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Jon Chappell

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  1. Creating Environmentally Unfriendly Effects By Jon Chappell Too often we think of ambience as a set-and-forget parameter. You choose an acoustical environment (large room, concert hall, etc.) for your music, blend the wet/dry ratio to get it just right, and then you don't think about it any more. But there are many situations where you can use reverb effectively as a sort of "post-note" event - one where you don't try to simulate ambience so much as give the listener an added dimension to the sound that comes after they hear the normal acoustic envelope (attack, sustain, decay/release). This can be particularly effective on notes that stop short - ones that have space after them. In that situation, you'll hear some interesting additional activity after the principal note, chord, or sound decays naturally. For an example of how this occurs naturally, think of a piano: Even after you release the keys and damp the strings, there's still some ringing from the soundboard. A similar phenomenon happens with hollow-body electric guitars, acoustic guitars, dobros, and the short decay that happens after notes finish sounding in extremely small acoustical spaces. GETTING STARTED To start experimenting with this kind of reverb effect, try dialing up a familiar sound and then playing with it - one option is to start with large rooms and halls, then try some simple EQ tricks. One of my favorites involves "band processing," where only certain reverb frequency ranges get the tweaks. For example, to emulate a harsh spring reverb, select a high-pass filter and boost that treble content even further, even to unnatural emphasis. (To improve the "spring" accuracy, also reduce any diffusion control if present.) Remember, you're not using reverb to simulate the environment, so distortion and non-realism are okay here. A good way to tune any frequency-specific reverb is to turn the mix to 100\% wet and set the room size to large. That way you hear only the affected frequencies and hear them in an exaggerated fashion. In the case of our high-pass/treble boosted reverb, we might hear a tinny sound, but sometimes the tinnier the better if you're going to be mixing this with a full-range dry signal. Another possibility is creating a super-short reverb - a small room with a really short decay time (Fig. 1). Again, start with a larger room and longer decay so you can hear the effect well, then shorten the times to tighten everything down. Fig. 1: You can even make a quality reverb like Universal Audio's Dreamverb sound weird if you set the parameters the way designers probably never intended you to set them. This settings gives a really short reverb with a prominent high end. Once you've decided on your basic sound, you may want to add it only selectively--as in applying it to certain notes but not others. To do this smoothly, route the "weird verb" to its own track and then bring the volume up and down at selected times, but do this with write-automation enabled so the results are almost like an instrument would play - regular, fast, and rhythmic - at least when compared to "normal" mixer fader moves (which seem to favor more gradual and graceful introductions and exits). What can be even easier, as well as more precise, is to automate the on/off status of the effect itself. If the plug-in effect doesn't have a bypass switch, no worries; simply route the reverb-only signal (i.e., 100\% wet signal) to an adjacent track, write-enable the automation, and turn the track's mute switch on and off as appropriate. Because you hear reverb on the note's tail end, and because the effect's entrance is usually masked by the note itself, the "hard switch" approach of a mute button works just as well as a fader move. In fact, in some cases, it works better, such as when you turn the switch on and off in rhythm, creating "ghostly subdivisions." It reminds me of when Eddie Van Halen used to flick his guitar's pickup switch back and forth in rhythm, where one pickup's volume was completely rolled off and the other was wide open. Unfortunately, though, doing it with a DAW looks a lot less cool! Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  2. It’s not that hard to get started—there’s even an inexpensive, reversible guitar mod that makes it easier By Jon Chappell Ry Cooder. Daniel Lanois. Bruce Kaphan. These guitarists have all used slide guitar to create ethereal, ambient textures that have been found in film music and their own musical contemplations. Slide is a great way to expand your sonic palette and approach the guitar in new and challenging ways—and produce new and challenging music in the process. But how do you get started in slide if all you've ever really done is press strings all the way to the fingerboard with your left hand? The first step is set up a guitar to be "slide ready," and the following discussions suit both electric and acoustic (though I'll use an acoustic here). Although you can play slide on a normal guitar, it's not ideal. The action on a properly set up guitar—acoustic or electric—is simply too low to endure good slide playing. You get the best, solid, rattle-free tone if you can bear down on the strings some, and doing this with low action usually results in having the slide coming into contact with the fretwire, producing an ungodly rattle—a no-no in most slide situations (although the occasional rattle is authentic-sounding, especially in blues). NUTS TO YOU Good slide tone requires a high action, and there's an easy solution that involves no adjustments to your neck or bridge: buy a slide guitar extension nut, like the ones sold by Stewart MacDonald (www.stewmac.com). In one of the last best deals ever, you can buy an extension nut for under $4.00 last time I checked price. It's just an angled hunk of metal with six grooves in it to accommodate the strings (Fig. 1). Fig. 1: The extension nut is ingeniously simple, but it works brilliantly. Just take any guitar (acoustic or electric) loosen the strings, and place the extension nut over your existing nut. When you tune back up, the pressure of the tightened strings will hold the extension nut in place, so you don't need to do anything more permanent to your guitar to keep it set up for slide (see Fig. 2). This means you can reclaim your guitar at any time to resume normal playing. Fig. 2. The extension nut fits over your existing nut, and is held in place by the tension of the strings bearing downward. Note that once you have the nut in place, the guitar's action is considerably higher. It's no longer possible to play the guitar in the normal fretted way, so you may want to consider dedicating a spare guitar specifically for playing slide. SLIDE TECHNIQUE Now you're ready to play. If you're really serious about playing acoustic slide, you might consider taking one more step and buying a straight saddle to replace your existing curved one. (You can buy blank saddle stock from Stew-Mac, too.) Before you buy, you have to measure your bridge slot width and then order appropriately. I've done this slide conversion technique on several guitars, and while the saddle replacement helps, I don't find it absolutely necessary, especially if you'll be playing single-note work. (Having the strings all at the same height, which the saddle provides, works well for chordal playing.) Once you have the extension nut on, and are tuned up, the next step is to decide whether you'd like to play normally (with the waist of the guitar resting on your right leg) or lap style. There are advantages to both, but I recently adopted lap style, as it helped me see the fingerboard a little better, and it forced me out of my usual fretted-playing habits. Also, I found it easier to bear down on the strings with gravity on my side. (Remember, we're talking about getting a good tone by pressing down on the strings more, which the raised action allows.) If you're recording and sitting down, it's a little easier to play lap style than live and standing up, but you can configure your strap to play flat, too, by lengthening it slightly, and tucking your right arm through the strap as Dobro player Chris Stockwell does - the videos on his web site show him in action. OPENING UP TO DIFFERENT TUNINGS To get the hang of moving around your guitar with a slide, I suggest staying in standard tuning while you perfect the technique of using the slide - the right-hand fingers to sound notes (slide guitar is rarely played with a pick), and generally trying to get a sound that doesn't sound like sick kittens mewing. Try to play simple chord passages, moving the bar in a I-IV-V fashion by barring the inside three strings (the D, G, and B) and playing a simple right-hand pattern. Then move to simple lead melodies. Use your remaining left hand fingers to mute the strings behind the slide. Once you can play this new way without sounding really bad, you might consider switching to an open tuning, such as open G (D, G, D, G, B, D, low to high) or open D (D, A, D, F#, A, D, low to high). The tunings of open A and open E correspond to these tunings, too, because the relative relationship of the strings remains the same. Since you usually play slide by barring straight across, tuning the guitar to an open chord seems to offer the easiest way to play licks. Certain players, though, like Warren Haynes, try to stay in standard tuning as much as possible, because you don't have to readjust your thinking to play—especially on improvised leads. IT'S A SLIDE, SLIDE WORLD I realized that the reason I wasn't inspired to play more slide is because it just sounded so bad on a normal guitar. Then I was messing around with a square-neck Dobro and a Stevens bar in a music store one day, and I sounded better in five minutes than in years of attempts on my normal guitars at home - and the solution cost less than $10 (the price of the extension nut and a glass slide from Dunlop). With these two items, you can be well on your way to creating music you didn't even know you could play. Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  3. Physical Cabs and Electronic Amps Make a Sweet Combination by Jon Chappell Amp sims are sounding better and better, and the convenience of carrying around a bunch of amps and effects in a laptop is pretty compelling. Although a lot of guitar players still want to feel an amp, not just hear it, there’s an easy answer: Combine the physical and virtual versions. Fig. 1: No law says you have to use an amp sim's cabient, and most sims let you bypass it. To take the cabinet out of your amp sim, either bypass it (see Fig. 1), use a “DI” setting instead of a cabinet, or with some programs, simply don’t insert a cabinet in its “virtual rack.” Then, send the laptop’s audio interface output to a power amp and cabinet. With a standard guitar amp, you may be able to patch into an effects loop return and bypass the preamp stage completely. However, the amp will still influence the sound, which may or may not be what you want. It might be better to power your cab with a clean power amp, like the kind used to power passive speakers, as this will reproduce your amp sim’s sound as faithfully as possible. Suitable models are available from QSC, Peavey, Yamaha, Phonic, Crown, Lab Gruppen, Mackie, Alto, etc. Today’s power amps are light and compact, and while they don’t use tubes, your amp sim will be emulating the “tube sound” anyway. You may even be able to build the power amp in your cabinet, and basically use your laptop as a collection of amp heads. So not only will you get the sound you want, you’ll feel it! Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  4. Tips for Getting Your Mic Stand to Help Out in the Studio By Jon Chappell Trying to get a clean recording in many home studios can be about as easy as losing weight on a diet of Boston cream pies. Even if your gear is in pristine condition and your signal path is as pure as an audiophile’s ear canal, you’re likely to be working in an environment full of ambient noise, poor isolation, and other acoustical distractions. One of the advantages of professional facilities is that, in addition to having floating floors, soundproof rooms, isolation booths, and acoustical treatment, they also have professional-quality microphone stands and shock mounts, which prevent unwanted rumbles from making their way onto your tracks. Below are some low-cost tricks you can use to help isolate your tracks using common mic stands and materials easily found around the house or at the hardware store. Stabilize That Mic Stand Remember those plastic weights you bought to help rebuild the Adonis body you had in college? Do you remember where you packed them away? Good, because now you can set up for your next session, work out, and justify the fact that you never like to throw anything out, all in one easy step. Inexpensive mic stands are notorious for having wobbly bases, especially ones with round bases (Fig. 1). Even if it doesn’t seem to wobble to the touch, any gap, no matter how slight will create a rumble once vibrations start hitting hit (including foot tapping from across the room in a live jam. Fig. 1: Mic stands with round bases have a smaller, space-saving footprint, but can be more wobbly than ones with triangular bases. If your mic stand has a round base, unscrew the base from the pole. Slip one of the weights around the pole, and put the base back in place. Your stand will now be much less likely to wobble, even a little bit, not to mention tip over. Ten- to twenty-five-pound weights work best, but you can always add more than one disc, concentrically on top of the other disc. If you don’t have any weights, check out some garage sales. The sellers will be very grateful to have you haul them away. Float Like a Butterfly Another common problem is noise and vibration transmitted from the floor to the mic stand and then on to the mic itself. This is an especially thorny problem if you’re dealing with drums, loud guitar amps, or other sources that literally shake the house. Rubber and neoprene doormats make excellent isolation tools and work to acoustically decouple the mic stand and mic from the floor. Cut the doormat into small strips and lay the strips under the base of your mic stand. The material will absorb much of the vibration of the floor. You can further enhance the absorption by using small squares of old carpeting in addition to the rubber. One of the best solutions is the “carpet square,” shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 2: Carpet squares are often available very inexpensively from carpet stores, particularly those that specialize in industrial supply. This has a thick pile on top, plus a rubber pad on the bottom. You can get these as individual purchases, remnants, or even free samples if you know where to look (large neighborhood carpet seller, etc.). When dealing with an amplifier, place the amp on a chair or other stand, and use the rubber/carpet combination to isolate the amp from the chair, the chair from the floor, and the mic stand from the floor. You should notice a substantial difference. There are also several commercially available version, like Primacoustic's TriPad (Fig. 3). These help isolate the legs of tripod-type mic stands from the floor. Fig. 3: Primacoustic makes several isolators for acoustic treatment in studios. A more specialized isolator, also from Primacoustic, is their KickStand, which keeps vibrations from getting into the kick drum mic (Fig. 4). Fig. 4: While specialized, the KickStand is effective at isolation. Of course, the question then becomes how well these devices work. As it so happens, Craig Anderton wrote a review of the KickStand and figured out a methodology for testing it. You can see from his results in the review that these isolators are actually quite effective. Home-made options, like using carpet squares or welcome mats, may not be quite as effective but they still make a considerable difference. Blanket Protection You can help tame the acoustics of a reverberant room and even provide some degree of isolation using a boom-type mic stand and a blanket. Set up the boom in the shape of the T, with the main part of the stand telescoped as high as it will go. Drape blankets over the T (the stand shouldn’t tip over if you apply the trick with the weights mentioned above). You can use these blankets to help curb sound waves from reflecting off the floors and ceiling and adding an unwanted room character to your track. One application that works well: set up the blanket as a backdrop behind a vocalist. The mic will face the blanket, so reflections off the back wall won’t get to the mic. This is based on the same principle as products like sE Electronics' Reflexion Filter (Fig. 5), but costs considerably less. Fig. 5: sE Electronics' Reflexion Filter X is one way to minimize room coloration on a vocalist's mic, but you can create something similar with a boom mic stand and blanket. Goin’ by the Book Miking drums can be a chore, especially if you want to isolate individual components of the drum kit, such as the snare and the hi-hat. You can create a mini isolation panel with a gooseneck mic stand, a universal mic clip (available at most large music stores), and a thin panel of a hard substance (a children’s book is almost ideal). Clip the panel to the gooseneck and the position it between the capsule of the snare drum’s mic and the hi-hat (or vice versa). This technique won’t entirely eliminate bleed, but it will reduce its intensity as well as the frequency content of the offending sound. This should make it easier to further isolate each individual track with noise gates, and to shape each track with EQ. Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  5. Follow these steps to protect your wooden instruments from the low-humidity conditions that prevail during the winter months by Jon Chappell The "pain points" of a guitar that are most susceptible to changes in relative humidity. Diagram courtesy Taylor Guitars. The winter months usually spell wet misery for many of us in the northern hemisphere, except if you're indoors, where the problem is excessive dryness. That’s because our climate control systems counteract the cold mushy weather outside by cranking up the dry heat, which more often than not sucks moisture out of the air. Dry air is bad for musical instruments. Anything made of wood usually likes to see a relative humidity index of between 45–55 percent. But forced air heat, without any other compensation, can drop the RH to 30 percent of even lower. That risks shrinkage in the wood parts of your instrument, which can cause glue joints to fail, the wood-to-wood-joined parts to separate, the finish to crack (called "checking"), and the frets to stick out of their slots on the fretboard. None of this is good for the guitar, nor the tone and tuning of the music coming from it. Here are the seven things to check for on your guitar to see if your guitar is suffering the effects of low humidity. This checklist was borrowed from Taylor Guitars' very helpful technical document on checking your instrument for dryness. Dry Guitar Checkist 1. Low action. Strings are very close to the fretboard. With everything on your guitar shrinking because moisture is being sucked out of the wood, you'll often experience a change in playability. Everyone likes low action, but not at the expense of the wood contracting to the point that the strings are laying practically flat on the fingerboard. 2. Hump on fretboard where neck joins body.Because the neck is more stable where it joins the body, you'll often see the neck area before it meets the body change, causing the most radical difference between the open part of the neck (from the headstock to the 14th fret). 3. On Taylor NT necks, a slight gap around the fretboard extension. This applies only to Taylor guitars, but because of their NT construction, an additional checkpoint exists where the fingerboard extends beyond the neck mass. If there is any separation between the fingerboard extension itself and the rest of the neck, chances are a dryness condition contributed to this. 4. Sunken top across the soundboard between the bridge and fingerboard. The area in front of the bridge (under the strings) is particularly vulnerable to change because no bracing is underneath to counteract any movement caused by shrinkage. If you see this area collapsed or sunken, in relation to the area behind the bridge and even further out to the sides of the narrowest part of the waist, you're experiencing wood contraction. 5. Back of guitar looks very flat when it is dried out. The back of the guitar, under normal conditions, is not completely dead flat, but slightly bowed outward at the center. When the back of the guitar shrinks due to lack of proper humidity, the back "sucks in" to the braces, almost like a vacu-form process, and gives the appearance of being even flatter. 6. Sharp fret ends extend beyond the edge of fretboard. When the fingerboard and the neck under it shrinks, the ends of the metal fret wires will stick out at the sides. There's also the possibility that the frets will get pushed up out of their slots, causing buzzing, action, and intonation problems as well. Often, you will feel the protruding metal fret ends on your fingers before you see them. Try running your left-hand thumb along the 6th-string side of the neck, and your fingertips along the 1st-string side of the neck, along the binding to see if you can detect any change in position between the side of the neck and the fretwire ends. 7. The plane of the neck angle on a dry guitar hits above the top of the bridge. Use the edge of a yardstick or metal straightedge to help you determine if the "plane of the neck angle" (the slope of the neck as it progresses from the first fret to the saddle) falls below or above the top of the bridge. As a guitar shrinks from lack of proper moisture content in the wood, it doesn't do so uniformly. The shrinkage in the top, which is much less fixed, will be more dramatic. Consequently, the top will sink, and measuring the neck angle now reveals that a straight edge will end above the bridge, or with a gap between the straightedge and the top of the bridge. MACHINE CONTROL To prevent dryness mayhem, you must maintain a steady level of relative humidity in the environment where the guitars live. The best way to control the humidity is to employ a room humidifier and an inexpensive digital hygrometer, available from the local hardware store. These gadgets give the RH as a percentage (e.g., 50\\\%), and often do double-duty as thermometers. It's worth noting that as heat goes up, the RH goes down. In practical terms that means if you like the room on the warm side, you'll have to take extra steps to maintain the RH at the desired level. A room humidifier isn't that expensive, and if you can place the device in the room where both humans and instruments wil be, you can justify the expense for both. Often this means moving instruments into the living room for the times when the home-heating system is running at its highest. LOW-TECH SOLUTIONS If you can’t afford the appliance version of the humidifier, consider the low-tech sponge-type devices made by Planet Waves and Damp-It. These are essentially rubber-encased sponges that don't have any external monitoring or control. They just releases their water into the atmosphere through natural evaporation. But along with a hygrometer, you can achieve the proper balance just by moving the sponge around, and, if necessary, adding more of them to the mix. The biggest concern with a sponge is an obvious one: don't let it drip water inside your instrument or case. That means you must dunk the device in water, squeeze out the excess, and wipe dry before inserting inside the soundhole of a guitar. Throw your hygrometer into the case, and check often to make sure your reading are within the 45-55\\\% range. It's better to re-wet the sponge than to oversaturate and risk drippage. Often, you can use two, or even three (two in the soundhole, one up by the headstock), if you're in really dry and hot conditions. Keeping the guitar in its case helps to seal in the moisture generated by the sponges, so keep the lids closed (and at least on buckle engaged--more for security than as a sealing aid) whenever the guitar is not being played. CONCLUSIONS Whether you employ the more expensive AC-powered humidifier or go the sponge route, and outfit each case individually, you should take steps to ensure that your instruments are safe from the fluctuations of relative humidity due to the changing seasons. Keep in mind that by taking such RH-control measures, you're not just preserving the playability of your instrument and ensuring a buzz-free sound. You're actually reducing the stress on the instrument itself and prolonging its life. Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  6. How to turn your complex floor controller into a simple bunch of stomps By Jon Chappell You don't have to choose between a multieffects and a collection of stompboxes if you configure your multi-effects to run in "stombox mode." A multieffects processor can be a great thing. It organizes all your effects into one efficient layout, without bothersome connecting cables and assorted power supplies. You can create entire programs, where the press of one button changes your entire effects selection--including the role of the expression pedal on the right. What's not to love? Well, a multieffects is often overkill for small jams, open mic nights, and rehearsals. It's not so much the size of the unit (a multi-effects arguably takes up no more room onstage than the similar number of stomboxes it replaces), but the complexity. If you're at a jam, and the leader calls out, "Let's do this Tom Petty tune," or "Anyone know Metallica's 'Unforgiven,'" you'd choose two completely different effects schemes. That's when you appreciate having stompboxes, because you can just dial up something on the fly. STOMP AND FLY Rather than separating your efforts between your multi-effects and your stompboxes, you can combine approaches with just your multieffects, but using it in stompbox mode. You may hear the term "stombpox mode" referred to differently depending on the unit you have (or the online forum you’re discussing it on), but basically, it boils down to this: A multieffects can be used either in program mode, where each memory location can dial up an entirely different set of effects, or stompbox mode, where the location of each effect (distortion, chorus, delay, reverb, etc.) is fixed, and stepping on the pedalboard switches at the appropriate location toggles the effects on or off. In stompbox mode, you set up your effects to match the physical layout of your stompboxes—starting with the distortion and ending with the reverb. For example, in any given multi-effects, the footswitches do double duty. In program mode, hitting the switches change programs within a bank. This is a good way to organize songs or set lists. Dial up the right bank number, and your program switches (let's call them FS1 through FS4) will take you through acoustic, clean, crunch, and lead variations. Used in this way, the switches change entire setups. Your program mode assignments might look like this: Program Mode Bank 1 FS1: "Marshall Madness" FS2: "Boogie Blues" FS3: "Recto Rooter" FS4: "Echo Extravaganza with Ring Modulator and Tapped Delay" By contrast, stompbox mode puts one and only one effect under each switch. Here, the switches don't change sounds, they turn an individual effect on and off. Any one of your four lights (to use our four-switch example) can be either on or off. Here's the layout: Stompbox Mode Bank 1 FS1: Distortion FS2: Chorus FS3: Delay FS4: Reverb All lights glowing means you have distortion, chorus, delay, and reverb all on at the same time. All off means a straight signal through to the amp. Selectively activate just FS2 and FS4 to get a clean sound. Hit FS1 to get a dry, distorted sound. KEEP IT SIMPLE, STOMP IT In a multieffects processor, stompbox mode is your “brainless” mode, where you don’t want to think about effects. It’s best for jam sessions where you don’t know what the next song is and you don’t want to consider whether “Fripp Meets The Edge Under a Martian Dawn” would fit the 12-bar blues in Bb that the harmonica player just called. When this happens, you just want to turn on your Tube Screamer and Reverb. Stompbox mode lets you do that. You can even put small pieces of masking tape by the switches (assuming your unit has the room), labeled with a Sharpie to help you. Let's take the example of the Line 6 POD HD500, though multi-effects such as the VOX ToneLab, DigiTech RP series, and BOSS ME and GT series all operate similarly. When you look at the HD500's control panel, you see this (Fig. 1): Fig. 1: The POD HD500 has an array of footswitches, FS1 through FS8 (outlined here in red) that can act as on/off toggles to individual effects. The gold lettering beside each footswitch gives it a specific function, but that function applies only when you're in not in stompbox mode. In stompbox mode, these switches simply turn whatever effects are underneath them on or off. Here's a sample setup using eight effects and the eight available toggle switches, assuming the POD is in stompbox mode. The footswitches are laid out in two rows, like this: FS1 FS2 FS3 FS4 FS5 FS6 FS7 FS8 FS1 Compressor FS2 Dist 1 (blues-rock lead) FS3 Dist 2 (hard-rock lead) FS4 Harmonizer or Octaver or Parametric EQ, etc. FS5 Flanger or Phaser FS6 Chorus FS7 Delay FS8 Reverb Obviously, there’s versatility in the above setup, but you get the idea of the basic order. Remember, stompbox mode puts a different effect under each of the eight footswitches. In this way, the eight footswitches do not change presets (A-D on the bottom row), as they would when the POD is in program mode; they simply turn the individual effects underneath on or off, just like a bunch of loose stomps on the floor. If you always know that your compressor and distortion pedals are "up left" (FS1-FS3), you'll be able to access them quickly and intuitively, once you start working with the board in stompbox mode. Similarly, you'll rarely see FS5 (Flanger/Phaser) and FS6 (Chorus) on at the same time. Again, if you have quasi-permanent assignments for these switch positions regarding the effect types they hold, you'll learn them that much faster and you can even label them (e.g., FS5 = "Mod 1"; FS6 = "Mod 2"). GETTING TO STOMP MODE Different multieffects handle the mode change in various ways, but despite a few differences in terms, the principle should be clear from the owner's manual. In the POD HD500, there’s a global setting under System that turns all eight footswitches, FS1-FS8, into toggles. You then assign effects to each switch. To change effects setups, use the up/down Bank switches, located at the far left of the unit. In this way, the POD HD500 offers a sort of hybrid program/stompbox mode. You get the best of both worlds here by being able to change banks (whole offerings of sounds) while still using the unit in stompbox mode. The HD400 doesn't offer this hybrid mode; it's either one or the other, so be aware of this if you're deciding between the 400 and 500. For you existing POD users, in stompbox mode there’s no blinking “preview” mode - the sounds change instantly. STOMPBOX SMARTS Here are two tips for using stompox mode: If you’re setting up a straight guitar sound, put your multi-effects into stompbox mode. Run your guitar through the unit with all switches off. Get the amp sound where you like it. Then use the individual effects as you normally would with physical stomps. This most resembles the way you'd work with individual stompboxes. To ensure you can get to your "stompboxes" quickly, always designate one of your bank-memory slots (let’s say 16D, the final one, in the POD HD series) in every set of 64 as your stompbox setup for when you put the POD into stompbox mode. That way, you can use your multi-effects for the programs you've carefully crafted. But if you suddenly want to get back to square one, dial up program #16D, make the System-level tweak that puts you into stompbox mode, and you're there. CONCLUSIONS Knowing when and how to put your multi-effects into stompox mode will become more obvious as you become more familiar with using it. Remember that it's for those times you don't want to fuss. You still need to give some initial thought to placing the effects, but start with the eight effects as presented above and go from there. Before you know it, you'll be playing your virtual stomps with the ease and familiarity you did back in the good old days when you had to string together a bunch of low-cost Boss pedals. You never could get confused with that setup! Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  7. Strap-On Tools for Your Fingers Increase Picking Power By Jon Chappell As a multi-style guitarist, I face an immediate dilemma whenever I pick up the guitar: pick or fingers? That is, do I play rhythm and lead gripping my trusty heavy-gauge plastic triangle between my right-hand thumb and forefinger? Or do I approach the strings with my unadorned right-hand fingers to play classical, Travis picking, and arpeggio stuff? To guitarists who play both with fingers and a pick, it seems like having two jobs. You have to keep two totally different techniques constantly up to snuff. But having fingerstyle chops as well as flatpicking ones is the best way to stay employed, enjoy and experience the most guitar-based music possible, and open up musical avenues for your own creativity. If you decide to cultivate your fingerstyle technique, you should be aware that there’s yet a “third job” to contend with, especially if you’re considering taking up certain fretted instruments as a double (a great way to increase your employability), such as banjo, pedal steel, or Dobro, or to explore additional tonal colors: playing with fingerpicks. Following are some tips on why you should know how to use these metal and plastic bits of “finger jewelry” and how to approach them for minimum frustration. Because before I became proficient with fingerpicks, it was like putting on boxing gloves and trying to pick up a needle. Fortunately, that feeling quickly passes. All Thumbs Many non-fingerstyle players use just their fingers (such as Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler, Freddie King) and manage to do fine in the rock guitar world. Playing with just your fingers for electric guitar styles is fine, but if that’s the only way you play, you should consider donning a thumbpick. That’s the first step in learning to play with something on your fingers other than your wedding ring. A thumbpick is a white, black, or clear plastic band that surrounds your picking-hand thumb over the nail. (Metal ones exist, but they're not as commonly used as the plastic ones.) A point sticks out at a 90-degree angle from the underside of the thumb (the palm side), and that’s what strikes the strings. Though you can’t use a thumbpick to alternate-pick lead lines the way a flatpicker could do, you can still get a few notes in a row pretty fast and use slurs (hammers, pulls, slides, taps) to get the rest of the notes in a passage. The thumbpick gives electric players a way to really dig in to the strings for lead and rhythm. If you already play with a flatpick, you don’t have to relearn your electric guitar technique with a thumbpick. Instead, focus your thumbpick efforts toward conventional fingerstyle playing, like you find in folk songs and acoustic music. There are many advantages to this approach. The reason so many fingerstyle players use thumbpicks is that if you look at the way the thumb strikes the strings, it’s more of a glancing blow, rather than a full-on, perpendicular attitude — the way the fingers hit the strings. A thumbpick creates a sharp, precise point of contact between thumb and string, and that point is at the end of a long lever. That’s why fingerstyle players from Chet Atkins to Merle Travis to Tommy Emmanuel use thumbpicks. It gives them increased authority, speed, and volume. Fingerpicks for Dummies Slipping on the metal fingerpicks is where the wheels come off the wagon for most players. For one, they’re not even sure how they should be worn. The fingerpicks slip on so that they scoop up from the underside of the finger, as shown in the photos below. Once you can play comfortably with picks, you find they have certain advantages for guitar playing. The most obvious one is volume. You can play a lot louder with picks on than with them off. Or consider the flip side to that: you can play at the same volume without nearly as much right-hand effort. This is not only less tiring, especially over time, but you keep your fingernails intact longer this way. In fact, many players turn to fingerpicks in the first place for “nail preservation” alone. The less-effort factor could also come in handy if you injure your hand. (I speak from experience here: I once jammed my thumb in a softball game, and using it to pluck a guitar string was painful. But wearing a thumbpick allowed me to get acceptable volume with a minimum of effort while my hand healed.) Think of it this way: picks are like any hand tool — a hammer, a wrench, a crow-bar. They allow you to get greater leverage than you could get with your naked hand (or finger, as the case may be). But consider that there’s a tonal difference as well. A metal fingerpick dragged across a string produces a brassier, more metallic effect. This can be desirable, for example, in capturing a grittier blues sound. The one thing you have to watch for is the metal fingerpick across a wound string (the 4th, 5th, and 6th strings). This sometimes creates a “skritchy,” grating effect that can be distracting (especially in a recording environment). With a little practice, though, you can minimize the effect of the metal edge of the fingerpick catching on the windings of the string. The best way to get acclimated to fingerpicks is to put them on and use them a little bit each day, practicing pieces, patterns, and licks you already play with your fingers. Do this until you can keep time, get a good, non-scraping tone, and avoid “getting snagged” in the string windings. Before long, you’ll be playing as well with fingerpicks as without, and you then you’ll have accomplished two things: a mastery of tools that now allow you to play the banjo, pedal steel or Dobro; and additional tonal colors to bring to your existing acoustic guitar playing. Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  8. Re-Examining a Critical Process By Jon Chappell I never really had a cohesive computer backup strategy plan until recently. I decided to get serious once a friend had a catastrophic hard disk failure (actually both of his internal disks failed irretrievably due to a lightning strike and power surge), and had to spend hundreds of dollars at a specialized facility to get only part of his valuable data back. And even with many of his documents retrieved, he still faced weeks of reconstruction work ahead of him. “We Can Rebuild It, We Have the Technology”—Sure, at a Price It was the “reconstruction” part that got to me. I always thought of the truly valuable stuff as the documents I created with my applications, not the applications themselves nor the look and structure of the hard disk. Once my friend got the data back, I witnessed weeks of work, anxiety, and delay as he tried to “reinstall his life,” as he put it. My thinking had always been, “I can reinstall the applications from my binder of installation disks. The truly irreplaceable things were the documents created from the apps.” In my “document centric” approach, I created a master folder of documents, inside of which were directories broken out by activity or media (family photos, work DAW and doc files, etc.). Even with all these different file types, the master folder was fairly small, storage-wise. So to back up all the documents was just a simple drag-and-drop action to another, usually external, FireWire or USB drive. But being in on a painful resuscitation of a computing environment made me realize how naïve that notion is, especially when you have to rebuild everything, including an operating system install. (And if you have an OEM computer, like a Dell, you may not even have OS install disks.) So I looked into a bona fide software-supported backup strategy. The best solution for me was disk imaging, and the best program was Acronis True Image. A Disk in My Own Image The main advantage of disk imaging over other types of backup is that you clone your entire hard disk, including applications, operating system, settings, and of course, documents. So while there are specific backup program that don’t do disk imaging—and disk imaging isn’t just limited to backup—you can use disk imaging as a backup solution, and it works flawlessly. And as a dedicated backup program, True Image is quite versatile in its options. For example you can choose incremental backup vs. a differential backup; the installation CD can function as a boot disk, and will run a full restore on a damaged or corrupted hard drive. The kicker is, Acronis True Image costs about $39. So even if it took me three full work days to restore my computer from installation disks rather than a disk image (and that would be highly optimistic), it means that I would have saved $39 over three days—making my time worth about $1.65 an hour. See how shortsighted I was? Fig. 1: Acronis True Image is a disk imaging program, which means it makes an exact clone of your hard drive—including the operating system and all settings and configurations. Scatter the Data, It’s a RAID Once you understand how your particular program works (Norton Ghost is another popular disk imaging program), you must choose what to back up to. Conventional wisdom dictates that you back up to a drive you can remove from the immediate area, in case the “mechanical failure” your hard disk incurs is the result of a house fire, flood, earthquake, or theft. So imaging to an external drive is a good idea, followed up by removal of the drive to an off-site location. But I’m always worried that the backup disk will fail, too, and for folks like me there’s something called RAID. RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and in this case, “redundant” is a good thing. RAID scatters data over different physical drives, either for speedy retrieval or data security or both. RAID has several modes (there’s an excellent tutorial on the subject in Wikipedia), but the best one for small studios and home users is RAID 1. It’s where two disks are used to store data, and that data can be retrieved from either disk, should the other one fail. In a RAID system, it’s best to use two disks of the same size and type, so I opted for a PCI-to-ESATA (external SATA) card that breaks out into two SATA drive ports (cost: $25). Keep in mind, a RAID system won’t protect you from a virus, because it will corrupt both disks. But as a measure for mechanical redundancy, RAID 1 is the way to go. Fig. 2. This PCI-to-ESATA card allows you to hook up two ESATA drives—ideal for hard disk backup and disk imaging. Using a PCI card allows me to put in two removable eSATA drives, which is much faster than FireWire or USB 2.0. Plus, should I ever have to boot from a drive other than my internal one, it’s much easier to swap out my original SATA boot drive with another SATA disk. As an alternative, you can always use an eSATA to USB connection. There are many possible solutions, including the lowly bus-powered USB external drive. Anything is better than nothing, though if your boot drive gets damaged (and that’s why you’re having to do a restore in the first place), you might consider backing up to a bootable drive platform. Fig. 3. You can always use an ESATA dock, which connects a hard drive to your computer via a USB port. Verstehen Sie WinDirStat? When you get into the habit of doing regular backups, you realize that it’s possible to back up all your data all the time. But you find that you end up wasting hours, electrons, and bandwidth for stuff you don’t need. So how do you cull the biggest culprits? Before backing up, I try to rid my drives of sector-hogging files with WinDirStat, a wonderful little utility that indexes your hard drive and organizes the files by size. The great thing about WinDirStat is that it has a graphic interface that correlates with the hierarchical directory-tree display. You’re presented with a colorful “checkerboard” with different-sized squares, and the colors and patterns help you quickly distinguish the separate squares. The size of the squares represent the amount of data. Clicking on a square causes the menu tree to jump to the appropriate file or folder. Clicking on a folder in the top pane puts a white frame around the corresponding square in the graphic display below. The squares represent additional folders and files. “Textured” squares are actually folders comprised of individual squares (files). Fig. 4. Drilling down to a single file by selecting squares (indicated with white border) containing more folders and even more files. “Textured” squares are folders made up of files (individual squares). Drilling down the menu tree also selects the corresponding square, indicated with a white frame. When on the hunt for deletion-worthy files, I use the checkerboard—it’s much faster and more intuitive than drilling down through the menus, though of course you don’t know what the squares are in advance. But it works quickly. Restore Complete So my three tools for backup are as follows: 1) Acronis True Image, a disk imaging program; 2) external drives in a RAID 1 configuration; and 3) WinDirStat to regularly inspect my discs for large files that can be jettisoned. It should go without saying that I regularly employ two utilities built right into windows: Disk Cleanup and Defragmentation. But I’ve found with backup and computer maintenance, you can’t really assume anything as “goes without saying.” Many times it has to be said. Even for people who should know better. Jon Chappell is a guitarist and Associate Editor at Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  9. Use your eyes to start mic placement, but use your ears to finish the process by Jon Chappell When listening to a source before miking it, a lot of people will stand comfortable “social” distance—say four to six feet—in front of the performer and listen carefully before putting a microphone two feet away (and often at a vertical position different from where they were standing). If you really want to find the best mic position, make sure you listen to the source from various distances, including the exact location (however intimate) you plan to place the mic. First listen with both ears, the way nature intended, and then plug one ear and face your active ear toward the source at various axes. If you need both hands to make adjustments while listening (or to pick yourself up off the floor), then grab a set of cans and cover just one ear as you walk around, sit, kneel, and lie (if necessary). You might not have the complete isolation in one ear that sticking your finger would provide, but you look a lot less silly. And be sure to tuck the headphone cord into your pocket so as not to trip on it (please don’t ask why I always remember to offer this last bit of advice). Jon Chappell is a guitarist and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has contributed numerous musical pieces to film and TV, including Northern Exposure, Walker, Texas Ranger, All My Children, and the feature film Bleeding Hearts, directed by actor-dancer Gregory Hines. He is the author of The Recording Guitarist: A Guide for Home and Studio (Hal Leonard), Essential Scales & Modes (Backbeat Books), and Build Your Own PC Recording Studio (McGraw-Hill), and has written six books in the popular For Dummies series (Wiley Publishing).
  10. Edmeston, NY - June 25, 2013 - The journey from being a musician to becoming a mastering engineer began with Nate Wood making his own album and preferring the approach of recording and mixing the music himself, compared to going to a studio and trying to get someone else to make his music sound the way he was hearing it. After mixing his own album and projects for friends he found a new companion career to his live performances in mastering other people's projects. Based in New York, Wood has outfitted his studio with the Dangerous Music D-Box for monitor control, reference D/A conversion, and analog summing for his mix path, along with the Dangerous Liaison programmable analog router with parallel processing for his six key pieces of outboard gear, two compressors and four EQs. The Liaison proved to be an elegant solution to his tedious practice of hand re-patching outboard gear for mastering sessions. The D-Box is the cornerstone of Wood's mastering studio, "I'm using every single function of the D-Box, every single day," states Wood. "I use it as a monitor controller, I use the talkback, the two headphone outs, and the summing mixer. Basically every button gets pressed every day! The D-to-A in the D-Box is my main D-to-A for listening." "I use the headphones on the D-Box all the time for mastering, for fades and cleaning up edits. The D-Box headphone amp is a huge improvement over what I was using before, way more power and way more clarity. It drives higher impedance headphones better. It's great to have two different outputs, one for me, and one for a client. The client wants to listen on headphones that he knows, and I want to listen on my headphones." Wood also utilizes the Dangerous Liaison for routing his analog outboard gear and for parallel compression in his mastering studio. "I have six pieces of outboard gear, and before I had the Liaison, I was crawling in back of the rack and hard-patching them, because I had worked with a patchbay before and I didn't like the way it affected the sound. Now with the Liaison I can finally just patch them all in and my outboard sounds absolutely no different. I can switch between any chain of outboard gear in any way. I can put any piece in any order, so I've really been taking advantage of that. I have four EQs and two compressors that I go between. With 6 stereo inputs the Liaison is perfect for me." What's on the Buss "I've also experimented with the parallel buss on the Liaison, which is great," says Wood. "If say I'm using the 'Oz' Handcrafted Labs Pultec-style EQ, but I want a little bit of 'air' after it, I can blend in another passive EQ that has a lot of obvious tonal coloration, without completely putting it in series in the circuit. It brings in just a hint of it, up under the main mix, all with no detrimental effects. I don't notice any phasing or anything - it is a purely additive, beneficial property. It's pretty cool!" The beauty of the Liaison to Wood is that he can easily choose the order of any of his outboard gear and that he cannot hear the Liaison, "It just doesn't add any color to the sound. Also having a client here and saying 'Which one do you like? Do you like this compressor or this compressor?' just by hitting one button. It's not 'Wait while I re-patch' and have to climb behind the rack. It's: 'What does this sound like? What does this sound like? Then: 'I like that one.' If you are re-patching by hand, the client has forgotten what the other chain or compressor sounded like, so it's much harder to preview options for the client," explains Wood. Getting Back to Dangerous Summing Remembering earlier days when he mixed a lot more music, Wood explains the evolution of his preference for analog summing. Wood's father, Steve Wood, is an accomplished professional musician who chose to leave touring many years ago to pursue producing, arranging, composing and mixing. But Nate has yet to follow in his father's musical footsteps, he continues to play live, and when he's not on tour focuses on mastering when he's back in New York. "The reason that I got into audio was trying to make my own music sound as good as possible without having to go into someone else's studio. Literally the first time I got the Dangerous 2-Bus LT summing mixer, I realized: 'Ok, my sh*t sounds good now' - I felt like I could actually do this for real." That made all the difference. "I heard a sound that was different than other engineers, so I wanted to do it myself," states Wood. "I am not taking on clients as a mixing engineer anymore, but I am mixing my own projects, and ones for very close friends using the D-Box summing. I used to mix more and I used the Dangerous 2-Bus LT for all my mixes. The 2-Bus made such a huge difference at the time: it really made my mixes. When I got more into mastering I had to make room for more mastering gear and I started mixing my own projects in the box thinking it sounded OK. But there was something about my older mixes that I kind of missed in the newer stuff that I did in the box. I started thinking maybe it was the summing. I was mastering all of my friend Billy Mohler's projects and his mixes were sounding good. Then he sent me the first record that he mixed with the D-Box summing and I was like: 'Whoa dude, this sounds like a real mix now!' It sounded really different, and not like 'Oh, you got better plug-ins' - it feels different." "I knew Billy got a D-Box and loved it and was using the summing," recalls Wood, "So I started brainstorming and thought I should get back into summing. At the same time I wanted a better monitor D-to-A, because I was using the one from my Lynx Aurora to monitor for mastering - the D-Box has all that stuff. That's why I got the D-Box. Now I use the 8-channels out of the Aurora to the D-Box for summing. I did a record mixing in-the-box, a project I was working on with my band "weyou" and once I got the D-Box I remixed it through the D-Box summing and it turned out way better." When looking for a new D-to-A for monitoring Wood was on a mission, "I've had a lot of DACs in my studio to try them, the Crane Song Hedd, the Lavry DA10, the Mitek 96 - I feel like the D-Box is easily on the level of any of those. When I switched from the Aurora to the D-Box it was like 'Oh Wow!' Everything just got a lot cleaner and much easier to hear: way, way better. The Aurora is great for the summing/mix path, but for reference monitoring I feel like the D-Box 'tells me things' much quicker." The D-Box also suffices for Wood's speaker switching, "I use three sets of speakers, I use an external line-level selector for 2 pairs of the speakers," he explains. "I have Tyler Acoustic MM5 3-way, they go 28Hz to 20kHz, those are for mastering, and I have Proac Studio 100s and Avantones, the little Auratone copies." Transparency Matters On the D-Box and the Liaison's transparency, Wood reveals, "In the places in the signal path you don't want to hear color, you really don't want to hear it. You buy specific pieces of gear that will add tonal coloration or not, and that's a very deliberate choice. Obviously for summing, for patching, and for monitor control you want it to be as transparent as possible. The monitor control section of the D-Box sounds way better than what I was using before too, which was a huge surprise to me. It was really surprising because I was using a really high-quality passive switcher before, with really short cable runs, and good cables and everything. The D-Box just immediately sounded way better to me. It was way easier to address problems in the mix or master. I was wary of active monitor controllers before this but not any more. The D-Box was substantially better." Balancing Act: Playing Live and Mastering Like his father, Nate loves playing music, "Billy Mohler and I were in a rock band, 'The Calling,' we did a couple years of that together touring the world," explains Wood. "I moved to New York about three years ago to get a little bit more into playing jazz with my friends. I am pretty active in the scene now. I play drums in a band called 'Kneebody,' it's my main project, it's a modern electric jazz band - young folks like us! We tour a lot and we're Grammy-Nominated. I have toured with guitarist Wayne Krantz (Steely Dan) playing bass and drums, and I also play drums with an Armenian pianist, Tigran Hamasyan, who's really exceptional. I did a tour where Keith Carlock (Steely Dan) played drums and I set up a second kit and we both played drums sometimes, and I'd play bass the rest of the time. I toured with Taylor Hawkins, the drummer from the Foo Fighters, I did two tours with his band playing rhythm guitar and singing backgrounds." But between all the touring, there's still plenty of time for Wood to be in his studio mixing his own music and mastering commercial projects for clients with his Dangerous Music gear. Find out more about Nate Wood Mastering at: http://www.kerseboommastering.com Visit some of Nate Woods' other projects too: The band Kneebody: http://kneebody.com And music websites: http://natewoodmusic.net http://www.weyoumusic.com http://natewood.bandcamp.com About Dangerous Music Dangerous Music, Inc. designs and builds products that are indispensable to any DAW-based recording environment. Dangerous Music electronics designer Chris Muth has spent over 20 years working in and designing custom equipment for top recording and mastering studios. Muth and company founder Bob Muller pioneered the concept of the dedicated analog summing buss for digital audio workstations with the Dangerous 2-Bus in 2001. Today the company offers a wide range of products for recording, mastering, mixing and post-production facilities, all designed and built with mastering-quality standards and a practical aesthetic. Key products include the Dangerous 2-Bus and 2-Bus LT, Dangerous Monitor ST-SR and its Additional Switching System expansion units, Dangerous D-Box, Dangerous Master, Dangerous Liaison, Dangerous Monitor, Dangerous Source and Dangerous Bax EQ. For more information on Dangerous Music visit http://www.dangerousmusic.com
  11. Major update unveiled to offer new speaker management, loudness metering and processing, plug-ins from iZotope and Voxengo plus many more features and enhancements HAMBURG, Germany — Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH today announced the release of its highly acclaimed audio editing and mastering suite, WaveLab 8, alongside the smaller derivative, WaveLab Elements 8. WaveLab 8 features a brand-new speaker management system, loudness metering and processing, single-window plug-in management, a master control panel, iZotope’s MBIT+ master dither, Voxengo’s CurveEQ, brickwall limiter and tube compressor, SuperClips, metadata support and over 150 improvements to its user interface and comprehensive tool set. “The eighth generation of WaveLab clearly shows that we continue to invest in providing the highest level of quality, reflected in the wealth of enhancements to existing features while bringing new, advanced mastering and restoration tools by Steinberg, iZotope, Voxengo and Sonnox to mastering studios around the world,” said Timo Wildenhain, product marketing manager at Steinberg. “I think it’s safe to say that WaveLab is the number-one mastering software for Mac and PC on the market today.” WaveLab 8 introduces a new speaker management system to its many indispensable features, providing maximum flexibility with up to eight-loudspeaker configurations.Observing EBU R-128 compliance, WaveLab includes loudness metering for momentary, short-term and integrated values, true peak support and enhanced loudness and batch processing tools that meet EBU standards. With the MBIT+ master dither developed by the engineers at iZotope, WaveLab now features a sophisticated set of word-length reduction algorithms for dithering and noise shaping. The second plug-in highlight is Voxengo’s linear-phase spline equalizer, CurveEQ, which matches and transfers a spectrum’s shape from one recording to another. More plug-ins newly introduced to WaveLab 8 are Steinberg’s Brickwall Limiter and Tube Compressor for extra punch and rich tone.
  12. June 4, 2013 For Immediate Release: Bill Kelliher the guitar player for the group Mastodon, has been a Lace endorser for some time. It is fitting that his new Signature Gibson Explorer guitar, the “Golden Axe” uses some of Bill’s favorite pickups to get his tone. Finished with Gold plated covers to match the rest of his Gibson guitar, these pickups were specially built for this run of “Golden Axe” guitars. Lace® Nitro-Hemi™ pickups were designed for rock and heavy metal players. It is a serious modern humbucker, which can be split for a single coil tones. Bold and aggressive, it will take you from zero to metal in a heartbeat. Built with Barium ferrite magnets and using patented Lace® design, this passive high output pickup has the thump of a fat, humbucker with the sparkly bell like top end found in single coil pickups. Sweet harmonic overtones jump off every note for increased sonic depth. Nitro Hemi™ pickups are designed for zero noise and exceptional tone in the split coil mode. As one of Bill Kelliher’s requirements for Mastodon and more, these pickups deliver the tone and looks that Bill sought for his newly released Signature guitar from Gibson®. As an Lace® pickup endorser, Bill continues to work closely with Lace® for his next pickup. Mastodon fans can expect to see a Kelliher signature pickup from Lace® available later this year for retail sales and more. Technical Specs: Neck: Resistance 15.8Ω, Peak Frequency 2750 Hz, Inductance 4.6 henries Bridge: Resistance 19.0Ω, Peak Frequency 2600 Hz, Inductance 4.6 henries For more information please visit us at www.lacemusic.com or see Bill’s new guitar at www.gibson.com (800) 575-LACE, Facebook or Twitter
  13. — IK Multimedia, a leader in mobile music creation apps and accessories, is proud to announce that iRig® HD, the highly anticipated guitar and bass premium digital interface for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac, is now available from electronic and music retailers worldwide. Guitar players around the globe can now plug into their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, and rock out with studio quality sound. The new iRig HD also comes with IK’s AmpliTube App and software for a complete “out of the box” playing experience. iRig HD is a high-quality, compact digital interface designed so that guitar and bass players can easily plug their instrument into an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, and rock out with studio quality digital sound. iRig HD features a compact ultra-slim design, fits in any gig bag, backpack, computer case or pocket, and comes with interchangeable adapter cables to provide universal device compatibility. As with many other IK accessories, iRig HD is manufactured in Italy using only premium components and rigorous quality standards. Lightning compatible — all cables included iRig HD is a Lightning compatible mobile guitar interface that comes with all the cables you need to make the right connections with your devices. It is a simple “plug in and play” interface, featuring a 1/4” instrument input jack, and plugs directly into the digital input of any iPhone or iPad via the included cables. Not only is the iRig HD perfect for mobile guitarists, but players can also use iRig HD with a laptop or desktop Mac computer, thanks to the included USB cable. Supports your favorite mobile music-making apps While iRig HD offers great performance with any digital audio processing app, it comes with the AmpliTube App, a superior sounding “ready to go” expandable guitar rig complete with virtual effects pedals, amplifiers, speakers and a recorder, plus four new virtual amps and effects available exclusively for HD users. AmpliTube FREE can be greatly expanded via in-app purchase with the entire range of AmpliTube apps including officially licensed versions based on Fender®, Jimi Hendrix™ and Slash sounds. Guitar and bass players now have the widest range of amplifiers and effects at their fingertips with over 55 outstanding mobile gear models for jamming and recording on the go. iRig HD is class compliant, so it can be used with any mobile app, like Apple's GarageBand, that supports digital audio processing. Supports your favorite studio setup Not only is iRig HD the perfect interface for guitar and bass players on the go, it can also be used on Mac laptops and desktops and take advantage of the superior processing power of the Mac OS platform. For Mac users, iRig HD comes with AmpliTube Custom Shop**, IK’s free amp and effects application and DAW plug-in, which allows players to choose from hundreds of top quality amplifiers and effects from world’s top manufacturers like Fender®, Ampeg®, Orange®, and Soldano®. Players can purchase this gear à la carte, as they need it, thus creating a truly customizable software rig. Plus, exclusively for iRig HD users, AmpliTube Metal**, the definitive collection of the world’s best high-gain amps and distortion stomp boxes for every imaginable metal tone, is also included for free. AmpliTube software can be used as a standalone amp and effects processing powerhouse, or as a plug-in with many popular digital audio workstation (DAW) programs, such as GarageBand or Logic. iRig HD at a glance: • High-quality instrument-level 1/4” Hi-Z input jack • Detachable cables for Lighting, 30 pin and USB connector compatibility • Preamp gain control
 • High-quality, low-noise, high-definition preamp
 • High-quality 24 bit A/D conversion • Powered by the iOS device or USB • Ultra-compact and lightweight
 • Comes with AmpliTube FREE* app plus 4 new HD exclusive gear models – The Metal 150, the Metal W, the Wharmonator “whammy” pedal and the X-Flanger • Comes with AmpliTube Custom Shop and AmpliTube Metal** software for Mac laptops & desktops Price and availability iRig HD is available now from music and electronics retailers worldwide, and costs $99.99/€79.99 (excluding taxes). For a complete set-up, also check out the other IK mobile products including the iKlip™ iPhone and iPad supports for stage and studio, the soon-to-be-released iRig® BlueBoard wireless foot controller and the iLoud® range of musicians’ portable speakers. *Download from the App StoreSM. Four free gear models are available after an iRig HD is plugged into the device. **Register and download from the IK Multimedia web site. For more information: www.irighd.com
  14. EHX HQ, New York, NY, May 23rd, 2013 – EHX has created a convenient, secure way to mount any of their innovative Next Step Effects pedals to a pedalboard. The new Pedalboard Cradle is custom-designed of a lightweight, durable polymer. Measuring 8.875 x 4.375 x 0.625 inches, it adheres to a pedalboard with hook and loop fastener and the pedal rocks freely and securely within the cradle. When the musician is ready to pack up their pedalboard, a security strap locks down the Next Step Effect for transport. The Electro-Harmonix line of Next Step Effects consists of the Crying Tone Wah, Expression Pedal, Pan Pedal, Talking Pedal and Volume Pedal. More information on these products can be found at www.ehx.com. The Pedalboard Cradle carries a U.S. List Price of $16.96 and will be available in April 2013.
  15. Andover, MA––In support of Nashville Audio Engineer Week, Asterope and Fishman sponsored the 4th annual Nashville Recording Workshop + Expo 2013, held recently at the Rocketown Event Center. The event included many of the industry’s most notable audio engineers and producers and introduced the attendees to Asterope’s game-changing technology. To help attendees hear the “Asterope difference,” the company created a listening environment at the event where attendees compared Asterope with competitive products in a one-on-one demonstration, using an electric guitar, acoustic guitar, or a vocal microphone. Participants were able to hear first-hand Asterope’s greater clarity, bandwidth, spectral balance and harmonic response. Designed and manufactured in the USA, Asterope products are ideal for the most demanding music environments and the cable of choice among leading professional musicians. Asterope’s core line of music instrument products is also used in recording and live sound environments. The company plans to continue expanding into the pro audio market. Dariush Rad, president of Asterope Later in the week, Asterope lent its support to the 16th Annual AudioMasters Benefit Golf Tournament held at the Harpeth Hills Golf Course in Nashville. The tournament is the primary fund-raiser benefiting the Nashville Engineer Relief Fund (NERF) and is a cooperative effort of the Audio Engineering Society Nashville Section and NERF, Inc. “Both Asterope and Fishman have long-standing ties to the Nashville music industry,” said Dariush Rad, president of Asterope. “We were honored to be able to participate in the week’s events and introduce our products to such noted industry professionals.” About Asterope: Asterope, LLC is an innovative audio cable technology company specializing in products designed for the music, pro audio and high-end audio markets. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the company offers unique products using breakthrough technology for musicians, engineers and audio enthusiasts. Asterope products are distributed worldwide by Fishman. For more information on purchasing Asterope, call 800.FISHMAN or visit www.fishman.com/asterope <http://www.fishman.com/asterope> . The company can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and at www.asterope.com <http://www.asterope.com> .
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