Archive for the ‘Music for multimedia’ Category

New multimedia design blog by Desiree Perry

May 11, 2010

My friend, former colleague and sometime collaborator Desiree Perry just launched a new blog on web design, illustration and multimedia. Desiree is a top-notch designer and artist with some great thoughts on where we’re all headed in this crazy multimedia world – and she’s a real music lover too! Check it out, and congrats on the new venture Desiree!


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.

The Traveling Wilburys: a book review

May 7, 2010

In the grand rock tradition of supergroups, none can surpass the Traveling Wilburys. George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne merged several of the 20th centuries greatest musical themes: rockabilly, Beatlemania, ballad rock, folk-rock and arena rock among them.

Unfortunately, the story of how the group came to be — and how they did what they did — has been relatively overlooked in the annals of rock music. That’s why Genesis Publications’ limited edition book “Traveling Wilburys” should be on any serious music lover’s list.

The book, signed by Jeff Lynne, immerses readers into the group and its work with an innovative use of photos, memos, doodles and hand-written lyrics — some reproduced on small memo-pad-sized sheets and stuck between the full-sized pages — culled from the group’s sessions between 1988 and 1990.

The story is told through the voices of the Wilburys, with occasional asides from a few close friends and family, as well as group “side man” Jim Keltner, who provided drums on most of the tracks on the supergroup’s two albums.

Petty, Lynne and Keltner

The stories they tell offer a fascinating glimpse inside the world of these superstar musicians. The group came out of an album Harrison was finishing with Lynne as producer called Cloud Nine. Somehow — the precise explanations vary — Harrison and Lynne began dreaming of putting together a faux group with luminaries like Dylan and Orbison.

Within days, the four, along with Tom Petty, were working on the nub of an idea Harrison had for a song. As Harrison tells the story, after the group recorded the guitar track at Dylan’s home studio, he realized he needed lyrics:

I look behind his garage door and there was this big cardboard box that said “Handle With Care” on it. And that was it. Once we got the title, it just went off. The lyrics were flying around. We could have had 29 verses to that tune, it was brilliant.

Harrison submitted the song to his label as a b-side to his next single, “This is Love,” but both label and artist quickly realized the song was too good for a b-side.

Thus, the Traveling Wilburys was born.

As famous and accomplished as each member was, it is clear that Orbison was considered the true star. As Barbara Orbison said:

Roy might be in the kitchen and George would come down and say, “I have Roy Orbison in my kitchen!” And I would say, “You know, we’ve been here now for three weeks.”

The book also recounts the shock after Orbison’s sudden death after the first album was finished, and days before a video for “End of the Line” was to be shot. They went ahead with the shoot but chose to highlight an empty rocking chair during Orbison’s vocal parts.

The surviving Wilburys went on to record a second album with its idiosyncratic title, “Volume 3.” While its sales were disappointing, a boxed set of the two albums ended up going to No. 1 in Great Britain and No. 9 in the U.S. in 2007.

All in all, The Traveling Wilburys book offers an intimate look at a historic moment in musical history. At $345, the limited-edition book offers no larger meanings or broader context. But it does allow participants, and those closest to them, to tell their tales directly. And those tales deserve to be treasured, as it is unlikely we will see a group like this again.

The newest top YouTube video of all time: Lady Gaga

April 15, 2010

Here it is, the biggest YouTube video ever, courtesy Lady Gaga (with a bit of help from Beyonce.’) Enjoy….

“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.

How to produce bigger drum tracks

April 2, 2010

Here’s a great list of tips over at Audiotuts+ on improving the drum sounds you record. While I don’t typically record drums, this will help me the next time I get the chance to do so.

Revamped website, plus ReverbNation

March 15, 2010

I’m happy to let you know that my website has been refreshed with better navigation and some new tunes. Now, you will find the music I’ve done for video, radio and multimedia projects in the “Music reel” section, and my pop stuff in the “Pop/rock music” section. I’ve added new stuff to each page, to drop by and take a listen!

Also, I’ve created a page on ReverbNation, a site that helps market musicians and their work. I would really appreciate it if you dropped by and signed up for my emails or became a “fan,” as presumptuous as that sounds. Thanks!

100,000 views – thanks!

March 11, 2010

Just a quick THANK YOU to all of you who have stopped by this odd little blog on music and the media. We just passed 100,000 page views, with many more to come. Thanks to you all!

Improving your acoustics, Part 2

March 5, 2010

Here is the second in a series on improving your listening and recording environment with Bryan Pape (see the first part here).

Bryan is lead acoustical designer for GIK Acoustics, a respected sound treatment manufacturer and dealer, as well as owner of Sensible Sound Solutions, through which Bryan sells sound treatment services and materials.  Bryan also lends his advice to thousands of audio enthusiasts and recording engineers in several online forums, including the popular Gearslutz’ studio construction and acoustics forum.

Q: Most people who record or listen to music need something to absorb some of that sound that bounces around a typical room. They can hire a consultant or purchase pre-made sound treatment, of course, from companies like yours or GIK. But if they want to try to do it themselves, what materials can they use?

A: This depends somewhat on the type of treatment you’re trying to make and how thick it’s going to be. Thicker panels, intended more for bass duties, can use less dense materials once you get to approximately 8″ of thickness. Standard wall insulation will work OK in this application.

For more standard 2″ type panels for reflections, 3lb/cu ft density rigid fiberglass board is my first choice. Many know this as OC 703. OC 703 is actually a model number for an Owens Corning product. There are other equivalent products such as JM814 (Johns Manville).

Acoustic foam is very well known. Most of it isn’t terribly good. The few that are are relatively expensive and don’t perform nearly as well

Similar density mineral wool can also be used. It’s slightly less expensive in some places but is not nearly as easy to work with if you have to cut it. Lastly, there is also 3lb density acoustical cotton. This is LEED certified green material and performs slightly better than the 703, albeit at a higher price. The advantage is that it comes in a variety of colors and does not have sharp fibers like fiberglass and mineral wool so it can be hung uncovered if desired.

Q: Where do you purchase those materials?

A: LOL. Good luck. It’s very difficult to find as a consumer. Most places that have it will only sell to you if you’re a business. There are always exceptions. I do offer 703 and the cotton for sale.

Q: Where can people find directions on how to build such a sound-absorbing panel or bass trap?

A: Again, it really depends on what you’re looking to do. For simple reflection panels, you really don’t need a plan. Build a frame that has an inner set of measurements that are maybe 1/16th” smaller than the 2×4 sheet of material you’re using. Make the frame from 1×3. Friction fit the fiberglass up at the front, flush with the front edge. Wrap with cloth and staple it to the back. Pretty simple.

Q: How thick should absorbers be? What is the difference between a bass trap and a broadband absorbing panel?

A: For standard absorber duties, a 2″ thick panel is fine. For broadband absorbers that will reach lower, use at least 4″ or 6″ of thickness. If you want a broadband bass-ONLY absorber, then you have to bond a facing to the fiberglass to provide a damped membrane and reflect the upper mids and highs. There are also tuned absorbers that only function over a couple of octaves or some even less. These are either rigid undamped membranes made from wood usually, or Helmholz resonators which work similarly to a speaker port or blowing across a bottle. The difference is that these are damped at the tuning frequency vs reinforcing it.

Q: How can people determine where they should install sound treatment like bass traps and broadband absorbers?

A: Every room is different. Corners are generally a good place to use bass absorbers or broadband absorbers. They’re efficient since they are at the end of 2 room dimensions. Remember that you have 12 corners in a room, not just 4. The wall/ceiling and wall/floor are also corners.

After that, it really depends on what particular issues you’re having in the room. Other generally good places for bass absorbers are centered on the rear wall behind the listening position, over your head to help with height related issues, behind your main speakers if they’re close to a wall to deal with boundary reinforcement, etc.

For more standard reflection absorbers, we are trying to deal with any point in the room which reflects directly back at you, arrives within a specific time period, and is a reflection that comes from far off axis where most speakers mid and high frequency response is VERY different than the direct radiated sound. The most common of these are the side wall reflection points and the ceiling between you and the speakers. These reflections, if left untreated, allow a 2nd impulse to reach you at a different time (smearing imaging, dynamics, etc.) and also are of a different frequency distribution which will change the overall tonal balance of what you hear.

Thanks Bryan! And remember, if you have any other acoustic questions Bryan might be able to answer, post them here.

Fresh eyes (and ears) on journalism

March 1, 2010

Today, British multimedia journalist and blogger Adam Westbrook launches a new series called Fresh Eyes on Journalism. His idea was to ask several people active in disparate fields to talk about the future of journalism. My contribution, about music and journalism, was posted today. Enjoy!