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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Reverb Master Michael Carnes On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Michael Carnes - Exponential Audio image
Michael Carnes created reverb products for Lexicon for 25 years before he decided to go out on his own and start Exponential Audio. He now builds a new generation of reverb and effects plugins that not only sound great, but are very reasonable priced as well.

I was lucky enough to get Michael to come on the podcast to discuss everything-reverb in depth, which you'll really find both fascinating and useful at the same time.

In the podcast intro, I'll discuss the fact that the CD is still selling in the hundreds of millions, and we'll go over a checklist to help vocal production go smoother and get the best performance possible.

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

An Intimate Look At A Frank Sinatra Recording Session

Here's a great look at history. It's Frank Sinatra in the studio recording his hit "It Was A Very Good Year" and it comes from a 1998 CBS special called "Sinatra The Legend," although this session is actually from the evening of April 22nd 1965 (just about 50 years ago!). The recording took place at United Recording Studio A in Hollywood.

Here are some things to look for.

1. Frank is obviously in a good mood, although he had an audience that he was playing to (notice the people behind him in the chairs).

2. It's also cool that there were no overdubs - everything was recorded at the same time.

3. Also, notice that the conductor is following Frank rather than the other way around.

4. It's interesting that he was recorded with what looks to be an AKG D24 dynamic microphone rather than the Neumann U47 or AKG C12 condenser that are in most pictures of him recording.

I posted something similar a few years ago but the video was subsequently taken off of YouTube, so enjoy this while it's 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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Al Schmitt Answers Recording And Mixing Questions

Al Schmitt is one of the undeniable masters of recording and it's great that he's still so active after more than 50 years in the business. I had the pleasure to interview him many times in the past (check out my interview excerpt from the Recording Engineer's Handbook and our recent interview for and he always both helpful, and tells a studio-load of colorful stories about his career as well.

In this video for Mix With The Masters, all covers a variety of subjects like alternatives to vintage microphones, the importance of the room, microphone distance, recording orchestras, and much more.

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 15, 2015

5 Simple EQ Tips That Work On Anything

Equalization image
Equalization is one of the most difficult parts of recording to get the hang of since there's literally almost an infinite number of possibilities.

Most of us learn by experience and usually massive amounts of trial and error, but there are some brief general guidelines that can be an enormous help for those new to the process.

Here's an excerpt from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook 3rd edition featuring 5 simple EQ tips that will work in just about any situation.
1. If it sounds muddy, cut (decrease the level) at around 250Hz. Although you can get that muddy sound from other lower frequencies (especially anything added below 100Hz), start here first. 
2. If it sounds honky or veiled, cut at around 500Hz. This is where a huge build-up of energy occurs when close-miking instruments because of the proximity effect that naturally occurs with directional mics. Just cutting a bit in this area can sometimes provide instant clarity. 
3. Cut if you're trying to make things sound clearer. If the sound is cloudy, there's usually a frequency band that's too loud. It's easier to decrease it than to raise everything else. 
4. Boost if you're trying to make things sound different. Sometimes you don't want clarity as much as you want something to sound just different or effected. That's the best time to boost EQ. 
5. You can't boost something that's not there in the first place. You may be better off to decrease other frequencies than try to add a huge amount, like 10 or 15dB, to any frequency band.
Although there are exceptions to every one of the above guidelines, you'll always stay out of sonic trouble if you consider this tips first.

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, April 14, 2015

The Abbey Road Reverb Trick

Here's a cool mixing trick from my 101 Mixing Tricks coaching program. Abbey Road Studios in London has long been noted for the great sounding reverb on the recordings done there. A big reason for that is the way they treat the signal going into the plates and chambers.

The Abbey Road Reverb Trick will show you how to get that same sound, plus a few enhancements to make sure that your reverb glues all of your mix elements together without it being obvious.

There's a lot more killer tricks where this came from covering punchy drums and percussion sounds, great lead and background vocals, killer instruments, and cool balance, panning, EQ, compression and automation tricks. Check it out 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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Music Gear Monday: SSL LMC+ 500 Series Module

The famous "Phil Collins drum sound" from his hit "In The Air Tonight" was an accident. While for years many thought it was the result of all manner of devices, it was actually the sound of the Listen Mic on the SSL4000 that was used by the engineer and producer to hear what the musicians were saying in the studio.

It's severe compression characteristics were discovered by engineer/producer Hugh Padgham while recording the song "Intruder" for a Peter Gabriel record that Collins played drums on. He then rewired the console so that it could be used while recording, and it seemed the perfect sound for "In The Air Tonight."

Solid State Logic has now released an enhanced version of the famed Listen Mic circuit in a 500 series rack module called the LMC+.

The LMC+ has the same fixed compression characteristics that made the SSL4000E listen mic a favorite on drums and guitars, but with some new features as well. These include high and low pass filters which can be switched into the sidechain, and a Wet/Dry control, along with the standard Trim and Threshold controls.

The really unique features include a "Scoop" button that flips the phase of only the wet signal, and a "Split" button that subtracts some of the bandwidth from the compressor so that only certain frequencies are affected.

SSL cautions that while many new sounds can be found using these controls, it can also result in something that might barely pass for audio as well if you're not careful. Cool, that's just how we like it! Let the experimenting begin.

The SSL LMC+ 500 series module retails for $649 and will be available in June.

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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