Take Your Mixes To The Next Level

Friday, November 28, 2014

Engineer Francis Buckley On My Latest Inner Circle Podcast

Bobby Owsinski's Inner Circle Podcast image
I have a very unique guest on the podcast this week in engineer Francis Buckley, who's engineered for the likes of Quincy Jones' various productions, Alanis Morissette's big hits and even punk pioneers Black Flag.

 In the intro of the show I give you the 3 basics for online promotion, and we'll talk a little about musical instrument and amp powerhouse Peavey restructuring.

Remember that you can find the podcast either on iTunes or at BobbyOInnerCircle.com, and now also on Stitcher.
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Black Friday Special


It's Black Friday but I'm not selling anything. Instead I want to give you a Holiday gift by giving you 10 days to enjoy my video courses on lynda.com for free.

If you're not hip to Lynda.com, then you really should be. It has over 3,000 video courses that cover essential training for software like Final Cut, Photoshop, Pro Tools and more, as well as how-to courses in social media (like the ones I authored), marketing and business.

Here are my lynda.com courses to check out.
Audio Mixing Bootcamp - If you just can't seem to get the hang of mixing (and it really is an art) or want your mixes to be better, then check out this video course. It covers just about everything you need to know to step up your mixing game.

Audio Recording Techniques - This course shows you the basic techniques for recording just about any instrument, including strings and horns as well as drums, percussion, bass, keys, guitars, vocals and background vocals. Watch a song being recorded from the basic tracks to overdubs right through to the rough mix. 

Music Studio Setup and Acoustics - Sometimes your recordings and mixes just don't sound right not because of your technique, but because of your room! Regardless if you're mixing in your bedroom or recording in your garage, this course will help you improve the acoustics of your room in no time as it shows you how to build your own bass traps and acoustic panels.

Audio Mastering Techniques - Mastering is something that we'll all forced to do ourselves in one situation or another. Now you can learn the techniques used by the pros.

Mastering For iTunes - iTunes has had a high-resolution audio program for a couple of years now as it slowly builds its hi-res catalog. Here's everything you need to know about it, as well as all about the tools and how to use them.

Remember, you can also use the 10 free days to check out all the other lynda.com courses too. Enjoy!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cream "Tales Of Brave Ulysses" Isolated Lead Guitar

Here's another bit of Eric Clapton genius with his isolated wah track on Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses," a cut from their great Disraeli Gears album. I've also included a very cool "making of" video that gives you some behind the scenes of the song.  Some cool things about it:

1. This was one of the first songs to use the then-new wah-wah pedal, which would go on to become a standard piece of gear for every guitar player afterwards.

2. Clapton is rocking the wah back and forth in time with song during the verses, which not many players do, but it works very effectively here.

3. Be sure to watch the "making of" video, which provides some revelations about the song. One of the big things is how the riff was stolen from the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" and how big an influence the Spoonful was on Cream!

For those of you in the US, have a happy and relaxing Thanksgiving!

If you're going to partake in any Thanksgiving or Black Friday Amazon sales, please consider entering Amazon through this link to help support his blog. Thanks!




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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Making A Great Guitar String

Guitar Strings image
Most guitar players settle on a brand of strings without even realizing why, usually only changing when they can't get their favorite brand. In this excerpt from The Ultimate Guitar Tone Handbook (written with my good buddy Rich Tozzoli), Jim D'Addario, the CEO and chairman of D’Addario & Company, Inc. (the world’s largest maker of musical instrument strings), describes what makes a great string as well as some of the differences between the way manufacturers make their strings to help you make a choice next time it's time to buy strings.

"What do you think makes a great guitar string?
Certainly, that’s a matter of opinion. It comes down to what tone you are looking for, however there are some common denominators that are key ingredients for making a great string. The most important things are consistency in diameter, shape, and the mass of the string from one end of the vibrating length to the other. If there are fluctuations as you’re winding or making the string, and the mass of the string varies at any point along its length, the intonation is going to be horrible and the harmonics will not be true.

As we developed the expertise to design and build our own machinery in the 70’s, we developed ways of controlling the variables that are involved with the manufacturing process. One of the most important variables is the tension that you put on the wire as you wrap it around the core. I would say it’s one of the most critical variables in string making. Because we use soft temper wires you can actually elongate the wire significantly during the process and end up with a completely different diameter finished string. Tension is a critical aspect of making a string!

What are some of the innovations you came up with in string manufacturing?
Twenty years ago we developed a closed loop system where we actually measure the tension on the wire just before it goes on the string. Utilizing a load cell and a digital control that adjusts the tension, we always maintain perfect tension specifications. You can’t do that when you wind a string by hand, and you can’t do that with a mechanical tension device. It has to be closed loop and digital. It’s really very similar to an autopilot in a plane. Our machines are constantly making minute corrections to hit the tension target.

The other breakthrough innovation we developed was a way of tracking the angle that the wire was being fed onto the core, which is also extremely critical. Many competitors are still using machinery with mechanical drives that feed the wire, but back in 1979 we developed a system that tracks the wire feed angle and makes adjustments on the fly to ensure the windings are perfectly spaced. It is one of the reasons why our strings are so consistent. We designed this in 1979. You can imagine how expensive the electronics for that was back then.

If you control the basics, core tension, wrap tension and feed angle, then it’s a question of designing the string properly. Here’s where we create your choices for string tone. A flat wound string is very mellow sounding, a half round string is a little brighter and a round wound string is even brighter. A nickel-plated steel round wound string is bright; a stainless steel string is a little brighter, etc., etc.
It’s like going to a restaurant and looking at the menu. What flavor would you like? You want the chef to do a great job at cooking all the things on the menu, but you want to be able to select the flavor that you’re looking for. Picking and designing the materials that should go into the strings is like picking what you like off the menu. Personally, I like very bright sounding strings. I like uncoated phosphor bronze strings on acoustic, but because I have so many guitars and can’t change strings often enough, I use coated EXP strings. I actually like our 80-20 coated strings better than coated phosphor bronze. I don’t know why, but I do. Over the last ten years we’ve gotten the coating process on our EXP’s down to be so thin that I can’t even hear the difference between a coated and a uncoated string anymore.

EXP is a micro coating on the wrap wire that’s only 2/10,000ths of an inch in thickness. What it does is seal it from the environment so it doesn’t corrode and doesn’t get affected by your body chemistry. Those are the key elements that break a string down and make it lose its tone prematurely."

To read additional excerpts from The Ultimate Guitar Tone Handbook and my other books, go to the excerpts section of bobbyowsinski.com.

Here's a great video from the How It's Made program showing the making of a D'Addario string.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

A Look At Abbey Road Remastering Iron Maiden

With vinyl albums coming back in vogue again, most legacy bands are reissuing their catalog on good old fashioned 12 inch records. Iron Maiden is no exception, and recently went to Abbey Road Studios to have their entire collection remastered. Here's a video that shows you a bit of the famed studio's mastering suites as well as the story behind the project.

Anyone that's really into Maiden can find the boxed set here. It makes a great Xmas gift for that metal head or vinyl junky in your life.



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Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Music Gear Monday: AEA Nuvo 8 Ribbon Microphone

Ribbon mics have made quite a comeback over the last 10 years to the point that most new ribbon mics that you buy are better than ever. The problem is that you have to go beyond about $1k to get a quality product. That barrier has recently been broken by Royer with its R101 and the AEA Nuevo 22. Now AEA takes the N22 one step further with a phantom powered version with the introduction of its new Nuevo 8.

The N8 uses the same Big Ribbon TM technology used in its famous R44 (the excellent reproduction of the original RCA 44) and couples an internal preamp to increase the output, so there's no need for a special hi-gain preamp that's often needed to raise the output of a ribbon mic up to a usable level. And it can take a ton of SPL without distortion, topping out at 141dB!

The N8 also utilizes a new sleeker design with a matte finish that's a lot less obtrusive than AEA's traditional mic bodies, so it's perfect for video shoots and getting into spots that aren't available to larger mics.

The AEA Nuevo 8 comes with a storage case and sleeve and has a street price of $1098. Check out the AEA website for more information.

Here's a great demo using two N8's as drum overheads and an R44 on the kick (just like the famous John Bonham setup).


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