Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rush "Tom Sawyer" Isolated Guitar

Staying with our guitar themed Fridays, here's Alex Lifeson's isolated guitar from Rush's seminal "Tom Sawyer," one of the most popular cuts from their breakthrough Moving Pictures album. What's interesting is that there's not a lot of production trickery here. It's just one man and his guitar; no doubles or stacking. The guitar solo is different from the rest of the song, but you'd expect that in almost any recording. Here are some things to listen for.

1. The guitar is heavily chorused, but the dry signal is panned to the center while the chorus is spread out left and right.

2. Check out the very long 20 second sustain starting at 1:27.

3. The guitar sound changes in the solo, with the dry signal slightly to the right with a short double panned to the left.

Rush is a band that can pull off their records live because they play it that way in the studio. This example is Lifeson and Rush at their best.


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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, July 17, 2013

The Coolness Of Metronomes In Snyc

Today you'll see more of a science project than a musical one, although it uses metronomes. Did you ever start two metronomes at the same time and try to get them in sync? Pretty hard to do, if not impossible. Watch this video to see how not 2, but 5 metronomes are made to move perfectly in sync.



How is it done? It's actually all in the shelf holding the metronomes, which absorbs their motion and starts to move. As the shelf rocks, it affects the metronomes on top. The metronomes in time with the shelf rocking keep doing so, while the ones out of sync have their motions dampened until they're in sync with the shelf, and aligned with the other metronomes.

Pretty cool, right?
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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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How To Add Clarity To A Mix With Panning

Audio Pan image
Many times mixers take panning for granted, but it can actually be really helpful in helping with the clarity in a mix. Here's an excerpt from the latest edition (the 3rd) of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook that shows how 2 great mixers, Joe Chiccarelli and the late Don Smith, use panning to help a mix's definition.
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"While Panorama usually relates only to placement of a sound source within the stereo soundfield, the are actually other areas where panning can help a mixer.

Some mixers find than after their panning placements have been chosen and all their EQing is complete, sometimes just moving the instrument’s pan slightly can actually provide more clarity to the mix. In fact, if instruments are fighting for frequency space, the first thing to try is different panning.
What I do is once I have my sounds and everything is sitting pretty well, I’ll move the pans around a tiny bit. If I have something panned at 3 o’clock, I’ll inch it a tiny sliver from where I had it just because I found it can make things clearer that way. When you start moving panning around it’s almost like EQing something. I find that if I nudge it, it might get out of the way of something or even glue it together.  Joe Chiccarelli
Some mixers even do some of their panning in mono (yes, that’s right)! This is because it’s easy to hear differences in phase, which make the instrument stand out when you go back to stereo.
I check my panning in mono with one speaker, believe it or not. When you pan around in mono, all of a sudden you’ll find that it’s coming through now and you’ve found the space for it. If I want to find a place for the hi hat for instance, sometimes I’ll go to mono and pan it around and you’ll find that it’s really present all of a sudden, and that’s the spot. Don Smith"
To read over 50 excerpts from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook 3rd edition and other books, go to the excerpt section of 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, July 15, 2013

Meet The Superman Memory Crystal

Crystal Memory image
One of the big behind the scenes problems in audio today is survivable archives. While some magnetic tape has proved to be remarkably robust even 60 years later, some has been as fragile as tissue paper, and all of it will eventually lose much of its magnetism over time. It's even worse in the digital domain as we've replaced formats and storage devices frequently, especially in the early days of digital. Much from those early formats haven't fared nearly as well as their older analog counterparts when it comes to long-term storage and retrieval.

Today artists, producers, record labels, television networks, film studios, museums and even national archives all face the same question; what format do we use to preserve our products for as long as possible. Currently there isn't one preferred method in use, and no one is totally sure of the lifespan of any available, and that's the problem. But maybe a new answer is finally on the horizon, thanks to researches at the Optoelectronics Research Center at the University of Southampton in the UK.

Enter the "Superman Memory Crystal," a newly developed data storage method that can hold as much as 360 terabytes for more than a million years. Not only that, it has the ability to withstand extreme temperatures, and has an extremely fast read and write time thanks to a super fast femtosecond laser.

The Crystal's ability for storage comes from the fact that the laser writes data in 5 dimensions; size, orientation, and 3 dimensions of position of its nanostructures. The format is based on a relatively new technology known as "femtoprint," which is nanoscale printing on fabricated glass. If you're really a nerd, you can read a white paper outlining its inner workings.

Unfortunately the technology is still in the lab, so we may not see it for a while, but it could be that our long-term storage problems are on the verge of being solved.
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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, July 14, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Hue Studio Lighting

When we talk about the networked studio, we usually don't think about lighting, but that's exactly what happens with Philips's Hue LED light bulbs. Not only can they be controlled via an iPhone app, but the color can be changed to just about anything you can think of as well, including one that's been scientifically designed to help you concentrate (perfect for mixing).

Now these things aren't cheap at $199 for 3 bulbs and a wireless base station starter pack, but when you consider all that they do, they can be a worthy investment for any home studio.

One of the cool things is that the days of the big expensive studio rheostats to dim the lights will soon be over as the world turns to these new programmable LEDs.

A shout out to my bud Rich Tozzoli for turning me on to these via his column in Pro Sound News!


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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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