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Posts Tagged ‘recording’

Yeah, I know… but…

May 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Happy May Day! I’m trying to post more, so I thought this warranted a few words…

I’m not a fan of contradicting myself, especially publicly, and in writing, but I’m breaking my own self imposed moratorium on plugin purchases. Yes, I continue to live and exercise my “keep it simple” mantra, but hell, a sale is a sale.

Slate Digital dropped the price of their Virtual Buss Compressor to an obscenely low level – one that even I, Mr. “I don’t need any new plugins-high-horse-guy”, couldn’t avoid. After about a minute of justification, I hit the “Buy Now” button. After all, I got that mixing gig I posted about recently, so I have a legitimate reason.

That’s what I keep telling myself anyway…

Wow, is this plug-in stunning? (that was rhetorical). For the last few years, my buss compression mainstay has been Cytomic’s The Glue, but this thing is in a different league. Don’t get me wrong, The Glue is awesome for it’s price and capabilities (and it will continue to be, for those reasons), but the Slate stuff just has THAT sound. It’s a premium plug.

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I put it on the “audition mix” I just did, and yeah… Smile inducing, smooth, tight and round, yet simultaniously open are all words I’d use. Even though my buyers remorse is running wild, this was a good decision, and it’s never a bad decision if it’s used for paid work. At $99 bucks, this will pay for itself many times over.

Ok. I’m done. No more plug-ins. That’s it. I can do this…

until the next sale…

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Thanks PreSonus…

November 5, 2011 2 comments

I’ve been DAW hopping for most of the year, and have written extensively about it. I’ve grown tired of Logic and it’s extremely slow development. It’s competition (Reaper, Cubase, etc) have all surpassed it with new features and workflow improvements. Add the colossal f–k up of the Final Cut X release, and my faith in Apple has been shaken. Logic users are now holding our collective breaths to see if Apple will butcher it in the same manner.

While waiting for Logic X to arrive, I began testing the waters of the competition, and I spent 6 solid months with Reaper during the Alpha and Beta test cycles. The truth? I like(d) it a lot. Reaper is a powerful program, but I find that, at times, it can get in the way of creativity, mostly because of it’s power and sheer number of choices. An oft written refrain on the Reaper forum is “I just want to make music and not code a program”.

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That brings me to Studio One. I was excited by it when it was released over a year ago. However, it was too limited at the time (no AU plug in support was huge for me), so I passed and took a “wait and see” position.

Thankfully, PreSonus dropped a bomb 2 weeks ago with version 2 of Studio One. The biggest selling point for me was the Melodyne integration. Melodyne is THE ultimate in pitch correction software. It will correct damn near anything without the dreaded T-Pain effect (unless, of course, that’s what you’re after).

I’ve been a Melodyne user for years, but I often reach for Auto Tune because, frankly, I’m lazy. Melodyne requires some work, and a small dose of music theory. In short, you can do more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing. The bigger Melodyne issue for me is with the plug-in itself. It runs “in tandem” with your DAW, making file management tricky. It’s easy to lose the pointers to your corrected files if you work with multiple drives.

To solve this issue, Celemony created the ARA protocol for Melodyne and partnered up with PreSonus. ARA provides internal two way communication between the plug in and the host. The bottom line is it’s now easier to use. If you’re not interested in S1, but want the Melodyne integration, fear not. The ARA protocol will appear in other hosts early next year. PreSonus is getting the head start.

As you can tell, I’m a bit excited about S1, and I’ve been test driving it a great deal. Yesterday, I decided to use it for voice over recording and audio sweetening on a commercial spot I shot recently. Let me say that the workflow for video post is well… awesome is the word I’d use… It’s much faster than Tools, Logic and Reaper.

In the screen shots above, I dropped a reference cut into S1. Imported the audio. Opened the Video window. Set a level on the FirePod and within seconds was recoding my VO. After some EQ and compression, I had it pushed back into Final Cut. I did the final mix in FCP, but next time I’ll mix the entire spot (music, VO, and sound effects) in S1 and print the final mix there.

It’s never been so easy… I haven’t even touched on the music aspects yet. I’m sold, and Apple had better bring the pain with Logic X, or I’m staying with S1.  I’ve already transferred some Logic songs to S1 to mix, and I like what I’m hearing.

As always, your mileage may vary…

Shakin’ Stuff…

November 4, 2011 2 comments

After months of concentrating on video production, as well as trying pick a new DAW, I’m happy to say that I’m making music again.

The song “Vampires” was born out of usual frustration with the people and things that suck the life out of others on a regular basis, and NOT the crappy movie types with bad skin and tons of hair gel that women in their 40’s fantasize about.

But I digress, and that’s another rant filled blog entry all it’s own…

I realized that my approach to writing and production hasn’t changed much in awhile. With the exception of guitars, I normally do everything “in the box” (drum programming, bass lines, keys, etc) and that gets old. Just because one has 2000 drum samples, doesn’t mean you have to use ’em all the time. And with that, the urge to stretch out and experiment with different mics and recording techniques took hold, and I figured the best place to start was with percussion.

There’s nothing like adding a little live percussion to a sterile programmed track, but the only percussion instrument I have is my Prince tambourine (and I’m not pulling that trophy off the wall), so I had to dig through my kitchen cabinet.

It’s amazing what you can do with a container of Sea Salt…

I’m now a believer. Playing it live (whatever it is) beats the hell out of programming it any day of the week. So grab something, put a microphone in front of it and shake it, strike it, or beat on it. Trust me…

BTW – Although Reaper is featured in the video, my DAW of the moment is Studio One by PreSonus – at least until Logic X comes out. 🙂 In all seriousness, Studio One is worth taking a look at. One of my heroes, Teddy Riley, gave it an extremely enthusiastic endorsement, and is largely why I picked it up. Teddy produced and mixed Michael Jackson’s posthumous album with it, and he likes it better than Pro Tools. That’s all I needed to hear. I’ll post my thoughts on S1 soon.

Now I have to get back to the business of slaying vampires…

Good. Now Make It All Work…

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m really trying here with this blog thing. Can you tell? Good…

Went into IPR today with Tom to discuss the class with another staff member. We’re responsible for the lecture portion of the AV200 class, but the students get the lab from another instructor. This method presents it’s own unique set of challenges to navigate, but so far, we haven’t crashed the bus.

We did, however, need to peek over each others shoulders and share info. During the meeting, we had a chance to look in on a student lab. IPR has, what I like to call, the Audio 101 room, and it’s here that students get a crash course in signal flow. The room is a bare-bones setup with older gear (mixer, outboard gear, etc) that is completely unwired.

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Students are tasked to “hook it all up and make it work”. We came in just as a student was unplugging it all, so I didn’t get any pics of that, but it was still cool to see.

Audio 101 rocks. I wish I had a class like that back in the day. For most of the Instructors, it was OJT – all on the fly…

On The Job Stories #2

April 4, 2011 1 comment

Every now and then, while walking the halls at work, I stumble upon something cool. We produce a lot of original programming here, and given that, we work with a number of local artist (musicians, authors, painters, performers, etc).

Today I came upon the audio setup for “Minnesota Originals” (MNO – for short). The music segments for the show are usually done in bulk – recording and taping 8 (or so) bands over several days. The performances are then edited with accompanying interviews and spread out over the course of a season.

Of course the audio setup caught my eye, and after a brief run through by Joe, I was allowed to take a few pics.


It’s a round-about way to record bands, but the setup offers a high degree of options for post. Eight discreet channels are recorded directly into Final Cut, so the editor has options for a rough mix while cutting. In addition, the audio is mult’ed to a separate system (through a MOTU/DigiMAX combo). Those tracks then get mixed by Joe in Pro Tools after receiving picture-lock from the editor, and that mix is re-synced in FCP for the final line cut.

It’s a round-about way to go, but it ensures that show will sound great for air.

I get to “look over their shoulders” for the next show taping. Now that is cool…

Don’t Fear the REAPER…

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I need another DAW like I need another hole in my head, but I’ve been playing with REAPER, and I have to say that I like it. It drives great with audio, but the MIDI is so-so. The biggest gripe I have is that there are too many choices. That’s why I find a program like Garageband wonderful – it’s straight and to the point.

Anyway – I test drove it for the last 48 hours, and here’s what I came up with…

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Categories: Music Tags: , , ,

The Progressive End…

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

A draft version of Mystical stylings… I’m still playing with it, and this is the 3rd version, but it’s the one I like listening to the most…

“The Progressive End” – by Misty Erickson
©2009 Misty Erickson/©2010 NC-13 Music (ASCAP)
Words: Misty / Everything Else: Terry
Produced by Terry Gray
Recorded & Mixed @ Area 303, Maplewood MN