Posts Tagged ‘audio’

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!

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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/

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.

The Mix was an intense process. Without many instruments we had to create a full sound. With the help of Logic 9, I think it went pretty well.

All songs were recorded in the one session and each instrument had the same track for each song, so these settings were applied to all songs, then split off and minor tweaks were made (most of which probably won’t be mentioned because they’re not really very interesting.) Sam wanted his EP sound to be really consistent so we decided doing it like this would be a fun, challenging and interesting approach.

I started mixing the first song, which was probably the thinnest of the lot with nothing but guitars and vox. It’s quite an intense and raw song and I wanted the EP to start strong. I started with the guitars and did the usual pan each mic to either side, high pass and low pass EQ to keep out sounds not in the frequency range, some low mid cuts and a slight high mid boost to eliminate any masking, compressor and a noise gate. This got it sounding pretty good, but after mixing everything else the guitar just seemed to not… sit right, it was just a little overpowering in the high mids, so I decided to do something I tried in a different mix. I put a stereo spreader on both guitar mic tracks and spread the upper mids a little, order 11 for one and 12 for the other so the same frequencies weren’t being spread on either side. Being already panned to one side, this pushed some of those frequencies just a little closer to the middle, widening it at the loss of some of its power, perfect!

 

On the left we have the left guitar mic and its plugins, on the right, the right!

 

The vocals were a lot more simple, just a matter of EQ, compression, noise gate, and a tinyyyyyyy little bit of delay.

 

Now the lead guitar was interesting, for the electric lead solos we had 2 mics, one dead on and one to the side, so I panned them to show this. This sat the guitar slightly to one side but still gave a nice full sound, almost like if a band were playing and the guitarist had come up to do a solo and was standing just to the right of the singer.

Here you can see the centered mic on the left and the panned right mic on the right, as well as the EQ, compression, noise gate and delay decisions I made.

Next was the acoustic guitar solos, there wasn’t really anything special done here, it was recorded with a single mic so I opted against any crazy stereo imaging, quite a decent amount of EQ and delay, and more compression than I normally try to use, then a good ol noise gate.

 

The only other major instrument recorded was the double bass, once again a pretty simple process, decided to go for some more creative EQ to try and keep the clarity of the double bass whilst removing resonances and fixing some masking problems.

 

There were some other instruments used, including an egg shaker, a MIDI glockenspiel, a MIDI kick drum and some whistling, but I opted against doing those ones as they were very simple processes, but if anyone is interested let me know and I’ll show you how I did them, or help as best I can with mixing those instruments.

The final part of the mix was the reverb, this was done by setting up an auxiliary channel strip and putting the space designer reverb on it, then bussing all tracks to it. I don’t know very much about designing reverbs, in reality or in plugins, but I found the preset my ears agreed with most was the small booth reverb. It just sounded right and fitted the style perfectly.

I also used a concert hall reverb on the vocal echoes in the first song, ‘Heaven’.

If anyone has any advice for my mixing process for future mixes, please don’t hesitate to send it my way!

Also, please look up Sam Luff on facebook! or soon iTunes! He will be extremely grateful and is very much worth your time!

My dad bought this old Holden ute for us to bush bash around in at our farm. But me and my quest for experience couldn’t see this as anything less than a perfect opportunity to get some car audio experience, before this all I’d done is put a new head unit in my own car which was a simple remove dash, pull out old unit, cut off wires and attach wires for new unit job.

The ute however, started like this:

It didn’t matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get the Bluetooth working! And the fact that the speakers had been removed from the doors didn’t help either.

So I decided everything needed to be replaced. I went down to Jaycar and picked up a cheap head unit with radio and MP3 input and a pair of 6″ drivers to work with.

First part of the job was to remove the old unit. This required tedious screw removal from the glove box and under side of the dash to get it off, and eventually I figured out to get the unit itself out I had to unscrew the knobs on either side. After that I decided to just cut all the wires as it would be safer and easier to redo it.

To make things more difficult this units hole was smaller than the new unit. So after some awkward angle grinding, eventually I got the size to what was needed, and inserted the head unit frame.

Next was the speakers, this was a pretty simple put them in the hole and screw them in process, then I ran the wires through the doors, behind the floor mat and around to where the unit was.

Then comes the fun part, wiring. First I wired up the positives and negatives for the 2 speakers to get them out of the way, then I could concentrate on the power. My original plan was to wire both the ACC and the Battery wires straight to the car battery, but a friend of my dads showed me I could wire it straight into the fuse box. We tested what fuses were there to find one that would give constant power without a key in the ignition and one that would only give power when the key was on accessory, which meant I could set it up like a normal car head unit! So we pulled out the 2 fuses and stuffed the end of the Battery wire under the fuse without the constant stream and the accessory wire under the one with the constant stream.

*Blue – Battery Wire

*Red – Accessory Wire

Then all that was left to do was tape up the wires to the wires coming out of the attachment for the back of the uni…

Plug the attachment into the unit, plug in the antenna cable, slide the unit into the frame and put the underside of the dash back on!

And that was my super old car audio makeover!

Build a Triffusor

Materials (per triffusor):

  • 2x equilaterally triangular pieces of MDF wood
  • 2x rectangular pieces of MDF wood (width same as trianglar side)
  • 1x rectangular piece of MDF wood slightly shorter and thinner than other pieces
  • Acoustic foam rectangle the size of the 2 larger pieces of MDF wood
  • 5 long thin pieces of any kind of wood to be placed on one side for diffusion
  • A decent number of screws and some PVA glue (and some contact glue, though PVA will work)
  • Saw(s) and miter box (if cutting any of the wood yourself)
  • (Optional) beading for the edges

Process:

Attached larger pieces of MDF wood to two sides of one of the triangle. PVA glued, and then screwed them together.  Attached other triangle to other end of the rectangular MDF wood in the same way.

Used contact glue to attach acoustic foam to one side of the triangular prism.

Put smaller wood rectangle where third side of triangle would go and push it in so that it sits further back than the other sides.

Place long thin strips of wood against the side with the deeper wall and glue

Acoustic Properties:

–       Reflective side: The reflective side is smooth wood, allowing the sound to bounce off easily, creating direct reflections.

–       Absorptive side: The side with the acoustic foam is designed to absorb sound. When the sound hits the acoustic foam it enters any tiny gaps in the foam and bounces around inside it so many times that barely any of the sound manages to get reflected, most of it dies within the foam.

–       Diffusive side: The side with the further back wood and strips of thin wood running up and down it is designed to diffuse any sound that hits it. Either before or after the sound hits the back panel, much of it will reflect off the strips causing it to be reflecting off to the sides, known as being ‘diffused’, often used to stop early reflections from causing phase cancelation without killing the reflections all together and risking deadening the room too much.

Personal Uses:

  1. In parts of my room there are cupboards and dressers that would cause unusual reflections, reflective side could be placed in front of these to give more direct reflections.
  2. Diffusive or absorptive side could be placed at the back of my room where the first direct reflections would occur to send them in different directions of absorb them to reduce possible comb filtering in the listening position.
  3. Absorptive side could be placed facing out of the corners and be used as a bass trap.

Evaluation: Overall, each of the triffusor’s sides has the acoustic properties they were designed to have, and the triffusor itself is very sturdy and solid. If building more, the only thing I would do differently is take more time perfecting some of the measurements in attempt to get that really neat and tidy, professional look.

A synth is created through tone generation, manipulation, and amplification.

Generation:

A basic synth will often have a single oscillator (the generator) with the ability to generate some kind of sound wave, the most common being the square, saw, triangle and sine waves.

To start building a synth sound, first select your wave. The square wave has quite a ‘woody’ sort of sound, and is often good for bass synths, the saw wave is quite sharp and a common lead synth wave, the triangle wave sounds similar to the square wave but a bit more dull and harmonically weaker and the sine wave is very pure and lifeless. This is because the shape of the other waves creates harmonics, and if you were to filter out the frequencies around the note you were playing you would end up with something that sounds like a sine wave anyway.

These waves are often not the only choices, many synths offer you the choice of combining two waves, and some synths offer you noise waves, or even the ability to create your own wave shape.

So depending on your synth, these are your choices… for one oscillator. Very often synths will have multiple oscillators, giving you the ability to layer sounds on top of each other, and blend the volumes for an even or one sided combination, as well as a pitch control (often used to put an oscillator up or down and octave, but sometimes used for different intervals, be careful with using intervals other than an octave, it might sound cool at first but it could create problems in the harmonic progression of your song.) Individual detune controls are often available to add some crunch by putting oscillators slightly out of tune with each other.

Many synths also allow you to choose how many unison voices the synth has, which essentially means the synth adds multiple copies of itself onto itself, this is a great way to create a really huge sound, but don’t get carried away or you won’t leave any space in your mix for anything else!

If you’re just starting out I suggest you just use one or two oscillators, and stick with basic wave shapes, one of my favourite sounds is 2-3 oscillators all set to a basic saw wave. Which sounds kind of boring, but here’s where it gets more interesting.

Manipulation:

The first manipulator is the ADSR envelope (an envelope is where the signal passes through to be manipulated, feel free to call it the manipulator thing.) This stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release.

The attack is how long it takes for the synth to go from no volume to peak volume

The decay is how long it takes to go from peak volume to sustain volume

The sustain is the volume from the end of the decay period to until the note you’re playing is released

And the release is the time taken for the sound to reach silence after the note is released

This is best shown using this graph:

Slow attack and release times are most common in pads to allow the chord to swell up and fade away.

Decay and release are only experimented with excessively for more unusual kinds of sounds.

The next manipulators are the filter and resonance:

The filter is used to roll of frequencies above a certain point, sometimes you are given control of how fast they roll off as well. This is often used to filter out unwanted harmonics or if the high frequencies are masking another sound in the mix and you feel you don’t need them. Another common use for it is to have the filter set low and automate it to open up gradually, allowing the synth to grow and fill out the audio spectrum. If you don’t know how to automate, leave a comment and I’ll do a post on it as I won’t be going into that in this post.

The resonance is a control to create a resonance at a certain frequency, making it more prominent in the sound. This is often used to create a bigger bass sound or to emphasise some interesting harmonics in lead sounds.

Other manipulators are –

The LFO: This stands for ‘Low Frequency Oscillator,’ but it doesn’t generate sound, however it is still a waveform, this waveform is just used to control other aspects of the synth. A common use is to have it control the volume on a bass synth so that the volume fluctuates at the rate the wave is set to, the wave is then often synced to the song tempo, and there we have… WUB WUB!

Other uses are to control things like the filter, the pitch, the resonance or anything really, and you can get some really insane sounds.

Effects: These can be anything from chorus, flange, delay, reverb, or many other things, but I won’t be going into these in this post either.

Unison Detune: This is often a single knob to control the detune for all the voices in the synth that aren’t given actual oscillators.

I’m sure there are lots of synths with manipulators I haven’t mentioned, but these are what I’ve found to be most common, but if I’ve forgotten an important one, let me know!

Finally, the amplifier:

This isn’t really something you need to think about unless you’re using a hardware synth that requires an amp to make sound, in which case you will just have to buy an amp and get familiar with it, because all amps are very different. Software synths are amplified by your DAW or your computer (if its a standalone synth) and played through your speakers.

There is also another kind of synthesis called FM or ‘Frequency Modulation’ synthesis, but I will save that for another post as it gets quite complicated.

Thanks for reading, hope you found this helpful, if theres anything you’d like me to do a post on, let me know!