Monday June 25, 2012
Everybody's got one -- from classic Stax and Motown to modern pop and hip hop. What's your favorite recording, and why?
Studying recordings is one of the fastest ways to become a good listener, especially in the sense that recording engineers need to be excellent listeners -- able to dissect the ins and outs of great record-making.
So, what's your favorite?
Tuesday April 24, 2012
I was recently reading a fantastic article by a fellow audio engineer, and he made a great case for the fact that most live sound engineers look at the PA system as an element to be removed from the overall picture, something you don't want to hear in the way of the program. Studios, however, seem to focus on many attributes that stand in the way of sonic purity -- analog noise, limited bandwidth, and many more.
In today's world of high-resolution audio, it's hard to imagine why anyone would purposefully degrade the quality of the end product for artistic effect, but it seems quite common in the indie scene. Should engineers and the studio be transparent and reproduce the band at their best, or should studios always try to be a visible (or, rather, audible) part of the overall picture?
Thursday April 5, 2012
Jim Marshall, the man who turned his savings from teaching drum lessons into one of the biggest names in music equipment, responsible for the impeccable loud-and-gritty guitar tone of many top-performing artists through his brand Marshall Amplifiers has died, following complications from cancer treatment and "multiple strokes", according to his son, Terry.
Marshall turned his passion for heavy-sounding rock music into a successful business empire, producing many well-known versions of his Marshall amps. Production of Marshall amplifiers was always kept in England, a fact that Marshall was very proud of, despite pressure from the industry to outsource production.
Marshall was 88.
Tuesday April 3, 2012
As any audio engineer knows, there's a lot of variables and calculations that go into making a great recording or mixing a live show, and having a helping hand is never a bad thing, even in today's digital age. To aid both new and experienced engineers, Jonathan Papert and Crash Symphony Productions have introduced Audio Engineer for iPhone and iPad, a suite of tools in a single app.
Inside Audio Engineer, you'll find a variety of calculators and reference tools for both live and studio engineering. You're able to calculate dynamics, BPM, note-frequency relationships, distance and time, and more; you've also got a ready reference manual of mic techniques for a variety of situations.
Audio Engineer is available now for $7.99 from the iTunes App Store.
Saturday March 31, 2012
What's the most frustrating thing that can happen to a new studio owner? While there's a lot of answers for that time-honored question, one of the most annoying things is buzz, hum, and the other gremlins that happen in your studio because of bad power management.
With this new guide, you'll learn the basics of fixing minor electrical problems, and conditioning your power, that pop up in most home-based recording studios. Learning these skills will make it a lot easier, and a lot less frustrating, to get starting making audio magic.
Saturday March 31, 2012
I know some really great keyboard players, and they've all got their own signature sound that they play with. Many of them rely on the world-famous, often-imitated/never-duplicated Hammond B3 to provide a gritty, live organ sound that only the B3 can make.
In this new article
, you'll learn the basics of recording and mixing this legendary instrument. It's an easy instrument to record and mix, and getting it right sounds amazing. You'll be getting great organ sounds in your mix quickly!
Saturday March 31, 2012
When you're mixing live sound, there's no job more considered "the hotseat" than mixing monitors
. We've got two brand-new guides that you might enjoy: mixing wedge monitors
, and mixing in-ear monitors
. Learning these two separate but similar disciplines will help make you an even better engineer, and one that can do both well is always in demand.
Aside from getting the mix right, don't forget about the basics of hearing protection. When you're mixing in a high-volume environment without in-ear monitors, you'll need to look into earplugs
. Don't forget to protect your most valuable instruments!
Monday March 26, 2012
Line 6, makers of top-notch, cutting-edge digital products for professional performers and recording engineers, has announced the shipment of their new XD-V digital wireless microphone systems. Designed with features that both professional engineers and weekend warriors need and appreciate, the XD-V line offers fourth-generation Line 6 digital wireless technology, providing a 10Hz to 20kHz frequency response and a >120db dynamic range. Unlike traditional RF technology, Line 6's digital wireless products do not use companding or compression to deliver audio, providing a cleaner, more well-defined signal regardless of distance or RF signal quality.
The XD-V series comes in six flavors, ranging in price from $909 for the headset version of the XD-V75HS, $839 for the top-of-the-line XD-V75 handheld vocal microphone or XD-V75L lavalier, to the $419 XD-V35 handheld and lavalier systems.
The XD-V series is available now from Line 6 retailers.
Monday March 12, 2012
Have you ever recorded something and found that it distorted -- or "clipped" -- and you couldn't go back and re-record the audio? Maybe that one, solid take that you got throughout the whole session was sidelined by clipping on the preamp or converters, and now you're trying to figure out what to do.
Do you find repairing distorted audio to be a worthwhile effort, or does it provide more frustration than you'd like? One of my audio mentors once told me, "you can't unbake a cake" -- and that always reminds me to watch my levels when recording. What's your take on repairing distorted audio?
Thursday March 8, 2012
Compression -- especially when used tastefully -- can add a really great character to your mix. It can make vocals sit in a mix more evenly, make drums "pop", and help the whole mix stay together better. But too much compression, and you end up with something unusable.
What's your favorite compressor, software or hardware? For me, it's got to be either a vintage DBX 160 or the Empirical Labs Distressor -- both great products. When mixing live, I love using Avid's Smack! on the Venue Profile console. What's your favorites?