Logic X break down via SF Logic Ninja

Chalk another one up for David Earl! This Logic X video break down makes all the other 20 or so I’ve watched this week look like they’re standing still. Booya SF logic ninja!

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Slate Pro Audio RAVEN MTX

Today Steven Slate released a new video of his new Raven Touch Studio Console. The Raven MTX is now available at gcpro.com in the US and MEDIAPROS.co.uk in the EU. No word on availability of the smaller Raven MTi shown at NAMM. I also might add the Price point is 16.5k US Stereo and $17.5k surround, a lot higher than SS marketing people have said in the past pre release. Also a note of interest it is “Macintosh only” at this time however a windows capable unit is in the works. I think it’s an amazing Desk and, if it works properly, a huge game changer for DAW.

Control Room Mic placements for guitar amps

As I’ve said in the past I prefer to mic my guitar amp in the control room of my home studio. It’s problematic at times for the obvious reason of monitor bleed into the microphones but, with some spiffy mic placement and padding I’ve found I can make it work pretty easily. This is not to say this technique is right or wrong, this is simply the technique that works for me.

When my Friend and song writing M8 returned from IPR in Minnesota he had some interesting concepts on microphone placement. If you had asked me if I thought mic’n up an amplifier in a control room would be useful before this I would have answered probably not. What my friend had suggested was moving the placement behind the monitors or on an opposite wall that’s well treated against reflection. Using a cardioid or hypercardioid microphone is necessary with this placement, some padding and shielding has also prove helpful. This technique is not useful with a second room mic for blending.

mic1

In front of my amp in a rotation counter to the monitors I’ve placed an Audix i5 (My go to Mic for guitar and snare drums live and studio) utilizing an sE reflection filter. I’ve also padded the wall “down wind” against any reflection from the monitors. With the 22 Watt amps channel volume at 7, the drive at 7 and the master volume at 5. The result is a complete gated effect with no substantial bleed from the monitors.

mic2

When recording clearly you must mute the track that recording is engaged, but I thought it worth mentioning. I’ve used this technique on multiple projects in the last year with great success. Give it a try and let me know your results!

SoundToys Little MicroShift free until the 29th of March!

SoundToys is one of the Platinum premiere Pro Tools Plugin companies in the industry. I think the software they author is some of the best sounding available. Until March 29th SoundToys is giving away the Little MicroShift Plugin free. I  downloaded mine this evening and I can’t stop mixing tracks with this little Gem. It sounds amazing in the mix! A must have for guitar players and vocalist, don’t lose out on this.

You must have an iLok and use this code: 406-2024-803 and register your Little Microshift Here: https://www.soundtoys.com/sxsw2013/&rc=406-2024-803

SoundToys Still creates world-class TDM and RTAS plugins for Pro Tools but now all SoundToys plugins are AU and VST compatible. That’s a big deal to Logic and Cubase users and full of win for us that use more than Pro Tools exclusively for DAW.  Go grab yours now!

My Alter Ego “I am Dead!”

I’m sitting in my studio with absolutely no voice whatsoever but I’m gleefully smiling :D I’ll explain in a minute. I’ve been working on segment music for a Broadcast Radio client of mine that’s been with me since 1995. The music was for a new gaming segment they’re adding to their “Computer Talk” radio program, of course it has to be the metal! (By Request). They want and I quote “a tune that sounds like a hot wheels commercial.” I’m not much of a Metal fan unless it’s Tool or Dream Theater, it seems to me and my taste Metal has all been done before. I don’t play metal at gigs and I wouldn’t audition for a metal gig unless someone tried to pass it off as something else (been there done that). It’s just not my cup of tea as a player.

The timing on this project couldn’t have been better.  I just finished watching “What we do is Secret” the story of the Germs. I was a little to young for the punk scene but I lived in the middle of it being in Los Angeles during Middle School. I remember kids wearing Germs shirts and hearing stories from my brother and his friends about Darby Crash (and his epic Heroin habit) and Pat Smear (Nirvana – Foo Fighters). I already had it in my mind to do some heavy Punk Riffing for fun in the studio because I’m a huge Germs fan and the film inspired me. I’m a huge fan of Punk Rock, I listen to the Dead Kennedy’s all the time still as I never seem to tire of them. Plus I resonate artistically toward the minimalism in Punk and good old 3 chord Rock. Angus RULZ!

In the same day (I know a lot of Netflix but I’ve been really Sick) I watched another film called Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains. I’d never heard of this film but it reminded me of working with scummy A & R people back when I was a young Lad trying to work my way up in the music business in LA 20 years ago. There’s a line from the Movie “Don’t Put Out” that was perfect for this tune so I threw it in there. I liked the film, but I usually like any film that has to do with musicians. Coal miners daughter, Walk the Line and the Pick of Destiny are among my favorites.

This is one of those projects where almost everything went perfect, almost, which is rare. I had some trouble with the drum production but I’m not a good drummer so I have to “fix it”to make it sound righteous in the mix. Outside of that I composed and recorded the music in less than 2 hours. I only did one take for the guitar solo and kept it as hinckey as it is in a few spots. The vocals aren’t going to the client just the arrangement, plus I can’t sing lead (my voice is nasally). So what is it that one must do when your voice is great for harmony but a Vick’s commercial a capella? Why bring out the Cookie Monster voice!

Cookie Monster Metal!

Cookie Monster Metal!

For many moons I’ve used a character  as a catalyst to write with before, the Staten Worshiping, Heroin addicted, on a Murder spree Loki Hendrix Mac Nicol. His mother let the neighbors rape him as a child while his drunk father beat him and his siblings which formed him into a psychopath. Loki is an alter ego kind of character bloody and violent to the core! Loki comes straight out of a Quentin Tarantino nightmare, he gets his kicks by stabbing people in the eye with his needles after he shoots up as a type of murderous mayhem and torture.

Loki Hendrix Mac Nicol

Loki Hendrix Mac Nicol was here!

As I’m doing the vocals on this project my voice is just getting tore up but I saved one last blast for the blood curdling scream Loki lets out in the intro. Oh my freaking Lord it hurt! The end of the story, I had so much fun doing this arrangement, more fun then I’ve had in quite some time solo cholo. FUN FUN FUN FUN FUN!!!! It wasn’t work, it was an enjoyable process especially when everything goes as easy as this one did. My Egnater Tourmaster sounds just brutal on this track, I cranked it up so loud I had to run cables all the way to the bathroom on the other side of the house to stop the bleed over. Check out my *cough* Loki’s blood curdling scream in the intro, I don’t think I will be answering the phone anytime today :D

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Oh, and remember to play this FUCKING LOUD!

Remixing, whats it all about?

Remixing, whats it all about and can a musician remix with real instruments as opposed to a DJ? What’s ethical and what’s not? I have serious questions and I’m not quite sure where to get the answers, I desire to explore these here with the press community.

A couple of people I’ve worked with in the studio are two artists as well as friends are pretty slick at remixing, Chris Enve and Weapon X. I’m a guitarist, Bass player, Horn Player, a pretty fair Piano player ( I can get the job done if I wrote the song) and a fair drummer when using Alesis Pads with a Roland kick and High Hat trigger running through a sampler such as Superior Drummer or Native Instruments Abbey Road Drums. I really can create all of what I hear in my arrangements by myself so I’ve never had a need to remix.

However the thought has been on my mind ever since I fell in love with the greatest band in the work the Monophonics (can I get an amen!) Daily, and I mean every day I improvise to Goliath, Balboa Tree, in your Brain and Soul funk 45. This kind of Jazz-Funk-Fusion is an exciting place for me as a guitarist to explore improvisation, I never run out of ideas when I play with the Monophonics. It’s like a garden of musical melodies inside my head running on dilithium crystals, golden! and it’s different every-time, Platinum! Now I’m thinking I want to do a 3 song monophonic remix of Goliath, Balboa Tree and in your brain but wait, I’m a Guitarist not a DJ. Am I crossing some sacred line in Musicology? Is this going to be poo poo’d on? What’s the rules?

I guess at the end of the day maybe I should just go ahead an do it but i don’t want to anger anyone, I’m a fan I dig the Monophonics. Comments not only welcomes but needed.

I know leave you with the greatest band in the world, From San Francisco California

THE MONOPHONICS!
Peace!

Dream Jam – a Garageband for iOS, Iphone and iPad review Part V

As we come to an end to this series I can without a doubt say Garageband for iOS can be a serious tool for composers. The way you can create MIDI by touch is exactly like piano roll in the Pro Tools, Logic 9, Garageband, Cubase, Sonar etc. With the fantastic sounding on-board virtual instruments that are sound wise identical to Logic 9 and Garageband for OS X along with the deep editing capability, the only limitation I can see is how many tracks the memory will allow. I can do a CD on an 8 tracks that will sound great on any DAW. This is a VIABLE TOOL and not just a toy. For $5 it’s worth having for anyone who likes music to just goof off with as well :)

With Garageband’s on-board sequencing by genre algorithms you can sketch songs out then tweak them with ease on the computer or phone. I can clearly see how a fully loaded ipad and some of the Apogee gear for D to A conversion (what makes real world sounds like a car door slamming turn into binary numbers for a computer to sample and playback) which is top quality stuff in the pro recording world you could create, in at least part, instrumentation that could go on any finished CD or record with a pro sound.

Check out the four screen shots below, the piano rolls are all very similar on the high-end pro audio DAW’s:

The final tweaks came mostly with the arrangement of the strings and the mix. I didn’t have a chance to use Komplete 8 Ultimate on this project because it arrived in the beginning stages, I don’t install anything in the middle of a project. I’ve learned that it’s not only a very big mistake but also a good motivator to finish up what you have going in your work flow. Being limited to the strings samples that come with on the EXS24 compared to what NI has was difficult, but again I know better than to start walking down that road. I stuck with the EXS24 strings and changed the arrangement most noticeably some unison runs from every instrument on the track.

I added a 3 and 4 part harmony of guitars at the end in harmony with the violin counter melody and an additional rhythm guitar track in the first 2 verses and choruses care of my Egnater Tour Master and my Singleton Crossroads. I used a mic that is now my go to guitar mic, the audix i5 made right here in the pacific north-west. I haven’t used an Sure SM 57 on a snare or a guitar cabinet since I tried the Audix i5, they are amazing microphones USA made and built like a tank for under $100 bucks. I highly recommend them for guitar players and drummers.

EDIT: I also changed out the EXS24 sampler piano part for the luscious Alecia Keys Virtual instrument by Native Instruments that came with Komplete Ultimate 8, it sounds fantastic! It was right at the end and I had a decent mix so I thought WTH, I’ll install the new software. It worked out great on this end for sure. I’m impressed with how much NI has got their shite (that’s a technical term :) )together in the last few years with their service staff and the products they put out. IK multimedia, they’re a freaking toy company IMO and will never buy anything from them unless it’s really cheap on some kind of special buy out etc. It’s good to see NI move away from that and embrace real music crafting again.

This is it, the final track of the series. I did not have the time to Master this track so keep that in mind, it’s only a mix. Of course it’s not what I wish I was presenting here but I think everyone feels the same way about endlessly tweaking knobs to perfection. If you only had more time to mix it again it could have been better. In fact Trey Parker says that very quote in the documentary 6 days to south park. (http://www.thetalkingbox.com/2012/03/creating-south-park.html) or see the movie :p It’s so true, for myself anyway. I would like to revisit this someday with a vocal, anyone who want’s to give it a go hit me up.

Dream Jam for iOS Final Mix:

All the tracks from this article

Dream Jam – a Garageband for iOS Review Part IV

 

Part IV of Garageband for iOS has us covering how bad instruments can sound by themselves and yet how great that same sound is in a full mix of instrumentation.

First I would like to pass on I’ve been very busy as of late. I would have liked the opportunity to work on this track a lot more but time didn’t permit that this week. Maybe when time is available I can, I think the “hooks” have fun potential.

Right! Now one constant has remained the same throughout the process and that was the original guitars (one somewhat clean one overdriven and saturated) from the iPhone track. They are still using the original virtual instruments that both Garageband versions share iOS and OS X. The guitars and especially the Bass sound good in the Mix but by themselves not so much. The artifacts in the more clean guitar are really noticeable as are the very digital gutless stale sound of the overdriven guitar. The bass just sounds overloaded to my ears but not very good. The bass was bounced without the side chain compressors.

Stick them in the full mix and they sound really good. Not like a million bucks but I’ve listened to far worse on A & R rock and pop radio. I decided I would isolate these tracks and let you listen to them solo and in the mix. There’s been something of a mystery to me since I changed from a real analog Multi-tracking recorder to DAW years ago.  How things sound in the mix and how it’s mastered are two very different sonic pallets. As for me? I blame the iPod as the instrument of death! but also the money people who backed the mp3 format in its infancy. mp3’s sound like garbage for the most part and iPone / iPod ear buds are downright crap sonically so no one could hear it anyway.

Mixing for mp3 as far as the industry goes (which includes software vendors) has everything to do with volume increases and nothing to do with pristine uncolored quality of sound. In the 90’s it was the Digital VS Analog crowds but these days it’s almost all facets of the industry, Mix and Master pump up the volume.

Case in point:

Go listen to any of the band 311’s studio releases, they were all recorded on 2″ tape completely analog no computers. Listen to The Eagles Hotel California, it’s an analog masterpiece but has a different sonic vibe in the mix that’s very noticeable. Now go listen to anything from the 90’s and on from 311 historically as a comparison and see if you can hear an over all difference in the sound. The reason I’m pointing out 311 because they’re one of the only bands left who record total analog, it sounds different. The Foo-Fighters recorded their last album Wasting Light in Dave Ghrol’s garage using the same type of equipment, see the documentary!

One to my ears is very different and one is good but a little harsh being the Digital recorded and mastered route. If these 3 tracks I’m adding here were in a Tape mix you would have to record them again, you cant fix garbage sounding takes in that realm that sounds like this by itself. However recording on a computer it sounds great as long as all the other instruments are playing along together i.e. the whole mix.

Lastly, there’s a lot of sound artifacts on the solo tracks you can’t hear on the complete mix. ALmost all of them are in the modulation starting at 1:19 Keep in mind these 3 instruments are MIDI running through amp simulators not a real player. The final track will have plenty of human playing on it as does the second version.

Here’s the examples of the isolated guitars and Bass. #3 is Over Driven Guitar, #4 is Clean guitar and #5 is Bass.

Dream Jam – a Garageband for iOS Review Part III

In part III of this review we will continue to build the track and instrumentation to our Garageband for iOS arrangement. In part II we imported the raw Garageband for iOS project:

Garageband for iOS

Garageband for iOS

Titled “Dream Jam” into Logic 9 and did some very minimalistic tweaks with EQ and Garageband compressor leaving the song in a very raw form. Notice at 1:19 from the Part II review how badly the artifacts in the clean guitar fall apart when the melody modulated ascending up the score. I completely changed that sections guitar arrangement which will reflect in the Part III Track below. 

Here’s a screen shot from Logic 9 at it’s first mix right after import from iOS 5 and Garageband for iOS:

Garageband for iOS import to Logic 9

Garageband for iOS import to Logic 9

This bring us up to date. The track has now been significantly EQ’d and had a real percussion arrangement added to it Via Superior 2.0 and a sound library I put together piece by piece and input to Logic 9 via my percussion pads and triggers. In addition Grand Piano, Violin I, II and III, Viola I and II, Cello I and Double Bass I were added to the arrangement. The Kick drum and Bass Guitar have been side chained which was very necessary since we used a 32” Kick drum YIKES! It sounds really good during the Modulation at least for now, who knows what might change down the road.

Here’s a Screen Shot of the new Mix in Logic:

Garageband for iOS Review Part III

Garageband for iOS Review Part III

My preliminary conclusions thus far are Garageband for iOS can be used as a real tool for composers and Singer-Songwriters.  This app is no Toy. The MIDI composing interface can be used to nail down specifically every note in all rhythm  possibilities like any MIDI interface in any DAW. It can be quantized in Garageband for iOS at the touch of a finger even on an iPhone, no iPad required. I can’t wait for my next train trip, I’m going crazy with this app!

Here’s part III’s mix from Soundcloud, make sure and select Part III (3) as I set all the tracks for this review in 1 player:

Garageband for iOS first impressions

I have a new iPhone 4S due to my T-Mobile debacle that I’m still having to spend my valuable time fixing with my T-Moble representative “Chad.” Chad, resides in India, Imagine that! Yuppie Mothers and Fathers in India name their children Chad too 0.o – Yeah right! Enough with the Sardonic comments on with Garageband for iOS.

One of the reasons I went with the more expensive 4s is the dual processor technology. At 1.2 Mhz with 2 Core’s that’s 2.4 Mhz which would run Windows Xp flawlessly on the 512 MB of readily available RAM the architecture specifications come in at. Also, the carrier was out of the iPhone 4 which I inquired about who gave me a $50 discount off the 4S. At this point I’m thinking “T-Mobile who?” I know that’s enough processing power to actually be useful to a Composer and Musician, I run Reaper on a machine with less processing power and it’s brilliant!

On the first jump into Garageband for iOS I noticed two really fantastic features that I find incredibly useful; One is the fact that you can not only edit the piano roll like a real DAW but you can export the songs and data to use in Logic 9 as well as Garageband on OS X. The fact that I have a nice pair of Creative Blue tooth wireless stereo speakers made the sauce in the recipe I was cooking very tight. I’m about 20 minutes I had 8 tracks of virtual instruments that sound every bit as good as Garageband for OS X. If you’re in the know on Garageband for OS X you’re aware it has the same Virtual instrument technology running the EXS 24 sampler at the heart of Logic Studio thus it sounds very profession for a program that come with every Macintosh computer. The 32 bars of music I have so far pinging out of this little $4.99 program is in a word, KILLER! I actually think I may be able to finish a real composition in Logic 9 using what I now have.

If apple ever adds scoring imports from Finale or Scorch or its own scoring in general like logic has to this $5 app, I think it could be a launch pad for well over half the music I compose instead of the little Sony hand-held recorder I know use. I cant really say for sure how useful all this is because lets face it fiddling around with Garageband for iOS for 2 hours isn’t enough time to really know. However I have two version of this tune already running in logic that are pretty dam nifty IMHO. I’ll post the first song I actually finish with Garageband for iOS as its spring-board when I finish even if it’s bad. For now I’m having a blast playing with it!

Before I finish here I just want to note a few things that aren’t necessarily pertinent to this article. I like android OS better. It does much more the iOS 5 does all the way around even without rooting the phone. The problem with android is the lack of software especially for creatives, there’s 33% more apps available in the iOS platform the the Google play market. Plus there’s been several programs that have Trojans in them release on Google Play (formerly the android market) because no one checks the software like apple does. Admittedly apple let one slip by them last month as well but the android markets seen hundreds according to PC magazine. I don’t want a Trojan on my smart phone that will steal my client base from its address book, that would be the kiss of death for me. I wish I could have the software I run on my iPhone on my android but it’s just not happening that way at this point in time. That’s my 2 cents anyway. See you soon!