Archive for the ‘editing audio’ Category

New version of Sonar coming: Sonar X1

November 1, 2010

My friends at Cakewalk just announced a brand new version of their flagship multitrack recording software product: Sonar X1. Read all about it here.

As a longtime, loyal Cakewalk user (remember Pro Audio anybody?) I am PUMPED about this one!

STUDIO SECRET REVEALED: How to improve your sound

October 25, 2010

Craig Anderton is an institution in the studio music world as an author, blogger, performer, designer and all-around nice guy.

Today I wanted to share a simple insight from Craig that I saw over on a forum he moderates over at Harmony Central, “Craig Anderton’s Sound, Studio and Stage.”

It’s this:

“The cheapest, quickest, and most effective way to improve the sound of your studio is to write a better chorus.” -Craig Anderton

What a marvelous way of saying that in the end — after you’ve updated your software and mortgaged the house to get the latest tube preamp and that pristine 1957 Strat — what counts most is whether you have a good song in the first place.

So thanks, Craig, from one more composer-performer-engineer guy who needed to hear that it’s about the music, and the performance, much more than it is about the tools.

John Lennon’s voice

October 8, 2010

As odd as it sounds, John Lennon never really liked his own voice.

He constantly pushed Abbey Road’s engineers to modify the sound of one of rock ‘n roll’s greatest instruments. Thus, the Lennon we’re most accustomed to hearing is typically double-tracked (“Eight Days A Week,” “Tell Me Why”) bathed in 50’s style echo (“A Day In The Life,” “Come Together,” “Imagine”) distorted (“I Am The Walrus”) run through a Leslie organ speaker (“Tomorrow Never Knows”) or even reversed (“Rain”).

As the story goes, he was so interested in altering the recorded sound of his voice that he once asked if his voice could be directly injected into the tape machine, bypassing the need for a microphone. Producer George Martin told him no problem, so long as a jack plug could be implanted into Lennon’s neck!

Given Lennon’s ambivalence, it is somehow ironic that to celebrate what would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday tomorrow, his widow, Yoko Ono, has chosen to remix the album they had just released when he was murdered in December 1980 — Double Fantasy — to focus more attention on Lennon’s voice. (The new mix is accompanied by a remastering of the entire Lennon solo catalog done by the same team at EMI that handled the Beatles’ excellent remasters).

The goal, Ono has said, was to strip away some layers of production to better highlight that voice.

Make no mistake – Lennon had a voice without rival for its emotional power. And his versatility is matched only by his one-time partner, Paul McCartney. Both Beatles were equally effective at blistering rock and tender balladry.

The new release, “Double Fantasy Stripped Down,” demonstrates once again that versatility. And in paring back on the production, some of the songs actually gain power.

“Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” one of Lennon’s most tender songs, actually sounds bigger and more expressive in the new treatment. With some of the background instruments and harmony vocals stripped out, the elements that remain — the lead guitar, the “oriental” strums and, of course, the clean, intimate lead vocal — gain prominence.

In “(Just Like) Starting Over,” with the 50’s-style slap-back echo removed, the change in vocal timbre is arresting. In that song — which he dedicates in this version to “Gene and Eddie and Elvis… and Buddy” — the echo seems so closely intertwined with the song’s style that I find I miss it.

By contrast, in “I’m Losing You,” the reduction of such vocal effects tends to bring Lennon’s voice closer to the listener, as if he’s standing in the living room in front of you.

That intimacy is most apparent in “Woman,” where layers of electric guitar and background voices are removed, leaving that vulnerable voice set against shimmering acoustic rhythm guitar and simple bass and drum parts.

Ono has been quoted as saying that the remixing process, which she did with original co-producer Jack Douglas, was painful for her. It’s easy to see why. With that voice closer, seemingly, than ever, it’s impossible not to feel a lump in the throat — especially when Lennon sings such hopeful, future-focused lyrics.

Yes, “Double Fantasy Stripped Down” gains some power from its back-to-basics style. And for many who love Lennon still, that power comes with a measure of pain — even today, thirty years after he left us.

Using rhythm in pairing music with images

September 23, 2010

http://vimeo.com/15211951

Jon Patrick Fobes, a photo editor with the Cleveland Plain Dealer and an excellent musician, stresses using the rhythm of music to guide your placement of photos in audio/video slideshows. The above project, where Jon created the music and edited the slideshow, is an excellent example of what Jon is talking about. And click here to read a previous Q and A with Jon.

iPhone recording app

August 2, 2010

Here’s a nice look at one of a number of iPhone recording apps now available. This one is called NanoStudio.

Big boys don’t cry… but they sure can mix a record!

July 15, 2010

Here’s a fascinating look at 10cc’s classic 1975 record, “I’m Not In Love.” Note how they used voice loops to construct a kind of a monster keyboard. They used the mixing board to “play” the chords of the backing track using those vocal loops. Amazing! Be sure to listen for the never-before-heard “alternate” lead vocal in the bridge.

IK Multimedia introduces iRig for iPhone, iPad

May 10, 2010

I’ve written previously about IK Multimedia’s fun iPhone app, GrooveMaker. Today the company announced a new hardware/software guitar recording and practice solution for Apple’s iPad and iPhone called iRig.

IK Multimedia says:

AmpliTube iRig is a combination of an easy-to-use instrument interface adapter and the new AmpliTube for iPhone software for guitar & bass. With AmpliTube iRig, you can plug your guitar into your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and jam out anywhere with world-class guitar and bass tones, from the leader in studio-class guitar and bass software.

Simply plug the iRig interface into your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, plug your instrument into the appropriate input jack, plug in your headphones, amp or powered speakers, download AmpliTube FREE for iPhone and start rocking!

You’ll have at your fingertips the sound and control of 3 simultaneous stompbox effects + amplifier + cabinet + microphone- just like a traditional guitar or bass stage rig!

Here is the full press release.

Given what the company has accomplished with its excellent VST plugins and GrooveMaker, I am willing to bet iRig will be a handy iPad/iPhone extension for musicians.

“Scary Mary Poppins” shows how music can change meaning

April 2, 2010

Ok, many of you have probably seen this, but I hadn’t until Brian Storm pointed this out on the Mediastorm blog. It’s a hilarious but telling example of how music (along with some creative visual editing) can totally change the meaning of a piece of work.

This should serve as a humorous warning to those of us who advocate the use of music in nonfiction multimedia: Use with care.

Audio editing ethics

February 11, 2010

Here is another thoughtful post from Deborah Potter at Advancing the Story. This one is on the ethics of editing audio interviews. Some good points here.

Tips on using natural sound

February 2, 2010

Deborah Potter over at Advancing the Story has a must-read post for video journalists on how to collect and use natural sound. Thanks Deborah!


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