Posts Tagged ‘studio’

Tonight I went to go see a Russian pianist performing a complete recital of Chopin. It was absolutely brilliant, his technique was incredible and all the pieces were extraordinary. As much as I would love to discuss piano technique and performance characteristics of tonight, instead I’m going to talk about my thoughts on it in relation to composing, particularly for film. It’s often common practice to just use a high quality MIDI plugin to emulate the strings, and provided you write good enough music, this will do divinely. But whilst listening to this performer I thought about how no matter what you do with a machine, it’s doubted the result will be as moving as a real performance, obviously recordings generally still aren’t as powerful as a live performance, but still more powerful than MIDI. However, recording an entire orchestra for a film score is a very long, difficult and stressful process, as I know from talking to a friend of mine who worked on the recording and composed some of the music for a new Hollywood zombie movie called ‘Christmas With The Dead.’ And still wasn’t overly happy with the result. But then you have the great film scores of Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park, and many more written by John Williams and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, these are easily some of the most notable film sound tracks and the reason for this is both the score and the incredible sound of the recording/talent of the orchestra. This is the most extreme of the best, however, the music for Pirates of the Caribbean, another epic film score that is very notable and gripping, was recorded with a group of musicians later given the name The Hollywood Studio Symphony, over the course of 4 days.

All the orchestral music I compose, I compose with MIDI, but the one piece I have had performed was only performed by the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra, and even with my best synthestrated scored, that performance will always be more memorable. Which means if a youth orchestra can capture the emotion of a piece well enough to surpass a MIDI recording, that means the main struggle lies in the recording, which is no big surprise. People generally don’t get much experience recording orchestras, its so complicated and time consuming you’d have to be crazy to want to, but as John Williams has showed us, with the right stuff, the hard way is definitely worth it.

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This is a very interesting idea I have never even thought about! As we all know, every piece of hardware and software sounds different, this would be a brilliant way to get some really original synth sounds, live and in the studio.

Glitzerstrahl

Here’s something that came as a big revelation to me when I first saw it. Guitar effect pedals are an awesome addition to your synth setup!

( Keep in mind that I’m still a beginner in this field ;-), I’m easily impressed. )

I already had a distortion / fuzz pedal (Plimsoul) for my strat that I really, really like the sound of, and putting it in front of for example the Animoog running on the iPad, or the Meeblip gives a whole new range of possible sounds. I especially like how it gives you a truly tactile and immediate way of manipulating effects while playing live. Also, since it’s actual hardware sitting in the signal path before your instrument reaches the interface, it puts 0 load on the CPU of the host computer.

The obvious downside of course is that you cannot go back and manipulate parameters or dry/wet mix…

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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.

The point of building a triffusor was to have adjustable room acoustics, absorption, diffusion or reflection, depending on what I need, at the moment I’m wondering whether absorption in the corners as bass traps or diffusion in the speakers first reflection points is best. Since I’ll have some left over foam I’m thinking maybe put that in the corners to absorb bass and diffuse the early reflections, either than or put it along the back wall and absorb early reflections, then absorptive side of triffusors in the corners and absorb that too (my room isn’t particularly acoustically awesome)

So I discovered the world of sound a couple of years ago when I took Audio Design as a class in grade 11 and 12, I’m now a first year music technology student at university, and I plan to use this blog to just keep a diary of what I’ve learned.

I have embarked on a few small projects so far, including recording and electronic music projects for personal and school purposes, building an analogue synth using a kit from thinkgeek.com, wiring up a pair of speakers from JayCar, regularly live mixing a local cover band and occasionally mixing live pop choir concerts.

I have learnt a lot in the little experience I have, and I’m sure that knowledge will come out in future posts but it would be pointless to try and list it all at once, especially since who knows how much of it would even be useful, but this blog isn’t about what I know, I plan to develop it into a diary of experiences for myself to review at later times, to keep me from forgetting and to share with people my mistakes and experiences so they may be able to avoid making as many themselves.

Until next post!

An audiophile