Entries in audio (28)

Do You Have Golden Ears? Take The Test

There’s a lot of discussion doing the rounds at the moment about the quality of recorded music. It all starts with the source material and how well the people making the music know what to listen for.

Philips have create the cool website where you can take some test to see how well you detect changes in sound on the same piece of material. It isn’t perfect and it won’t get you a degree but it’s an excellent way to give your ears a spin.

Furthermore, if you want to help your friends who listen to MP3s hear how different things can sound then this may be a great way to introduce them to critical listening.

More here

Are You Using iOS For Music Making Or Audio? Poll

A few years ago the iPhone and iPad were inheard of and yet in a matter of years it has become a ubiquitous part of modern life. Part of the attraction is of course the huge selection of Apps available, it wasn’t long before Apps were appearing to make music and to record and edit audio.

Avid have made some small steps into the world of iOS with Sibelius support but nothing for Pro Tools users to date, other brands have tried to do more to give their DAW users an iOS experience when working on the move.

So has iOS been the music and audio dream come true for you, or did you dabble and find yourself disappointed?

Please complete our poll - we’ve broken it into professionals (those making a living from music and audio) and enthusiasts to see if there are any trends that emerge. Of course, as ever please leave comments to give more flesh to the poll.

Audio Repair in Music Production: Removing Sudden Unwanted Sounds Video

RX guru Mike has created another RX video for our friends at iZotope showing how to master this awesome plug-in.

An unwanted noise in the background can ruin what would otherwise be a perfect take. In this video, Mike shows you how to use RX 3’s Spectral Repair module to fix problems like a cough or a sound glitch.

Can You Trust Your Ears?

If there’s one thing those of us working in audio like to think is that we have great ears.

We know when something is right and when something is wrong… or do we.

Watch this cool video from AsapSCIENCE - it will mess with your ears and your mind.

Different Microphones On The Same Source - Hear The Difference

Perhaps you are new to recording and you wonder what all these different microphones are about.

In a recent post we talked about the importance of microphone placement and how simply moving the microphone can make a difference to the sound.

Microphones in this examples include a Dynamic, Small-Diaphragm Condenser Microphones, Hi End Condenser microphone a budget Condenser and a Ribbon microphone.

You’ve been asking for more sound examples, so in this test we simply put 5 different microphones in front of an acoustic guitar and record both picking and strumming. This isn’t a shoot out in the case of ‘which one is best’ it’s more to show how different microphones change the sound. Even more interesting when the playing style changes so does the character of the microphone. So one microphone works better for the strumming and another for the picking.

There is no EQ, compression or effects on any of these recordings, simply the microphone peaking at -10db.

Check them out, there’s no right or wrong, simply differences.

Which do you prefer?

Pro Tools Fundamentals - Importing Audio

Considering one of the principal uses Pro Tools is put to is as a multitrack recorder I’d always encourage a new user to get straight in there and actually record something. However there are many users for whom very little of the audio on their timelines will actually be recorded into that system. While importing audio into Pro Tools is straightforward there are still a few things to be aware of.

Importing Audio - The Import Dialogue

The way I recommend people start importing audio, and the way I still tend to do it, is using the import audio dialogue (File > Import > Audio, CMD+Shift+I/Ctrl+Shift+I). Although this might be seen as slower than some other methods it makes the user aware of some details which might otherwise be missed. There is important information presented in the import audio window which other methods do not draw the user’s attention to in the same way, like the difference between adding a file to your session and copying a file to the session. Pro Tools works with either .BWF files (broadcast wave files - basically a .WAV but with additional metadata) or .AIFF files. The current recommendations are for the use of BWF over AIFF as BWF supports time stamping and AIFF does not. Historically mac users used AIFF and windows users used .WAV but there is no longer any reason to to this. In the Import Audio dialogue the user selects files using the window’s browser, files can be previewed if necessary and the wanted files are added to the clips list. Files can either be added, copied or converted for use in the session by using the add or the copy/convert buttons. The copy button will automatically change to “convert” if the selected file is not a type which can be used natively within Pro Tools. Compressed audio files such as mp3s are not natively compatible and must be converted first before use.

Add, Copy and Convert

Add - The audio file will remain in its original location and the .ptx will reference that file at its original location (i.e. it is not in the project’s audio files folder)Copy - The audio file is left in its original location and a copy is made in the project’s audio files folder and it is this copy which is used by Pro Tools.Convert - The audio file is left in its original location and a copy is made in WAV or AIFF format and this converted copy, which is stored in the project’s audio files folder, is used by Pro Tools.If a file is compatible with Pro Tools you have a choice to add or to copy. Which is best? Well like most choices you are presented with it depends but for the overwhelming majority of new users I would recommend always copying.

Pros And Cons Of Adding Vs Copying

AddPros - Quick, uses less drive space. Can benefit collaborative workflowCons - File management becomes less straightforward. Potential to have missing filesCopy/ConvertPros - allows use of incompatible file types. Backup and moving projects is simpler.Cons - Slower. Uses more drive space.

Why is Add Not Always Available?

In a Pro Tools session you can freely combine files with different bit depths but files with a different sample rate to the session would play back at the wrong pitch if they were imported directly. In this case a copy has to be made with appropriate sample rate conversion applied. In practise compatibility issues are easy to understand as the import window displays helpful information about the properties of the currently selected file and its compatibility with the session in the file properties section of the import audio window.

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Audio, Radio, Acoustics, And Signal Processing - The Way Forward - Video

It seems everywhere you look now on social media there is some post that has the words ‘you must watch this video’ or ‘you’ll never guess what happens next’ - in most cases I don’t watch them on principle.

But when community member and mastering engineer Bob Olhsson posts “This could be the most valuable hour anybody who does audio for a living could spend this year.” I take notice.

In this video JJ will discuss our present understanding of human auditory perception, pointing out how the way we actually work encourages a dichotomy of knowledge that no longer exists. He goes on to suggest some ways that education can bring artistic and technical approaches together, apply some of the technical things we know on the artistic side, and learn what the artistic side of the business needs and wants….” —-from the Audio Engineering Society - Pacific Northwest Section Meeting Recaps page.

It’s not for the faint hearted, but well worth setting real time aside to watch. Thanks Bob!

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

Video Review Of Focusrite RedNet System

In this video James takes a look at the Focusrite RedNet system. 

Is it as easy to set up as it looks? Is it a viable alternative to Avid hardware solutions?

He looks at the Rednet 2, 4, 5 and 6 interfaces and examines the Dante protocol for sending high end audio over ethernet via Cat 5.

He creates a track in Pro Tools to test ease of use and quality of sound.

Watch the Focusrite Rednet review here.

Five Mac OS X Tricks For People Using Macs For Audio

There are so many handy features in OS X, too many for most of us to ever know all of them, and that’s without going into the world of terminal. However, over time we all pick up a greatest hits of useful OS X time savers. These are not Pro Tools tips but some are audio specific, some are not. Here are some of mine;

OS X Audio Trick 1 - Suppress The Plips

When adjusting playback volume of built in audio using F11 and 12, you can suppress the plips by holding shift. While I’ll always be uncomfortable with running any source with a mini jack through a PA system its kind of inescapable these days. At least this can be used to hide the fact from the audience.

OS X Audio Trick 2 - Fine Control Of Volume

In some applications the jumps in volume from the built in output can be a bit coarse, especially if your gain structure isn’t as it should be. While using a variable attenuator to trim the level would be better, if you need finer adjustment from F11 and 12, press option+shift.

OS X Audio Trick 3 - Straight to Sound Prefs

Option+F10, 11 or 12 opens the sound section of System preferences. Any of the volume Exposé keys will do, this also works using Option+F1 or 2 for display settings if that’s somewhere you need to go regularly. If Exposé is disabled in Mission Control (as it should be on a Pro Tools machine) you will need to press Fn to get the F keys to revert to their default Exposé behaviour. Alternatively option click the speaker icon on the menu bar to quickly change audio settings.

OS X Audio Trick 4 - Single Get Info Window

CMD+Option+I to get info for multiple files. While not specifically an audio feature I have found this to be a great timesaver when I want to inspect the properties of multiple files in Finder. Instead of using CMD+I to open a separate Get Info window for each file, CMD+Opt+I opens a single Get Info window, the contents of which update to follow the selected file in Finder.

OS X Audio Trick 5 - No More iTunes

Change file association for audio files from iTunes to Quicktime Player or VLC. Along with all the standard OS X tweaks which a Pro Tools machine ought to have I find this is a must. Although it is inadvisable to use Finder to manage the audio files in a Pro Tools session there are still plenty of times I find myself auditioning audio in Finder. iTunes is invasive and far too slow to open compared to a simple player. Quickview has made this less of a must than it used to be, but this is still useful when working with multiple files.