Warning, simple studio tip alert! As we always say here on Production Expert, the simplest of studio tips are typically the best ones as they can easily be forgotten or under appreciated. In this article, we explore how to share sessions between two Apple studio computers. If you need to access data and media across multiple computers within your property then this trick is well worth investigating and testing for yourselves.
I found myself launching Pro Tools specifically to access the very good search tools available in the Workspace Browser. The thing was, I wasn’t using Pro Tools and it got me thinking that there must me a way to conduct the same search using the MacOS Finder.
Seasoned engineers never leave home without their trusty gig bag, but if you’re new to remote recording, it can be hard to know what’s handy to have on the road. As a result, you either end up taking absolutely everything, just in case, or you end up on the job without a key cable of adaptor. In this article I am going to give you a sneak peek into my personal gig bag and explain why these items are so vital to having a successful gig.
Some people refer to “mixing tricks” but are they really tricks? When is a technique just a technique? Julian looks at some common examples and decides.
macOS Mojave has been with us since September 2018 and more and more people who use their Apple computers with audio applications are either choosing to upgrade to 10.14 or are having to use macOS Mojave because they have bought a new Apple Mac computer after September 2018. In this article we are going to show you how to optimise your macOS Mojave Apple computer for audio applications, dispel some myths that have already grown up, as well as explain things you shouldn’t do.
I’d like to share some advice I offer to clients wanting to book time at my studio in sunny (sometimes sunny) South East London. Some of this stuff may be obvious to experienced artists but, I also work with artists for whom this may be their first time in a recording studio, and so to help them come prepped, I send these 8 points in an email before they come in for their session can often make that session a much easier and less stressful experience for them and for me.
Sometimes the simplest of studio tricks are the ones that help us the most. This super simple studio hack will help you quickly determine the orientation of stereo mics when you have multiple XLR cable runs in tracking scenarios.
There has long been a debate on the topic of self mastering. Many believe it’s impossible for anyone to master their own mixes… yet many do. We’ve listed a number of mastering mistakes you should avoid if you master your own music. I’m not going to argue the for and againsts of mastering your own music but I will say it does come with a number of challenges that you should be aware of if you want your masters to sound amazing.
Can Firewire 400 devices, such as audio interfaces, work over Thunderbolt 3? The short answer is yes, but there is a list of adaptors you need to get your hands on, some of which are specific models to get this connection working. Of course adaptors don’t come cheap but at least there’s a way we can get our old dusty audio interfaces out of storage and back into action if needed.
In a new format we are producing videos offering tips and solutions to common problems in under a minute. James explains the importance of those little knurled washers that should be on most conventional style microphone stands.
Never doubt a different set of monitors again when moving a mix session between two studios. Monitor doubt is a complex many of us experience when we hear our beloved mixes through different systems, remove the doubt and our music and our hard work can be fully appreciated regardless studio gear and rooms. This secret weapon plug-in is more of a no brainer… can you guess what it is?
If your computer fans produce a lot of unwanted whirring noise in your home studio then why not build your very own isolation case? This excellent video shows you exactly how to achieve this with some basic hand tools and off the shelf materials.
I don’t doubt for a second that we don’t all practise proper DAW workflows when we produce and mix our music, such as naming and ordering tracks, but how about when you were younger and less experienced in audio production? Revisit an old session of yours, what workflow horrors lay within that you would dare think about doing in your current mixes?
Have you ever wondered how Queen & Roy Thomas Baker recorded Bohemian Rhapsody? If so, you are in luck. This in depth video, presented by Queen’s guitarist Brian May, gives you an inside look and listen into the full multitrack. Must Watch!
Community member Joerg Witzsch has got in touch about a recent reverb related project he recently worked on, which was somewhat out of the ordinary and wanting to share it with the rest of the community. Over to you Joerg…
I recently recorded a live-performance of our "New York Voices" - like SATB-quartet "The Gershwinites" - just piano and four singers. For the Gershwin-classic "Embraceable You", we have a wonderful arrangement, that needs to be sung in a very "floating, dreamy" kind of way - as for the singing, voices need to blend perfectly, dynamics need not to be extreme and a major focus for us was, how to use our singing techniques to make the sound of our voices support the different parts of the composition.
When it came to mixing the recording, something major was missing for me - that dreamy quality we had in the concert hall. But just adding reverb (or different combinations of reverb plug-ins) did not do the trick. It just created too much of a noticeable room on the forte sung parts and it was missing the dreamyness in the softer parts.
So I remembered, how we approached our desired "live sound" in that very song: one critical part was using different singing techniques to alter the vocals' sounds to "imitate" dynamics, rather than singing a specific passage super-forte - we used ‘sound’ associated with dynamics more than ‘real dynamics’ themselves. Of course, we still had pianissimo and forte passages in the arrangement, but we did not fully expand to those dynamics.
What I ended up doing in my MIX, was the following…
Sending the vocals' stereo mix to an additional subgroup.
Reducing the dynamics of this very subgroup by using…
Waves' Vocal Rider to get an averaged out, but still musical sounding "loudness", followed by…
Two stages of compressors with different settings.
That way, I ended up with a vocal mix, that sounded dynamically pretty flat, uninspired, uninteresting, just flat out "undynamic".
The only thing, this subgroup-mix still had kept, was the different tonality of our voices I have spoken about above.
I then fed this sub-group's mix into a reverb and mixed the output with the main stereo vocal track.
I adjusted the output-level of the reverb to sound good with the pianissimo/mezzopiano-passages of the arrangement.
That trick provided, what had been missing when using "just reverb on the full dynamic main stereo vocal mix"…
When the singing was soft, it created just the needed amount of reverb and room to support that "floating, dreamy" kind of quality I wanted for the song.
In the forte-passages, it did NOT create those super-noticeable, long reverb-tails, that make the reverb stand out so obviously: since the reverb was fed with a majorly dynamic-reduced signal and adjusted to fit the pianissimo/mezzopiano passages, the forte-passages were not producing "more" reverb, but instead, sounded a bit "dryer" (the main stereo vocal mix was more prominent).
I fine-tuned this reverb-effect by adjusting the compressor's settings to reflect, how much reverb I wanted to allow in the louder passages.
So in the end, the reverb was supporting the softer passages of the song, but did not stand out in the louder passages.
This image above shows the various compressors, I have been working with.
Note the EQIII, which for me is important to filter out the "boom" of the performance venue.
Also note DBX 160: the compression settings are taken from two voices, tenor and mezzo, and show, that I had to cope with the dynamics of voices individually (they also "ring" differently in the reverb section, so compression settings at that stage becomes important, imho, before voices are fed to the reverb plugins)
Scheps Parallel Particles initially was just used as an experiment and turned out to be of help to give the voices just the right "sound" going into the reverb subgroup. This affects the "color" of the underlying "compressed" reverb sound.
Vocal Rider was directly used on the reverb subgroups, before the reverb plugins
The PuigChild 670 was sitting on the master-bus of the voices (just a little "glue")
The image above shows the reverb plug-ins I have been using. Initially, this seemed a bit of an overprocessing to me, but I was just experimenting and hit home on the reverb subgroup with this combination.
It is noteworthy, that this combination is not about creating a normal, nice room / reverb on the voices' ‘direct’ signal, but they are targeted to "smooth out" things on the reverb "compressed" subgroup. Each reverb plug-in sits on an individual subgroup, so I can individually control output levels and are not "chained", so they do not feed off each other.
More About Joerg Witzsch
He was born in 1962, is a german radio host for national radio SWR1 and he is very active on stage both as a performer in and director of musicals. For many years, he has also reviewed gear for German HiFi-magazine "stereoplay". His passion for music naturally expanded into some studio-work, recording and mixing.
Mono instrument tracks are easy to deal with but they can sound a little “lifeless” in a mix. Now we all know that there are plug-ins and hardware units that can create a massive stereo image from our mono signal, but this is often at the cost of mono compatibility. I was recently switched on to a technique using Inductor based EQ that can create an interesting stereo image with no fancy plugins or M/S trickery. Let me show you how it works.
As you can imagine we at Production Expert get a chance to test a vast amount of the latest software and hardware but once in a while a brand approaches us that we have no experience of. This was the case with JZ Microphones (pronounced Jay Zed, not Jay Zee). This is how I got on using the JZ Microphones Black Hole BH-1S and the BH2 in a tracking session.
Using drum samples to augment your acoustic drum recordings is nothing new but sometime you just want to add some much need raw power to your mix and this is where the use of whats called one-shot samples can really help by creating a punch and consistency to the track that was perhaps missing from the original.
In this article I’m sharing a couple of inspiring takes on creating your own time based effects. What both of these examples lack in fidelity they make up for in character and uniqueness. See how simple it is to make your own effects.
There is nothing that stirs my musical emotions more than listening to a large group of performers in the same room at the same time. It is quite something to feel the amount of air moved by a symphony orchestra or an 18 piece bing band. But not all of us have access to the spaces, gear and players required to record an ensemble of this size. However, you can “fake” it. In this article I’m going to show you how and let you listen to the results so far.