Studio

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Manley Labs Introduces Nu Mu Studio Compressor

New hybrid compressor design combines the front end tube topology of the T-Bar Variable Mu with a solid state side chain and output stage.

Manley Labs introduces the new Manley Nu Mu studio compressor.

Created in the tradition of Manley’s Variable Mu, the Nu Mu is a hybrid compressor design that combines the front end tube topology of the T-Bar Variable Mu with a solid state side chain and output stage.

The Nu Mu is packed with features including IRON input transformers on balanced XLR connectors and the same low impedance switched mode power supply used on the Manley CORE.

The Nu Mu incorporates an all-new feature called the HIP control, allowing it to apply compression at lower dynamic ranges, while leaving louder dynamics unaffected. The result is a higher overall level, without squashing the dynamics of the most exciting transients.

“Until now, this type of effect could only be accomplished using parallel compression, combining the compressed and uncompressed signals,” explains Manley Labs president and co-founder EveAnna Manley. “The Nu Mu’s HIP function achieves the same results, but with less effort and less hardware. It’s perfect for adding just a kiss of compression, but with that classic Manley sound.”

The Manley Nu Mu will be available mid-January 2016, at a MSRP of $2800.

Manley Labs

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Posted by House Editor on 01/21 at 03:36 PM
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TASCAM Previews SD-20M Recorder At NAMM

Solid-state 1U rackmount recorder features a pair of microphone preamps with phantom power for direct microphone recording.

TASCAM announces the SD-20M solid-state 1U rackmount recorder featuring a pair of microphone preamps with phantom power for direct microphone recording.

Both the mic inputs and line inputs can be recorded simultaneously in four-channel mode. The dual recording mode captures a copy of your audio at a lower level, as insurance against distorted takes.

The SD-20M includes a battery backup system – AA batteries can keep recording for hours in case of power loss. A wired remote or footswitch can be attached to control recording and playback. Variable speed playback allows the playback to be changed without affecting the pitch.

Designed for installations like schools, house of worship, and conferences, the TASCAM SD-20M is a flexible, affordable solution for long-form recording.

—Four-channel solid-state recorder
—Two microphone inputs with phantom power on XLR - 1⁄4” combo jacks
—RCA stereo line inputs and outputs
—WAV or MP3 recording formats supported
—AA battery backup – keeps recording even after power loss
—SDXC media slot supports up to 128GB cards
—File divide feature
—Dual recording function records a copy of your audio at a lower level for a distortion-proof safety track
—Variable speed playback changes speed without changing the pitch
—Simple user interface
—1/4-inch stereo headphone output
—Remote jack for wired or footswitch control

Pricing/Availability:
SD-20M: $249.99 estimated street price
Available May, 2016

TASCAM

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Posted by House Editor on 01/21 at 11:52 AM
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The Long View Of Sound

Courtesy of Acoustic Geometry.

 
There’s a moment early in the movie “Men In Black” – after a big green alien has put up ‘all his hands and flippers’ (and was then blasted to goo) – where an older, tired-out Agent D says to Agent K “They’re beautiful, aren’t they?”

K replies “What?”

And D says “The stars. We never just – look anymore.”

I’m in the sound business, so I don’t have to worry about blasting creatures into goo – nonetheless, I can relate to Agent D’s statement, though about sound, not the stars.

I tend to lose my “long view” of sound, because I’m continually focusing on the interior aspects of a sound, not the beauty of sounds themselves – laughter, a nicely-played acoustic guitar, an espresso machine finishing a cappuccino – these are all intrinsically lovely (especially the coffee machine early in the morning).

Because my work is listening “critically” to sound, including how a room interacts with sound, for me, leaning back and just listening – as a simple emotional experience – doesn’t happen as often as it should.

And so I’ve found, and you might have, too, that good acoustic environments allow me to more easily lose myself in the long view of sound, to more naturally enjoy my sense of hearing without thinking about it.

Few of us contemplate the damage done by lousy acoustical spaces, which separate us from “an enveloping sound experience” – marketing-speak for “simply listening”. The sonic signature of the space we’re listening in, with all the room flaws imposed on the original sound, can easily pull us away from the emotional pleasure of sound itself, even if we don’t know anything about the bad acoustics causing the issue.

Humans have a highly-developed hearing system which has evolved over a very long time to be able to quickly discern danger. Our hearing is especially sensitive to location and directional information (“which way should I run?”), based on timing differences between our two ears. Because stereo sound depends greatly on timing information to create the illusion of space (and reality), speakers and acoustics that disrupt our ability to accurately hear timing, or “phase”, have a harsh effect on how well we receive emotional cues from sound and music.

It might seem like a stretch: closely relating acoustics and a “long view of sound” – but my experience has proven to me that it’s a very important part of fully enjoying sound.

If you think about something, you’re probably enjoying it less. In bad rooms, much less.

Ultimately, it’s why we Acoustic Geometry people do what we do – everyone deserves to hear sound clearly, without room problems, as much as possible. The stars are beautiful, as Agent D says, and so is sound in good acoustics.

Read and comment of the original article here.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) has 4+ decades of professional sound experience as a musician, recording engineer and producer, as well as concert sound mixer. His work has earned Platinum and Gold Records, as well as Gold Reel, VPA-Monitor, Muse, and AZA Awards. He is currently director of retail for Acoustic Geometry in Minnesota.

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Posted by House Editor on 01/21 at 11:30 AM
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Waves Audio Announces Waves Nx Virtual Mix Room Plugin

New plugin lets you hear, on headphones, the depth, reflections, and panoramic stereo image you would be hearing in an actual, physical room.

Waves Audio (Booth 6620, Hall A) introduces Waves Nx, a Virtual Mix Room plugin that gives you the optimal acoustics of a great mix room – right inside your headphones.

Powered by Waves’ Nx technology, this plugin lets you hear, on headphones, the same natural depth, natural reflections, and panoramic stereo image you would be hearing from loudspeakers in an actual, physical room.

You can now enjoy all the advantages of headphones – portability, affordability, privacy – with all the acoustic benefits of a great-sounding, fully professional mixing facility.

Waves Nx “unmasks” your headphone sound, letting you hear everything with real-world dimension, rather than flat in your head. This way, you can hear all the elements of your mix accurately laid out in space, just as you would in the sweet spot of a beautiful-sounding room.

Waves Nx finally bridges the gap between monitoring on speakers and monitoring on headphones: no longer do you have to worry that what you’ve mixed on headphones will sound different once you switch to loudspeakers. By letting you hear on headphones the same natural depth and stereo spread you would be hearing on external monitors, Waves Nx puts an end to constant cross-referencing between the two.

Need to spend hours at a time mixing on headphones? By delivering the natural listening experience of a physical room, Waves Nx makes the headphone experience comfortable and ear-friendly over long periods of time.

Want to mix for 5.1 surround on your regular stereo headphones? Waves Nx lets you do exactly that.

Most important: Waves Nx does all this without coloring your sound in any way. What you hear is your mix, exactly the way you want it to sound – only now you have a more accurate way to monitor it on headphones.

Use Waves Nx with real-time head tracking – taking advantage of your computer’s camera or the Waves Head Tracker unit – and enjoy the enhanced realism of being in the Virtual Mix Room, anywhere and everywhere you go.

Waves Nx key features:
-Get the great acoustics of a professional mix room – inside your headphones
- Hear natural depth and real-world stereo image over headphones
- Bridge the headphone/speaker gap – put an end to constant cross-referencing between headphones and speakers
- Mix for 5.1 surround on your regular stereo speakers
- Use Waves Nx with real-time head tracking for enhanced realism

Waves Audio

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Posted by House Editor on 01/21 at 09:51 AM
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Genelec Displaying 8010A Active Monitor And 7040A Subwoofer At NAMM

Suitable for smaller studios and OB vans, and a companion for portable recording devices and other mobile production work.

Genelec (Booth 5968, Hall B) is displaying the 8010A Active Monitor, the smallest member of the 8000 Series product range, along with the 7040A, an compact subwoofer.

Suitable for professional work in small studios, the 8010A offers accurate monitoring capability with ease of installation.

The sound quality makes the 8010A ideal for small editorial studios and OB vans, and a companion for portable recording devices and other mobile production work.

Designed to complement Genelec’s 8010, 8020 and M030 active monitors, the 7040A delivers accurate sound reproduction and precise monitoring of low-frequency content. These performance characteristics, combined with a compact form factor, make the 7040A ideal for use in music creation and sound design applications, as well as audio and video production work in small rooms and improvised monitoring environments.

The 8010A features a balanced XLR input, 3-inch bass driver, 3/4-inch tweeter and efficient Class D power amplifiers – one for each driver – the 8010A produces more sound pressure level than might be expected from a monitor of this size. The Intelligent Signal Sensing ISS circuitry saves energy by automatically putting the monitor to sleep when the audio signal has been absent for a period of time. Once a signal is detected again, the monitor wakes up automatically. This circuitry can be bypassed when the automatic standby function is not desired.

A full range of accessories is available for the 8010A, which cover all mounting needs. For example, an L-shaped table stand can be used to optimize monitor orientation toward the listening position and to minimize undesired sound reflections. Thanks to its sound quality, small size and universal power supply, 8010A is the perfect monitor companion for music production professionals on the move.

The 7040A features Genelec’s Laminar Spiral Enclosure (LSE) technology. This unique enclosure design allows the 7040 to achieve a high sound pressure level (an essential property for a subwoofer) and move high volumes of air without distortion. Small rooms have limited floor space, and Genelec engineers have optimized the 7040A subwoofer enclosure with this in mind.

With external dimensions of 16.125-inch x 13.75-inch x 8.125-inch (410 x 350 x 205 mm), the 7040A has a footprint that is smaller than that of a small practice guitar amplifier. It is also narrow enough to fit in a 19-inch rack and weighs 25 lb (11.3 kg). Calibration of the Genelec 7040A subwoofer to the listening environment is done using DIP switches located on the subwoofer connector panel.

These controls address typical monitoring placement configurations. The 7040A produces 100 dB of sound pressure level (SPL) using a 6 ½-inch woofer and a Genelec-designed Class D amplifier. The LSE enclosure is made from a spiral-shaped strip of steel, providing mechanical stability for the large pressures generated inside the subwoofer. The spiral forms the bass reflex port as well, enabling linear airflow also at the highest SPL outputs. This flow-optimized construction provides extended low frequency capacity and low distortion resulting in precise bass articulation.

Genelec

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Posted by House Editor on 01/21 at 08:59 AM
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Electro-Voice Launches ND Series Microphones At NAMM 2016

Eight new mics – four vocal and four instrument models – for live performance and studio applications

Electro-Voice announces the global launch of the new ND Series of wired vocal and instrument microphones at NAMM 2016.

The successor to the N/Dym Series, the new ND Series expands the previous product offering with four vocal and four instrument models for live performance and studio applications.

Each ND Series model is equipped with features that are unique to both its price point and its particular application – all designed to offer sound quality, acoustic control and robustness.

At the heart of the new dynamic models is a new large-diaphragm capsule design which takes the technology of the original N/Dym capsule to new levels of sonic performance. Vocalists can select a specific ND Series model to provide optimal results according to venue size and/or stage volume. Sound engineers and musicians will benefit from an easy set-up due to innovative mechanical solutions that solve typical instrument mic placement challenges.

The series features dent-resistant Memraflex grilles, humbucking coils to guard against EMF noise and shock-mounted capsules to minimize handling noise.

The ND Series dynamic vocal microphones are designed to address three distinct application scenarios, and are differentiated by polar pattern, capsule voicing and grille shape.

The ND76 and ND76S (with on/off switch) are the optimal choice for small to medium-sized venues, with a cardioid polar pattern and pronounced upper-mid-range presence for crisp, clear and balanced vocal tone.

The ND86 will perform well in large concert and festival-sized venues, with a controlled supercardioid polar pattern and reduced sensitivity to specific off-axis frequencies, particularly stage noise.

The ND96 is an excellent choice for loud stages of any size, with high gain-before-feedback that pushes vocals through the mix. It achieves this with a supercardioid polar pattern, a tailored frequency curve and a distinctive squared-off grille which allows the singer to get as close as possible to the capsule.

The ND Series instrument models are an excellent choice for both live sound and studio work. Three dynamic models and one small-diaphragm condenser model are available, each optimized for their applications by polar pattern, capsule voicing and mechanical design.

The ND44 is a lightweight clip-on dynamic mic that is ideal for tom-tom and snare drums. The mounting clip ensures quick, secure placement on drum rims, while a compact form factor and low-profile angling head allow for precise, unobtrusive placement in other applications. It is equally capable when deployed on guitar cabinets – either stand-mounted or hung directly over the cabinet.

The larger ND46 dynamic mic is designed for drums and general instrument miking, with a unique locking pivot mechanism for simple and accurate positioning —particularly in hard-to-reach areas of drum kits. It will also achieve excellent results on lower frequency applications, including floor toms and bass cabinets.

The new ND Series adds a small-diaphragm condenser model to the lineup – the ND66. The ND66’s filters, pads and locking pivoting head – the only one of its kind on the market – make it an extremely versatile choice for drum overheads, hi-hats, close-miked drums, acoustic guitar, piano and any other typical small-diaphragm condenser applications.

Completing the ND Series is the ND68 dynamic, voiced to deliver a powerful kick drum sound with little or no additional equalization required. Offering extended low frequency response and extremely high sound pressure level handling, it is also highly effective when used on other bass instruments.

The ND Series will be available in spring 2016.

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Electro-Voice

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Posted by House Editor on 01/21 at 08:18 AM
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

PMC Speakers Chooses RSPE Audio Solutions For Flagship Boutique

New facility in Los Angeles enables customers to demo reference monitors in a relaxed acoustic environment.

PMC Speakers has partnered with RSPE Audio Solutions to bring a brand new demo experience to professional audio clients on the West Coast of the USA.

The two companies have established the PMC Flagship Boutique at RSPE’s premises in Universal City, Los Angeles, so that customers can compare different loudspeaker models in a range of acoustic environments.

The Boutique features RSPE’s ASC AttackWall systems, to audition professional monitors with optimum imaging and acoustic neutrality.

“This new facility is an extension of the PMC factory, allowing us to deliver unparalleled levels of service, plus all the benefits of dealing directly with a manufacturer, to our burgeoning West Coast customer base,” says PMC USA’s president of sales and marketing, Maurice Patist.

“RSPE will primarily focus on our larger reference monitors that require highly specialized demo facilities. These include the new IB1S-AIII ‘activated’ reference monitor and the recently introduced QB1-A Active Reference Monitor, which has already been installed in a number of key facilities including Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and the University of Westminster in London.”

RSPE Audio Solutions has served the professional audio and video industry since 1991, specializing in equipment sales, consultation, and all aspects of audio system and studio design. With clients at every major motion picture facility and recording studio in Hollywood, plus studios around the globe, RSPE’s areas of expertise include Music Production, Broadcast, Post-Production, Live Sound, and Home & Business AV automation.

Russ Belttary, president and CEO of RSPE Audio Solutions, says: “Working closely with Maurice over the last five or six years on a variety of projects has shown not only PMC’s professionalism but also a dedication to our clients that parallel our own commitment to customer service and to providing the audio community with the best possible purchasing experience, regardless of budget.”

As well as enabling customers to test loudspeakers in the PMC Flagship Boutique, RSPE can also arrange ‘in studio’ demos so that recording professionals can try loudspeakers in their own recording and mixing facilities, thus allowing them to conduct real world evaluations in a familiar listening environment.

Maurice Patist adds. “Their ability to offer comprehensive training, service and after-sales support makes RSPE the ideal partner for PMC because they perfectly reflect the high end reputation that PMC has garnered over the years.”

PMC and RSPE are already working together on a number of loudspeaker installations in the Los Angeles area to customers in the pro audio and film industries.

PMC Speakers
RSPE Audio Solutions

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Posted by House Editor on 01/20 at 02:00 PM
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Yaniv’s Studio In SoCal Upgrades Facilities With An Assist From GC Pro

Home studio turns professional with patient diligence and new AMS Neve Genesys G32 console.

Woodland Hills, California-based recording facility Yaniv’s Studio is the dream project of Yaniv Farber, also known as the longtime proprietor of Sandy Ceramic and Stone in southern California. In the decades spent building up his business, Farber was diligently recording in a home space.

When the time was right a few years ago to take the plunge and create a professional studio space, it was outfitted from top to bottom with equipment sourced through Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro).

The studio features a great collection of microphones, preamps and outboard gear, and recently Farber made another big leap: he upgraded his studio by acquiring an AMS Neve Genesys G32 console, featuring 32 inputs, 16 Neve 1073 mic pre’s, eight 88R EQ’s, eight 1084 EQ’s and 16 VCA compressors – and again he turned to GC Pro for the consultation, gear and support. 

The Genesys joins the existing products purchased for the studio by Farber through GC Pro in the last few years: an Avid Pro Tools HDX system, Apogee Symphony I/O converters, Focal SM9 monitors and a wide microphone and outboard collection from Manley, Universal Audio, Tube Tech, Lexicon, Bricasti, API, SSL, AKG, Neumann, Blue, Royer and Telefunken to name a few. 

“We can do live sessions here, and it’s a great-sounding room to record in, so I am doing a lot of tracking of trios and smaller groups, all the way up to very large bands or sometimes just a vocal session,” stated Farber.

“As work picked up, it was clear to me that the time was right to move to a more powerful console. I called up Ziv [Gross, GC Pro account manager], and we explored a few options. After testing out some different products, the Neve Genesys was the clear solution for what I needed.”

Farber has been able to streamline his workflow with the new console.

“With the Genesys, I got it pre-loaded with EQs and compressors – as a result, the audio doesn’t route around to different components as much as it used to, so there is more integrity of sound, and more headroom overall. It gives me a stronger ability to really tweak the sound, and it makes recording and capturing audio a real pleasure. Also, I really appreciate the recall ability when mix time comes around. I’m pleased with every aspect of it. And when a client steps in the room, the Genesys sends a very strong message that they are in a truly professional facility with someone who takes his work – and their music – very seriously.”

Farber expands on his affection and respect for GC Pro: “I cannot express how appreciative I am to the fact that Ziv is only one phone call away, and basically every time I needed anything, he just finds the time to basically show up and walk me through any issue! Ziv is my man, and the others at GC Pro I have dealt with are great too. Working with GC Pro continues to be a very positive experience.”

Guitar Center Professional

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Posted by House Editor on 01/19 at 10:25 AM
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Antelope Audio Introducing New Mobile App And DSP Effects At NAMM

New products include a new remote control app, an HD master clock and a prototype of a Thunderbolt compatible audio interface.

Antelope Audio [Hall A - Booth 6596 at NAMM 2016] brings two new products – an HD master clock and a prototype of a Thunderbolt compatible audio interface.

The company will also introduce a new remote control concept for both studio and live performance rigs, as well as a brand new set of DSP effects that will be unveiled in a soon to be announced partnership.

The Antelope booth at NAMM will feature a demonstration of several Orion32+ units playing over 100 simultaneous tracks of audio. The multi-channel orchestra mix is prepared and will be presented by the multiple GRAMMY Award-winning recording and mixing engineer Brian Vibberts.

During NAMM 2016, the Antelope booth will host touring and recording musician Michael ‘Fish’ Herring, who has toured with Christina Aguilera and appeared on recordings by Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and many others. Herring will demonstrate Antelope’s DSP modeling and re-amping capabilities, running directly through Antelope’s Orion Studio Thunderbolt interface.

Ad hoc performances by Herring will be followed by informal Q&A sessions with Antelope’s U.S. director of sales, Marcel James, who will discuss the company’s new guitar-centered offerings as well as the importance of maintaining high integrity conversion and clocking in the signal chain. James will introduce Antelope’s new app controls for guitarists, which allow real-time control of DSP and guitar tones — for both recording studio and live applications.

NAMM 2016 Product Bundles from Antelope
As part its NAMM 2016 product exhibition and focus on the Orion family, Antelope will offer three new product bundles, available in three separate configurations as follows:
MP8d & Orion Studio: $4,495 US
MP8d & Orion32+: $4,995 US
MP32 & Orion32+: $5,295 US

Antelope Audio

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Posted by House Editor on 01/19 at 07:39 AM
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Monday, January 18, 2016

In The Studio: Beats Working

Courtesy of Universal Audio.

 
Ask 10 recording engineers about recording drums and you’re likely to get more than 20 opinions.

Few instruments combine subtle nuance and brute force the way a good drummer can, and capturing that sound has been the subject of hundreds of articles and thousands of conversations.

So many different aspects affect the sound of a drum mix, starting with the player. Different skins, different shells, the type of sticks, the kick-drum beater all influence the sound.

And of course, no two drummers sound the same, even on the same kit. Then there’s the room itself; the number, type, and placement of the mics; and so much more. Where even to begin?

Start With the Source
Let’s start with a basic premise: to get a good recording of any acoustic instrument, it has to sound good at the source. As obvious as that sounds, it’s amazing how many bands load in and set up in the studio as if they’re setting up for a live gig, blissfully overlooking the fact that there will be no crowd noise or excitement to mask a squeaky kick-drum pedal or poorly tuned toms.

Start by standing in the room and listening. If the drums don’t sound good to begin with, there’s no fixing it in the mix. Tune each drum in pitch with the song. Tighten rattling hardware, lube squeaky pedals and replace dead-sounding heads.

Listen to the room as well. If you’re recording in a home or other non-studio environment, you’ll probably need to work with the space a bit. Most rooms in a house have parallel walls, floors, and ceilings, which tend to attenuate some frequencies and accentuate others. Experiment with placement of the drums in the room until you find a position that generates minimal resonance. Use rugs, bookshelves, and furniture to deaden the space and break up reflections.

How Many Mics, And Where?
Once the kit sounds good in the room, you can start to put some mics on it. How many you use depends on what you want. Many of rock’s classic tracks have been cut with just a stereo pair on the drums, but individual mics on different drums will give you far more control over the mix.

I’ll typically use two mics on the kick and two on the snare, one on each tom and one on the hat, a pair of overheads, and two or three ambient mics. That’s upwards of 12 or 13 tracks, but it’s worth it. The flexibility to bring in just a little of the ambient mics, or play with two different sounds on the kick, opens a world of options later on.

Location, Location, Location
Don’t be afraid to experiment with placement or with different mics. Moving or tilting the mic even slightly can dramatically influence the sound you’re hearing. Start with the mic pointed at the center of the drum head, aimed at where the drummer should be hitting the skin. If you find you’re getting too much of the impact and not enough tonality, try aiming the mic down slightly to just in front of where the stick hits.

One of the hazards of using a whole bunch of mics so close to each other is the risk of phase cancellation between two of them. The most common issues tend to be between top and bottom snare mics, snare and hi-hat mics, or two kick-drum mics. Look for phase issues by soloing both mics and changing the phase of one. If the sound gets noticeably thinner, the mics are out of phase. Repeat this with other pairs.

Getting It Down
In setting up your drum tracks for recording, it’s a good idea to start thinking of them in stereo right from the start. Place kick and snare in the center, and pan the rest of the kit as if you’re sitting in the drummer’s seat: toms panned left-center-right, cymbals right-left and hi-hat slightly to the right.

Keeping your recorded tracks clean and unprocessed will mean more possibilities when it’s time to mix. One of the most frustrating things for a mix engineer is trying to work with drum tracks that have already been compressed, EQ’d or otherwise messed with. Even if you feel you’ve got the ideal sound on your drums, it can’t hurt to record another set of tracks that’s dry with no effects at the same time.

That said, many engineers are fond of adding a tiny bit of compression to their recorded drum tracks. More than just gain reduction, the right compressor can modify the tone of your drums in ways that EQ and other effects can’t.

Although every compressor has its own sound, some are ideally suited for drums. The 1176LN Classic limiting amplifier is a favorite of many engineers, as is the LA-2A Classic leveling amplifier. Start with a subtle ratio of 3:1 or 5:1, with a relatively fast attack (5-12 msec). Again, the goal is to avoid a heavily compressed sound, so gain reduction is set to minimal. Experiment with the threshold and release settings to find that sweet spot where the kick punches through.

For tracking drums, I try to avoid using EQ in favor of delivering the full tonal range to the mixdown phase. Again, it’s about having the most options for the mix. But EQ can sometimes be used surgically. A precise EQ like the Cambridge EQ can be great for rolling off a stubborn resonance on a tom, for example.

Inside the kick drum.

Tips And Tricks
Here are a few tips on individual drums, just to get you started. These are certainly not rules, and there’s not enough space here to do more than scratch the surface. Have fun and experiment.

Start With The Kick
To make the whole kit more manageable, try placing a heavy blanket inside the kick. This dampens the kick’s impact on the snare and toms, cutting down on rattles and resonance.

Outside the kick drum.

Do you want to hear more “boom” or more attack? A mic placed inside the kick, about 2 to 4 inches away from the beater, will emphasize the attack; moving the mic further away or even outside the drum will bring out more of a boomy sound.

I’m a big fan of using two mics on the kick, and recording both tracks separately. I’ll typically use a condenser like a Shure SM91 or Sennheiser e912 inside the drum to pick up the “click” of the beater, and a larger dynamic like an AKG D12 or D112, Electro-Voice RE80, or Shure Beta 52 outside the drum.

On top of the snare.

Another trick is to use another blanket to build a “tent” around the kick – try sticking a second kick in front of the first and building a tunnel for some serious boom.

Snare
Mic position is even more critical with snare drums. Pulling the mic back an inch or two can significantly change the sound, generally giving less attack and more ambience.

I typically use two mics on the snare. A mic on the bottom gives you control over how much snare “crack” is in the overall sound. Point the bottom mic directly at the snare wires, mixing in that track sparingly. You can also try rolling off some bottom end to minimize the sound of the bottom head.

Under the snare.

As to mic choices, the SM57 is arguably the most popular snare mic, but other choices include the Sennheiser MD421 and AKG 414. I’m a fan of using an SM57 on top and a Sennheiser MD441 below.

Toms
One of the most common challenges with toms is resonance. Toms typically have a longer decay than a snare, and the drum’s resonant tone can create a ringing that can be unpleasant at best. Sometimes a strip or two of gaffer’s tape can deaden the ring just enough to make a difference.

Tom miking.

Good mic choices for toms include the Sennheiser MD421 and Neumann U87. Getting boom stands in place to mic toms can also be a challenge. Small clip-on condensers like the Shure SM98 or AKG C-519 can make it easier to get into tight places, and do a good job of getting a full and powerful tom sound. Certainly they’re a bit more fragile than dynamic mics, but most of the time they’re small enough to be positioned out of harm’s way.

It’s Over Your Head
Overhead mics can also be tricky. They provide ambience for the whole kit, so it’s important to get them high enough so they pick up plenty of “air” along with the cymbals. Generally they should sit at about 45 degrees left and right of the drummer’s dead center. Experiment with aiming them; you’ll notice a difference when the mics are pointed at the bell of the cymbals (more full and sweet) versus their edges (often brash and harsh).

Most people favor small diaphragm condensers for overheads. Common choices include the AKG 451 or 452, Shure SM81, Sennheiser e914 and AT 4021. Stereo mics like the Shure VP88 work well too. And I’ve been on some sessions where the cymbals were miked individually from underneath, using small condensers on goosenecks. It’s great for separation, and for avoiding the sound of the cymbals’ edges, but you’ll lose the ambience of overheads.

Hi-hats are a signature sound for many drummers, and are usually given their own mic and track. I like to position the mic between snare and hat, pointing the mic at the place where the drummer’s stick hits. Be careful not to place the mic so it picks up wind from the hats closing.

Ambience
If you’ve got the luxury of a large space, ambient mics can be placed several feet away to add some natural room sound. Even in a smaller room, placing ambients high in corners or even in another room can add just the right touch of natural sound. I like to place a distant stereo pair at about 45 degrees left and right, and a third mono mic behind a gobo to catch reflected sound.

Heavy compression with something like a Fairchild 670 Compressor works nicely on ambient mics. Ambient mics can also be gated, so they only open when a certain level is reached. A great trick here is to gate them so they stay closed for the kick but open for the snare. The result is a nice tight kick with a more open-sounding snare.

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 01/18 at 05:04 PM
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Best Of Both Worlds?

When first starting down the audio path, I eagerly read every scrap of information I could get my hands on about how the “pros” approached their craft. What kind of gear were they using? What techniques? What was the “secret sauce”?

In the late 1980s, I was much more interested in recording and had not yet seen the light about live sound reinforcement. And in those days, the Lord-Alge brothers were a big deal in the recording world. While Home Recording magazine was more my speed back then, I’d drool over the pictures of studios and equipment in Mix.

Then, in the early 90s, EQ magazine was created to bridge the gap. One of the things I remember reading in an article of the time was Tom Lord-Alge stating that he “learned the craft of pulling a mix together quickly by doing live sound.”

I recall this because it was surprising. I saw live sound as a rather crude affair, at least from what I’d witnessed in my limited experience. I mean, those gorgeous studios in Mix were using Neumann microphones, Pultec EQs, Universal Audio LA2A compressors and Neve consoles – the cream of the crop. These tools dwarfed what was being used on the live side. And this was years before I heard touring sound pioneer Albert Leccese espouse his three rules for live sound: 1) Make noise. 2) Keep making noise. 3) Make it sound good if you can.

Different But The Same
But fate intervened in the mid-90s when I learned of a sound tech position available with the Air Force band out of Washington, DC. I decided to go for it, to follow Tom’s observation about “getting some live chops” that could be applied in my future studio career. Except it didn’t turn out that way.

I caught the live sound “bug,” coming to enjoy the thrill of mixing shows in front of an audience. More importantly, I came to understand and respect the world of live sound due to the myriad challenges and rewards woven into its very fabric. Different gear, yes, but no less advanced. Different techniques, of course, but no less sophisticated.

A funny thing happened along the way – I noticed that a lot of long-time live sound people looked down on the studio world, similar to the way “jazzers” look down on classical musicians (and vice versa). What was going on? Well, just as I had thought as a studio person that live reinforcement was a bit déclassé, the live folks tended to think that the recording world was rarefied and “out of touch with the real world.”

Fast forward to now. I’ve come to believe that while there’s an element of truth to both belief sets, there’s also been a healthy exchange of ideas, best practices, and encouragement rather than divisiveness. One side delivers recorded sound to millions, the other side delivers live sound to millions. So both sides form a whole that is critical to the success of the artists involved and the enjoyment of consumers worldwide.

Both make the most of available techniques while seeking to do even better, both make the most of available technology while driving for something better, and both work closely with manufacturers to help achieve what is today impossible but tomorrow a reality.

Common Factors
With that in mind, here are some of the best things I’ve learned from each of these two facets of pro audio, beyond the initial truth about learning to pull a mix together quickly from the live world.

First, microphones matter. Simply changing the mic can make or break a singer’s voice, and in the studio, a lot of time was often spent finding the right one. And, as it turned out, the 1990s saw a revolution in mics for live sound.

It started with the incorporation of studio models on the road, followed by the development of purpose-made studio-quality mics like the Neumann KMS105 and Shure KSM9, to name perhaps the two that are most well-known today in live sound circles.

Next, if the artists aren’t happy with their cue mix, they aren’t happy, period. This applies both in the studio when tracking and on the stage when performing. The advent of wireless in-ear monitoring systems brought about another revolution in live sound, making it more like the studio experience. It’s resulted in happier artists, which certainly benefits their live performances. Sure, it’s made monitor mixing more challenging in some ways, but that’s the price of progress. And it’s been worth paying.

From the studio: careful choice of outboard gear can really enhance the mix. Outboard gear has long been used for live sound, of course. Perhaps the difference today is that with the incorporation of studio-quality stage mics, premium mic preamps, in-ear monitoring and superior loudspeaker systems, the sometimes subtle effects of great outboard gear can be heard much more clearly.

Speedy troubleshooting is critical. It doesn’t take long for live sound people to learn that the show will start on time, no matter what. Thus any problems must be solved, quickly and regardless of circumstances. On the other hand, studio people know that hours can’t be billed if the console won’t turn on.

High bit and sample rates make a difference – to a point. Sure, we definitely want to use the highest sample rate possible (within reason), and the largest bit depth. But the reality is that high-end playback equipment is rare among consumers. Most recordings are listened to in the MP3 format or in cars. This is not to say that recordings shouldn’t be a high-quality product! But it’s the reality, and therefore is a tree worthy of attention and consideration in the forest of sample/bit rate obsession that some exhibit.

In live sound, there’s a different challenge: cumulative latency, particularly noticeable in an IEM signal path. Any time analog audio signal is converted to digital, there’s latency. It depends on the sample rate, but is generally in the range of 1.5 to 3.5 milliseconds, round trip. If this were all, it would be fine for most artists in most situations.

But heaven forbid if there’s re-sampling going on, which adds at least another couple of milliseconds. Re-sampling happens when interfacing equipment running on different sample rates. So, in effect, what this means is that the system designer needs to run everything on the lowest common denominator, even it is “only” 44.1 kHz (and be aware of the master clock). This way, it’s possible to make the A/D and D/A round trip only once to avoid adding any further latency beyond the basic amount.

Win-Win
The point is that both sides face issues, even if they manifest themselves in different ways. And we can both learn something (actually many things) from each other, as has been proven.

We all share the same “industry” that’s called pro audio, so it’s best to try to stick together to address challenges in furthering both the science and the art. While there may be six degrees of separation between any two people in the world, there are probably only two degrees between folks plying the pro audio trade. Let’s treat each other like true colleagues, and we will all be the better for it.

Karl Winkler serves as vice president of sales/service at Lectrosonics and has worked in professional audio for more than 25 years.

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Posted by Keith Clark on 01/18 at 01:58 PM
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Northbrook College Selects Audient For New Studio Complex

The Studio People outfit new Sussex campus with ASP4816 and ASP8024 consoles to support Music for Creative Industries program.

The Audient ASP4816 console and its big brother, the ASP8024 has been installed in the brand new 24 studio audio complex at Northbrook College which was launched at the beginning of this academic year.

According to curriculum leader in Music for Creative Industries at the college, Mick Feltham, “Students really love the uncluttered, logical format – identifying signal paths and mixer sections is much easier on these desks. It’s great to have both the ASP4816 and ASP8024 because it allows them to progress to larger format consoles without getting overwhelmed.”

Designed and built by The Studio People, the Northbrook Audio Complex combines multiple analog tie lines and full digital connectivity to ensure that students get a solid understanding of all aspects of state of the art audio recording.

“We believe that a pristine signal path is the foundation of all great recordings – everything starts and ends as an analog signal, regardless of where it goes in between. Students have to understand that fundamental concept and pay attention to gain structures and audio fidelity at all times,” explains Feltham. This is embedded in the central concept of the Northbrook College Music Department:  “Traditional Skills Future Proofed”.

Installed in Control Rooms A & B, the desks are used in both further education (16-18 year olds) and higher education (18 plus) and right across all levels for tracking and mixdown.

“These desks can be used at entry level and all the way up to advanced production techniques. We like to introduce students to the concept of multitrack recording using the ASP4816. They can then progress onto our ASP8024, TL Audio VTC and SSL AWS 900+. Ten pre-production booths, three post-production studios, four control rooms and five live rooms, all of which have been designed and built for world class acoustic performance with full analog and digital audio networking,” says Feltham.

When it came to choosing kit he didn’t cut corners, thinking through the benefits of each piece of gear thoroughly. Of the Audient desks, he says, “Firstly the design layout is clear, all buttons and faders are well marked and intuitive and the overall feel is solid and well-engineered.  Add to that the flexibility in the routing design and you have a really well thought out, great sounding console.  What really sealed the deal for us was the passion and support we got from Chris and Simon, we certainly feel that Audient are true industry partners, a company we can rely on.”

“Students and staff have been all over them right from the get go – I love the Solo in Front feature it is a really great production tool and is a fantastic teaching aid to get students to really hear what is going on when processing or using EQ on individual sounds / instruments”.

“To be a professional you have to train like a professional in a professional environment and it is our mission to provide the very best in music industry education at all levels and in all disciplines; Performance, Production, Media Composition and Business and Management,” concludes Feltham.

Audient
The Studio People
Northbrook College

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Posted by House Editor on 01/18 at 10:56 AM
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TECnology Hall Of Fame To Induct Manley VOXBOX

Introduced in 1998, all-tube channel strip joins six other products recognized by the NAMM Museum of Making Music for 2016.

Manley Labs announces the induction of their VOXBOX into the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

The VOXBOX joins the Neumann KM84 and Shure SM58 microphones, Auratone Sound Cubes, Eventide H3000 UltraHarmonizer, Lexicon PCM41, and Roland RE-201 Space Echo, all part of this year’s inductees.

The TECnology Hall of Fame was established in 2004 to honor and pay recognition to audio products and innovations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology.

Since 2015, the TEC Hall of Fame Awards have been presented by the NAMM Museum of Making Music, as part of the annual Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards. Inductees are selected by a panel of more than 50 recognized audio experts, including authors, educators, engineers, and other professionals. Products must be at least ten years old for consideration.

Introduced in 1998, the Manley VOXBOX combines Manley’s all-tube preamp design with the ELOP compressor, an extended Mid-Pultec-inspired EQ, and a second dynamic controller set up as a de-esser and ELOP limiter. The VOXBOX was designed from the onset to be the world’s premium high end channel strip.

“The VOXBOX endures decade after decade as the unrivalled ultimate vocal channel,” observes Manley Labs president and co-founder EveAnna Manley, “although bass players always tell me it’s the greatest bass preamplifier too. We’re intensely proud to see the VOXBOX be inducted into the TEC Hall of Fame, and I couldn’t be more honored for myself and everyone at Manley Labs.”

The TECnology Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will take place just before the 31st annual TEC Awards, at 4:00 PM on Saturday, January 23, 2016 in Room 202A at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Manley Labs

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Posted by House Editor on 01/18 at 07:51 AM
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Friday, January 15, 2016

Black Lion Audio Clocks Maserati And Offers Giveaway

BLA partners with Ask.Audio to giveaway a Micro Clock MKIII used and autographed by audio engineer Tony Maserati.

Black Lion Audio (BLA) has partnered with Ask.Audio for a giveaway of a BLA Micro Clock MKIII used and autographed by audio engineer Tony Maserati.

The winner of the Micro Clock MKIII (a $999 value) will also receive a one-year unlimited access pass to the Ask.Audio Academy (valued at $120).

Ask.Audio, an online learning platform and social education community featuring tutorial-videos for popular software applications and creative workflow technique, has also made available an additional one-year Ask.Audio Academy pass as a second prize, and a third prize of a six-month Ask.Audio Academy pass. The competition ends January 22nd at 11:59 PM CST.

Register to win online here.

Tony Maserati, who has played a role in defining today’s R&B, hip-hop and pop aesthetic, comments, “In the world of mixing records, I’ll implement any gear into my system that brings my mixes closer to an approved master, faster. The mixes I’ve been doing with the Micro Clock MKIII have gotten better responses from my clients and make the decision-making process easier for me.”

With over 250 releases under his belt, Maserati’s resume is extensive: Jason Mraz, will.i.am / Fergie / Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, David Bowie, 2Pac, Britney Spears, John Legend, Beyoncé (winning Maserati a GRAMMY), Jessica Simpson, Sérgio Mendes (winning him a Latin GRAMMY), Alicia Keys, and many more have turned to Maserati for his magic touch.

“I’ve never been one who believes a particular clock is going to significantly change my world,” he continues. “I’ve used some of the best names, and it’s comforting to know they all perform within a few degrees of one another, which is why I wasn’t dying to try a new one.

“When Black Lion Audio sent me the Micro Clock MKIII, I waited until I had a room full of engineers and producers before plugging it in. In blind testing, the team chose the Micro Clock MKIII over our previous clock. I sat skeptical in the rear of the room. When I finally ventured to the sweet spot and A/B’ed it for myself, it was clear. Black Lion Audio had surprised me. The Micro Clock MKIII produced a better depth of field and increased clarity.” 

The Micro Clock MKIII is a redesign of its predecessor, the Micro Clock MKII. Core technological improvements include lower-jitter crystal oscillators, higher-quality galvanic transformer isolation in the signal path, dedicated output drivers with improved isolation, higher-precision signal division, and much heavier noise filtration throughout the circuit.

The feature set has expanded to include an LED frequency display, six BNC outputs capable of outputting clocking frequencies up to 384 kHz, AES and RCA S/PDIF outputs capable of up to 192 kHz, an optical S/PDIF output capable of up to 96kHz, and removable 1U rack ears. The Micro Clock MKIII comes with a two-year warranty, extendable to three years. 

Black Lion Audio is exhibiting at Booth 6324 (Hall A) at the 2016 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA.

Black Lion Audio 

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Posted by House Editor on 01/15 at 10:11 AM
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NUGEN Audio To Introduce New Products At NAMM

Company to introduce new spline equalizer, peak limiter and visualizer audio analysis solution.

At the 2016 NAMM Show, NUGEN Audio will present its latest mix and mastering tools, including several updates and feature enhancements, and the NUGEN Audio team will be on hand to answer questions on mastering for the Internet age and music streaming.

“At this year’s NAMM Show, we’re looking forward to presenting tools like ISL 2st and MasterCheck, both designed to help today’s audio experts maintain the best quality for Web-based distribution,” says Jon Schorah, founder and creative director, NUGEN Audio.

“Also, the new stereo version of SEQ-S is in direct response to the needs of our music-industry customers. And Visualizer is going from strength to strength — meeting customers’ demands for the most comprehensive audio-analysis suite.”

NEW: SEQ-ST Spline Equalizer With Filter Morphing
New to NAMM this year will be SEQ-ST, a linear phase spline EQ with sonic sculpting and EQ matching, stereo midside operation, and automated spectrum analysis. SEQ-ST allows audio to be massaged and corrected with very high resolution that is not possible using a traditional parametric interface. On display at NAMM will be a new filter-morphing feature that allows fluid morphing between two sets of filter curves under full user control.

Mastering for the Internet Age: MasterCheck and ISL 2st True-Peak Limiter
MasterCheck is the first music-industry-specific audio plug-in designed to facilitate mix and mastering for loudness-normalized playout, which is now standard on iTunes, Spotify, DAB, and many other online platforms. MasterCheck reveals how the consumer will hear audio on these and other music platforms by using internationally recognized loudness, dynamics, and true-peak standards.

ISL 2st provides music producers with true-peak compliance, essential in preparing all audio for loudness normalization because it prevents the distortion that often results from the codec conversions required to deliver audio to online platforms. Priced at an accessible entry point for the broader music-production community, ISL 2st is a stereo-only version of NUGEN Audio’s ISL 2 solution. ISL 2st DSP is also now available for Avid Pro Tools HDX users.

Update: Visualizer Audio Analysis Solution
NUGEN Audio will demonstrate an upgrade to Visualizer, the company’s audio-analysis plug-in and stand-alone metering system. The latest version of Visualizer includes a new comparison mode, an upgrade to the Lissajous view, and numerous fine-tuning improvements, further enhancing operation and allowing adjustment to achieve an optimized visualization for the task at hand. This update is available for both native and DSP versions of Visualizer.

Visualizer provides audio analysis for recording, mixing, and mastering in a single plug-in. A standardized reference set of professional tools is designed to help audio engineers work faster, avoid mistakes, repeat past successes, and understand the success of others.

Visit NUGEN Audio Jan. 21-24 Hall A, Booth #6242

NUGEN Audio

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Posted by House Editor on 01/15 at 09:31 AM
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