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Everything posted by Anderton

  1. Apologies for not seeing this sooner, MP.com is keeping me busy. Did you try the "forgot password" option using the same user name?
  2. <<“The fact that a lullaby, healing song or dance song from the British Isles or anywhere else in the world has many musical features in common with the same kind of song from hunter-gatherers in Australia or horticulturalists in Africa is remarkable,” Glowacki said. >> Seriously? I don't think it's remarkable at all, because music speaks to biology, which all humans have in common. Language and societal norms are constructs, which is why Eskimos have a zillion different words for snow and Ethiopians don't. But they both have similar body chemistry.
  3. I tend to avoid electronic drums, the Chris McHugh drum loops from Discrete Drums (sadly, no longer available) are beyond wonderful. Actual drummers are convinced I hired a drummer, because in a way, I did. But I also know how to work with loops to make them come alive. Just rolling out a loop does not work. That said, electronic drums are a different instrument with a different purpose. There are some genres of music that almost demand it. However, I have to say that my whole attitude about "click tracks" changed 180 degrees when I figured out how to add tempo changes to make a song "breathe" after the fact, on the two-track mix. I wrote about this in the last Sweetnotes, I can't find it online anywhere but I wrote something similar for my web site.
  4. Bach would agree...so would John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix!
  5. MIDI plug-ins work like audio plug-ins, except they process MIDI data. Steinberg Cubase, Cakewalk Sonar, and MOTU Digital Performer are probably the best examples of programs that take advantage of this feature. For example, a MIDI plug-in might restrict velocity values to a certain range, or transpose data.
  6. Aha! So the fact that you couldn't tell there was pitch correction proves that it works Your vocals are fine, I've heard them isolated and they're even okay then.
  7. Well, the good news is that the link for HC Confidential 148 is now fixed on both the home page and the listing of articles. The bad news is that, unfortunately, what you're experiencing is not a rare occurrence. The editors who put these articles together often open the article to do some editing and find some, uh, "surprises" - of which images not loading (but then loading the next time it's opened) is one of them. Sometimes font colors are dropped, sometimes articles disappear completely, and sometimes audio examples can't be loaded in the article - for the Ravish Sitar review, the audio example had to be loaded as a separate file, and couldn't even be linked to from the article for some reason. The bottom line is as editors, we are aware of and frustrated by these problems, and are actively seeking a solution. Hopefully the code fixes to be implemented the first week of January will help considerably.
  8. Doesn't sound stupid at all, I use the "reduce peaks" technique all the time...I call it "micro-mastering." One of the great features in Wavelab is that it will find those "rogue peaks" for you. I often reduce the gain on an individual half-cycle in 10-20 spots, and find I can raise the level 3-4dB without any apparent effects of dynamics changes, or artifacts from compression. Thanks very much for adding info about that technique!
  9. Or at the very least, a humanoid biped Thanks for the props!
  10. Thanks for catching that! I fixed the text. Some non-breaking dashes were broken when the articles were transferred from the previous platform to the new one.
  11. ...and if you aren't a good listener, doing lots of mixes will definitely train your ears
  12. I'm not Phil, but that's a good question. For guitar, I think close miking with room mics is a good combination. Bass is a little trickier because the low frequencies will often interact with a room to a much great extent, unless the room is treated acoustically. So, you can end up with dips and peaks that are a hassle to deal with when mixing. Getting a room mic into the picture isn't a bad idea, though, providing you can "tame" it and keep more of the amp sound in the overall mix.
  13. The more harmonically-rich and complex the carrier, the more you'll hear the effects of the vocoder. For example, modulating something like a distorted power chord with drums will give really obvious results. A violin is a pretty rich sound, so it should be effective as a carrier if vocoded with something that has variations of energy all over the frequency spectrum. That's why drums make good modulators...flutes, not so much, although you could at least get amplitude-based gating effects.
  14. It's fixed now, 50 people have registered without problems today. Good to go!
  15. Just heard back...it's being fixed. The problem was indeed TOS-related.
  16. I'd say it's more for a particular type of signal chain, i.e., feeding a digital processor where you want to avoid clipping at all costs. And because you do, it's common to turn the volume down; so using the transient tamer allows for (as you pointed out) a higher average level.
  17. I don't think new people will be able register until the terms of service are up, so people can agree to them. But I'll check...
  18. Check out this article I wrote for Guitar Player, it explains what transient suppression is all about. I came up with this circuit years ago, so it's in the public domain. Gibson recognized the potential, though, and included it in several Les Paul Standard models. The main use is when feeding guitar into digital audio interfaces, because it lets you obtain a higher average level with a more predictable dynamic range. In a way, it acts similarly to how analog tape "absorbs" transients.
  19. As you may have noticed, I've haven't been participating much around here lately, for a variety of reasons. However, there have been some changes in "forum world." The Musicplayer.com forums, where SSS went after being booted off AOL for being too successful (long story), have been acquired by Dave Bryce, who has kept the Keyboard Corner forum alive over there while pretty much everything else atrophied. In addition to the forums, Dave owns the domain name and the content. He's invited me to pick up SSS where it left off before I went over to Harmony Central, after the people who had acquired the Musicplayer forums (along with the associated magazines, like EQ, Guitar Player, Keyboard, etc.) didn't really want to pursue forums any more. Future Music bought those magazines a while ago, and the forums were part of the deal. But with a display of Doing the Right Thing so rare in today's corporate world, they recognized the tremendous effort that had been put in over the year by Dave and the Keyboard Corner community, and let him have Musicplayer.com. So, major kudos to Future Music. Y'all are certainly welcome to hang out here, but I'll be spending most of my time over in the Sound, Studio, and Stage forum over at Musicplayer.com. Dave & Co. have invited me to participate in shaping the overall direction of the site, and yes, I have some ideas about next steps . Already, Stephen Fortner, the former Editor of Keyboard Magazine, has set up shop and is essentially doing an online version of what he did for many years. This is all quite new, but it looks like he won't be the last to sign on and start breaking new ground. I'd like to thank Henry Juszkiewicz for keeping Harmony Central alive after the GC days. His motivations were noble; he never interfered with our editorial mission, or exerted any kind of editorial control. Unfortunately, the timing was not optimum, because shortly thereafter Gibson was having to navigate rocky financial waters that ultimately led to the company's bankruptcy. But that's in the past. Gibson is turning around, Harmony Central is moving to a better platform, Dendy/Phil/Chris retained their positions at Gibson after I was let go, and I suspect everything will work out well here. At to me, it's time for another adventure! Yes...change is good.
  20. And which also means it could be moved to a different space. I keep thinking someone is going to see the value in this site...
  21. First of all, multiple apologies for not being around (if it indeed matters!). The main issue is I'm not an HC employee and I've moved on to other clients. I still do pro bono Harmony Central work on content for the newsletter, because I want to support the remaining three people, but time doesn't allow for more. Forums with a primarily social function are falling by the wayside. However, f orums that involve peer-to-peer support are still very active. Cakewalk rebooted its forums from scratch recently, and it already has over 30,000 posts. Forums that deal with education also remain popular. Compared to Facebook, forums are the perfect medium to contain a knowledgebase. If I was tasked with growing these forums, the first thing I would do is make it all about people helping other people troubleshoot gear, make buying decisions, and so on. I'd also re-boot the Pro Reviews. Another problem is forums have be fast and efficient. These forums have been plagued with a variety of technical issues over the years, and except when they were owned by Musician's Friend, there were never the resources to fix things. People just don't have the patience for page load times and such. Furthermore, it's an "instant" world. It doesn't matter if a problem gets fixed in a week, people peel off after three days. As to what will happen to SSS, I don't know. It's been around since 1995 but it needs to have active involvement and direction if it's going to grow. I just can't afford the time and the remaining HCers have their hands full. I'd love the opportunity to move this in a new direction, but at present, that looks unlikely. Then again...who knows what the future will bring?
  22. by Craig Anderton Digital audio workstation software, or two-track audio editing programs (like Magix Sound Forge or Steinberg Wavelab), can serve as test gear. Let's look at how you can make sure your studio hardware connections, and even samples, are properly in-phase. Before going any further, note that in most cases we’re really talking about a change in signal polarity, which means that the entire signal is phase-flipped, regardless of frequency. Phase shifting can be a frequency-dependent phenomenon. Although most musicians and engineers understand what the term “phase reversal” means, “polarity reversal” is technically a more accurate term. Flipping a signal’s phase may or may not mean too much by itself; that’s a matter of debate. Some people believe you can definitely hear a difference with instruments like drums. For example, with a real kick drum, the first rush of air pushes out at you. If this signal goes through a system that doesn’t change phase, the speaker will push air out to re-create the sound of the kick. But if the signal flips phase, then the speaker will suck in to move the required amount of air. The result will still sound like a kick drum, but some people say they hear a subtle difference. Phase problems are not uncommon in the studio. Balanced cables can be miswired, some vintage gear used pin 3 hot instead of pin 2, some guitar effects play fast and loose with phase anyway, and even new gear can have a design problem crop up from time to time that flips phase. In any case, there’s no debate that mixing an out-of-phase signal with an in-phase version of the same signal can cause an obvious weakening and “thinness.” This occurs a lot when using two microphones, because depending on their spacing they can pick up a signal’s waveform at different points, thereby creating a phase difference. Problems can also occur with parallel effects. For example, if an echo signal is out-of-phase and mixed with an in-phase dry signal, the echoed signal will tend to cancel the dry signal to some degree, resulting in a thinner sound. As to detecting an out-of-phase condition, phase meters are expensive—but DAWs and digital audio editors make a pretty good substitute. You can determine not only whether a device’s output is in-phase with its input, but in some cases, even tell whether a signal’s phase was reversed somewhere along the line. TESTING 1-2-3 Fig. 1 shows how to hook up your “test setup” for mono signals. Split the input signal and send one split to the input of the device being tested, and the other to the software's left channel. This is your reference. Then feed the output signal of the device (or chain of devices) being tested to the software’s right channel. You can also split this off to an amplifier if you want to hear what’s going on. For stereo, assuming you're working with a DAW, the split would feed two different tracks. Fig. 1: Phase tester setup for mono signal sources. One application is testing a mixer to make sure all outputs are in-phase. Patch a sound source with an asymmetrical waveform into the input, then test the output at a variety of points: master out, submaster out, monitor out, sends out, direct out, etc. Another application is verifying phase integrity of older effects and guitar stomp boxes. Fig. 2 uses PreSonus Studio One to show a comparison of the input and output for a guitar stomp box delay; the lower waveform shows less high-frequency response, but the two waves are in phase. If they were out-of-phase waveforms, the peaks and valleys would have the same shape, but go in reverse directions—in other words, if a waveform rises at the input, it falls by an equal and opposite amount at the output. Fig. 2: Comparing the phase relationship between an effect input and output. Vintage guitar effects are notorious for phase problems, and are well worth testing. It’s also a good idea to test the entire input-to-speaker chain to make sure nothing’s amiss. In particular, make sure there isn’t a phase difference between the left and right channels, as that could have disastrous results on a mix. ABSOLUTE PHASE I reversed some instrument samples to hear if they sounded any different in-phase or out-of-phase. Interestingly, this did seem to make a difference with some sounds, but I didn’t do anything rigorous like conduct a scientific double-blind test. Check it out and judge for yourself. Fig. 3 shows an example of absolute and flipped phase with kick drum. The top track shows a kick one-shot from a sample library; note how it starts by going negative. The bottom track shows a different kick drum sample from a different library. Note how it starts by going positive, which presumably reproduces the initial kick hit pushing air out and going positive, as opposed to sucking air in and going negative. Fig. 3: Two different kick samples showing absolute phase: out of phase (upper) and in phase (lower). It seems that you can identify the absolute phase of most percussive sounds similarly—look for an upward slope at the beginning of the signal. However, I must stress that these are just a few examples, and some signals do start off naturally with negative transients. FIXING PHASE PROBLEMS If you find that phase reversal does matter, the same program that identified the problem can also provide the solution. Just about all modern audio software lets you select an audio region and reverse the polarity, so you can indeed "fix it in the mix" - as long as you know that the problem exists. So boot up your computer one of these days, and take the time required to check out the phase integrity of your system. You never know what evil lurks in the wiring of cables. -HC- ___________________________________________
  23. Good-bye CDs, hello the future! Streaming is effing awesome—not just for listeners, but look at all the incredible benefits for musicians! Royalties will be accounted for truthfully and honestly. No longer will you be at the mercy of record companies doing shady practices, with their dual sets of books and accountants named “Junior.” As we all know, digital data stored in the clouds is totally secure—it’s technologically impossible to hack or alter it! You can play music over your smartphone’s speakers. After the horrible fidelity of cassettes, the surface noise of vinyl, and the st-st-st-st-stuttering of CDs left for too long in a hot car, we can enjoy the luxurious sound of music, coming through speakers about the size of a mosquito and with approximately the same frequency response. Face it—no one listens to bass players anyway. It helps third world countries achieve a higher standard of living. Need to build up more likes for your latest musical masterpiece? No problem—the click farms of Bengladesh await! For a mere $1, you can get 1,000 likes—so pony up a grand, and there’s your million likes Bonus coolness: Those who remember the old days of immoral and unethical business practices in the record industry can enjoy a moment of nostalgia. There will be no physical record of pop music for future historians to snicker at. Streaming music is truly as evanescent as the clouds, and when all the servers go up in smoke after an X-Class solar flare, we can console ourselves by knowing that those in future will never be subjected to Kenny G’s apotheotic command of sappiness, or Neil Diamond’s cringe-worthy, faux-reggae version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” (Although to be fair, they sadly won’t get to hear Diamond’s “Cherry, Cherry,” either. Oh well.) You’ll be able to buy a house with the money you make. That’s right—with YouTube paying about $740 for 1,000,000 streams, it won’t be long before you’ll be able to buy a house! That is, as long as it’s cardboard, and fits under an overpass. ___________________________________________
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