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Sound Advice

A Quick Look At Re-amping By Jason Borys

February 14th, 2013

PS Sound Advice Feb13 Jason BorysMulti-tracking a band during a live performance can be a challenging task at the best of times. Less-than-ideal guitar tones are one element that could ruin your live recording.

I was recently doing a session for a radio station multi-tracking a three-band event. The radio technician and I set up a MacBook Pro connected to the FireWire output of a Behringer
X32. For this session, the DAW of choice was Pro Tools 10. The computer instantly detected the 16 channels we were using and performed flawlessly, tracking three bands over four hours. The only issue that came up during the session was that a couple of the guitar players had unbearably bad amplifier tones, rendering those tracks unusable. Luckily, we decided to DI the guitar players before the amplifier and record a raw track that we could then re-amp later to salvage the recording.

I used the Radial JDI passive DI box to get the direct clean guitar into our Pro Tools session. There are many devices to choose from for re-amplification, but I prefer the Radial X-AMP as it gives you two outputs that you can send to different amplifiers of your choice to sculpt some great tones.
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It’s Just A Phase Part 2 BY Robert DiVito

December 13th, 2012

Rules

As a tracking engineer, one area with great potential for out-of-phase material is multi-miking single instruments. To mitigate this, I am sure everyone is familiar with the 3-to-1 rule:

Two microphones intended to pick up one source must be placed apart at least three times the distance that either micro-phone is from its intended sound source.

This rule works well but there are many ways to control phase and comb filtering effects. Say, for instance, you are picking up a solo acoustic guitar. Using a coincident or near-coincident pickup will most often be better at minimizing phase problems. When miking a snare drum (or any instrument) from both sides, you can control phase and comb filtering using two different micro-phones at varying distances from the drum. This can also be very effective for tone control. It is worth noting that miking any source from front and back simultaneously may invert the polarity of the signal in the rear mic. Both front and rear signals will best combine, especially in bass response, if you compensate by phase-inverting one of the signals while recording.
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Fox & Hound Sound System Optimization By JP Warren

December 13th, 2012

Many of us have a Fox & Hound tone generator set or others similar such as Fluke’s Pro3000. These are great tools getting a fair share of use – especially when we encounter wiring installed by others during troubleshooting or retrofitting. Modern versions are amazingly accurate, built smart and durable, even capable of safely activating 70 V and 8 Ohm multi-driver speaker arrays while enjoying exceptional battery life. In this world of tracing wiring they are indispensable.

However, using the device for tone generation can prove problematic. Though it is sub-optimal to employ only a Fox & Hound type toner to ring-out zones, the deficiencies of doing so can be easily addressed.

First, such toners deliver only a low-output high-pass signal, therefore ignoring the main (non-tweeter) drivers; if a main driver were compromised (a 6-in. is rubbing, for instance) it would be difficult to realize this given the toner’s energy level, Q, and frequency centre. We are certainly going to notice dead tweeters, however, being the salient outlet of the energy. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Data By Anthony P. Kuzub

October 19th, 2012


Currently, I have over 10 TB of data floating in my life – a warehouse by comparison to the filing cabinets and tape shelves of my grandfathers. Every byte is kept for a reason: it has value. In the studio, on the drawing board, in the field, and at the gig, data is paying my bills. I’ve learned some hard lessons and have adopted practices to keep data sorted, searchable, active, and safe in an effort to ensure those bills get paid.

Working efficiently is profitable. Access to data is sped up significantly if it is easy to locate and launch. When naming files, folders, and filling in metadata, relevant information, details, and consistency in structure will help in the long run. When starting a project, think broad, then define specifics. Let the data sort and index itself with consistent practices. When starting a project, ask: “When do we do this? Who am I working with? How big is the project? What are we doing? What section is that? What version is this?” and answer in your own style:
DRV002:/20081204-Spade-Get_a_Helmet/Hogwaft/PT/audio/Vocal001.wav
or
BKP007:/DESIGN/RR/C/WBS/20120327-LEG_panel/Leg_Panel202.dxf Read the rest of this entry »

Stay Creative & Keep The Session By Shawn Bradley

October 19th, 2012


First impressions can mean everything to new studio clients. Our goal as producers and engineers is to provide a creative environment for artists and achieve the best possible sounds in the least amount of time. Take a few steps to prepare yourself for the unfortunate so that you’re able to keep the session rolling and your clients happy.

Auto Backups
In your DAW set-up preferences, enable session file auto backup. This will keep a designated number of backup files and is extremely handy as you are only a click away from a previous saved version if something goes awry.

Dual Vocal Microphones
Capturing a vocalist’s performance is key when producing. Sometimes, the best performance comes on the first or second take and you need to be ready. Try this: Set up two microphones; one will be your main vocal mic and the second can be set with a lower gain stage and a bit more compression to capture any part of the performance where the main mic overloads ensuring no performance is lost due to bad levels. Read the rest of this entry »

Integrating Solar Into Your Studio By Ian Graham

October 19th, 2012

“Off The Grid” Solar
On bright, sunny days, I am totally independent of the grid, powering my studio and feeding a bank of batteries. A dual-axis tracker helps keep the power up by following the sun across the sky. During evening sessions or extremely overcast days, I can offset my grid usage with a grid-interactive inverter. For example: if the studio is using 10 amps of which solar is providing seven, the grid will cover the other three. The issue with this type of system is that it involves batteries, though if they’re properly maintained, they can last 1-15 years.

microFIT
The microFIT program has been around for a few years and pays $0.80/KWH (kilowatt hour) for systems up to 10 KW for 20 years. The beauty of this system is that you’re feeding the grid with power and it involves no batteries. The program has become extremely popular and I look at it as a great way to make passive income with a one-time installation. I currently have a 9.87 KW system on my studio roof and another system on a rental property. More info can be found at www.microfit.powerauthority.on.ca. Read the rest of this entry »

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