A lot of those who are part of this community are trying to make ideas happen.
You might be trying to get an album made, a TV documentary off the ground, a studio built, or a new business going.
There are two words that matter.
So you have a dream, a vision, something that everyone needs to hear or see. You think it’s amazing and has the potential to change lives or change the world. It feels like you are trying to a boulder up a very long hill.
It’s called inertia.
Inertia - is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion, including changes to its speed and direction.
If you have a bad idea then you’re not going to take your ideas anywhere, but even a good idea faces inertia. Resistance isn’t futile, it’s very real and part of the journey of any new idea or new vision.
It may seem like a bad thing, but inertia is a good way of honing you idea, making it better and making sure that you are able to clearly communicate the vision. The trouble with being an ideas person is that we imagine stuff and see it before it exists, so don’t be dismayed if you are met with blank expressions.
In 1997 I was helping to get a summer festival off the ground, the aim was to go live in the year 2000. A lot of people simply didn’t ‘get it’, in fact once we got it going the same people would come up to me with an enlightened look on their face saying ‘Oh this is what you meant?’ I wanted to scream!
If you are going to see stuff before it is a reality get used to inertia, don’t get mad with people, or become a victim, learn how to communicate better, especially with people not wired like you.
It is said most of the fuel used to get a rocket off the ground is used getting it just 1 mile up from the ground. Once it clears gravity then a lot less fuel gets used, so expect to burn a lot of fuel getting your ideas off the ground.
When we started this blog no-one wanted to talk to us. I sent hundreds of emails to brands, possible partners, all sorts of people trying to get help and support - a big fat zero.
Only a handful of people like Peter Gorges from AIR, David Gould and David Atkinson from Digidesign returned my emails and calls. There were also some early-adopter community members like Alan Zeleznikar, Beth Burnett and Simon Fine are three of the people in the early days of the blog who gave up their own time and supported the community.
When you start an idea you want hundreds, thousands and millions of people to get with you, but what matters more is that a handful of people help you make the idea a reality. Without them it’s not going to happen, so treasure them - you’ll never forget them.
Over time the tens become hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands and then millions - that’s traction.
If you have a new idea then don’t be surprised if you face inertia - even if you have a good one then it’s normal not odd. If it’s a bad idea then take some time to listen, you may have the beginnings of an idea that needs rethinking.
In 2004 a brand tried to make a phone that would play MP3 audio files, the phone was the Motorola E790, made in association with a brand called Apple. It bombed. They could have given up, but they took that kernel of idea and eventually made the iPhone. Apple took an early half assed idea and made it into one of the most successful products in modern history. Sometimes inertia is good.
A wise friend once said to me ‘It takes 20 years to become an overnight success.’ It does, but give your good idea time and eventually it will gain traction.
You might think that inertia is a bad thing, it may just be your best friend and will help you take you idea from good to great - then you’ll gain traction and nothing will stop you.
We’ve just started a series on the value of channel strip plug-ins in the modern recording set-up, so it might be good to know what AAX channel strip plug-ins are worth taking a look at.
For Pro Tools users with RTAS plug-ins, unless you read otherwise these will also work as RTAS plug-ins in Pro Tools. If you are not sure what AAX plug-ins will work in your Pro Tools system then check out our comprehensive AAX plug-in database.
Let us know what you think by taking our poll and also adding any comments at the end of the article.
UAD API Vision
A more recent addition to the UAD powered plug-in collection, this is an awesome model of a strip used on albums by such recording greats as Fleetwood Mac and the Foo Fighters. It packs a lot of punch, currently in a Mac only beta for AAX we reviewed it here.
Avid Channel Strip
The Avid Channel strip is part of the plug-ins that ship with more recent versions of Pro Tools, it might be free but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed in preference for those costing money. Modelled on the channel strip from the System 5 console it has a lot to offer, the collapsible GUI is a real bonus when running out of screen real estate.
Our friends at PureMix have released a new Hip Hop mixing series from the famous hip hop engineer Ryan West as he mixes the song Break Bread from Dujeous featuring John Legend. Ryan West has worked with the biggest hip hop names in the industry (Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Rihanna, Eminem…).
Watch him go from acoustic and electronic beats, to synths, horns and strings, to layers of vocals (featuring John Legend). Ryan shows you how achieve this hip hop mix all in the box and make a mix sound bigger than life. he goes through each step of the mixing process and even takes the time to experiment and have fun with the tools he has. That includes:
UAD Neve 1081, Neve 33609, 1176AE, Pultec Pro, Fairchild, SSL E Channel Strip, Roland Dimension D, Lexicon 224, Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor, Ampex ATR 102, Soundtoys Echoboy, Crystallizer, PanMan, Radiator, Deacapitator, Wave DeEsser….
Russ shows two ways to get a MIDI beat playing rock solid with a real drummer.
In this video he explains that quantising a beat is not always the answer and can create more problems than it solves, especially when the drummer is playing with a nice human feel.
You may want to get an entire MIDI beat locked with a drummer or just push a few beats into time.This video covers both possibilities and demonstrates how easy it is to get everything in time, even human time!
- Watch it now You need to be a member to watch this video.
Last week in part 6 of this series on Audio Post Production Workflows Using Pro Tools, we started looking at ADR in some more detail and the idea of doing ADR on location and Dave Humphries who has been doing ADR on location for many years and continues to take us through what he does….
By using the Mbox 2 Pro, I can give the artist a separate mix to the one I’m hearing. The artist will want to hear the beeps and lines only; I want to hear the recording, to make sure it matches the lips. I would already have loaded all my ‘beep’ cues in to the session Having marked it all up first (using ‘Markers’ to enter then lines and then export the session as text to put that into my Excel/ Numbers sheets for printing) so all I have to check is that the artist can hear the audio and beeps satisfactorily. When marking up your ADR, it’s a good idea to give each line a separate number, so that you can keep track of how many ‘loops’ you have to record.
I often tell artists that I am just going to give them a few ‘run-throughs’, just for them to get their heads around what we are doing; but in fact, I record everything - you never know when you might get the perfect take! Once they have finished a cue or a section, I ask them to have a go at doing a larger section in one go; as this often will give me the breaths I need in-between takes, which will help me sell the idea that this is not ADR.
Some people like to record ADR in ‘Loop record mode’ and make lots of playlists. I prefer not to do that as I find it easier to stop at the end of each take and let the director give the artist a bit of advice or a playback of their last take. Also, it often happens that the director will want to hear bits of different takes spliced together for a playback, so I record on one track only and then Control-Drag it (so it doesn’t move sync) to a new Playback track for editing. I always create a ‘Master Selected Take’ track to give to the cutting room, so they don’t have to start selecting takes to my badly scribbled instructions.
I now use an iPad 2 running Neyrink’s V-Control Pro as a mixing desk. It is much lighter than carrying a real desk around, and it works just as well…..the only thing you need is a stand to stop it sliding around as you use it.
Finally, when the session is finished I make a ‘Save Session Copy’ on another drive. This ensures that all the recorded audio is in the session folder that I give them. There is nothing worse than an Sound Editor phoning you up to tell you he’s got no audio in his session! If I am fitting my own recordings, then I will often use the ‘Vocalign’ plug-in to help me get better sync.
The only other thing to worry about is the quality of the room you are recording it all in. Obviously, if there are curtains, draw them to cut down room reflections. Likewise with cushions and pillows. If there are constant cars or planes nearby, this will be more of a problem, but I have shot in a hotel room where you can use the mattress and all the bedding draped around a room to deaden it.
In part 8 we will look at Foley with Barnaby Smyth.
Previous Parts Of The Audio Post Production Workflows Series
Updated on Friday, August 15, 2014 at 9:30AM by Mike Aiton
Updated on Friday, August 15, 2014 at 8:40PM by Mike Aiton
The other day one of my clients brought a couple of his interesting mic pres that he has collected (after being a successful session musician for years) to my studio, Mikerophonics in Twickenham for a little listen. I was very keen to hear how some esoteric mic press would sound up against my Focusrite ISA One.
For those of you who are not in the know, recordings in my studio booth are principally spoken voice, commentary and voiceover for post production. My booth sees lots of regular action and has in the last year recorded luminaries such as Brian Blessed, Juliet Stevenson, Steven Macintosh and most of the regulars on the London promo circuit and continuity scene (oh I love those BBC Radio 4 voices…)
Mic Pre “Shoot Out” at Mikerophonics: The Usual Mikerophonics Vocal Chain
I usually use a Focusrite ISA One and an AKG 414 straight into the Avid Omni at line level.
I use the ISA One as it is clean, has variable impedance (which I use as an EQ tilt), low noise floor and has a variable non step 20dB trim - which I ride a lot! I have always liked the sound of this little box and rate it highly. It also has a nice variable impedance DI for when my archtop takes my fancy, but that is another story.
I use an AKG 414 as it has switchable patterns (I often switch to omni to avoid cardioid bass tip, if needed, or to get a smoother freq response). It is low noise and is less spiky than some large condensor mics - especially with “the ladies”.
I tend to record with mild eq and compression - as I know what I am trying to achieve and the more I can get right the way in - the less I have to do later. 25 years of experience tells me not to go too far!
My plug-in chain is typically the following (as DSP plugs on my HDX 11.1.3)
- Avid TIME ADJUSTER (digital gain if needed)
- Sonnox SUPRESSOR (the new HDX version) - to de-ess
- Sonnox EQ
- Sonnox DYNAMICS
- Sonnox INFLATOR (if needed)
Mic Pre “Shoot Out” at Mikerophonics: The Test
For the test we recorded my client Jonathan (thank you!) reading Rich Tozzoli’s book “Pro Tools Surround Sound Mixing” (what else?) into the AKG 414.
We recorded using the following mics pres:
In the ‘good old days’ of recording we used to have a room for everything, live room, vocal booth, control room, gear closet and machine room were usually the basics of any recording studio. Then things got smaller and cheaper - including the record company and TV company budgets, so today many of us find ourselves in a single room to do all we used to do in many rooms.
We spend a lot of time talking about the noise in the DAW, the converters, interfaces, pre-amps, mics, cables and yet there’s another world of noise in the modern studio that we need to pay close attention too.
I’ve become somewhat OCD about noise from gear, what’s the point in having the best of the aforementioned if the ambient noise in the room is a lot higher than you think? RX is good, but I’d rather not use it.
Here are 5 things creating noise in a modern recording studio and what you can do about it.
1. Your Computer
There are a number of things in a computer that can make a noise, of course they are normally moving parts. Three places that are likely are the case fan, CPU fan and power supply fan. If the fans are temperature controlled then the harder your work the computer the louder the fans can get. Laptops in particular can suffer from this issue and if they are sat in front of you then there is no getting away from the possible noise created. It’s important to make sure that the air flow is maintained all the time by regular cleaning of all air intakes and fans. It’s fairly easy to pop the lid on modern computers so you can get inside to inspect all the air flow points and the fans. Always remember to turn off your computer and unplug it from the power source before you attempt to clean fans and air vents. There are companies like Coolermaster who specialize in helping to make computers quieter, this is mostly achieved by keeping them cool so that the fans don’t run as often or as fast as they could do.
The good news is that more and more computers are offering whisper quiet operation, we recently mentioned the Mac Mini as one of them. We also have one of the new Mac Pro ‘trash cans’ at PTE HQ and it’s so quiet you could record inches away from the unit and not have an issue. It’s hardly unlikely that you would, but it is nice to know you can.
So the first place to consider when trying to reduce noise in your studio is the computer you buy.
Universal Audio have a sale on and there’s a chance to get up to 40% discount on some of the world’s most loved plug-ins.
Now through August 31st, you can build custom plug-in bundles and save up to 40%. As longtime UAD users know, this is one of the best “no restrictions” sales of the year.*
- Purchase any 2 plug-ins & Save 20%
- Purchase any 3 plug-ins & Save 30%
- Purchase 4 or more plug-ins & Save 40%
* This promotional discount is not valid on pre-existing UAD Plug-In bundles.
We held a non scientific straw poll on Facebook of what audio interface brand Pro Tools Expert community members use. After 355 responses this is what you have told us.
Avid is at the top with 98 but what was surprising is that it isn’t by much. Focusrite come a very strong second with 81.
Then we drop a long way to Universal Audio with their Apollo interfaces taking 3rd place.
What perhaps affects the results is that many people may own Avid interfaces as part of bundles or because they use HD/HDX systems. Focusrite have been aggressive with their pricing to features offering and this seems to have paid off for them.
What do you think of the results?
3 more great plug-ins at great prices from our friends at Waves, but hurry these will finish on Sunday.
- Waves Dave Aude EMP Toolbox $149 - normally $349
- Waves LoAir Native plug-in $29 till Sunday - normally $75
- Waves JJP Vocals Bundle $49 till Sunday - normally $150
Waves August Deals
Waves have also changed the special offers for all of August and there are a several worthy of highlighting….
- Waves 360 Surround Tools Bundle $599 - normally $1200 If you work in surround this is a must have plug-in bundle and Mike has just taken advantage of this deal.
- Waves Diamond Native Bundle $999 - normally $2500 This is a great plug-in bundle and at this price is a steal.
- Waves Muscians 1 Native Bundle $69 - normally $150 If you haven’t got any Waves plug-ins this is a great starter pack at a great price.
Grab them while you can. Also check out the Specials page too for more great deals.