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Sound Advice

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:
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.

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 »

Noise Reduction & Ambience Restoration For Location Recordings By Frank Lockwood

August 19th, 2012

Famed Mastering Engineer Bob Ohlsson once said that all signal processing is a trade-off between sonic degradation and a perceived improvement in sound quality. Nowhere is this truer than with the many noise reduction and audio repair software packages that have developed over the last decade-and-a-half. The first time you remove hiss, air, handling noise, or camera whir from a recording, it’s like the sun comes out and clarity and goodness rules the land. There is, however, that pesky trade-off to consider.

All broadband noise reduction processes, regardless of developer, work on the principle of dividing the audio spectrum up into many individual frequency bands, each with its own level detection and gating process. The system is “trained” by sampling some unwanted noise and the frequency response trace created mirrors its spectral balance, in turn becoming the threshold for each band’s gate. When program level exceeds the threshold, it passes through unhindered but when it drops to, or below, the threshold, the band’s volume drops by a user-set amount. In well-designed software the transition from gated to un-gated audio and back again is all but imperceptible. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Just A Phase – Part 1 By Robert DiVito

August 19th, 2012

In our stereophonic world, phase and mono compatibility have become less of an ongoing concern as people are finding fewer reasons to check for it. There was a time when broadcast demanded it. Now, with most TVs being stereo and laptops sporting dual speakers, why worry about your mix sounding great in mono? Well there are still many good reasons to check for it, and some suggest your stereo mixes will benefit. Many places where mono mixes are still relevant include:
• Large FOH systems playing back pre-recorded material in mono.
• Radio stations broadcasting over the FM and AM bands.
• Spaced overhead speakers in malls playing back in either mono or stereo.
• Consumer stereo systems wired out of phase. (It happens a lot!) Read the rest of this entry »


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