I haven’t posted in over a year, the shame!!!!

Ohhh the shame of it all!  How could I, avid blogger that I am (not) allow myself to slip so.  ‘s not that bad though yea?  Have you all missed my ramblings in the typed format.    I feel like I have a lot to ramble about but when I sit to type I loose it all.  It leaves my head like those farts you don’t notice are slipping out of you until you are seated in the bath and inexplicable bubbles are popping up.  Where there you have it, those bubbles have been expliced!

Recently I have been on a massive Star Wars kick.  I have watched all the films and just finished my 5th audio book from the world of warring stars.  By the way, I highly recommend the “Darth Bane” Trilogy, the audio books are just great.

As you may have noticed the book I recommended was a book about a “Darth” or bad dude.  In fact all the books I have been listening to have been about bad dudes.  I think it has impacted on my feelings.

I am an angry lad by nature but holy squirrels these Sith are aaaaaangry.  I have come to terms with the fact that if I lived in the Star Wars universe I would most definitely be a Sith (despite wanting to be a Jedi).  I can get irrationally angry at the silliest things for the silliest reason.

For Example:   I found myself using a pencil.  It was a fine implement, fit for its purpose and as described.  A perfect representation of excellence in its field.  I laid it down and it somehow fell to the floor.  Let’s just say it was thoroughly shouted at and called many a swear word.

My favourite example, though, of controlled but fiercely violent rage comes from my college days.  I had a very basic laptop, it did everything I wanted and more.  It was a Fujitsu Siemens and it had a Dvd player on it….Oh yes!  After a while of use the poor machine became slow, and I mean slooooooooow.  You would click on the start icon and the computer would act like you had asked it to run Photoshop and Final cut pro while defragmenting and having someone plug the hard drive in and out over and over again while pouring tea all over themselves.

Needless to say I was furious at this computer.  It was, however, my mismanagement that lead to it’s condition. I never had a computer before that and I would fill the hard drive to bursting with movies and pictures and download every program that said it would “help” my computer be better.  I’m not going to mention the pornographic elephant in the room because I am above that, and perhaps a little embarrassed.

ANYWAY!!!  The computer was slow and I did not like it!  But my parents were kind enough to buy it for me, and if I broke it you can be sure they would have told me where to go had I asked for another (they probably would have told me to go to reputable computer shop and enquire within).

So how did I release my rage?  I needed to act violently towards this thing, this bringer of fury and frustration.  I wanted to smash it off the wall.  Instead, I kept every chocolate bar wrapper and crisp packet (potato chip satchel) I could and when it acted up I grabbed the wrappers and I threw them with all my might at the computer’s screen.

The wrappers were so light that even thought I would be sitting right in front of the computer, sometimes they would just float away from it and not strike the offending machine.  This of course made me angrier.  I am glad we had locks on our doors.  I would have been mightily embarrassed had someone walked in while I was cursing and furiously throwing chocolate wrappers at my computer…and missing.

I don’t do that anymore, I am much more well roundrd now…..is that a spelling mistake I see……I need to go throw some foam things at a wall and curse at the wall when it bounces them back at my face.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The day the earth stood still

Good day to you all!!

It has been a long time since I have posted up here hasn’t it??  To all 6 of you who read this I am afraid that this post may not leave you satisfied if you are looking forward to my usual razor sharp wit, extreme good looks and my very very big size vocabulary as today’s topic is one of the more disgusting in life.  Today we talk about feces.

How does that make you fecal?

Update: These events are now about a month old.  I was unsure about posting this but eventually came to the decision that people need to know intimate details about…well just keep reading.

My story begins yesterday.  At least I think it does.   I have decided to try a new way of losing the weight just to vary life up.  It is called intermittent fasting.  If you wish to know more then google that baby.  Basically it starts with a trial 24 hour fast just so you can judge how your body feels and reacts to not eating for a long period of time, then if you are ok you can start to do that once a week.  To be honest I felt and feel fine.  So I think I will give it a go.  ANYWAY!!!

So my fast ended at lunchtime today.  I was not too hungry but I was very glad to see school lunch being rolled in, I watched as it was lovingly laid out and waited as long as my own sense of decency would allow before grabbing the tray with the biggest portions.  I did not wolf my food down, in fact I would say I was a perfect lady in how I ate.

After lunch it was on with the day.  I had been charged with creating a worksheet and a question sheet, more work than I had been given at this school in about 6 months.  So in I jumped to the land of work.

There I was, making that work sheet like there was no other thing in this world (apart from facebook).  I was choosing fonts and word art like a man who had just discovered his typewriter is obsolete and these computinators are magic.

When all was done I took that worksheet and triumphantly handed it to the teacher who had asked for it.  A cheeky grin on my face, proud of the work I had done.  She asked could I include an extra section I looked her in the eye, took the sheet and began to brainstorm.  There was simply no room on this sheet for another section.  How could I rectumfy this?  Then it came to me.  There was no room on the front but I tell you there was room on the BACK!!!!  I ran to my desk in a hurry, and I made that section, printed it on its own sheet and, after about 17 attempts to use the fancy printer’s double sided page feature, finally presented that teacher with the new and improved, multi-dimensional, worksheet!

WARNING

There, now for all of you who maybe wanted to read a nice short blog post from me I advise you to go to the big “X” button on your internet browser, click it, and just forget about this particular post.  In all seriousness it gets pretty disgusting from here onwards and I really don’t want to sully anyone’s opinion of me.  I really mean this.

More than meets the eye

It begins.  After handing the worksheet up to the teacher I again found myself with nothing to do.  I decided to have a wee read of the internet as there is usually something good on.   Right then I got a case of what my friends have called the “coffee poops”.  I don’t drink coffee but their description of the coffee poops is a sudden and unavoidable urge to poo.

“Oh dear” I thought “I had better see to this”.  Up I got and walked to the toilet.  When I entered there were 3 old men I have never seen before at the urinals and more were coming in.  This was strange to me for many reasons.

1: Why were old men using the school as a rest stop?

2: Why were they ALL pissing now?

I had no choice but to enter the secret lair (the cubicle).  I feel no shame in telling you all that I have been having very regular, well behaved, bowel movements recently and I thought this would be another pleasant day for me.  I was wrong.

First of all, I don’t want anyone to hear me pooing as much as the next girl, so when two or three old men are loudly piss-chatting in full earshot of your bum, it becomes a little unsettling.  And secondly, at my first…push I felt something was not as it should be.  It felt a little “looser” than usual.  I clenched.  I have had these kinds of poos before, what we affectionately call “The Scutters” in Ireland.  They are unpleasant for all involved and I would not share that experience with three loose lipped older gentlemen who had seen the fat foreigner go into the den of sin.

The old men left and I thought it was safe to continue with my adventure.  I released, and the sound that came out startled even me.  It was similar to the noise Donald Duck makes when he is angry, only much lower in pitch and a little more breathy.  And it was loud.  So loud that I am sure I heard it echo in the hallway.  The sound definitely filled the entire bathroom area as far as the door.  I clenched again in a hope to gain some control on  situation.  I then used the classic technique we all use (I know you do it!!!) when trying to avoid noisy bowel movements.  I placed all my weight on one cheek, pushed the free cheek as far away from his trapped brother as I could and in turn trapped him on the other side of the toilet seat thus creating a friction free exit for anything that might be passing.  The famous comedian Billy Connolly once said that a fart was “Just your arse applauding” so I have applied that technique for many years to great effect.  Not this time.

My arse just kept Donald Ducking.  To make things worse TWO of my co workers entered the bathroom.  One to make his water and the other…the other one went into the cubicle in front of mine.  I zipped up (my bottom) quick smart but I knew it was too late.  Not only had they heard me but, other senses were also in play.  I must admit this was among my best work.  It was a feast for the nostrils if I do say so myself.  And I know a toilet is probably the only place, second to a music festival, where shitting with reckless abandon is permitted, but nobody likes to have noisy smelly poos when others are there to reap the rewards.

I had to fight off embarrassment and hysterical laughter.  I was having the noisiest, smelliest soggy poo of my life and it was in work!!!  Old men piss-chatting and my co workers were all there to live it with me.

I had to tell someone!! I had been catching up with my friend from Ireland (who now lives down undaaa) and decided to tell her about the whole experience.  From this came the strangest text I have ever sent.  So I leave you with this:

IMG_0833

 

I hope you have enjoyed the most graphic blog post I have ever written.  If, after reading this, you still count yourself among my friends and have have not had your opinion of me tainted by brown rage then maybe there is hope for us yet.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Explain the usage of the 5 most important synthesis modules: Oscillator, Filter, Amplifier, Envelope, and LFO

Good day all,

Here we are, the final assignment.  This has been a really great experience for me and I hope you can say the same.  Good luck on the final exam!!

Lets do this!!!

I will be discussing the 5 most important synthesis modules: Oscillator, Filter, Amplifier, Envelope and LFO.  To do this I will be using examples from the Synthesiser I use: the Roland SH-201.

One of the first things you may notice is just how well laid out this synth is.  Lets take a closer look.

Signal strip
As you can see the layout shows clearly how the signal can be manipulated and in what order.  First you create the sound with the Oscillator, then you select how you want to mix it, and what modulation you wish to add.  After this you apply a filter, set amp level and envelope settings and finally some effects to enhance your sound.  I would like to say that this is the reason I chose this synth but when I bought it I was exceptionally ignorant and just wanted a way to play Jump by Van Halen.  I think I lucked out as I am a beginner and this course coupled with the layout of this synth has really helped me get so much more out of it.

I will discuss this topic under the following headings:

  • Oscillator
  • Filter
  • Amp
  • Envelope
  • LFO

Oscillator

Sh 201 Oscilator

In synthesis the oscillator is slightly different from those used in other applications such as mixing boards.  They are sometimes called “Voltage Controlled Oscillators” and are designed to move over time.  We see that this synth has two Oscillators, which isn’t really important for this assignment but it is cool to play around with them.  The Oscillator creates the sound based on a geometric waveform.  We can see in the wave section on this synth are as follows

  • Sawtooth
  • Square
  • Pulse wave
  • Triangle
  • Sine
  • Noise
  • Feedback Oscillator
  • Super Saw
  • Ext in

All of these wave shapes have different characteristics and can be modulated over time in terms of frequency and pitch.   Some other options on this synth are Detune and PW/Feedback.

Detune: makes fine adjustments in pitch (Finer than that of the pitch knob).  It can be used to create subtle differences in pitch between the two oscillators to make a fuller tone, similar to a chorus effect.

PW/Feedback: manipulates characteristics of three of the above wavelengths: Pulse wave, Feedback Osc and Super saw.

Filter

Filter

The next section we have is the filter.  This is basically where we decide how bright and
substantial our sound is going to be.  On the Sh 201 we start by selecting the type of filter we want.

  • Low pass Filter:  This is the most commonly used filter.  It allows the lower frequencies to pass through.  
  • High pass Filter:  This cuts the lower frequencies and emphasises the high end frequencies.
  • Band pass FIlter: This only allows sounds within the cutoff range to pass through.
  • Bypass: Bypasses the filter and leaves the signal untouched.

Next we have the slope.  This determines how steep the filter is.  Using the -12db slope will allow some of the frequencies above and below the cutoff frequency to get through, creating a gentler tone.  The -24db slope is much steeper and will only allow frequencies within the cutoff range to get through.  Anything above or below will be cut.

Cutoff changes depending on what filter you have selected.

LPF: Turning to the right brightens the sound and to the left dampens it.

HPF: Turning to the right thins out the sound and turning to the left makes the sound thicker or heavier.

BPF: Turning to the right allows a higher range of frequencies through, and to the left enhances lower frequencies.

Resonance: Turning this knob to the right will boost the sound near the cutoff frequency and to the left will remove that boost and create a less distinctive sound.

Key Follow:  This is a very interesting control.  If you set this knob all the way to the right you will find that the cutoff frequency increases as you play up the keyboard.

AMP

Amp and envelopeThis determines the output volume of the particular patch you are working with.  As with the oscillator, in synthesis the amplifier is designed to move over time and is sometimes called a “Voltage controlled Amplifier”.  There will be an envelope attached to the amp to determine how the overall sound will move.  On the SH 201 there is also an overdrive switch which creates a nice distorted sound.

Envelope

Filter Envelope

There are many types of envelopes on this Synthesiser.  Rather than go into great detail as to what each envelope on this synth does I will just describe the basics of what they do.

Envelopes shape the character and movement of a sound specifically that of Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release.

Attack (Time): This slider controls the time it takes for a sound to reach full value after the key has been pressed.  The higher the attack the longer it takes.

Decay (Time):  This controls the time it takes for the sound to decay from the top of the attack time (the maximum volume) down to the sustain level. The higher the slider the longer the time.

Sustain (Level): This controls the volume of the sound after the attack and decay time have passed.  This will last until the key is released.  Raising the slider will increase the sustain volume and lowering it will decrease it.

Release (Time): This slider controls how long the sound will continue after the key is released.  The higher the slider the longer the sound will continue, if set all the way down the sound will end as soon as the key is released.

LFO

LFOThe low frequency oscillator is a form of modulation.  Its name comes from the fact that it operates at a frequency below human hearing.  The LFO manipulates the sound from the oscillator and adds modulation or movement to the signal.  In the Sh 201 there are two LFOs.  Because it is set at such a low frequency you don’t actually hear the LFO, rather you hear the effect it has on the signal created by the oscillator.  It is mainly used to create vibrato on the signal.  On the Sh 201 you can pick a wave form you want your vibrato to follow, set your rate (how fast you want it to vibrate) and then pick which parameter you want it to affect.  I mostly use pitch.  The LFO is almost like a cyclic envelope.  It creates a path for sound to travel on and repeats it as long as the key is pressed.  The depth knob changes the amplitude.  These can be used for vibratos or you can make some pretty nice effects using the LFO.

I hope you enjoyed this final assignment, I think I have a lot of research to do but it is a lot of fun playing with the synthesiser and hearing all of the crazy patches that can be made with it.  And of course I have made a patch that sounds exactly like the one used in Jump by Van Halen.  Super Saw all the way!!!

Gary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Assignment 5: Within a musical context demonstrate the effective usage of two of the three types of modulated short delay effects (flanger, phaser, chorus).

Hey all,

Gary here.  For this assignment I chose to demonstrate the (hopefully) effective usage of Flanger and Chorus on a piece of music I made while messing around in logic.

I have never really understood how effects like flange and chorus worked.  I only realised they were forms of modulated short delay when I saw it described in this course.  So I will attempt to show you how I decided to use Chorus and Flanger.

I will discuss this under the following headings

  • Well then, just what is Chorus.
  • Ok, I get you but can you tell me what a flanger is?
  • How I used these lovely effects.

Letsa go!!

Well then, just what is Chorus.

Chorus in the sense of a plugin for music is not all too different from the idea expressed by the (kind of creepy) picture to the left.

It is often used to make an instrument sound like there is more than one person playing.  Chorus works by using multiple detuned delays to create this effect.

In a choir (or chorus) not everyone will be perfectly in tune or keep exactly the same time throughout a piece.  It is those discrepancies that create the wide and full sound that we associate with large groups of singers.

The chorus effect takes the input signal, makes lots of copies of it and varies the delay time in each copy.  Different delay times translates into a slightly different pitch for each thus creating the thick detuned sound we associate with chorus.  It will sometimes push the signal out wider in the mix, giving the affected instrument a fuller sound.

I get you but can you tell me what a flanger is?

When trying to look up an interesting picture for this paragraph all I got when I googled flanger was pictures of boring foot pedals.  I then tried to use another word, one that reminded me of the word flanger.  That word was “squidgyboo” and that brought me to this cat.

A flanger works by taking a comb filter (a signal coupled with a slightly delayed version of itself) and putting it into motion.  It will create notches (or spikes) at regular intervals along the signal (giving the appearance of a comb) and moves them.

It will often create subtle differences in how the signal moves in the left and right speaker, this gives the back and forth swirly motion that we associate with a flanger.

How I used these lovely effects.

I first made the piece of music in logic.  Here is the untouched version.

https://soundcloud.com/gazztastic/assignment-5-dry

When listening to this piece I felt that the rhythm and lead guitar are fighting for dominance in the piece.  I felt that the rhythm was too far forward in the mix so I thought I would try to push it out to the side.  

To do this I decided I would use a chorus.  In logic the three parameters you can control are Intensity, Rate and Mix.  I used the following settings:

  • Intensity: 45%
  • Rate: .500Hz
  • Mix: 55%

I found that these settings created a subtle but still noticeable effect.  I also found that the  rhythm guitar moved out of the way, as it were, of the lead guitar allowing it to stand out a little more.  I hope you agree.

https://soundcloud.com/gazztastic/assignment-5-chorus

After the Chorus was added I still felt there was something missing from the piece.  I felt the lead guitar was too dry.  For me the lead guitar sounded too rough cut and I wanted it to sound fuller and slightly more interesting.  For this I used a flanger.  In Logic the parameters you can control are: Feedback, Intensity, Speed and Mix.  These are the settings I used:

  • Feedback: 67%
  • Intensity: 50%
  • Speed: 0.133Hz
  • Mix: 50%

I found that this effect beefed up the guitar a little and made if far more interesting to listen to.  I liked the feedback it added to the lead guitar, it made the blend more with the final mix.  Again I hope you agree.

https://soundcloud.com/gazztastic/assignment-5-flanger

That is all from me this time around.  I hope I demonstrated the use of these effects well. I hope you enjoyed this assignment.  I still feel I have a lot to learn about modulated short delays and I think they can be a lot of fun to play around with.  See you all for Assignment 6.

Gary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Assignment # 4: Demonstrate how to reduce unwanted electrical and acoustical noise when recording.

Hey all,

Gary here.  For this assignment I will be focusing on reducing unwanted acoustical and electrical noise in the home studio environment as that is the area where I have some experience.  Noise is any unwanted sound.  It is an interesting experience sitting down and listening to what a “silent” room actually sounds like.  There are many things going on that you never would have factored in.

I will discuss this topic under the following headings

  • Acoustical noise
  • Electrical noise

So, pretty simple then!!  Lets gooooooo!!

Acoustical noise

This is the type of noise I understand the most.  I am no expert but I shall try to explain how I deal with it when I record.  I think for the average home recording artist (the fancy title for what we do) acoustical noise can be a real problem.

First of all you will notice that no room is silent, even when it is silent.  There is noise everywhere and in the absence of all external noise we humans create it just by living (heart beat, blood flowing, nervous and digestive system etc).  The best way to understand where this noise is located is simply to sit still and listen.  I find it helps to set up recording equipment and listen through that.

When I first did this these are some of the noises I noticed:

  • My computer’s fan: The noise of the computer really became a prominent sound in the room as heard through my mic.
  • Clock:  The constant ticking of the clock can sometimes go unnoticed until you start to record.
  • My Chair: I think one of the most important pieces of equipment in a studio is a comfortable chair, you will be parked in it for long periods of time so it is best to choose a seat that will be kind to your behind.  However they are noisy, any small movement can be easily picked up by the mic.
  • Other people:  This only applies if you live with people or are recording near people.  If there are people in another room you will hear them on your recording.  If you live in an apartment or record in the room nearest the street in your house you may find some of that noise leaking in.

Here are some of the ways I have tried to counter these problems.

  • Record away from your computer:  There are also programs that allow you to turn the fan speed on your computer down.  But recording is very cpu intensive so that could make your computer heat up considerably.
  • Turn that clock off!!  In fact turn anything that is not needed for recording off.  If you are in the same room as the fridge it may be a good idea to plug it out for a little while.
  • Stand when recording vocals, not only will it get rid of any chair noises it will enhance your singing performance.  If you must sit use a stool while recording.
  • Wait until people have left the house.  You can also hang up blanket around the window area.
  • Mic placement:  Place the mic in the most silent part of the room.  This will take some experimentation.
  • Mic Polar pattern: I find that a directional mic such as a dynamic mic helps to tune out ambient noise and focus on the performance.

Electrical noise

Every piece of musical equipment you use has a set amount of “Self noise”.  This is the electrical noise created by the gear.  In microphones it is represented as a kind of background hiss.  Electrical noise is also present in other household appliances.  These can sometimes contribute to “dirtying” the electricity.  Things like dimmers can also contribute to electrical noise.  In my own experience I have noticed that my bass guitar makes a loud humming sound but when I face a different direction it drastically reduces.  One suggestion I got was that my computer monitor was the cause of this, I have yet to try turning the monitor off but when I turn away from it the hum decreases.  It seems that some electrical signal the monitor is emitting is being picked up by my bass’ pickups.  This is something I will look into.  Another cause of electrical noise is long or unbalanced cables.  The longer the cable the more chance the signal has to pick up noise and unbalanced cables do nothing to cut out noise.

To reduce this noise there are several options:

  • Use less pieces of gear:  The less equipment you use the less chance there is to dirty the signal with noise.
  • Use high quality gear:  A high quality piece of equipment has to earn that tag, dealing with noise and noise reduction is one way in which it does so.
  • Turn non essential electrical items off.  This could mean your fridge, TV, anything that might interfere with the signal.
  • Use short, balanced cables (XLR or TRS).  The shorter the cable the faster the signal gets from A to B and the less chance there is of noise.
  • Use a noise gate.  This is a good post production tool for eliminating some noise but should be one of the last measures you take to clean up a performance.  If you rely on “fixing in the mix” you limit yourself and can add hours to your workload trying to clean up mistakes that could have been eliminated by simply re-recording.

The home studio is a unique place and it will take a lot of experimentation to get the best sound out of your space.  I hope I have helped strengthen your understanding of noise reduction.  It is definitely possible to get great sounding recording from seemingly acoustically poor spaces when correct steps for noise reduction have been taken.

Thanks for reading!!

Gary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Assignment 3: Automation practical: Logic Pro 9

Good day all,

Gary here.  For this assignment I have chosen to mess around with Automation in the DAW I use: Logic Pro.  I picked this assignment because up until this course I had no idea what most of the automation options meant or how to access them.  So I thought attempting to teach them would be a good way for me to remember.

I will discuss this under the following headings

  • Automation Types
  • Read
  • Latch
  • Touch
  • Write
  • Pencil

Let’s do this thang!!

Automation Types

I now realise that this heading is a little redundant as the next five headings kind of gave the secret away.  So in an attempt to make this section feel less useless I shall add a little definition for automation as defined by the Logic Pro user manual.

“Mix automation refers to recording, editing, and playing back the movements of faders, knobs, and switches on a mixing console—providing real-time control of volume, pan, EQ, and aux send controls, among others.”

We will focus on Volume for this post.  The types of Automation used in Logic are of course:

Read

As the name suggests this option just reads the current automation for the track you are listening to.  Moving the faders will not affect the automation of the track.

Latch

This type of automation works by latching to wherever you drag the fader.  As a piece of music is playing you grab the fader and drag according to how you want the track to sound.  It will remain where you leave it and continue to record the automation.  In the video below I demonstrate how to use latch automation.  I am using a piece of music I recorded in assignment 2.  You may begin to hate the piece as you will be listening to it a few times throughout this post.  All I can say is stick it out, maybe dance a little to take the edge off.  In this example I liked how the bass sounded at the end of the track so I wanted the listener to be able to hear it more clearly.

Touch

Touch automation is useful when you want to highlight a specific section of a track but then have it return to previous levels.  It works in a similar way to Latch but when you let go of the fader the automation snaps back to the value you had previous to touching the fader.  In the example below I wanted to bring up the last part of the guitar solo to make the end a little more dramatic.  I envision a scene where a chef is cutting vegetables and is on a time limit (for some competition), the last part of the solo shows his victory as he cuts the last of the vegetables in time with the music.

Write

I find write to be a useful function when you want to level out a track and erase all other automation values.  If you select write in Logic you must set the volume to the level you want the track and then press play.  You will see that all other automation information is replaced with the one value you set before pressing play.

In this section I wasn’t happy with how the rhythm guitar sounded so I evened out the automation.

Pencil

I’m not sure if this is the actual name for this method of automation editing but as you use a pencil to draw out automation curves I thought it was apt.  This is my favourite method of editing automation.  It offers the greatest versatility when picking how you want a piece to sound.  You can draw any shape you like and tweak as you like to get the desired sound.  If you listened to the other videos you will have noticed a clicking noise at the end of the track.  I discovered this was on the bass guitar track.  In order to get rid of this I drew a curve with the pencil tool to make the bass track ending sound more natural and get rid of that click.

I hope this has helped you understand Automation a little better.  While I used Logic for my demonstration you will find that most DAWs use similar types of Automation.  It is a great tool and you will find yourself editing automation almost as much as recording the actual music.  It can’t save a bad performance but it can tweak and really get the best out of what you have and transform your mix.  See you all in assignment 4.

Gary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Record audio in your DAW including preparing the project, creating the track(s), setting the click and countoff, and recording efficiently.

Hey everyone,

Gary here.  As my last assignment was a little on the long side I shall do my best to keep this one nice and brief while (hopefully) showing you all how I record into my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).  I chose this topic as I really enjoy playing and recording music and am eager to try out some of the techniques we learned about working within a DAW.

I will discuss this under the following headings:

Pre Production: Chose your weapons

Production: FIRE!!!

Watch me go!!:  A short video of the recording process.

Pre Production: Chose your weapons

music class choose your weaponsBefore you start any recording you need to have a few important things.  Before anything else you need to be in the right mindset.  I have often sat down to play something out of boredom and rarely has it yielded any positive results.  If you are excited to play and work through an idea you have or just jam, if you really throw yourself into the process you will not only create something of significance but you will have a lot more fun.  After you are sufficiently enthusiastic you will need a few things to get started with recording.

Here is what I use:

Instruments>

I am primarily a guitarist so I work out all ideas on my guitar.  I use a Squire Telecaster.

I use a Roland Sh-201.  It is a synthesiser that also doubles as a midi controller so I can use it with software instruments inside the DAW

 

Microphone.  I use a Behringer B-1 (Which is a single diaphragm, cardioid condenser mic.  A fact I did not know until last week.  Bless me and my ignorance.)

Digital Audio interface/Preamp

This is your link to the computer.  All instruments will be connected to your DAW via this device.  I am currently using the M-box 2.

Lots of various cables


You need to connect your instruments to your premap and your preamp to your computer.  You may find yourself with a bundle similar to the one on the left.  If so congratulations, you are now a musician.  Clean up your cables will ya!!!

Computer

This is where you will do all your recording, mixing and editing.  I currently use a Macbook Pro.  The large track pad really helps for editing purposes.  And it is very shiny and pretty.

DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

This is software you will use to create your audio project.  I am currently using Logic Pro 9.  I find Logic to be more user friendly than Pro tools.

A kick ass idea

Music class I freaking loveIt could come from a quick jab of inspiration or a particularly successful jam but having an idea really helps you to get excited about the recording process and will help  add structure to the project.

If you have some combination of the above you should be ready to record a song.  Get practicing and when you know what you want and how you want it to sound you can move onto the next section.

Production: FIRE!!

Music class week 2 guitarNow we have everything we need to record a song.  To help me explain the production process I shall employ the power of bullet points!!!!

  • Connect the preamp and start up Logic.
  • Connect midi controller via USB. 
  • Create and name the new project and save to designated project folder.
  • Set digital audio preferences: Sample rate 48Khz.  Bit depth: 24 bit.
  • Set file type: Aiff
  • Hardware settings: I set Logic to use the Mbox as my input device.  However, as my output I like to use the built in output (the computer).  I have had issues with my (possibly faulty) Mbox in the past where the monitor volume does not accurately represent the volume of the final result.  When using the built in output I have no such issues.  Perhaps its time for a new preamp.  Another thing to be aware of (at least in my experience using the SH-201) is that when you want to use the midi controller you will have to reconfigure your hardware settings.  If it is connected by USB you will have to go back into your audio preferences and set your midi controller as your input device in order for the computer to recognise and use it with software instruments.  Not the most ideal but it only takes a few seconds so suck it up!!
  • Set Buffer size:  128 samples.
  • Create and name audio and software instrument tracks, set input (I am using input 1 for audio tracks which are also in mono).
  • Set volume levels.  Get the levels so that the loudest point does not go into the red on the volume meters or cause distortion.  I will play some notes on the guitar and software instruments to adjust the volume levels.
  • Enable click track and set count off.
  • Enable record on the track you wish to record.
  • Groove baby.  Start recording.
  • Listen back to your performance, re-record if necessary.

Watch me go!!

I have included a very short video showing some of the important things to consider when recording in Logic and an example of recording an instrument.  It is best viewed as a companion to the written instructions above.

This section has been a massive eye opener for me.  Things such as buffer size, bit depth, sample rate, and other things I haven’t covered in this post such as cross fading were always a mystery to me.  I now realise that most of the problems I had with recording was due to an incomplete understanding of these terms and their functions.  I am really looking forward to week three as mixing has always been a difficult area for me.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

Gary.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment