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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Making Of Gotye's "Making Mirrors"

There was a big response from the song analysis of Gotye "Somebody That I Used To Know" last week, so I thought this might be a good followup. It's the "making" of his album Making Mirrors. This guy is a real talent, as you'll see.



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Inside Bernie Grundman Mastering

Bernie Grundman is one of the legends of mastering and he was kind enough to participate in an interview for The Audio Mastering Handbook. Here's an inside look at Grundman Mastering conducted by his son, Paul. Before you watch, be assured that their gear is not used for terrorist activities (you'll understand when you watch the movie).



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The 6 Rules For Adding Effects To A Mix

Room Reflections from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Having trouble figuring how to use your effects during mixing? Here are a set of rules that can help you choose the best effects for each track more efficiently, courtesy of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook.

Rule 1 - As A General Rule Of Thumb, Try To Picture The Performer In An Acoustic Space And Then Realistically Recreate That Space Around Them.
This method usually saves some time over simply experimenting with different effects presets until something excites you (although that method can work too). Also, the created acoustic space needn’t be a natural one. In fact, as long as it fits the music, the more creative the better.  

Rule 2 - Smaller Reverbs Or Short Delays Make Things Sound Bigger.
Reverbs with decays under a second (and usually much shorter than that) and delays under 100 milliseconds (again usually a lot shorter than that) tend to make the track sound bigger rather than push it back in the mix, especially if the reverb or delay is stereo.

Rule 3 - Long Delays, Reverb Predelays, Or Reverb Decay Push A Sound Farther Away If The Level Of The Effect Is Loud Enough.
As stated before, delays and predelays (see below) longer than 100 ms (although 250 is where it really kicks in) are distinctly heard and begin to push the sound away from the listener. The trick between something sounding big or just distant is the level of the effect. When the decay or delay is short and the level loud, the track sounds big. When the decay or delay is long and loud, the track just sounds far away. 

Rule 4 -  If Delays Are Timed To The Tempo Of The Track, They Add Depth Without Being Noticeable.
Most engineers set the delay time to the tempo of the track (see below on how to do this). This makes the delay pulse with the music and adds a reverb type of environment to the sound. It also makes the delay seem to disappear as a discrete repeat but still adds a smoothing quality to the element.

If you want to easily find the right delay time to the track and you have an iPhone, grab my "Delay Genie" app from the iTunes App Store. It's free and will making timing your effects to the track incredibly easy.

Rule 5 - If Delays Are Not Timed To The Tempo Of The Track, They Stick Out.
Sometimes you want to distinctly hear a delay and the best way to do that is to make sure that the delay is NOT exactly timed to the track. Start by first putting the delay in time with the track, then slowly alter the timing until the desired effect is achieved.

Rule 6 - Reverbs Sound Smoother When Timed To The Tempo Of The Track.
Reverbs are timed to the track by triggering them off of a snare hit and adjusting the decay parameter so that the decay just dies by the next snare hit. The idea is to make the decay “breathe” with the track. The best way to achieve this is to make everything as big as possible at the shortest setting first, then gradually get longer until it’s in time with the track.

Of course, the biggest part of adding effects to a mix is experience, but following these rules will provide a perfect place to start.
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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Making Of "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Here's a great video where Queen guitarist Brian May takes us through the making of the bands seminal "Bohemian Rhapsody." It's really interesting to hear it all built up, especially the basic track with only Freddie Mercury's piano, John Deacon's bass and Roger Taylor's drums, which wasn't to a click but sounds incredibly in time. They're completely locked in together.

One of the interesting bits that came from this video is the way engineer/producer Roy Thomas Baker recorded the bass, using 3 tracks; direct from the bass, direct from the amp, and the miked amp, then playing with the phase switches on the desk to get the right sound.

One of the things that I talk about in The Music Producer's Handbook and The Ultimate Guitar Tone Handbook is about layering different guitar sounds using different guitars, pickup settings and amplifiers. Brian explains how he does just that in the song.

Then listen to how they stacked the vocals, with Freddie, Brian and Roger singing each line then tripling it. Finally, listen to the overdubbed percussion that everyone seems to miss when listening to the song, then how they miked the drum kit.




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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" Backing Track

Here's a great piece of pop and audio history. It's take #38 of the backing track of the Righteous Brother's hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." It's the most played song of the 20th century, according to BMI, and had a lot of interesting quarks. The label (which you'll see in the video) set the length at 3:05, but it was really 3:45 (which was way too long to get radio airplay back in 1964) in an effort to fool the disc jockeys. Producer and cowriter Phil Spector also added a couple of false endings for the same reason.

The audio on this video shows the brilliance of Spector and his "wall of sound," which you don't hear on the final recording because the song is muddied up by tape transfers and extra reverb. This is a very clean version that allows you to really hear all the instruments. Here are a couple of things to listen for:

1) Take notice that there's a tuning note that the piano plays just before the song begins. Remember that it starts with the vocal (which would be overdubbed later), and singer Bill Medley needed a pitch center.

2) There are a lot horns parts that aren't apparent in the final version, like the horn line in the B section, the chorus and later in the bridge.

3) Take notice of the instrumental figure that's being played in the chorus. I never really heard it before listening to this take.

4) In the bridge, listen for the 12 string guitar doubling the piano and bass, then the entrance of the bongos, and the gradual entry of the other instruments building to a crescendo before the first outchorus.



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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