Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

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.

It’s been about a week since I’ve posted, but there is a reason for this. I took a trip up to Queensland last week to visit my friend, the very talented and future famous Sam Luff. I’d been planning this trip for a while and we decided we would take the opportunity to record, produce and release his first proper EP. His music page can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/samluffmusic I highly recommend you give his music a listen, especially if you’re into acoustic singer/songwriter style stuff, hes really very talented.

The recording session was a brilliant bit of fun, and he had a great setup to use, combined with some mics I brought up, we had all we needed.

The Booth: first we did some DIY acoustics treatment using some karate mats and a mattress that looked like acoustic foam. We first set it up on the floor for the sitting down instruments (ie. guitar, guitar amp) than moved it up to a table for vox. The room sound was kind of dead already, but this did a great job of catching all the direct reflections.
The Acoustic guitar: a simple spaced pair setup. Took some fiddling to get the mics in a good in phase position but we finally got there. Used my matched pair of Peluso CEMC6s, brilliant mics, they sound absolutely brilliant.

The electric guitar: For the guitar amp I put an SM57 right in the center then a CEMC6 back and too the right a bit, this mic was later panned to the right, this gave the guitar a brilliant image and position in the mix.

Voxs/Acoustic Lead: Both the acoustic lead and vox parts were recorded with my AKG perception 820. Great mic and relatively cheap for what it is. Vocals and guitars came out clear as day, and nice and dead.

And finally, double bass: This was also just done with the AKG, great smooth low frequencies.

All in all we finished up with some great dry tracks, there was a little bit of MIDI use for a backgrounded kick drum and a glockenspiel.

Stay tuned for the mix report!

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!

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.

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!