“We’re really excited about the new RP-series headphones. Like many other Fostex products, these have been industry standards for years. It’s nice when we can take something as classic and well established as these unique headphones and really take them to the next level,” said McDougall.
The new headphones were developed with a re-designed housing to extract the maximum performance from the RP driver. The newly improved ear pads give better isolation and lower repulsion than the previous generation, while both the pads and headband have been redesigned for even more comfort. Fostex has also included two detachable cables with each pair of headphones: one for studio use, and one for use with mobile devices while on the go.
Grateful Dead Deploys Sonnet Technologies For Recording Final Tour
Music Mix Mobile leverages Echo Express III-R and xMac Pro Server Systems for Thunderbolt 2 connectivity.
Sonnet Technologies’ Echo Express III-R and xMac Pro Server rackmount expansion systems played starring roles in a 96K recording workflow adopted by Music Mix Mobile (M3) and used for the Grateful Dead’s recently concluded “Fare Thee Well” (Dead 50) concert tour.
M3, an Emmy and Grammy Award-winning provider of mobile audio facilities for high-profile live entertainment events and broadcasts, deployed the Sonnet solutions on its Eclipse mobile production vehicle to provide reliable and redundant Thunderbolt 2 connectivity and PCIe card expansion for recording the five-concert tour.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s founding and also its final public appearances, the “Fare Thee Well” mini-tour included two dates at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, before arriving in Chicago for the final three concerts, played to sold-out crowds at Soldier Field on July 3, 4, and 5.
M3 provided recording and broadcast services for the tour, which broke the pay-per-view record for live music shows with more than 400,000 cable and satellite viewers. An even broader audience watched the shows at theater simulcasts and online through live streaming services.
“Our biggest challenge for the Dead 50 tour was their requirement that we track each show at a 96K sample rate — which puts a whole new set of hardware demands on the truck. To make it happen, we needed to rely on Thunderbolt technology and expansion systems that would take up a minimal amount of space,” said Joel Singer, co-founder and general manager at M3.
“We’ve had enough experience with Sonnet’s Thunderbolt expansion chassis to know that they’re absolutely reliable and rugged. Plus, they’re some of the quietest expansion systems we’ve ever worked with, a critical requirement in the cramped recording environment onboard the truck. Sonnet systems have become an integral part of our equipment mix, and the fact that they’re certified and qualified by Avid, Blackmagic, and other key technology providers is a huge plus.”
The Sonnet Echo Express III-R and xMac Pro Server provide a highly reliable and scalable, yet cost-effective, means of extending and streaming M3’s on-location audio recording workflows.
For recording the “Fare Thee Well” tour, M3 extended two six-core Mac Pro cylinder computers by connecting each, via its Thunderbolt 2 ports, to an Echo Express III-R Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe card expansion chassis housing three Avid Pro Tools | HDX DSP I/O cards. Each Pro Tools | HDX card was attached to a MADI I/O device that enabled M3 to record 192 stage inputs at 96K. This master recording configuration was duplicated to provide a safety backup, and a third recorder system utilized a MacBook Pro and an Echo Express III-R in a similar Pro Tools | HDX configuration to record 128 channels in 96K.
For video recording, another MacBook Pro was connected to an Echo Express SE I Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe card expansion system housing a Blackmagic DeckLink Extreme HD PCIe recording card, which output Apple ProRes 442 LT files for playback by the M3 postproduction team. An additional Mac Pro cylinder housed in a Sonnet xMac Pro Server was extended via Thunderbolt 2 to three Pro Tools | HDX cards and three MADI I/O devices. Sonnet’s RackMac mini 1U enclosure housed two Apple Mac Mini computers to provide backup in the event of any computer failure within the recording workflow.
“We have relied on a broad array of Sonnet expansion and storage solutions since our founding in 2008, and the equipment has always worked flawlessly. The devices give us extra peace of mind in high-pressure recording scenarios,” Singer added. “Thunderbolt technology has transformed our workflows by enabling ever-higher data rates for recording and storage, and the Sonnet expansion chassis lets us take maximum advantage of Thunderbolt technology using minimal rack space. All of the Sonnet devices are extremely well-designed, well-built, and easy to use, and the support we’ve received from the Sonnet technicians has been absolutely top-notch.”
Now BIAS FX iPad users will find five studio racks including new professional modules based on the LA2A Compressor, PSA-1 Preamp, Manley EQ, Echoplex and Dual Spring Reverb.
The new racks can be integrated with BIAS Amp models, run into two different signal chains, and share and download on ToneCloud, Positive Grid’s tone sharing platform.
The new BIAS FX Studio Racks Pack is available now as in-app purchase.
Professional Boutique Compression
The new effect racks in BIAS FX includes a professional studio compressor based on the Teletronix LA-2A studio compressor. It’s considered one of the finest compressors in many circles and it provides warmth and transparent all tube circuit compressor effect. It’s great to use as preamp module to drive more gain, or as a rack unit for tube compression.
Studio-Ready Preamp and EQ
The Studio Rack Pack also includes a drive preamp based on the Sansamp PSA-1 preamp, this rack provides a full range of control parameters for your drive channel, you can dial in from a mellow blues lead to a punchy hard rock power chord. We also included a studio EQ based on the Manley Massive Passive EQ, this boutique studio EQ contains 2 adjustable individual channel and each has 3 band EQ to shape the tone.
Delay And Reverb Racks
BIAS FX iPad users can now find the classic delay echoplex based on the famous Echoplex tape delay unit, first made in 1959. the Echoplex set a standard for the effect in the 1960s—it is still regarded as “the standard by which everything else is measured.” Also included is an analog sounding dual spring reverb, based on the RCM-2R Dual Spring Tube Reverb. It uses 2 tube simulated channel to provide warmth and wide range of analog spring reverb, adding much juice to your tone and make it swirl and rich.
The new BIAS FX Studio Racks Pack is available for $9.99, and $4.99 if bought separately as an in-app purchase on the BIAS FX store.
Saint Saëns Records Organ Symphony With Mackie DL32R (Video)
Recording and live sound engineer Dan Kury finds a portable, digital recording solution with impressive results.
Recording and live sound engineer Dan Kury refers to himself as an old school engineer, having logged more than 40 years mixing and recording a wide variety of musical genres in all sorts of venues while hauling around big consoles, outboard racks and huge audio snakes.
When he discovered the Mackie DL1608 16-channel digital mixer, he was a happy man.
“The DL1608 is the first piece of equipment that changed my life,” Kury begins.
“The equipment, the labor, the time setting up and tearing down, the lids for the cases stacked under the table-all eliminated or greatly reduced.” Besides, he says, “You don’t need a console when you can grab an iPad and go up to the balcony or mix from anywhere in the venue.”
Still, for some gigs, he wanted more than 16 input channels. So when Mackie released the DL32R 32-channel rack-mount digital mixer, Kury jumped on it.
“Now I have a DL32R in a four-space rack, along with two wireless systems,” he explains. “It sits on the side of the stage, so no need for a big, heavy snake. Setup time and teardown time is half of what it used to be with a traditional console. Not only that, now I have DCAs. What an incredible luxury.”
Kury is also a big fan of Mackie’s Master Fader control app. “It’s easy to get around,” he explains. “The DL32R does a lot of things, so you’d think the app would be complicated, but it’s so well-designed and efficient to use.”
Although he was confident that the DL32R preamps would compare well with the high-priced preamp/interface he typically uses for recording shows, Kury wanted to be absolutely sure. His opportunity to compare the preamps came when he mixed the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis performance of Saint Saëns’ Symphony No 3 at the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood, Missouri.
Saint Saëns’ Symphony No 3 is known as the “Organ Symphony,” and First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood has a beautiful new Casavant Frerespipe organ, designed in the style of the great Parisian symphonic organs of the late 19th century.
“It’s a magnificent instrument,” says Kury. “If you play the lowest C with the pedal, and you pull the 32-foot stop, the 32-foot pipe produces a root pitch of 16 Hz.” This recording would indeed be a great preamp test.
“For my comparison test, I made two separate recordings,” Kury recalls. “I sent the mics to a splitter, and I recorded one feed through my high-end interface and preamps and the other feed through the DL32R.” Kury then sent the signals via FireWire to a Mac computer running a DAW.
The results were as Kury predicted. “The Mackie preamps absolutely held their own against the high-end preamps,” he says. “In a blind test, I could not tell the difference. There is no question that you can use a Mackie iPad-controlled mixer to do a multi-track symphonic recording. If I do more multi-track symphonic recordings, I will happily use the DL32R preamps.”
“The DL32R is absolutely remarkable,” he concludes. “It blew my mind.”
Audio Engineer Richard Furch Mixes Tyrese Gibson With Tube-Tech
Vocals for chart-topping album, Black Rose, polished with CL1B compressor.
Audio engineer Richard Furch, who has mixed numerous Grammy Award-winning songs and albums for artist such as Prince, OutKast, Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men, India.Arie and countless others, mixed Tyrese Gibson’s latest – and perhaps last – studio album, Black Rose, in its entirety.
Furch ran all of Tyrese’s lead vocals through his hardware Tube-Tech CL1B compressor to give them the high-end sheen that his millions of fans have been singing along to since the album dropped.
For the last four albums Tyrese has been wedded to tracking with a Sony c800 tube mic paired with an Avalon mic pre/compressor (with the “Babyface” mod for faster attack time). Furch recorded most of Black Rose in Tyrese’s Matrix Decoded studio, with more recording done by Andrew Hey.
“That combo is very popular, and it gives the vocals a good, ‘forward’ sound,” said Furch.
“However, it also gives them a rough, brash-sounding high end. I’ve found that if I just tap the Tube-Tech CL1B (just 1dB to 3dB of gain reduction) it makes the vocals leaner and beautifully highlights all of their details. It’s like it puts a satin glove on the high end. In addition, using the CL1B made Tyrese’s vocals so articulated and smooth that they required less equalization as a result. All-in-all, the Tube-Tech CL1B puts a ‘blanket of awesome’ on vocals.”
Furch has used the same trick with many other artists, such as BJ the Chicago Kid, India.Arie, and Marvin Priest. Because he’s almost always using compression to bring elements of a mix forward, Furch favors fast release times, and his use of the CL1B is no different. For Tyrese, he used a medium attack time with a mild ratio in the neighborhood of 3:1. He configured all of his settings in manual mode.
“More and more pop and R&B artists are starting to track with the Tube-Tech CL1B to get that particular sound right from the start,” Furch said.
“They’re usually paired with a U67, an M147, or a C12 microphone and a Neve-style preamp.”
For now, Tyrese is riding a wave of enthusiasm for Black Rose and audiophiles have taken note of just how great the album sounds, song craft aside.
Tyrese and Furch appeared on recent installments of Pensado’s Place – “The Charlie Rose of Audio” – to discuss the making of Black Rose. And given its success in light of Tyrese’s “threat” that it would be his very last studio effort, it will be hard for Tyrese to resist the pressure (and temptation) to bless the world with another album.
Over the years, I’ve heard people tell me a lot of things that they believe to be true, but aren’t.
They hear it from other musicians and pass it on and pretty soon, people start accepting it as absolute fact.
The actual truth gets buried in history and that’s the way legends are born. It’s charming, but inaccurate.
Let’s examine some of these beliefs.
Bass drum ports
There are a lot of drummers that cut a small hole (usually around 4 to 6 inches in diameter) in their front head to “port” their drum.
Somebody may have told them that this tunes the drum (like a bass reflex speaker) to improve the bottom end. Is it true? Yes and no.
Cutting a hole will provide a vent which can be tuned to resonate the air inside the drum, but that’s what the second head does anyway - it’s like a passive radiator, driven from the pedal head.
Putting a hole in the front head is kinda like putting a hole in your speaker to port your hi-fi system.
So, why do drummers put that hole in their drums? Primarily to use as an opening for a kick drum mic, without removing the head entirely.
A lot of drummers still print the band’s name on their drum head and that’s important to them. That hole is important when you walk into a studio to record. Live drummers saw their studio counterparts using the hole and thought it looked cool, and adopted it.
Where the hole is located is very important, but not for any reason you’d normally think about.
It should be above the center line of the drum, so that a short mic stand will work, and the mic stand boom arm angle will let the engineer position the mic to point directly at the spot where the beater hits the head.
The hole diameter should be around 6 inches to allow for various size microphones.
The center of the hole should be above the center line of the drum, so that the entire opening is in the upper half of the drum. Any 6 inches opening above the 9:00 to 3:00 line will work.
Tubes are better than transistors
When transistors first appeared, their distortion characteristics were very different than tubes.
Once you exceeded their output range, they simply gave up, all at once and distortion went straight up very quickly.
A transistor amp which hit 100 watts at .05 distortion might put out 110 watts, but at 35 percent distortion. A tube amp distorted slower and more gracefully, often generating 2nd and 4th harmonics - which made the sound even better.
The newer breeds of MOSFET transistors a able to mimic this kind of distortion, and the gap narrowed.
With the new breed of computer modeling amps, and some of the new DSP chips, the gap between tubes and transistors is getting even narrower.
Tubes are noisier than transistors
Nope, it depends on the circuit. You can build ultra-low noise tube circuits if you’re willing to take the time to do it right.
And let’s get rid of the tubes won’t reproduce high frequencies myth too.
For many years, tubes ruled the high frequency roost in the megaHertz range.
The main advantage to transistors over tubes is less heat, less susceptible to shock and vibration, and now, lower cost.
There’s no difference in cables and cords
Somewhat true for loudspeaker cables, once you get past the teeny size wires.
Not as true for guitar and audio cables. Bad shielding, high capacitance, and poor construction can seriously degrade your sound in any cable carrying low level signals.
There are now even some wire companies selling “directional cable,” which is pure bull. Basically, it’s all just hype.
Different batteries sound different
Hmmm. Some people swear they can hear a difference in batteries. I remain skeptical of their claim.
Some batteries do put out more current then other batteries and that might change the sound but I think different batteries of the same actual voltage and peak current output should sound the same. The jury is still unconvinced on this one.
A condenser microphone is the best kind of mic
Best for what? If that was really true, they would use nothing but condenser mics in major studios. They don’t.
Every studio has dynamic mics, like the Shure SM 57, the AKG D112, the Sennheiser 421, and usually several ribbon mics and a wide assortment of general purpose mics.
Why? Because there is no such thing as the one perfect mic for everything.
For big ballads, it’s hard to beat the sound of a great big diaphragm condenser mic like the old Neumann U47, which now sells for around $10,000 in primo shape.
But even that mic occasionally gets beat out by a Shure 58 or an old ribbon mic for some voices or some songs.
A good engineer doesn’t go by price - they will pick whatever works best for that particular sound.
Amplifier wattage should match loudspeaker wattage
Usually you can double the wattage of the power amplifier to prevent clipping.
But if you’re going to be playing loud, invest in a good stereo compressor to go across the output of the mixer to prevent huge spikes from blowing the loudspeakers.
Guitar amps and speakers: 4 ohms, 8 ohms, or 16 ohms; is one impedance better than the others?
Impedance is simply the working load the speakers put across the amplifier’s output terminals. Maximum safe power transfer occurs when the amplifier is correctly matched to the speaker load.
On stage, multiple loudspeakers can provide more output compared to a single speaker, and also provide increased power handling, but these factors aren’t all that important in the studio.
Many of the big groups use a little 15-watt amp with a single speaker to record.
Loudspeakers can be wired in many different combinations so that is why many amplifiers have impedance switches on the back of the head.
Which impedance is best? Any of them will work fine as long as the head impedance is set correctly - it depends on the loudspeaker configuration you’re using.
Electric bass - how low does it really go?
The main output of a bass E string is primarily around 84 Hz, not the 42 Hz most bass players imagine.
The reason is simple; the string length is too short to produce much fundamental. Yes, it produces some 42Hz, but most of the sound is an octave above that.
Which brings up the next question; how do you get more bass out of a system? It’s very simple - you need to move more air.
Low bass must move more air, so the answer is more power (to make the speakers you have move further), more speakers (so that each speaker doesn’t have to move as much), or a more efficient ported or horn-loaded cabinet (so that the port and/or horn adds more air motion).
Shana Halligan Selects The dbx 676 Tube Mic Preamp For Vocals
The 676 incorporates the compressor/limiter design from the dbx 162SL and a 3-band parametric EQ for control of dynamics and tonal balance.
Vocalist, composer and lyricist Shana Halligan was one of the co-founders of trip-hop duo Bitter:Sweet and has collaborated on projects with Nouvelle Vague, Thievery Corporation and System of a Down; as well as movies and TV shows including Sex and the City, “Orange Is the New Black” and “Grey’s Anatomy”
As someone involved in electronic-based pop, Shana Halligan has always embraced the latest studio technology, most recently Harman’s dbx 676 Tube Mic Pre Channel Strip.
“As soon as I heard about the dbx 676 I wanted to try it, since I’ve recorded with some of their previous mic preamps in the past and they sounded lovely,” she said.
“I’ve also used the dbx DriveRack series and Personal Monitor Control products on the road for live performances, so I’m no stranger to the great sound that comes from dbx.”
The dbx 676 is a vacuum tube-based microphone preamplifier that offers a host of flexible sound-tailoring options. It can be adjusted to be clean and pure-sounding or dirty and full of harmonic character.
The 676 incorporates the compressor/limiter design from the dbx 162SL and a 3-band parametric EQ for control of dynamics and tonal balance.
Halligan had the opportunity to put the dbx 676 to the test on one of her latest tracks, “Eu Te Amo,” produced by Brian Malouf, who has more than 50 gold, platinum and double platinum records to his credit and has worked with Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, Queen, All Time Low and other top artists.
“It’s a dreamy, romantic bossa nova song I wrote for my husband on our wedding day. The 676 really captured the mood and velvety vocal vibe that Brian and I were looking for.”
She’s extremely particular about the vocal sounds she wants to achieve in the studio. “I definitely prefer warmer tones, and sometimes grittier, ‘earthier’ sounds. I’m personally not a fan of sounding too slick or smooth when it comes to my vocals since my voice tends to be quite floaty, airy and understated.
She noted that the 676 was able to create a very intimate and up-front sound that worked beautifully with “Eu Te Amo.” “Of course it helped to have someone with Brian’s exceptional engineering skills. He was able to create just the perfect vocal sound with the 676.”
In fact, the dbx 676 enabled Halligan to achieve a vocal quality unlike anything previously. “Since ‘Eu Te Amo’ was so different stylistically then the more DJ-influenced music I had been doing, I was really able to hear a big difference in the overall tone of this much more raw and stripped-down performance. Since the vocal was more prominent, it was especially important that it sound warm and had a lot of presence. What we got with the help of the 676 was a vocal that sounds very round, full and immediately inviting.”
“The dbx 676 was so lovely to use. It really captured what I hope is the essence of the way I hear my voice.” Since Shana Halligan also writes for other artists, she encourages them to try the dbx 676 in their recordings. “I know they’ll get the same feeling of authenticity in their voices.”
She concluded, “I can’t wait to get back into the studio and record my next project using the dbx 676 now that I’ve had a taste of what it can do.”
Eric Ng and Frank Lee create an inspiring recording environment for musicians with an emphasis on sound quality and visual appeal.
Designed as a unique performance and recording space, Leo Studio boasts high-end recording gear and musical instruments, at the heart of which is a 24-channel Solid State Logic Duality digital console.
Opening its doors just two months ago, Leo Studio is already serving Asian celebrities and many established local artists using the studio even before the doors officially opened.
When considering the design philosophy behind Leo Studio, chart topping Asian Pop music producer/Leo Studio consultant, Eric Ng (黃韻仁) and veteran recording/mixing engineer, Frank Lee primarily focused on creating an inspiring recording environment for musicians.
“A recording studio should not only have great equipment like Duality, but should also be a comfortable, creative space.” says Ng “We wanted the live room to be a stimulating environment that would excite the artists and make them feel welcome. The first thing clients say when they go into the studio is ‘wow!’” And hence the decision for Eric to rope in Thomas Ng as interior designer to please the clients’ eyes as well as their ears.
Ng [Eric] and Lee built the studio from the ground up, tapping into their experiences in the industry for inspiration, with Ng specifying the equipment, and Lee handling the acoustical design.
“For the past ten years or so, we have been doing most of our work in-the-box.” continues Ng. “When it came time to build the studio, we asked ourselves, ‘What do we miss about having a great studio?’ The first thing that came to mind was an SSL mixing console. There’s no question about the sound quality — it’s the best.”
Duality’s streamlined hybrid workflow was also an attraction to Ng and Lee.
“We record almost exclusively in Pro Tools, so we knew we needed a console and a controller with total recall. Duality seemed like the obvious choice because it integrates the classic SSL design with DAW control. We are really impressed with how quickly we can get back to a previous session.”
Interestingly, the control room at Leo Studio is not outfitted with hoards of expensive outboard gear. “We knew we could get amazing results from Duality’s onboard processing, so we found we didn’t need a lot of outboard gear for this studio.”
“One of the features that really struck me about the Duality is the dual SuperAnalogue and Variable Harmonic Drive (VHD) mic preamp.” continues Ng. “You can run the preamps clean, but when you switch to VHD, you overdrive the preamp to get this saturated sound that is perfect on some instruments.
“After everything was up and running, we started doing some test recordings and were overwhelmed to hear what we’d been missing over the past decade without the SSL: it sounds so good.”
Big Fish Audio And SonicSmiths Introduce The Foundry Sound Design Creation Tool
Includes features like the Adjective Assignable Randomizer Engine which creates patches based on simple adjectives.
Big Fish Audio and SonicSmiths present The Foundry, sound design creation tool based in Native Instrument’s Kontakt engine that draws from over 18,000 samples and offers trillions of ways to manipulate and combine sounds.
Never settle for presets again; The Foundry creates original patches using the AARE algorithm.
The Adjective Assignable Randomizer Engine creates a new patch for you based on simple adjectives.
For example, if you want a Dark, Pulsing, Mysterious sound, select these adjectives, press a randomizing button, and The Foundry will generate new patches based on the parameters you select.
More ways to manipulate.
3-Mode Step Sequencer: Rhythmics and FX sound sets can create unique and quickly-designable rhythms, or, along with tonal beds/textures, can create amazing lead lines and creative chordal patterns.
4-Way Morphing Engine: You can load up to four different “core” sounds into The Foundry (Beds & Pads, Textures, FX and Rhythmics. Each of these sounds has independent processing, manipulation, and can be morphed via the X-Y Pad Designer, key range, velocity, or CC.
Body Designer: With over sixty different body types, you can manipulate each of the “core” sounds by sending them through different material types, such as tubes, bricks, glass, dog bodies, and more.
For full details on all features plus video walkthroughs visit the Foundry link.
Auralex Now Shipping The BigTipper Angling Accessory For GRAMMA
The BigTipper angles an amp or speaker cabinet to redirect speaker projection.
Auralex Acoustics is now shipping the BigTipper Angling Accessory for its GRAMMA, the platform designed to isolate bass rigs, guitar amps, monitors and subwoofers on stage and in the studio.
The BigTipper angles an amp or speaker cabinet to redirect speaker projection.
This easy-to-install accessory includes all hardware needed to retrofit any GRAMMA or GRAMMA V2 to provide multiple angle options while allowing the true sound of your amp or loudspeaker to come through by negating resonance artifacts that can muddy up the tone of an amp or speaker.
We live in a strange time in history, especially when it comes to the way businesses are created. As someone who has built two successful businesses from scratch (and will likely build more in the future), I’m very interested in business.
I received an email the other day about the fact that the company Uber has not yet turned a profit, although its revenue has grown considerably over the last year. The writer of the email said, “That’s the way business works.”
Amazon famously lasted years and years before ever turning one penny of profit.
These “businesses” are funded by investors with deep pockets, in the hopes that one day they’ll gain enough market share to turn a real profit. Now, I know this has worked successfully for many businesses. I’m a big Amazon fan myself. But these businesses aren’t the norm.
The existence of these businesses tends to distort our view of what a business should be.
We think of a successful business as something that is popular and has a lot of customers. Profitability doesn’t really register. When you view business that way, suddenly the idea of spending (i.e. wasting) money on things doesn’t seem like a big deal. “Hey, we’re not really trying to make a profit, so let’s just spend money all over the place. We have an endless supply.”
It’s THAT attitude I want to address today.
Too many home recording studio owners have the same attitude, more or less. Even if recording is a hobby for you, and you have no plans of making any money from it, the following statement still applies to you.
You Need to Treat Your Studio Like a REAL Business
Okay, so what is a REAL business?
My definition is this:
A REAL Business Makes a Profit
I didn’t go into massive amounts of debt to start Home Studio Corner. (Granted, I realize that running a web-based business is a low-overhead endeavor.) But I didn’t try to speed up the process by throwing tons of money I didn’t have at growing the business. I did it slowly, methodically. I invested my TIME most of all. It took over two years to get to the point where I could support my family from the business. Even then, I still had to treat it like a real business. If I spent all my profits on a new microphone, my family couldn’t pay the mortgage. Profit had to come first, then spending.
“But Joe, it takes money to make money.”
Depending on the business, sure there could be costs to setting it up, opening a facility, buying equipment, etc. But the aim should ALWAYS be on becoming profitable as soon as possible. Without profit, you can’t do anything. You can’t survive. You can’t take care of customers. You can’t provide jobs for other people and companies.
Now, how does this apply to your home studio?
My definition of a home studio is this:
A REAL Home Studio Releases Music
If your home studio is not releasing music (either your music or someone else’s), you do not yet have a real home studio.
Back in 2009 when I launched Home Studio Corner, I didn’t have a business. I had a blog. There was no profit, therefore it wasn’t a business. It was a hobby.
Owning recording equipment – heck, owning a LOT of recording equipment – doesn’t mean you have a REAL home studio. All of that equipment was designed for one purpose: to help you create and release music. If you are not creating and releasing music (whether you own one microphone or 30), you are a gear collector, not a home studio owner.
Does this ruffle your feathers? I hope it does. Because we need more home studios to release more music.
You can own all the right gear. You can buy all of my tutorials. You can be a Dueling Mixes member and a VIP member and cram that head of yours full of knowledge about recording and audio, but if that doesn’t lead you to going into your studio, putting in the work, and releasing music, you’ve missed the whole point.
I’ve met people who attend business seminars, read business books, participate in business masterminds, who have yet to actually take action on their ideas and actually launch a real, profitable business. I’ve met people who claim to have a “great business idea,” who will never act on it. It’s just an idea, not a business.
Same thing applies in the home studio world. No one cares that you know 18 different ways to compress a lead vocal if you never actually use that knowledge to release a killer piece of music.
The world needs you to release music. Not just create it, not just “work on it.” Carry it out to completion. We need you to make music.
Otherwise, what’s the point?
Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Read the original article and leave a comment here.
Focusrite Releases RedNet Live/Broadcast Ready Range
All feature redundant power supplies, primary and secondary etherCON connections and occupy a single rack space.
The newest RedNet devices announced last year, including: RedNet MP8R, RedNet D16R, RedNet HD32R and RedNet D64R; are now available.
For live sound and broadcast, this marks another forward step for the Focusrite brand into broader pro audio applications.
All feature redundant power supplies, primary and secondary etherCON connections and occupy a single rack space.
Focusrite is adding four products to its popular RedNet range of Dante-based interfaces, widely regarded as the best sounding audio-over-IP solution available.
In addition to a 1U form factor they incorporate several features aimed squarely at the live sound market, including power- and network-redundancy.
The four new products are the MP8R 8-channel remote-controlled mic pre; D16R AES/EBU interface; HD32R Pro Tools bridge; and the D64R MADI bridge. Dual Ethernet ports, fitted with locking etherCON connectors, are incorporated, with operating modes including daisy-chaining and redundancy confirmed by front panel indicators. Two separate power supplies with fault detection capability are also fitted, with separate power input sockets on the rear panel. Power state for each supply is indicated both remotely and on the front panel. The modules feature a rugged, roadworthy exterior with maximum internal build quality, in a compact 1U rack-mount form factor.
REDNET MP8R: 8-channel remote-controlled mic pre —Compact 1U form factor —Redundant Ethernet networking and power supply redundancy —etherCON connectors —Dual input impedance —Automatic gain Compensation —Local or remote control of mic pre parameters via RedNet Control, Pro Tools and MIDI —Focusrite A/D conversion up to 192kHz —Indicators including OLED gain and system info display
REDNET D16R: 16 channel AES/EBU interface —Compact 1U form factor —Redundant Ethernet networking and power supply redundancy —etherCON input —Sample Rate Conversion on all channels —AES59 DB25 connections for inputs and outputs —XLR Input for DARS or Digital Audio —S/PDIF 2-channel I/O —Word Clock I/O —Remote routing and control
REDNET HD32R: 32 channel bridge for Pro Tools|HD —Compact 1U form factor —Redundant Ethernet networking and power supply redundancy —etherCON connectors —Mini Digilink connectors —Compatible with Pro Tools|HD, Pro Tools|HD Native and Pro Tools|HDX —Add Dante to Pro Tools|HD, or Pro Tools|HD to Dante
REDNET D64R: 64 channel MADI-Dante bridge —Compact 1U form factor —Redundant Ethernet networking and power supply redundancy —etherCON connectors —Sample Rate Conversion on input and output —Optical and Coax MADI —Word Clock I/O for Dante or MADI streams —Support for 56 or 64 channel MADI streams —Operates at standard sample rates between 44.1kHz and 192kHz
Patrizio Moi Becomes A Mentor For The Recording Connection
Owner of Dynamic Studios L.A. is the latest to join the mentoring program of The Recording Connection Audio Institute
The Recording Radio and Film Connection (RRF) announces that Patrizio “Pat” Moi has become one of a growing number of experts that are mentoring the next generation of music and media specialists through the programs offered by The Recording Connection Audio Institute.
Moi, a noted producer, engineer, composer and arranger whose credits include Meghan Trainor, Raffaella Carrá, Gary Go, David Jordan, Liberty X, Luciano Pavarotti, Laura Pausini, Nek and many others, operates his own recording facility, Dynamic Studios L.A., inside the Record Plant Studios in Hollywood, California.
Moi is originally from Cagliari, Italy, and studied composition, jazz orchestral arrangement and classical orchestral arrangement at the Conservatory Giovanni Battista Martini in Bologna, Italy, 1992-2000, while also becoming an expert on digital production platforms including Pro Tools, Ableton Live and Logic.
“Patrizio is the kind of mentor that everyone searches for their entire lives while they’re students,” comments Brian Kraft, RRF chief academic officer/COO.
“And he is exactly like all of the mentors affiliated with us: expert, passionate about what they do, well-known within their fields and willing to share their knowledge and talent with the next generation. Pat will make an impact on countless students here at RRF in coming months and years, and they, in turn, will have their effect on the world.”
Mix Engineer Michael James Hits #1 With Dangerous Gear
James mixes a radio hit for Latin artist Kalimba using the 2-Bus, BAX EQ, Compressor, Liaison and Monitor ST
Mix engineer Michael James has a double number one hit for his mix of the song “Estrellas Rotas” from recording artist Kalimba’s latest record on both Monitor Latino’s ‘Plays’’ and ‘Audience Reach’ charts for seven consecutive weeks so far.
“This is a very special record for Kalimba, so I’m blessed to have been part of it,” says James, who mixed the hit record using a large collection of Dangerous Music gear.
James’ mix career spans a host of musical artists including New Radicals, Hole, Far, L7, Robben Ford, Edwin McCain, Maia Sharp, A.J. Croce, Chicago, Jawbreaker, and Mario Guerrero, to name just a few.
James first bought the Monitor ST/SR stereo and surround controller when it came out in 2006, and then he eventually designed his whole studio around Dangerous Music gear, adding three, 16-channel, Dangerous 2-Bus analog summing units, two BAX EQ’s, the recently released Dangerous Compressor, as well as the Dangerous Liaison re-callable analog patching system.
James says, “I was talking with (engineer/producer) Fab Dupont about monitor controllers and he recommended Dangerous Music gear and put me in touch with the company. I had a monitor controller already that I really liked and it sounded fantastic - I thought it couldn’t be beat - but it didn’t have the flexibility that I wanted, and I also needed surround-monitoring control. The Monitor ST was an audible upgrade to my other monitor controller, it sounds great! There are no surprises when my mixes go to mastering. It’s just so nice to be able to make mix decisions really quickly without second guessing anything.”
Mixing the hit song ‘Estrellas Rotas’ for Kalimba, James utilized his complete Dangerous Music system to get the golden sound that’s put the track at the top of the charts. He uses the three Dangerous 2-Bus analog summing amps in a “very interesting way,” as he says. “I use my three 2-Bus units as 48-channels in, by 6 out. It breaks down to three 16 x 2 mix sections.” He then sums those 6 channels into another device for adding color if he wants it.
James describes the purpose of the setup, “Whether I am doing strings today, detuned heavy rock guitars tomorrow, or a singer-songwriter the next day, I have to make sure that I keep everything in the sweet spot, and that I’m not adding color where I don’t want it. The thing that’s great about the Dangerous 2-Bus for me is that the ‘mastering aesthetic’ of the Dangerous gear allows me to keep the coloration that I have in its pristine state, rather than adding to it.”
For the Kalimba mixes, his multiple Dangerous 2-Bus setup was perfect he says, “I always divide my mixes into three submixes. The first 2-Bus (‘Bus A’) got all Kalimba’s vocals. For parts that I want straight up the middle, I use the Mono button on that 2-Bus channel; for other parts that are panned out towards the sides, I set and/or automate the panning inside Pro Tools. The output of the 2-Bus ‘A’ is routed to a buss compressor and a particular EQ suited to the vocals. The signal flow is such that individual instruments or voices access their particular compressor, EQ, de-esser, etc. via Pro Tools hardware inserts, and then that entire group or submix typically has some subtle processing on it at the stereo output of the 2-Bus. Since the 2-Bus has so much headroom, it’s really easy for me to decide that I want the entire vocal submix to be brighter or warmer, or more or less compressed.”
On the Estrellas Rotas mix, he assigned the acoustic and electric guitars and keyboard tracks to the second 2-Bus (‘Bus B’), as he normally does, he always puts tracks that he calls “the sides” through that 16-channel summing mixer.
“Mid-rangy harmonic instruments like guitars, strings, horns, keyboards, pads, counter melodies to the vocals-basically anything that has lots of harmonic content, and gets panned to the sides, is on the second 2-Bus,” he says. “In the same manner that I have processing on the vocal submix, I’ll have processing on the output of ‘the sides’ submix-but I’ll have different attack and release times, and colorations including the Dangerous BAX EQ. The BAX EQ and the 2-Bus really work together for me.”
Using the BAX EQ James has some pretty specific setting he uses on his ‘sides’ submix, “I’ll typically filter out some of the low frequencies, and maybe boost with the BAX’s shelf settings. Then I always filter out the highest 70k, or the next setting down at 28k, the top filter is always in, it’s never disengaged.”
For the drums and the bass tracks on the Kalimba track, James reserved the third 16-channel, 2-Bus. “I have a BAX EQ on the stereo output of that submix as well, and a compressor. I treat the BAX EQ on the drums and bass differently than the ‘side’ instruments. The sound of a tighter bass is coming back-I think people like to hear the bass on their phone or television; the BAX EQ is great for that. Frequently I find that half a dB or 1 dB at the lowest shelf adds a little bit of warmth without making the bass tubby. Then up at the top-end on the BAX, you can go all the way down to the ‘crack’ of the snare drum or keep it way high at the top end and get more sparkle out of the cymbals-or anything in between. Often it depends on how nasty the drums were recorded or how well they were recorded.”
Explaining why his 48-channel, 3-submix Dangerous mixing system helps him get better results faster for his clients, James says, “I think the multi-buss, submixing technique works great for me because it gives me a lot of flexibility. The beauty of this is that I can have a mix that sounds perfect to me, but my client may say, ‘I love it, it’s really warm like a Peter Gabriel record, but I imagined a brighter sound like Martina McBride.’ Then I can say ‘No problem,’ because I have control over individual submixes-I can crank up as much as 5 dB of guitar bite without touching the vocal-which is ‘perfect.’ This is essential for me as a mix engineer, because if I just had one EQ on the mix buss, I’d have to start compromising quite a bit.”
James says that the producer on Kalimba’s record, Stefano Vieni, has made him one of his “go to guys” and loves his mixing-they have worked together on other projects that went #1. So when artist Kalimba and producer Vieni stopped by the studio they told James, “make my voice sound great,” and “make the song sound like a hit.” James obviously came through with the Estrellas Rotas track.
Digging deeper into the gear, James states, “The BAX EQ and the Dangerous 2-Bus are essential because they don’t change the character of my mix, all they do is sum the tracks without distortion, let me preserve all the coloration that I worked so meticulously to create-and they are so incredibly dependable. They don’t break.”
He also uses the Dangerous Compressor on the drum submix or the mix buss. “Because the Dangerous Compressor is on the Dangerous Liaison patching/switcher, I can use it on the drum or mix buss,” he adds, “and it’s super quick and easy to determine where it will sound best at the push of a button. It’s so versatile that I can get it to feel like an SSL buss compressor or it can be ‘grabby’ or I can get it to stay out of the way and just control the level.”
“The Dangerous Compressor sounds great on a lot of things,” states James. “I mostly use it as part of my final mix buss. I have the Liaison working in two different ways. The first buss on the Liaison is typically used for lead vocals and bass guitars, where it makes sense to instantly compare the sound of an 1176LN into an LA-3A with the sound of an LA-3A into 1176…or the sound of an 1176 inserted in series with an LA-3A in parallel routing. Those are three significantly different sounds that can now be compared instantly instead of futzing with the patch bay while trying to remember how each signal path sounded. Liaison’s other buss is dedicated to the final ‘mix buss’-where I have the Dangerous Compressor-I also have a pair of ToneLux TXC compressors acting as a limiter, and a Manley Variable MU,” he adds completing the details of his hybrid setup.
“I have the Liaison set up so I can switch the order of the TXC compressors-which I have set at a 20-to-1 ratio-and the Variable MU, which I have set to a 1.5-to-1 ratio. Sometimes I use all three of them, sometimes only one. The very final piece that covers my ass, and makes sure a record can go to mastering without unwanted distortion, is the Dangerous Compressor,” concludes James.
James is also an accomplished guitarist and instrumentalist and has a new solo album, titled Marchesano.
Former owner of Electric Landlady mobile recording, Cenzo’s new studio is packed with high-end, esoteric gear including an ASP8024 console.
Two-time MPG mixer of the year award winner and British analog gear aficionado, Cenzo Townshend has been wall-to-wall busy since the opening of the new Decoy Studios last summer.
Set in the picturesque countryside of Suffolk, Cenzo’s studio is packed to the gills with high-end, esoteric gear, alongside which is his trusted Audient ASP8024 mixing console.
“It’s my dependable rock. It’s been all over England with me back when I had the mobile studio, Electric Landlady” he says, adding, “If that console doesn’t work then I know there is something fundamentally wrong with the studio.”
Housed in one of the two large control rooms, he continues, “We use it for tracking and overdubbing, but also for mixing - it’s getting a lot of use every day.”
When asked why it was so useful in this capacity, he explains, “It’s a very stripped down console with an awful lot of features. It’s very dependable, robust and sounds great. We try a lot of different equipment in that room too, most recently we’ve been using the new iZ Radar so we’ve had a lot of people coming in to do listening tests. It always sounds great through the Audient.”
A broad range of artists come through the doors of this recording studio, from unsigned bands, rising star Rhodes [Ministry of Sound], to George Ezra and The Maccabees - even pop’s Robbie Williams was mixed here last month. Producer, Richard Flack did a 5.1 mix of the show using Audient’s ASP510 surround sound monitor controller. “It all happened in the Audient room,” adds Cenzo.
He’s a fan of the smaller Audient products, too. “I’ve not had anything from Audient that isn’t a good box,” he says, citing the Centro and a more recent purchase of the iD22, although he does confess to not having used the audio interface as much as he could have. “We keep lending our iD22 to clients, actually. If they come in with their laptops and need to plug something in or work next door, it’s ideal. The Maccabees had it for about a year! (They have since given it back and bought their own.) I love it though, it’s so beautifully built - everybody that picks it up says the same,” he adds.
Of course he loves it, the mic preamps are the same as those on the ASP8024 console, and he describes them as, “...really good and solid. We’ve got Neve preamps as well, but the other day we recorded a band and we ended up just using all Audient for speed and reliability. We didn’t plug anything else in. It’s great to be able to do that with the Audient.” He likes how they sound too: “The current album we’re working on with Rhodes is a very pure sounding record, very organic - the Audient desk is really helping with that.”
When pushed, Cenzo admits he is still very proud of winning an MPG award for best mixer two years in a row; in particular the moment he walked up to collect it and Brian Eno shook his hand. “That will certainly stay with me,” he says wistfully.
Looking back over his award-studded mixing career, Audient asked what advice would he give his 20 year-old self. “Learn to listen. Listen to instruments, bands; go to classical orchestral concerts and really listen to what instruments sound like. Hear how musicians balance internally without somebody turning faders up and down,” he says.
“And learn to record - properly. A lot of people just want to mix, overlooking the skill and necessity of making a good recording, until they start mixing and realise that it’s badly recorded and impossible to mix well.
“Also, listen to records - old records (I mean vinyl of course) - it gives you a completely different perspective. It’s very grounding to listen to that and to hear what you’re actually up against.”
Wise words from the ever lovely Cenzo there, who can be found at Decoy Studios or his brilliantly quirky personal website.
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