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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sony To Release Sound Forge On Mac Platform

For years thousands of PC users have raved about Sound Forge in terms of its sound and ease of use. In pro circles, Digidesign's Pro Tools has reined supreme on the Mac, but since its purchase by media giant Avid, the outlook for the DAW is beginning to seem a bit shaky, as Avid's stock price plummets and long time employees bail.

Perhaps seeing an opening in the market, Sony has finally decided to port Sound Forge Pro to the Mac platform. Rewritten and rethought, it looks slick, and although I don't think that it will initially get hard-core pro users to switch, just being a viable alternative in waiting to Pro Tools if something dire should happen should be a comfort to many users, and an opportunity waiting to happen for Sony.

Here's a short introductory video about Sound Forge Mac. What do you think?



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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, August 22, 2012

5 Live Show Mistakes Bands Make

Band playing image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
I recently came across a post on CD Baby's DIY Musician blog about the Top 5 Mistakes Musician's Make With Their Live Show that I thought was great. The post was by Tom Jackson, who specializes as a live show producer, which is something that we need a lot more of. I've written a lot on this subject in How To Make Your Band Sound Great, but Tom has some tips that I'd never thought of.

Here are the 5 mistakes that many bands make:

1. “Winging it” is mistaken for spontaneity.  I constantly run across the attitude of “Dude, I’ve got to be spontaneous – I can’t rehearse my show!” Sometimes my reply is “Awesome – but if you really want to be spontaneous, make up the song right in front of the audience… that’d be real awesome!”
Instead of learning the right way to be spontaneous onstage, they mistake “winging it” for spontaneity! They jump around onstage and try different things, hoping something will work. And here’s the irony – when they do something verbally, visually, or musically in front of the crowd one night that gets a great response, they do that same thing the next night, too.
So where did the spontaneity go? They do the same thing they did the first night because it worked! That’s because spontaneity and winging it are 2 different things. In fact, if we rehearse right, we will leave room for spontaneity in our show.
2. Practice is mistaken for rehearsal. But most artists don’t realize there is more to getting a live show ready than just “practicing” the music. Rehearsal involves the musical, the visual, the verbal, the rearranging of songs that were written for radio so they work live, and more.
3. Song arrangements intended for radio are mistakenly used for live shows. We know the rules for getting played on radio: 3-4 minutes long, a certain form, short intro, etc. But a live show and radio are 2 different things! Your audience’s expectations are different at a club or concert hall than they are when they turn on a radio. If you play your songs just as they were recorded for radio, you’re making a big mistake. Those songs need to be rearranged to create a compelling live show.
4. Artists assume the audience wants them to sing songs or play music. Audiences go to a live concert for 3 reasons: to be captured & engaged, to experience moments, and to have their lives changed in some way. As musicians, we make the mistake of thinking (partly because it’s us, our adrenaline is flowing, and we’re playing our own music) that we are awesome onstage and there are “moments” all through our songs. And there are – for us. But we need to create moments for our audience!
5. Artists’ songs all look the same, even though they don’t sound the same. As an artist you know your songs are all different. They have different themes, melodies, rhythms, and tones. They don’t sound the same. But (for 95% of artists out there) they look the same. You need to be as creative with your show as you are with your music. Communication with your audience is 15% content, 30% tone or emotion, and 55% is what they see. So it can be a real problem if your songs all look the same, because to an audience that doesn’t know who you are, your songs will start sounding the same. Most artists typically do the same thing onstage over and over for every song: the same movement from the same place… big mistake!
This last point I think is especially important. When you go to a concert to see a world class act, the show has a dynamic flow, not only song-wise, but visually as well. That's something completely missing with most club bands, but that's perhaps the most important part of a live show.

This is an excerpt from the original article, so be sure to check out the whole thing.

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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, August 21, 2012

Ken Scott On Drum Recording

I had an opportunity to work with legendary producer/engineer Ken Scott recently on the latest SNEW record (What's It To Ya) and it was truly a treat. He got the best sounds almost effortlessly, thanks to great fundamental technique (something we forget the importance of sometimes). Here's a video of Ken miking up former Dixie Dregs drummer Rod Morgenstein at Abbey Road Studios while he was recording his EpiK Drums loop and sample library.

You can find out more about Ken's various recording and production techniques in his memoir Abbey Road To Ziggy Stardust, a book I was fortunate and pleased to be a part of.



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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, August 20, 2012

Arrangement Troubleshooting Checklist

Band Rehearsal image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
Anyone who's ever played in a band has run into the situation where the band begins to play and instead of sounding tight and exciting, it sounds like a train wreck. Sometimes it's easy to figure out what went wrong, and sometimes no one can quite put their finger on it. Here's a checklist I made up from some points from both How To Make Your Band Sound Great and The Music Producer's Handbook, that will take you through the steps needed to troubleshoot an arrangement either live or in the studio.

1. Do all the players in the band know their parts inside out? Is there a part that someone is unsure of?

2. Are all the players performing their parts the same way every time (assuming that you’re not recording some forms of jazz and blues where you want a different performance)? Any variation can lead to a section not gelling or not being tight.

3. Is the band playing dynamically? Does the music breath volume-wise? Does the verse have less intensity than a chorus or bridge?

4. Does the band lose its drive when playing with less intensity? Does it forget about attacks and releases when they play quieter?

5. Is everyone playing the song and section starts and stops the same? If not, ask every player, “How are you playing it?”

6. Does the band sound tight? Are the attacks and releases of phrases being played the same way by everyone? Are the builds, turnarounds and accents being played the same way by everyone? If not, ask every player, “How are you playing it?

7. Is the band in tune? If not, make sure everyone uses the same tuner and tunes the same way.

8. Does the song have a groove? Is the rhythm section playing in the pocket? Is the drummer or bass player slightly wavering in tempo?

9. Is the tempo right for the song? Try it a bpm or two faster or slower and see if it feels better.

10. Are all vocals in the best range for the singers? Does the singer have trouble hitting all the notes? Does the singer sound comfortable singing and is the vocal sound right for the song?

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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, August 19, 2012

New Musical Instrument Monday: The Ractable

Welcome to New Musical Instrument Monday. It's a new feature that I've decided to institute where every Monday we'll take a look at a new musical instrument. Today we'll look at the Ractable, an interactive light table that responds to location and orientation of specially designed objects that represent sounds sources. You can specify how they're connected to one another and modify their operation just by your hand actions. Supposedly Bjork, no stranger to experimental music, has one. Find out more at Reactable.com.




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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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