Another audio update

Posted: January 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Here is another short update on the mix.

After working purely through headphones, as many of you know is not wise, I finally got into the studios recently to do some work.

Some more EQ has been done with some cleaning up. As you can hear there’s a horrible hiss which is coming from the bass guitar, the only bit of the band to not be recorded, instead it was DI’d. in a later mix I has resulved this, but this one posted now it’s still quite audible.

Next up is a bit more cleaning, finished at the time of writing, and panning, level automation and general posishing.

Piccies to follow!

Cant help myself – george mix friday 14th by Technicalbee

Audio Diary Update

Posted: January 12, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Here’s just a short update on the ‘audio diary’ for my studio production module.

The vocals were tracked yesterday, and so far a small amount of cleaning has happened on the drums. A bit of EQ here and there and a couple of gates thrown in for good measure.
As you can probably guess, a fair chunk still remains to do, with levels all over the place. With one deadline out of the way and most other work well on its way to completion I can turn my attention to mixing, finally.
Hope you enjoy the quick update and aren’t too horrified with how it sounds, improvements are just around the corner.
Can’t Help Myself mix 2 by Technicalbee

After a nice long break and getting a wee bit distracted by many many other projects I’ve come back to my mixing.
This is just a quick post as to what’s happening:

Here is a rough mix of the song so you have an idea. I had originally intended to keep a short video diary of how it was progressing, but that’s proving to be harder than expected, so enjoy the audio diary!

  Raw mix by Technicalbee

This is the raw track, fresh from the studio with nothing done so far except a few basic levels and muting of unwanted parts through headphones, as you can probably tell!

I’ll be keeping this ‘audio diary’ over the next week or so while I do more to the track. Obviously there a few, er, key parts missing which are due to be recorded on the 10th, but until then I will be mixing the rest of the track as far as possible.

the session so far can be seen in the image on the left.

Welcome to blog XI

As the first semester of the years ends it becomes a bit of a rush to get things finished in time, but the last couple of weeks have been focussed on two projects. I mentioned one in a previous post about testing hearing loss in subjects which I recently had to present, but that’s all finished now. The other project was a recording and mixing one where I was given an external client and naturally, record them.

The client that I have been recording is a band local to Manchester called Ash Mountain, they’re a country/blues band who are no strangers to the recording process. The brief that I was given was to record a number of tracks for the client and then produce a stereo and a 5.1 mix for them, but apart from this, there was the process of liaising, organising and booking of studio time. I wont bore you with details of the preparation stage and so will skip straight to the recording.

The first recording session was just over a week ago where we laid down the drum and bass tracks for the three songs. The drums were recorded using mainly the faithful Shure SM57 close micing each drum, a D112 on the kick and an array of Rhode NT2as for overheads. As the mix was due to be mixed in 5.1 as well as stereo, I decided to try a technique I haven’t used before for the overheads. Usually with a kit I just use two overheads but instead four were used on this recording, 2 front and 2 rear. The result will be explored in a later blog with a few examples for you to listen to. Images of this will follow shortly.

Acoustic and electric guitars for a few of the tracks were overdubbed in the same session. The acoustic was miced with a SM57 around the neck, with a Neumann U87i equal distance from the sound hole to minimise any phasing. The electric guitar amplifier was recorded using a technique I have used before, but is also mentioned in this Sound On Sound post. It involves to ever useful SM57 again close micing the cone on-axis, with another SM57 at a 45 degree angle placed next to it. I believe it is a technique favoured by Andy Johns (Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Free). Here is an image of the technique in use, although images from the actual session will be added shortly.

In a later recording session this week the remaining guitar tracks were overdubbed. These included a few more rhythm parts, lapsteel solo and electric solo. As of now, all that remains is to record the vocals for this mix which is planned to happen in early January shortly before the final studio mix of the surround sound.
Over the next couple of weeks I’m planning on roughly mixing the rest of the tracks without the vocals, and will be keeping a sort of ‘audio diary’ of it, in simple terms, at each stage of the mix I’ll do a quick mix down and upload to my Soundcloud for anyone who is interested to keep up to date with it. I’ll also post a small blog about what I’ve done so far.

This post, and other smaller ones will continuously be updated over the next couple of weeks while I’m working, so keep an eye out for them!

Guitar Evolution

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Audio Production, Music, Technology

Welcome to blog X

This week I found something by accident which I get to share with you now, but to warn you, it’s just a guitar – sort of.

Misa Digital have been releasing small snippets of information about their new product, but luckily we also have some videos too, which is essentially a guitar but entirely digital. So how is this different from an electric guitar? Well, in almost every way except for the shape.

Guitars as they are now are limited by their strings and by the hand that strums or plucks the string. The resulting sound is pretty much going to sound like a guitar when played through any kind of amp with the exception of some clever processing, but the new Misa Digital guitar is different.

It is essentially a MIDI guitar but a whole world away from the ones created by attaching a MIDI pickup to an old, battered and bruised Fender Strat. Each fret on the neck has a button for each string, and where you’d normally find the strings to strum long to you favourite track, you’ll find a souless touchscreen. The company claim that the instrument isn’t intended to replace the current analogue instrumens, but instead is to morph sounds “in an infinite number of ways”. How does it do this? Well as it is a MIDI controller, it can be connected, and control, any device with a MIDI input, so you can use it to control yours synths, samplers, software etc… The touchscreen appears to be able to control a large number of parametrs too, allowing for great versatility for the player.

It is quite difficult to guess how this controller will work without having one in front of me, but without them hitting our shelves before 2011 at the earliest, this video will have to suffice.

The source code of the instrument is Linux and open source allowing for users to program it themselves and alter the functionality of the interface. It appears that the right hand is the control and the left is obviously the note. The right hand appears to be able to control things like filter cut off frequencies and parameters of phasers, delays etc, and the tone of amplifiers.

Without more information released it’s quite hard to guess what the possibilities for this actually are, and how it can be used as a real instrument or whether it’s just a gimmick to coincide with the Guitar Hero phenomenon. I do wonder how good it is for a regular guitarist to pick up an play standard songs, and what type of patches are available for acoustic/electric guitars. Either way, it’s an advance in MIDI interface control in the form that many people are familiar with, although the controls are quite different. It will be interesting to see what develops with this new instrument, and how we’ll see it being used for professional uses. it could certainly find it’s place in some areas of the audio industry, and hopefully, price providing, the home.

I’ll tr to post more when I find it, thanks for reading.

EDIT: Here is a slightly more technical post than mine.

Posted: December 4, 2010 in Audio Production, Hearing, Music, Social Media

Welcome to Blog IX

After a long week of battling snow, ice and a fairly ruthless cold which have left me about as stable as a newborn deer, it’s time to settle down a write another blog post. I realised lately that I mentioned in early posts about how I was a student again and I would be writing about what it was like going back as a postgrad, but I’ve pretty much failed to do so, and so I thought I’d treat you all so a small insight as to what has happened so far on the course.

I have a number of major projects ongoing at the moment which are taking up a fair amount of my time. One of these is my major recording project which is where I record an external band and produce some mixes in stereo and surround sound. As this is such a big project, and the fact the recording sessions are due to take place next week, I shall post a blog about this one a bit later! In the mean time, if anyone wishes to have a listen to some country blues, then look no further than the band I’m recording, Ash Mountain.

Another project that I’m currently working on at the moment involves creating some synthesized soundtracks to video. You can hear one on my Soundcloud, which is largely original synthesizers, excluding drums and beats. The piece is unfinished and not mixed, and probably has little meaning without its video counterpart, but it gives you an idea! A second one is also in the works and both should be completed in the near future. The modules used for this are all Native Instruments (Kontact, Absynth, FM8, Massive) as well as a bit of Reason. Each offer a nice range of synthesis and versatility once you know how to create it. I found some nice tutorials on MassiveSynth, and BoyinaBand is always an informative read for Reason bits!

I mentioned in, I believe Blog II, about the Stapedius reflex as it was something I stumbled across while researching various bits about the inner workings of the ear. Currently I’m in the process of conducting the experiment that I was researching then which is hearing loss compared with age. The way in which this is being testing is by using an audiometer and some patient subjects. To keep it short, the subject are played some tones and they press a button when they can no longer hear them. The result is a nice graph ready to be statistified! As I said, the test is still ongoing, and so if you happen to be wandering around Newton on Monday or Tuesday, then you may be volunteered to become a volunteer!

This has been a small insight into some of the work that I have going on and hopefully I’ll have some more examples to post up shortly.,

See you next time

Welcome to Blog VIII – Online Music Mixing

After a long week of Dub remix report writing, and weekend of relaxing, it’s time for another blog. This week I am looking at a website that I stumbled across a short while ago which I have a feeling some of you may be interested in. The website, onlinemusicmixing.co.uk, does online music mixing, oddly enough.

OMM is one of a few websites offering this type of online service where artists or engineers can send in their multitracks and have it returned nicely mixed ready for chart topping success.

There are three services that OMM offer: Mixing, Mastering and Mix-Fix. The mixing and mastering services are fairly self explanatory, but the last service, Mix-Fix, is for those tracks which just aren’t quite ‘there’ yet. OMM ask that the multitracks are sent in sub-group stems of each section, e.g. percussion, guitars, vocals etc… and the engineer will assess how they are able to help.

The services do cost a little bit – a mix of a single track could set you back £300 – £450, and mastering around £80 per track. The Mix-Fix is offered at £80 for a 2-hour session with an engineer.

Now, you may be wondering why you would fork out that much money for a mix by an engineer/producer that you haven’t met and can’t sample their credentials. Well, with OMM the reason is simple really, it’s because of who they are. Each of the engineers and producers that could potentially take on your mix has worked for artists such as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, The Libertines, Jay-Z…the list goes on for a while, suffice to say, your mix is in good hands! There is another option for those not willing to part with quite so much, which is that of using an unnamed engineer, each of whom work in major UK studios. The cost is the more manageable amount of £175 per track.

In my opinion, OMM is a great tool for those wanting a mix/mastering by a high profile producer, or just that little bit of help, but it does take away from the ever slowing audio engineering industry (as this loving ad pointed out). It is certainly a well executed idea and may well be the way that records are produced in the future, who knows.

OMM also have a number of other interesting aspects to their site for the budding young engineer, such as myself. They have a blog and a few other social media bits (Facebook/Twitter) which, among other things, offer recording and production techniques making it another online resource, although it is still relatively new.

Go to: http://www.onlinemusicmixing.co.uk/ for more information
http://onlinemusicmixing.wordpress.com/

Thanks for reading, see you next time.