Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jimi Hendrix "All Along The Watchtower" Isolated Guitar Track

Here's a real treat. It's the isolated guitar track from Jimi Hendrix's seminal cover of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" from his Electric Ladyland album. The song was magnificently recorded and mixed by Eddie Kramer, with the basics recorded at Olympic Studios in London and the overdubs and mixing at The Record Plant in New York City. The original recording was done on a 12 track (yes, that was a format for about a half a second), then later transferred to 16 track. There were so many overdubs that many had to mixed together on the same track, as you'll hear. Here are some things to listen for:

1. The delayed reverb on the guitars. This is an Eddie Kramer signature.

2. The fills in the first two vocal verses, many of which you can't hear on the record.

3. The track is in stereo, with the lead slightly on the left and the reverb on the right. The stereo is very apparent during the 2nd  and 3rd solo and again on the outro as it pans hard right to left.

4. The 12 string that plays on the intro later reappears during the last vocal verse.

5. You get to hear the entire ending, instead of the one that fades on the record.


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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, June 12, 2013

FLAC Gets An Update

FLAC logo image
For those of you who enjoy FLAC (which stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec) files, you'll be heartened to know that the lossless file format has undergone it's first update in almost 6 years. The new version is 1.3.0.

There's not all that much new in the updated version, but it's not the features that's the big deal but the fact that it's still being supported at all. FLAC 1.3.0 now supports RF64 and Sony's Wave64 format is now built in, and also the ability to change the replay gain for sampling rates up to 192kHz is now available.

FLAC is one of those formats that seems to be just under the radar of not only the public, but musicians and engineers as well. It's widely supported, and used by many artists as the format of choice for selling their concerts online, but it's not exactly a format in everyday use in the music production world.

That's a shame, since it has lots of uses. It's a great substitute for MP3, since it makes a smaller file that's totally lossless, it supports up to 8 channels, and sampling rates up to 655,350kHz. Although the files aren't as small as MP3s, file size isn't that much of a problem like it once was thanks to DropBox, YouSendIt and other file transfer services. The point is, your client can listen to something closer to what you're hearing with FLAC than with an MP3.

Give FLAC a try, you'll like it. Version 1.3.0 can be downloaded here.
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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, June 11, 2013

4 Vocal Mic Placement Tips

Vocal Mic Distance image
The vocals are always in the spotlight of a song, yet sometimes they receive far less attention during setup than other instruments like the drums. In this excerpt from Audio Recording Basic Training, you'll not only get a few great tips, but an exercise that will lead you through the different ways of vocal miking that will show you their pro's and con's.

"Just like with a great sounding instrument, many times with a good singer you'll get the "sound" automatically just by putting him/her in front of the right microphone. On the other hand, with a bad or inexperienced singer even a high priced microphone or signal processing won’t add the polish you’re looking for. That said, if you start with the correct technique, you’re half-way there.

There are a number of things to remember before you begin to place the mic:
  • The best mic in the house won’t necessarily get the best vocal sounds, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different mics.
  • Decoupling of the stand from the floor will help get rid of many unwanted low-frequency rumbles that occur from truck traffic, machinery being used down the street, footsteps, and things that are even lower in frequency than normal hearing. Just place the stand on a couple of mouse pads or a rug for an inexpensive solution.
  • One of the main things that you’re trying to do with mic placement is eliminate pops, lip smacks, and breath blasts.
  • An easy way to have a vocalist gauge the distance from the mic is by hand lengths. An open hand is approximately eight inches while a fist is about four inches. By saying, “Stay a hand away”, the vocalist can easily judge his distance and usually doesn’t forget (see the figure on the side).
Exercise Pod: Recording The Lead Vocal
E8.1: Recording Lead Vocal
A) Place the mic even with the vocalist’s lips about one hand away (see the figure on the left) and have him or her sing the verse of a song. Did you hear any pops or breath blasts?

B) Move the vocalist back to about two hands away and sing the same part of the song. Turn up the gain so it’s the same as before. Did you hear any pops or breath blasts now?

C) Move the vocalist back to one hand away and readjust the gain. Place the mic even with the vocalist’s nose and have the him sing the verse of a song. Did you hear any pops or breath blasts? Did the sound of the vocal change? Is it more or less defined?

D) Now place the mic even with the vocalist’s eyes and point it down towards the lips (see Figure 8.3). Have him sing the verse of a song. Did you hear any pops or breath blasts? Did the sound of the vocal change? Is it more or less defined?

E) Now place the mic even with the vocalist’s lips about one hand away again. Either change the pickup pattern to omnidirectional or change the mic to one with an omni pattern. Have him sing the verse of a song again. Did you hear any pops or breath blasts? Did the sound of the vocal change? Is it more or less defined?

F) Place the mic so there’s no breath blasts or pops."

You can read additional excerpts from this and other books at bobbyowsinski.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.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Look Inside A Vacuum Tube

While the rest of the world has moved on, guitar players, audiophiles, vintage gear lovers and studio geeks are still passionate about their vacuum tubes. Changing tubes is easy, but few ever get to see or understand what goes on inside one of these mini-marvels.

Here's a great look inside a 6L6 power tube entitled "Journey to the Center of a Tube," courtesy of Tubedepot.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.

Follow Me On Forbes

Forbes logo
I'm pleased to announce that I'm now contributing to Forbes online, analyzing the new music business. The first post is "Trent Reznor Changes The Paradigm Again," which you might enjoy.

This means that there will be some changes over on the Music 3.0 blog from this point on, in that the focus there will now be more on social media and how it effects the music business. The more music industry focused stories will appear on the Forbes blog site.

I invite you to follow me over at Forbes.

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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, June 9, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Softube Console One

Some sort of controller is an important addition to any DAW, but most of them follow the same general design, with a group of faders and some soft knobs and switches used for general adjustments. Softube has taken a different approach with their soon to be released Console One.

Console One comes with not only the controller, but a software package that roughly emulates an SSL 4k. Plus, the controller itself has dedicated controls for EQ and dynamics, but it seems like they're limited to only Softube plugins. The best part is it looks like it's possible to do an entire mix without ever having to look at your DAW.

Console One is compatible with most DAWs, but since it's not released yet it's hard to be sure exactly what that means. If the controls can't be mapped to the everything in the DAW, it might be more valuable to those who will use the entire package, rather than just the controller. Now if it only had a fader!

The price has yet to be determined.


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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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