Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Here Comes The Sun" The Unheard Solo

Here's a great video that shows the value of a producer. It's a video of George Martin, his son Giles, and George Harrison's son Dhani listening to the tracks of George H's seminal "Here Comes The Sun" from one of The Beatles greatest albums - Abbey Road.

In the video you'll hear them soloing the individual tracks from the song, and then Dhani unmutes a guitar solo from George that wasn't included in the final track. As they marvel at it, you then also hear a Minimoog part that wasn't included as well.

Both of these parts are great in that they're performed well and add a lot to the song, but a producer's job is to sometimes pull in the reigns and say, "Enough" and not include a part because it takes a song in a different direct. George M obviously did that, and these parts were lost for decades before they were uncovered in this BBC documentary.


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The $695 USB Cable

Audiophiles are the most gullible group of people you'll ever find, falling for any flowery language that alludes to "resolving the finest detail," or "refining the transparency." I've posted about the $500 wooden volume knob and the $8500 speaker cable before, but this one takes the cake.

The Absolute Sound recently posted a buyers guide on USB cables. Okay, that's fair enough, except that these expensive digital interconnects are touted to improve your sound, which is a total crock of you know what. It's digital and it's USB! The one that comes with your hard drive will work just as well as long as it's not defective.

For a good laugh, read the entire article. In the meantime, here's a sample of the snake oil below.


Snake Oil USB Cable image
AudioQuest Diamond
0.75m, $549; 1.5m, $695
audioquest.com
This ├╝ber-expensive USB cable is simply revelatory in its combination of ease and refinement on one hand, and resolution and transparency on the other. Although capable of resolving the finest detail, Diamond USB has a relaxed quality that fosters deep musical involvement.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How To Build A Song's Groove

Audio Mixing image
The groove is the pulse of the song and every song has one, regards of the genre of music. The stronger the groove, the more people relate to the song, so it's really important to make sure that the groove is emphasized during a mix. Here's an excerpt from the latest 3rd edition of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook that shares some tips on how to find the groove and make it strong in your mix.

"While it’s true that sometimes the groove may be the result of a single instrumental performance, usually it’s built around the interplay of a number of instruments, especially in complex mixes with a lot of tracks.

Normally the groove of the song is provided by the bass and drums, but it’s important to determine if another instrument like a rhythm guitar, keyboard, loop or percussion is an integral part that makes up the pulse of the song. Usually this can be easily identified as an instrument that’s playing either the same rhythmic figure as the bass and drums, or a multiple of the rhythm, like double time or half time. After those additional rhythmic elements are discovered, here’s one way to build the groove:

1. Find the instrument that provides the basic pulse of the song (like the drums).

2. Add the lowest frequency instrument that’s playing the same or similar rhythmic figure (usually the bass).

3. Add any additional instruments playing the same or similar rhythmic figure in order of frequency from low to high.

4. Add any instrument playing a similar rhythmic figure, like half or double time.

5. Add any instrument working as the rhythm arrangement element (remember the section about arrangement elements in Chapter 5?) and providing motion to the song (like a shaker or tambourine).

The groove may be attributed to only a single instrument, like in the case of a power trio (guitar, bass and drums) to three or even four instruments on rare occasions. If you’re not sure, the best way to determine what’s playing the groove is to try mixing in different combinations of instruments along with the rhythm section to see if the pulse gets stronger, weaker, or stay’s the same. 

TIP: If a new instrument adds to the pulse of the song and the pulse seems lessened if it’s muted, then you have an instrument that’s a big part of the groove."

You can read additional excerpts from The Mixing Engineering Handbook and other books by checking out the excerpts section of bobbyowsinski.com.
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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, September 23, 2013

Company Presses Human Ashes Into Records

Human ashes in vinyl image
Here's something for the passionate lifelong musician who wants to be part of music beyond the grave. A company called And Vinyly (rhymes with "And Finally") will take your cremated remains and press them into a 12 inch vinyl record complete with the music of your choice.

The service isn't cheap at $4,600 for 30 records, but when you think about it, this may make more sense that having your ashes sitting in an urn somewhere.

According to an article on BusinessWeek.com, the service has only been provided to four customers so far, but those stories are fairly interesting. One supposedly was for a DJ who's family wanted him "to be played at his favorite clubs a few more times." Another was recorded telling jokes about his family. To each his own, I guess.

All I can say to this is here's to one more thing that you can't do digitally.
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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, September 22, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: PreSonus Sceptre Monitors

I just love single point source monitors where the tweeter is located inside the diaphragm of the woofer. Everything sounds so much smoother and real to me. I was a Tannoy user for years and now one of my favorite small monitors is the Equator Audio D5. The PreSonus Sceptre series carries on the tradition of monitors built around coaxial speakers with the just introduced S6 and S8.

The Sceptre S6 features a 6.5 inch mid and low frequency transducer with a 1 inch titanium tweeter, while the S8 features an 8 inch mid and low frequency transducer with the same 1 inch tweeter. Both systems are biamped using identical 90 watt class D amps for high and low drivers.

The trick to the Sceptre series that make it different from other coax monitors is the built-in DSP designed by Fulcrum Acoustics (well-known in the acoustics community for their excellent design abilities) that manages everything from horn reflection to dynamic and excursion limiting.

I heard pre-release versions of the Sceptres when I visited the PreSonus factory in June and I really loved them. I haven't used them to mix yet, but just a cursory listen really made me anxious to try them in the field.

The PreSonus Sceptre S6 has a street price of $649 each, while the S8 is priced at $749 each. Check out the video below for more info.


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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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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