Tuesday, August 26, 2014
DPA Microphones Expands Sales Force In U.S., Canada & Latin America
Three new area sales manager, general manager promoted
DPA Microphones has appointed Christopher Spahr, Pedro Rocha and Leonardo Romero as area sales managers for the eastern U.S., western U.S. and southern U.S./Latin America/Canada, respectively. The company has also promoted Shan Siebert to general manager of the Longmont, Colorado-based office.
“This announcement comes at a very exciting time for DPA Microphones’ U.S. operations,” says Eric Mayer, president of DPA, Inc., the U.S. branch of DPA Microphones. “Not only does this serve as an example of how our brand recognition has expanded, but it also means that we’ll be able to further grow our fan base throughout the Americas. In addition, these appointments will allow me to perform my day-to-day strategy, sales and marketing responsibilities more effectively, giving us the opportunity for even greater success.”
Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, Romero has more than 20 years of experience in the U.S., Latin American and Middle Eastern markets. In addition to joining DPA, Inc. as area sales manager for southern U.S., he will also oversee distributors in Canada and Latin America. He comes to the company from Teldyne Reson, manufacturer of high-tech sonar and hydrophone devices, where he served as Latin America sales director.
With a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Irvine, Romero has held sales positions for a variety of companies across the oil, printing and software markets, including Lub-Line Corporation; OneVision Software, AG; Esko-Graphics; Budde International, and Newgen Systems. He will build on these experiences to help with DPA’s presence in the church, theme park and cruise ship markets.
With a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Barry University and a recording arts associate’s degree from Full Sail University, Spahr’s 20-year career spans the music, recording arts and pro sound industries. He comes to DPA as area sales manager for eastern U.S. from RTW, where he oversaw U.S. sales and operations.
Prior to that, he spent seven years as a market development manager and certified U.S. RF expert for Sennheiser, in both the installed sound and professional channels. He has also served as staff engineer at Criteria Studios in Miami and performed live sound work for various concerts, corporate functions and theater applications.
A former film sound instructor with The Los Angeles Film School, Rocha joins DPA as area sales manager for the western U.S. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunications engineering from the Santo Domingo Institute of Technology, he also earned a certificate degree in audio engineering from the Musician’s Institute and attended Full Sail University’s online entertainment business master’s program.
Prior to his teaching position, Rocha served as an Avid Pro Tools marketing specialist and as a pro audio and musical instrument sales representative for a variety of retailers, which will serve him well for his current position. In addition to his responsibilities of west coast sales, he is also be tasked with overseeing growth in the film and music industries.
Building on his five-year tenure with the company, Siebert has been promoted to general manager from his role as service manager, which he has held since 2010. In this new position, Siebert is overseeing the day-to-day operations of the U.S. office, including distribution, technical assistance and loan facilitation.
Prior to joining DPA, Siebert served as a radio installer in the United States Army for four years, learning to solder and repair electrical equipment, and later earned a pastry degree that led to his own dessert company, where he learned the intricacies of business management.
Epsilon Announces New EPM Series Powered Studio Monitors
Biamped 2-way monitors available with 6.5-inch and 8-inch woofers
Epsilon is now shipping the new EPM Series of biamped, 2-way studio monitors, including the EPM-6.5 and EPM-8.
Both EPM Series models are outfitted with Class AB amplifiers, 1-inch silk dome high-frequency tweeters, and balanced XLR, TRS 1/4-inch or unbalanced RCA inputs.
The EPM-6.5 incorporates a 6.5-inch glass cone low-frequency transducer, with power output to components of 50 watts (LF) and 20 watts (HF). Maximum SPL is rated at 106 dB.
The EPM-8 is outfitted with an 8-inch glass cone low-frequency transducer, with power output to components of 70 watts (LF) and 20 watts (HF). Maximum SPL is rated at 109 dB.
The EPM-8.0 is available for $299 and the EPM-6.5 is available for $199.
“The EPM Series delivers exceptional accuracy, ultra flat response, and extraordinary SPL for most production environments,” says Grover Knight, Epsilon pro sales manager. “DJs, project studio managers, and home recording enthusiasts will especially appreciate the excellent sound quality and bass responsiveness.”
Friday, August 22, 2014
High Resolution Audio Major Focus At 137th Audio Engineering Society Convention
DEG to present a comprehensive High Resolution Audio program October 10 at AES137 in Los Angeles
The 137th Audio Engineering Society Convention (October 9-12, 2014, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles) will feature a High Resolution Audio (HRA) program Friday, October 10, 2014.
The direct result of a collaborative effort between the Audio Engineering Society (AES) and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the HRA program will include a number of panels and sessions that address the current and future direction of HRA from various perspectives, including content creation, digital distribution, licensing of hi-res music files, archiving, subscription models, marketing/promotion of hi-res music, compatibility of playback devices and more.
These panels and sessions will feature some of the brightest minds in the business as they discuss some of the most current and controversial issues concerning the rapid adoption of high-resolution audio across the industry.
Additionally, there will be an HRA Exhibition Zone that offers a unique opportunity for CE manufacturers and music industry executives to engage the professional recording community and discuss strategic HRA initiatives.
“The DEG is pleased to join with the Audio Engineering Society in promoting the benefits of Hi-Res Audio during this event,” said Amy Jo Smith, President, DEG. “Working together, we can underscore HRA’s numerous benefits to the professional recording community and enlist their support in helping drive this initiative.”
For over 65 years, nearly every seminal audio development has been incubated and promoted within the AES community, beginning with stereo LPs in the 1950s and continuing with magnetic tape in the 60s, digital audio and the Compact Disc in the 70s, perceptual coding (e.g. MP3) over the past 25 years, all the way to today’s digital streaming formats. It’s no wonder that the DEG and the AES have decided to partner to bring to AES137 Convention attendees the most current and comprehensive information on the state of High Resolution Audio, which is defined as “lossless audio that is capable of reproducing the full range of sound from recordings that have been mastered from better than CD quality music sources.”
For information on how you can get your FREE Exhibits-Plus badge (pre-registration required) and detailed information on the High Resolution Audio Program at the AES137 Convention, as well as further Registration, Hotel, and Technical Program information, visit the AES137 webpage.
Posted by Julie Clark on 08/22 at 11:02 AM
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Blackbird Academy Engineering Program Integrates Roland’s Personal Mixing System
Roland's M-48 personal mixers are used every day in Studio I at The Blackbird Academy.
The Blackbird Academy, a premier studio and live sound engineering school in Nashville, has recently installed and integrated the Roland M-48 Personal Mixing System into their program.
The Academy’s unique “hands-on” approach curriculum provide students access to world-famous Blackbird Studio gear and engineers.
“At The Blackbird Academy, our prime emphasis is teaching the students to provide the client with high-quality sound and service throughout the production process,” says co-director and instructor Kevin Becka. “The compact, M-48 mixers punch this ticket by being easy to use, having a full set of features like EQ, reverb, panning and level controls, plus they sound great.
“I have experience with this system in a live sound setting and am amazed at how well it fits into our tracking, and overdub sessions at The Blackbird Academy.”
The M-48 mixers are used every day in Studio I at The Blackbird Academy. The studio is built around a Beatle theme, and like Abbey Road, the control room for Studio I is on the second floor. When they built the room, it was going to be a daunting task to drag copper downstairs to all the live room panels. Becka was happy that the Roland M-48 system worked with their existing Cat-5 runs.
The M-48’s personal mixers have proven to be easy for the students to grasp and get up and running quickly. With the bankable channels and multi-function encoders, its effortless for student/engineers to show the musicians how to jump between the functions and concentrate on getting themselves a great mix. The three-band EQ and reverb parameters are simple but sound great and are very usable.
Becka concludes, “We are very happy with how the M-48 works with our curriculum, studio workflows and how the students have taken to the system – they are very impressed and so are we.”
Roland Systems Group
Posted by Julie Clark on 08/21 at 10:18 AM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
DPA Microphones Record Aspen Opera Theater Center
The AOTC relied on the d:dicate 4006C Omnidirectional, 4011A Cardioid and 4015C Wide Cardioid Microphones, as well as the d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone 10-piece Classic Touring Kit for their pristine recording capabilities.
DPA Microphones played an integral role during the Aspen Opera Theater Center (AOTC) program held at the historic Wheeler Opera House during the recent Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.
The AOTC relied on the d:dicate 4006C Omnidirectional, 4011A Cardioid and 4015C Wide Cardioid Microphones, as well as the d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone 10-piece Classic Touring Kit for their pristine recording capabilities.
Supplied by DPA, Inc. — the company’s U.S. branch, these mics were used primarily to record and broadcast AOTC’s Saturday morning opera master classes as well as its fully-staged productions of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Bizet’s Carmen.
“We were looking for a clean and accurate sound,” explains Scott Burgess, head audio engineer for the Aspen Music Festival and School. “The DPA mics are spotless and precise, and could handle the dynamic range of an operatic performance.”
Since the AOTC is a training program for professional singers, the music was not amplified for the live audience. However, Burgess still needed to ensure that the broadcast audiences, recording listeners and guests in the green rooms all had the same audio experience as the live attendees.
He selected the d:dicate 4006s to pick up the vocals from across the front of the stage, a pair of d:dicate 4015s arranged for the main orchestra, a pair of d:dicate 4011s in the wind section and the d:vote 4099s to accent the orchestra’s string section. This guaranteed a pure sound for all recordings and radio broadcasts, including those aired on the local NPR station.
“Another big appeal of the d:dicates and the d:votes was their small size,” adds Burgess. “We could put them where we wanted without having visual distractions, as we needed to stay out of the way of the performances that took place.”
Burgess also arranged d:votes inside the piano to feed sound to the students during the master classes.
“The flexibility and sound of the d:votes proved invaluable for the Saturday classes, especially since the piano was constantly being moved in and out of the pit,” he continues. “DPA’s unique magnetic clip design saved us a lot of time as the mics can easily be placed in and out of the piano.”
In addition to the traditional uses, Burgess also called on his d:dicate 4011s to amplify the percussion section for the July performances of Lowell Liebermann’s The Picture of Dorian Gray into the theater through a pair of powered speakers.
“We weren’t able to record Dorian Gray, for contractual reasons, but we still needed mics during these performances,” he explains. “Since the show had an especially large orchestra, we were unable to fit the percussion in the theater. Instead, they had to perform from a side room where we set up an ORTF pair of DPA 4011s, which allowed us to amplify the sound of the percussion back into the theater using a standard PA speaker system.
“It was an astoundingly convincing method as audiences could scarcely tell that the percussionists were not in the theater. The conductor was happy with it and it worked really well for everyone.”
Though the AOTC had not used the newer DPA mics before, it was essential to Burgess, who started with the festival in 2011, to be able to hit the ground running.
“The space can be a little challenging and usually I have to make some modifications, but the DPA mics worked right off the bat,” he says. “We only had to make very minor adjustments to get a really good sound.”
Working with professional companies, such as DPA Microphones, has proven indispensible to Burgess and the students.
“Our staff comes from all around the country, from some of the biggest recording programs where they are taught on a variety of equipment,” he says. “Having companies like DPA Microphones as one of the sponsors is a great way for our students, and even our professionals, to work with the best professional audio equipment on the market, which is a really important part of our program.”
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
In The Studio: Gain Structuring With Plug-Ins
For those of us who toiled over faders back when the earth was still cooling, the concept of gain structure was fairly easy to grasp.
Each separate box was a link in the audio chain, visibly connected via patch cables, and analog distortion was easy to hear and identify.
In today’s all-digital, all-in-the-box world, it’s not that simple. Signal paths can be unconventional and convoluted, and digital distortion can be subtle and sneaky.
But while the dawn of the DAW has fundamentally changed the way we make records, proper gain structure is no less critical to good recording. The user-friendly, forgiving design of computer audio programs can make it all too easy to overlook a poorly-thought-out signal chain, and the results can sneak up and bite you.
Everything To Gain
From its initial capture to its place in the final mix, a signal in a typical recording chain travels through a multitude of stages or devices. Each of these devices, whether “real” hardware or software plug-ins, needs to receive an optimal signal level at its input; not enough level can add noise, while too much can cause clipping and distortion.
Keeping an eye on the input and output levels of every plug-in in the chain can ensure that each device’s output feeds a clean signal to the next device’s input.
Other than channel inserts, most plug-ins’ input levels are controlled via the mixer’s effects send, as well as the plug-in’s own input level control. Matching the mixer’s send level with the plug-in’s input level is key to proper gain structure.
Sending too low a level to the effects buss and then turning up the plug-in’s input level to compensate will result in a noisier signal. Conversely, sending too hot an effects send level and then turning down the plug-in’s input level will result in a distorted signal.
Generally speaking, unity gain is the goal. With some exceptions (most notably compressors and other dynamics processors), a good rule of thumb when building your gain structure is to try and achieve the same peak level whether the plug-in is inserted into the signal chain or not. If your signal level is noticeably higher or lower when you bypass the device, it’s a good idea to examine your gain structure.
If A Signal Clips In The Forest
Clipping can be particularly problematic in the digital domain. Raise the input signal to an analog device, and distortion will gradually rise until it clips. Digital circuitry has no such safety zone–a single dB too high will take your signal from clean to clipped.
Unlike analog clipping, this digital clipping can be difficult to hear, particularly when it’s just one element of a dynamic mix. If the clipping goes undetected, the digital information for that sound is permanently corrupted, even if the levels are brought back down later in the mix.
The distortion from digital clipping can have a subtle but undesirable effect on the sonic quality of your track, usually in the form of barely perceptible levels of a brittle, harsh digital sheen that can fatigue your listeners.
Even a relatively small bit of gain from certain plug-ins—for example, a high-pass filter—can boost peaks and transients pretty significantly. Don’t depend on your meters to alert you to these, either. In most DAW setups, plug-in inserts occur pre-fader, so even if you keep the levels of your channel strips below clipping, distortion within a given plug-in may not show up if the level was brought back down further along the signal chain.
Once again, your ears are you most important tools. Solo each device and listen.
What To Watch For
Needless to say, different types of signal processors will affect overall gain structure differently, and some are easier than others to work with.
With a reverb like the EMT 250 Classic Electronic Reverberator, distortion is typically not that hard to hear. But the “soft” nature of some reverb algorithms can mask other artifacts, including noise resulting from too low an effect send level.
UAD EMT 250
Multiband EQ can be particularly nefarious, especially when it comes to peaks and transients. With modern multiband EQ plug-ins like the Neve 88RS Channel Strip, it’s not hard to inadvertently overlap a range of frequencies in two different bands, and the cumulative boost can result in clipping.
Compression and dynamics processing present a different set of challenges, and an in-depth discussion of how they affect the signal chain is a subject for an article of its own.
Briefly, though, it’s important to pay attention to a compressor’s attack and gain settings, as these can have a major impact on the gain structure of the signal coming out of your compressor.
Get To Know Your Plug-Ins
Just as every guitar and every vintage amp has its own sonic character, so too does every signal processor. This is no less true for software plug-ins than it is for hardware.
Different devices have different ways in which they handle gain and clipping. And getting a good sense of how each of your plug-ins performs in different situations is as important as knowing any other instrument in your arsenal.
In the analog era, engineers would test each new box by running a sine wave through it and looking at the signal on an oscilloscope.
They could see where each device would clip at specific frequencies, what kind of distortion would occur, and other characteristics that helped to map out the device’s optimal gain settings and place in the chain.
You can easily do the same thing with your frequently used plug-ins. Open an oscilloscope or frequency display in your DAW, set the plug-in’s input (and output, if it has one) level to unity gain, and send a sine wave through the device. Watch the output as you gradually raise the send level.
Of course, the geek factor of testing with sine waves is no substitute for listening. Many tracks in a mix will have multiple plug-ins inserted in their signal path. Don’t forget to listen to each one individually, rather than the results of several effects combined.
UAD Neve 88RS
Like Watching Paint Dry
If you’ve gotten this far you’ve probably figured out that gain structure is neither exciting nor creative. But it’s one of those necessary facts of recording life, and ignoring it is not an option.
The more familiar you are with gain structure in general and your equipment in particular, the less time you’ll have to spend optimizing levels when you’ve got a room full of antsy musicians waiting to record.
Daniel Keller is a musician, engineer and producer. Since 2002 he has been president and CEO of Get It In Writing, a public relations and marketing firm focused on audio and multimedia professionals and their toys. Despite being immersed in professional audio his entire adult life, he still refuses to grow up. This article is courtesy of Universal Audio.
Patchwerk Recording Studios’ Nick Bassani Keeps On Track With JBL Studio Monitors
Patchwerk Recording Studios, located in Atlanta, Georgia, has recorded more than 60 platinum and gold albums and worked with a who’s who of rap, hip-hop, R&B and pop artists including 50 Cent, Sean Combs, Pit Bull, Flo RIda, Jay-Z, Madonna, and Nicki Minaj.
Producers, artists and listeners want more and more bass, notes Patchwerk’s tracking engineer Nick Bassani. He relies on Harman’s JBL LSR308 powered studio monitors as his go-to near-field loudspeakers.
“There’s an insatiable appetite for more low-end response in the music and this creates a challenge for urban market producers and mix engineers,” explains Bassani. “Many monitors and even headphones out there cater to this appetite with low-end response that’s often misleading and just plain inaccurate.”
Bassani feels the JBL LSR308 is the perfect solution for for bass-accurate near-field monitors.
“Accuracy and clarity tend to be expensive – but not in the case of the LSR308. They’re not ‘boomy’ or exaggerated in the bass, yet have more low-end response along with far better high-frequency extension—all the way up to 24kHz—than any other near-field I’ve used.”
The powered-bi-amplified LSR308 employs a long-throw 8-inch woofer and a 1-inch woven-composite neodymium tweeter that is mated to JBL’s exclusive Image Control Waveguide, developed for the company’s new flagship M2 Master Reference Monitor.
“The LSR308’s wider frequency response and clarity allow me to ‘hear into’ the mix at lower volumes, which has caused me to make huge improvements in my overall mixing technique,” said Bassani. “Thanks to the exceptional definition of the woofer and tweeter and the accurate on-and off- axis coverage pattern of the waveguide, the stereo image is deep and wide and the clarity is phenomenal. I can hear reverbs and delays extremely well.”
Bassani also found the LSR308 “a godsend” when its improved resolution allowed him to begin experimenting with mid-side panning in his mixes.
“Suppose an artist or producer wants to be sure that what they hear in their mixing environment translates accurately to the next studio they work in, or in their car or home?” Bassani asks. “To be honest, that’s what really sold me on the LSR308. During a project, we were tracking in a studio that had a nice vocal booth but the control room was not the best.
“We replaced the existing control room speakers with a pair of LSR308 monitors and I noticed an instant improvement in the transferability of my rough mixes between the studio, my home and another professional studio where I work.”
After that experience, Bassani installed the LSR308 at Patchwerk’s Studio 9000 (one of Patchwerk’s main tracking and mixing rooms) and has never looked back, saying he is “unable to part with them.”
He now takes a pair of LSR308 monitors to every room on any project he’s involved with, whether it’s a small project studio or a multi-million-dollar facility. He concluded, “I know that if I get my mix sounding great on the JBL LSR308 monitors, I’ll never have anything to be worried about.”
Posted by Julie Clark on 08/19 at 10:53 AM
Monday, August 18, 2014
Synchro Arts Introduces Revoice Pro 2.6, Offers Numerous Enhancements (Includes Video)
Workflow speed-ups and enhancements to Cubase and Nuendo users and speed improvements for Pro Tools 11 users
Synchro Arts has announced Revoice Pro 2.6 for both Mac and Windows, offering significant workflow speed-ups and enhancements to Cubase and Nuendo users and speed improvements for Pro Tools 11 users.
New features in Revoice Pro 2.6 include the ability to instantly import audio and clip information from Cubase and Nuendo to Revoice Pro using either Copy and Paste or Drag and Drop. Instant transfer of Revoice Pro’s processed audio back via Drag and Drop or export audio function.
Cubase 5.0 and later and Nuendo 5.0 and later—including Nuendo 6.5—are supported. For Pro Tools 11 users of Revoice Pro on Windows, the slowdown in Pro Tools when the Revoice Pro plug-in is open have been removed.
Revoice Pro has been designed for professional audio editors and provides easy-to-use tools for manipulating audio features (timing, pitch, vibrato, inflection and level) with precision and quality. There’s also unique automation of tedious audio feature editing tasks, which can save hours and improve results.
Overview of Revoice Pro
Revoice Pro is a purpose-built, stand-alone program that includes two unique, automated processes:
1) Audio Performance Transfer (APT) process. Automatically transfers selected timing, pitch, vibrato, inflection and/or loudness characteristics of a good “guide” audio signal to one or more target audio signals (“dub”). APT is powered by and includes an advanced version of VocALign.
2) Doubler process. When double tracks haven’t been recorded, Revoice Pro’s Doubler creates incredibly natural-sounding ones. And when you a manual adjustment of timing or pitch is needed, there are numerous simple-to-use tools available.
Applications include tightening the timing, pitch and vibrato of “stacked” lead and backing vocals or instrumental tracks, as well as creating one or more realistic double tracks from a single input track. In addition, users can lip-sync dialog (ADR) and vocals by the same or different performers, even when there are noisy guide tracks. In addition, the inflection in dialog (ADR, voice-overs etc.) can be changed with the desired Guide pattern provided by recording the director or dialog editor.
“Revoice Pro saves me and my team hours of work when it comes to vocal pitch and timing correction with doubled vocals and backgrounds. “It’s amazing how fast the workflow is,” states Tony Maserati, Grammy winning producer (Lady Gaga, Jason Miraz).
“I started using Revoice Pro on American Hustle and I was surprised at how quickly and perfectly it matched sync without sonic artifacts,” adds Renée Tondelli, dialogue and ADR editor (American Hustle, Django Unchained). “I now use the pitch function to match performances, and it works incredibly well. Because Revoice Pro is so fast and precise, it’s now my go-to tool.”
A 14-day free trial license (iLok-based) for Revoice Pro can be obtained from www.synchroarts.com along with downloads of the Revoice Pro program, online manuals, demos and tutorial videos. Full licenses (iLok-based) can be purchased from Synchro Arts’ dealers or on-line from www.synchroarts.com/store.
Recommended retail price of Revoice Pro is $599 for North America, £374 (ex VAT) for UK and the rest of the world, and €449 (ex VAT) for Europe. Discounts are available on trade-ins for current VocALign owners.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Focusrite Introduces Scarlett Solo 2-Input/2-Output USB Audio Interface
The most affordable and smallest member of the Scarlett family to date
Focusrite has introduced Scarlett Solo, a 2-input/2-output USB interface that’s the smallest and most affordable member of the Scarlett family to date.
It’s outfitted with the Scarlett preamp and the signature red metal case utilized with the rest of the range, and includes +48-volt phantom power. Unique halos around the gain knobs stay green when level is good and turns red if it gets too loud. Direct latency-free monitoring is available with the flip of a switch.
Scarlett Solo provides 24-bit digital audio with sample rates up to 96 kHz. Dynamic range is stated as 106 dB, with EIN of 125 dB and THD of -97 dB. The instrument input provides high headroom with a spec of +14 dBu.
Scarlett Solo is supplied with Ableton Live Lite, 1 GB of Loopmasters sample content, the Novation Bass Station virtual instrument and Focusrite’s Scarlett plug-in suite.
Apple Macintosh with a USB 2.0-compliant USB port OS: Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) or OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), or Windows compatible computer with a USB 2.0-compliant USB port OS: Windows 7 or Windows 8 (32 or 64-bit).
$124.99/$99.99 at dealers
Innovative Music Named As New Audient Compact Product Distributor In Australia
Melbourne-based company has strong links with the major resellers and independents around the country
Audient has announced that it’s compact product range, including the iD22 USB2 DAW interface and ASP880 8-channel mic pre and ADC, is now distributed in Australia by Innovative Music, a Melbourne-based company set up 24 years ago by CEO Steve Lincoln-Smith with strong links with the major resellers and independents around the country.
“We market products that ensure long term customer success, and our partnership with Audient will help us maintain this trend,” states Lincoln-Smith, :Audient’s expanding range of DAW focused products comprises of leading edge products that feature the legendary ASP console mic pre’s, top class Burr-Brown ADC, look great, and better still, come in at a surprisingly reasonable cost.”
“We’re partnering with premium distributors around the world and I’m delighted that Audient can now add Innovative Music to our channel,” adds Audient’s Simon Blackwood. “Steve and his team combine a strong customer focus with an exceptional knowledge of the industry, standing the Audient product range in good stead, now and in the future.”
Awave continues to look after Audient’s console sales in Australia.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
In The Studio: The Five Levels Of Mixing Quality
The meaning of the word “good” is one of my odd and recurring fascinations. What makes a “good” mix?
Music is a subjective field with many general principles but very few hard and fast rules.
The arts are inherently up for interpretation — and so “good” to one person may be “bad” to another. I could site examples of this, except there’s so many I feel there’s really no need.
So I often repose the question to myself: what makes a “good” mix? After all, that’s what I get paid for right? To make “good”/”great”/”unfrickin’ real” mixes.
Keeping in true-to-blog format, here’s a list of what I feel makes for the levels of “goodness” in a mix.
Level 1: Getting The Sound “Out of the Way”
At the most fundamental level, recordings are ultimately adulterated forms of a musical performance.
The fact is nothing really equates to the sound in the room, and when we start putting microphones in between the performance and the two measly speakers that are attempting to regurgitate that performance, it’s going to fall flat.
Couple that with any deficiencies of the recording space, equipment, or (hey, hey) tracking engineer — or lack thereof — and we soon find that the record pales in comparison.
Level 1 is the recognition that mixing is a necessary evil — someone has to compensate for all of this and “get the sound out of the way.”
Because it’s really hard to enjoy a performance when the guitar sounds like it’s under a blanket and the vocal sounds like the singer was chewing on the microphone in a space that sounds like a space-cavern and coffin at the same time.
No matter how good the performance is, bad sound is going to interfere with the listener’s experience.
Level 2: Making The Sound “Larger Than Life”
Once the sound is out of the way the most important job is done. But now we get to view mixing as a creative medium.
While a recording will never have the power and impact of a live performance, the actual sound performance can do things that can’t happen in nature. And that’s a fantastic thing.
Records, like film, have grown into their own art because of the manipulation that can occur. We can create a sound that is “larger than life”.
This comes in many forms: giving the sound a greater space, elements that are more vivid than we would hear them even in the best of sound systems, shaping sounds to have a stronger perceived impact than they normally would, etc.
Level 3: Enhancing The Musicality
This is the level that separates the aspiring engineers from the inspired engineers.
The ability to “help the music along” is often lost on the bands and artists who need it the most — but for the vetted artists, bands, producers who hear and feel musicality — this is the real litmus test.
The engineer hears the basic mix and begins to interpret the musical intentions.
There’s a myriad of means in which musicality is expressed, interpreted, and subsequently helped along — and a great deal of it is instinct — but when you hear it you hear it.
All I can say is a great deal of this process involves automation — bringing key elements out at exacting moments.
Level 4: Understanding The “Bigger Picture”
Music does not exist in a box.
Having an appreciation for the culture of people creating and listening to that music is paramount.
This doesn’t mean strictly playing to the aesthetic of the audience, but also knowing how to manipulate their expectations. This means not only understanding what the listener wants, but also why, and what the effects of altering their expectations may be.
Level 5: Doing Everything To Serve The Song
The mixer’s role is generally understood to be the tailoring of elements within the production.
However, the mixing phase is still a production phase, and as such, there is still time for adding, removing, or changing the vision of elements.
I have done everything from adding crazy effects, muting instruments, replacing drums, overdubbing guitars, and even added vocals onto records. The cornerstone to all of this is doing so in good taste.
The other important consideration is that the mixer sometimes must sacrifice their own importance. The things which “feel” the best aren’t necessarily the things that “sound” the best.
Putting things out of balance, leaving them muddy or thin, overly reverberant or awkwardly dry, can all go towards the main goal: the success of the song. The most successful songs are the ones that are the most compelling to the listener and that doesn’t always mean perfection.
There are two points I’d like to make about this article.
First, all five of these “levels” correlate. They’re not in fact separate stages or concepts, but more like degrees of mastery.
To this day I am still refining my skills in levels 1 & 2, even though my main goals are mastery of levels 3, 4 & 5.
My second point is that I didn’t choose these levels randomly. I put them in order of primary importance and difficulty of mastery.
The vast majority of mixes I hear do not have proper negotiation of levels 1 & 2 — far be it from 3, 4, or 5.
It takes a great deal of study, practice, and discipline master the art of mixing, so don’t ever be afraid to revisit the foundation during your journey!
Matthew Weiss engineers from his private facility in Philadelphia, PA. A list of clients and credits are available at Weiss-Sound.com. To get a taste of The Maio Collection, the debut drum library from Matthew, check out The Maio Sampler Pack by entering your email here and pressing “Download.”
Also be sure to visit The Pro Audio Files for more great recording content. To comment or ask questions about this article, go here.
Audio-Technica Honors The Farm Technical Sales & Marketing With President’s Award
Recognizes a leading manufacturer’s representative for outstanding commitment and dedication during the Audio-Technica 2013/2014 fiscal yea
Audio-Technica U.S. presented Roseville, CA-based The Farm Technical Sales & Marketing with the President’s Award for its work in representing the company’s products.
John Hood, principal of The Farm, accepted the award, which recognizes a leading manufacturer’s representative for outstanding commitment and dedication during the Audio-Technica 2013/2014 fiscal year.
The award was presented by Philip Cajka, Audio-Technica U.S. president and CEO, at a ceremony during the 2014 InfoComm Expo in Las Vegas.
The Farm represents Audio-Technica in the territories of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, northern California, northern Nevada and Hawaii.
“The Farm Technical Sales & Marketing has again been awarded this honor for their continued dedication to customer service, sales and the marketing of the A-T brand,” Cajka states. “We are proud to celebrate this award with them, and we are extremely grateful for their continued service and hard work.”
TELEFUNKEN Introduces New THP-29 Extreme Isolation Headphones
Designed for both live sound and studio applications
TELEFUNKEN Elektroakustik has introduced new THP-29 Extreme Isolation headphones, designed for both studio and live sound environments.
The new headphones are designed to protect eardrums from damage while improving the recording, performing and listening experience. They incorporate high-fidelity, high-input 40 mm drivers with proprietary TruSound Tonal Accuracy, joined by 29 dB of natural passive isolation.
Suggested applications include live mixers who need to block out monitor loudspeakers, drummers who need to be able to hear the mix without setting their volume at an unreasonably high level, and critical mixing during post production.
The closed-back design, lightweight construction, adjustable head strap and padded ear cushions provide optimum comfort during lengthy recording or listening sessions. The advanced isolation capabilities eliminate extra bleed while giving an average of 29 dB of noise reduction over a wide frequency range.
Developed in partnership with Direct Sound, THP-29 headphones come with padded adjustable headband, storage pouch, and jack adaptor that provides passive isolation with no batteries required.
U.S. MSRP $135. Orders can be placed here.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
In The Studio: Five Steps To Checking Your Drum Phase When Mixing
One of the most important yet overlooked parts of a drum mix is checking the phase of the drums. This is because not only will an out-of-phase channel suck the low end out of the mix, but it will get more difficult to fix as the mix progresses.
I covered how to check the polarity of the drum mics a few weeks ago (here), but here’s an excerpt from my Audio Recording Basic Training book that covers a way to check the phase when you’re setting up for a mix as well.
A drum microphone can be out of phase due to a mis-wired cable or poor mic placement. Either way, it’s best to fix it now before the mix goes any further.
1) With all the drums in the mix, go to the kick drum channel and change the selection of the polarity or phase control. Is there more low end or less? Chose the selection with the most bottom end.
2) Go to the snare drum channel and change the selection of the polarity or phase control. Is there more low end or less? Chose the selection with the most bottom end.
3) Go to each tom mic channel and change the selection of the polarity or phase control. Is there more low end or less? Chose the selection with the most bottom end.
4) Go to each cymbal mic or overhead mic and change the selection of the polarity or phase control. Is there more low end or less? Chose the selection with the most bottom end.
5) Go to each room mic channels and change the selection of the polarity or phase control. Is there more low end or less? Chose the selection with the most bottom end.
You’d be surprised how many times that flipping the phase on one or two of the drum mic channels results in a better, fuller sounding kit, even on one that’s well-recorded.
Bobby Owsinski is an author, producer, music industry veteran and technical consultant who has written numerous books covering all aspects of audio recording. For more information be sure to check out his website and blog. And go here for more info and to acquire a copy of Audio Recording Basic Training.
Monday, August 11, 2014
“David Bowie Is” At Chicago’s Museum Of Contemporary Art Enhanced With Sennheiser
guidePORT technology helps visitors experience unique journey through artist's sound and style
On September 23, the “David Bowie Is” exhibition makes its U.S. debut at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). The exhibition, meticulously curated by the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in London, explores the diverse work of a great artist of our time.
For each of the exhibits, including the MCA exhibit coming to Chicago in September, V&A has partnered with Sennheiser to help insure a memorable audio experience for visitors.
The exhibition takes visitors on a sonic and visual journey, retracing his creativity and influences from all areas of his art using a wealth of material — including videos, stage costumes, album covers, stage sets, photographs and of course his music. To develop the exhibit, curators Victoria Broackes (V&A) and Geoffrey Marsh were given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive, consisting of more than 70,000 pieces.
By leveraging Sennheiser guidePORT technology and 3D immersive sound simulation equipment, visitors are left with an unforgettable experience that explores the essence of Bowie. Sennheiser guidePORT expert Robert Généreux is on site to install and configure the system at MCA.
In preparation for the exhibition, each museum visitor is given a pair of Sennheiser headphones and a guidePORT receiver, enabling them to walk freely into 25 different “display zones.” Inside a control room behind the scenes, Sennheiser is constantly broadcasting 25 live audio streams through transmitters that are perfectly mapped to the floor plan of the exhibit.
Each time a visitor walks towards a different display, the relevant audio stream activates, broadcasting high-quality audio through corresponding antennas located nearby. Small trigger units called “identifiers” located throughout the exhibit are able to recognize the geo-location of each visitor and pick up the appropriate audio stream.
In addition to the streaming audio occuring throughout the exhibit, visitors are also invited to experience a 3D audio spectacle, consisting of Bowie concerts from over the years and an exclusive “mash up” of his songs, created by Tony Visconti, Bowie’s long-time producer. The immersive audio experience is made possible by a special 3D upmix algorithm created by Gregor Zielinsky, Sennheiser international recording applications manager, and the experience is delivered through an array of hidden loudspeakers from Neumann