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Entries in tricks (108)

5 Ways To Get A Great Job In Music Production And Keep It 

A few days ago I wrote an article on how to make a great living in the creative sector. A lot of you found that article helpful, but for some it was more about running a business than getting hired.

Some of you just want to get a great job, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some are wired to run a business, some are not, in fact great businesses are made up of great employees, so why not become one of them? If you’re a parent with a kid at college, then this article may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Here are the top five things I tell my kids on how to get a great job, stay hired and get promoted.

Click to read more ...

Groove 3 Offer Deal A Day Offers Until End Of The Month

Groove 3 are going to be offering a deal a day until the end of the month, that’s one product at a silly price for one day only. In their words…

We’re also happy to announce that in 2013, we’re going to be bringing you “No Brainer” promotions each and every month that will be sure to please. To start it off right, for the rest of January we’re going to have a “Deal a Day” with a select product added each day with a brain numbingly low price. See below for today’s deal and look forward to a new deal each day for the remainder of January! These deals will stack up each day, but don’t wait too long because they will be gone Jan.31st! The first deal is listed below in this newsletter, or click here and watch this page for updates each day.

5 Cheap Ways To Deal With Noise In Your Home Studio

Whilst we have top studios and producers within our community who have the benefit of amazing recording spaces, we also have many who work in their bedroom, office, cellar, in spaces they may double-up for other uses and so being able to create isolation is hard. Often people think that it’s all about buying the right mics, but it’s also about creating the right space to record in, you can have a $5000 microphone for vocals, but if there’s a fan in the same room, then you’ve wasted your money.

Here are our top 5 ways to try and create a much quieter space to record in. 

  1. Get your computer out of your recording space
    If you use a desktop, like a Mac Pro or a tower PC, then get it out of the room, the fans on most produce more noise than you would think. With the advent of bluetooth and USB extender, then if you can move your computer to another room or inside a cupboard, then do it. You can get powered USB extension cables on Ebay for around $10. Instead of buying a lot of them, simply use one and then attach a powered USB hub on the end in the studio. Then all your USB devices can go back to your computer down this one cable. A DVI extender will cost you around $20. If you want to know how much noise your computer is making, then wait for a quiet moment and then turn it off.
  2. Turn off external drives when you don’t need them
    Just as with computers, some external drives produce a lot of fan noise. These can often be whines, or hisses, which all can end up down you microphone - when you are not using them, then turn them off. If you can’t turn them off then put them in a cupboard, just shutting the door makes a huge difference, but make sure there is some air in their to keep them cool.
  3. If you can’t move them then improve them
    There are some very good kits - particularly for PC owners that can help reduce the noise from your PC. 3M make items like foam shields for within the case, or better fans that create less noise. You can also make a huge difference simply by sitting external hard drives on foam to reduce their rattle, or induced fan noise through other surfaces. WARNING - Do not turn off or try and stop your fans, after throwing your PC out of a window, then that’s the second fastest way to kill you machine. There’s an excellent article from Tech Radar here
  4. Create temporary isolation 
    Find ways to isolate when recording, some people use duvets hanging from the ceiling, or blankets. However, be careful, don’t use hard objects to create isoloation as these will give you odd reflections and make your recordings sound boxey.
  5. Make good position choices
    If you have the space then try and get as far away from noise sources as possible and make sure that any mics are pointing away from devices that are making the noise. A quick way to test this is to set up your mic and then put on some good headphones and move the mic around the room listening for the ambient noise. Again, be careful not to end up with vocals in the corner of a room facing a wall, or amps that sound like you’ve recorded them in a box (becuase you have). Of course if you can’t get the computer out of the room, then you may be able to move to another space using a long mic and extention cable. If you need to control your Pro Tools rig from another room, then check out something like the Neyrinck V-Control Pro

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Take some time to consider the things that are making noise in your studio and with a couple of hours work and less than $100 in total, you can have a much quieter recording space.

How To Create A Comped Pop Vocal - Master Class

In this video Russ shows some of the tricks used by producers to create the sound heard on a lot of pop and R&B vocals commonly found in the charts.

He shows how it takes several things to make one comped vocal including several autotune effects. 

Pro Tools Expert Podcast 46

Russ, Mike, and Neil are here with another Pro Tools Expert podcast, the first of 2013. This week is another bumper question & answer edition… 

  • Pro Tools  11 Wish List
  • Tip recommendation from Mike Phirman
  • Update on iLok problems with Windows 7 & 8 and solution
  • What to replace old Mbox Pro with
  • Waves Element VI
  • Feedback on the questionnaire
  • Advice on a deep and muggy vocal.
  • NAMM  2013 thoughts
  • Advice on HD Native Thunderbolt and HD Omni
  • Reason 6.5 on Windows 7 laptop with PT M-Powered Video to help
  • Structure in Post
  • PT MP 9 & Windows 8, will it work?
  • Problems with Oxygen 61 keyboard
  • Interface options for Pro Tools SE

Listen on iTunes

Snare Drum Processing Trick

In this tutorial James shows you a way to edit and process a snare drum track to get the very best from two different playing styles without the use of mix or plugin automation.

5 Ways To A Better Strings That Cost Nothing

Strings have become an integral part of a lot of mainstream music these days, but the difference between a meaningless mush and a soaring arrangement is vast. Top string arrangers are worth their weight in gold, but for many of us the cost is prohibitive. Here are 5 ways to better strings that cost you nothing.


  1. Stay away from chords
    The most basic way to add strings to a track is just to double up the piano chords with a string pad. Whilst there is nothing musically wrong with this, it has two issues. The first one is that when you come to mix, the strings are sitting in quite a lot of the frequency spectrum and make the sound mushy and lack definition. Secondly, they can be quite boring and not really add a lot to the arrangement.

  2. Create single lines with different sounds
    Try using single line motifs, such as long top notes that last for several bars using a sweet soft string sound, then add a middle note motif using a slightly harder arco sound. Be careful as you descend down the octaves as this where it can get mushy - you might find a set of cellos works.

  3. Use volume automation
    Listen to any real string arrangement and you will hear a vast change in volume as they play, dynamics are even written into scores. Take time to work with volume and dynamic automation throughout the track and you will hear the difference.

  4. Use speed variation
    Again, real strings have speed changes as they play, so take time to put speed changes into an arrangement. It might sound a little odd in our time correction obsessed world to think that making parts more fluid is an improvement, but pushing and pulling the parts against the beat can bring real interest to your parts.

  5. Take time to chose the sounds carefully
    Once you have a string arrangement you like, then take time to audition different sounds with the parts and see how they work. There are some great sounds in Xpand and also some great FREE Structure patches in our FREE sounds library.


It’s easy to be tempted to buy expensive specialist string libraries that include thousands of articulations, however if you don’t know the basics then you may be wasting your money. A little time and care can transform your string parts. Any community tips would be welcome.

How To Clean A Vocal Up That Is Being Monitored Through Speakers

Click to playSome vocalists hate using headphones when tracking vocals, instead preferring to monitor through speakers.

The problem is that this gives excessive bleed of the rest of the instruments though the vocal track - this video shows you a trick that helps to remove a lot of that bleed.

How To Replace Drums In Pro Tools Without Fancy Software

There are times you need to either replace or augment drums in Pro Tools but you don’t have drum replacement or audio to MIDI conversion software.
In this video Russ shows how to replace drums the old school way, with often better results.

Create Vintage Drums Using Vacuum

Russ shows how to use Vacuum to create the sound of the early drum machines from the 1980s.

Songwriting Series Now As A Download

We have had some requests from users wishing to download the entire songwriting series to watch where they like as often as they like.

So we've dropped them into a folder and zipped it up as a 1.7gb series of Quicktime movies, over 2 hours all for £10.00

You can buy it here

M-Audio Offer FREE Handy Guide 

The gang over at M-Audio have created a handy guide to help guide you through the world of cables and connectors.

'Overdub - Vol 2 All About Audio Interfaces' is a very cool and well written FREE PDF that should be a welcome addition to both newcomers and old hacks to the world of recording.

Grab you copy here

Songwriting 9 - Making the Edits

In this series Russ lays himself bare and shows how a song is put together from scratch, including mistakes, how to fix them and how to take a song all the way to mix.

In this session - making the Edits

When Things Go Wrong

In a recent interview with Sound On Sound magazine, legendary UK producer 'Martin Rushent' tells the story of a serendipitous moment during the recording of the Human League's number one hit 'Don't You Want Me'.

Martin tells how he was programming a synth line on a Roland 800. During playback the sequencer messed up and played the line half a beat late with the track.

Both Rushent and his assistant Callis loved it. The 'mistake' made it into the final track.

So why not try different quantize values or random sounds when recording, you never know what you might discover!

Songwriting 8 - Tracking the Vocals

In this series Russ lays himself bare and shows how a song is put together from scratch, including mistakes, how to fix them and how to take a song all the way to mix.

In this session - tracking the vocals

Cool Dance Vocal Cutting Effects

A very cool video showing how top dance producers get those cool vocal effects heard on many dance and R&B tracks.

Watch it here

Playback Engine Set-U


Another requested video, some users struggle to get Pro Tools working without constant buffer errors. In this video are tips and tricks for optimising Pro Tools.

 

Get A FREE 164 Page Pro Tools Book

AIR Blog friend and fan Chris Bryant is currently giving away a 164 page PDF book for anyone who signs up on his blog. It's a nice bit of work and handy for any Pro Tools user. Often these books can be poor quality, but not this one. Head over to his site and sign up

Producing With Pro Tools Join The Party

Author, regular blogger, and tutor at Berklee Music (we are not worthy) Dave Franz has become a friend of the blog. Not everyone gets a link on the blog, only those we think add value to the community. Head over to David's blog and check out his cool tips, right now he is doing some cool stuff on optimizing your Pro Tools performance - head over and bookmark this site!

How To Get Mac Audio Working on 002/003

Lots of Pro Tools users are driven mad trying to get core audio working with a Digi 002 or 003.

Russ shows a very neat trick which means you can have both a Pro Tools session and your Mac audio working at the same time.