Monday, September 21, 2015
Special Events & Presentation Roster At 139th International AES Convention In New York
Wide-ranging program throughout the show (October 29 – November 1) open to all attendees
The upcoming 139th AES International Convention (October 29 – November 1) at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City is offering a program of special events and professional presentations open to all attendees.
On the first day of the convention (Thursday, October 29), the AES will hold its opening ceremonies featuring presentations by AES 139th Convention chairs Jim Anderson and Paul Gallo, AES president Andres Mayo, executive director Bob Moses, and the AES Awards Committee. The ceremonies will be capped off by the keynote address, “Virtual Reality, Audio, and the Future,” delivered by Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Oculus.
Thursday activities continue with a Platinum Latin Producers and Engineers panel hosted by Andres Mayo, as well as two other in-depth presentations: “Producing Across Generations: New Challenges, New Solutions—Making Records for Next to Nothing in the 21st Century,” moderated by Jesse Lauter, which will take a candid look at the business of maximizing modern production contracts and budgetary considerations; and also a historical discussion on the “50th Anniversary of the Master Antenna on the Empire State Building,” moderated by Scott Fybush.
Friday offers another full day of free-to-attend panels and events, beginning with the Platinum Producers panel, “The Big Payback,” hosted by Errol Kolisine, as well as a presentation by the AES president-elect Alex U. Case titled “The Rocket Scientist in the Recording Studio,” which will explore the achievements and techniques of Saul Walker, API co-founder and former chief engineer.
Other featured events include the Platinum Engineers panel hosted by SonicScoop’s Justin Colletti and a discussion moderated by Howard Massey on “The Great British Recording Studios,” along with the return of the DTVAG (Digital Television Audio Group) AES Forum where the hottest issues in broadcast audio will be analyzed following a keynote speech from Tom Sahara, DTVAG chairman emeritus and Turner Sports vice president, operations and technology.
The day will conclude with the early evening Heyser Memorial Lecture given by forensic audio analyst Bruce E. Koenig titled “Acoustic Forensic Gunshot Analysis — The Kennedy Assassination and Beyond,” which will take a look at the important role of audio forensics technologies and techniques both past and present.
Saturday’s events at the 139th Convention kick off with the AES Platinum Mastering panel hosted by Bob Ludwig, followed by a panel discussion hosted in collaboration with The Recording Academy Producers & Engineers Wing titled “Your Credits, Your Money, the New Data Standards and DDEX — What YOU Need to Know!” hosted by Paul Jessop.
The day continues with a broadcast audio theme, beginning with a lunchtime Keynote from television game show broadcast mixer Ed Greene, followed by the GRAMMY SoundTables presentation, “After Hours — Mixing for Late Night TV.” The final event on Saturday is the traditional after-hours organ concert at the historic Central Synagogue.
Sunday at AES will host a discussion with Grammy-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride, “Leader – Sideman: The Life of a Jazz Musician,” moderated by Harry Weinger, and the convention’s exhibition floor will remain open until 4 pm for attendees to network while browsing the audio equipment and services being represented.
“With such a diverse and engaging group of presenters and events, we hope that everyone will take advantage of our free Exhibits-Plus badges and really take a look at what the AES Convention has to offer,” states AES executive director Bob Moses. “These events, which have been wildly successful year-after-year, along with our Live Sound Expo, Project Studio Expo and hundreds of Exhibitors, offer an amazing experience for everyone involved with, or interested in, audio. And those who wish to take it to the next level with the All Access badge are offered a penetrating look down the rabbit-hole into the inner-sanctum of audio research and development – a truly unique opportunity.”
For the latest information on the AES139 Convention and how to register for a free Exhibits-Plus or premium All Access badge, go here.
In the following video, Joe demonstrates a new way of thinking about compression on your mix bus, one that can provide subtle but notable differences.
He starts with a track utilizing a pretty standard setup for mix bus compression—2:1 ratio, 30 millisecond (ms) attack, 100 ms release, and a little bit of make-up gain because it’s not really being compressed all that much.
After playing the track with and without the compression engaged to experience what it sounds like. Then it’s time for some enhancement of the low end, and this is where the technique comes into play. It’s a process that involves utilizing sidechain filtering, and goes from there.
Primacoustic Paintables London Series Acoustical Room Kits Now Shipping
Panels can be customized by being lightly spray-painted without disturbing acoustic properties
Primacoustic has announced that Paintables versions of its London 8 and London 10 acoustical treatment room kits are now shipping.
Originally available in a choice of gray, beige and black fabric coating, the new Paintables are available in pre-painted Absolute White. Unique is the ability to lightly spray paint the panels without disturbing the acoustic properties.
Designed to address acoustical concerns that are common to all rooms, London kits help control primary reflections, flutter echo and excessive bass. Panels are mounted using Impalers that eliminate the use of glue.
The kits include all the necessary hardware including wall anchors, screws and even a drill bit, for a quick and easy installation. Each acoustic panel is made from high density 6 lb glass wool for even absorption, and the panels are edge-treated with resin and then fully encapsulated with micromesh to prevent dusting.
The Paintables have been independently tested for acoustic performance and to achieve Class-A fire ratings, making them safe for use in all types of installations in all jurisdictions around the world.
According to Primacoustic’s Jay Porter: “The London Series makes it super simple to effectively treat many spaces, and with this new paintable line, you can eliminate any concern about how the panels will integrate with existing decor. The kits are an ideal solution for home theaters, two-channel audiophile listening rooms, project studios, video post-production suites, theater projection booths, video conferencing rooms, voice-over booths, broadcast suites and podcast studios.”
MAP for the Paintables London 8 and London 10 kits: $229.99 USD and $499.99 USD, respectively.
Grammy Award-winning recording engineer relies on the two-channel, four-band passive equalizer.
Over the past 15 years, F. Reid Shippen has mixed 10 Grammy Award-winning projects with Kenny Chesney, Jewel, Matthew West, Keith Urban, Jonny Lang, Ingrid Michaelson, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Regardless of the genre, he relies on his Manley Massive Passive two-channel, four-band passive equalizer.
“The Massive Passive is capable of doing a wide range of stuff, from things that are really subtle to some pretty hardcore music,” Shippen explains.
“As a mix EQ, it’s everything that you want and nothing that you don’t. It has stellar high and low pass filters, it’s incredibily musical, and it’s got a great top end that never gets harsh. You have tons of control, but if you don’t need all that, it’s simply a great all-around shaping tool.”
Recently Shippen mixed a Disney project with the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. As always, he relied on his Manley Massive Passive.
“It was perfect,” he recalls. “Instead of trying to EQ individual instruments and sections, I ran the whole orchestra through it and shaped the entire tonality. It worked like a charm.”
The Massive Passive does create one issue, however. “My current second engineer is a long-time mastering engineer, and I have to fight him for my Massive Passive,” laughs Shippen. “He wants it all the time, and so do I.”
Shippen appreciates the way Manley has balanced art and science in the Massive Passive. “It’s a perfect combination between modern convenience and the great, classic, sweet EQs that I love, like the Pultecs,” he states. “It’s probably - no, almost definitely the best analog EQ in existence.”
Full Compass Announces Nick Mundth As Web Population Lead & QC Specialist
Continuing to aid in promotions of product offerings and listings online, and also handling all training and quality control for web population and video production teams
Full Compass Systems has announced the promotion of Nick Mundth as web population lead and QC specialist.
His knowledge in the musical instrument, musical recording, and professional audio industry will continue to aid the company in the promotions of its well-established product offerings and listings online. Also as part of his duties, he is handling all training and quality control for both the web population and video production teams.
Prior to joining Full Compass, Mundth worked in sales at a Madison, WI Guitar Center location, and he also has a background in broadcasting, having worked as a director at a television station in Minnesota. He earned a BA in Music Liberal Arts from Winona State University, and went on to get an AAS in Recording Technology at McNally Smith College of Music.
“I’m excited for these opportunities to not only grow with Full Compass but to facilitate continued growth in our online presence and to ensure that the best possible content reaches our customers,” Mundth says.
“In the two years that Nick has been at Full Compass, he has proven to be an invaluable member of the team with a great attitude and a proactive approach to problem solving and team building,” states marketing manager Laura Lawrence. “We very much appreciate his hard work and want to congratulate him on his promotion.”
Auralex Integral To Recording Success At Lattitude Studio South
Company's acoustical treatment products tie together facility south of Nashville that hosts a variety of top recording artists
Michael Lattanzi created Lattitude Studio South to be a recording haven for any kind of music, and it’s tied together by an array of acoustical treatment products from Auralex in hosting sessions for artists such as Thompson Square, Hunter Hayes, Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, John Popper & Blues Traveler, and most recently Megadeth.
The studio is located in Leiper’s Fork, TN, an exurban artistic community 30 minutes from downtown Nashville, where Lattanzi moved four years ago from Los Angeles.
“Auralex is completely integral to the way I work,” says Lattanzi, who has collaborated as a producer, engineer, mixer, co-writer and in other capacities with a wide range of artists, including Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, Paul Abdul, Smash Mouth, LL Cool J, Jewel, Wilson Phillips, Steve Vai, Jessica Simpson and others in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville, music centers where he has lived during various phases of a successful career in music production.
He points to the Auralex ProPADs underneath each monitor, which include EVE SC407 and Yamaha NS-10m models (among several other options), as well as Miller & Kreisel MX-350 MK II 350-Watt subs. “I swear by these,” he says. “And under the subs I use the SubDude and GRAMMA v2 pads on the floor. I get total isolation between the speakers and the studio.”
Out in the spacious tracking room, the drum kit rests on a 16-foot by 16-foot riser made of Auralex HoverDecks, with a set of HoverMat pads on top of that. “These keep the kit and the mics around the kit completely isolated from the floor,” he explains. “That’s really helped the drum sound — they sound tight and there’s no resonance through the floor.”
In the control room, Auralex ProPanels attached securely to the walls between the windows keep reflections in check, providing an accurate, reflection-free mixing environment. In the studio, freestanding Auralex ProGOs act as sound-restricting gobos between amplifiers and around vocal microphones.
Lattanzi also uses them in the control room as baffles behind the studio’s three full-sized consoles – a Neve 8078, an SSL SL4000 E/G/G+ and an API 1604 (“I know, I’m crazy,” he laughs) – to deter reflections from the windows between the control room and the studio.
Finally, the control room has Auralex LENRD bass traps in every corner from floor to ceiling. “I would not build a studio without them,” he says. “They give me a very predictable bass response.”
He adds that Auralex provides what every music production professional seeks in a recording environment: acoustical and sonic predictability and consistency: “I want to know that what I’m hearing is the voice, the instrument, the song, not coloration from reflections or resonances. I want to know that what I’m hearing is real, and that’s what Auralex gives me — reality.”
If you ask a handful of engineers how they approach recording acoustic guitars, you’re likely to get at least a handful of different answers (provided they’re willing to divulge).
This is because so many factors play a part in capturing an acoustic guitar: the room, playing style, body size, recording environment, the player’s skill level, etc.
All things considered, however, most engineers will tell you the real secret to recording acoustic guitar is simple: stereo miking. Sure, you could record an acoustic guitar in mono and do some slick, stereo processing to give it that “spacious” quality.
Or you could always combine a microphone with an acoustic guitar pickup for added dynamic “texture.” But ultimately, if highly reliable, realistic, full-bodied acoustic guitar tracks with depth and accuracy are what you’re after, you’ll find that stereo recording with two microphones is the way to go. Let’s cover three of the most commonly used techniques for stereo miking an acoustic guitar.
All three of the following techniques have been used on countless hit records. Familiarize yourself with all of them and then experiment with each to achieve the desired tone.
In most situations, you’ll want to use a pair of unidirectional, condenser mics placed close to the instrument (approximately 6 to 12 inches away). Mics with a cardioid polar pattern are generally best for an acoustic guitar because they exhibit less “bass boost” from proximity effect than other directional types when placed close to the sound source. Acoustic guitars will exhibit a “boomy” sound if miked incorrectly. Experiment with different mic combinations to achieve the sound you’re after.
Two mics are spaced apart from each other at the same approximate height. My preference for the first mic is a small diaphragm condenser pointed at the 12th fret of the guitar to capture higher frequencies and string dynamics. For the second mic, I use a large diaphragm condenser aimed at the bridge or slightly behind it, to capture the lower frequencies and body characteristics of the acoustic guitar.
When using this technique, remember to follow the “Rule of 3:1,” where the distance between the two mics is at least three times the distance between each mic and the acoustic guitar. (For example, if Mic A is 6 inches from the 12th fret, Mic B should be at least 18 inches away from Mic A.) This will help keep phase cancellations to a minimum and provide a smoother sound that will translate well to mono should you decide to do that later.
This is primarily a variation on the previous spaced mics setup. The first mic is still a small diaphragm condenser pointed at the twelfth fret. The second mic, however, is positioned on a mic stand around the performer’s ear level, pointing down either at the bridge or at the strings just in front of the bridge.
For a right-handed player, the mic will be positioned over the right shoulder. It should be placed out in front of the guitar and the performer and angled back towards the guitar (as opposed to pointing at the ground). This setup will yield a brighter sound that is thinner, but more open sounding than the first setup. Again keep the “Rule of 3:1” in mind, but experiment with the mic placement slightly to improve the timbre.
X-Y, also known as a coincident pair, is probably the easiest and most reliable method for recording acoustic guitar. It’s hard to get a bad or unnatural-sounding recording with this setup for several reasons.
First, the mics are positioned similarly to how our own ears hear an acoustic guitar. Second, you do not need to be as concerned with the phase issues apparent in the other setups because the capsules are so close to each other. And finally, because the sound waves arrive at roughly the same time to both mics, and phase issues are minimized, the resulting tracks will be highly mono-compatible, if so desired.
To start, place two small diaphragm condenser mics (a matched pair is ideal) so that one capsule is above the other (nearly touching) and the back ends are split apart roughly 90 to 120 degrees, forming a V-shape.
Keep the capsules focused on the 12th fret, but feel free to move the mics further away to capture more of the room, or slightly left or right of the 12th fret to emphasize particular frequencies. I find that about 7 inches back from the 12th fret often yields the sweet spot between the bass frequencies from the sound hole and higher frequencies from the neck, and in effect de-emphasizes the midrange frequencies.
This setup will create a narrower stereo image than the other two setups discussed, but will make up for it with a warmer, more natural sound.
While some engineers like to add compression and EQ to acoustic guitars when recording, others prefer to add those touches after the fact and only as needed. It’s hard to know just how an acoustic guitar track will sit in a mix.
In the end, and once again, there are no rules. Have fun experimenting with these stereo pair recording techniques for acoustic guitar.
Aaron Fry Selects API Console For Electric Sun Studio
Non-profit studio in Sacramento, CA adds 1608 for various projects including the charitable organization Songs of Love.
Ask Aaron Fry how the API 1608 changed his studio and he will tell you it’s the difference between “recording and mixing a great record versus a good record.”
Fry runs a uniquely non-profit studio called Electric Sun in Sacramento, CA; he purchased the 1608 from Sonic Circus in May, and he says it quickly became the “perfect centerpiece to the studio.”
Fry uses a variety of API racks as well, including the 3124+, which he says “make great companion pieces” to his new console.
When asked specifically what he likes about the 1608, Fry had a hard time paring down the list.
“I like everything. I love that it is so customizable, especially in regards to the EQ section. The automation is just phenomenal. 8 busses is essential for a mixing console. I’m very happy with the routing capabilities, and the instrument inputs are very convenient. I really enjoy the simplicity of the console for how complex it is. Everything is laid out very well.”
Fry also says that he likes the way the console fits into the studio aesthetically, and thanks API “for designing a magnificent console that is beautiful both sonically and physically.”
Electric Sun primarily records artists local to the Sacramento area, specifically rock and acoustic rock, reggae, and electronic music.
“The 1608 is the best console for rock music in terms of both recording and mixing abilities,” Fry explains, “Great retro design and amazing analog sound.” Electric Sun’s 1608 has seen a variety of Sacramento musicians: Out of Place, Dust Bowl Dawn, and Liquid Noon as well as studio co-owner and Fry’s wife Katie Jane have already recorded on the console, and the list is growing daily.
In addition to recording and promoting local artists, Electric Sun participates in the charitable organization Songs of Love.
“One song per month is written for a child…who suffers from some type of illness, disease or disorder. It is an absolute amazing organization. My wife writes those songs and I engineer them. My music is a little too distortion based for children’s songs.”
Fry continues, saying that such an important cause was worth the investment the 1608 required: “I chose API based on a couple of years worth of research. I just want the best of the best in my studio and can thankfully afford it.”
Unsurprisingly, Fry is tight-lipped about specific upcoming projects, but he promises new material for Songs of love, and from a variety of Sacramento artists, in the upcoming year.
Prism Sound’s Mic To Monitor Educational Seminars Coming To AES New York
Primary goal is to dispel many myths surrounding the recording process, as well as address hot topics, with a slate of noted presenters scheduled
Prism Sound will be hosting Mic to Monitor educational seminars as part of the AES Project Studio Expo at the upcoming AES Convention in New York.
To be held November 1, the series of seminars will run throughout the day, targeted at all levels of music production and engineering attendees.
The primary goal is to dispel many myths surrounding the recording process, as well as address topics such as what makes great gear “great,” what it takes to become a successful engineer, and how professionals tackle different aspects of their productions to create hit records.
Among the speakers lined up for the event are Prism Sound technical director Ian Dennis, Maselec founder Leif Masses, ATC technical sales and applications engineer Ben Lilly, and Gik Acoustics president Glenn Kuras.
The 200-seat Project Studio Expo will be located on the AES trade show floor next to the exhibits, and is open to the public.The seminars, which last approximately 45 minutes each, are free and will be delivered via headphones so prevent interference from show floor noise. There will also be opportunities to ask questions and demo recording equipment.
Graham Boswell, sales director of Prism Sound, states, “We’re very excited about bringing Mic to Monitor to the AES show. The music recording industry is constantly evolving and there are always new tricks and techniques to be learned, even by people who are already making a successful living in this field.”
PreSonus Enhances Studio One 3 With Channel Strip Collection & Studio Grand
Two new channel strip plugins that can be used to add character to tracks and mixes; piano instrument presets and sample content offer 10 times original depth
PreSonus has released the Channel Strip Collection and Studio Grand add-ons for Studio One 3 Artist and Studio One 3 Professional digital audio workstations.
The Channel Strip Collection provides two new channel strip plugins (RC 500 and VT1) with preamp, compressor, and EQ that can be used to add a distinctive character to tracks and mixes.
The RC 500 plugin models the company’s RC 500 channel strip, which includes a low-distortion, high-gain, solid-state Class A preamplifier; custom-designed FET compressor; and custom semi-parametric EQ.
The VT1 plugin includes a modeled high-end tube preamp, along with the compressor and EQ. The compressor and EQ for both plug-ins have been engineered to deliver musically tasteful results, even at extreme settings.
The RC500 and VT1 were realized through State Space Modeling, a proprietary physical modeling technique that analyzes a complete system schematic and recognizes the circuit as a set of discrete differential equations. The involved nonlinear circuit elements are modeled down to the component level in order to include all those “dirt-effects” that make the analog original sound so good, such as bias shifts, time dependencies, and saturation.
The resulting DSP code is then CPU-optimized for maximum efficiency while taking advantage of Studio One’s sound quality. This progressive technique enables the creation of accurate virtual models of complex audio hardware.
Studio Grand Piano instrument presets and sample content for Presence XT, which was recorded in a top recording studio. This contemporary 7-foot concert grand is the same instrument included in the Presence XT Core library for Studio One 3 Professional but offers 10 times the depth and size.
Two microphone sets captured every detail: a matched pair of German condenser mics in the player’s perspective and a pair of high-end ribbon microphones placed on the side in the listener’s perspective. Each mic set is included as a separate instrument. Studio One 3 Professional users also get a multi-instrument preset that combines both mic sets and allows them to be mixed individually in the Studio One mix console.
Each note of the octave has been sampled in 10 velocity layers with eight alternate (round-robin) samples for maximum realism. This is joined by authentic pedal action noise, sustain pedal resonances, and note-off samples, all controlled by custom scripts and script controls. A variety of presets covers every musical style and allows for deep customization.
The Channel Strip Collection and Studio Grand Piano are available immediately for $79.99 each.
Hosted by Vintage King Audio and featuring events with Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick of Pensado's Place
Several of the panels and events have been announced for the third annual Gear Expo, coming up on Saturday, September 26 (10:00am-4:00pm), in the Berry Hill neighborhood of Nashville.
Organized by Pensado’s Place and Vintage King Audio, Gear Expo is a gear and music-making expo with resources for anyone involved with professional audio, home recording or simply making music.
Attendees will once again be able to demo gear, talk directly with manufacturer reps, watch live interviews, mingle with the celebrity guests, listen to live music, win prizes, enjoy local food trucks and meet Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick of Pensado’s Place.
Panels are slated to include:
WARRIOR PRINCESS: Career Paths for the Ladies, with Carma Bandstra (The Blackbird Academy), Roxanne Ricks (Audio-Technica Artist Relations), Sharon Corbitt-House (partner/manager, All Good Factory, and VP/Studio Operations, Grand Victor Sound) and Beverly Keel (Chair, Dept. of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, and noted journalist)
MARKETING WITH TODAY’S MEDIA: Building Your Brand and Audience, with Will Thompson (Habitual Social), Eric Allen (Social Media Manager, Vintage King Audio), Nicki D (EMMY-nominated Country Music Host), and Producer Ray (Producer, The Bobby Bones Show)
ELECTRONIC JAM: Machines for Studio and Stage, with Jeremy Ellis (Native Instruments Maschine Guru), Oliver Dodd (Moog Master) and Christian Crux Thomas (Ableton Certified Trainer)
NASHVILLE’S FINEST: Producers & Engineers Behind the Hits, with engineer/mixer/producer Ryan Hewitt (The Avett Brothers, Red Hot Chili Peppers), engineer/mixer Vance Powell (Jack White, Elle King), producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits), producer/engineer Dave Cobb (Shooter Jennings, Oak Ridge Boys, Sturgill Simpson) and engineer/mixer Justin Niebank (Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts)
SHOT CALLERS: Industry Titans, with entertainment attorney John Mason (counsel for Reba McEntire and others), Tony Brown (legendary producer and former chair of MCA Nashville), and John McBride (Owner of Blackbird Studio and The Blackbird Academy)
MEET THE MAKER: Breakthrough Product Developers – a series of conversations with manufacturer reps throughout the day, led by Pensado’s Place co-hosts Dave Pensado and Herb Trawick
Additional panelists and events are being added by the day. Aside from the panels, Audio-Technica will offer the “Microphone Guru” booth, and iZotope will be making a special product rollout. Also featured will be thousands of dollars of giveaways throughout the day, from such leading brands as AVID, Ableton, API, Chandler Limited, Audio-Technica, Ultimate Ears, G-Tech, iZotope, Pensado’s Place and more. The event will also be the culmination of a busy week for the Pensado team in Nashville, as in the days leading up to Gear Expo, Dave Pensado will be teaching at The Blackbird Academy.
The list of sponsors has grown since the last Gear Expo, and this year’s event features some of the most prominent names in professional audio, M.I. and audio education. Title sponsors are Vintage King, The Blackbird Academy, Audio-Technica, AfterMaster Audio Labs, The Recording Connection, iZotope, Studio202DC and AVID. Premium sponsors include Ableton, API, BOSS, Chandler Limited, Electric Thunder Studios, Empirical Labs Inc., Focusrite, Genelec, Jackson Ampworks, M1 Distribution, Magnatone, Moog, Neumann, ProMaster HD, Purple Audio, Roland, Rupert Neve Designs, Transaudio Group, Unity Audio and Universal Audio, with more to be announced as the event draws near.
“Our third annual gear expo is our busiest one yet, with the day truly jam-packed with fascinating and enlightening conversations with top professionals,” stated Herb Trawick, Gear Expo Executive Producer and Co-host/Executive Producer/Creator of Pensado’s Place. “We are going to have a blast while providing hands-on educational information and demonstrations that you cannot find anywhere else. See you on September 26.”
The Gear Expo staff includes:
Dave Pensado — Co-host of Pensado’s Place, GRAMMY-winning mix engineer, Teacher
Herb Trawick — Gear Expo Executive Producer and Co-Host/Executive Producer/Creator of Pensado’s Place
Shevy Shovlin — Gear Expo Producer and Chief Marketing Partner and Sales, Advertising for Headroom for Days
Chad Evans — Gear Expo Co-Producer and Vintage King Nashville National Sales Rep
Stephanie “Spitfire” Willis — Gear Expo Co-Producer
Pensado Vintage King Gear Expo Nashville 2015
Date: Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Location: 2826 Dogwood Place, Nashville, TN 37204
Universal Audio Introduces Apollo Twin USB For Windows Systems
This 2x6 USB audio interface combines 24/192 kHz audio conversion with onboard Realtime UAD-2 DUO Processing.
Universal Audio announces Apollo Twin USB High-Resolution Desktop Interface with Realtime UAD Processing for Windows-based recording systems using USB 3.
This 2x6 USB audio interface combines 24/192 kHz audio conversion with onboard Realtime UAD-2 DUO Processing.
With its ergonomic desktop design, aluminum construction, and front panel headphone and instrument connections, Apollo Twin USB allows Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users to record in real time (at near-zero latency) through the full range of UAD Powered Plug-Ins from Neve, Studer, Manley, Marshall, API, and more.
Apollo Twin USB also features Unison technology, which allows its mic preamps and front-panel DIs to sound and behave like the world’s most sought-after tube and solid state preamps, guitar amps, and stompboxes — including their all-important impedance, gain stage “sweet spots,” and circuit behaviors.
Based on integration between Apollo’s digitally controlled analog inputs and its onboard UAD processing, Unison lets Apollo Twin USB owners track through a range of colorful preamp emulations from Neve, API, Marshall and more with accuracy.
Apollo Twin USB comes with Universal Audio’s “Realtime Analog Classics” UAD plug-in bundle, featuring legacy editions of the LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler, 1176LN Limiting Amplifier, and Pultec EQP-1A Program Equalizer, as well as the 610-B Tube Preamp plug-in, Softube Amp Room Essentials.
Apollo Twin USB will begin shipping in October, 2015 with an estimated street price of $899 USD.
Apollo Twin USB DUO Key Features: —Desktop 2x6 USB 3 audio interface with world-class 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion —Realtime UAD Processing for tracking through vintage Compressors, EQs, Tape Machines, Mic Preamps, and Guitar Amp plug-ins with near-zero (sub-2ms) latency —Unison technology offers models of classic tube and transformer-based mic preamps, guitar amps, and stomp boxes —2 mic/line preamps; 2 line outputs; front-panel Hi-Z instrument input and headphone output —2 digitally controlled analog monitor outputs for full resolution at all listening levels —Combine with UAD-2 DSP Accelerators for added UAD plug-in processing power —Up to 8 channels of additional digital input via Optical connection —Includes “Realtime Analog Classics” UAD plug-in bundle, featuring Legacy editions of the LA-2A Classic Audio Leveler, 1176LN Limiting Amplifier, and Pultec EQP-1A Program Equalizer, plus Softube Amp Room Essentials, 610-B Tube Preamp, and more —Runs UAD Powered Plug-Ins via VST, RTAS & AAX 64
Backstage Class: Modern Drum Techniques In Sound Reinforcement
Years ago, drum sounds were created with a narrow, well-defined selection of standard microphones and console EQ, plus outboard gates, reverbs and a few compressors, and then spending an inordinate amount of time adjusting it all while each drum was hit repeatedly.
In the recording studio, this can take weeks, but for live sound it’s compressed into a day at the tour’s beginning, and no more than an hour a day while on the road.
Digital consoles have changed the live sound work flow and their instant recallability forces the drum sound check to fit into whatever time is allowed, sometimes no more than a quick line check.
Here are some strategies to improve the sound of the drums using the tools at hand for modern engineers.
My Mics or Yours?
When it comes to mic’ing drums there are two extremes: using microphones provided by the venue or local sound vendor, or artist engineers bringing their own.
There’s a familiar set of standard drum mics, guaranteeing that if you specify them, they’ll be provided at almost any gig.
Common inventory includes Shure Beta52 and Beta91 for kick drum, SM 57 for snare, Beta98 for toms, and SM 81 condensers for cymbals, and KSM32 a popular overhead upgrade.
Stock mic choices allow experienced engineers to quickly adjust, providing predictable results that are easily duplicated on various analog and digital desks. Locally provided mics also allow the band’s crew to walk away from the stage after the show without collecting them.
Many prefer to bring their own mics because it provides the highest level of consistency while allowing alternate choices. When traveling with an entire drum set, it’s mics are a minor accessory, allowing the engineer to choose the very best mic for each chore.
Recent mics that can be used for kick drum, such as the Shure Beta52, Audix D6, EV RE320 and AKG D 112, are designed for a contoured response that requires no EQ.
Manufacturers also provide drum “packs,” with a selection tailored to typical drum kits in a convenient case and at a savings over purchasing them individually.
When using rental drums, house mics are often good enough, but the blended approach allows the engineer to bring just a few “artist supplied” mics while employing standard selections for everything else. A couple of mics can be quickly struck at the end of each show and are easily carried on the road in the back of a rack or in a briefcase.
The goal for special application mics has always been the best sound, but today a further aim for kick drum mics is to require no EQ. Standards like the Sennheiser MD 421, Electro-Voice RE 20, Audix D12 and beyerdynamic M 88 are all great mics, but often need to be contoured for kick.
Today the EV RE 320, AKG D 112, Shure Beta52 and Audix D6 all have scooped out mids, pronounced lows and enhanced highs, designed for a contoured response that requires no EQ.
Aligning dual kick drum mics has been around since the early ProTools days, a technique that slightly delays the mic inside the drum to the outside mic.
At low frequencies, the distance between the two mics is relatively small compared to the wavelength, but at higher frequencies, the attack, or “click” can be obscured by the slight difference in arrival time - enough to muddy the combined sound above 1,000 Hz with comb-filtering.
Adding a millisecond of delay to the inside mic can clean up the highs and restore the click.
Also, matching the distance from the center of the snare drum to each overhead mic by using the length of two drumsticks end-to-end is a longstanding drum roadie trick that ensures the snare - the drum kit’s loudest sound - arrives in both overheads at the same time.
As with the kick mics, digital consoles allow the engineer to delay the snare - and even the toms - to their arrival in the overheads. The “two drumstick” measurement then can insure that delays set for snare and toms are correct.
The Waves API 2500 is noted for colored vintage emulation, as is the Bomb Factory BF-2A bundled with Avid Venue consoles.
In the Library
Digital consoles can store preset files in EQ libraries. While you may actually bring a digital console with you in a truck or bus trailer, the true value is in their files - not just past show settings - but their libraries, a collection of presets that can be called up with a push of a button.
Since most engineers repeatedly use the same model of drum mic the same way, saving EQ presets allows engineers to quickly pre-adjust their entire drum kit EQ by loading a previously tweaked preset for each drum mic into the right channel.
Presets like “KICK52” or “HAT451” have meaningful names that describe their use, allowing them to be correctly identified and quickly applied.
Library presets aren’t meant to replace actually listening to drums during sound check. Purists actually prefer starting with flat, “zero’ed” channel EQ and adjusting from there.
Even for that, however, a blank preset can help by having each band’s “Q” and frequency at a good starting place, even if the gains are near 0 dB. Since a Midas XL3 (and XL42) is my favorite EQ, I like to begin with my frequencies at 100, 600, 2,000 and 6,000 Hz, and my Q at 2.
Similarly, libraries for onboard dynamics can be saved with the same kind of file names as their companion EQ files.
A TC Electronic MD3 mastering plug-in can supply multi-band control and more transparency.
In fact, the exact same naming structure can be used, so “RACK57” could also be the name for a gate or compressor library preset.
Reverb plays a vital role in drum sounds and most digital consoles include several algorithms, each with a variety of factory presets, offering studio-class sounds and making outboard effects a thing of the past.
As with EQ and dynamics, effect libraries are a great way to tweak individual presets for specific uses, whether it’s a pre-delay on a ballad, extra early reflections or a specific reverb time. Common types for drums include rooms and gated reverbs for snare and side-stick, or plates and halls for toms.
Following the trend in recording, stereo bus compressors are becoming more common in live sound to tighten and polish the drum kit.
An alternative to inserting into individual channels, feeding a compressor from an auxiliary bus and returning it to the main mix is a type of parallel compression, referred to as “New York Compression” in studio circles.
Parallel compression passes a portion of the mix to a compressor while also assigning it directly to the mix. It allows the engineer to fatten up certain parts of the mix, usually drum inputs.
I discovered it in my youth at the Beacon Theater when Dokken’s front of house engineer had me patch a dbx 160x from an aux and back to a channel. He liked it so much that he bought my 160x on the spot.
Double assigning drum inputs to a compression sub-group (in addition to the main mix), is another parallel compression approach.
The advantage of using a compression auxiliary send, instead of a compression sub-group, is that the balance going to the compressor is easily altered (especially with a digital console’s “faderflip”) allowing the engineer to reduce the overheads, for example. It’s common for group compression to require a little post-compression EQ on its return channels to contour the sound further.
Waves SoundGrid is integrated into DiGiCo SD digital consoles.
Parallel processing in the digital world, especially with plug-ins, can add several milliseconds of latency relative to the same unprocessed inputs in the mix.
Latency can produce comb filtering, having a “phasey” effect on the sound if the console doesn’t have “delay compensation” to match the unprocessed sound to the late arrival of the processed sound.
With the advent of Waves Multi- Rack or SoundGrid, as well as FireWire consoles, live sound plug-ins became available to more live engineers than ever. The multitude of plugs imitating classic equipment offers engineers a virtual palette of vintage optical and tube compressors.
The Waves SSL Buss Compressor or the API 2500 have been popular for their colored vintage emulation, along with Avid Smack! and Bomb Factory BF-2A and BF-76, bundled with Avid Venue consoles.
Some prefer multi-band control and more transparency, such as the TC Electronic Master X3 or MD 3 mastering plug-in. DiGiCo SD digital consoles come with 3-band compressors built-in. Midas and Yamaha consoles have stereo 3-band compressors in their effects libraries.
While this uses up one of the effects engines, it provides a powerful way to enhance drum sounds, which is why I like it for IEM applications. Beware, as with any effect, a little goes a long way and too much can be annoying.
Make A Scene
The work-flow of preparing the digital console’s file in advance creates the illusion and expectation that the desk can be quickly adjusted. In reality it actually takes more time with a digital desk until you get your methods and file structures organized.
However, much of that time can be invested before the band is on stage and, by using off-line software with a laptop, long before the console is even turned on. Today there’s increased pressure for engineers to be able to open their faders and mix at a moment’s notice, even in one-off and festival situations.
Many details go into building great drum sounds. EQ, dynamics and effects libraries can be helpful when there’s time to build drum sounds from the ground up. Other times an engineer will have just a few minutes to get drum sounds. Having a generic scene ready to go can save an enormous amount of time.
Most input lists begin with a fairly standard sequence of drum inputs (KKSSH1234OO), so loading an entire scene with a well-tempered file from a previous show - even from a different band - can give a similar drum kit with the same mics a solid starting place, needing only the other instruments and vocals to be named and tweaked (which again can be done quickly from libraries).
Finally, I recommend dedicating an extra channel to the input list for experimentation, making it easy to try new mics and methods on the drums.
The monitor desk’s input list often includes an extra channel for click track that never appears at front of house, so this can be a good place to add an “X” channel.
Mark Frink is a long-time monitor engineer and professional audio editor and writer. He’s hosting the Live Sound Expo at the 139th AES Convention in New York this October.
Cymatic Audio Introduces uTrack-X32 Live Recorder And Player
New 32-channel recorder/player expansion card for Behringer X32 and Midas M32 digital consoles
Engineered in Switzerland and manufactured in Germany, the new uTrack-X32 is a 32-channel recorder/player expansion card from Cymatic Audio that opens up a host of additional features for Behringer X32 and Midas M32 digital mixing consoles.
The uTrack-X32 fits snugly into the X32 or M32 expansion card slot, operates completely independently, and does not interfere with the console’s mixing operations.
The expansion card can digitally record 32 channels direct from the console, without the need for additional hardware or computers, so there is no need to setup, wire, make new sessions, arm tracks or verify input levels.
The uTrack-X32 also fosters virtual sound checks, and can be controlled from an IOS or Android devices as well as from M32 or X32 consoles without giving up any of the console’s ability to act as a 32x32 USB interface.
Features —Allows for 32 channel recording directly from your console, no computer or tablet needed —‘Push and Go’ user interface to record —32-channel player, remotely controlled with uRemote software (Android, iPhone/iPad, Windows or OS X compatible) —32-input, 32-output USB computer audio interface for Windows, OS X and iOS —32-Channel Recorder/Player —32 tracks of simultaneous recording/playback (up to 48kHz/24bits) —Records to user-supplied, off-the-shelf USB hard drive (FAT-32 format) —Pre-Record mode ensures you never miss a beat —Conveniently create new takes while continuing recording, without losing a sample —Recording time only limited by USB drive size —Optimized user interface for instant recorder operation during live performances: —Illuminated record button —Tri-color hard disk status LED —Inset push button for formatting hard disk —Ethernet network interface for integration into existing network environments —Free uRemote applications for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android: —Detailed uTrack-X32 status information —Large transport control buttons —Create location markers on-the-fly when recording —Start playback from any song location —Create playback loops on-the-fly —Browse and select songs on hard disk —Change uTrack-X32 settings
Free uTool software application for Windows and Mac to: —Extract mono wave files from multitrack songs for importing into any DAW —Create multi-channel songs for playback from up to 32 mono wave files —The uTrack-X32 is available from Mid. September 2015 at a MSRP €799
Ricki And The Flash Mixed With Metric Halo ULN-2 Converters
Neil Citron edits and mixes all of the film’s live music, both for the movie itself and for the soundtrack using a ULN-2 converter/interface.
Led by three-time Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep, Ricki and the Flash is the tale of an aging rocker coming to terms with the family she left behind decades prior to pursue a life of music.
Guitar instructor to the stars, Neil Citron helps select Streep’s band mates and eventually found himself editing and mixing all of the film’s live music, both for the movie itself and for the soundtrack, using his Metric Halo ULN-2 converter/interface.
Citron, who is also an accomplished producer and engineer, relied on Metric Halo’s musical, well-balanced conversion technology to give Ricki and the Flash its authentic, bar room sound.
“When we were in auditions, I saw Meryl doing some things on guitar that were inconsistent with the idea that she was a old veteran rocker,” Citron explained.
“Her guitar instructor had done a marvelous job, but he kind of taught her ‘proper Spanish,’ whereas she needed some ‘street Spanish’ to make her performance more natural and believable. I showed her all the short-cuts veteran guitarists use, along with the more nuanced techniques of muting un-played strings. Another good analogy would be driving school; when I first saw Meryl at the auditions, she had her hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. But what experienced driver actually drives like that?”
Unlike the filming of most music scenes in most movies, where the actors mime along to playback of the actual audio track, director Jonathan Demme wanted the musicians to actually play in Ricki and the Flash.
Moreover, he wanted to use the recording of their filmed performance in the movie. Together with long-time collaborator Mark Wolfson, Citron recorded all of the live music scenes for the movie.
“It was a fun movie to work on, because everyone kept asking, ‘is this how they’d really do it in a real bar?’” said Citron, who was able to draw on his long tenure in the Gazzarri’s house band to recommend elements of realism. “They really cared. We set everything up exactly as you would in a small bar.”
The film’s daily editors asked Citron and Wolfson for rough mixes, which would be a lot more inspiring and easy to work with than, say, a single mic back on a camera somewhere. Everyone loved those rough mixes, which earned Citron and Wolfson the final mixing gig.
After filming completed, Citron settled in back at his home studio with his trusty Metric Halo ULN-2.
“I’ve been using the converters in my ULN-2 since it first came out, twelve years ago,” he said. “They have an open top end that isn’t at all harsh or painful. It’s pleasant and natural. The low end is extended and clear. In all, the ULN-2’s sound is very well balanced and allows me to hear what’s actually happening inside my mix. A few years ago, Metric Halo serviced my ULN-2. The turnaround was quick – just one week, but I had to find a replacement to keep moving forward on my projects. In comparison, the substitute – which is well-regarded in the industry – had an unpleasing, digital-sounding high end, a narrower image, and a bottom end that seemed to hide things.”
He continued, “I’m of the opinion that most people are mixing with far more bias in their converters than they realize, which leads them to overcompensate. Then when their mix gets played back on another system, it sounds unbalanced in the opposite direction.” Citron relies on the ULN-2 for conversion of his dry mix, which constitutes 90% of the final mix. He sums it with returns from an array of outboard reverbs and delays. The mix for Ricki and the Flash followed that same tested path and helped produce a final cinematic experience that has been praised for the realism of its bar room scenes.
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