Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Deep Purple "Highway Star" Isolated Drums

There are so many classic rock tracks that have become influential over the years, and Deep Purple's "Highway Star" (off their massively popular Machine Head album) is one of them. The track was supposedly written in the back of a van to show off to a journalist how easy it was for the band to write songs. They actually ended up performing the song on stage for the first time later that night.

Ian Paice (drummer for Deep Purple) doesn't get enough credit for how influential he's been to the drummers who've come after him, but a quick listen to the isolated drums on "Highway Star" will show that the guy is and was a true monster player.

1) Listen to the sound of the drums closely. The snare sounds pretty good, but the kick is definitely floppy sounding (not the tight sound that we mostly use today), and the toms are very small sounding, thanks to the fact that there was still only limited mics used on the drums during recording in 1971.

2) The drums are mostly in mono, except for a very slight pan of the toms, which might've been from leakage.

3) Speaking of leakage, there's a lot of it here, which doesn't hurt the end product one bit. Just another example of how leakage can be your friend.



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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Social Media Promotion For Musicians Book Is Here

Social Media Promotion For Musicians cover image
Bobby Owsinski's Social Media Promotion For Musicians, the manual for marketing yourself, your band and your music online, is finally available.
The book shows you how to stop just using social media and learn how to promote with it, as you’ll find a host of online insider tips and tricks that that will help you gain more fans and followers, increase your views, and grow your ticket and merch sales.

Social Media Promotion For Musicians shows artists, bands, engineers and producers the latest techniques and strategies to increase your online presence more effectively and efficiently than you ever thought possible. Best of all, anyone can do it!

In the book you’ll discover:
  • How to increase your online exposure to increase your fan base
  • How to have more time for creating by saving at least an hour every day on common social media operations
  • Exclusive promotional tips that boost your views and followers
  • How to uncover and develop your brand
  • The secret behind successful tweets and posts
  • Why a mailing list is the key to your ticket and merch sales
  • 10 ways to make sure that fans, music critics and bloggers, bookers and promoters, and agents and managers always have your latest information
  • Ways to optimize your YouTube channel and videos to maximize your views
and so much more.

Social Media Promotion For Musiciancovers all aspects of a musician’s online presence on the most widely used platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs, Pinterest, bookmarking sites, as well as personal and band websites and newsletters.

Check out the bobbyowsinski.com website, where can see the table of contents and read excerpts. The printed book is available from Amazon, as is the Kindle version.
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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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Keys To A Great Sounding Drum Kit

drum bearing edges image
Drum Bearing Edges
As the heartbeat of almost every song in music today, the drums have to sound great in order to really give the song the punch it needs. Unfortunately most engineers and musicians, and even a surprising number of drummers, aren't sure what makes drums sound the way they do. Of course tuning is most important in getting a great drum sound, but just like a guitar or bass intonation, there are certain aspects to the drums themselves that really make a difference in the ultimate sound.

In this excerpt from Chapter 7 (Preparing The Drum Kit For Recording) of the latest 3rd edition of The Recording Engineer's Handbook, you'll read that there's a great number of factors that make the drums sound the way they do.


"It’s true that different people have different ideas of what constitutes a great sound kit, but in the studio it usually means a kit that’s well-tuned and free of buzzes and sympathetic vibrations. Free of sympathetic vibrations means that when you hit the snare drum, for instance, the toms don’t ring along with it. Or if you hit the rack toms, the snare and the other toms don’t ring along as well. The way to achieve this is all in the tuning and the kit maintenance, which we’ll check out in depth later in the chapter, but first, lets learn a little bit about drums themselves, since it helps to have a basic idea of why they sound the way they do.

Drum Construction
Here are the things that affect the sound of a drum.

Shell Size has the most impact on the natural pitch of a drum. The larger the diameter, the lower the natural pitch, although you can obviously change this a bit by tuning the heads.

Shell Depth is mostly responsible for how loud the drum will be and to some degree, the articulation of the sound. This means that a shallow shell (say a 9” tom) doesn’t have as much surface area as a larger one, so the sound doesn’t ring as long and has a sharper attack.  

Shell Thickness is usually overlooked as a contributing factor to the sound of a drum.  Thinner shells actually are more resonant since they’re easier to excite because they have a lower mass than a heavier, thicker shell.  

Shell Material used to make the drum shell is the most responsible for the tone of the drums. Here are the most commonly sued drum shell materials.
  • Maple is the most prized construction material by drummers, primarily because the sound is so even across the drum frequency spectrum.  
  • Mahogany sound warmer than maple since the low end is increased.
  • Birch is very hard and dense, which results in a brighter drum with a lot less low end than maple.
  • Poplar has a sound very similar to birch, with a bright top end and less bottom.
  • Basswood exhibits an increased low end that’s similar to mahogany.
  • Luaan has a warmer sound with less top end, similar to mahogany.
Shell Interior has a lot to do with the pitch of the drum. A rough interior produces a less resonant drum, since the roughness breaks up the interior reflections. A smooth interior results in a more resonant drum, which means it’s easier to tune and control.

Bearing Edges means the cut at the edge of a drum shell where the hoops are attached. The way the bearing edge is cut can not only affect the pitch of the drum, but how well it tunes as well. The sharper the cut, the brighter the drum.

Hoops type and the number of lugs used to seat the drum heads determines how the drum will sound as well. In general, the thicker the hoop, the easier the drum will be to tune. Fewer lugs provide more complex overtones. Stamped hoops get a warmer tone than from die cast hoops. Aluminum gives a high pitch while brass provides more overtones. Die cast hoops are generally both thicker and stronger than stamped hoops, so the drum becomes easier to tune. There are fewer overtones as a by-product. Wood hoops come in different thicknesses, so they can be made to sound like either a stamped or a cast hoop, only brighter.

Drum Heads

If there’s one simple action that you can take to improve the tone of the drums it’s to replace the old heads with fresh new ones. Even normally good sounding drums will sound wimpy and dead when played with old heads that have dings and dents in them. 


TIP: The single biggest improvement to the tone of a drum is a set of fresh heads."

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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, October 21, 2013

How A Neumann U87 Is Made

We take microphones for granted so often that it's always a good idea to learn that they're actually delicate instruments that are for the most part hand-made. Here's a great video (an excerpt from the TV show How It's Made) showing exactly how a Neumann U87 condenser microphone is created.




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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.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Slate Virtual Mix Rack

Here's just one of the many interesting new products introduced at the AES show over the weekend. It's the Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack, an emulation of a 500 series rack starting off with 4 modules: a Neve-style EQ, an SSL style EQ, a VCA compressor and an FET compressor.

There aren't very many details available about the VMR (like pricing and availability), but there'a a pretty nice video and website.



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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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