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Friday, September 11, 2015

REM "End Of The World" Isolated Guitars

REM End of the World isolated guitar track image
During the 80s and 90s, R.E.M. was one of the most popular and influential bands to come out of the U.S. In this week's isolated track, we'll listen to the isolated guitar from one of the band's most beloved songs "It's The End Of The World As We Know It."

The song is from the R.E.M.'s 1987 Document album, which spent 33 weeks on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart, peaking at #10. Here's what to listen for.

1. Peter Buck has a different guitar sound in every section, with a relatively clean electric on the verse, a bigger distorted one on the B sections and choruses, and another on the last part of the chorus and the bridge. An acoustic guitar enters on the next to last chorus and the very last chord of the song.

2. The guitar goes from mono in the verses and bridge to doubled in B sections and chorus. The acoustic guitar also leans to the left a little.

3. The playing is not perfect, but the timing is. It keeps that indie feel and stops the song from feeling too slick.

4. Listen to the hard mute at 2:28. You can hear a brief click of the beginning of next chord being cut off, something that would be easy to fix today in a DAW, but not so easy in the console/tape days.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Big Mick" Hughes On Mixing Metallica Live

Mixing Metallica image
Here's a video that features Metallica's long-time front of house mixer "Big Mick" Hughes. He's mixed over 1,500 of the band's shows over the years and is a legend in live sound.

It's a bit of a commercial for Meyer Sound, but there's still some good insights into how important the low end is in a live situation (sometimes too important if the engineer isn't careful).

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Using the 1176 - The Bones Howe Setting

1176 Bones Howe setting image
The Universal Audio 1176 limiter is a perennial favorite compressor limiter, but there are some standard settings that work especially well.

Here’s one used by the famous Los Angeles engineer Bones Howe, who engineered so many great hits of the 60s and 70s by Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Mama’s and Papas, Johnny Rivers and many more.

This is one of the bonus tricks from my 101 Mixing Tricks coaching program. Get 4 more killer tricks at

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mastering Engineer Colin Leonard On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Colin Leonard of Sing Mastering image
This week's guest on my Inner Circle Podcast is mastering engineer Colin Leonard of Sing Mastering, who's become the go-to mastering guy for uber-mixers like Dave Pensado and Phil Tan. Colin describes how he got into mastering, his unusual and proprietary signal path, and his overall mastering philosophy.

On the intro we'll look at what's becoming known as "Playola," or the practice of paying to be included on an influential playlist, as well as maybe getting an answer to the perennial question "What is the best driving music?".

Also, I'm happy to announce that the podcast has been selected as one of the Top 10 music industry podcasts by Indie Connect.

How To Select A Live Vocal Mic

Choose the right live vocal mic image
The Shure SM58 has been a staple of sound reinforcement systems for more than 50 years, but it's not always the right mic for the job.

In this video, Dave Rat from Rat Sound shows an easy way to test a variety of vocal microphones, then make the best choice for your application.

Beware, a single mic rarely fits all applications, as you'll see.

Monday, September 7, 2015

New Music Gear Monday: PrimeAcoustic VoxGuard VU

Primacoustic VoxGuard VU image
The only thing worse than having a noisy room when your recording a vocal or voiceover is having a bad sounding room. One easy and temporary solution is to surround the mic with what's become known as an "ambient noise attenuator," and that's exactly what the Primacoustic's VoxGuard VU is.

The VoxGuard VU takes this concept one step further though, and adds a 3 inch by 7 inch Plexiglass window so that the vocalist can see the rest of the band or receive cues from the producer (among other things).

The unit fits on to a common microphone stand and an extender clamp allows you to fit the microphone holder. It's also adjustable so that you can move the mic closer or further from the vocalist.

It's always better to have a good sounding quiet iso room to record in, but when that's not available, try Primeacoustic's VoxGuard VU instead. It retails for only $99. Here's what it looks like.


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