Acoustic sessions

Music production techniques

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ian k
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Acoustic sessions

Post by ian k » Mon 09 Jan, 2006 1:52 pm

Following on from the Interview thread..

Here are some of the more complete tracks we've been working on. We haven't used any MIDI at all and the minimum amount of cutting and pasting has been done on the audio files. All the recordings were done on a Mackie d8B with an HDR24 hard disk recorder, the mic's we used were an AKG C2000B a pair of CK91's a Shure SM57 and a couple of other dynamic mic's I can't remember what they were though. All the compression, EQ, gating, fx etc. were done with the Mackie d8B and the plug-ins that come with it. All the musicians we used are based in the Liverpool area. I'd be interested to hear your comments!

TarotReader
Bienvenido
HarpKeys

Cheers
Ian

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chuckcogan
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Post by chuckcogan » Mon 09 Jan, 2006 2:13 pm

all 3 sound VERY professional me thinks :D
Like "HarpKeys" the most...very filmic in its sound
sounds really cool mate :D
peace & respect
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Post by darlo » Mon 09 Jan, 2006 7:44 pm

Nice neutral sound.

Was that natural verb on the instruments or a plugin??.
My fave was TarotReader. Did you mic the whole on the drum kit or did you use a couple of mics around the kit.

What course are you on Ian, I would give my left arm to get on an audio course, however commitments make it a real no-go and I can't play for toffee.

oh well.

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Post by ian k » Mon 09 Jan, 2006 9:48 pm

Thanks for the comments. All the instruments were recorded in a small room with porous absorbers on the walls so there was hardly any reverb in it at all apart from an annoying ring coming from the low frequencies which I had to EQ out of the tracks with congas on it. I added reverb and chorus using the d8B plug-ins which are Ok but not the best. The percussion on Tarot Reader was done as overdubs. We recorded the congas first with a stereo pair of mics above and in front of the congas and one underneath I think, along with the bass. Then layered the cowbell and chimes, then the snare was put on last. I had the snare set up with a mic above and one below for the rattle. We had a good percussionist which really helps the track. Then we did overdubs for the vocal then the sax last.
The bongos on harp keys were done with a stereo pair of mics facing each other, one above the other at 180 degrees, panned left and right on the desk so you get quite a dramatic stereo effect with it.
The course is with SAE. I'd recommend it if you're into the technical side of things, engineering etc., but other courses would probably be more suitable for musicians. I'm more of an engineer than a musician myself!..I can just about play a tune without hitting any bum notes if I practice hard enough!

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Post by mista guest » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 12:12 am

Hello Mr. K.

All three tracks sound top-notch to these ears over here.
I have to say that 'Bienvenido' is my favorite (musically) wise, but all three sound as though they were conceived with a lot of heart and soul, and an awfull lot of love for this kind of music.
I know absolutely nothing about production, so I'm not even going to go there, but I did feel that wonderfull cielo on 'Harp Keys', glide up and down to make it the stand out factor in all 3 tracks; I love cielo's :).

Absolutely wonderfull stuff !

Keep on......

P.S. You seem like the man to ask; what is 'gating', in music production ?

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Post by mark p » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 3:19 am

mike gating is a 80s cricketer!!! or was it gatting
Gateing can be used in many ways, Gates were used with tape machines, they have a threshold, attack, hold and release. So if you have something on tape that comes in now and again and you want to get rid of tape noise by setting the threshold you can get the gate to open when the sound comes in then close afterwords. Now then you can get creative with gates also, in the 80s engineers would use gates to shape reverbs, if you listen to many 80s drum sounds especially snares they have a big burst of reverb but then the reverb cuts out, you can shape the tail of the reverb with a gate. Loads of electro used this technique and some techno artist used this, check some art of noise. I actually like the effect but it was over used in pop music, i dont really like it on live drums. You can use it to shape sounds like a envelope, i used to use gates on my drums just to shorten them slightly on the harmonic 33 tracks. Drawmer were a famous brand for gates. You always have to watch oout for clicks and be carefull seting the threshold and attack ect.

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Post by mista guest » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 6:12 am

Hello, and thanks, Mr. Mark.
I was always under the impression that those sounds I heard, in all of those rekkids that sounded as though they'd been reverbed, then cut off (a la gated), had been sampled originally with a reverb, then chopped via the mixing desk i.e. the snare on channel three, was muted physically on that respective channel. I really don't know why I thought this - I just did !

I have a lot to learn.

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I was always curious bout'that !

I've been sitting here (5 in the morning), and I've been listening again to Ian. K's tracks. The one single thing that strikes me about his mixes, compared to all of our challenges; and I mean absolutely no offence in what I'm about to say, but the one single thing that struck me, was how well produced they sounded. I don't have a mixing desk, and I'm really struggling to get the desired sound (even remotely close), to what I'm looking for, in my sequencer (Nuendo). I just can't seem to get a grip on the thing at all. Is it just me (or Nuendo), or any software mixer for that matter, that isn't worth a button when it comes to a final mix ?
It probably is just me, and my extreme lack of experience and talent, but I guess, what I'm trying to say, is should I really look at getting my hands on a good mixer, and if so, what one is a good place to start i.e. what would the main factors be that i should be looking at before purchase ?

Any help with this would be amasing.

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Post by darlo » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 8:26 am

Mista check out:
computermusic
I swear by this mag. I know that it has a bad rep on other forums but I don't give a shit!!! I like the mag and the CD/DVD that comes with it. My point?? there are some tutorials online that may help you.

Also check
musictechmag

As for mixing....

Mackie d8B going for a grand plus on ebay second hand... I think that's without all of the addons.

Mackie HDR24/96 4 Big ones.. :o

How much is Nuendo these days....??

Saying that.. I would look at the two M's:

Monitors (not TV :))
I'm sure Mark/Ian/Chuck my have some recommendations. A good pair of monitors will transform a mix.

And the black art of Mastering. Threre two arguments to this one.
1. Leave it to the professionals.
2. Bollcks get stuck in !!! I'm trying to get my head around a boook called Mastering Audio: The Art and the Science, but I'm a slow reader... I prefer to be taught though.

So what am I getting at? I think the Applience of Science will serve you better at the moment rather any new gear....

Somebody please correct me if I'm talking bobbins.

If you still insist on looking at a mixer have a look at This baby
You would have to check if it supports your version of Nuendo

mista guest

Post by mista guest » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 10:44 am

Darlo.

Thanks for the heads-up on the links; I'll check them out.

The way my life is at, at the moment, realistically speaking, I'm going to be on the move a lot, over the course of this year; between here in Ireland, and the states, which basically means I'm pretty restricted when it comes to logging around a lot gear i.e. monitors (not TV :)).
Most of my set-up right now, comprises of software based synths and sample libraries, and also my HD25's, and my little silver UA25 soundcard. I'm running Nuendo 3.2 which I bought earlier in the summer (earlier version), for about 2 grand dollars (if my memory serves me well), which, I purchased as I'm also into film and moving image, and thought it would be a great idea at that time to really cover both areas, with the one application.
As things transpired throughout this year, my initial plan for really getting my head into the bloody thing (Nuendo), has had to be placed right on it's back burner.
All I'm really looking for (I think), is a little desk that can deal with about sixteen channels, and also houses a few added FX and stuff; stuff like limiters, compressors and the likes.
I don't want to get too involved right now in setting-up a little studio with monitors and racks etc, because right now, it's not viable for me to do so. The reason I asked about a mixer, is cause I've seen plenty of little 'sixteen' tracks (which double internally), that also have their own custom made little flight cases, and with the road ahead this year for me, I really need to know if this is something I really should be looking at purchasing ?

To close, I want to try and get my LP finished for (hopefully) the end of this summer. The 'Angel' wants to work this year, but is willing to let me stay at home and do all the cooking, and also let me get my rekkid finished as well. Will buying a mixer, really help me to polish up my well needed productions, at least to get them to a point (mastered wise), where I can give them to a studio to work their magic on ?

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Post by chuckcogan » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 11:24 am

i wouldnt know anything about monitors....
i only have my stereo setup....and it works for me
cos i know how records I like sound in them so when i make music i just listen to how it sounds
hope you get what i mean :D

i think monitors are a bit overhyped...as long as you know what you want your music to sound like, a stereo setup is just fine :D
peace & respect
// chuck cogan
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http://soundcloud.com/chuck-cogan
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mista guest

Post by mista guest » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 11:54 am

Have you got a hardware mixer, Chuck ?
If so, could you live without it ?

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Post by chuckcogan » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 12:19 pm

mista guest wrote:Have you got a hardware mixer, Chuck ?
If so, could you live without it ?
jupp i have one....but i havnt used it since going the software route
so yeah...i guess i could live without it :D
but then again...its not a very good one LOL
peace & respect
// chuck cogan
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ian k
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Post by ian k » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 12:48 pm

The ones we used in the studio for the acoustic sessions were the mackie hr824. They give you a very high-resolution reproduction of the sound, which helps you to pick out anything that sounds wrong in the mix and correct it with EQ for example. You get a very accurate and detailed pitcure of the whole frequency spectrum. The idea being that you will be able to hear everything that's going on with your monitors so you won't get any nasty surprises when you take your mix around to someone's house and play it and it sounds terrible. Its a bit like looking at a high-res LCD screen instead of a normal old fashioned TV. Having said that, if you're used to mixing with your stereo speakers and have a good idea what works and what doesn't then thats all you need.

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Post by chuckcogan » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 1:08 pm

ian k wrote:if you're used to mixing with your stereo speakers and have a good idea what works and what doesn't then thats all you need.
thats what i was trying to say...you just put it better then me :D
peace & respect
// chuck cogan
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ian k
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Post by ian k » Tue 10 Jan, 2006 1:25 pm

Cool :D

Those hr824's are quality though - but expensive..

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