Studio

Friday, October 23, 2015

Using Microphone Techniques To Attain A Better Result

Let’s face it - the live sound reinforcement realm presents some microphone challenges that regularly threaten sound quality.

Look at the conditions.

The monitors feed back. They leak into the vocal microphones and color the sound. The bass sound leaks into the drum mics, and the drums leak into the piano microphones.

And then there are the other mic-related gremlins - breath pops, lighting buzzes, wireless-mic glitches, and even electric shocks.

So let’s have a look at solving at least some of these problems.

Based on the experiences of live sound mixers,technicians, and operators, these suggestions will help control feedback and leakage, and help in delivering a clean, natural sound to the audience.

Get In Close
The first tip is to try to get in close to sources with directional mics. To start, place each mic within a few inches of its sound source.

Close micing increases the sound level at the microphone and makes the sound system louder.

Use unidirectional mics to reduce feedback and leakage. They reject sounds to the sides and rear of the mic, such as floor monitors.

Some examples of unidirectional patterns are cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid.

Sometimes locating a mic right at the source can help. (click to enlarge)

Most directional mics boost the bass when you mic close. This is called the proximity effect. At low frequencies, it provides free gain (extra volume without feedback).

By the way, rolling off (reducing) this excess bass via a console’s EQ section reduces low-frequency leakage picked up by the mic.

Next, here’s an extreme way to get plenty of level into the mic: place the mic near the loudest part of the musical instrument.

Some typical positions are near the sound hole of an acoustic guitar, in the bell of a sax, or inside the shell of a tom-tom.

Use this method as a last resort because close mic’ing tends to color the tone quality, giving an unnatural sound.

Here’s why: Most musical instruments are designed to sound best at a distance (say, 1 1/2 or more feet away).

So, a flat-response mic placed there tends to pick up a natural or well-balanced timbre.

But when you get close, the part of the instrument that the mic is near is emphasized.

The tone quality that is picked up very close may not reflect the tone quality of the entire instrument.

For example, the sound hole of an acoustic guitar resonates strongly around 80 Hz to 100 Hz.

A mic placed close to the sound hole hears and emphasizes this low-frequency resonance, producing a bassy, boomy timbre that does not exist at a greater micing distance.

The close-mic’d sound is harsh, too. To make the guitar sound more natural when mic’d close to the sound hole, roll off the excess bass on the console or use a mic with a bass roll-off in its frequency response. Also dip out some 3 kHz to reduce harshness.

A sax mic’d in the bell sounds like a kazoo. To mellow it out, cut around 3 kHz and boost around 300 Hz. And if it’s possible to attain adequate gain-before-feedback with mic positions that sound more natural, by all means do so.

This placement likely emphasizes low-end resonance. (click to enlarge)

Making Contact
Another approach is to use contact pickups in tandem with microphones.

A contact pickup can solve feedback problems because it is sensitive to mechanical vibrations, not sound waves.

A pickup for an acoustic guitar usually sounds good near or under the bridge.

Unfortunately, the guitar sounds electric with a pickup because it misses the acoustic string sounds.

Many sound operators have had success with a hybrid method that combines a pickup with a mini mic. A pickup mounted under the bridge picks up the lows and provides volume and punch.

A mini hypercardioid mic is mounted just inside the sound hole facing in. It provides the treble and the clean acoustic string sound.

The pickup and microphone are mixed in a small two-input mixer provided as part of the system. The combination of the pickup and microphone provides a loud, punchy, yet natural sound with all the crispness of a real acoustic guitar.

It often helps to send the pickup signal just to the stage wedges (where feedback is worst), and send the mic signal just to the house loudspeakers. Using as few mics as possible can also be helpful. The more mics in use, the more likely it is to produce feedback.

The gain-before-feedback ratio decreases 3 dB each time the number of open mics doubles. Two mics at equal levels have 3 dB less gain than one mic; four mics have 3 dB less gain than two mics, and so on.

To reduce the number of open mics, turn off any mics not in use at the moment.

You might prefer to turn them down about 12 dB, rather than off, so you don’t miss cues.

Instead of using 10 mics on a drum set, try using a single miniature omni mic in the center of the set.

A mini mic is recommended because it has excellent high-frequency response in all directions -unlike a larger microphone.

Clip the mic to the right side of the snare drum rim, about 4 inches above the drum, and centered in the set. It will pick up the toms and cymbals all around it.

You’ll be amazed how good that single mic can sound. Boost the bass to add fullness. If the cymbals are too weak, lower them a few inches. Hang another mini mic in the kick drum, and it will sound full because omni condenser mics have deep bass response, no matter what their size.

A drawback of this approach is that the balance can’t be controlled among the toms and snare, except with mic placement.

On electric guitar and bass, try using direct boxes instead of mics.

Direct boxes pick up no feedback or leakage, and can be plugged directly into a connector following the musician’s effects boxes.

Could a DI box be a better approach than what’s being done here? (click to enlarge)

This method, however, misses the distortion of the guitar amplifier, which is often an essential part of the sound.

Cancel At Distance
Finally, try noise-canceling mics. A noise-canceling (or differential) mic for vocals is designed to cancel sounds at a distance, such as instruments on stage or monitor speakers.

Such a mic provides outstanding gain-before-feedback, and almost total isolation.

The differential mic was designed to cancel sounds beyond a few inches away, such as musical instruments on stage. As a result, many users have reported that their house mix has improved because the mic’s isolation is nearly complete.

In other words, “Mic 1” is no longer vocals and some drums, guitar and bass. “Mic 1” is vocals only.

Singers must use a differential mic with their lips touching the grille; otherwise, their voice gets canceled. This restriction is not a problem because many singers already kiss the mic.

But it can be a drawback if the singer likes to work the mic for effect.

A cardioid differential mic also rejects sound behind the microphone, say, from a floor monitor. Not only does this prevent feedback, it also reduces the sonic coloration caused by monitor sound leaking into the vocal mic.

Give these techniques a try, and you’re likely to find improved results by using one or more of them.

AES and SynAudCon member Bruce Bartlett is the author of “Practical Recording Techniques 5th Edition” and “Recording Music On Location.”

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Posted by Keith Clark on 10/23 at 06:01 AM
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

SiriusXM Goes Live With SSL C200 HD Production Consoles

New York and Washington recording and live music studios upgrade in terms of efficiency and sonic quality

Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM, with more than 200 satellite channels, 400 web channels, and 30 million subscribers, currently has several main production centers – New York, Washington, Nashville, and Los Angeles, with a total count of about 150 broadcast studios, along with five music recording and live music broadcast studios.

Two of those studios, in Washington and New York, have recently upgraded by installing Solid State Logic C200 HD live production consoles.

Jackson MacInnis, director of operations at Sirius and directly responsible for the music production studios, explains, “We produce the special recording sessions and live music broadcast events for 200 channels of everything from hip hop, to heavy metal, to classical. We have produced around 20,000 songs over the 15 years that we’ve been active. Often we only get three hours with the artist, and we’ll try to get 45 minutes of music out of them. Speed and quality is our game.”

Sessions range from multitrack recordings with an audience and a fast-turnaround mix to live broadcast performance sessions. To get through such a busy schedule takes planning, and practice.

Before the session, MacInnis will have already briefed the artists or production manager and offered them the wide selection of instruments they keep on tap at the studio, which cuts down on load-in and set-up times. “We put everyone on headphones and personal monitoring systems,” he notes. “So each artist can mix themselves. That eliminates a huge amount of sound check time.

“Our operations are so fast turnaround that even that extra few minutes to reset a console versus the speed of the C200 HD can make a difference,” continues MacInnis. :We’ve got it down to just walking in the door, putting on headphones, and plugging in. Everything is already lit up, and within 45 minutes we’re hitting ‘record.’ We’ve been doing it for 15 years so we’ve got it down to a science. They’re usually happy when they leave.”

The digital C200 HD provides 48 kHz or 96 kHz operation, a variety of redundancy and fault-tolerant features, and a traditional analog style “knob per function” control surface with an in-line channel format and 48 multitrack buses. “You can stand in front of it and instantly know the channel layout,” MacInnis says. “Even if you haven’t worked on an SSL you can still see exactly what’s going on and not need to get into the menus or any of that.

“I can hit the lead singer’s high pass filter in the blink of an eye, as opposed to having to access it, then hit another button, and so on. The speed of this thing is something else. I can literally can close my eyes and mix.”

One of MacInnis’ favorite aspects of his role at SiriusXM is the variety and quality of music that comes through the door. “It’s a dream job for an audio engineer,” he concludes. “To list the great acts we’ve had in is difficult – it’s much easier to list the ones we haven’t had in. I come to work and get to watch concerts every day.”

Solid State Logic 

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Posted by Keith Clark on 10/22 at 11:36 AM
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Mojave Audio & Royer Labs Mics Play Key Role In Latin Grammy-Nominated Recordings

Yalil Guerra utilizes Mojave MA-300 to capture nuances and string harmonics, and Royer SF-12 for ambient sound

Cuban-born composer and producer Yalil Guerra, nominated this year for two Latin Grammy Awards, counts Mojave Audio and Royer Labs microphones among his key recording tools.

This year, Guerra’s album titled Yalil Guerra: Works for String Orchestra, performed by Ensamble Solistas de la Habana and conducted by Iván Valiente was nominated in the Best Classical Album category. A second nomination in the category Best Classical Contemporary Composition is Guerra’s El Retrato de la Paloma (The Portrait of the Dove).

“Yalil Guerra: Works for String Orchestra,” contains all my string orchestra compositions,” he says. “These compositions were performed live in Havana at the National Library José Martí in October 2014. El Retrato de la Paloma (The Portrait of the Dove) is a four-movement composition that describes the life cycle of a dove.

“The first movement, titled The Birth, captures the tenderness of the new born dove inspired in the Cuban old style bolero melody songs. The second movement, The Flight, portrays the dove’s first flight. The third movement titled, The First Kiss, reflects when the Dove discovers love—in a complex yet simple orchestration. The fourth movement, The Fugue, is the abandonment of the birthplace, starting a new life flight, searching for her own path and destiny. This movement is very virtuosic and energetic.”

Guerra notes that he used a pair of Mojave Audio MA-300 multi-pattern vacuum tube condenser microphones extensively on these projects. “Mojave Audio is a compelling choice for all my classical recordings,” he reports. “They are capable of capturing all the performance nuances and subtle harmonics that string instruments produce. The overall sound of these microphones is full and rich.”

In addition, a Royer Labs SF-12 stereo ribbon microphone is a very popular choice for capturing ambient, or room, sound. It’s frequently mixed with a more ‘direct’ microphone’s output to yield a very natural composite sound that captures the detail of the close miking with the ambience of the room.

“The SF-12 is a very warm sounding microphone,” Guerra explains. “I especially love the mic’s mid and low end range and the sound it delivers. The SF-12 is also a very truthful mic, and you can certainly trust what you capture with it. I really recommend it as a great additional tool that is the perfect companion to the Mojave MA-300.

“The combination of the Mojave and Royer microphones captured the magical sound of the orchestra—delivering not only a powerful and rich recording, but also the beauty of the performance of this young yet talented group of musicians,” he continues. “For me, the choice was right, and once again, Mojave and Royer Labs microphones have helped me achieve two more Latin Grammy nominations this year. I recommend the use of these magnificent audio tools to all my associates. They are indispensable for capturing music and represent the state-of-the-art in recording technology.”

This year’s Latin Grammy Awards take place on November 19 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Yalil Guerra
Mojave Audio
Royer Labs

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Posted by Keith Clark on 10/22 at 11:16 AM
Live SoundRecordingNewsEngineerMicrophoneMixerSignalStudioPermalink

Top Five Reasons Mic Preamps Matter

PSW Top 20 presented by Renkus-Heinz

 
Few topics stir up more debate than microphone preamplifiers. With dozens, if not hundreds of different brands, models, shapes, sizes, variations, and configurations to choose from, it’s no wonder mic preamps are among the most misunderstood pieces of the audio signal chain.

Even low-cost interfaces offer built-in mic preamps, some of which sound pretty decent. So why would anyone want to spend money on an external preamp, let alone several?

Here are the top five reasons mic preamps matter.

1. Clean Front End
At its most basic, a mic preamp takes the low output from a microphone and amplifies the signal to a higher line level. The mic preamps built into most audio interfaces will do that. But low cost onboard preamps are typically limited in tone and flexibility, and they can add noise and tonal coloration that might not be what you’re looking for. A high quality microphone preamp, however, will do much more than just make your mic level louder. It will deliver a cleaner, more accurate signal, with higher gain, lower noise, less distortion, and more headroom.

2. Transparency
It sounds obvious, but in most cases, the ultimate goal of a good preamp should be to capture the sound as transparently as possible. Listen to the sound of a good preamp and one of the first things you’ll notice is what’s missing. Most budget preamps inherently introduce at least some degree of hiss and background noise to your signal. A good mic preamp will surprise you with just how much quieter your signal can be.

3. Pick Your Color
Do you want your track to sound warm or cool? Thin or fat? An experienced recording engineer will use different microphones and mic preamps in much the same way a painter uses brushes, colors, and textures. And as with painting, different mic/preamp combinations will yield markedly different results. Take time to experiment. Ultimately, it will help you to make better, more informed, artistic decisions.

4. Versatility
Because mic preamps are available in such a wide range of configurations, it’s easy to find something for almost any situation. If you’re a solo writer with a guitar, a simple two-channel preamp could meet your needs. Want to record the occasional live drums, or maybe even an entire band? You can put together a range of rack-mount multi channel mic preamps in configurations from eight to 32 channels and beyond. For a great number engineers — both studio and live sound — their mic preamps are essential front end of their touring/mobile recording rig.

5. Consistency
As you become increasingly familiar with the sound and characteristics of any given mic preamp, you will begin to get a feel for which particular combinations of microphone and preamp can yield the best results for specific applications. Most engineers have certain go-to combinations they will reach for first when recording a particular instrument or vocal type. The consistency of knowing what tonal colors to expect from different microphones through different preamps will help to guide your decisions and make you a better, more efficient, recording engineer.

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.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 10/22 at 11:14 AM
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

CAD Debuts U37SE Special Edition USB Mic

Large condenser design is available in a wide range of colors and includes a ten-foot USB cable and desktop mic stand.

As an early move to celebrate the company’s upcoming 85th anniversary in 2016, CAD is introducing the U37SE Special Edition USB mic, which provides professional studio quality for social media, gaming, journaling, podcasts, desktop recording and a range of other home computer applications.

A large condenser design, the U37SE brings audio quality with an extended frequency and smooth transient response that make it ideal for singing, speech and recording musical instruments.

The U37SE’s tight cardioid pattern reduces background noise and isolates the sound source.

A -10dB overload protection switch minimizes distortion from loud sound sources while a bass roll off function reduces room noise. A plug and play design eliminates the need for separate drivers.

A special edition model, the U37SE is available in a wide range of colors including Gray & White, Red & White, Orange, Candy Apple Red and Camo. A ten-foot USB cable for flexible mic placement and desktop mic stand are included.

Specifications
—Operating Principle: Condenser Studio Capsule
—Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
—Polar Pattern: Cardioid
—Sensitivity: -40dBV @ 1Pa
—PAD: -10dB

CAD

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Posted by House Editor on 10/21 at 01:17 PM
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Dale Pro Audio Announces Strategic Merger With Strassberg Associates

Will enable Dale to further increase service to customers as well as create new sales and technology programs and develop synchronized sales/marketing efforts

Steve Strassberg and Joel Guilbert have joined Dale Pro Audio, a leading New York City-based pro audio dealer for 60 years, in a merger with Strassberg Associates (also of New York).

Specifically, Steve Strassberg is now serving as vice president/general manager at Dale, while Joel Guilbert has been named technology development manager.

The moves will enable Dale to provide a higher level of service to its customers, in addition to creating new sales and technology programs to benefit end users, and develop synchronized sales and marketing efforts.

Strassberg comes to Dale following almost 25 years as the owner of Strassberg Associates, a direct sales consulting firm for companies such as Dolby, Linear Acoustic and TC Electronic. Prior to that, he worked in sales management capacities for several industry manufacturers and held production posts at CBS Radio and CBS Television networks.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to bring new ideas and technologies to Dale as well as help expand their influence and expertise in the various industry segments,” he says. “They have a large, knowledgeable sales and sales support team, and I look forward to helping guide them into the future.”

Guilbert has been an instrumental part of the growth of Strassberg Associates over more than a dozen years. In his new role at Dale, he will oversee product support and integration as well as help identify opportunities to blend emerging technologies with client applications.

Dale Pro Audio co-owner Valerie Lager states, “As we prepare for our 60th anniversary next year, we look forward to building upon a cornerstone of our business that has helped distinguish us – our ability to form close relationships with our customers and to deliver superior support both before and after a transaction. Steve and Joel’s contributions will enable us to try new approaches and implement additional key services for everyone’s mutual benefit.”
 
Dale Pro Audio

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Posted by Keith Clark on 10/21 at 10:07 AM
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Audio-Technica Microphones Deliver For Patchwerk Recording Studios

Atlanta facility turns to AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone and other A-T products for production of R&B, hip-hop, gospel and more

Atlanta-based recording facility Patchwerk Recording Studios, founded by former Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Bob Whitfield, hosts sessions from top artists in hip-hop, gospel, R&B and beyond.

At the helm of a large team of talented engineers and technical staff is current co-owner/chief engineer and GRAMMY-winning Mike Wilson, who turns to components from Audio-Technica.

Wilson and the rest of the team have employed a variety of A-T microphones on recent sessions, including ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. A recent acquisition – and among the studio’s prized possessions – is the Audio-Technica AT5040 Studio Vocal Microphone. 

Wilson states, “Audio-Technica has stepped up the microphone game once again with the AT5040. It has become my new go-to mic for all vocal recordings.”

“At Patchwerk we have a wealth of top-level mics to choose from, but the 5040 has jumped to the top of the pack with its sonic warmth and rich tone. The mic has a remarkable gain that allows me to get a full signal without cranking the preamp and increasing noise. And as far as the noise floor of the mic itself, it is almost non-existent. I also really love the fact that the 5040 has no external power supply to deal with. Even the body and grill color complement each other and give the mic a cool vibe in the booth.  From low, male bass to the highest soprano – this mic covers the bases.”

The team has already put the AT5040 to good use on projects for such artists as rappers Waka Flocka Flame, Fetty Wap and Yung Ralph, R&B’s Regina Belle, gospel artist Y’anna Crawley, The X Factor USA winner Melanie Amaro, and many others.

“I also used it on a local group A Theory Of Now for vocals and flute. We did this entire album, and it was the first to receive the sonically superior seal – meeting all the criteria we have established to encourage artists to achieve the best recordings possible. This album was also a step outside many of the urban projects we do, as it was a live band album, and everything went very well, thanks in big part to the 5040.”

Wilson also values the relationships he has built with Audio-Technica customer service.

“It has been the utmost pleasure working with Gary Boss [marketing director] at A-T. I have appreciated all his help in demo-ing products, A-T knowledge and the quick response for any needs we may have.”

Boss notes, “Mike, Kenny [Daniels, mastering engineer] and all the staff at Patchwerk have been a pleasure to deal with. Having recently rediscovered A-T’s legacy AT4050, Kenny originally contacted us to just say thanks for making great mics. They have since become ambassadors for our studio headphones and our revolutionary AT5040 mic. They were early adopters of the AT5040, and that really speaks to how progressive and forward thinking they are in an industry that sometimes gets stuck in the past.” 

Wilson sums up his experience with the AT5040: “The 5040 mic is an incredible piece that far surpasses any large diaphragm condenser near its price range. The mic is very pure, and any tonal coloration (which can really be dependent on the particular artist) only enhances the sound. It has become the go-to mic for me and many of the other engineers here at Patchwerk.”

Audio-Technica

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Posted by House Editor on 10/21 at 08:04 AM
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PreSonus Introduces Eris E44 And E66 MTM Studio Monitors

D’Appolito design incorporates dual Kevlar low/mid drivers operating in parallel with a 1.25-inch, silk-dome, high-frequency driver.

PreSonus’ new Eris E44 and E66 two-way active MTM studio monitors deliver an expanded frequency range and a wide stereo field, thanks to their nested Midwoofer-Tweeter-Midwoofer (MTM, also known as “D’Appolito”) design. The result is a more consistent listening experience on- and off-axis.

The E44 and E66 nested MTM configuration incorporates dual Kevlar low/mid drivers (4.5- and 6.5-inch, respectively) operating in parallel and covering the same frequency range so that they acoustically couple.

This effectively creates a larger woofer to provide a more dynamic output than conventional two-way studio monitors. Nesting a 1.25-inch, silk-dome, high-frequency driver between the two woofers minimizes phase displacement to improved spatial resolution and a wide sweet spot.

Like all Eris speakers, the E44 and E66 provide the tools and flexibility needed to suit any mixing environment. By bringing the midrange drivers close together and raising the HF driver, the E44 and E66 are able to perform optimally in both horizontal and vertical orientations.

A three-position Acoustic Space switch helps compensate for the boundary bass boost that occurs when the monitor is placed near a wall or corner. High and Mid acoustic tuning controls further help to mitigate room problems. A Low Cutoff filter makes it easy to integrate a subwoofer. Individual balanced XLR and ¼-inch TRS and unbalanced RCA input connections make hookup quick and easy. Safety features include RF shielding, current-output limiting, over-temperature protection, and subsonic protection.

Eris E44 and E66 studio monitor speakers are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2015 at an anticipated street price of $249.95/speaker and $349.95/speaker, respectively.

The Eris E44 and E66 and the new R65 and R80 AMT monitors are welcome additions to the PreSonus range of studio monitors. The line also includes the Ceres C3.5BT and C4.5BT, which feature Bluetooth wireless and consumer-oriented I/O; the Eris E4.5, E5, and E8, which deliver pro quality for personal studios; the Sceptre S6 and S8 coaxial monitors, with Z-plane imaging; and the Temblor T8 and T10 active studio subwoofers.

image

PreSonus

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Posted by House Editor on 10/21 at 06:07 AM
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Recording Experiments That Didn’t Quite Go As Planned

Reading stories about all the recording “heroes” of yesterday and today gets old. These guys and gals never seem to do anything wrong.

Every single thing they try always works? Yeah, right.

Let’s focus instead on something I like to call Failure 101. A studio colleague and I have always agreed that it’s more interesting to look at experiments that totally failed. We’re not recording heroes - just a couple of guys not scared to turn knobs, push buttons, move mics, and clip the 2 mix.

First - a failure not really of the audio kind, but possibly the biggest failure we’ve had. In the early days we came across a project to record a “garage” rock band. We hung out with the band a few times to iron out the details. Along comes the session date and we begin recording.

Cutting to the chase: After spending two weekends slaving away on five songs we still have a major mess to polish.

We never once gave the band the justice they deserved, and instead, were more concerned with making some sort of “hi-fi” recording, completely overlooking the band’s vision and what was sonically best for them.

The performances were stale, the sounds didn’t fit the songs, and most importantly, we lost our communication lines with the band and killed their spirit.

We learned the biggest lesson on that session: The song is boss.

Low these many years since; we’ve never stopped trying things with mics, compressors, speakers, synths, etc. Along the way we’ve collected some pretty good stories of the “crash and burn.”

We had a pair of Earthworks TC30k microphones that went with us everywhere. One particular session, we thought we’d try some “more interesting” ways to mic a snare drum.

After an hour and many mics, I had the great idea of placing one TC-30k inside the sound hole of the snare drum. Now this was not easy to do - sure the mic is very small, and yes, it can take enormous amounts of SPL.

But think of the other factors involved. When you hit a snare drum, it moves. It doesn’t matter how secure it’s attached to the stand, it will move. And when we’re talking about a condenser placed to the millimeter or smaller, movement at all is very bad.

Our anxiety level increased a bit when we had a vision of the drummer accidentally hitting the mic. In this scenario the mic would actually bend if hit hard enough (remember, only a small portion of the mic is actually inside the drum).

But, carry on we did… After a few hours of getting drum sounds and doing all the different snare drum “treatments,” the moment of truth arrives. We turn up the gain, bring up the return, and … WHAT!?!? It sounds so terrible that all my “strutting around” embarrasses me.

“HONK, HONK” - sounded like a goose. The drummer says, “How’s that sound in there?” I swallowed my pride, push the talk back and calmly said, “Yeah man, it’s not quite right”.

Moving right along… we have an old tape delay unit called “multi-echo,” which is very much like a space echo or an echoplex. It’s actually a super cool unit, in that it can step up input and output level to 0 Vu (kinda), making it pretty good for the recording domain.

One particular mix session we were relying on this multi-echo unit pretty heavily, and we found it was taking us long periods of time per song to set up the delay time, and more to get it just right. This was becoming frustrating - there had never been a problem when using it on the record side of things.

Mind you, this is the first time we had used it in a mix session. After three days of fighting this thing I’m about ready to give up and just use a digital box when my colleague figured it out (by accident). We had already printed eight songs, of 18 total.

Every song up to this point had the multi-echo panned up the center, mainly carrying the lead vocal. The multi-echo was only returning delayed signal and nothing dry. On the fourth day Dan panned the lead vocal hard left and the return from the multi-echo hard right. BAM!!!!

The output of the multi-echo was completely out of phase with whatever we patched into it. It never ended up canceling the vocal in the previous mixes because it was not returning any dry signal.

We felt more than slightly stupid for not checking the phase before we started mixing, which is actually something we do all the time. We even have phase clickers for this reason (and yes, we had them at the time of this session).

Needless to say we had to back up and reprint eight “finished” mixes, which of course is not easy when you’re working in a home studio with no automation, let alone recall.

Some say, “The bigger you are the harder you fall.” Baloney - even that vertically challenged fellow on Fantasy Island falls hard, and so do we.

But you never know unless you try, and you’ll never learn if you’re afraid of pushing buttons, turning knobs and putting a mic where it’s maybe never been placed before.

j. hall is a veteran audio professional and the moderator of Indie Rock, In Practice & In Theory on ProSoundWeb’s REP Forums.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 10/20 at 10:51 AM
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Genelec Offers GLM Version 2 Software

New software for Windows and Mac features automatic adjustment of levels, distance delays and flexible room response compensation.

Genelec offers GLM (Genelec Loudspeaker Manager) V2 of its software, a monitor control networking system that manages connectivity to all models of SAM (Smart Active Monitoring) studio monitors and subwoofers – up to 30 on the network – covering all types and sizes of stereo, multichannel, or 3D immersive audio applications.

The GLM 2.0 software is available for Windows and Mac and features automatic adjustment of levels, distance delays and flexible room response compensation equalization with the AutoCal calibration system.

All parameters and settings are stored in GLM system Setup files or internally saved in the monitors and subwoofers if the GLM network needs to be disconnected.

Users can adapt any of 16 models of Genelec SAM monitors to virtually any listening environments with GLM 2.0, allowing reduced perceived differences between listening environments or positions.

GLM AutoCal provides an integrated process for complete automated measurement, analysis, and adjustment of every monitor on the GLM control network, using a factory-calibrated Genelec 8300A acoustic measurement microphone (included). 

Updated features for V2 include a new Network Adaptor that has both microphones and volume control inputs; the expanded use of Groups in a Setup; independent input types for each Group (analog or digital); independent AutoCal settings for each Group; five Groups available for each Setup; SPL display on the main GLM screen; and more. The upgrade path for users who want to update their GLM from V1 to V2 is easy and intuitive. After the user contacts Genelec, the upgrade fee is $375 for a new User Kit, and they will be credited $275 when they send back their old Network Interface Device. 

Other GLM 2.0 features and benefits:
—Automatic calibration of levels and distance-compensating delays for accurate and stable sound stage imaging.
—Ability to store calibration settings for different listening positions to be recalled instantly during the production stage.
—Allows repeatable and consistent performance, enabling accurate monitoring in any production environments.
—Symmetrical or individualized stereo pair equalization compensation to be used depending on the acoustic environment.
—Subwoofer crossover phase is set for all subwoofers on the network to achieve smooth frequency response transition around the crossover point.
—Each monitor Group has its own AutoCal calibration file, allowing the use of different Groups for various customized response curves.
—Groups contained in one GLM system setup file can feature both analog and digital input use and an unlimited number of system setup files can be created.
—Volume control functions via GLM software master fader or via external wired or wireless volume controllers, covering all possible applications.
—On-screen, real-time SPL reading of the active monitor Group allows careful monitoring of the production SPL.

Genelec

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Posted by House Editor on 10/20 at 09:51 AM
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Barefoot Introducing New MicroMain26 At AES

New 4-way active monitor features 6 drive units housed in sealed enclosures spanning 30Hz to 45kHz.

Barefoot Sound is introducing at AES 2015 the MicroMain26 monitor, based on the MicroMain27 Gen2 platform, featuring a 2.5-inch aluminum cone midrange. 

The MicroMain26 is a 4-way active system with 6 drive units housed in sealed enclosures spanning 30Hz to 45kHz with low distortion, high dynamic range and fast transient response.

The ring radiator tweeter is detailed and produces wide dispersion out to its highest frequencies. 

The Barefoot MM26 2.5-inch aluminum cone midrange is housed in a 3D-printed waveguide enclosure.

The 5.25-inch woofers feature advanced technology, yielding upper bass and lower midrange detail that rivals any driver.

The new Barefoot MM26 the MM26 provides four modes: the revealing “Flat” response, the warmer and sweeter “Hi-Fi” setting, the “Old School” setting that emulates the sound of the Yamaha NS10M nearfield, while the “Cube” setting emulates the mid-centric sound of classic mix cubes.

See and hear the new MicroMain26 at AES Booth #932

Barefoot Sound

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Posted by House Editor on 10/20 at 09:08 AM
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New York City’s Blue Note Adds Yamaha NUAGE Digital Console

Peltrix owner and former Blue Note front of house, Amit Peleg, selects console for live recording.

Since opening its doors in 1981, the Blue Note in Greenwich Village in New York City has played host to some of the greatest musicians of all time such as Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Nina Simone, BB King, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Tony Bennett, Chris Botti, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, and Etta James, as well as modern hip-hop and R&B artists.

No stranger to Yamaha products, the Blue Note already houses a Yamaha M7CL Digital Audio Console in the club at front of house.

The venue just installed a Yamaha NUAGE Advanced Production System, a joint collaboration with Yamaha sister company, Steinberg.

Peltrix, located in Westchester County, NY, has had a long-standing relationship with the Blue Note and recommended the NUAGE system.

Peltrix owner, Amit Peleg, was house engineer at the Blue Note for over 20 years prior to starting the installation firm.

The NUAGE system at the Blue Note is being used for three distinct applications.

The first is recording and mixing audio projects for virtual reality videos, a joint venture between the Blue Note and video house Rivet.

The Blue Note is using the NUAGE system to record individual tracks from live shows that will be sold on iTunes via a new dedicated Blue Note channel, and
to record full CDs for release by the Blue Note’s own record label, Half Note Records.

“The decision to install the NUAGE rig was made to benefit both the Blue Note and Peltrix,” states Peleg.

“We are a Yamaha NUAGE premiere dealer so it is a perfect opportunity for us to be able to conduct hands-on demos at the high caliber, musical landmark in the heart of Manhattan. We can also provide hands-on training using live music with world-renowned musicians for future NUAGE end user customers.”

Many live recordings were released by the Blue Note over the years with some of the biggest names in jazz, such as GRAMMY winning recordings by Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Lalo Schifrin, Paquito D’Rivera, and Michel Camilo, just to name a few. In all cases, recordings were mixed on a mobile rig or in a remote truck.

“With the increased demand for live recordings, it was natural for the Blue Note to need an in-house recording system that can accommodate not only occasional recordings but now recordings as frequent as two to three times per week. The arrangement is a win-win for both Peltrix and the Blue Note,” says Peleg, who is very familiar with Steinberg products having used Cubase and Nuendo in the past.

“I always liked the natural workflow of the software and its sonic advantage over other DAWs, and having a post-production control surface that sits on top of that software is icing on the cake.”

Peleg said the customization feature of the NUAGE system lets the user make it his or her own mix.

“The system can be made to run the way you like, the way that feels most natural to you. When configured properly, NUAGE can become an extension of the engineer and act as a conduit directly to the functionality that’s most important for the project at hand. The end result is a more intuitive workflow and faster execution of tasks. When you need to churn out mixes for three full-length shows per week, it’s almost a necessity.”

Yamaha
Peltrix
Blue Note

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Posted by House Editor on 10/20 at 08:37 AM
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Monday, October 19, 2015

SABIAN Introduces New Simplified Drum Sound Kit

Kit includes a drum mixer with a kick-tuned channel, two optimized overhead channels and a high output headphone amp.

SABIAN’s new Sound Kit is a complete microphone and mixer kit designed as a simple solution to drum sounds in a variety of scenarios.

Currently drummers have to piece together the microphones and mixer combinations and then know how to tweak things to make them sound great.

SABIAN’s kit solves that problem by taking all the guesswork out and providing a fast path to great drum sounds.

The SABIAN Sound Kit is available now through dealers and distributors worldwide.

The SABIAN Sound Kit excels in practice, rehearsal, and live environments, allowing players to mix their drums with music from any device with an audio output.

The built in reference recorder helps drummers listen back and learn. The system provides the easiest way to send drum sounds to a home studio for project recording sessions. It is also ideal for performances in small clubs, bars, and house of worship venues. Its fast setup and balanced XLR outputs simplifies drum amplification for these environments while giving the drummer control of their sound.

The drum mixer is equipped with a kick-tuned channel, two optimized overhead channels, a high output headphone amp with both 3.5mm and ¼-inch jacks, and a lineout for live audio applications. The mixer comes with preset audio filters on each channel designed to maximize the quality of sound. The user still has the ability to customize their sound by boosting or cutting high and low frequencies.

The mic set includes a dynamic kick drum microphone featuring a frequency response tailored specifically for bass drums and a diaphragm dynamic design built for the high sound pressure levels of today’s kick drums. Also included are two overhead microphones optimized for cymbals. The SABIAN Sound Kit is designed to optimize a proven mic-placement technique called the Recorderman. This method helps drummers achieve a desirable natural drum sound easily, quickly and without any fuss.

SABIAN

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Posted by House Editor on 10/19 at 01:47 PM
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Eight Things To Check Before Hitting The Record Button

This article is provided by Bobby Owsinski.

 
Here’s an excerpt from my Recording Engineer’s Handbook 3rd Edition that provides a checklist of questions to ask yourself before you hit the Record button.

1. Does the instrument sound great acoustically?
Make sure that you start with a great acoustic sound with the instrument well tuned and minimum of sympathetic vibrations and extraneous noises.

2. Are the mics acoustically in phase?
Observe the 3:1 rule and make sure that any underneath mics are at a 90-degree angle to the top mics.

3. Are the mics electronically in phase?
Make sure that all the mic cables are wired the same by doing a phase check.

4. Are the mics the correct distance from the instrument?
If they’re too far away they’ll pick up too much of the room or other instruments. If they’re too close the sound will be unbalanced with either too much attack or ring, and not enough of the body of the instrument. Walk around the player, put your finger in your ear, and find the spot that sounds the best. Remember, most instruments need some space for the sound to develop. The ambience from the surrounding area is a big part of the sound for most instruments.

5. Does it sound the same in the control room as when you’re standing in front of the instrument?
This is your reference point and what you should be trying to match. You can embellish the sound after you’ve got the sound as close to the way it was when you were standing next to the player.

6. Is there another problem besides the mic placement?
A great sound is dependent upon the instrument, the player, the amp (if there is on) and the room. The player has to be able to achieve the tone you’re trying to record with his hands or mouth or voice first and foremost. The mic itself usually has less to do with the ultimate sound than the placement, room and the player and ultimately, the project itself.

You should always trust your ears and begin by listening to the musician in your studio, find a sweet spot and then begin your microphone placement there. If you don’t like the resultant sound, then move the mic or swap it with another. EQ is the last thing you should touch.

7. Is the problem in your signal chain?
Don’t neglect your microphone preamp. The better your preamp, the less trouble you’ll have capturing the sound, but sometimes a certain mic/preamp combination will give you the sound you need. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

8. Is the problem in the players signal chain?
A guitarist’s signal chain, for example, can be a huge help or a big hindrance. You’ll get a warmer yet aggressive guitar sound by decreasing the amount of distortion from pedals, but turning up the amp’s volume instead to obtain the sustain/distortion from the amp and speaker. Also, smaller amps and speakers tend to sound bigger than large amps/speakers when recording.

REMEMBER: Mics cannot effectively be placed by sight, which is a mistake that is all too easy to make. The best mic position cannot be predicted, it must be found.”

Read and comment on the original article here. Also check out The Studio Musician’s Handbook and the Recording Engineer’s Handbook

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 go here to acquire a copy of The Music Producer’s Handbook.

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Posted by House Editor on 10/19 at 12:23 PM
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Tracktion Corporation Acquires 2JW Design

Audio software developer adds Seattle-based hardware design and manufacturing group

Tracktion Corporation has completed the acquisition of Seattle-based, audio hardware manufacturer, 2JW Design.

The merger is seen as the next step toward Tracktion’s stated goal of creating a new line of boutique professional audio hardware.

The first of these products, a high-end computer interface called Copper Reference, is due in 2016.

Prior to the acquisition, 2JW Design had specialized in the creation of bespoke professional audio gear for customers such as Guitar Center and Microsoft.

It was essentially a custom design shop to meet exacting, often challenging, specifications and the manufacturing capability to quickly produce thousands of units. 

“We’ve been relying on 2JW’s engineering talent throughout the development of our hardware program,” explained Tracktion co-founder, Dave Christenson.

“Merging Tracktion and 2JW into a single company is intended to streamline operations and speed products to market. After a couple years of close cooperation, we’re pleased to finally bring everyone together under one roof, so to speak.”

Tracktion Corporation is best known as the developer of the popular Tracktion digital audio workstation (DAW), which is designed for use by musicians without a studio engineering background. The company has also released Master Mix, a mastering quality audio processing plugin and plans to release the highly anticipated virtual instrument, BioTek, shortly. The new hardware group will focus on the design and manufacture of limited run, high value recording products currently intended for manufacture in the USA. 

Tracktion Corporation

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Posted by House Editor on 10/19 at 10:03 AM
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