Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tell Me What You'd Like To Read In 2014.

Take The Survey image
In order to provide you with the exact material that you want to read on the blog every day, please help me by taking this very short survey.

Click here to take survey

Thanks very much!


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

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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Duran Duran "Hungry Like The Wolf" Isolated Vocals

It's always interesting to go back and listen to the song that set an artist or band off on a career, so today we'll look at the isolated vocal track from Duran Duran's first big hit "Hungry Like The Wolf." The song was written in only day around a backing track from a Roland TR-808 drum machine (you can find the samples here) and Jupiter 8 keyboard (samples here). Although the first recording was finished by the time the band went home for the night, all of the parts except for the backing track were re-recorded again at London's AIR Studios a few months later. The song was released on the band's Rio album to much fanfare in 1982.

Here are some things to listen for in the song (the vocals begin at around 10 seconds):

1. The lead vocal has an interesting modulation effect supplied by an Eventide 949 Harmonizer. It's a trick we used to use on a vocalist with pitch problems where you tune one channel up a few cents and the other down a few cents. That spreads the vocals out a bit across the stereo spectrum, gives the impression of a double, and makes you forget all about any pitch problems that might be occurring. Listen - it works!

2. Theres a nice delayed reverb on the vocal tracks that has most of the top and bottom end filtered out so it blends into the mix better. When you listen to the the vocal in the track with the rest of the instruments, it has a nice sheen on it without actually hearing the reverb, but it's pretty apparent when you just listen to the isolated vocals.



You can read more about how the hit songs that you love were create in Deconstructed Hits.

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

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, December 25, 2013

4 Rules For EQing When Mastering

T-RackS Mastering image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
Not everyone can afford professional mastering, and it's so easy to do it yourself these days thanks to some great and affordable tools. The problem is that these tools are so powerful that it's really easy to get into trouble and wind up with a product that's a lot worse than what you started with. The process that causes all the trouble is usually over-EQing.

This is especially true when an engineer is mastering his own mixes (not a great idea, by the way). There’s a tendency to over-compensate with the EQ, adding huge amounts (usually on the bottom end) that wrecks the frequency balance completely. Here are 4 rules on EQing when mastering that come from Mixing And Mastering With T-RackS: The Official Guide that can keep you from getting into trouble and help to make masters sound better than ever.

Rule #1: Listen to other CDs (or high-resolution mixes - no MP3s) that you like first before you touch an EQ parameter. The more CDs, the better. You need a reference point to compare to or you’ll surely over-compensate.

Rule #2: A little goes a long way. If you feel that you need to add more than 2 or 3 dB, you’re better off remixing!

Where in recording, you might use large amounts of EQ (+/- 3 to 15 dB) at a certain frequency, but mastering is almost always in very small increments (usually in 1/10ths of a dB to 2 or 3 at the very most in rare cases). What you will see is a lot of small shots of EQ along the audio frequency band, but in very small amounts.

For example, you might see something like -1 at 30hz, +.5 at 60Hz, .2 at 120Hz, -.5 at 800Hz, -.7 at 2500, +.6 at 8kHz and +1 at 12. Notice that there’s a little happening at a lot of places.

Seriously though, if you have to add a lot of EQ, go back and remix. That’s what the pros do. It’s not uncommon at all for a pro mastering engineer to call up a mixer and tell him where he’s off and even ask him to mix it again.

Rule #3: Keep comparing the EQ’d version with the original version as well as other songs that you’re mastering. The idea of mastering, first of all, is to make the song or program sound better with EQ, not worse. Don’t fall into the trap where you think it sounds better just because it sounds louder. The only way to do this well is to have the levels pretty much the same between the EQ’d and pre-EQ’d tracks. That’s one of the reasons why IK Multimedia’s T-Racks works great for mastering. It has an A/B function that allows you to compensate for the increased levels so that you can really tell if you’re making it sound better or not.

Rule #4: Keep comparing the song you’re currently working on to all the other songs that you've mastered. The idea is to get them to all sound the same. It’s pretty common for mixes to sound different from song to song even if they’re done by the same mixer with the same gear, but it’s your job to make the listener think that the songs were all done on the same day in the same way. They’ve got to sound as close as possible to each other as you can get them, or at least reasonably close as to not stand out.

As you can see, equalization in mastering isn’t that difficult as long as you keep in mind exactly what you’re trying to do, which is to make a group of songs sound like they belong with each other.

Remember: Even if you can’t get the songs to sound just like your best sounding CD, you’re mastering job will still be considered “pro” if you can get all the songs to sound the same in tone and volume!"

You can read additional excerpts from Mixing and Mastering With T-RackS and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.
----------------------------------

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, December 24, 2013

Bruce Springsteen "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"

Let's celebrate the holiday with one of the best versions of a Christmas standard that you'll ever hear. It's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" by my old neighbor Bruce Springsteen and his E-Street Band from the famous 1978 concert at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. This version really smokes!

Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks so much for reading!


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

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, December 23, 2013

Top 10 Christmas Songs

Santa plays guitar image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture blog
I wanted to find a definitive list of the best Christmas songs to post, but each one seems to have it's own unique twist. Therefore, here's the top 10 ASCAP Christmas songs. Note that they're recordings, not traditional songs, and although the song order might seem right, the artist performing it might not (remember that it's an ASCAP list).

1. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
Written by Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Most popular version performed by Dean Martin


2. "Sleigh Ride"
Written by Leroy Anderson, Mitchell Parish
Most popular version performed by Leroy Anderson


3. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
Written by Meredith Willson
Most popular version performed by Johnny Mathis


4. "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree"
Written by Johnny Marks
Most popular version performed by Brenda Lee


5. "Jingle Bell Rock"
Written by Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
Most popular version performed by Bobby Helms


6. "Winter Wonderland"
Written by Felix Bernard, Richard B. Smith
Most popular version performed by Amy Grant


7. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year"
Written by Edward Pola, George Wyle
Most popular version performed by Andy Williams


8. "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
Written by Gloria Shayne Baker, Noël Regney
Most popular version performed by Whitney Houston


9. "Frosty the Snowman"
Written by Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
Most popular version performed by Jimmy Durante


10. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
Written by Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie
Most popular version performed by Bruce Springsteen

Have a Happy Holiday!
----------------------------------

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, December 22, 2013

Yamaha To Acquire Line 6

Line 6 logo image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog
In a move that surprised many in the industry, the MI market was shaken up on Friday when it was announced that Yamaha has agreed to acquire guitar and amp company Line 6. Few details of the agreement have been revealed except that Line 6 will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary, and that management team will remain in place and the brand will continue.

While acquisitions like this sometimes mean that the company being bought was in trouble financially, that's not the case here, as both sides are quite pleased with the strategic nature of the situation. Line 6's investors were able to cash out and the company will be able to gain some much needed marketing clout and expertise from Yamaha, while Yamaha gains some great proprietary technology and expertise that they need as well.

My take is that while it's tough to see another large MI company absorbed by an even larger one, this is the nature of the business and something to be expected. In all industries you have the mega, the medium and the boutique. The mega's tend to acquire the medium companies, which opens up room for the boutiques to grow. If you're a small company in the MI business, you have Ghandi's words to follow:

"First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win."

In business, winning can mean a lot of things, from growing to becoming a mega corporation, to going public, to growing just big enough to keep the founder happy, or to selling out to a larger company. In the case of Line 6, it's the latter, so congrats to the executive team at the company, and here's to keeping the brand alive.

Just another reason why NAMM should be all the more interesting this year.
----------------------------------

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.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...