Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Beatles "This Boy" Isolated Vocals

I post a lot of isolated Beatles tracks on this blog, but there's a good reason. They're the prototype for so much of the music we enjoy today. Plus, their songs were so strong that we still enjoy them 40+ years later.

One of the things that we loved best about them were their vocal harmonies. Anyone who's ever sung in a band knows that it actually takes longer to get your vocal harmonies tight than it does the band. Of course, The Beatles put in their 10,000 hours prior to breaking out, playing 7 sets a night in Hamburg, which made their vocals as strong as they were.

Here's one of the best examples of the boys excellent blend in an isolated track from a song featured in their first film A Hard Day's Night called "This Boy." Here's what to listen for:

1) The blend is great, but their releases aren't. There always seems to be someone hanging over at the end of the phrases. They got better at this as they got more recording experience.

2) We're not listening to something that's been doubled or artificially thickened like you would have today (except for the bridge); for most of the song you're hearing just John, Paul and George singing together on a single track.



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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.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Practice Tips To Improve Your Musical Skill

Pocketstrings image
I recently read a great article about practicing your instrument on NPR that was focused more on orchestral players, but had many aspects that are universal for any instrument. After reading it, I realized that when I had my best practices and progressed the most, I was subconsciously using many of these methods. Here's my adaptation of the article's suggestions, which provides 5 practice tips that will improve your musical skill.

1. Find a quiet space. I've seen people trying to practice with people and noise around and it's never as productive as when you're alone. Even if no one is speaking to you, your still subconsciously distracted.

2. Practice with a goal. Actually plan what you're trying to accomplish today.

3. Practice smarter, not longer. You can accomplish more when your focused, so make sure that if a section is giving you trouble, you spend enough time concentrating on it. Not too much time though, since that could wreck your practice schedule and lead to missing your daily goal. If you don't get the part today, it will be easier tomorrow.

4. Challenge yourself physically. Try to learn something that's difficult to play. Research has found that by stretching yourself, your brain is creating new neural circuits that can be applied to other aspects of your playing.

5. Practice away from your instrument. When you're away from your instrument, visualize playing it. Listen to a song and see yourself playing it in your mind. Athletes do this all the time to get better, why shouldn't you?

Practicing for the sake of just putting time in can be counterproductive and not much fun. Save time, energy and improve your skills with these 5 practice tips.

You'll find some other great rehearsal tips in my How To Make Your Band Sound Great book. You can read excerpts from that and other books on the excerpts section of bobbyowsinski.com.
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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.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Recording Engineer's Handbook 3rd Edition Is Here

Recording Engineer's Handbook 3rd Edition image
I'm happy to announce the release of the 3rd edition of the Recording Engineer's Handbook, the best selling book that covers all aspects of recording music.

The new edition is updated to better reflect the fact that so many people are now recording at home directly into their DAW. It also includes a new chapter on prepping the drum kit for recording, an essential operation when it comes to getting a great drum sound.

Still included are the interviews with many of the legends of recording, like Al Schmitt, Chuck Ainley, Ed Cherney, Frank Fillipetti, Eddie Kramer, Michael Bishop, Steve Albini, Bruce Botnick, Wyn Davis and Mark Linett, that covers just about any genre of recording.

You'll also enjoy the Microphone chapter that covers all of the history behind all of the classic mics that we've come to know and love, as well as the new classics, and the classic clones. Of particular interest is the interview with David Bock of Bock Audio Designs, one of the most knowledgeable and passionate proponents of both old and new mics, and why they sound the way they do.

Best of all, you'll discover multiple miking techniques for just about any instrument you can think of, as well as simple drum miking techniques using one, two, three and four microphones that get a great sound. There's even techniques for getting that classic Ringo Beatle's sound, a reggae drum sound, and the big Tommy Lee snare cannon sound.

Instructors that use The Recording Engineer's Handbook as a text book will be happy to learn that an Instructor's Resource Kit is now available (drop me a line for the link), complete with weekly lesson plans, tests, and Keynote and Powerpoint presentations.

You can read more about The Recording Engineer's Handbook at bobbyowsinski.com, as well as read a number of excerpts. You can also buy the book on Amazon (available for the Kindle too) or at most book and music stores.
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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 14, 2013

The Biggest Subwoofer In The World

There's absurd and then there's ABSURD! and this 6 foot subwoofer falls into the later category. It's actually a project for the UW-Madison Engineering Expo by a couple of Phd electronic and mechanical engineering students. They call it a "bass cannon" and it's said to cause loss of bowel control all over the building it's located in when it operates.

The speaker itself is 6 foot and made of two sheets of polycarbonate riveted together to form the cone, the voice coil is built around a fiberglass frame, and the magnetics are secured by 10 inch steel pipe. The cabinet is 8 foot by 8 foot by 2 foot, and the sub's peak electrical draw is 6kw. Oh, and it reproduces as low as 5Hz.

The video doesn't do it justice, but then how could it? But it's better than wearing rubber pants and seeing it in action in person.


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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.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

New Music Gear Monday: Marshall Stanmore iPhone Speaker

Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth Speaker image
This is just about the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. It's the Stanmore speaker by Marshall Headphones (yes, that Marshall of guitar amp fame). The Stanmore is an extension amp/speaker system for your Bluetooth phone, but it also has 1/8th inch, optical and RCA inputs as well.

Powered by a Class D amp (I can't find a real power stat anywhere), the Stanmore is stereo with two 3/4 inch dome tweeters and a 5 1/4 inch woofer in the middle. The unit has the standard Marshall amp setup of volume, bass and treble, two standby modes to save power, two push buttons for source and Bluetooth pairing, and the same on/off switch found on their guitar amps.

It's available in black or cream color, and retails for $400, which also includes a coiled 1/8th inch input cable as well. Why settle for just any Bluetooth speaker setup when you can have a Marshall and be cool?
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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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