DAW for many years. 

– How has PreSonus been affected by the Fender acquisition in terms of product development for Studio One?

Fender acquired PreSonus in December 2021 and the integration process is still ongoing. While most guitar and bass players still plug into amplifiers, many also plug into interfaces and use virtual amps/effects to create their sounds. Hence why Presonus and Fender fit so well together, as we each serve an important segment of the music market.

Our goal is to accelerate the growth of our software business but also to work alongside the Fender team as we create tools to support artists. We’re in the process of hiring more software developers, which will allow us to accelerate the development of Studio One and other projects. The same is happening on the marketing side. We’re really excited about the future of Studio One and our partnership with Fender. 

– Can you talk about how zplane’s partnership with PreSonus came to be?

That relationship probably started in 2008 or 2009. It was before I joined PreSonus so I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but I met zplane’s Tim Flohrer and his former partner, Alexander Lerch, whilst I was at Steinberg, so it was great to work even closer with them in my current role.  

– What licensing needs did PreSonus have that zplane provided a solution for in the beginning of our partnership?

ELASTIQUE PRO was added to Studio One 1.5 in 2010. When I later joined PreSonus, I was impressed with how it was implemented in real time. A clever background rendering method was used to keep processing under control, so after a few seconds you had rendered versions of your files with no additional CPU load or compromise in quality. Most users probably don’t even notice the processing because it just always sounded great.

– With the release of Studio One 3, we saw multiple improvements in mixing, production, and audio processing. Did any of zplane’s technology contribute to that?

Not in Studio One version 3 directly, but we updated the algorithm whenever there was a new version, so our users always benefited from the latest zplane improvements. 

– Studio One 4 introduced compositional elements like Chord Track and Drum Editing. Can you talk about zplane’s contributions to those?

At the time we were planning to add the Chord Track to Studio One, Tim told me about RETUNE and played us the first demo. In the following months, we kept testing several new builds of RETUNE and eventually took the plunge to make RETUNE part of Studio One’s polyphonic pitch-shifting features. For audio chord detection, we made use of zplane’s KORT.

One of the best comparisons to RETUNE is the early version of AutoTune; it can do amazing things and even the noticeable artifacts can be used creatively. In Studio One, users can even turn white noise into chords following the Chord Track, so the creative possibilities are quite exciting.

– Version 5 brought things like the Show Page, mixer scenes, and listening bus. Has the latest version of Studio One benefited from any zplane algorithms?

Yes, there’s been updates to the audio chord detection which benefits from the latest zplane technology. 

– Which of zplane’s licensing tools would you say has been the most critical in Studio One’s features thus far?

I can’t pick one particular feature but it’s the combination of technologies which makes all the difference. As a user, I have complete control over my musical performance and I’m able to experiment freely with tempo, pitch, key signature and chords in real time, which would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. Some of the technologies involved are still in their infancy compared to others but we decided to integrate them nonetheless in order to allow Studio One users to experiment and explore. 

– It’s commonly known that being responsive is important when a company is licensing their technology to others. How would you rate zplane’s customer service quality?

Knowing each other for so many years allowed our partnership to grow into friendship, so the customer service quality has always been exceptional. Thanks to zplane, we have access to technologies that are tailored to our needs, which in a fast-moving industry with evolving customer expectations is priceless. 

– Thanks for this interview Arnd. What’s next for Presonus and Studio One?

This is a very exciting time for us. We’re looking forward to rolling out new products and features to help our customers create music. There will definitely be some big announcements coming up, though nothing we can discuss now.