Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Conversation With Jimmy Page

Here's a rare interview with Led Zeppelin founder/producer Jimmy Page. It's an excerpt from 2012 on the BBC News. It's a bit of a promo about the DVD from their 2007 reunion show, of which bits and pieces are shown during the interview, but it's still great to hear from him.

You can tell from the conversation that he still wants to tour and there's been some rumors that Robert Plant has softened on the prospect. Here's hoping that it happens.



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How To Know When Your Mix Is Finished

Controller faders image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blogOne of the hardest things for an inexperienced mixer to determine is when a mix is finished. In fact, engineers new to mixing may think a mix is ready in an hour when a pro might take considerably longer, but the quality would be better as well.  This excerpt from The Audio Mixing Bootcamp looks just how you'll know when your mix is ready for the world.

"While many beginning mixers will fly through a mix and be finished in an hour, most mix veterans take a lot longer than that to get a mix together. As you’ve seen from the previous chapters, a fair amount of experimentation is required to find the parameter settings for EQ, compression and effects that work with the track.

While rough mixes are done very fast by nature (they may only take a couple of passes through the song to get together), and you might occasionally get lucky with a quick mix, most veteran mixers usually figure it takes a five to twelve hour day to mix a song. Many mixers like to have an extra half-day to tweak things with a fresh ear, but many big-name, big-budget projects can take weeks of multiple mixes to sculpt it just right.

Of course, if all you have is time, then you can mix a song way beyond its peak (the final mix for Michael Jackson’s hit “Billy Jean” was #2 out of 99), so it’s best to have a few guidelines as to when it might be finished.

How To Know When Your Mix Is Finished
You can consider a mix finished when the following occur:
  • You can feel the groove. Whatever element supplies the groove, it has to be emphasized so that the listener can feel it.
  • Every instrument or vocal can be clearly heard. If an instrument or vocal is unintentionally masked or covered by another instrument or vocal, then your mix isn’t finished.
  • Every lyric and every note of every line or solo must be clearly heard. Each note should be crystal clear. Tweak your fader automation to help this out.
  • Be sure the mix is punchy. This is usually a function of the bass and drum EQ and compression.
  • The mix has an interesting element. Make sure the most important element of the song is obvious to the listener.
  • Be sure your mix sounds good when you play it against other songs that you like. Consider it a job well done when this happens.
If time is not a problem, do as many versions as you can until you feel satisfied with your creation. Mixing takes experience so the more time you put in, the better you get at it.

Am I Finished Yet?
A) Listen to the mix. Is the groove obvious? Can you feel it in the mix?

B) Listen to the mix. Can every instrument be clearly heard?

C) Listen to the mix but concentrate on the vocal. Can every lyric be heard?

D) Is the mix punchy?

E) Listen to the mix. What grabs your attention?

F) Play your mix and then play your favorite song. If both songs were played on the radio back to back, would your mix stand up?"

To read additional excerpts from The Audio Mixing Bootcamp and other books, go to BobbyOwsinski.com.

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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bootsy And The School Of James Brown

Bootsy Collins is not only one of the best funk bass players on the planet, but his history in the business goes way back to playing with the legendary James Brown at the height of his powers. Bootsy's also a funny guy, as you'll see in this clip.

The first 30 seconds he lays down the funk, then tells the story about how Mr. Brown used to write songs. Priceless!



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Most Stolen Song Of All Time

Here's a great video that shows just how many songs are built around the same chord changes - I, V, VIm, IV. We're not talking oldies here either. Most of the songs, with only a few exceptions, are fairly recent.

After watching this, maybe the best thing to do is put that pattern away for a little while and revisit it in maybe 10 years or so.


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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Presonus StudioLive 32.4.2AI

In most home studios, consoles are making a comeback, while for live performance they never went away. That said, the mixing desk of today hardly resembles the one of even ten years ago, with even the smallest ones having a huge amount of power and features only dreamed of by the mixers of yesterday.

That's why the Presonus StudioLive 32.4.2 is so cool; it packs so much into a console that has a street price of around $4,000 that it's hard to believe if you're an old school mixer.

With over 60,000 of the 16 and 24 channel versions already in use, the 32.4.2 brings a number of new attributes, like 6 mute groups, 8 scene buttons, firewire 800 connections (for up 48 in and 32 out recording) with an option for an upcoming Thunderbolt card.

Couple that with current features like wireless interactivity to control the desk from a computer or iPad or headphone mixes from an iPhone, 54 hi-pass filters, 60 gates, 60 compressors, 60 limiters, 60 parametric equalizers, 16 31 band graphic EQs, 4 effects processors, 32 preamps, and recording and editing software, and you have a powerhouse on your hands for not all that much money in the grand scheme of things.

While it seems to lean a little to the live area instead of the studio, the StudioLive 32.4.2AI is still a huge bang for buck. Check out the video that explains it all.



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You should follow me on Twitter for daily news and updates on production and the music business.

Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating social media and the new music business.

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