Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Doors "Light My Fire" Isolated Guitar And Organ

"Light My Fire" by The Doors is one of those iconic American rock songs that has survived 40+ based largely on it's raw energy and great playing. Even though the album version of the song clocked in at 7 minutes and highlighted the band at their improvisational best, the edited 2:52 single without the solos is what got them on the radio and expanded their fan base when the song came out in 1967.

The song was largely written by guitarist Robbie Krieger, with just a few lyric additions by vocalist Jim Morrison. Here's a listen to the more or less isolated guitar and organ from the song.

1. The band is tight and dynamic, which you can really hear throughout the song. In fact, it's the perfect lesson in dynamics for all bands in the way the group leaves space for the vocals in the verse by backing off in intensity, raises it the choruses, and brings it up even more during the peaks in the solo and the last chorus.

2. There are a number of small mistakes and misfingerings by both guitarist Krieger and the late organist Ray Manzerek, but they blend in with the intensity of the song. You can even say that in many ways they make the song sound as "organic" as it does, which is ultimately what pulls your ear in.

3. I'm not sure if the audio for this video was extracted from the original or remastered version, but the original album version was unintentionally slowed down by 3.5%, which was corrected on the reissue.


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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Demise Of The Electric Guitar In Music

Electric Guitar Pickup image
There are times when a trend happens so fast that it’s just like being hit in the face with an ice cold towel, and then there are times when it’s so slow moving that you can feel something happening, but it takes a while before you realize that you’re totally immersed in something new. A little of both happened to me over the last week as it finally sunk in that mainstream pop music is now totally represented by the latest music trend. And guess what? The electric guitar, staple of modern music for more than 50 years, has no part in it.

In case you’re wondering, it’s electronic dance music (or EDM as we’ve grown to call it) that has totally blended with pop music to become the current background music of our lives. It’s now in every nook and cranny where the hippest music is played.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m in the music business up to my ears every day and I’m totally aware that EDM has become both a phenomenon and a giant money maker over the last three or four years in terms of live events. I’m also more than aware that over the last two years elements of EDM have permeated the Top 40 charts on the vast majority of hits. You have to be completely musically unconscious to not to have seen and heard that.


And I read the stats and watch the revenue numbers involving EDM, where you could see the big money of the major promoters and record labels making their moves to claim their territory over the last year. It’s usually a sign that a trend has peaked as the big brands move in to stake their claim and squeeze every last drop of financial juice out of the trend that they can, as seems to be happening at the moment. You read and absorb all this data, but sometimes it just doesn’t sink in. Needless to say I was unprepared for my recent mini-revelation. Read More On Forbes.
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Combating Bass Buildup In Your Room

12 room angles image
Figure 1: 12 room angles
Most rooms suffer from bass buildup, which happens more and more as the room gets smaller. Here's an excerpt from The Studio Builder's Handbook that describes the 12 angles of every room and how to treat them to suppress that low end buildup and make your room response smoother.

"Bass frequencies bounce around the room but eventually find their way to the corners, which then act as a waveguide and focus them back into the room. They’re the greatest culprits for bass buildup, and require treatment in order to tame the low frequency peaks that every room has. That’s why even if you’ve built an effective Reflection Free Zone, you still need as many bass traps as you can get to even out the low frequency bumps that will inevitably occur. The good news is that the more bass traps you have, the less it matters where you place the traps.
Floor to ceiling trap image
Figure 2: Floor to ceiling trap

It is important to remember that the purpose of a bass trap is not to reduce the amount of low end you hear in a room, but to reduce their destructive reflections and thereby even out any low frequency level fluctuations that occur in untreated rooms (especially those with solid walls). With enough bass trapping, the low end will sound tighter and more predictable, and will change less when you move away from the sweet spot.

There are 12 corners in a rectangle room (see Figure 1 on the left) and all of them are candidates for trapping. The front wall corners are usually the easiest to treat because no one walks there and you don’t lose any space as a result. The ideal is to fill them with floor to ceiling bass traps (see Figure 2), but the eight corners where the walls and ceiling and walls and floor come together should suffice (see Figure 3).

Corner trap image
Figure 3: Corner trap
The traps don’t all have to be the same size since bass is non-directional. As a result, the total surface coverage is more important than symmetry (this is not the case for mid/high frequency absorbers however, where symmetry is important). That being said, it’s best if the traps are spread around the room in as many corners as possible.

When acoustic panels are placed straddling the corners (see Figure 4), there’s an inherent air gap that makes the trap more effective because it helps their ability to absorb low frequencies. It’s even better if you can fill up the space with regular insulation like R-13. Thicker panels are always better for corner traps, although lighter weight ones make them easier to hang. Bass traps that extend floor to ceiling work the best because they maximize the way they absorb low frequencies.
Acoustic panels straddling corners image
Figure 4: Acoustic panels at corners

You can build bass traps yourself as we’ve outlined in Chapter 3, or you can buy them pre-made from a number of suppliers like Real Traps, GIK Acoustics, PrimeAcoustic, Ready Acoustics and MSR Acoustics among others."





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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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, October 7, 2013

Build A DIY Voice-Over Booth

If you're doing voice-overs for your videos and don't like the way your room sounds due to excessive reflections from hard walls, here's a video that shows a quick and easy way to set up a mini-voiceover booth. The video's host and booth designer Les McDonald says it cost him $23, but I bet you can do it for less if you shop around.

Keep in mind that this won't scale up to be a complete vocal booth, as you'll need to use better techniques and acoustic materials (you can find out more about how to do that in The Studio Builder's Handbook), but it will work fine for the purpose it's designed.



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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, October 6, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Leslie 122XB Speaker

When you think of Hammond organ, you automatically think Leslie speaker, that unique big wooden box that takes advantage of the Doppler effect to make that sound we love. It's interesting in that while powered monitors are all the rage today, Don Leslie was the first one to incorporate an amp into his speaker cabinet over a half-century ago, as well as the totally out-of-the-box design.

Vintage Leslies like the model 122 or 147 go for big bucks these days because for a long time, they just didn't make them like they used to. Now that may be a thing of the past with the new Leslie 122XB, which maintains all the things we love about the old ones, yet brings them into the future as well.

The 122XB retains the rotating horn, 15 woofer with rotating drum, and 40 watt tube amp, but adds the 11 pin connector used on modern Hammonds. But the coolest new features are the ones that everybody moded on their Leslies of the past; a 1/4 input so you can plug other instruments into it, and a footswitch to change the speed.

I think the 122XB is overpriced at $3395, but on the other hand, it's one of those purchases that you'll use for a lifetime and won't depreciate much. Here's a video that explains more.



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You should follow me on Twitter and Facebook 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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