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Top Video Tutorial Site Has Amazing Sale

Whilst you are saving up for your new Mac Pro, video tutorial specialists Groove 3 are having an amazing Synth sale starting at just $5.00

Groove 3 are the leading video tuturial site, concentrating on music only software for both Mac and PC.

Check out these deals all for $5

  • Hybrid 2 Explained
  • Loom Explained
  • Strike Explained
  • Structure Explained
  • Transfuser Explained

And for just $10

  • Strike 2 Explained

Plus many other great videos.

Go grab them now, the deal ends soon.

10 Ways To Improve A Voiceover Without Spending A Penny Part 1

Voiceovers (VOs) are one of the hardest things to record, because there are lots of gaps between syllables and words and problems with the room acoustics as well as noise, both electronic and acoustic, are going to be very obvious so do the best you can.

1 - Script Style

Writing for reading, for either off the page or off the screen is a different style to writing for listening. the real test is what it sounds like not what it reads like.

2 - Preparation

Get the right information from the client, as well as a copy of the script, don’t share a script, you need to be able to mark up your copy of the script ready for the edit session.

3 - Mouth Clicks

Mouth clicks can be a real problem in VO sessions. Have water available but suggest the VO artist only takes sips. The other solution is for the VO artist to eat some apple, a tart apple like a Granny Smith tends to work best so have one ready just in case.

4 - Backups

Have at least one backup. Don’t just depend on Pro Tools. Record onto another machine as well so if Pro Tools does fall over you still have the session. Afterwards, make sure you backup the session onto another drive too as well as the cloud.

5 - Delivery Format

What format does the client want it delivered in? 48/44/1 sample rate, 16 or 24 bit depth etc. How are you going to deliver it?, CD, hard disk, pen drive, or via the cloud using services like Dropbox, Copy or Gobbler.

See part 2 for the remaining 5 ways to improve a VO.

Drumatom - Show & Tell Review 

Russ takes a look at Drumatom, a plug-in that claims to be able to clean up live drums with ease and with amazing results?

Does it work? Find out with this extended show and tell review of Drumatom.

Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Part 2

Last week in Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Part 1, community member Ciaran Robinson described some of the ways he goes about planning for a session in the studio. He continues…

Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Tempo and Time Signature

Tempo is not my most important consideration at this stage, so I’ll just set an approximate value.

(If you’re creating your Memory Locations in advance, make sure you set them to Bar/Beat reference rather than Absolute - last minute tempo changes are still likely to happen, and this will ensure they’re still accurate afterwards).

Giving a 4/4 click track to musicians playing in 6/8 never looks good, so I’ll also double-check I’ve got the right meter.

At this stage I’ll create my click track, and draw in a fade-out on it at the end of the song, so I won’t ever hear the tick-tock-tock-tock of the headphone bleed after the last cymbal crash…. Anything else?: That’s pretty much the bulk of what I’ll aim to have done, but here’s a couple of extra steps I’ve been glad to have taken before….

Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Cuesheet tracks

For string and horn recording, I often to use a technique I’ve borrowed from post-production:  set up an audio track, and place empty named clip groups everywhere I’ll be tracking.  These act as a  check list, so I can see at a glance if I’ve missed anything out (something easily done in a hectic session).

Empty clip groups above tracked piano parts

Be Prepared With 6 Tips For Planning Your Session - Guitar Chords and More

As I mentioned earlier, one of my recent sessions had more than 15 musicians to record, most of whom had never heard the song before.  To anticipate this, the day before, I’d entered the chords for the song into the timeline, laid down a scratch guitar track and programmed a rough approximation of the drum part.  

This turned out to have been a good move, as the first person to arrive was the session bass player, so we’d already finished tracking him by the time anyone else got to the studio….

PT session ready to go

So what have I missed?  Let’s have your suggestions….

Pro Tools Expert Podcast Episode 113

Russ, Mike, Neil & James bring you another show with talking points, tips, tricks and questions answered.


Deals page

Talking Points  

Community Feedback Kindly Sponsored by RSPE Audio Solutions 

  • Andy Soemo - Follow up with an problem from podcast 112 - a workaround for getting the transport related count in into the bounce.
  • Tom Scrivano - suggests using Blue Cat Audio PatchWork to help with pre and post processing.

Questions - Kindly Sponsored by Alchemea   

  • Thoughts on using VST3 VIs in Pro Tools Steinberg on VST3
  • Advice on Setting up a new Mac Pro with Pro Tools for a composer.
  • How do you use the Harmony section of iZotope Nectar 2?
  • Problems moving mono files to stereo tracks.
  • Problems with crackling with Pro Tools SE on Windows 7.

Listen on to the Pro Tools Expert Podcast on iTunes
Download the Pro Tools Expert Podcast as an MP3

Flux Celebrate Having AAX Native & DSP 64 Bit Plug-ins For Pro Tools 11

Our new friends at Flux Sound & Picture Development now have all their Flux:: series of plug-ins in AAX Native and DSP format with the recent release of Syrah in AAX 64 bit Native and DSP formats. That just leaves Alchemist and tell us this will be along in May in AAX Native format. 

Its great to have these tools back working with Pro Tools 11 especially as AAX DSP working on my HDX card Its also really useful as more and more content is being produced in suround, they are all support up to 8 channels and so they will work as surround plug-ins in Pro Tools in 5.1 or even 7.1.

Flux Sound & Picture Development Review - Elixir Limiter

You can check out Mike’s review of the Elixir limiter including true peak limiting and innovative staging which gives a great sounding output.

Flux Sound & Picture Development Review - Pure Analyser

We also have Mike’s review of the Pure Analyser which includes loudness analysis too.

Even though I did these reviews a little while ago, all it shows is how long I have been missing them as I was one of the first people to jump to HDX and so lost access to these (and many other) plug-ins for varying amounts of time.

Flux Sound & Picture Development - 50% Off Flux Series AAX 64 Bit plug-ins

To celebrate these releases, Flux Sound & Picture Development are offering 50% off their Flux:: series of plug-ins including the AAX DSP versions, which makes them especially attractive at the moment. For example, the Exilir v3 Limiter is down from 219 Euros to 109 Euros but only till the end of April. So check these plug-ins out and grab them whilst you can.

Rob Papen Releases The eXplorer III Collection

Own the entire Rob Papen synth and effect collection for one great value price 

Our friends at Time+Space are offering a great deal on this complete collection of all things Rob Papen.

Combining all Rob Papen virtual synths plus the company´s four award winning effects plug-ins, eXplorer III offers a very wide range of the tools and since eXplorer was first released in 2011, it has been updated to include Punch, Blade and now Blue 2, RP-AMOD and Predator FX at no extra cost, so more than ever eXplorer III represents fantastic value for money! 

Rob Papen eXplorer III Collections includes…

  • Blue II: Crossfusion synthesis - FM, phase distortion, wave shaping & subtractive synthesis.
  • Predator: Phat analoge synth with killer presets and first class features
  • Predator FX: Filter, modulation, vocoder and effects plug-in.
  • Blade: Cutting edge additive synthesis plug-in for the creation of unique sounds quickly and easily
  • Punch: Sampled and synthesized drums in a high quality percussive instrument
  • SubBoomBass: Ultra-deep groove bass synth with built-in step sequencer
  • RG: Electric & acoustic guitar grooves with sequencer and synth effects
  • RP-Distort: Distortion effects plugin with additional innovative features.
  • RP-Delay: Delay insanity. reverser, 6 lines, 8 filters, 4 LFOs & more.
  • RP-Verb: An advanced, transparent and musical algorithm reverb with easy controls
  • RP-AMOD: Features classic audio modulation FX to spice up your tracks.

The titles in eXplorer III would normally cost a total of £750.00 but with an SRP of just £395.00 / €493.00, eXplorer III can save you almost 50% and if you already own a Rob Papen plug-in you can buy the crossgrade to eXplorer III for just £335 / €419.00!

Use Waves Kramer Master Tape On A Parallel Mix Buss 

In this free video tutorial Russ tries using the Waves Kramer Master Tape plug-in on a parallel mix buss on drums and bass.

Often this technique is used with compressors, but Russ decides to see what happens when using it with tape compression and saturation.

Find out how to set it up and listen to the results.

Help! My Irrational Love Affair With Studio Hardware


Perhaps it is a mid-life crisis, or the pressure of work, or buying a new rack and seeing empty gaps that were begging to be filled, but after shedding all my studio hardware over a decade ago I’ve fallen in love with studio hardware again - I can’t get enough of the old, dusty, electricity loving gear.

Perhaps, it’s the same thing that stops me buying a Kindle (or any other e-book) and still has me filling shelves with real paper books? For me there’s nothing like holding a new book, even better smelling a new book… try it!

I talked about this on the Pro Tools Expert podcast last night with a couple of fellow hardware addicts Neil and James, after I asked the question, what’s wrong with me… but we didn’t have enough time for a full answer to that question. Joking apart, there’s something about hardware gear, as opposed to audio plug-ins that grabs some of us and won’t let us go.

Perhaps it’s what my buddy Vance Powell said to me “with digital two two plus two always equals four, with analog it might be just under four one time and then just over four the next, it’s the chaos that makes the difference.”

Perhaps as creatives we thrive with the tactile and somewhat unpredictable nature of hardware and the maths of a plug-in just leave us cold.

Don’t get me wrong I have the plug-in versions of all my hardware, in rational terms the benfits of plug-ins far outweigh the cons, on price, flexibility and sound. The UAD dbx160 sounds exactly like my hardware and so does their 1176 compressor, so this is not about the sound of a plug-in versus the hardware for me. Perhaps you are one of those people who swears blind you can hear the difference, if so enjoy your gift, my ears are obviously just regular old human ones.

The bottom line is that I’ve spent several weeks trying to rationalize my new found love of hardware, of me choosing to plug cables into a patchbay and mess around with the hardware, instead of just clicking a plug-in on the Pro Tools insert, I still have no answer to why I am restocking on hardware, I don’t have Ebay shares, so it can’t be that.

The fact is, I get far more pleasure out of messing around with hardware rather than simply clicking on plug-ins and presets, oddly enough it takes longer to do everything - and perhaps that’s what it’s all about, not some rose tinted trip back to my early recording days in the 1980s, but that I am actually creating something that is made with my own hands and not making music as if I was using an Excel spreadsheet.

Some of you reading this will think I’m nuts, I know Mike does… perhaps I am?


Making Small Rooms With Exponential Audio Reverbs - Video Tutorial

An excellent video from ‘Mr Reverb’ Michael Carnes founder of Exponential Audio.

In this free video tutorial on advanced reverb design, Michael gives an in-depth workshop on making a room.

It looks at the use of both early reflections and reverb as well as how filters help to bring realism.

You can watch it on the Exponential Audio web site.

Source: Exponential Audio

Grammy Nominated Mastering Engineer Offers Free Advice On Audio Levels

Holger Lagerfeldt is a Danish Grammy nominated and Multi-Platinum certified mastering engineer, but you might want to add to that ‘all round good guy’ as he is offering a PDF on audio levels completely free.

In the document he addresses the most common questions asked about recording audio in the digital domain, he offers solid advice and debunks some myths.  Subjects include;

  • Metering in the DAW
  • Normalizing
  • Dithering
  • How to avoid overloading a plug-in
  • How to avoid overloading your mix buss

You might be new to recording on a DAW, you may be a seasoned professional, there’s something for everyone in this FREE PDF on Levels in Digital Audio.

Source: Logic Pro Expert

Recording An Acoustic Upright Piano

Dan Cooper owner of Rodel Sound is back with another excellent article, this time on recording an acoustic upright piano.

I am going to cover the steps I take when recording an upright acoustic piano.  I was never taught or shown how to do this.  I am sharing with you what I have learnt by experimenting with the piano over the years and what I believe works for me.  If anyone finds that I have missed anything or feels they have other methods then please share your thoughts.

Before You Set Up Microphones


Approach piano recording as though you would be recording a guitar or drum kit.  Ensure that the piano is in tune to concert pitch.  Obvious I know… but if ignored you can get yourself into all sorts of trouble as soon as you start to overdub extra instruments only to find that you have no common pitch to tune to.

Tuning a piano cost roughly between £50 - £60 and takes a skilled tuner 30 - 60 minutes to complete.  It is well worth the investment, even if you are using someone else’s piano. 

Remove the panels

Open the lid on the top, remove the front panel between the lid and keyboard lid, pull out the keyboard lid and the larger panel placed under the keys. This will let the harp within resonate more naturally, much like a grand piano does when its wing is raised.

Listen to the piano mechanics

Play the piano over a range of high and low registers at varying dynamics.  Listen closely for rattles and squeaks. Try and locate any unnatural sounds and dampen them within the piano.  It is really important that the sustain pedal does not squeak.  You may have to instruct the performer, depending on the style of song, to press softer on the sustain pedal.  In some cases I get the performer to remove their shoes as some players really kick the pedal hard and the sound can be clunky and unwanted.

Setting Up The Microphones

An acoustic piano is a full range instrument with complex overtones and dynamics that you have to capture as naturally as possible.  The piano is a stereo instrument and lends itself very well to a stereo pair of condenser microphones.  I like to use a matched pair of large diaphragm AKG C414 XLii both set to a cardioid polar pattern.

Click to read more ...

How To Re-Amp Guitars With Eleven Rack In Pro Tools 11

Russ shows how to re-amp guitars with Avid Eleven Rack in Pro Tools 11.

Previous versions of Pro Tools gave Eleven Rack users a simply way to re-amp their guitar parts, this was lost in Pro Tools 11. Russ shows how to set up Eleven Rack and your hardware to enable re-amping. 

Join now and watch over 700 Pro Tools tutorials videos for just £20 a year.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won't Cost You A Penny

It’s highly likely that you’re going to be recording guitars for some of your tracks. A well recorded guitar can sound amazing and sit in a mix without any effort, fitting a badly recorded one into a mix can be as hard as trying to nail jelly to a wall. Here are 5 ways to improve your guitar recording that won’t cost you a penny.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won’t Cost You A Penny 1 - Tune, Tune, Tune

You may think this may be stating the bl**ding obvious but tuning is essential not once but many times during the recording process.

I have a Telecaster that has a mind of its own with tuning, so it requires tuning several times during a tracking session. Check the tuning before each take and especially before any drop-ins on a track, missing this one will cause you a serious headache.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won’t Cost You A Penny 2 - Move Your Mic Around

If you are new to recording then you may be unsure where to put the microphone, depending on where you place the microphone the sound changes for both acoustic guitars and electric guitar amps. If you ever visit a top studio or see a top engineer in action then don’t be surprised to see them moving the mics around and listening to the sound they get from them. If you are at home and in the same space as the microphone then put on some headphones then listen to the sound change as you move the mic around. If you can’t do this then do several recording takes of the mic in different positions and then listen back to them.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won’t Cost You A Penny 3 - Fake The Space

You may be using a simple recording interface and not have any amp or guitar processor like an Eleven Rack, so you simply record a DI guitar. Guitar VIs like Eleven Free and other Free guitar plug-ins will help, but the real trick is to sit the sound into a space, there are 3 ways;

  1. Use a reverb with a small room setting. 
  2. Use a convolution impulse response, however you will need something to host the response like Recabinet, or if you have Structure then you can use Structure to host an impulse response.
  3. Throw a mic in front of a speaker in a room and then re-record the signal… really.

Faking the space makes a huge difference especially with electric guitars, so give it a try.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won’t Cost You A Penny 4 - Record Several Parts

A popular trick when recording guitars is to record several parts, although sometimes people don’t know when to stop and then you have the problem of trying to sit 30 guitar parts into a mix, I find the mute button a help on these occasions.

However, simply recording the same guitar part twice and then panning them will give you real double tracking and it sounds awesome. It’s especially helpful when recording acoustic albums as it adds width and space to a mix and makes it much easier to sit the vocals in the centre of the track.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won’t Cost You A Penny 5 - Mix Up The Playing

Moving on from simply recording the same guitar part twice, the real magic comes when you mix up the playing and the tuning. I often record two acoustic guitar parts but on the second pass I’ll use a capo to change the sound of the second guitar. An open G sounds a lot different to a G played in a D shape with a capo on the 5th fret. Another trick I do is to do an entire pass of simply recording the rhythm of the strum with the strings muted with the palm of my hand. Another nice trick is to do a pass of a rhythm guitar where one of the parts is simply a single open strum on the first beat of every bar. Finally open tuning makes a huge difference to the sound too, this is used a lot in country recording. If you want to hear a masterclass in guitar recording using several of these tricks then listen to ‘I Want It Back’ on the album ‘A Few Small Repairs’ by Shawn Calvin.

5 Ways To Improve Your Guitar Recording That Won’t Cost You A Penny Is Possible

So there we are, 5 ways to improve your guitar recordings without spending a penny. Often the problem with some people’s recordings is not a lack of money just a lack of imagination. 

If there’s a trick we’ve missed then add it to the comments below.

A Cautionary Tale For Anybody Buying Plug-ins From Individuals 

Community member Nathan Ruyle has reached out to us asking if we would share his experiences after buying an iLok protected plug-in on line..

I just had a recent experience with an iLok software license that I thought I would share with you as a cautionary tale about purchasing software from individuals rather than a vendor. 

I purchased a copy of Revibe 2 via Ebay last year and the seller transferred it to my iLok account with no problem. I’ve been using it in my mix template since then.  A few days ago (7 months after it had been added to my iLok account) I got an email from iLok:

“Licenses that were deposited in error to a different iLok account and then resold to you by another iLok user were also discovered in this audit.

We’ve corrected the problem that caused these duplicate license deposits, and as part of the clean up, the duplicate licenses are now set to be returned.

The following licenses that were deposited in error were removed from your account.”

So basically some kind of error was made leaving me to figure out how to get a refund from the seller.

“Our records indicate that one or more of the licenses were purchased from another ilok.com user. Please contact the seller of each license if you wish to obtain a refund. You can find the seller’s name and other information in the email we sent to you on the transfer date. You may also try to seek a refund through any 3rd party broker, such as Ebay or PayPal. Please do not contact ilok.com support; unfortunately they will not be able to assist you.”

However Ebay only protects a purchase for 30 days so I’m out a few hundred dollars. The seller is MIA and I doubt will make it right. Lesson learned and not the end of the world. I own over $30K in software licenses so it’s a drop in the bucket but I wasn’t aware that this kind of thing was something iLok could and would do. I think knowing that can happen should raise a new level of concern for those going on Ebay to get software. I know in the past you have talked on the podcast about grabbing HD licenses from Ebay for example. In the case of this purchase the seller had a 100% positive rating with 300 sales so at the time I felt safe but clearly something fraudulent was afoot. Just thought it would be good to raise a little more awareness about the dangers of these kinds of purchases when ILok can retroactively do whatever they want with your account.  

Thanks for all your hard work for the community. Keep it up!

Thanks Nathan for your kind words and bringing this issue to the front. When you get caught out it is often easier just to say nothing, so thank you for stepping up and sharing your experience.

You are correct that you have been a victim of fraud, but iLok is the innocent party here. Their responsibility is largely to the software vendors and developers who contract them to provide protection for their products. Because iLok effectively has a complete database of who owns what, they can check if licenses end up in accounts of people who shouldn’t have them and from your experience they clearly do, but they are protecting their clients, the software developers.  

I would try going back to Ebay as it would appear as though you have been a victim of fraud by someone who is selling on their platform. Although they or may not be able to refund your money they do need to be aware of the tactics of people using their platform.

Free iZotope RX3 Tutorial On Using Spectral Repair In Pro Tools

Here is our very own “Mr RX It” showing in another free video tutorial, courtesy of iZotope, how to use the iZotope RX3 Spectral Repair plug-in in Pro Tools. 

In self shot documentaries the sound is often the thing that suffers, as the crew have too many other things to think about. In this example we suspect that the camera operator just didn’t hear the siren in the background on the best take so we are left to fix it in post.

See how Mike was able to improve it using the RX3 Spectral Repair plug-in without having to leave Pro Tools so speeding up the workflow.

RX3 and RX3 Advanced are on special offer until 1st May 2014. Check out the offers available from our friends at Time+Space or you can buy direct from iZotope.

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Review

No sooner had we posted the news about the new IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 than Eli over at Logic Pro Expert has a complete review of the new Neve 1073 and 1081 Eq models from IK Multimedia.

His complete review gives audio examples as well as suggested applications for these new plug-ins from the IK Multimedia team.

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Features

As we said in our earlier news item, IK Multimedia have gone further than simply modelling the EQs, these version include pre-amp modelling and MS processing too. Other features include;

  • Fully compatible with Mac OS X (Universal Binary), and Windows (XP / Vista / 7 / 8)
  • Supported plug-in formats: VST, RTAS, AAX, and Audio Units
  • Works within the T-RackS CS Standalone application
  • High-quality oversampling
  • High-precision and high-transparency digital processors
  • Accurately analog-modeled vintage classic devices
  • Full-latency compensation support

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Review

Head over to Logic Pro Expert for the extensive review of the new IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 plug-ins.

IK Multimedia EQ 73 and EQ 81 Review

IK Multimedia Release EQ73 And EQ81 EQs For The 'Neve' Sound 

IK Multimedia have released two new EQs the EQ73 and EQ81 based on, in their words, ‘classic British EQs’, which in other words means the Neve 1073 and 1081.

IK Multimedia EQ73 And EQ81 Modelling

IK Mulitmedia claim that what sets these units apart is “The EQ 73 and EQ 81 are the only two digital models featuring the full preamp circuitry on top of the most musical sounding EQ section”.

So even if you’ve already got versions of these classic British gems you may want to check the sound out on the new IK Multimedia EQ73 And EQ81. 

IK Multimedia EQ73 And EQ81 Specifications

  • Fully compatible with Mac OS X (Universal Binary), and Windows (XP / Vista / 7 / 8)
  • Supported plug-in formats: VST, RTAS, AAX, and Audio Units
  • Works within the T-RackS CS Standalone application
  • High-quality oversampling
  • High-precision and high-transparency digital processors
  • Accurately analog-modeled vintage classic devices
  • Full-latency compensation support
  • Supports sampling rates up to 192 kHz
  • DSM™ and SCC™ proprietary IK technologies for extremely accurate digital models of analog hardware devices
  • Native compatibility with 64-bit applications and operating systems

More Informations and price

Review of the Chandler GAV19T for UAD-2 

In this video James takes a look at the new GAV19T guitar amp plugin.

He shows you around the amp and shows how real this thing sounds.

Watch the UAD Chandler GAV19T review

Rob Papen Concept Design For USB Controller For His Synths

Rob Papen has been discussing a concept design for an RP-Control. The idea is to make a usb controller for their synth products (BLUE-II, Predator, SubBoomBass, Blade). 

In the current design Rob says it will be 43cm (17inch) x 23cm (9inch) and the layout is based on what he believes is essential to have under your fingers when using synthesisers.  As it is now, it is pretty well laid out.  The only thing to consider is whether to have is a vector stick, instead of the X and Y control dials. One thing is for sure, it will not have endless rotary dials as he feels that only the waveform dial needs to be endless.

Their synths already have ‘capture mode’ as feature in their back panel. This means, if you turn a dial at a hardware controllers it starts changing once it hits the value of the preset. This avoids jumps in sounds and makes it very useful for live performance. However it won’t be bi-directional as that will make it much more expensive as each control would have to be motorised. So to make the price accessible it would only work one way, adjust a control and it would update the plug-in and not the other way.

In the plan, as it is now, inside the host or sequencer you need to select the instance of the instrument that you like to edit. For example, if you have a song with BLUE-II, Blade, and Predator, then to edit the instrument and use the controller, you need to select the instrument. Otherwise it feeels it is going to be much more complex and so expensive.  

Godd news if you own another vst/au/aax plug-in that can latch midi, you would be able to use this controller for those as well as long as the ‘host’ or sequencer is able to merge midi ports because you need to connect the keyboard and the controller to the instrument at the same time, but as most do already, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. 

It is an interesting concept design, which he still hasn’t decided if he will make yet. But the idea of crowd sourcing the ideas, and even possibly looking at crowd source funding too, is interesting. What do you think of this design? Do you think that taking the idea to the user is a good idea or could it suffer from having too many cooks? Do let us know….