Friday, October 04, 2013

Strange Weather Studios New Space Features Ideal Acoustical Environment And 48-Channel API 1608

Brooklyn's Strange Weather studios moves to new locale and upgrade API console.

With an API 1608 console, a jaw-dropping collection of analog equipment, and a straight-up rock ‘n roll recording vibe, Brooklyn’s Strange Weather studio is growing at an incredible rate.

A move to a larger space with custom acoustical design by Wes Lachot of Wes Lachot Design is destined to help Strange Weather thrive in the years and decades to come.

In addition to Lachot’s accurate acoustic design and owner Marc Alan Goodman’s ever-growing collection of gear and his valued partner Daniel Schlett, the new space benefits from an expanded API 1608 analog console with 48 fully-automated channels and 24 expansion slots for API 500 Series modules.

But beyond the particulars, the studio’s greatest strength derives from the cohesion of its acoustical, electrical, and creative environments.

Lachot takes a broad and balanced perspective to studio design and recognizes that a lot of what makes Strange Weather successful is out of his hands.

“The most important component of a successful recording studio is the talent, and Marc is at the hub of a vibrant creative community,” he said. “They have the songs, the instruments, and the performances that have the potential to become enduring recordings.

“After the talent, the acoustics are most important. That’s coming from an acoustic designer of course, but if the acoustics aren’t there, then the musicians don’t feel right and the performance suffers. The accuracy of the acoustics on both sides of the glass also impact how well a performance is captured and how well it translates.

“After the acoustics, the console is the next critical component because everything will travel through it multiple times.”

Goodman acquired Strange Weather’s original API 1608 in 2008.

“The idea of having something new and reliable with an honest vintage sound was very appealing,” he said. “I love the simplicity of the API 1608. It has eight aux’s, eight busses, and no crazy routing.

“Unlike everything else that’s being made today, it’s not overbuilt. And of course the sound is very attractive, especially to our mostly rock-based clientele.”

Lachot regularly recommends API consoles to his clients.

“Our rooms are very quiet and very accurate,” he said. “When we’re finally done and we fire up the tunes, the quality of the console is obvious. And if the quality of the console isn’t there, it can be a brutal realization.

“API’s all-discrete analog consoles have a hugeness, clarity, and depth that’s unbeatable. And the people at API are great to work with. They stand behind their products.”

Because the API 1608 is expandable, Goodman was able to grow his console to its current 48 channel form, and even included an additional bucket to accommodate 16 additional 500-Series slots.

“If anyone can fill those slots up fast, it’s Marc,” Lachot joked.

API Audio

Posted by Julie Clark on 10/04 at 11:14 AM

CADAC Appoints The Audio Specialists UG For Germany And Benelux

CADAC has appointed new German based distributor, The Audio Specialists UG, to distribute its console range exclusively in Germany and Benelux.

CADAC has appointed new German based distributor, The Audio Specialists UG, to distribute its console range exclusively in Germany and Benelux.

The newly formed distributor is an independent subsidiary of the Dutch TAS group and is headed up by leading professional audio sales manager Hans-Juergen Heitzer (aka Age-jay), formerly with Mega Audio.

Based in Wittlich in Rhineland-Palatinate, close to the Belgian border, The Audio Specialists UG opened for business at the beginning of this month with a portfolio of leading international brands. CADAC joins a line-up that includes Clair Brothers, Outline and RPM.

“It is our objective to serve our client base with high quality products from internationally recognised brands,” states Age-jay. “CADAC is a perfect fit, with a heritage based on the best sounding, best engineered live sound consoles ever made and a new product range that is extending that reputation into digital, delivering major advances in performance and operation.

“Products like the CDC four and CDC eight provide a definite advantage across a wide of live sound applications, both for touring and fixed installations.”

CADAC International Sales Manager Ben Milson adds, “We are very excited at the prospect of The Audio Specialists bringing its highly regarded business model, with its focus on a very high level of support for the brand, to the distribution of CADAC in Germany and Benelux.

“It will be a winning combination of The Audio Specialists’ enthusiasm and CADAC’s unique product line. Age-jay brings years of experience in working with many highly regarded brands in these markets and we are really looking forward to working with him on building our business in such important European markets.”


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/04 at 10:56 AM
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Avid Announces Pro Tools 11 Compatibility For EastWest Catalog Of Virtual Instruments

EastWest Software Engine PLAY 4 provides full AAX and 64-bit support for Avid Pro Tools 11

Avid and EastWest announce compatibility with Pro Tools 11 for the entire catalog of EastWest award-winning virtual instruments.

EastWest released the newest version of its proprietary software, PLAY 4, to support all of its collections with the new Avid AAX format.

EastWest/Quantum Leap virtual instruments enable musicians to create, compose and perform using the most realistic sounding samples, from rock to classical with many other genres in between.

A number of top composers and producers in the television, film and music industries rely on EastWest/Quantum Leap virtual instruments for audio production including James Newton Howard (“The Dark Knight,” “King Kong”); Danny Elfman (“Spiderman,” “Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Terminator”); Mark “Spike” Stent (Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Muse); and Herbie Hancock (12 time Grammy winning pianist & composer); Teddy Riley (producer of Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and “Invincible”).

More than 30 EastWest/Quantum Leap award-winning collections are now Pro Tools 11 compatible, including EastWest’s famous Hollywood series.

Avid Pro Tools 11 redefines professional music and audio production for today’s workflows. From all-new audio and video engines and turbocharged 64-bit performance, to expanded metering and new HD video workflows, Pro Tools 11 enables users to take on the most demanding sessions and maximize creativity.

EastWest joins more than 50 Avid third-party developers who have released more than 300 64-bit AAX plug-ins for Pro Tools 11 compatibility.

With a clientele that spans the who’s who of the music, film, television, games, multimedia and performing arts industries, EastWest provides professionals with the very best music creation tools available, now ready to be used with AAX and 64-bit support. The new 64-bit Avid Audio Engine in Pro Tools 11 allows customers to freely compose with large numbers of EastWest virtual instruments with practically no limits on RAM for sample buffers, which has not been possible before.

The newest version of Play 4 software is now available.


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/04 at 10:39 AM
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Jane’s Addiction Picks TELEFUNKEN Mics for Touring

New Telefunken M82 and M81-SH Dynamic Mics Boost Drum Power of Jane's Addiction.

Jane’s Addiction FOH engineer Jamie Rephann picked two new TELEFUNKEN microphones for the triumphant national tour of the band that launched the perennial alternative Lollapalooza rock festival.  He chose the new M82 and the M81-SH mics for drummer Stephen Perkins’ drum kit.

Rephann, who has worked as FOH engineer with ZZ Top, The Mars Volta, Tower of Power, and Papa Roach, among many others, spoke about the new TELEFUNKEN mics on tour with Jane’s Addiction: “The best thing I can say about the TELEFUNKEN M82 is that hands down it outperforms any kick drum mic I have used to date. Its like TELEFUNKEN just pressed the ‘ease your life button’ with the response of the M82.”

The new M82 dynamic cardioid microphone follows the same design approach as TELEFUNKEN’s other popular Dynamic Series microphones, and was created to provide a superior alternative to familiar large diaphragm dynamic microphones designed for kick drum. 

Rephann continues, “The M80 has been my vocal mic for about 5 years now, and with the addition of the M80-SH & 81-SH low profile mics for drums I couldn’t be a happier sound dude. I will never again do a show without my M82 and M81’s as well as M80 for vocals. It’s a pleasure to mix with these every night.”

TELEFUNKEN’s new M81-SH is a more compact version of the M81, which builds off many of the strengths of the popular M80, retaining the same minimal proximity effect, superior feedback rejection, and an articulate mid-range.  However, with the M81 (and subsequently the M81-SH), the top end is pulled back a bit, yielding a flatter overall frequency response. This combination results in a microphone with a wealth of body and clarity, making it a great tool for taming brighter vocals and guitar tones, and for fattening up toms, percussion, horns and thinner sounding sources.  The M81-SH also works well for singing drummers where isolation from cymbals is desired.

In addition to the microphones, Jane’s Addiction bassist Chris Chaney has been using TELEFUNKEN’s Graphite enriched Delrin guitar picks on stage and in the studio.  “Chris is a very popular session guy and he absolutely loves the picks,” added Rephann.

Jane’s Addiction was formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985. The band’s line-up features lead singer Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Chris Chaney, and drummer / percussionist Stephen Perkins.  The band was one of the first to emerge from the early 1990’s alternative rock movement, and gain both mainstream media attention and commercial success. Their initial farewell tour launched the first Lollapalooza, which has since become a perennial alternative rock festival. As a result, Jane’s Addiction became icons of what founder Perry Farrell dubbed the “Alternative Nation.” The band was ranked 35th on VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” list.


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/04 at 09:57 AM
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Thursday, October 03, 2013

Aphex Ships New USB Mic With Analog Processing

The Aphex Microphone X offers podcasters, voiceover talent and vocalists studio-quality sound, complete with integrated analog optical compression, Aphex’s famous Aural Exciter and Big Bottom analog processing, and HeadPod 4 headphone amplifier technology in a single, easy-to-use package.

Aphex is now shipping the Microphone X, a high-quality cardioid condenser USB microphone that comes complete with integrated analog processing including optical compression and Aphex’s famous Aural Exciter and Big Bottom, and HeadPod 4 technology. 

The Microphone X is configured to put all of the key analog processing used for recording the voice before the conversion to digital, thereby ensuring the best possible recording quality. And all of this processing power is controllable, with input trim, headphone output level and individual controls for the Aural Exciter and Big Bottom levels.

Each of the processors has its own on/off control. Users record a perfectly optimized signal right into their DAW via USB. No other USB microphone combines this feature set. The Aphex Microphone X puts everything users need to make exceptional sounding spoken-word and vocal music recordings right at their fingertips.


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/03 at 11:29 AM

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Yamaha CL5 Installed At NEP Studios In NYC

NEP Studios in New York City recently installed a Yamaha CL5 in Studio 47, and TheBlaze has made it their home for production of many of its shows.

NEP Studios in New York City recently installed a Yamaha CL5 in Studio 47, and TheBlaze has made it their home for production of many of its shows.

TheBlaze is a news, opinion and entertainment network dedicated to delivering high quality programming 24/7. 

TheBlaze is available on over 25 television providers including DISH and Optimum TV.  TheBlaze is also available as an online video streaming network.

The Yamaha CL is currently being used for production of Real News, Wilkow!, Liberty Treehouse and The B.S. of A.

The exclusive provider of Glenn Beck’s daily television broadcast, TheBlaze offers a full slate of thought-provoking original news and opinion shows, enlightening documentaries and original specials.

The Yamaha CL5 in NEP 47 is equipped with four Rio 3224-D input/output boxes.

“I had exhausted the analog console’s I/O,” states John Ariz, broadcast audio mixer for TheBlaze TV. “NEP and TheBlaze agreed to upgrade the studio and loved the cost-for-power ratio of the CL5.

“Having prior experience on Yamaha PM5D, LS9, and M7CL consoles, I could tell Yamaha had really listened to their user’s feedback and incorporated some of the best features in this model.”

Ariz cites features like the Dante Network’s ease of use, the console’s 24 mix busses, the ability to choose the direct outs and insert points, and its preamps. 

“The console sounds great. Lots of clean headroom, very dynamic and the new premium effects are exciting,” says Ariz.

“We had been looking for a digital console to replace the current analog console, and was pleased that Yamaha was able to provide an on-site demo of the CL5 and DANTE IO for our engineers and management,” adds Alex Joyce, Tech Manager for TheBlaze.

“After the decision was made, NEP’s talented engineers pre-wired all patch bays and remote IO during our normal production schedule to allow for the installation of the CL5 over a three-day weekend, replacing the current analog console.

“We were under a very tight deadline to resume full production, and Yamaha provided an experienced technical rep on the launch day to ensure it was a success.

“We are very pleased with the Dugan-MY16 card option, as this feature greatly improves the intelligibility of our productions. Our staff and freelance audio engineers have been quite happy with the ease of operation and robust features of the CL5.”


Posted by Julie Clark on 10/02 at 01:45 PM

Monday, September 30, 2013

In The Studio: The Power Of Subgroups (Includes Video)

A way of making the mix process more efficient
Article provided by Home Studio Corner.

If you’ve been mixing for any length of time, you probably know how useful (and cool) subgroups can be.

But recently, Joe Gilder has come up with a different take on doing subgroups—a small change, but something that’s definitely had a positive impact in his workflow and has helped speed his mix process.

Previously, he only subgrouped things he felt should go together—guitars, or vocals, or drums—but that approach has changed. In this video, Joe explains his new strategy on subgroups, offers additional specifics, and explains the reasons why it’s making things more efficient.


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.

Posted by Keith Clark on 09/30 at 05:40 PM
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Al Schmitt At Ocean Way Recording For New Yumi Matsutoya Album

Joined by guitar ace Dean Parks and engineer Steve Genewick

Multiple Grammy-winning engineer/producer Al Schmitt recently dropped in at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood to work on the new album from Japanese superstar Yumi Matsutoya. 

Schmitt, who is tracking and mixing her 37th album, was joined by fellow engineer Steve Genewick for the recording of guitar overdubs by the virtuoso Dean Parks in the renowned Studio B.

Matsutoya is a hugely popular Japanese singer, composer, lyricist and pianist, with more than 42 million records sold and twenty-one #1 albums in her career.  She is the only artist to have at least one number-one album every year on the charts for 18 consecutive years.

Her husband, producer Masataka “Manta” Matsutoya writes arrangements that often involve classical strings and woodwinds, and was one of the first composers to use these instruments in J-pop music. He also frequently uses choruses in his arrangements, and many popular Japanese artists have made their debuts in the background choruses of Yumi Matsutoya’s songs.

Ocean Way Recording

Posted by Keith Clark on 09/30 at 09:56 AM

Friday, September 27, 2013

In The Studio: Basic Multichannel Tracking

Properly setting up the foundation of it all
This article is provided by Bobby Owsinski.

An excerpt from The Recording Engineer’s Handbook.


Basic tracks (sometimes called just “basics” or “tracking”) refers to the recording of the rhythm section, and is the foundation for any other parts that are to be recorded afterward.

What that means is that if there’s something faulty in the recording of the basics, it’s usually going to cost time and money to fix it later.

That’s why it’s essential that the basic track recording is as good as it can be both sound and performance-wise.

Basic tracks can encompass any of the following:

—The entire band, regardless of the number of pieces
—The rhythm section only (drums, bass, guitar, keys)
—Drums, bass and guitar
—Drums, bass and keyboards
—Drums and bass only
—Drums and keys only
—Drums and guitar only
—Drums only
—Loops and another instrument

All of the above usually also have a guide or “scratch” vocal recorded at the same time as well to at least provide cues to the various sections of the song. While programming the rhythm section might also qualify as a “basic” session, it doesn’t require any microphones or a scratch vocal, so we’ll leave it out of the discussion.

It’s also not uncommon for the drums and several other instruments to play during the basics, with the idea of only capturing a great drum track, then replacing the other instrument tracks with better sounding and performed overdubs.

Preparing For The Session
One of the keys to a successful basic tracking session is the preparation made beforehand, but before you can prepare for the recording you need some essential information first. Here’s the minimum that you must determine in advance of the session. This will usually be provided by the producer, artist or band leader, and assumes that you’re unfamiliar with the act.

—What type of music will be recorded?
—How many songs do you expect to record?
—Who are the musicians (If you know some of them it might affect your setup)?
—Who’s the producer (if you’re not talking to him already)?
—What time does the session begin? Does that mean the downbeat of recording or when the musicians are expected at the studio to load in?
—How long do you expect the session to go?
—How many musicians will be playing at once?
—What’s the instrumentation?
—How large is the drummer’s kit? How many toms will he be using?
—Will the guitarist(s) be using an acoustic or electric?
—What kind of amps will the guitar player(s) and bass player be using?
—Do any of the players expect to use house gear like drums, guitar amps, or keyboards?
—How many cue mixes will be required?
—Will there be a scratch vocal tracked at the same time?
—Will they bring any special outboard gear or mics that they’d like to use?
—Will they be tracking to loops?
—Do they require any particular instruments, amps or effects?

Determining the above before the musicians hit the studio can go a long way to a quick and easy setup and an efficient session.

TIP: Don’t ask for the setup information too far in advance since much can change by the day of the session. Getting the info the day before the session is usually sufficient.

Setting Up A Talkback Mic
One of the things that engineers, producers and musicians all hate during a tracking date is when they find it difficult to communicate with one another. Usually it’s easy for the control room to speak with the musicians, but it’s not easy to hear the musicians speak to the control room through the open mics that are used on the session, since they’re adjusted for the louder playing levels instead of talking.

That’s why it’s essential to use at least one dedicated talkback mic out in the studio with the players so you can always hear what’s happening on that side of the glass.

The type of mic used really doesn’t matter, although an omni set in the middle of the studio can work quite well, Sometimes a second talkback mic is also added in a large studio. In fact, some engineers go as far as to set up a dedicated talkback mic for each musician if it’s only the four piece rhythm section recording.

Regardless of how many mics you use, the talkback mic will make communication between the control room and the studio a lot easier, and keep the musicians a lot happier as a result.

TIP: Make sure to mute the talkback mic when the band is playing. It will probably sound tremendously trashy and distorted, since it’s set up for people talking and not playing.

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 blogs. Get the second edition of The Recording Engineer’s Handbook here.

Posted by Keith Clark on 09/27 at 01:45 PM
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Plugin Alliance & accusonus Launch drumatom, A Unique Drum Leakage Suppression Tool

Reduces microphone crosstalk in multichannel drum recordings

Plugin Alliance has welcomed aboard digital audio technology startup accusonus as its latest partner brand. Headquartered in Patras, Greece, the international team of engineers and scientists at accusonus have developed drumatom, an advanced tool to reduce microphone crosstalk in multichannel drum recordings.

This novel stand-alone software application for Mac and PC lets users adjust, reduce, or eliminate leakage using artificial intelligence. drumatom is based on patent-pending Advanced Audio Analysis - A3 technology to combine progressive principals of acoustics, signal processing, psychoacoustics, and music theory.

drumatom provides a workflow that compliments the advanced algorithm that lies at its heart by balancing speed and simplicity: simply launch drumatom and load drum channel files (by dragging and dropping them onto the GUI or using the menu option) which will then be grouped to corresponding TRACKS; select the drum type for each of the CHANNELS from the drop-down menu if necessary (though drumatom does this automatically in most cases); click on the PROCESS TRACK button (following which drumatom makes a processing pass); select individual drum CHANNELS and adjust leakage to taste using the FOCUS knob to remove leakage and the FINE TUNE knob to dial it back in; finally, click on the EXPORT TRACK button to export the processed version of the drum group (or export the individual drum CHANNELS by clicking on the icon next to the file name).

accusonus already announced a September 2013 release date for drumatom before joining the Plugin Alliance, but have had to temporarily delay this to allow the product to be integrated into the Plugin Alliance license activation system. Plugin Alliance is currently preparing a drumatom tutorial video in its Neve large format console-centred recording studio in readiness for this high-priority release.

The newly-formed Plugin Alliance and accusonus partnership will be announcing an official release date for Q4/2013 at the upcoming 135th International AES Convention at Jacob Javits Center in New York City (October 17-20), where they will be presenting drumatom and its underlying technology (with both private and NYC studio-based demos being available upon request).

In addition, accusonus Founder & CTO Elias K Kokkinis will also be making a panel appearance on the WII - Audio Source Separation Workshop, alongside representatives from Adobe Research (USA), Audionamix (France), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland), and Stanford University (USA) in what promises to be an ear-opening session.

The dedicated drumatom website is here.

Plugin Alliance

Posted by Keith Clark on 09/27 at 12:38 PM
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AES Nashville Section Holds Vocal Microphone Invitational 2013

Focused on capturing vocals in the studio and live on stage

Last weekend in Music City, the Nashville Section of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) held its Vocal Microphone Invitational at Belmont University’s Ocean Way Nashville, Studio A.

This free event focused on capturing vocals in the studio and live on stage, and included live a cappella vocal performances by male and female vocalists through a wide variety of studio and live vocal microphones. The day-long event was capped off by a discussion with an all-star panel of studio and live engineers that was moderated by Lynn Fuston, Pro Audio Review technical editor and engineer (Kathy Troccoli, Michael W. Smith, DC Talk). 

Fuston was joined by three studio pros with voluminous discographies: Michael Wagener (Ozzy Osbourne, Kings X, Skid Row, Dokken, Stryker, Lordi), who is the owner and operator of WireWorld Studios and Double Trouble Productions (he also conducts a series of educational workshops); Jeff Balding, a long-time Nashville veteran with a diverse discography (Shania Twain, Megadeth, Giant, Lionel Ritchie, Kelly Pickler); and producer/engineer Neal Cappellino, who is also a 20-plus year Nashville veteran that built his career on working with a broad swath of artists (Alison Krauss & Union Station, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker). Cappellino also operates The DogHouse recording studio. 

Joining the panel from the post-production and live event recording camp was Michael Davis, owner and chief engineer of Digital Audio Post. Davis is a musician and composer who has toured as keyboard player and programmer with Dolly Parton. He’s also provided audio for numerous TV and film projects, and provided post-production services for CMT’s Summerfest concert series and other programs.

From the front-of-house world came a pair of live sound professionals: Jonathan Loeser, who currently serves at FOH for Rascal Flatts, in addition to work for Colbie Caillat, Olivia Newton-John and Prince; and Brett Blanden, a longtime veteran in studio and live sound, currently working at FOH for Lady Antebellum. 

AES Nashville Section

Posted by Keith Clark on 09/27 at 11:24 AM
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

In The Studio: Misunderstood Points Of Threshold Based Effects

How they work, what the jargon really means
This article is provided by

In the world of recording there are numerous kinds of effects. However, often there are more terms and details specific to each device than the average engineer would care to learn before jumping in and using the new equipment.

Details are very important, though, and are critical to understanding the basic opperation of all equipment. So let’s take a look at threshold based effects and make sure we all have a good understand of how they work and just what everything means.

Some effects are triggered when a sound volume passes a specific point called a threshold. A good example of a threshold based effect is a gate. A gate will mute a sound (stop it from playing) until the sound reaches a loud enough volume to reach the threshold.

Then the gate will open and the sound will play. Quiet sounds that are below the threshold will not trigger the gate to open and loud sounds that are at or higher than the threshold will trigger the gate to open and the sound to be heard.

This makes a gate very handy if you wanted to be able to hear important loud sounds and automatically mute quiet sounds that are not supposed to be heard, such as low background sounds or noises.

Some effects will become more extreme when the sound passes beyond the threshold and keeps getting louder.

A ratio of 1:1.

For example a distortion effect that starts to sound dirty when a sound reaches a minimal threshold volume will get dirtier as the incoming sound gets louder.

Some effects use a ratio to set the amount of processing that happens once the threshold is passed. For example, an effect used to control volume (a compressor / limiter) can be set to a ratio of 1:1 (no change past the threshold), a low ratio such as 2:1 (for every 2 dB of volume increase the compressor only allows 1dB of change), a heavier ratio such as 8:1 (for every 8 dB of volume increase the compressor only allows 1 dB of change) or a very heavy compression ratio (called limiting) such as 10:1.

You can even limit sound using a ratio of infinity : 1, which means that no matter how much louder the incoming sound gets beyond the threshold everything will be squeezed into only 1 dB of change.

Although usually the sound that is being processed in the effect is used to judge if the threshold is reached and the effect is triggered, it is possible to use an external trigger (called an external key) to trigger the effect.

Imagine a long sustaining vocal note that is being processed with a gate that is using an external key from a drum beat. The gate would open when the drum beat reached the threshold and the vocal note would be heard with the timing of the drum beat.

It is possible to use a side chain to trigger the threshold, which often involves using the original sound for the trigger, but processed. A typical example of this would be if you have a snare drum recording with leakage from the kick that you want to remove. The snare will be much brighter sounding than the kick, which will sound more like a thud.

Multiple ratios demonstrating compression.

If you used a gate on the track, but instead of just using the track from the trigger you first used an EQ to remove low thud parts of the sound and accentuate the bright parts, then the trigger will have more snare sound than kick and more easily hit the threshold only when the snare is playing but not the kick.

Another example is to use a compressor on a vocal to reduce how loud sounds get, but to trigger that compressor using an EQ’d sidechain that has all the low sounds removed so you can only hear the SSS of the vocal.

Such a sidechain would compress only when the sss sound is heard, which will created something called a de-esser which is used to control sibilance in vocal performances.

Threshold effects sometimes use attack, hold and release settings. Attack refers to the speed with which the effect will begin to work after the threshold is crossed.

Release refers to the speed with which the effect settings will return to the original setting if the trigger goes down below the threshold level.

Hold (also called sustain) refers to a time that passes between when the trigger drops below the threshold level and when the process starts to release.

Bruce A. Miller is an acclaimed recording engineer who operates an independent recording studio and the BAM Audio School website.


Posted by Keith Clark on 09/26 at 04:32 PM
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In The Studio: Nine Techniques For Controlling Sibilance

The right cominbation to get you further with less artifacts
This article is provided by the Pro Audio Files.

Sibilance is the worst. Nothing screams “unseated vocal” like a bunch of “s”s and “t”s that hop right out of the mix.

The issue with taming sibilance is that it lives right in the presence and “shiny” range of the vocals — that nice top end down to about 2-3 . This article will be about taming sibilance, and the pros and cons and trickery of each mechanism for doing so.

At The Source
Sibilance comes from an exaggeration of sound that projects from the roof of the mouth. Certain tongue shapes, space in the front teeth, shape of the palette, or just a learned way of speaking can produce overly sibilant delivery. Knowing this, there are a number of ways we can try to deal with problem before it hits the tape… err … computer (2013 right?).

1. Choose the right mic. This almost goes without saying, but if the vocalist is overly bright, you might want a darker microphone. A ribbon mic, a softer dynamic mic (like an RE20), or a vintage sounding condenser (U67), might be a good grab. Something that has a rolled off, smooth top end, that will take well to EQ. There is no con to this approach.

2. Choose the correct mic position. You may want to tip the mic a bit off axis, aiming it slightly left or right of the mouth, or perhaps somewhat down. Angling the mic will mostly change the way the treble range is picked up, as lower frequencies are somewhat less directional. The con is that the evenness of the frequency response will be somewhat disrupted by grabbing an off-axis response.

3. The bubble gum trick?If sound projecting from the upper palette is the problem…. eliminate the upper palette. Have the vocalist chew up some gum and stick it to the roof of his/her mouth. This will cut down the sibilance significantly. The big con here is that this can be awkward for a performer — if it throws off the performance or sense of pitch, it’s not worth it. But it’s an option.

In The Mix
The issue with sibilance is too fold. First, because of the way we hear, we are more sensitive to higher tones even at lower volumes. So even if the “s”s and “t”s are below the other vocal sounds, we’re still gonna hear them clear as day. Second, sibilant sounds are very fast. So here’s a few ways we can deal with sibilance effectively:

1. Manually ride the fader. Hear an “s,” turn it down. This is a transparent approach. The con is that it’s time consuming.

2. Wideband de-essing. Another basic approach, this is compression that is reacting only to the frequency range. This is much faster than fader riding, however, it tends to leave the leading edge of the “s” unaltered. It makes your sibilant sound less intrusive but spikey, and may be just as annoying. The other con is that you’ll tend to catch some of the treble of non-sibilant words and pull down the overall “spark” of the vocal.

3. Frequency selective de-essing. This is the same as wideband, except instead of turning the whole signal down, you’re just turning down the treble range, as opposed to the whole of the signal when it triggers. This is good for evening out the tone, but has all the drawbacks of wideband, plus it induces EQ artifacts (although they are fairly minimal).

Advanced Techniques
With the basics covered, here are some techniques that can get better results, although they require a bit of trickery. I’ll start with my favorite.

1. Pre-triggering the de-esser. This is a really cool technique. It’s a major pain in the ass to set up in analog mixing, but it’s easy in digital. Make a copy of your vocal on a separate track. Move the copy ahead of the main vocal by 50 ms. Put a de-esser, or a multi-band compressor (like Waves C6) — something with an external sidechain — on your main vocal. Key it to the copy.

Through this setup, every time an “s” comes through on the copied signal, it will activate the de-esser on the main signal — but it will do it about 50ms earlier than when the actual “s” from the main signal would occur. This allows the de-esser to reach peak gain reduction BEFORE the “s”. If you set the release for about 100 ms, you’ll knock out that “s” sound without leaving any spikes on the leading edge. This is a very transparent way to do this.

2. Over de-essing. Another way to get rid of “s”s is to go overboard with the de-esser, so that it’s working even on parts of the vocal that aren’t sibilant. If you then feed this into an EQ, you can boost your high end back up to regain your lost treble.

The pro of this is that it has the added benefit of making the treble of the vocal very present without making the “s”s jump. The con is that the high end will almost assuredly become less smooth unless you are using a really good de-esser and treble boost. I use this technique on vocals that only become sibilant once I add a lot of high end to them — which is fairly common in pop/hip-hop/dance productions.

3. Smooshing your high end. This one takes a little guts. One of the beautiful properties of minimal phase EQ, is that if you use the exact same EQ and do the exact same amount of boost, followed by the exact same amount of cut, you will nullify your artifacts and come out with the same signal as when you started.

Using this principal, you can add about 10-20 dB of treble gain to your vocals, compress the vocals, and then do the same amount of attenuation after the compressor and get a surprisingly transparent form of de-essing. It sounds weird because it’s so extreme, but you get your normal compressor reacting more to the sibilance. Give it a try, you may be surprised. The major benefit to this is that it works well in the analog realm, not just digital.

There are other techniques for easing out sibilance. These are the ones I’ve found most useful. I should also say that using a combination of these techniques will probably get you further with less artifacts.

Check out the video below to see some de-essing in action:

Matthew Weiss engineers from his private facility in Philadelphia, PA. A list of clients and credits are available at He’s also the author of the Mixing Rap Vocals tutorials, available here.

Be sure to visit The Pro Audio Files for more great recording content. To comment or ask questions about this article, go here.

Posted by Keith Clark on 09/25 at 03:21 PM
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Line 6 Announces POD HD ProX Guitar Multi-Effects Processor/Studio Interface

New rack-mount guitar processor features more DSP power, giving guitarists greater creative flexibility in the studio

Line 6, Inc. today introduced the new POD HD Pro X guitar multi-effects processor and studio interface, replacing the popular POD HD Pro.

Like the recently released POD HD500X, POD HD Pro X features more DSP processing power than before, giving musicians even greater flexibility for creating complex signal paths and unique, intricate tones.

“POD HD Pro X makes the latest POD available in a rack-mountable form factor,” said Max Gutnik, Vice President of Products, Line 6. “With a world-class collection of amps and effects, plus more DSP power than ever, POD HD Pro X represents the ultimate creative studio tool for guitar players.”

POD HD Pro X features the same award-winning collection of HD amps as its predecessor. From vintage classics to modern powerhouses, each HD amp delivers incredible sonic depth, character and touch nuance. More than 100 studio and stomp effects allow guitarists to re-create classic signal chains or discover completely new sounds.

Featuring unmatched flexibility and greater processing power than any other guitar interface, POD Pro X is designed for tone exploration.

Dynamic DSP gives guitarists the freedom to decide which effects to use, and where to place them in the signal chain. They can now add even more effects than before, opening up all-new tonal possibilities.

With a wide variety of analog and digital connections, POD HD Pro X is ideal as a studio interface. Guitarists can record vocals or acoustic instruments, track with their favorite HD amps, use the stereo FX loop to connect stompboxes and outboard effects, and much more.

A USB connection provides multi-channel, studio-quality recording with popular digital audio workstations.

POD HD Pro X is the perfect foundation for any guitar system, and integrates seamlessly with a James Tyler Variax guitar and DT amp or StageSource speaker to form the Line 6 Dream Rig—the only system that can be virtually any rig.

Line 6

Posted by Julie Clark on 09/25 at 10:44 AM
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Berlin Academy Installs Allen & Heath GS-R24 In New Recording Studio

The School of Entertainment & Technology (SET) in Berlin, Germany, has installed an Allen & Heath GS-R24M mixing console in its recording studio.

The School of Entertainment & Technology (SET) in Berlin, Germany, has installed an Allen & Heath GS-R24M mixing console in its recording studio.

SET is managed alongside the School of Health, Sport, Technology and the Arts that makes up the Berlin Academy. Current investment plans are dedicated to improving the field of music and media, and in addition to a fully-fledged recording studio, the institute is also building a video studio and various seminar halls.

Following extensive comparisons, SET decided to purchase a GS-R24M mixer with a GSR-24-A-Fire Firewire / ADAT card.

“We wanted to have an analogue console that could also be used in conjunction with a DAW,” explains Horst Haubrich, head of the SET Academy. “With most analogue consoles, it would be necessary to also purchase a DAW controller but that is not the case with the GS-R24M, which combines the world of analogue and digital perfectly.

“Not only can it function as a conventional mixer with all the associated benefits but also as a controller for various DAWs - all at a very convincing price-performance ratio! “

“A new firmware update equips the GS-R24 with additional control that enables the highest possible integration with Pro Tools ever achieved by an analogue mixer at this price point,” says A&H product specialist, Nicola Beretta. “It’s like having a dedicated HUI controller embedded in the analogue heart of GS-R24. You press a channel Select button, and you get instant access to all key functions in the master section.”

Allen & Heath

Posted by Julie Clark on 09/25 at 10:34 AM
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