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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 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.

Catchin' SYNC Show & Tell Review With High Speed Frame Rate Recording

Catchin’ Sync is an iOS app that will work on iPhone or iPads allowing you to capture and determine any sync errors in your playback system. These usually occur when video and audio go throughout separate devices like the Audio passing through a receiver or more commonly the video through and LCD screen or worse still a Projector etc.

Catchin’ Sync has been around for over a year now and has been steadily improving. The latest version - 1.0.7 has really brought Catchin’ Sync into the frame, because it now uses the high frame speed video recording that Apple introduces in the iPhone 5 and 5s. This has to be a ‘must have’ for anyone who works with video with a DAW like Pro Tools, which is why we have awarded it The Editors Choice Award.

You can use a range of iOS devices and there are a range of compensation settings for the older Apple devices on the Catchin’ Sync web site. But with the high frame rate and that there is no need to add an offset the iPhone 5 and especially the 5S are the best devices to use with Catchin’ Sync. People have asked if there will be an Android version of Catchin’ Sync but unfortunately not, we understand they won’t because there are so many hardware variations between Android devices. With Apple there are only a handful of devices to measure the delays from the cameras,  but to provide the same service with Android, they’d have to test every device and calculate the offsets.

Setting Up Source Connect Source Nexus In Pro Tools 

In this free Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows how to set up the Source Connect Source Nexus in Pro Tools so you can route audio from any external device into Pro Tools.

Great Books Every Audio Engineer Should Have On Their Christmas List

 Great Books Every Audio Engineer Should Have On Their Christmas List

If your loved ones are asking you for stocking filler ideas for Christmas then you may have missed this list we compiled from members of the community a couple of years ago. It has some great books on their including some of my favourites. If you have read any of them then please feel free to add you

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How I Got A Broken Wav File That Would Not Open To Work

Updated on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 6:12PM by Registered CommenterMike Thornton

It can happen to the best of us, we have an audio file and it refuses to open, this can often be due to corrupted file information in the header. So when I recently found myself with a WAV file on my Mac that would not open I decided to try a few things, this is how I got the WAV file to open and back into Pro Tools.

First I used the open source software VLC, which for some reason seems to be able to open anything. Instantly I could hear the audio and playing back without any issue. However I was not home and dry as the export options in VLC fox me and I wasn’t really in the frame of mind to try and figure it out. So I decided to take an extreme option.


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Community Tip - A Faster Way To Remove Low Level Noise From Finger Clicks

With the support of iLok, more tips & tricks from the community. Here is one from Denis Kilty….

With Pro Tools 11, we now have the ability to bounce and bring back in in one movement, an audio stem. This bounce feature can be useful in many ways, but one way I discovered this evening is a quick tool for cleaning up the noise floor in ttracks. 

I was recording some finger clicks for a track, and had the gain quite high so that the clicks could be recorded at a good level. However, my room creates a low frequency hum and noise that appears when really gained up (from my mac). My solution to quickly cleaning up the clicks is to put a gate on the clicks, adjust accordingly, and then offlline bounce the audio back in. A very quick process, it makes the strip silence tool (which I find very unreliable) obsolete, and the gate naturally treats the audio with a more musical tone, making it more prefeable. It also saves lots of editing, consolidating and CPU. Enjoy!

If you would like the chance to win a stormtrooper iLok, courtesy of iLok, send in tips you think no one has thought about.  Please don’t just send shortcuts which are easily found elsewhere, or pull ideas from the manual; instead, be creative about your tips & tricks. Please use the Contact Us page to send us have your tips.

PLASA Announce AudioLab Theatre Features Programme

PLASA have announced their AudioLab Theatre features programme for PLASA 2013.

PLASA London 2013 sees the unveiling of a major new programme of pro audio content. The only show in the world to combine large-scale audio demo’s, dedicated Live Sound, Installed Sound and The Sound Business conference and educational streams, and some pretty mad experiments…

Read the entire programme here.

Master Looping Audio & MIDI In Pro Tools

Russ shows that when it comes to looping audio and MIDI in Pro Tools there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Community Tip - Fixing Off-Centre Stereo Files.

With the support of iLok, more tips & tricks from the community. Here is one from myself!

Have you ever encountered when mixing, that one of your stereo files is off balance (i.e. the left level is hotter than the right)? A simple workaround to quickly fix this without using plug ins so the levels are now matching, is to rightclick on the stereo file, split it into mono, select the channel that is either too low or high, and CTRL+ Shift + scroll up or down to adjust the gain level to match. Then, simply drag the two mono files back to the original stereo track and re-combine it to a now even stereo file.

You can now delete the monos, and none of your mixing workflow has been affected.

Remember, panning is a gain adjusting procedure, so all you need to do is match the volumes. 

If you would like the chance to win a stormtrooper iLok, courtesy of iLok, send in tips you think no one has thought about.  Please don’t just send shortcuts which are easily found elsewhere, or pull ideas from the manual; instead, be creative about your tips & tricks. Please use the Contact Us page to send us have your tips.

Pro Tools Producer Secrets - The Timing Trick

In this video. Russ shows another producer trick that can nudge the timing and transform the feel of an entire track.

New UAD 7.1 Software, Apollo Flex Routing, Pultec & Millennia EQ's

Universal Audio have just announced their latest 7.1 software for the UAD DSP and Apollo platforms.

Included in the update are new Apollo Flex Routing features such as headphone bus routing, selectable pre/post Aux sends, and the ability to freely route any console input to hardware outputs. 

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