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Archive for Music Production

DAWs, plugins, software, hardware and anything that has to do with the creation of music can be found in the Music Production category.

Studio Basics From The Universal Audio Web Site

Great Production Tips from the Universal Audio web site. Having a boatload of UA plugins myself I should review this page more often.

Thunderbolt Explained — What Does it Mean For Your Studio?

Posted by Craig Anderton on October 18, 2012 3:20:58 PM PDT
Intel’s new high-speed serial protocol provides ultra-fast data transfers for audio and video data streams. Read on to learn more about this groundbreaking technology and the potential it holds for studio workflow improvements, data transfer, and more.

Ready, Set, Mix! Tips for Prepping Your Mixing Session

Posted by Bobby Owsinski on July 10, 2012 11:45:30 AM PDT

It’s time to mix, so let’s start to move some faders! Well, maybe not right away. If we really want a mix to go quickly and smoothly, there’s some preparation that needs to be done beforehand. Here's a look at the technical prep, session prep, and personal prep needed before diving into your latest mixing session.

Instrument Tuning Tips for Better Recordings

Posted by Daniel Keller on May 18, 2012 3:53:08 PM PDT

While you’ve been working hard and paying attention to the songs, the parts, the sounds, and all the other big-picture stuff, maybe something’s just ever so slightly out of tune. Tuning is one of the little things that can end up making a huge difference in the final quality of your recordings, so here are some final things to listen for before you start your first take.

Purging Plosives in your vocals.

From Darren Burgos at MacPro Video.

 “Plosives”  can make or break the recording. Even with a pop filter, they still have a tendency to sneak their way in! There's a letter in the alphabet that puts fear in the hearts of home recording engineers ...P! The other is B to a lesser extent. 

In this article, I'll show you two ways to remove them without simply stripping away the lows with a high pass filter. I've included a vocal sample so you can experiment with it, or just load up a track you know that has them. If you'll be listening to these samples through an iPad or mobile phone speaker, you most likely will not hear the difference between the samples. Plosives are almost always in the low frequency range, and most of these devices built-in speakers can't replicate frequencies low enough. Use headphones.

Darren uses these two methods to clean up loud pops.

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Using Automation Patterns in Your Songs With Logic Pro

Here's a handy trick to create cool effects in Logic. It's by Darren burgos over at MacPro Video. This article talks about creating patterns with automation and then using them on instruments as effects. It a pretty complex set up, but looks like a lot of fun to play around with. Darren says...

"When I’m producing, I’ll often pull from a small library of shapes I’ve made and saved into a Logic Project. I can easily copy these pre-made patterns into my existing songs because they’ve been saved inside a standard region. This also makes it easy to stretch or compress the automation ...but we’ll cover that in just a bit!"

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7 Ways To Stimulate Your Capacity For Creativity

 

Google's creative office space in Zurich, Switzerland seems very stimulating.

I pulled this list from an article on Fast Company online. It was written by Don Peppers, the author of Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage

In it Don writes:

"If you want to generate more innovative ideas, then you should purposely expose your mind to radically different facts and unusual, often conflicting concepts."

This is great advice for musicians stuck in a creative rut. Try some of the Don's ideas on the list and let me know if they worked for you by commenting below.

  • Move to a different apartment, or a different office location, or a different job. Change your environment, for no reason other than to make the change.
  • Drive a different route to work or school, or to church, or to the club. Take a long cut, on purpose.
  • Spend 30 minutes a day for two or three weeks with a language course from Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone in order to learn how to ask directions and order food in a new language.
  • Brainstorm different ways to use a common tool (like a hammer, or a Phillips screwdriver).
  • Go on a physical-fitness campaign. Work out until you break a sweat at least one time every day. Seriously. Every single day.
  • Memorize something useless but ambitious, like pi to 100 digits, or the names of all the major chess openings, or all the U.S. vice presidents and the presidents they served.
  • Meet one new person a day for a whole month. Talk to them, converse with them, get to know them. Talk with each of them frequently in subsequent days. You can easily do this online.

You can read the entire article over at Fast Company magazine.

The basics of time and tempo for musicians.

I came across this great series over at GuitarWorld.com by Mark Bacino from Intro.Verse.Chorus. In the article below he talks about how tempo is so rudimentary that it is often overlooked, yet it's an essential part of setting up every song.

As a music creator I (try to) use a metronome on every project I produce. Some are harder than others because many young musicians aren't formally trained so using one is not standard practice (pun intended). When I do use one my metronome of choice is the one included with the iPhone and iPad app, Guitar Toolkit.  The app has a lot of features for guitar players, but the metronome itself is very easy to use and it's tap friendly.

 

 

Songcraft: It’s About Time

by Mark Bacino

As songwriters, we think of tempo as the most basic of basics. Tempo, or the speed at which we perform a song, is sort of the quiet engine, the driving force behind all our tunes; yet, because we consider it so "Songwriting 101," tempo can sometimes become songcraft’s sadly neglected middle child.

The hard, cold facts are these: Perform a great song too fast and you’ve lost the race. Play a great song too slow and the only animal left in the barn when you finish will be the turtle you rode in on. Your audience may never intellectualize your tempo miscalculations, but they will certainly feel them and sense something’s "off."

Recording

Before you begin to record those new songs with your band, have all your tunes' tempos decided upon and documented via the BPM (beats per minute) standard of tempo measurement.

This is great advice. Along with figuring out the tempo there are three other bits of advice I have for you. They are:

  1. Rehearse
  2. Rehearse 
  3. Rehearse. 

Rehearse these set tempos constantly. They should be second nature to the entire band because once recorded and your fans have a feel for them they will expect them come showtime.

Another tempo-finding hack I’ve employed goes like this: Think about your new song and try to recall a favorite tune from another artist that might have a similar vibe or feel. Dig out that artist’s track and try and figure out what tempo their song lives at. You can do this by using the "Tap" function in your DAW or app.

Live

The same thoughts apply. Before leaving that dingy rehearsal room and stepping on stage, try and get your tempos in place. If your drummer is tempo-challenged (and a bunch of good drummers are, believe it or not), they make a lot of tempo-keeping gear for live application that can be used as an on-the-fly reference. If you can, use these tools. They will stop you from playing that 45-minute set in 15 (Been there, done that).

For more on the subject of tempo see Mark's article at GuitarWorld.com.

“All music is used to make money”

Singer/Songwriter Ralph Murphy shares his insight and experiences from his 30+ years of being in the music "business". This is a fantastic lecture that took place at Layola University. He stresses over and over about how this is a business.

He also stresses that all artists need to know how to craft a song so that it appeals to your audience/fans. If you can keep you fans entertained and wanting more then you will remain in the business and potentially make a pretty good living. If you neglect the basics of songwriting you will more than likely not be in the business for very long.

Below are a couple of gems I picker out as points to remember for up and coming artists like yourselves.

"What brings you to a song 100% of the time is melody. What keeps you there is lyric."

"For you artist or singer songwriter a song is not a song, a song is a linear lyrical conversation between you and every single person in that room."

"Music is the underpinning of society."

"The three things you ask yourself when you're finished with your work are, what's in it for the listener? What's in it for the listener? What's in it for the listener? If there's nothing in it for the listener you're wasting your time."

 

What made your favorite record memorable?

This is a great question by Steve Guttenberg, CNET Blog Network author. He  asked...

What's the best-sounding record you ever heard?

This might be a tough question for a lot of people: defining what good sound is, and separating sound from music isn't easy.

It might be impossible to distill it to just one album or song. We tend to like the sound of music we like, and conflate good sound with good music.

That's understandable, but when the sound jumps out and draws your attention, take, for example, the sound of Jimi Hendrix's feedback. It was Hendrix's distortion, not his songs, that forever changed the sound of electric guitars.

Paul McCartney said it was the sound of the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" album that inspired the Beatles to radically change their sound and make "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

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