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CN Fletcher

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  1. The best way to "master" songs is to take them to a qualified "mastering engineer". While you can read a book or ask on an internet forum how to remove your appendix, there are some things that are best left to professionals. Mastering, while not quite as critical as surgery, is still one of those things that is best left to professionals. Scott Hull [Masterdisk], Brad Blackwood [Euphonic], Jeff Lipton [Peerless], Bob Olson [Georgetown] are the guys I would contact first... then there is Dave Collins, Ted Jensen, Howie Weinberg, Bob Ludwig, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. These are seasoned professionals who can take your demo to come a hell of a lot closer to sounding like a record that you will be able to do at home on your best day. If nothing else, spend the money to book a session with one of these guys and have them at least begin to explain the process to you. They have decades of experience, are exceptionally good at what they do... but are also really cool guys who will be happy to take some time and at very least give you some of their knowledge with which you can begin to experiment. Peace.
  2. Okay, let's do the math. An M-Audio Audiophile sound card costs about $100 for two channels and is audibly transparent. So that's $50 per channel. My definition of audibly transparent means you can record audio through it and not hear any change when played back. By "you" I mean me, and the OP, and Fletcher, and everyone else reading this. If two channels isn't enough M-Audio has their 8-in/out rack-mount Delta 1010 for $500, but the "breakout cable" version costs only $200. So now we're down to $25 per channel for audio clarity that's as good as needed. It doesn't have to be M-Audio either - there are plenty of other brands and models in this price and quality range. I agree with you 100 percent that all home studio size control rooms need plenty of bass traps and other acoustic treatment to hear accurately. Of course, they also need good speakers. Good acoustic treatment can be had for only a few hundred bucks if someone is willing to put in the effort to research what is needed, then buy the materials and make their own. Buying high quality commercial treatment is more like $1,000 and up, and $3,000 isn't uncommon for really good results. But they should spend that much on speakers too! Ethan... you've said some pretty stupid {censored} over the years... but this may be the dumbest thing I've ever read by you. I can very much hear the difference. I can hear the difference between Digi converters, Apogee converters, iZ converters, Burl converters and my favorite of all [weighing in about $3,250 per channel] the JCF "Latte" converters. Anytime you want to come up to Foxboro with an "M-Box" and shoot it out with some "iZ" converters I'll make the arrangement for you. The "iZ" converters in my RADAR are only like $750/channel... but there are 24 channels to the unit [we have an extra 24 in our iZ "ADA" unit... which is used for "insert patching" when we're mixing "in the box"... I don't remember how much they go for... I think it's a little under $500/channel]. Then again, I spent around $60,000 on the construction of my room... so I guess it's easier for me to hear the difference. Peace.
  3. Around $100 per channel IMO. --Ethan ...as long as they spend several thousand on "room treatment" so they can hear why $100-/channel converters suck balls.
  4. I will be expanding my array of studio gear in the near future, and want to know how these more expensive interfaces make up for the steeper price - is it just the preamps? the software? Not "the pre-amps" per se... but the "analog front end" is exceptionally important. How the anti-aliasing filters affect the audio quality, how much headroom the input [or output] circuit has in the analog domain as well as things like over all frequency response [prior to the anti-aliasing filter] which affect phase response and distortion. These things all come into play, and are all "analog issues" prior to conversion. You also have clocking issues... the stability of the clock, where the instability of the clock sits in the audio spectrum, yada, yada, yada. In other words, yeah... the "interface" can and does make a HUGE difference... the unfortunate part is that every "inch" forward is generally exponentially more expensive than the last inch you improved. Peace.
  5. i just finished the room as a bedroom. So I am looking for a temp solution to reduce the upper high range. Hang some absorbent stuff a couple inches off the wall and you should be fine. Next time I'm sentenced to that part of the world get a poker game together and a good bottle of Scotch and I'll give you chapter and verse how to fix it. Hope all is well!! Fun seeing you in ze Fatherland!! Peace.
  6. Thanks, Fletcher. I'm not really going for a "dead as a door" sound. Just trying to get a decent sound in the room. If all goes to plan this will be about a 40'x34' room with a concrete floor. The roof will be 12' at the edges, so about 10' at the edge for the ceiling, which I may make flat or which I may make follow the slope of the roof (1:12) but it'll probably be flat at about 10' or 10'6". Or I might go to 14' at the edge of the roof and raise the ceiling accordingly - that extra 2' can only help. Sheetrock walls, bass traps in the corners, and I'll treat early reflection points and such as necessary, but I'm hoping the room will be big enough to get a little bit of useful room sound. We'll see, though. This will be a combination room for me. It'll be a home studio, but it'll also be my living room. That should be OK, as I ought to be able to route all my cabling and wires where they won't be stepped on through the use of in-wall and in-ceiling snakes and such. So the room will have a couch and chair and TV and such at one end, and music gear at the other. I thought that would be a better use of the space than trying to have two separate rooms and making them smaller. It still won't be a BIG room, of course, but it'll be much bigger than what I have now. I was kinda kidding about the "70's dead" sound... but not about the trapping in the ceiling. It's a tried and true technique [often called "westlake bass trapping"] that is VERY effective. Store bought traps in the corners won't be as effective... though making the walls "non-parallel" will be highly effective. If you want, you can also either checker board the drop ceiling tiles and make cloth covered frames for the missing tiles so long as you make sure that the perimeter of the room has no tiles as bass likes to couple with shell walls and the bass will travel to the ceiling area along those walls. The other thing you will quickly realize is that the "living room furniture" will have a huge effect on the general RT-60 [reverb time] of the room. Best of luck with all you do!! Peace.
  7. a room with a drop ceiling, with a 2'x2' grid, and about eighteen inches to two feet of space between the grid and the underside of the roof above it, Here's a fun weekend project for you... get some sheets of 1/4" plywood and a reel of metal wire [like picture hanging wire]... now cut those pieces of plywood into uneven shapes [some wider, some longer]. Drill a couple of holes in what will be the top of the plywood and then string the wire through the hole and tie it off. Now staple good old "in the wall" insulation to both sides. Here's the fun part!! Hang these above the drop ceiling in a pattern of 3 panels go "East -West" then 3 panels go "North - South" and create a checker board of hanging panels with fiber glass across the entire drop ceiling. You should now have a very effective bass trap!! In fact... you might not even need the drop ceiling panels at that point... you might be able to cloth cover the ceiling panel grid and then use the ceiling tiles elsewhere [if you're going for that 1970's dead as a door nail kinda sound]. Best of luck with all you do!! Oh yeah... try to get the room as cold as possible while you're working with the fiberglass... and pick up a "haz mat" suit from the hardware store... and a resperator... and when you're done take a cold shower [hot water opens the pores... you definitely want them as closed as possible!!] and chances you won't itch like a bastard for the next couple of days from the fiberglass dust sinking into your pores. Peace.
  8. A "Champ" or a "Princeton" are great... I've had very good luck with my un-modified "Valve Jr."... but our speaker cabinet collection is pretty sick and as Dan pointed out... speakers are equally as important as the amp. Peace.
  9. There's no scientific proof of hearing (or sensing by some unknown means) of frequencies much above 20kHz. Bull{censored}. It has been proven in several university studies. I first found out about this phenomenon when I was out to dinner with Rupert Neve and his wife Evelyn. Rupert told a story about a desk that had been delivered to AIR Studios in London when he got a call from Geoff Emerick commenting that a couple of the modules sounded different than the others. The next day Mr. Neve and a few from his crew went down to the studio and pulled the modules that sounded "different". They found a manufacturing error where the modules were shipped with the transformers having been left in an unloaded state causing a VERY high frequency oscillation. The sound of these modules had a palpable difference from the other modules in the desk [and served as the basis for the Great River MP-2NV's loading switch as the transformers remain 'unloaded' until you hit that switch and flatten out the frequency response]. Peace.
  10. 96/24 generally sounds better than 192/24 as the converter chips for 96 sound better than the converter chips for 192... so while there are some recordings that are done by 'techno babble believers' at 192 I've found that most of the best work is being done at 96k. Now... why a higher sampling rate than what would lead you to 20kHz. First off, the ear may not hear above 20kHz [unless you're a young girl... and I doubt there are many young girls reading this forum]... HOWEVER we can indeed percieve harmonic content well above 20kHz. We proved that with the Great River MP-2NV as it's "flat" when you hit the "loading" button... but if you don't hit that button the transformers are 'unloaded' and ring at around 63kHz... on "airy" material you can hear a palpable difference. The second [and probably more important than the first] reason is that when you have a filter you create phase shift. This phase shift slows down the signal for an octave and change below the filter point... so, if you're filtering at 20.5kHz [1/2 of 44.1kHz] you'll hear the resultant phase shift in the audio down to about 5 maybe 8kHz [well within the range of audibility]... if you're filtering at 48kHz [1/2 of 96kHz] you'll only get the tail end of the effects of the phase shift that has been created in the upper regions of the audible range. One of the major differences in converters is the quality of "alias filter" design [the filter that keeps the digital noise out of the audio]... along with clocking and power supply, etc., etc., etc.... however these differences in this analog filter design give a very palpable difference to the quality and clarity of the audio. Make sense?
  11. 96/24 generally sounds better than 192/24 as the converter chips for 96 sound better than the converter chips for 192... so while there are some recordings that are done by 'techno babble believers' at 192 I've found that most of the best work is being done at 96k. Now... why a higher sampling rate than what would lead you to 20kHz. First off, the ear may not hear above 20kHz [unless you're a young girl... and I doubt there are many young girls reading this forum]... HOWEVER we can indeed percieve harmonic content well above 20kHz. We proved that with the Great River MP-2NV as it's "flat" when you hit the "loading" button... but if you don't hit that button the transformers are 'unloaded' and ring at around 63kHz... on "airy" material you can hear a palpable difference. The second [and probably more important than the first] reason is that when you have a filter you create phase shift. This phase shift slows down the signal for an octave and change below the filter point... so, if you're filtering at 20.5kHz [1/2 of 44.1kHz] you'll hear the resultant phase shift in the audio down to about 5 maybe 8kHz [well within the range of audibility]... if you're filtering at 48kHz [1/2 of 96kHz] you'll only get the tail end of the effects of the phase shift that has been created in the upper regions of the audible range. One of the major differences in converters is the quality of "alias filter" design [the filter that keeps the digital noise out of the audio]... along with clocking and power supply, etc., etc., etc.... however these differences in this analog filter design give a very palpable difference to the quality and clarity of the audio. Make sense?
  12. This is the best economic climate to get a divorce in the last 50 something years!!! If you have the notion that the time is right to pull the plug... sooner is better than later!! Peace.
  13. At the $100- mic level... if you have a pre-amp in something you already own it'll be good enough... no need to stress about it now. Peace.
  14. That phenomenon will pass as you gain confidence in your abilities and skills as an engineer... you'll actually be able to turn off your 'engineering ears' and listen to the music again. You'll hear songs instead of snare drums... you'll hear melodies instead of guitar sounds... on the 5th or 6th listen you'll start to hear the little subtle things that the production team included in the presentation... but you'll hear it in context with the song. While you can never entirely turn off the 'critical listening' aspect of your training, you will find a place where it is no longer your primary focus. Yeah, you'll hear 80-90% of the parts and how they're interacting with the song on the first listen through... but you'll hear the song more as a "presentation" than as a collection of various sounds. When this stuff gets to be old hat you'll only hear the engineering when it's exceptionally good or when it's so bad it interferes with the presentation of the music... other than that you'll find a place where you take the song at face value instead of the "hmmmm wonder why they did that?"... or worse, the "{censored}... I would have done _____ with that _____". All it takes is time... it's a bitch while you get there but eventually you will. Peace.
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