It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been very busy with some new projects, one of which was the audio post-production on a state wide TV broadcast production that aired on christmas day.

The other however, was this:

http://www.justinkownacki.com/2010/09/27/10-tips-for-funding-a-successful-kickstarter-project/

I worked on many of the sound effects and much of the music for this game, and would very much like to see it come alive! And if it does, I will do a massive write up a lot of the stuff I did for anyone interested in some amateur game audio. So please back this!

The game has a really great story, a rough draft of which can be read here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10sCTgO3bw99erYG3oBvSoEBmKed4cCxIqvsmgeM8Sx0/edit

And all my submissions for the game can be heard here:

http://www.detour-games.com/RAWdio/RAWdioSubmissions.html

(I’m Alec Shea)

It would mean a lot to me and the awesome dudes from Detour Games if we could get this funded, please help!

And I promise I will do an awesome tutorial if it does!

This post is going to be a tutorial on doing mashups using logic pro and some of the tools it has, mainly Flex Time and the ESX24 Sampler. The first thing I want to talk about is house keeping. When you’re doing a mashup, you need every sample or loop to have its own track, sometimes you can make exceptions for loops or samples from the same song, or similar songs, but if you have the power in your computer, I still recommend you put them on different tracks. The reason for this is quite simple, every song is mixed differently, so when doing a mashup of all these different songs, you’re going to have to mix them all differently to get them to work. As well as change their tempo, and their pitch and numerous other things.

As you can see here I’ve put all my samples/loops on different tracks, and some of them have drastically different settings. Now, collecting samples/loops themselves. Some producers will disagree with my here, but I personally find the best way is to just cut the sample in the arrange window, then test it by looping in the sample editor. This picture below shows the cut file selected, causing it to show up in the sample editor, then by clicking the button with the 2 arrows following each other, then clicking the speaker button next to it, you can hear the loop played in loop. Then its just a matter of some careful listening to get your selection perfect.

Next up is speed and beat editing so that you can get your mashup to sound like everything is at the same speed with beats that sync up perfectly. Logic makes this process very simple with its Flex Time tool. Once you have your loop cut, select the tempo you want your mashup to be at, select the sample you want to move into that tempo, and drag the end into the amount of bars the sample goes for. In this case below, its 4.

 

 

 

 

Now once the tempo syncing is done, sometimes you’ll find that beats aren’t always perfectly on the beat, so you have to move the beat a little, to do this just select a spot in the loop so that these locators come up, then drag the locators left or right to sync the beat.

 

Now the final technique for getting the mashup to work is by making sure all your loops and samples are in the same key, this is done pretty easily using the pitch shifter, its just move it up or down as much as you need (it takes some practice finding the right keys but once you get the hang of it it’s easy)

 

 

Another technique I like to use in mashups or any kind of modern music production is the stutter, this is also just a simple matter of clipping sections out of an audio file in tempo.

 

 

There’s one last technique I use in my mashups, this technique is creating a custom sampler instrument in the ESX24 sampler. What I’ve done here is cut each beat out of a synth riff, saved them as a series of audio files, then imported them into the ESX24 (this is done by opening the synth, clicking edit and dragging in the files.)  Then I assigned each of the samples to a note on the keyboard (seen at the bottom of the picture) so that if I played each note in order it would play the riff. This allows you to play the notes in random order and completely reinvent the riff.

To listen to my mashup and hear some of these techniques you find it on soundcloud here.

Hi everyone, I found this great blog today for people who do most of their mixing digitally, like me. As much as I like the sound of analogue gear in many cases, digital mixing is simpler, faster, and best of all, cheaper. This site has some awesome info on VST plugins and what they’re mixing qualities are like. Definitely worth checking out.

 

http://vstparty.tumblr.com/

So its been a while since my last post, but there is a reason. I’m working on something big… real big… hopefully it will be up by the end of the year. But for now, some sound design info/mini tut.

Sound design is quite simple when you think about it, in a lot of ways its just recording the sound you’re looking for, then cleaning up the recording and using it, but sometimes you can’t find what you’re looking for… like when you need the sound of a dragon, or a giant vegetable monster (encountered both of these in the same project… lolwut) so what do you do? The answer is much simpler than you think.

‘When you don’t have creatures, be the creature…’ – Geoff Garnett (Wabi Sabi Sound – Dead Space 2, Dante’s Inferno, Left 4 Dead 2)

So start by setting up a mic for yourself, press record, and just go nuts. Make the most messed up creature sounds you can, but whatever you do, don’t hold back, you have to really go over the top. (If you’re too embarrassed, find a shameless friend.)

Now when you listen back you’ll probably think ‘omfg… am I retarded?’ and this is ok. Now, the optimum plug-ins for mixing are Pitch Shifter (for a lower monster sound), and possibly some light distortion (if you want a higher monster sound,) the obviously EQ, Compression, Noise Gate, the standards.

Low monsters: Pitch shift down as low as you dare, create a new track, C&P the recording onto the second track (preferably just slightly offset, like Beatles style double tracking) and put this one at a slightly different pitch (I like 3 semitones higher), you may do this as many times as you like, however once you start getting too high in pitch it won’t work as well. But feel free to add as many tracks as you like, even add in some different samples, this can make your monster sound really intense (but be careful not to make it just sound like 2 monsters), apply some EQ, probably to cut out a little of the bass you’ve most likely created that is now dominating your speaker system, compress to make the monster really loud and in your face, and noise gate out any of the noise floor if you need.

High monsters: This process is very similar to the first, only instead of pitch shifting down, you might pitch shift up a little, or maybe still down, just a lot less. Apply some light overdrive distortion to get your monster sounding less human and more screwed up. There are other plugins you can experiment with, like the harmonic exciter (this can give some wild monster sounds.) But the biggest thing is finding a good pitch, and (if needed) some light distortion if the monster still sounds like someone going (arahfarahrahrara!!!!)

That is my short tutorial on monster sounds,

Thanks for reading.

Doing a lot of live sound work, ear protection is a major issue, whether its a gig I’m mixing or a gig I’m watching I need to keep my ears protected, and I’ve found that the ear plugs from this site: http://www.earpeace.com/ are very good for the price. The frequency drop is decent across the spectrum, they’re cheap, skin coloured (so people will be less likely to see them and call you a pussy if you’re at a metal concert or something.) They’re easy to put in and pull out and come with a metal cylinder that you can attach to a key change to keep them in, I normally don’t keep them in the entire gig if I’m doing sound, mainly just because I end up turning everything up too loud, but I can still comfortably mix with them in. I highly recommend to anyone in loud sound environments often and don’t have very big budgets get a pair of these.

For my first assignment for digital audio programming at uni we have to do some sort of electronic version of Eleanor Rigby, so as to be expected I decided to go dubstep. The project  is still in the works but it will be up on sound cloud soon enough, however I’d like to mention as a logic user how effect it was using a sampled kit and mixing/adding effects rather than using ultrabeat, don’t get me wrong, ultrabeat has some great kit sounds, but a recorded kit is just so much fatter. If you want a big sound, you need big samples. I’d like to personally recommend http://changostudios.com/samples.html this kit sounds absolutely awesome. Changestudios is responsible for the production of my favourite band, Sleeping with Sirens http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poZLiypLJzQ but these samples when edited right will create just bout any huge sounding drum kit you like.

I’d also like to share this tutorial video, and this guys channel in general, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for good dubstep tutorials, and this guy is one of the best I’ve found.

I know you’re not supposed to master your own tracks but we were working on a budget, so instead I just too a 2 week break from doing anything and came back to master with fresh ears. I purchased a copy of Ozone 5 just for the occasion and I must say, it was DEFINITELY worth it, and as I use it more and become more familiar with it I will try put up a basic tutorial for it at some stage.

As for the EP

First was the linear EQ, as you can see I rolled off the bass a little, and gave some broad presence at 2k, this really helped bring the track out and really make some impression on you.

Next was the harmonic exciter, now these things are tempting to just push up and up and up cause they sound so cool and exciting (lol wonder why) but don’t over do it, you can ruin the effect of the song and the rest of your mix work. As you can see I’ve tried to keep mine relatively minimal with a bit more in the mid and highs were its most effective.

I didn’t do too much with the dynamics and compression apart from the mids, but this was a light deep compressor to bring out some of the clarity and harmonics a little more.

Next is the most noticeable part of mastering, the loudness maximising, I wanted a really full track, but I didn’t want it to just blare in your face so I went for a quite smooth heavy maximiser, and some MBIT+ dither to spread the noise evenly.

I did quite a bit of experimenting with the stereo spread and converting in and out of mono, switching phase, ect, to make sure any spreading I did didn’t cause and phase cancelling, I found some really awesome settings, but many of them didn’t work at all in mono which meant they were best to avoid, or at least tweak, in the end these are the settings I went with.

finally the post EQ, all this work had given really great spread, clarified highs but the bass became a little over powering, so I pulled that down a little and gave a tiny bit more low mids and tiny bit less high mids.

So that was my process for mastering ‘Fairly Natural’ the first serious release by my good friend and the very talented Sam Luff, please check him out and comment on my recording, mixing and mastering with your ideas, advice, questions and opinions as I’d love to hear them.