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Sound Advice

Killer Kick & Snare Sounds Part 2

October 25th, 2013

By Greg DawsonPS Aug13 SoundAdvice GregD
By For Part 1 of the column, see the August 2013 issue of PS.
For this column, I’m going to focus on the kick drum and snare drum and how you can obtain crushing drum tones for various rock styles through a balance of live miking and triggering techniques. My goal is always to get as much sound from the original source as possible. This keeps my drums sounding organic and roomy. Here are some key ingredients for killer kick and snare sounds:
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Keys To Getting A Good Vocal Sound

October 25th, 2013

Professional Sound - October 20132 Rich Chycki has produced, mixed, and engineered some of the greatest vocalists in the world, including Geddy Lee, Steven Tyler, and Mick Jagger. With that in mind, PS asked Chycki about his fundamentals for getting a great vocal sound. Here’s what he said…

Microphone Selection

Picking microphones for your artist is something you’ll have to do strictly from experience. What I have found is helpful is to line up and audition some different styles of microphones.
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Killer Kick & Snare Sounds Part 1

August 2nd, 2013

By Greg Dawson

Here are some tips on how you can obtain crushing drum tones for various rock styles through a balance of live miking and triggering techniques. My goal is always to get as much sound from the original source as possible. This keeps my drums sounding organic and roomy. Here are some key ingredients for killer kick and snare sounds:
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Amplifying Orchestral Instruments At Rock Concert Levels Part 2 By Peter Janis

August 2nd, 2013

Part 1 of this article was published in the June 2013 issue of Professional Sound.

 

A piezo is a contact pickup that captures the vibration of the instrument. It is typically connected to a preamp of sorts and the signal is processed like a microphone. But anyone who has tried a piezo pickup will tell you that, for the most part, they do not sound all that great. They tend to sound peaky, and with violin, they can sound shrill. The problem is not so much the piezo transducer, but the way it is loaded.

During our research, we discovered that when you apply the typical load of a mixing console – say 10 k-ohms – on a piezo, it causes the bass and high frequencies to roll off, narrowing the response, and generates peaks in the mid-range. As you increase the load, it begins to flatten out. For years, electronic manufacturers have employed a one-size-fits-all 1 m-ohm input impedance as a means to satisfy as many sources as possible. As the impedance rises above 4 m-ohms, the response extends and flattens out further and seems to really sound great at around 10 meg-ohms.
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K-System v2: A Proposed Loudness Metering Standard For Music Production By Frank Lockwood

June 7th, 2013

Where do music productions fit into discussions about loudness standards for broadcast? How loud should music producers and mastering engineers be making their tracks?

Broadcast loudness standards and the Sound Check feature found in
Apple’s iTunes software could effectively end the loudness war. There is
simply no value in attempting to make a song louder than any other since all
tracks will be adjusted to a standard level automatically. Hyper-compression
just robs music of its natural transients, excitement, and impact.
There is also the true peak level. As more music is distributed in the
form of data reduced files, more headroom is needed to avoid clipping
distortion following conversion to data-reduced formats. Apple’s “Mastered
for iTunes” initiative requests that all 96 kHz/24-bit uncompressed files submitted never exceed a maximum peak level of -1 dB true peak. The writing is on the wall; the world must back off the loudness. The question is, can we? Making everything loud is addictive. If we don’t, there’s the fear that clients will abandon us, that our work won’t stand out, that
others will judge us for not being competitive. But is there an alternative to going cold turkey? I think there is.
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Amplifying Orchestral Instruments At Rock Concert Levels Pt. 1 By Peter Janis

June 7th, 2013

One of the most challenging tasks ever confronted by an audio engineer is amplifying
orchestral instruments on a loud stage. Problems abound, including bleed, resonance, feedback, and frustration! To solve the problem, one must first understand the environment and then deal with the challenges

When in a “classical” concert hall, orchestral instruments such as violin, cello, or upright are
usually miked using an omni-directional condenser microphone. Omnis are particularly effective at producing a natural sound as they do not focus their attention on a particular area of the instrument, but capture a larger area that includes the bow, strings, F-holes, and so on. During classical concerts, feedback problems are usually not a concern as the PA system is only used for “sound reinforcement” and SPLs rarely exceed 90dB.

Problems set in when the rock band hits the stage. Drums, electric guitars, and bass generate significant SPLs that in turn must be compensated for by turning up wedge monitors. The sound generated by the orchestral instruments is lost. To compensate, one can either try close
miking the instrument using a directional cardioid microphone that attaches to the instrument or some form of piezo pickup. The cardioid microphone can work reasonably well but is not without issues. A directional mic only captures the sound from a specific area which may or may not sound right and will inevitably pick up sounds from adjacent instruments, the PA system, and the fold-back monitors. In order to hear themselves on stage, the violins
ask for more sound from the wedge monitors and next thing you know, feedback problems set in. Things can get even worse when playing outdoors: feedback due to room acoustics is replaced by wind noise, sound pressures are
increased due to lack of room acoustics, and this often pushes engineers to use alternatives such as piezo electric transducers.
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