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Friday, November 6, 2015

REM "End Of The World" Isolated Drum Track

REM - End Of The World
Time for another isolated track and this time it's the drum track from the REM hit "It's The End Of The World As We Know It." The song is from their 1987 album Document, and actually originated as an unreleased Public Service Announcement that the band wrote. Here's what to listen for:

1. The snare has a nice room sound on it. It sounds very natural with very little predelay, medium decay and a little dark so it blends into the track.

2. Most of the beginning of the song is just kick, snare and hat, but when the cymbals come in they're panned pretty wide.

3. Listen how the drums develop, from a simple kick, snare, hat pattern, to more complex kick, to the addition of the ride cymbal and crashes.

4. The groove that drummer Bill Berry lays down isn't perfect by any means, as there are minute timing differences, but it works well with for the REM sound.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Story Of The Bass

The story of the bass image
This is one of the coolest videos I've seen in a long time. Bassist Michael Thurber shows the evolution of the bass from the viola da gamba through the modern Dubstep wobble bass in 45 songs and 9 instruments.

He's a great player and the video is real hoot to watch. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Understanding The Major Frequency Bands

Understanding The Major Audio Frequency Bands
If we need to EQ something during a mix, it's usually because an instrument or vocal is clashing with another track, or something doesn't sound right because there's too much or too little in a range of frequencies.

When it comes right down to it though, the act of EQing becomes a lot easier if we think of the audio frequency spectrum divided into 6 major bands.

Here's an excerpt from my Mixing Engineer's Handbook, that covers the major frequency bands and explains what too much or too little of each one can do to the sound of your track.

"• Sub-Bass - The very low bass between 16 and 60Hz which encompasses sounds which are often felt more than heard, such as thunder in the distance. These frequencies give the music a sense of power even if they occur infrequently. Too much emphasis on this range makes the music sound muddy.

• Bass - The bass between 60 and 250Hz contains the fundamental notes of the rhythm section so EQing this range can change the musical balance, making it fat or thin. Too much boost in this range can make the music sound boomy.

• Low Mids - The midrange between 250 and 2000Hz contains the low order harmonics of most musical instruments and can introduce a telephone like quality to the music if boosted too much. Boosting the 500 to 1000Hz octave makes the instruments sound horn like, while boosting the 1 to 2kHz octave makes them sound tinny. Excess output in this range can cause listening fatigue.

• High Mids - The upper midrange between 2 and 4kHz can mask the important speech recognition sounds if boosted, introducing a lisping quality into a voice and making sounds formed with the lips such as ‘m”, “b,” and “v” indistinguishable. Too much boost in this range, especially at 3kHz, can also cause listening fatigue. Dipping the 3kHz range on instrument backgrounds and slightly peaking 3kHz on vocals can make the vocals audible without having to decrease the instrumental level in mixes where the voice would otherwise seem buried.

• Presence - The presence range between 4 and 6kHz is responsible for the clarity and definition of voices and instruments. Boosting this range can make the music seem closer to the listener. Reducing the 5kHz content of a mix makes the sound more distant and transparent.

• Brilliance - The 6 to 16kHz range controls the brilliance and clarity of sounds. Too much emphasis in this range, however, can produce sibilance on the vocals."

Although we usually refine our EQing to much tighter bandwidths, the list above is a good start and easy to remember. Remember, a little goes a long way.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Today's Best Drummers Explain Why Ringo Is Awesome

Ringo Drum Kit
Ringo Starr is many times overlooked for his contribution to The Beatles, but not by the world's best drummers.

Hear Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, Abe Laboriel Jr, Jim Keltner, Stewart Copeland of The Police, Questlove of The Roots, Tré Cool of Green Day, Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers express their admiration for Mr. Starkey.

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Music Gear Monday: The New Auratone 5C

New Auratone 5Cs
There was a time even before Yamaha NS10's became pervasive that the little Auratone 5C "Super Sound Cube" was the small reference monitor of choice for just about any mixing engineer.

The Auratone was built to simulate the typical television speaker of the time. It was made to sound crappy, because that's what consumers were listening to every day. The good thing for mixing engineers was that if you got your mix to sit well on Auratones, then the mix would sound great on everything else as well.

Through the years Auratones fell out of favor, not because of their sound but because they were no longer available. Jack Jacobson, designer of the 5Cs, passed away and the company abandoned operations as a result.

While many Auratone imitations have come and gone since, engineers still longed to purchase a new pair of the real thing or even replacement parts for old ones.

The good news is that the Auratone has been resurrected by Jack's grandson Alex, who's managed to recreate an 80s version of the 5C exactly the way it used to be. There's a single 4 1/2 inch paper cone driver inside a 6 1/2 inch sealed cube box. Unlike almost all monitors today that are self-powered, you need to supply your own amplifier for the 5Cs, just like in the old days.

Auratones are now available for $350 a pair. You can find more information at There's also a nice video below that tells the story of why they're so useful.

The 5C's are some of the most honest monitors available. It will make a bad mix sound bad, and a good mix sound good, and that's exactly what you want from a reference speaker.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Black Lion Audio's Sid Duffour On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

 Black Lion Audio
I just love boutique audio gear manufacturer's and one of the coolest is Black Lion Audio.

The company started by modding inexpensive analog and digital gear but before long began to create their own designs that so many engineers are talking about. Black Lion's Sid Duffour will take us through the Black Lion products and their philosophy in this week's podcast.

In the intro I'll give you an overview of YouTube's new Red paid subscription service, as well as look at the famous John Bonham drum sound.

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


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