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Friday, October 24, 2014

Mixing Engineer Bob Brockman On The Latest Inner Circle Podcast

On the latest Inner Circle podcast, mixing engineer "Bassy" Bob Brockman discusses the evolution of mixing, mixing different musical genres, and much more.

In the intro I take a look at how teens leaving Facebook can be important to artists, and what you should do on stage when a song ends.

Remember that you can find the podcast either on iTunes or at, and now also on Stitcher.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Beatles "Something" Isolated Vocal

The Beatle's "Something" is one of the most covered songs ever, and may be George Harrison's best song. That's why it's so cool to go back and have a listen to the isolated vocal track from this song from the iconic Abbey Road album. Here's what to listen for:

1. The vocal is very in tune, which can't always be said for vocals from this era.

2. You'll hear the nice Abbey Road Studios reverb all around the vocal, which is very mellow sounding due to the EQ they used.

3. The vocal double on the B section isn't too close. This could have been because it was either another take, or they just didn't care much about getting it close.

4. Listen for Harrison singing the guitar solo almost note for note. Doesn't this contradict a passage in engineer Geoff Emerick's book that states that Harrison played both the guitar solo and the vocal at the same time on the last track available? You can hear the guitar solo was already recorded from the headphone leakage.

5. The harmonies, as with all Beatle harmonies, is gorgeous even though it's only two part. Sometimes it's with Harrison himself, sometimes with Paul McCartney.


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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why We Love The Music We Love

The neurochemistry of happiness image
The neurochemistry of happiness
It's fair to say that anyone that's in the music business likes music. No, make that loves music. We've all had that rush when hearing a song that's a feeling like no other. And to play it in front of people is taking it to yet another level.

Now there's been a definitive study that really gets down to why we love music. It's called The Neurochemistry of Music and takes a look inside the brain of music lovers. Here's some of what they found.
  • When we first hear a song, it stimulates our auditory cortex, and we convert the rhythm, melody and harmony into a coherent whole. From there certain parts of the brain react depending upon how much we like the music. Sing along and you'll active the premotor cortex, which coordinates your movements. Dance along and your neurons actually synchronize with the beat of the music. Your prefrontal cortex may also be stimulated, which can prompt personal memories.
  • Brain imaging shows our favorite songs trigger the brain's pleasure points, and a significant amount of those internal drugs that we all love, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, are released. The more we like a song, the more these neurochemicals are released. Music becomes a drug!
  • This happens with everyone, but it happens more intensely if you're young. People between the ages of 12 and 22 get a giant dose because of the stage in their hormonal development that they're in. This explains why the main audience for music has always been between those ages.
  • Those musical memories that we experience at that point are hardwired into our brains and stay with us for the rest of our lives, which explains why we're always partial to the music of our youth.
  • Because of the impact that the music of our youth has on us, it becomes a part of our social self-image, although the effect appears to diminish over time.
Does any of this sound familiar? These points are things that we really all inherently known, but now it's nice to have a study to back it up.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Most Overlooked Part Of Preproduction

Music Preproduction image
Music production is so much about being familiar with the artist that you're working with, but many producers overlook the "Getting To Know You" phase of the job. The reason is that intimately knowing the likes and dislikes of an artist can really help you keep the production moving forward down the line, or stop it in its tracks if there's something that you don't know about. Here's an excerpt from my Music Producer's Handbook that outlines this phase.

"Preproduction sometimes is so much more than the process of working out songs. For a producer working with a new artist or band, it’s a time of getting to know each other. It’s important for the producer to learn the likes and dislikes of the artist, be it food, music or politics, as well as their working habits and idiosyncrasies. Knowing these things can help the producer determine how far to push a singer, or discover what gets the best performance out of the guitar player, or the signs of when the drummer is getting tired, or the hot button issues of the day to stay away from. If you’re going to be working closely with an artist even for a short time, the more you know about him, the better you can serve the project.

One of the most important aspects of getting to know an artist is learning what music she loves, was influenced by, and is listening to now. One of the most effective ways I’ve heard of doing this back in the days of vinyl record albums was for the producer to go to the artist’s house and have them throw a bunch of albums from their collection on the floor and have them describe what they liked and didn’t like about each of them. You can still do this with CDs or an iPod playlist. Among the questions to ask might be:
  • What do you like or dislike about the artist your listening to?
  • Do you like the sound of the recording?
  • What recordings do you like the sound of?
  • What are some of your favorite records?  Why?
  • What are your biggest influences? Why?
  • If you have a body of work as a producer already, what does the artist like about you? Why?
You can probably add any number of additional questions, but can you see where this is heading? This is the information that you need to help attain the artist’s vision. It gives you a common point of reference so you can say, “Let’s go for a sound like the lead guitar on The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry,” and have the artist know exactly what you mean because you’ve found out in preproduction that’s one of his favorite songs. Or if the artist says to you, “Can we get the sound like on the Arctic Monkey’s Still Take You Home,” you’ll know exactly what he’s talking about."


Monday, October 20, 2014

Watch Studio Guitarist Tim Pierce At Work

Studio guitarist Tim Pierce is widely used on hit recordings today, having played on hits by Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Faith Hill, Dave Mathews, Rascal Flatts and many more.

Here's a video that shows why, as you'll both see and hear how Tim goes about adding his special sauce to a track. You'll also see why great studio musicians have to be arrangers as well to really help a track along. Find out more about Tim at


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 19, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: Harrison Lineage Preamp

So many huge hits of the 70s were cut on Harrison consoles that we're all familiar with the sound even though we may not know it - AC/DC's Back In Black, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, and Michael Jackson's Thriller just to name a few.

While Harrison no longer makes its iconic 32C series desks that those albums were cut on, it has re-released the preamps from that console, as well as those from other Harrison consoles as well with the new Lineage Preamp.

The Harrison Lineage is actually an 8 channel preamp that has a pair of preamps from each of the various eras of Harrison consoles. You get:
  • 2 channels of Harrison's latest Trion preamps
  • 2 channels of the famous 32C console preamps from the 70s/80s
  • 2 channels of preamps from its Series 10 consoles of the 80s/90s
  • 2 channels of preamps from its Series 12 consoles of the 90s/00s
While many customers would have gladly settled for 8 channels of 32C preamps, the Lineage is a unique take on preamp packaging, giving you 4 different sounds in the same 1U rack space.

The price of the Harrison Lineage 8 channel preamp is $2,995. You can find out more on the Harrison website or on the video below.



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