Posts Tagged ‘mix’

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.

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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!

A friend of mine organised to record the bass exam of another friend, he had some really awesome originals, a jazzy pirates of the Caribbeany thing, a very Dream Theater like one and some others, all awesome songs.

Anyway the mix:

Most of it was just tweaking EQs and gains to get levels right and keep from masking, but I experimented a bit with stereo imaging using a stereo spreader with the keys, guitar and sax (keys center with a massive spread, guitar and sax with smaller ones but panned to the left and right a little) this gave an incredible stereo image. The keys sat really wide throughout the mix and the sax and guitar sat in areas slightly left and right of center. I highly recommend experimenting with spreading to give a sound a wider sense of space in its position, especially when you don’t have many instruments.

So today I hung around after a music history exam to do help a friend do all the sound/roadie work for the performance exams, he certainly manages to do a lot of different things at once.

1. The Setup

First we had to get in contact with whoever was performing and asked them what was on stage and what would be miked. We set up 3-4 mics for the first couple of exams even though we knew we probably wouldn’t need them, it was a just in case. Most of the exams just required lugging gear on and off, and some slight monitoring on the piano (which was normally the only thing miked). However, some exams wanted more miked, the most intense being a guy singing/playing piano or playing a leslie organ (alternated between songs), a small choir, a lead vocalist, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. The organ, all the vocals (choir of six had 1 mic between 2) and the piano (bass but was muted as it didn’t need any reinforcing) were miked. Everything had 58s on it except the piano which had a dynamic mic I can’t recall on it. 2 foldback wedges were run out the front daisy chained, also. This set up (including the instruments) had to be completed in a little over 30 min. This was the biggest challenge and the reason for not using more interesting mics/setup.

I found during this that the most important part of the speedy setup is to try and neaten mic cables as you’re running them, rather than afterward and ALWAYS try to work from left to right. Because without time to do a labelling system, and without an incredible memory, this will be your saviour. Keep gaffa tape with you if you can, so that you don’t have to go find it when you want to tape something, and you can do some of the taping while you go.

Also, without a sound check or any way for the performers to let you know if theres anything they want in their foldback there isn’t much you can do other than guess, but there are some things you can listen for that may help. If a singer seems to be a little pitchy, especially if they are a singer who is normally very good, chances are it’s because they can’t hear themselves. With all other instruments (and also singers as well), listen to hear how tight the timing is. If they fall behind then catch themselves back up a few times (or push ahead and pull back) then they probably can’t hear either. Drummers in particular have a tendency to push tempo when they can’t hear, however if they aren’t particularly brilliant drummers they may just not really be listening.

As for the actual mixing of this gig, it was mostly level riding, boosts for solos, a little EQ to tidy it up, nothing too fancy, a little bit of reverb as well, all on a basic yamaha mixer.

2. The audio CD and DVD of performance

While all this is going on, a spaced pair of matched cardioid condensers are set up on a high pole in the middle of the audience (everything run neatly so that it only takes up the space of one chair) to record the whole thing, running to the stage multicore and back to a separate digital mixer with a reverb effect on it to enhance the room a little. This signal is then sent to a Tascam CD Burner and a HD video camera running to a DVD burner. This CD and DVD is burnt/ripped/copied/backedup in numerous ways for numerous people and for the Cons achieves.

That’s a little for one person to do for almost 12 hours a day 6 days a week during exam week.

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.

Earthquake

Posted: June 7, 2012 in Music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Heard this song on V Hits today, the mix is absolutely huge. For anyone interested in huge synth sounds, or anyone who just loves a good mix, this is definitely worth a listen.

http://soundcloud.com/audiophilesjourney/rave-party-version-1

Synthesisers used are the ES2, ESX24 Sampler, Ultrabeat Drum Sampler and Toxic Biohazard.

Track 1: Bass. 3 oscillators (saw, saw down an octave and saw up an octave) and a long attack time to create a very rave bass sound.

Track 2: Similar settings to track one, but attack time was changed to create a time clash, creating a nice crunchy sound.

Track 3: Kick drum. Kick sample with some settings tweaked for a fat thud and heavy sound.

Track 4: Snare. Snare sample with some tweaking for techno-like snare sound.

Track 5: Hi-hat. Sample with tweaking.

Track 6: Lead synth. Mono synth of all saw waves, one an octave lower, some slight distortion. Resonance set to about midway.

Track 7: Same as track 6 but with more processing and some automation.

Track 8: Sampled choir using ESX24 synth with some tweaking.

Track 9: Intro bass. Sine wave and synced saw wave. Lots of drive, high resonance and chorus.

Track 10: Phat synth made using a custom wave, an offset square wave and a slightly less offset square wave.

Track 11: Phat synth 2. 3 saws and a noise wave. Quite a bit of detune.
Effects:

All tracks were given EQ and compression to help them sit in the mix.

Hi-hat was panned slightly to one side.

Lead synth was given some delay.

Automated copy of lead synth was given an automatic filter.

Choir was given delay and stereo spread.

Intro bass was given a limiter, delay and an auto filter.

Phat synth one and two were given stereo spread and a limiter.

An auxiliary channel strip was set up and given a compressor with a bus 2 side chain and the kick drum was bussed to it with bus 2, the output of bus 2 was set to bus 3. Then the side chains on the 2 phat synths were set to bus 3. Creating heavy pumping.

Auxiliary channel strip 1 was set up with a reverb and all channels were bussed to it, more or less depending on how much they needed.

The beginning of the piece is supposed to give a spacey sort of effect (spacey the way it is created in pop music, more so than the way it is created in sonic art pieces or sound effects) then fill up the audio spectrum with big rave chords to prepare for an 808 drop into hard rave. The only outside source I have used is the ‘Drop the bass’ sample which is from a song called ‘Drop the Base’ by DJ Raaban and has been cut and arranged into multiple samples. Everything else has been created based on my own current knowledge and through experimentation.

If anybody has any tips for things that they don’t think are working or how I can improve the mix, I would love to hear them!