Recording

Thursday, May 15, 2014

iZotope Releases Iris Resonant

Iris Resonant available now as part of the new Iris+8 bundle from Izotope.

iIzotope Inc. has released the eighth sound library for Iris, an award-winning software synth built on spectral selection technology.

Designed for exclusive use with Iris, Resonant features a fresh palette of playable, acoustically inspired patches built around bell, glockenspiel, kalimba and vibraphone-like samples.

Choose from more traditional musical instruments, or experiment with wild and unusual sounds based on cans, tubes and lampshades. Featuring metal, wood, plastic, and other pitched percussion sources, Resonant offers bright and clean sounds ready to fit right into your next session.

Resonant is available on its own or as part of the new Iris+8 bundle, featuring all eight sound libraries for Iris: Wood, Glass, Food, Toys, Voice, Modular, Altered, and now, Resonant.

In support of Iris Resonant and Iris+8, iZotope has also expanded its Iris Cookbook to include brand new recipes with step-by-step instructions and example presets. Aimed at helping users get the most out of Iris, this guide offers pro tips and tricks to help you get that perfect sound.

Iris Resonant is available now through May 29, 2014 for $29 USD (reg. $49).
Iris+8 is available now through May 29, 2014 for $249 USD (reg. $349).

Izotope

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Posted by Julie Clark on 05/15 at 01:50 PM
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Core Brands Debuts Furman P-8 PRO C Power Conditioner

Offers advanced power management for audio, video and broadcast applications

Core Brands has introduced the Furman P-8 PRO C power conditioner, a 20Amp model joining the Classic Series that includes proprietary Furman technologies such as Series Multi-Stage Protection (SMP) and Linear Filtering Technology (LiFT).

Housed in a rugged 1RU chassis with a minimalistic front panel and nine outlets, the P-8 PRO C is designed for power conditioning applications where front panel metering and illumination are not required.

SMP surge protection circuit technology safely absorbs, clamps and dissipates transient voltages, eliminating service calls.

Meanwhile, the device’s over-voltage circuitry (EVS) protects against accidental connections to 208 or 240 VAC by shutting off incoming power until over-voltage is completely corrected.

LiFT provides filtration against excessive AC line noise, helping to ensure optimal performance without any leakage to ground.

“Our new P-8 PRO C classic series power conditioner for audio/video professionals builds on the success of Furman’s renowned P-8 PRO II,” says John Benz, director of power and accessories for Core Brands. “Using our power protection and filtering capabilities, the P-8 PRO C features our venerable Series Multi-Stage Protection circuit as well as Furman’s exclusive Linear Filter Technology, creating advanced and comprehensive transient voltage suppression and conditioning for any professional A/V application.”

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Furman
Core Brands

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/15 at 01:39 PM
AVLive SoundRecordingChurch SoundNewsProductAVInterconnectPowerSignalPermalink

Lectrosonics Helps Capture The Magic Of Travel Documentaries

The production team of White Nile Media, Inc., relies on Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Lectrosonics.

Capturing clean, broadcast quality audio is never something to be taken for granted when doing location work. To avoid any problems when capturing travel documentary sound, the production team of White Nile Media, Inc., rely on Digital Hybrid Wireless technology from Lectrosonics.

Didrik Johnck is the director of content & production for LA-based White Nile Media, Inc. Johnck has been creating award-winning content for almost two decades. With over 100 productions and 400-plus webisodes under his belt along with numerous industry awards, Johnck certainly knows what to look for in wireless microphones. He is a fan of the Lectrosonics UM400a beltpack transmitter and UCR401 compact receiver.

“We handle production for Richard Bangs’ Quests, a production of American Public Television that airs on PBS stations nationwide,” Johnck explained. “The show takes viewers on a passage that not only celebrates the joy and discovery of movement and the great tourism assets of a destination, but also showcases travel that makes a difference.

“One of our locations was to the Iguaçu Falls in Brazil. It is one of the great natural wonders of the world situated near the border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. For this episode we had multiple locations where the host, Richard Bangs, was working and just getting soaked by the back spray coming from the falls. 

“Because of the extreme moisture from the water, the production crew had to capture much of this shoot from considerable distances so as not to risk moisture damage to our gear. The Lectrosonics M152 lavaliere microphone and the UM400a beltpack transmitter were, of course, positioned on Richard.

“The equipment performed flawlessly throughout the entire shoot—providing exceptional audio clarity over a considerable distance, all the while enduring the dampness that permeates everything adjacent to the falls.”

In addition to the UM400a transmitter and UCR401 receiver, Johnck reports some legacy Lectrosonics gear was also used on the project.

“Karel Bauer, our DP on this project, brought some older, bombproof Lectrosonics gear as well,” Johnck said. “We used his M187 beltpack transmitter and CR185 receiver without the slightest hiccup. I never cease to be impressed with Lectrosonics’ audio quality, the rugged build of the gear, and its compact, lightweight size.”

Johnck notes that, in the seven years he’s been working with Lectrosonics equipment, it has never let him down.

“Since I started using Lectrosonics gear back in 2007, I’ve never once had to make a call to the company for tech support or repairs. In my opinion, that in itself speaks volumes about the quality of their products.”

Lectrosonics

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Posted by Julie Clark on 05/15 at 09:01 AM
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Will Holland Invests In Prism Sound Titan Audio Interface

Internationally acclaimed musician and producer installs Titan in his studio in New York

Globally itinerant musician and producer Will Holland recently purchased a Prism Sound Titan USB multi-track audio interface, making him the latest high-profile buyer to utilize the product.

Holland, aka Quantic, is currently setting up his latest studio in New York, after spells on the UK’s south coast in Brighton and seven years spent in Bogota, Columbia.

His background encompasses a wide range of music styles – he started his career in instrumental hiphop and electronic music before expanding into producing soul, jazz and Latin music.

“Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying to centre on the concept of clarity and quality in the mixing setting,” he says. “My recordings comprise of different elements, often from a variety of sources. These may be recordings from tape, record and various sounds recorded on location, so it’s important to maintain a noise free, clear and undistorted sound at all times.

“I’m also doing a lot of work with very tonally rich sounds, acoustic instruments and percussion with a lot of upper register harmonics. It’s important to have a soundcard that makes the musicality shine and not have harsh digital edges or muddy sound.”

This, says Holland, is precisely where the Titan comes in. The interface is ideal for music and sound recording, mixing, multi-tracking, overdubbing, stem-based mastering, analogue summing and all critical listening applications.

It provides Prism Sound’s renowned performance, sound quality and state-of-the-art clock technology in a dedicated unit compatible with both Windows and Apple platforms (Apple in Holland’s case) and once configured with a computer, Titan can also operate as a stand-alone interface.

Holland has used Prism Sound converters in various mastering sessions before, but this is the first time it has appeared in his own studio set up.

“What really appealed to me was the software management and the fact that all of the mic and input pres were software controllable,” says Holland. “This makes the unit very attractive to travel with because it is so quick and easy to set up.

“I find everything works instantly and the setup is quick and without glitches or tech issues. In my studio, space is also important, so the fact that Titan comes in a 1U package is very important.”

Holland’s most recent large-scale recording and music production was for a group called Ondatropica, a collaboration between himself and Mario Galeano, a fellow musician and arranger from Bogota. The initial album was recorded in Medellin at the legendary Colombian studio Discos Fuentes and has since been toured for two years.

He also has his fifth solo record, Magnetica, about to be released on the Tru Thoughts label and is currently touring with various European gigs scheduled during May (www.quantic.org for full details).

“I believe the Titan will add a new dimension to my work,” he says. “I mixed a song with it last night and the whole mixdown process was infinitely easier than normal. The clarity in sound was excellent. It made the whole process much easier and quicker. I’m very satisfied with my Titan and am now looking forward to trying it out in some live sessions.”

Prism Sound

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Posted by Julie Clark on 05/14 at 09:57 AM
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Award-Winning Producer Steve Pageot Records And Teaches With AKG Microphones And Headphones

Steve Peugot teaches a one-on-one music production class utilizing AKG microphones and headphones.

Legendary producer Steve Pageot picked up his first Harman AKG recording microphone at the age of 19, from where he ambitiously combined his engineering skills with a passion for music, leading to an esteemed career in music production.

Inspired by electronic engineering magazines, he taught himself how to mix and record songs three years later. Today, he uses several AKG microphones and headphones that have seen him through countless studio sessions.

Having worked on multiple high-profile albums with Krayzie Bone, Aretha Franklin, and even a movie with Nick Cannon, Pageot exclusively uses AKG microphones for all of his recordings.

His microphone inventory includes AKG C1000S, P820 and C414 XLII microphones, and he owns three pairs of AKG K240 MKII headphones at his home studio.

“I want to use the best out there, and AKG is the best,” said Pageot. “The C1000S was the very first AKG microphone that I owned, and it still works! It is a very professional microphone that is preferred by artists like Aretha Franklin, and can be used on many different aspects of recording for many years.”

“Later on, since adding the P820 microphone to my inventory, I’ve been amazed at the sound that it produces,” Pageot continued. “Artists love this microphone, because the harder they hit it, the better it sounds. You can really hear the harmonics, as an increase in power adds more color to the sound without any distortion. I personally like to record a lot of my flute tracks on this microphone.”

Pageot also enjoys the airy qualities of the AKG C414 XLII microphone. “It’s nice to be able to change the sound with the bass cut filters, which alter the color of the sound,” Pageot added. “It is an excellent microphone for enhancing those midrange notes.”

With regards to the K240 MKII headphones, Pageot is extremely pleased with how natural the sound output is and how comfortable the design sits on his ears.

“They’re amazing, and I love how transparent they sound, reproducing the recordings perfectly,” he said. “You can wear them for many hours without ear fatigue, and that’s the reason why the vocalists and I have been using them for three years in my home studio.”

Currently, Pageot is feverishly working on multiple projects, including Krayzie Bone’s final album, MTV shows and the initial stages of the latest album by the Jacksons. However, his most admirable feat could be his one-on-one music production classes, where he teaches audio students how to produce records with AKG microphones.

“I teach students that what you use in the studio dictates how your music is going to sound,” Pageot said. “I swear by AKG microphones, because they allow vocals to cut through the music, regardless of how loud it is. I don’t need to add a lot of EQ to make the vocals sound good, because these microphones reproduce the vocals exactly how it sounds in the studio. That is why I will never record without AKG microphones.”

AKG
Harman

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Posted by Julie Clark on 05/14 at 08:25 AM
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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

THE BOX Mixes In Norwegian Home Studios Through Kan Lyd

To create the sounds of a big studio through smaller recording spaces, Kan Lyd has commissioned API's THE BOX console to accommodate the needs of recording artist clients with worldwide audiences.

Operating out of the home of sound engineer Kjetil Arvesen Nesheim, Kan Lyd is a growing professional project studio for mixing and overdubs.

While recording and mixing full productions, Kjetil often travels with his studio gear to record throughout multiple locations. To create the sounds of a big studio through smaller recording spaces, Kan Lyd has commissioned
API’s THE BOX console to accommodate the needs of recording artist clients with worldwide audiences.

Kjetil had dreamed of owning a high-end console for years, and was inspired to make an API purchase after listening to vintage American vinyl recordings. He specifically cited Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumors, which was recorded through an API console in 1977.

Kjetil contacted API’s Norwegian distributor Prolyd to find a system that would integrate seamlessly with the rest of his gear, and fit the needs of Kan Lyd.

“As soon as I saw the ad for THE BOX, I knew it was the right console for me,” recalls Kjetil. “After I started using it, my mixing became faster and easier, and made my mixes sound more three-dimensional.

“All instruments blend together perfectly. It sounds bigger, wider, and clearer all at the same time.”

Kjetil also appreciates the versatility of THE BOX, and it’s optimization for the digital era.

“The idea of having twenty channels of summing in mix-down, built-in preamps, EQs and compressors was very intriguing.”

For mixing purposes, Kjetil had two additional 550B EQs installed. “The first four channels of THE BOX are dedicated to drums: a 550A for kick and snare, and a 550B for toms. I’ve got the compressor strapped to the mix bus at all times. Doing it this way gives me the best of two worlds. It sounds more expensive now.”

On top of working on a voiceover project for a digital guide, the latest album for Christian rock musician Arvid Pettersen is being mixed at Kan Lyd. Kjetil comments that THE BOX has improved his work flow in comparison to his past recording projects.

“This is my first experience with API gear, and I love it.”

API Audio

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Posted by Julie Clark on 05/13 at 09:08 AM
RecordingNewsBusinessConsolesDigitalStudioPermalink

Sennheiser Wireless Equipment Accompanies Research Scientist To The Arctic

As Oceanographer Victoria Hill Studies the Earth's Diminishing Sea Ice for Old Dominion University, She Relies on Sennheiser Wireless to Communicate Her 'Outreach from the Arctic'

Research scientist and oceanographer Victoria Hill’s research has taken her all over the world. Most recently she visited the Barneo ice camp, a floating, temporary ice camp only accessible by helicopter during the month of April.

Before leaving for Barneo, Hill packed clothing required for the inhospitable conditions the camp was known for—namely high winds and temperatures that routinely fall below 25 degrees centigrade—as well as her Sennheiser ew 112-p G3 wireless system.

Hill, who was there to study the effect of sunlight on the arctic and the rapid retreat of sea ice, was mandated to share her research findings with the general public. So she took A/V matters into her own hands and started a video blog, Outreach from the Arctic, which captures the broad scope of her experiences on location. 

The resulting video blogs encompass a range of topics that are interesting for a broad range of viewers, including non-scientists. Their crisp and accurate sound reproduction is thanks to the Sennheiser ew 112-p G3 transmitter, receiver and lavalier system Hill relied on to capture the audio.

Hill says she chose the Sennheiser ew 112-p G3 because of its audio quality, ease of use and durability.

“My husband, who does A/V production at Old Dominion University, helped me choose the Sennheiser gear. He told me that people will forgive less than perfect video quality, but if they can’t hear the audio clearly, they will not watch it.
It has since provided superb sound and has really been played a critical role in my video productions.” 

Hill also notes that her ew 112-p G3 has demonstrated remarkable battery life, which she says is always challenging in the extreme cold.

One of Hill’s recent blogs reached a Virgina-based elementary school, which invited Hill to participate in a live Q&A discussion from the Arctic ice base camp via Satellite phone.

While Hill’s research is certainly appealing to her extended community of scientists and researchers, she says kids are among her most inspired audiences: “The kids are very, very interested,” she says. “With my videos, they can see and hear what life is like as a scientist and what is involved in the discovery process. I found all of the outreach part very, very exciting.”

Sennheiser

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Posted by Julie Clark on 05/13 at 08:03 AM
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Monday, May 12, 2014

SSL C300 & C10 Consoles Power Post Production For Creative Sound In Paris

“We’ve been using SSL consoles with great success since we opened." -- Cristinel Sirli, owner/engineer, Creative Sound

Multi-suite post production facility Creative Sound in Paris is delivering its services with three Solid State Logic C300 HD master studio systems and one C10 HD.

The studio and its team have won numerous awards at Cannes and other European film festivals for European cinema projects and has an extensive history of creating French language versions of international films, including such recent projects as The King’s Speech, Diana, Homefront and August: Osage County, as well as the upcoming releases Selfie and Gemma Bovery. Creative Sound accomplishes all of its recording dialog sound effects, Foley and music for projects in 7.1, 5.1, Dolby surround and stereo through the SSL consoles.

“We’ve been using SSL consoles with great success since we opened,” says Cristinel Sirli, owner/engineer of Creative Sound. “We continue to install multiple consoles from SSL because they are reliable, offer innovative technology and have the best sound quality in the industry. The after-sales service has also been great. SSL completely backs its products with immediate support, and that is essential for an operation as busy as Creative Sound. As soon as our clients see the SSL name, they know that we deliver a superior product.”

Creative Sound recently installed its third C300 HD, using the console line in both of its Auditorium Cinema studios, which are Dolby Digital Cinema 7.1 surround capable as well as in Auditorium B studio, which is focused on fiction and documentary production for television.

“Creative Sound chose the C300 HD because the platform offered the audio fidelity and processing power of an SSL digital audio console, combined with comprehensive multi-format monitoring and multi-system machine control we need,” states Sirli. “The C300 gives us advanced integration with our Pro Tools and Pyramix systems right on the console surface, allowing us to concentrate our energy on the project and not on the technology.

“Operating a major post production facility that attracts some of the biggest film and television projects is always a challenge. The C300 offers a level of quality and improved workflow simply not available in other consoles or control surfaces, and we use it as a creative tool to exceed our client’s expectations and meet project deadlines.”

A C10 HD has become the console of choice for Creative Sound’s new Foley and ADR stage, representing the first application of this type for the compact broadcast console. “The SSL C10 HD was the perfect console for its ergonomics, audio quality and efficiency in our new Foley/ADR stage,” continues Sirli. “We built a new facility for the C10, and, while we love the AWS 900 we have for our existing ADR room, we liked the idea of a digital console, and that led us to the C10. The console fits our size requirements and is expandable if needed.”

Solid State Logic

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/12 at 08:39 AM
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Top Mastering Engineer Stephen Marsh Utilizing PreSonus Sceptre Monitors

Recently added Sceptre S8 monitors to his setup and admits to being more than a little surprised

Marsh Mastering, headed by Stephen March, has been behind the soundtracks for some of Hollywood’s best known films and TV shows, as well as many audiophile collections and other high-end recordings.

Marsh is particular about his mixing environment and has spent considerable time and scrutiny creating a space for critical listening and decision making. “When I’m in a mastering room, one thing I want to be able to do is to just lay bare the audio,” he states.

Marsh has a pair of high-quality studio monitors, and as he points out, “the room is tuned to the mains, and I’m very accustomed to the sound of the mains.” He recently added a pair of PreSonus Sceptre S8 monitors to his setup and admits to being more than a little surprised.

“Often, when you introduce a set of near-field monitors, they don’t really translate in a way that complements the mains,” he notes. “One thing that instantly struck me about the Sceptres was how well they fit in. They have a pleasing character that really works well with the room.”

Marsh adds, “One of the things I noticed right away with the Sceptres was that I actually wanted to listen to them. What I mean is, I have a great-sounding set of mains in this room; I’ve been listening to them for years, and I know them. My inclination is to listen to those.

“What I found with the Sceptres is that I kept wanting to go back and listen to them. They’ve got a really pleasing character that draws me in and makes me want to listen to them. I find that the more I listen to them, I keep going back to them more and more. Their character is very natural—it’s like a universal translator for audio. I highly recommend them.”

PreSonus

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/12 at 08:01 AM
RecordingNewsEngineerLoudspeakerMonitoringStudioPermalink

Riedel Communications Expands Marketing & Communications Team With New Assignments

Christian Bockskopf promoted to head of marketing; Serkan Güner joins company as new marketing and communications manager

Riedel Communications has announced that marketing manager Christian Bockskopf has been promoted to head of marketing, with Serkan Güner joining the team to serve as the new marketing and communications manager.

“Christian has done a remarkable job handling various marketing and communications roles over the past years,” states Thomas Riedel, president at Riedel Communications. “This new role is the direct result of his unwavering ability to take on any challenge as he builds on his 10 years of experience at Riedel.”

Güner will report to Bockskopf in his new role as marketing and communications manager, where he will develop press and marcom opportunities for Riedel Communications while implementing the company’s sales plans on a global scale.

“Serkan’s remarkable breadth of experience in the field of marketing and communications is complemented by his facility with diverse languages and cultures, and this combination of skills and knowledge will be valuable as we continue to build brand awareness and expand our global footprint,” says Riedel. “We are very pleased to welcome him to the company.”

Prior to joining Riedel Communications, Güner served as international marcom manager for a German manufacturer of pro A/V system products. In this and in preceding roles in marketing and communications, Güner has developed expertise in coordinating and implementing all aspects of marketing and press campaigns, from traditional releases to engagement across social media platforms. He is fluent in German, Turkish, English, Italian, and Spanish.

Riedel Communications 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/12 at 06:36 AM
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Friday, May 09, 2014

RE/P Files: An Interview With George Martin At A.I.R. Studio In London

A true legend talks about the creative process, technology, the Beatles and more...

From the archives of the late, great Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, enjoy this in-depth discussion with legendary producer George Martin at A.I.R. Studio London, conducted by William Wolf. This article dates back to the January/February 1971 issue.

William Wolf: What do the letters “A. I. R.” stand for?

George Martin: Associated Independent Recordings.

WW: Has A.I.R. done any independent production locating the talent, etc. as yet?

GM: Yes, but not much. We left our respective companies just over five years ago—three of us left EMI and one left Decca—and we had to do a deal with EMI which lasted five years; in fact, it ended about a month ago.

This was basically an independent deal but it also covered the servicing of artists that were contracted to the company anyway. Obviously the Beatles came under that, and other artists that we handled—there were quite a few. So we had to maintain those artists and so our time for finding other artists was obviously limited.

But at the same time, as the years went by it became more and more difficult to get new artists not because they weren’t there but because the deal that we had with EMI was limited to an overall royalty which gradually became—well, in fact, very quickly became out of date. So that by the time the contract ended we couldn’t possibly hope to secure any artists because we couldn’t offer them any money. We were bound by that and we couldn’t do anything about it.

Now that we’re free we can really look around—sniff the air—which is what we intend to do. But we decided, in fact, before we did that, to build a studio.

WW: Several of the studios I’ve visited in England are equipped, as is A.I.R., to handle visual material as well as audio. Do you feel that there is a potential in integrating the pop music field with visual technology ?

GM: Actually there aren’t all that many studios here that also do visuals. There are far more—fewer sound ones. But the tendency is, of course, to open up the visual side—mainly because, I think, this is inevitably the future. You’re bound to have video recordings; they’re on our doorstep.

WW: What are your feelings about four-channel sound?

GM: We haven’t built it into our boards mainly because it’s a very new development and most people in this country don’t know anything about it. We know about it because we go to your country. I honestly don’t believe it’s a very important development. It’s quite nice, it’s pleasant, it’s a very nice gimmick, but I can not imagine the average person going to the elaboration of fixing up four speakers in their room so that they can hear the ambiance of the concert hall behind them…

You could have circular sound, of course, but when I was introduced to quadrasonic sound, my comment was that if you’re using four speakers the ideal is not one in each corner of the room, but it is three in an equilateral triangle below you and one above you so that you’re in the center of a tetrahedron. Then you’ve really got all-around sound, in all manners—you’ve got up and down as well.

But this is being idealistic and I really don’t think it’s for the average man. It’s very nice, but I can’t imagine Mrs. Jones of Wiggum or in your case Mrs. Bloomfield of Connecticut taking the trouble of fixing up her drawing room or ... whatever you call it ... the lounge with four speakers.

WW: Is there stereo radio transmission in England?

GM: Yes, there is, but it’s very limited. It’s third program stuff; that is, you get classical concerts occasionally broadcast in stereo and occasionally you get stereo record broadcasts. I should think the number of people in England who listen to it is about .001 percent. And also, people don’t listen to radio much anyway. The average man in this country is glued to the television set.

WW: Would you describe what you feel the responsibilities of the producer are on a “rock” date?

GM: Yes. I’m glad you defined that because a producer’s responsibilities do vary an awful lot. For a rock date I think he’s got to get to know the group musically and obviously psychologically he’s got to know the people. He’s got to get into their minds and he’s got to try to find out what they’re trying to express and if he can find out, it’s then his job to realize it in terms of sound. So, his function is not to impose his will upon the group and produce his sound using the group as his puppet, but more to draw out from the group the best sound he can possibly get, and get them to play the best possible music.

WW: Then you feel that sound, as well as music, is a major responsibility of the producer?

GM: Yes. That’s the way I see it. It’s also psychological. I think you’ve got to learn how to get the best out of people find out when they’re going past it and so on.

WW: How would these responsibilities vary for a classical music session?

GM: Well yes, they vary enormously. To begin with, in the classical session, unless it’s chamber music, you’ve only really got one person’s ideas to deal with, and that’s the conductor; and then, from the amount of classical recordings that seem to take place today, it’s more a question of the diplomatic handling of that conductor and trying to get the best out of him rather than the technical details of a good sound.

The classical producers of today, and I’m not calling myself a classical producer, seem to leave everything to the engineer and just act like a kind of ... what shall I say ... host to the conductor. I don’t think they interfere too much musically, which I think is a pity. I think that classical music could be in fact improved by adapting certain pop techniques to it. I wouldn’t mind having a go at recording something classical in a different way.

WW: Would you, for example, use close miking?

GM: Yes. Most classical records are made like photographs of concerts, if you know what I mean—aurally speaking. The ultimate aim is to reproduce as naturally as possible the sounds of the orchestra as created in the concert hall.

Now I think this is terribly limiting. I mean it’s been done, and it continues to be done better and better because engineers and acoustics and recording techniques have advanced enormously. But I think we’re missing out on something. I think that if Beethoven or Bach were alive today, they would call that a very timid approach, and I think they would go back to first base and say, “You’ve got tremendous tools here; let’s use them.” And I think if you go back to the actual music and adopt, really, very modern recording techniques and produce a work of art which is different from what you hear in the concert hall, and not necessarily inferior which most people might think.

WW: Then the rock producer presently has more room for creativity?

GM: Unquestionably. That’s what appeals to me.

WW: (Before A.I.R. Studios were built) Your responsibilities also include selection of the studio and engineer?

GM: Yes.

WW: In recording a rock group, will you attempt to capture a “live” studio performance, or will you construct a recording using, for example, overdubbing.

GM: I’m afraid the latter is true. One doesn’t go for a performance as such in the studio because you know darn well that if you do that there are going to be shortcomings in various other departments. You might get a great vocal performance, and the bass line may not be so great. So, there are various things that you can do-you can go and overdub the bass line if you’ve got good enough separation.

You’ve seen us working recently ... what I was trying to do yesterday, in fact, with Peter, with the whole group, was to try to concentrate on Peter’s performance tying to get something out of him, and then worrying about the rest of it.

But in fact we’ve reversed the process today because we’ve decided that Peter will probably do as good a performance by overdubbing anyway. So we’re going back to first base and concentrating on the actual sound. It doesn’t seem to impair the total result. Most rock recording is done that way today. You obviously get a much better sound on everything; you are able to pay much more attention to detail.

WW: You mentioned before the importance of psychologically understanding the group. Could you be more specific?

GM: It’s just instinct really a kind of sixth sense you build up. You’ve got to get to know people and sense what’s happening.

WW: Would you say that a sense of humor is important?

GM: Oh yes, a sense of humor is terribly important. Absolutely. If you didn’t have a sense of humor on rock dates, then everybody would go sour. I can’t bear people who take themselves loo seriously, including rock musicians.

WW: Do you find that you do a lot of producing during the mix down stage as well as during the recording stage?

GM: It depends on the artist and the record you’re making, and what techniques you’re using. If you’re making a record like Sgt. Pepper, for example, the mixdown is just as complicated, in fact more so, than the original recording because you’re painting a picture in sound and you’re using extra things: you’re bringing in sound effects, you’re distorting sounds, you’re playing with them, you’re soil of shaping them-sculpting them, if you like—and mixing them down at the same time.

So that kind of production is probably more complicated and more important in the mixing stage than at any other time. But if you did that all your life, you’d be spending all your time mixing and none of it recording.

WW: Then it varies greatly from group to group?

GM: Very greatly, yes.

WW: When mixing down, do you physically operate the console, or do you direct an engineer?

GM: Like most producers I like to get my hands on the controls, and it’s wrong. Sometimes I do—sometimes you have to—because sometimes the mixes are so complicated that one pair of hands won’t work. In fact, on many Beatles mixes, we would have the engineer sitting in the middle, me sitting on the right, and one of the guys on the left.

It depends whose song it was—it might be Paul or John or George. And we would all be playing with the faders, the three of us; we would actually be playing a sort of triple concerto. But the snag with that is that you still need someone else to listen because when I’m controlling the controls on a mix, I’m listening for certain things that I’m controlling and I don’t have that essential requirement of being able to listen to the whole thing with absolute impartiality.

So nowadays I tend to get out of that scene and say, “This is wrong. You shouldn’t be handling the controls. You should be standing back and telling people what to do, and listening to the whole thing.” It’s only by being free that you can really see the whole picture.

George Martin and engineer Bill Price

WW: What qualities do you look for when selecting an engineer?

GM: Oh, that’s a big question. First of all, he’s got to be an enthusiastic engineer. I’m very fortunate with Bill (Price); he really is a dedicated engineer. He must be keen on his job, keen on sound, and preferably—and there will be many people who will quarrel with this—preferably without the ambition to be a record producer, because I think that gets in the way of good engineering.

WW: Why is that?

GM: Well, there are an awful lot of engineers who become record producers, which is fine; I’ve got no gripes against that. But I don’t think you can do two jobs at the same time. And there’s always the transition period when the engineer tries to do a bit of production, or goes back to doing a bit of engineering after he’s been a producer. And I think that they lose out because of that. They are two separate jobs and they need detached minds.

WW: Anything else?

GM: He’s got to be good at his job; he’s got to know a lot about recording—that goes without saying. He’s got to know the board, and he’s got to have a good ear. He’s got to have a personality where, without being servile, he makes it plain that he is there, in fact, to serve the group.

He doesn’t have to be a humble person. On the contrary, he must be a person of some authority and some spirit; but he must always give that impression, that he is there to get the best sounds out of people, just as the producer should give that effect.

WW: So you don’t care if the engineer has a musical background?

GM: No, not really; not personally because that should be the job of the producer.

WW: What kind of language do you use to communicate with your engineer? You mentioned to me before that you were non-technical, therefore / assume that you do not communicate in technical terms.

GM: Well, in fact, I do. I’m non-technical, but I still say to him, “I think we need a bit of top at 4,000 (Hz) on that, or try it a little lower down.” When I say I’m not technical, I mean I haven’t any technical training. But you can’t grow up in the recording industry, and go from mono recording through stereo and multi-track, working all the time on boards, without picking up a little knowledge.

WW: Then you feel that the producer should be able to operate the console himself—at least in his head?

GM: I think it helps—anything that gives a greater understanding between people. I think that if my engineer knows that I know what’s going on, then he will respect me more and he’ll work more closely with me. If I don’t know what I’m talking about and I ask him for something that is patently impossible, I’ll lose his respect, and he won’t work so well with me.

WW: Do you prefer to work straight through with one engineer?

GM: I prefer to work with one engineer for a particular job, but I don’t want to work with that engineer all my life.

WW: Many Beatles recordings employ techniques or tricks such as phasing very tastefully. Did the ideas for these techniques come from engineers? Or, to put it another way, do you encourage your engineers to make suggestions?

GM: I certainly would encourage engineers to make suggestions. But in fact, all the techniques we used that you’ve described have come about not because the engineers made suggestions, but because we actually asked for particular sounds.

Phasing came about as a result of experimenting with the automatic double tracking, ADT, which was, in fact, suggested by an engineer, who strangely enough wasn’t a balancing engineer. He was a backroom boy who came forward with this idea. He was an EMI bloke; he’s now in fact running EMI studios, which is nice. And so phasing came about as a result of that—playing with ADT. In most other cases they’ve been a result of personal experimentation in the studio. My experience with spoken word recordings—building up sound pictures without music was invaluable in that respect.

WW: Are there any special considerations that you keep in mind when producing a 45 RPM single release?

GM: Obviously it’s got to be a little more concise than an album track. There are a lot of things which you put on an album, which stand up on an album because they are part of a long scene, which obviously wouldn’t mean anything on a single. In any case, you are making records to a certain extent for a particular market. One is well aware of the nature of the music that is played on the top 100 in the “states”, so you’re obviously thinking of that when you select your single.

WW: Is there any instrument, or instruments, that you consider particularly important, especially with regard to singles?

GM: No, I don’t honestly consider any one thing to be particularly important—I think they’re all important. When I’m doing a recording of a rock group, I do actually, mentally, go through every sound that I’m hearing, saying, “Is that the right sound?” I apply the same devotion to each one. If you miss out on one, you’re not doing your job.

WW: Is it true that the early Beatles records were remixed by Capitol for release in the states?

GM: They weren’t remixed by Capitol; they might have been re-equalized by Capitol. Yes, in fact, I’m sure they were. The story was in those days that American record players were different from English record players, and therefore they had to cut their own masters to suit their own tastes. And they did that; and I didn’t like the results, but I couldn’t do anything about it.

WW: Could you describe the differences in sound between the American and British releases?

GM: I didn’t think they (U.S. releases) were as good. It’s difficult to get a good answer to that one because I was hearing their records on my machine and I don’t know what they would have sounded like if I had heard them on their machines. They may have been alright, but they generally sounded much thinner and harsher than our sound, and less bass certainly.

WW: Early Beatles records were characterized by a particular vocal sound which has been very influential on pop music in general. How did this come about?

GM: Because we had particular kinds of vocalists, really.

WW: You mentioned ADT.

GM: That was a particular sound we put on. You know, once we got over the first hurdle of being a success, they were always looking for something new. They were continually coming to me and saying, “Do something different.”

They were always prodding and trying to push some things out a bit further. John hated the sound of his own voice, which I personally thought was a great voice, and quite often he would come to me and say, “Can’t you do something with my voice; it sounds terrible.” He’d say “I know it is terrible, but let’s do something about it. Don’t make it sound like me,” which was worrying in a way because he expected magic.

I don’t know quite what he was expecting to hear, but it wasn’t what he was producing and consequently we did play about with the voices quite a bit. Sometimes, I think the results weren’t very good, but in a lot of cases they were.

WW: Is it true that Sgt. Pepper was recorded on four-track machines?

GM: Yes, absolutely true. It was done four to four.

WW: Who did the engineering on Sgt. Pepper?

GM: Geoff Emerick, I think he did all of it.

WW: What other Beatles records has he worked on?

GM: I couldn’t give you a catalog—there are quite a few. When we started out, the engineer we had was a guy by the name of Norman Smith. I can’t give you which record he stopped on, but we could find that out easily the facts arc there.

But he came to me one day and said he wanted to be a producer… he was an EMI engineer. . . and did I mind. And I said, “No, fine. Off you go.” He said, “The only thing is, I want to go on engineering the Beatles.” And I said, “Well, now, I don’t think you can do that.” I was very firm, but quite polite, and I said, “If you want to be a producer, that’s one thing and that’s fine. Go and make some good records. I’m sure you can, but I don’t think you can go on engineering at the same time,” which comes back to your previous question.

So he made the plunge and he left and became a producer, and he’s done some extremely good stuff. He made all of the Pink Floyd’s early records. He’s now a staff producer for EMI. But then I had to find another engineer.

Now there were lots of engineers senior to him at EMI, but I decided at that time that I wanted someone very new and young. I’d been looking around—looking for talent, so to speak, and I decided to give the chance to Geoff Emerick, who in fact had done very little recording before. He’d been balancing for six or nine months before I gave him the job with the Beatles. He jumped at that and it was really tossing him over the deep end; but he was marvelous—he came out with colors flying. And after Geoff we used other people as well, but in fact, we brought Geoff back for Abbey Road.

WW: He didn’t, then, work on the Beatles white album?

GM: No, he didn’t.

WW: Would you describe some of the techniques used on Sgt. Pepper, for example on “For The Benefit of Mister Kite”?

GM: That’s really quite simple when you know about it. John wanted a calliope kind of sound. He wanted to get the impression of a fair ground and he played me this song that he’d written, and asked what I could think up to give it that kind of fair ground atmosphere.

And I thought a lot about it, and I decided the best way to do it was to use some of the techniques I’d done with spoken word records. I decided that to get the kind of swooping, steam organ noise he wanted, I got him on one Hammond organ and me on another; actually I think he was on a Lowry and I was on a Hammond.

And we recorded some half speed organ, and I did some chromatic runs with the tremelo on fairly fast over two octaves and then sped them up to double speed. That was one of the things—the swooping noises. But for the background mush, I got lots of steam organ tapes, genuine fair ground organ recordings of all sorts of pieces of music—“Stars and Stripes Forever” and those kinds of things—and cut them into short lengths (of tape) and threw them up in the air, literally, and just told the engineer to pick them up again and join them all together. He thought I was mad.

We played it and of course the result was very cacaphonic. We used that as just a general background, mingling mush, which gave the required effect ... all kinds of funny jumping—some of it was backwards—but it worked.

WW: Beatles records are also characterized by constructive use of echo effects. Do you pay particular attention to echo on your recordings?

GM: The right kind of echo, yes. There’s a tendency these days to use plates an awful lot, in fact exclusively. We have plates here but we also have an echo chamber, which I must confess I haven’t used a great deal yet. But I believe that a good chamber can beat a plate any day. I used chamber mainly on Beatles records.

Actually, we used a combination of chamber and tape, which we called “steed”—I don’t know why we called it “steed”—but it was basically sending the delayed signal by means of tape into the chamber.

WW: Why weren’t any of the engineering teams credited until Abbey Road?

GM: EMI policy, and they didn’t like it even then. (Abbey Road)

WW: Beatles records, especially since Sgt. Pepper, have caused a rekindling of interest in the electric bass. Was bass a particular problem in recording the Beatles?

GM: Paul was always worrying me to get more bass on the records, certainly, and it was my job to try and get that bass on, true. Probably it was the single most worrying factor, of any sound that we produced, because Paul is a perfectionist and even when we got a great bass sound he didn’t think it was very good. Now, you say that we got some great bass sounds, which is nice to know. I’d like you to relay that information to Paul.

WW: I’d be glad to.

WW: Could you describe a technique you used on the bass on Abbey Road, say, for example, “Come Together”?

GM: I think on that particular one we used a combination of direct injection and live sound.

WW: And limiting/compression?

GM: Yes, of course, and also a little bit of echo too. But each sound is treated on its own merits. That’s why we, in fact, got lots of varied sounds, some of which were not so good as others.

WW: The instruments and voices on Abbey Road have a particular clarity and presence that seem to be derived from close-miking or similar techniques. Was directed it in the studio. Everything else was mine. this your aim?

GM: I was aiming for clarity, but oddly enough, it isn’t very necessarily close-mike techniques that provide this. This essence of that clarity that you talk about is the ability to differentiate one sound that is interfering with your bass, for example, then you do something about it. You change it. And I think the clarity comes from having distinguishable sounds anyway.

WW: Then from a production standpoint, if you’re going to have two sounds in the same frequency range, they should be playing approximately the same part, or else they will muddle each other?

GM: That’s right.

WW: Did you do all the horn and string arrangements for the Beatles?

WW: Yes, with one exception. Oh, I certainly didn’t do the “Let It Be” one, which Phil Specter did. I was quick to disown that. There was one exception; it was one of the string ones, which an English arrange did. He gave us the score because I wasn’t around at the time and Paul wanted it done very quickly. Mike Leander it was on one title. He gave us the score and I directed it in the studio. Everything else was mine.

WW: Do you think that you’ll work with the Beatles again, or any of he Beatles?

GM: In the answer to the first question, I think it’s possible if the Beatles ever work together again. As to the individual Beatles, I don’t know. Each one of them is very talented, two of them in particular, in fact George, John, and Paul are obviously more talented than Ringo.

All four of them are very talented anyway, but none of them is as strong as the four of them together. The four individual parts were not as great as the entire whole. The Beatles, four people together, did something that nobody else had ever done before, and the fact that they’re not together I think is a very sad thing.

 
Editor’s Note: This is a series of articles from Recording Engineer/Producer (RE/P) magazine, which began publishing in 1970 under the direction of Publisher/Editor Martin Gallay. After a great run, RE/P ceased publishing in the early 1990s, yet its content is still much revered in the professional audio community. RE/P also published the first issues of Live Sound International magazine as a quarterly supplement, beginning in the late 1980s, and LSI has grown to a monthly publication that continues to thrive to this day.

Take the PSW Photo Gallery Tour of audio equipment ads appearing in RE/P magazine, circa 1970.

Our sincere thanks to Mark Gander of JBL Professional for his considerable support on this archive project.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/09 at 05:14 PM
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IK Multimedia Shipping iRing Motion Controller For iPad, iPhone & iPod Music Apps (Includes Video)

Wearable technology system that provides users with gestural control over music apps in real-time

IK Multimedia has announced that new iRing, a motion controller for music apps and more, is now available from music and electronics retailers. iRing is a wearable technology system that provides users with gestural control over music apps, in real-time, using hand positioning.

iRing consists of two double-sided “rings” to wear on the fingers, along with a series of apps that are able to detect the iRings’ accurate positions in space using the device’s camera. Through the recognition of the dot patterns printed on the rings, the device’s camera picks up the movement and translates it into MIDI information.

Users can then interact with music apps by simply moving their hands in front of their device through the precise reading of the ring position, which is converted into music commands or MIDI control messages to operate various app parameters without touching the device.

iRing includes two identical double-sided ring controllers, plus iRing Music Maker and iRing FX/Controller apps.

The Music Maker app utilizes music “loops” that always sound good together and can be remixed in limitless combinations by waving the hands with the iRing controllers in front of the device’s camera. Users can change beats, control rhythmic elements, play synth parts and control effects providing hours and hours of quality musical entertainment.

In addition, Music Maker also includes lead and bass synths with respective pattern players that can be independently operated for hours of error-free musical improvisation. Creating music has never been so much fun!

The FX/Controller app is both a real-time audio effects processor and a MIDI controller with fully assignable parameters. It can be used as a touch-less outboard audio effects processor, or can be fully configured to send multiple simultaneous MIDI parameters; such as control changes, notes or any other MIDI messages.

As an effects processor, FX/Controller uses the analog or digital input of the device for processing external audio sources. It can also be used with Audiobus and Inter-App Audio compatible apps to process the audio stream from music apps running on the device to add further audio effects.

The iRings can control up to six effects parameters at a time. FX/Controller operates two simultaneous effects, selectable from up to 16 effects, including Delay, Stutter, Phazer, Flanger, Compression, Fuzzy, Reverb, AutoWah, Crush, Twist Up & Down, Brake, Spin and Tail.

As a MIDI controller, FX/Controller can transmit MIDI messages to other Virtual MIDI compatible apps running on the device or to external devices using compatible MIDI interfaces (like IK’s iRig MIDI). It can send out the complete set of MIDI messages (control change, notes, program change, pitch wheel, aftertouch, MIDI system real-time, and MMC, MIDI Machine Control) with up to three assignable parameters corresponding to the X, Y and Z axis positions for each of the two detectable rings.

Additionally, MIDI messages can also be sent to a computer application via Wi-Fi (using MIDI network). Users can configure the app to control effects, filters, notes, patches and more for creative and dynamic performances.

iRing computer vision technology is also directly incorporated into the line of IK Multimedia DJ apps like Groovemaker and DJ Rig, and will soon be included into other IK apps such as AmpliTube, SampleTank, VocaLive and more.

For third-party developers who want to incorporate and implement iRing technology directly into their apps, IK is offering a free SDK (software development kit) and licensing program. Developers can take advantage of the technology and improve the functionality of their apps by contacting IK via the link provided on the iRing product page (here).

 

 

IK Multimedia

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/09 at 04:15 PM
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Engineer/Producer Peter Moshay Chooses Radial For Live From Daryl’s House

Workhorse 500 series chassis with mixer during production of the award-winning webcast

Since 2007, Daryl Hall has opened up his home to host a diverse selection of contemporary artists who walk in the front door, with these golden moments presented on the monthly webcast “Live From Daryl’s House.” Hall’s long-time engineer/producer Peter Moshay has had the sound dialed in since episode one.

According to Moshay, who’s worked with Hall (and John Oates) for 20 years: “The sound of the show was always in my head as soon as we had the idea to do it. I just had to figure out a way to make it happen on the recording and mix. It took a few shows to nail it down for me, but it was not far off from the start since we were all working together for the same goal/sound.”

Hall has recently relocated to an old night club that he’s having renovated for future episodes of the show as well as live concerts, but Moshay has been long working with the unique characteristics of Hall’s renovated yet historic home in Millerton, New York.

“[The Millerton shows are] all challenging due to the volume in the room,” he says. “It’s always on the edge of feedback due to so many monitors that have to be pretty loud to beat the room’s ambient qualities. I’ve had many monitor people try to help me make it better, but it is what it is.

“Realistically it should not be setup the way it is with so many mics and monitors all right next to each other, but that’s what people need to do it. As much as I would love for everyone to wear IEMs, it’s not really suited to the shows concept of people just jamming and getting together to play and talk. IEMs stop people from having normal conversation and would impede the shows natural vibe.”

A key to his approach are Radial Engineering DIs, which are a constant. “I choose my audio tools based on my experience and taste in how I want to hear it,” he says. “I’ve heard all the DI boxes that exist and it was no contest to choose the Radial JDI (passive DI) and the J48 (phantom powered active DI), they just sound more musical and pleasing to us. The most important choices are made before the microphone, but after that all choices make an impact so I scrutinize everything down to the cables.”

Moshay also works with Radial 500 series gear for the show: “I have a Workhorse (8-slot 500 series rack with built-in mixer) that I have some API modules and EQs in as well as a few audio manglers.” The mixer on the Workhorse has even gotten him out of a jam: “I’ve run out of channels before and the mixer in the Workhorse is fabulous to mix mic pre’s to record a mix of inputs. It does not sound like a compromised mixer.”

For the new night club/show stage, Moshay ordered a 48X16 splitter: “There was no choice other than a Radial for me. I have always been in love with the way all their boxes sound and the transformers they choose have always been the most musical choice. Of course we have digital gear in our setup, but not only is Radial analog the best sounding audio path, it is also a time tested proven path.”

Radial Engineering

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/09 at 01:58 PM
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Belmont University Takes “Top Mixer” Honors At AES Nashville Chapter Eleventh Annual Spring Mixer

Belmont trio takes Golden Mixer trophy

The Nashville chapter of the AES recently held its annual “Spring Mixer,” where the team from Belmont University took home the coveted “Top Mixer” perpetual trophy, the school’s fifth win over the 11-year history of the event.

All area schools with audio recording programs were invited to participate. Participating teams included:

—The Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville (Darrius Porter, Ryan Van Guilder, and Zach Helsinger)
—Belmont University (Anthony Dipiazza, Joey Doyscher, and Patrick Anderson)
—The Blackbird Academy (Jeff Todd, Brandon Schnierer, and Michael Freeman)
—Middle Tennessee State University (Charlie Garcia, Frank Gerdts, Luke Lasater)
—Nashville State Technical Community College (Gregory J. Bergeron, Destine Kaine Ellis, and Justin M. Osborne)
—The SAE Institute-Nashville (Jeremy Moulder and Dalton VanVolkenburgh).

Second place went to SAE Institute-Nashville, and third place was secured by The Blackbird Academy. 

Each team was given identical raw original studio tracks recorded in a Nashville studio, identical mixing environments, and eight hours to create a stereo mix and complete the session documentation per guidelines from the AES and The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing. Entering the competition, the students were only informed of the judging criteria and what equipment they would be using.

The mixing was done over a two-day period in six identical Pro Tools HD mixing rooms in CMT’s audio post rooms in Nashville. The students were informed as to which version of Pro Tools to expect, which plug-ins would be available on those systems, and the studio monitors that would be supplied. 

The final mix created by each team used tracks from a recording session of “Takin’ It Slow” by Canadian country artist Bobby Wills. The producer, Michael Pyle, spoke to the students via a video chat before the session and made them aware of the sound he was going for on the finished mixes.  Rules prohibited any additional outside materials, re-recording of any new material outside of the given tracks, or any outside assistance. 

The competition was judged by a panel of six industry judges: producer/recording engineer Neil Cappellino, recording engineer Bob Clark, mastering engineer John Mayfield, producer/engineer Steve Marcantonio, recording/mixing Engineer Randy Poole and recording/mixing engineer David Schober. Judging was based on aesthetic elements such as the fidelity, imaging, width/depth, dynamic range, mix balance, preparation for mastering and documentation-completion of page 5 of AES/P&E Wing Session Documentation.

Held at the W.O Smith Music School, the evening was moderated by AES Nashville committee member/recording engineer Jill Courtney, and she awarded the winning teams their prizes. 

AES chairman Kerry Kopp states, “The AES Nashville Section’s Spring Mixer is an event which we always greet with anticipation. This year’s event was one of the best in recent memory, with superlative judges who offered extremely beneficial mix evaluations. I believe each student that participated in this year’s event now has a much clearer vision of what they may experience when they enter the hyper-competitive environment of the technical side of today’s music business. Congratulations to the all of the teams that participated and benefited from this year’s event, with special accolades for the winning team from Belmont University.”

Sponsorship of the 2014 Spring Mixer competition, including prizes for the top teams and their schools were from MikTek (PM9, C1 and CV3 mics); Softube (Tech Classic Channel Bundle); Asterope (guitar and XLR cables); FabFilter (creative bundle); Cascade/Corner Music (BE Fathead Ribbon mic); Mayfield Mastering (mastered mixes and consulting time); and Iron Mountain (t-shirts). The sound system for the judging was provided by Blackbird Studio, and live sound mixing and coordination was provided by CMT director of engineering Tom Edwards and live sound engineer Garry Farris. 


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AES Nashville Chapter

 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/09 at 01:40 PM
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In The Studio: A Small Change To Cut Mixing Time In Half

Article provided by Home Studio Corner.

 
Do you struggle with mixing? Does it take you forever to be happy with a mix? If so, you may be falling prey to a very common and very preventable problem.

I recently picked up a new mixing gig for a client. The songs are full band arrangements, and they are very well produced. There are a few tracks here and there that aren’t recorded as well as I would like them to be. Even so, I’m finding myself mixing these songs much faster than I expected.

Why? Because I am not trying to be a magician. The key to mixing quickly (and this is so important) is to understand what you can and can’t do as a mix engineer.

I’m not talking about what you personally can or can’t do. I’m talking about what is actually possible in the mixing phase. So many people wrestle with mixes in vain, not realizing that they are really having a problem with the recording, not the mix.

You can’t make a recording sound wildly different from what’s actually recorded. You can’t take a country arrangement and turn it into death metal with a bunch of fancy mixing tricks. It just doesn’t work that way. The song will sound like the song sounds, regardless of how you mix it.

Your job as a mix engineer is to enhance the recorded material. That’s it.

Your job isn’t to change it. Your job isn’t to fix it. Your job is simply to enhance it.

If you find yourself spending hours on end trying to alter what was recorded to suit your needs, give up now. It will never work. Listen to the tracks, pick a direction, and go. Don’t wrestle with the mix.

The sooner you develop a deep understanding of what is possible during mixing and what is not, the faster you will be at mixing.

If the mix isn’t the best-sounding mix you’ve ever heard, there’s a good chance it could never be the best-sounding mix you’ve ever heard, because you’re not working with the best-sounding tracks you’ve ever heard.

My best mixes are of songs where the recorded tracks themselves were very good. My worst mixes are the ones where the recordings are very bad.

It really is that simple.
 
Joe Gilder is a Nashville-based engineer, musician, and producer who also provides training and advice at the Home Studio Corner.Note that Joe also offers highly effective training courses, including Understanding Compression and Understanding EQ.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 05/09 at 10:42 AM
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