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Friday, March 20, 2015

Producer Michael Beinhorn On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Michael Beinhorn image
I'm very pleased to have the noted producer Michael Beinhorn on the latest edition of my Inner Circle podcast.

Co-writer and producer of Herbie Hancock's 1983 mega-hit "Rockit," Michael has worked with Soundgarden, Hole, Marilyn Manson, Korn, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Ozzy Osbourne among many others.

In this interview, we chat about the rumor that Michael likes to fire drummers, as well as his career, influences, and inspirations, as well as the future of pop music. Don't miss this interview with a very smart and interesting man.

In the intro we'll also take a look at why your Facebook Likes may decrease soon, as well as the 5 ways that you can charge for your services.

Remember that you can find the podcast at, or either on iTunes or Stitcher

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Metallica "Enter Sandman" Isolated Drums And Bass

Metallica Enter Sandman image
"Enter Sandman," the single off their huge Black Album, broke Metallica to an international previously only touched by pop stars. The song was the first song written and mixed for the album, which set the tone for the rest of the songs.

Here are the isolated bass and drums from "Enter Sandman." Keep in mind that the drum track was cobbled together by section from 50 takes, which was necessary to keep the same intensity between the sections. Here's what to listen for.

1. I think this came from the Rock Band game, which might help to explain why the kick is only on the left and snare on the right channels respectively.

2. There's a huge amount of reverb on the drums. You don't notice it when you hear the entire mix, but its much more than many engineers are comfortable adding.

3. The bass lags behind the drums in spots, especially during the first half of the song. Of course, this was made in the days before DAWs, so what would be an easy fix today required re-recording then.

4. Speaking of the bass, you can hear the amp noise whenever there's a break in the song. Again, that's something that would be cleaned up in the DAW today.

5. Both the drums and bass are playing very disciplined parts, one of the reasons that the band was able to crossover with a hit single. In other words, the song is made like a hit single.

6. If you listen on small computer speakers both the bass and drums speak well thanks to the EQ points selected for the kick and the fact that the bass has a lot of top end.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Attempted Crowdfunding Buyout Of Gibson Guitars

In one of the more bizarre crowdfunding efforts to date, a rather anonymous guitarist known only as "John L" tried to put together an IndieGogo campaign to buy out Gibson Guitars for $22 million.

Not surprisingly, the plug was pulled on the campaign after raising only $200 amid accusations that the whole thing was a scam, something that John L profusely denies.

The acquisition campaign was started because the campaigner disagreed with the direction that Gibson owner Henry Juszkiewicz was taking it in. If you were at the last NAMM show, it was pretty obvious that the company is moving away from being a traditional instrument manufacturer and more a lifestyle products company.

It's not known how Mr L came to value the company at $22 mil, or even if Juszkiewicz would even consider selling the company at all, let alone for that amount.

Of course, when you don't give donors critical information like who the new management might be, and a roadmap for the future should the acquisition actually occur, people get suspicious.

Here's what's left of the campaign.

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, March 18, 2015

6 Rules For Adding Effects To A Mix

Adding effects to a mix image
Having trouble figuring how to use your effects during mixing? Here are a set of rules that can help you choose the best effects for each track more efficiently, courtesy of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook.

Rule 1 - As A General Rule Of Thumb, Try To Picture The Performer In An Acoustic Space And Then Realistically Recreate That Space Around Them.
This method usually saves some time over simply experimenting with different effects presets until something excites you (although that method can work too). Also, the created acoustic space needn’t be a natural one. In fact, as long as it fits the music, the more creative the better.  

Rule 2 - Smaller Reverbs Or Short Delays Make Things Sound Bigger.
Reverbs with decays under a second (and usually much shorter than that) and delays under 100 milliseconds (again usually a lot shorter than that) tend to make the track sound bigger rather than push it back in the mix, especially if the reverb or delay is stereo.

Rule 3 - Long Delays, Reverb Predelays, Or Reverb Decay Push A Sound Farther Away If The Level Of The Effect Is Loud Enough.
As stated before, delays and predelays (see below) longer than 100 ms (although 250 is where it really kicks in) are distinctly heard and begin to push the sound away from the listener. The trick between something sounding big or just distant is the level of the effect. When the decay or delay is short and the level loud, the track sounds big. When the decay or delay is long and loud, the track just sounds far away. 

Rule 4 -  If Delays Are Timed To The Tempo Of The Track, They Add Depth Without Being Noticeable.
Most engineers set the delay time to the tempo of the track (see below on how to do this). This makes the delay pulse with the music and adds a reverb type of environment to the sound. It also makes the delay seem to disappear as a discrete repeat but still adds a smoothing quality to the element.

If you want to easily find the right delay time to the track and you have an iPhone, grab my "Delay Genie" app from the iTunes App Store. It's free and will making timing your effects to the track incredibly easy.

Rule 5 - If Delays Are Not Timed To The Tempo Of The Track, They Stick Out.
Sometimes you want to distinctly hear a delay and the best way to do that is to make sure that the delay is NOT exactly timed to the track. Start by first putting the delay in time with the track, then slowly alter the timing until the desired effect is achieved.

Rule 6 - Reverbs Sound Smoother When Timed To The Tempo Of The Track.
Reverbs are timed to the track by triggering them off of a snare hit and adjusting the decay parameter so that the decay just dies by the next snare hit. The idea is to make the decay “breathe” with the track. The best way to achieve this is to make everything as big as possible at the shortest setting first, then gradually get longer until it’s in time with the track.

Of course, the biggest part of adding effects to a mix is experience, but following these rules will provide a perfect place to start.

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, March 17, 2015

My 5 Favorite Effects Plugins

Since everyone seems to enjoy reading about the gear I like to use, here's yet another post on the subject. This time it's on my 5 favorite effects plugins. If you missed it, you can can read about my favorite compressors, equalizers, microphones, preamps and most used plugins.

1. Soundtoys MicroShift - The MicroShift emulates the sound of the famous Eventide Harmonizer, and anyone who's used one of the various hardware versions knows that there's nothing else that sounds like it. The same goes for the Micropitch (except for the Eventide's own Ultra-Channel). If you want to widen out a guitar track, make a keyboard more interesting, or smooth out a pitchy vocal, this is the plug to do it.

2. Pro Tools Dual Delay - There are lots of other great stereo delays on the market and they all well, but I find myself always coming back to this basic Pro Tools native plug. It's simple and easy to use, doesn't eat processor power, and has plenty of features for the majority of situations you'll face.

3. Lexicon PCM Reverb Bundle - Once again, there are a lot of great sounding reverbs on the market, but there's something about the Lexicon bundle (which includes a hall, plate, chamber, and room) that just seems to meld a track together so well. Just like the famed Lex hardware units that were the standard in studios for decades, Lexicon reverb plugins are hard to beat. (Honorable mention to the Pro Tools native D-Verb, which always seems to work when you need some extra ambience without having to sacrifice computer processing).

4. Universal Audio EMT 250 - I'm a big Universal Audio proponent and one of the best things they've done is a great emulation of the world's first digital reverb - the EMT 250. The 250's limitations were actually its strong points, with a limited bandwidth that means it always sits well in a track. Hard to beat for drum ambience.

5. Universal Audio MXR Flanger/Doubler - For modulation, it's hard to find a more versatile plugin. It does deep flanging and excellent doubling (although the Boss CE-1 admittedly has a sweeter chorus), which works really great when it comes to subtly widening a keyboard or just plain making it more interesting. I find new uses for it all the time.

There you have it. You'll see at least a couple of these on every mix that I do.

If you want to learn some really great mixing tricks using some of the above plugins, check out my 101 Mixing Tricks coaching program.

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Music Gear Monday: Accusonus Drumatom Leakage Suppression Tool

Accusonus Drumatom image
For years engineers have learned to live with leakage between drum mics, even embracing it as part of the sound of the kit. There are those times when you want to the ability to control it better though, and that usually means resorting to a gate. Now there's another alternative with Accusonus Drumatom V2.0, which very well may be the first microphone leakage suppression tool.

Unlike a gate, Drumatom uses advanced signal analysis and process to determine the difference between the drum being hit and the leakage from another track. This can be used, just as an example, when you're working on a snare and a high hat, where the app will allow you to reduce the level of the hat from the snare track while preserving the snare sound.

With the release of Version 2.0, Drumatom can work either as a plugin or as a stand alone app that runs on either Mac or PC and works on AIFF or Wave files at sample rates up to 192kHz. You import your drums into the app, do the processing, then import them back into your DAW.

We've all had to struggle with getting a clean kick and snare so that any processing we add wouldn't affect another instrument. Drumatom can do the trick.

Accusonus Drumatom is available from the Plug-In Alliance for $299 with a 14 day free trial.

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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