Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Queen "Bohemian Rhapsody" Isolated Guitar Solo

Here's the most beautiful and passionate solo that guitarist Brian May played on Queen's magnificent "Bohemian Rhapsody." He's always been one of the most underrated players, both for his soulful playing and for his smooth-as-silk tone, and this isolated solo track shows him in all his glory. Listen for:

1. The amplifier noise before the solo starts.

2. The string noise in between phrases. We guitar players sometimes obsess over getting rid of it, but you never hear it when the other instruments are added to the track.

3. How unprocessed Brian's sound is. What you hear is a man with a guitar and amp, with no special effects added. He obviously knows how to drive his gear very well.



----------------------------------

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, August 21, 2013

The Pros And Cons Of M-S Recording

M-S Mic Array image
My pal and reader Gian Nicola asked about the pros and cons of M-S, or Mid-Side, stereo recording so I thought I'd respond with a passage from the upcoming 3rd edition of The Recording Engineer's Handbook (due to be released in October).


"M-S stands for Mid-Side and consists again of two microphones; a directional mic (an omni can be substituted as well) pointed towards the sound source and a figure 8 mic pointed towards the sides. Once again the mics are positioned so their capsules are as close to touching as possible (see the graphic on the left).

M-S is great for stereo imaging, especially when most of the sound is coming from the center of the ensemble. Because of this, it’s less effective on large groups, favoring the middle voices that the mics are closest to. 

M-S doesn’t have many phase problems in stereo, and has excellent mono compatibility which can make it the best way to record room and ambience under the right circumstances. In many cases it can sound more natural than a spaced pair, which is covered later in the chapter. If the source is extra large, sometimes using M-S alone will require too much distance away from the ensemble to get the whole section or choir into perspective, so multiple mic locations must be used. If a narrower pickup pattern is required to attenuate the hall sound, then a directional mic such as a cardioid, or even a hypercardioid, will work for the “M” mic. Just be aware that you may be sacrificing low end response as a result.

For best placement, walk around the room and listen to where the instrument or sound source sounds best. Note the balance of instrument to room, and the stereo image of the room as well. Once you have found a location, set up the directional mic where the middle of your head was. 

M-S Decoding
Listening to either of these mics alone may sound OK, or may even sound horribly bad. That’s because in order to make this system work, the mic’s output signals need an additional decoding step to reproduce a faithful stereo image. The directional creates a “positive” voltage from any signal it captures, and the bi-directional mic creates a positive voltage from anything coming from the left, and a negative voltage from anything coming from the right. As a result, you need to decode the two signals to create the proper stereo effect.

While you can buy an M-S decoder, you can easily emulate one with 3 channels on your console or DAW. On one channel, bring up the cardioid (M) forward-facing mic. Copy the figure 8 mic (S) to two additional channels in your DAW. Pan both channels to one side (like hard left), then flip the phase of the second ‘S’ channel and bring up the level until the two channels cancel 100%.

Now pan the first ‘S’ channel hard left, the second “S” channel hard right, balance the cardioid (M) channel with your pair of “S” channels and you have your M-S decode matrix.


A nice additional feature of this method is that you’re able to vary the amount of room sound (or change the “focus”) by varying the level of the bi-directional “S” mic."


----------------------------------

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, August 20, 2013

How Old Are Your Ears?

Here's a totally unscientific hearing test that checks your high-end response. Make sure you use headphones and watch it to the end, since it explains why our hearing gets worse as we grow older.



----------------------------------

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, August 19, 2013

The 6 Elements Of A Mix

Mixing Audio image
Many engineers mix by feel, never realizing what their process is. The fact is, it's a lot harder to determine what's wrong about a mix if you don't know about the 6 elements that every great mix must have. Here's an excerpt from the latest 3rd edition of The Mixing Engineer's Handbook that explains those 6 elements.

"Every genre of modern music, be it rock, pop, r&b, hip hop, country, new age, swing, drum and bass, trance or any other category featuring a strong backbeat, has six main elements required for a great mix. They are:
  • Balance: the volume level relationship between musical elements.
  • Frequency Range: having all audible frequencies properly represented.
  • Panorama: placing a musical element in the soundfield.
  • Dimension: adding ambience to a musical element.
  • Dynamics: controlling the volume envelope of an individual track or the entire mix.
  • Interest: making the mix special.

Many mixes have only four or five of these elements, but all six MUST be present for a GREAT mix, as they are all equally important.


In some music genres that require simply recreating an unaltered acoustic event (like classical or jazz or any live concert recording), it’s possible that only the first four elements are needed to have a mix be considered great, but Dynamics and Interest have evolved to become extremely important elements even in those genres as modern music has evolved."

You can read additional excerpts from The Mixing Engineer's Handbook at the excerpts section of bobbyowsinski.com.
----------------------------------

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, August 18, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: The Subpac

One of the best things about having a big set of monitors in the studio or being at a concert is the fact that you can feel the music as well as hear it. There's a feeling of power that you get that excites us in a truly visceral way. A big problem with headphones is they may sound great, but you just won't get that low end punch and muscle to make it feel like a real experience.

Now comes the Subpac, a tactile bass system that slips against the back of your chair and allows you to feel those low frequencies. Suddenly that you can feel frequencies down to 5Hz, which is impossible in most small studio situations.

This isn't the first time that tactile bass systems have been tried, as the Buttkicker has been around for a while. That unit took a little bit of clunky installation as you had to physically mount it to your chair or stool. The Subpac is simple in that it just fits to the back of any chair like a seat cushion, supply a line in signal, and get your butt shaken. I experienced it myself, and it really works well. The Subpac is available for $350.


----------------------------------

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.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...