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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Focus On The Mix by Tony Cre

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

Good microphone techniques, understanding the frequency ranges of all the instruments involved and learning how to use processing equipment creatively and sparingly will help you achieve a good, full-sounding mix – but you must always have a focus to make it all gel.

The vocal or melody line is always the most important part of the music and should never be lost or buried in the mix. The other instruments, whether they be rich-sounding keyboards, searing horns or a driving rhythm section, are there to support the melody, but should not be lost or buried in the mix either. Remember, each instrument has its own space and place in the mix.

Tony Cre – live sound engineer (credits include Lee Aaron, The Spoons).

Revelations by Eugene Martynec

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

I was doing electric guitar overdubs on the first Kensington Market album in the late sixties, and I was getting frustrated by my terrible guitar sound. I asked producer Felix Pappalardi (Felix was enjoying huge success with Cream at the time) how Eric Clapton got such a great sound. He said that they put a mic in front of his amp and he played. Simple!

He supplied most of that great sound. I later found out that this was the case with all good musicians, and that the studio was an enhancement tool, not an apology for poor listening habits from the musicians. Years later, I got a classic question: “Can you make me sound like Jimi Hendrix?”My retort was, “If you can play like him, we can certainly make you sound like him.”

Eugene Martynec – Juno Award-winning producer (credits include Bruce Cockburn, Edward Bear, Murray McLauchlan, Doug & the Slugs).

Quality Outboard Gear = Quality Sound Recording by Tom Cochrane

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

I’m an equipment junkie! I like gear. I like vintage microphones. I love old Neve EQs, preamps and API’s. I enjoy collecting them the same way someone collects guitars. It’s a joy, it’s a thrill and it’s an inverstment. Gil Moore at MetalWorks is the same way. They took this old Neve board and modified it – they knew there were a lot of problems with that particular board and they worked around it. As a result, it’s a much more user-friendly piece of equipment – accessible, immediate. They made MetalWorks a great studio with that kind of approach.

Using pro mics and preamps, you know that when you lay it down to the ADAT it’s still going to have certain qualities that have been traditionally proven to work and sound great. If you are going to work in the digital domain, I think that it is important to balance that with a certain amount of tradition, and that’s where certain preamps and compressors come into play. I own three API lunchboxes, Neve, strips, LA-2A compressors and such. It gives me a thrill as an artist when I’ve chosen the right microphone for an application. To know that you’ve picked the right paintbrush, the right paints and the right approach and can hear that in the work – that’s a lot of fun.

Tom Cochrane, songwriter, artist, producer and home project studio owner. His latest release is Ragged Ass Road.

Building Song Structure and Vocals on Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill by Glen Ballard

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

Basically we’d walk in [my studio] at one o’clock in the afternoon with nothing other than some vague ideas, and I would pick up a guitar and head out on some sort of harmonic territory. She (Alanis Morissette) would start scribbling lyrics and singing ideas and I would start scribbling lyrics and singing ideas and I would go to a chord change, and if that felt good, we’d have two chords and maybe a bit of a melody, and then it was built ‘brick-by-brick’, kind of that way. In almost every case, eight, maybe ten hours later, we would have a song.

At that point, I would immediately record a track as fast as I could because I was programming as we went, after we had the guitar harmonic and melodic structure there. I had samples and loops and drum patterns that I would program in and immediately put it on tape, and it was usually no more than an hour of recording. It would be the basic track on tape.

I would play guitar on a couple of tracks and she would sing it, and it was usually once, sometimes twice. I can’t think of a time where we punched in. And I would be amazed.

I would look up and it would be an incredible take, and I was praying that I got it on tape. It was the sort of thing where, fortunately, I know my room well enough where I don’t need a lot of warm-up time on the mic. I’m using an AKG C12 vintage tube mic from the 50’s, which sounds fabulous on her voice, and I was going into a Demeter pre-amp. From the Demeter, I would go into an LA-2A tube limiter and straight to tape. I was not going through the Euphonix console, and a lot of what I recorded was on ADATs.

Glen Ballard, Encino, California-based producer and co-writer of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album.

Scoring From Film: The Essential Tools by Mychael Danna

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

The equipment I use for basic scoring is a VHS stereo tape deck with audio timecode on one side and a stereo VCR. I turn it into MIDI timecode on an Atari computer running Cubase coupled with a Fostex G16S multitrack recorder. I simply plug the output from the timecode track directly into the Fostex, and it turns it into SMPTE timecode. A MIDI cable runs from the recorder into the computer. One audio cord and one MIDI cord and you have your keyboard setup also MIDIed right into your computer! I’ve scored films without any kind of locking at all – it is possible to do. You get good at using the pause and play on the VCR; you then stack on keyboards and samplers.

I use a 24-channel Mackie 8 Bus console and it’s a beautiful thing. I like old keyboards, and old grungy low-fi and crunchy effects. I have an old Lexicon Primetime and it’s a dirty piece of gear. I also have a Quantec reverb, very warm and thick, which is fairly hard to find. I have lots of high-end equipment too, like my Roland S750 sampler, so I can get bright and shiny when I need it. I have old modular keyboards and I have a few newer digital ones. I use Genelec 1031 self-powered speakers and the amp is matched for the speakers. They’re beautiful. A big pretentious leather chair is a must, as is a portable DAT, because I love to travel and collect bizarre sounds from strange countries and temples. The Casio DAR100 is very small and the microphone I use is small and lovly – the Audio-Technica AT822 is good for hiding when walking into temples when you’re not supposed to be recording!

Anyone can score film and television. Start by finding a student filmmaker and get him or her to provide you with footage on VHS and away you go. You can only learn by doing it.

Mychael Danna, film and television scorer, credits include Atom Egoyan’s Family Viewing and the award-winning Exotica. His current project is North of Niagara, an album that highlights the environmental sounds of the Bruce Trail.

Mixing Board Dusting by Phil Stevens

Wednesday, September 18th, 2002

My favourite method is the two-fisted approach: In one hand is a 4″ natural-bristle paintbrush, and in the other is the crevice tool of my trusty vac-u-suck. Keep the two close together so that anything dislodged or stirred up by the bruch is immediately dispatched by the nozzle o’doom.

Phil Stevens, mudshark@euphoria.org, Crash Landing Productions, Inc. Tucson, Arizona.

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