Posts Tagged ‘home recording’

Line 6 offers new blog series on home recording

November 5, 2010

Line 6 has started a blog series on home recording. Find part one, about computer recording, here; part two, on microphones, is here.

Line 6 is a well established company best known for its Pod series of guitar amp simulators and recording interfaces. It also produces the Variax line of modeled guitars. I have and use many Line 6 products, which I find offer incredible variety and quality for the money. You can hear Line 6 guitars, modeled amps and effects all over my music.

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!

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.

Sonar 8.5.3 update now available – for free

February 19, 2010

Cakewalk just announced a free update for its flagship Sonar recording software suite. Sonar 8.5.3 focuses on improvements to its useful Audiosnap feature, which allows you to manipulate timing of audio files very much  like have long been able to++ do with MIDI files. If you’re a registered Sonar owner you can find the update here.

Sonar is my recording software of choice. I am planning a computer hardware upgrade soon; when I’m done putting the new beast together  I plan to write about how Sonar 8.5 works in 64-bit mode on a fairly modern (i5 quad-core processor) machine.

Four golden rules of mixing…..

January 22, 2010

…are here, courtesy of the Podcomplex blog. Click the link, but this is the list:

1. There are no golden rules of mixing
2. Get good monitors (and, I might add, treat your room!)
3. High-pass everything
4. Always cut before you boost

How to improve as a creator of music? Shake it up!

January 20, 2010

Here is an excellent post by composer Wes Latta at audiotuts+ giving several techniques for growing as a composer/creator of music.  In the post, Latta suggests limiting your sound palette at first, or using a completely different software package that the one you’re comfortable with, or — shocking, I know — using real acoustic sounds where you normally would use samples and synths. Nice work, Wes – thanks.

A year in the life

January 4, 2010

This month marks the one-year anniversary for this odd little blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed stopping by half as much as I’ve enjoyed writing and linking.

If you’re new around here, MusicForMedia exists to explore the creation and use of music, especially in multimedia platforms like video and interactive web applications. And because I’m a Beatles freak, I find time to work in some Fab Four content pretty regularly. (And last year’s developments in Beatledom made that quite easy!).

We started small last January, with a bare handful of readers those first few days. But I’m happy to say that a few more people started dropping by. By year’s end more we had more than 75,000 visits.

The most popular post, by far, was my piece on the anniversary of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album, which itself attracted more than 35,000 views. The post included the memories of Beatles’ Grammy-winning sound engineer, Geoff Emerick. I used the piece to argue that Abbey Road was the finest pop/rock album ever made.

Drawing a combined 10,000 views were two posts about the release of the remastered versions of the Beatles catalog.

Also popular was my initial post about my song, “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song).” The power-pop ditty laments the state of print journalism today through the eyes of a laid-off copy editor. (You can see the recent video here.) Also, my reviews of music products by Cakewalk, IK Multimedia and other companies drew significant traffic.

So what lies ahead in the new year?

Well I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the latest news on music and its uses. I’ll continue to review products that can help you create or manipulate music and audio. I’ll share occasional tales about my own music-making adventures. And, of course, I will continue to write about the Beatles, as there’s no shame in revisiting the world’s best popular music now and again.

What would you like to read about in 2010?

10 tips on how to record voice

December 14, 2009 has shared a list of 10 things you should know about recording vocals.

Although this list is focused on musical vocals, a lot of it still applies to voiceover recording. Enjoy!

How to polish your drum loops

October 19, 2009


If you have a drum loop that you like, but it isn’t quite ready for your production, how to you perfect it? Audiotuts+ has a great tutorial on just how to do that. The example uses Cubase, but the principles work for any audio editor.

By the way, to get some tips on how to fatten the sound of recorded drums, go here.

Quick – and cheap -tips for better recording

September 24, 2009

Here’s a solid list of recording tips from Craig Anderton, noted author, recordist and all-around good guy who has some cool ideas about how to get the most out of your recordings.