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Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Legendary Elliot Scheiner On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Elliot Scheiner image
Elliot Scheiner is one of the baddest engineers on the planet. Seriously, he's so good it's scary, and his 8 Grammys (and 25 nominations) and 2 Emmys back that up.

From his very first hit (Van Morrison's Moondance) to the highest levels of music art and commerce mixing Steely Dan, The Eagles, Beyonce, Fleetwood Mac, Foo Fighters, Eric Clapton, Sting, and Paul McCartney (just to name a few), Elliot has been the man to go to when a superstar needs a hit.

I'm really pleased to have him on my latest Inner Circle podcast. We've been friends for a long time, but I always learn something new when I speak to him.

On the intro, I'll talk about the pros and cons of Jay-Z's Tidal streaming service relaunch, and the new AES 3D Audio standard.

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.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Beatles "Drive My Car" Isolated Vocals

The Beatles "Drive My Car" image
It's always both interesting and informative to look back on recordings created during a simpler time, when arrangements were lean and tracks were few. Here's the isolated vocals from a rather enduring Beatles song from their 1965 Rubber Soul album called "Drive My Car." Here's what to listen for (it begins at 0:07).

1. The verses are clearly Paul McCartney on the top vocal and John Lennon on the bottom. When you listen to the full arrangement Paul jumps out of the mix, but John is somewhat buried.

2. As with most Beatle recordings, it's slathered in that syrupy Abbey Road reverb that seems to fit into the track regardless of how much is used.

3. The excellent Beatle three part harmony is in evidence in the turnaround and the chorus, with George Harrison joining McCartney and Lennon with the middle harmony part.

4. The second turnaround ("I can show you a better time") is not really together timing wise and McCartney's voice cracks on "time." You really don't hear this when mixed with the other instruments. Of course, we'd fix this right away if recorded today, but that also contributed to the character of the song.

5. The second and last chorus has the harmony vocals doubled, as are the "beep, beeps."

6. The first two "And baby I love you" sung by Lennon sound like they were overdubbed, as the background leakage changes. The last one is doubled.


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.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Sound Wave Fire Extinguisher

We get so hung up on recording and sound reinforcement that we sometimes forget that audio can be used for other things. One of those things soon might be extinguishing fire thanks to the invention that two George Mason University engineering students created for their Advanced Senior Design class.

Viet Tran and Seth Robertson created a 20 pound unit that uses sound waves between 30 and 60Hz to separate oxygen from an object on fire. This extinguishes the flames without using water or chemicals, which means that there's no collateral damage to the surroundings, a huge problem in fires.

NASA is especially interested since extinguisher particles fly all around in the zero gravity of space. Sound waves aren't affected by gravity and are easily directed where needed.

The students initially tried high frequencies, but eventually found that low frequencies worked much better. The design cost them only $600 to develop, as it uses only a small amplifier, power source, oscillator, speaker and a cardboard tube to focus the energy.

What's even more interesting is that the students actually beat the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency (DARPA) to the punch in that it's been experimenting with similar designs without the same success.

The unit is light enough that it could even be mounted to a special drone to reach places that firefighters can't get to. Audio to the rescue once again.

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, April 1, 2015

How To Get Your Band Booked

Club Stage image
You want to get your band gigs, right? You don’t know how to do it, right? Here’s an excerpt from the “Stage Time” chapter of my band improvement book “How To Make Your Band Sound Great” that gives you the inside scoop on the things that club promoters love and hate the most to help you get your band booked. Although the following pertains mostly to bands that play their own music, there are a few items for cover bands to think about as well.

"First of all, most bands will put a press package together to give to a promoter, booker or club owner and most of them make the same mistakes. Here are the things that a promoter or booker does not care about:
  • Who you've opened for or played on a bill with. Nobody cares. Opening for someone famous doesn’t automatically mean that you’re any good. It’s only name dropping.
  • Who produced your record. Once again, this is not an indicator of the quality of your band. If the producer’s really good, he could’ve easily tweaked or sweetened a mediocre performance or even brought in session musicians. And he could've been paid a bunch of money to do it, so his presence on the project doesn't amount to an endorsement.
  • How well you do in your hometown. You might have a lot of friends that like to hang out with you but it doesn’t mean that they’ll follow you when you play farther away from your home base or out of town. It also doesn’t mean that you can draw anywhere else.
  • Press clippings. You wouldn't send out negative reviews, would you? Of course not. No talent buyer looks at press clippings because they all know what they're going to say. "This band is wonderful. Coldplay, watch out!"
  • How good you are. Of course you think you're good. Your music is probably your life. Guess what? It's just another band setting up and making a racket to the club staff. Hard to believe, isn't it?
  • What you sound like. The only reason the venue cares what you sound like is because they don't want to mismatch music genres or book the wrong type of music altogether. Other than that, they don’t care.
Nothing listed above answers the most important question a talent buyer has, which is: HOW MUCH MONEY WILL THE VENUE MAKE IF YOU PLAY HERE?

Always ask yourself that question when approaching a talent buyer regarding a show. Of course, the answer is to draw a crowd. You’ve got to draw some people or your gigging life will be over. Beg your friends to show up. Social media the heck out of your show. If the venue can count on you bringing 20 to 40 people a show, you'd be amazed how often people will ask you to play.

So what do you have to do to get gigs? Try the following:
  • Develop a draw in your hometown. That means you should play about once every month to 6 weeks. Don't play too much more than that since overexposure will kill your crowd, and you need your crowd to keep coming so you keep getting asked back.
  • If you haven't left your hometown and you don't have an album, your only hope is to trade shows. Why develop a draw at home? So you can trade shows with bands from out of town. Just be sure the band you're trading shows with has a draw in their hometown. Check that city's music message boards. Use the many avenues of the internet. It's your only hope.
  • Be your own promoter. Actually save up your own money and book as big an artist as you can afford in the club you want to play, then stick yourself on the bill. It's a perfect way to find out if you're worth your salt.
If you want to get gigs (and who doesn't), keep the above items in mind before you spin your wheels trying the same old things that everyone tries to get gigs."

You can read additional book excerpts from How To Make Your Band Sound Great and my other books at

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 31, 2015

Producer/Engineer Steve Albini On Recording And The Music Business

Steve Albini interview image
Producer/engineer Steve Albini has long been both an interesting and controversial voice in the recording and music business for his tell-it-like-it-is approach. He's very smart and insightful, so he's always a pleasure to listen to.

Here's a video from a 2010 appearance at Leeds Metropolitan University where Steve shares his views on a number of subjects, including the music business, his approach to recording and producing, interaction with artists and bands, and even a little of his involvement with Nirvana.


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, March 30, 2015

New Music Gear Monday: Exponential Audio Excalibur Modulation Plugin

Exponential Audio Excalibur plugin image
If you're not already familiar with Exponential Audio plugins then you should be. The brainchild of former Lexicon chief engineer Michael Carnes, the first two products, the R2 and PhoenixVerb, give you that great Lex reverb sound at a very reasonable price.

Now Michael has come up with something completely different with his new Excalibur modulation plugin. It's a multi-effects unit with a modular synth-like architecture that allows you to  quickly and easily configure both traditional and non-traditional effects.

If you're not up to building your own effects chain, Excalibur comes with 500 presets of classic chorus, flanger, phase shifter, phasor, ring modulator, resonators, glide, distortion and reverb effects.

The plugin is built around a 4 voice engine (with 2 inputs per voice) that allows for millions of different combinations of the above effects.

The Exponential Audio Excalibur operates on Mac or Windows platforms and on most DAWs. It also works in just about any plugin format and is comfortable with sample rates up to 384kHz. Despite it's architecture, the plugin is super efficient in terms of processor power (as are all Exponential Audio plugins) and low latency. An iLok 2 is required.

The Exponential Audio Excalibur multi-effects plugin normally sells for $199 but there's an introductory price of just $119 that's good until April 10th. A free trial is also available.

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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