Archive for the ‘Music Projects’ Category

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I•ONIX U42S Lexicon ® streamlines the desktop recording interface

April 23, 2009

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Brilliantly designed, The Lexicon I·ONIX U42S USB 2.0 Audio Interface Desktop of the I·ONIX Recording Series fits where it makes the most sense, between your keyboard and monitor. With all monitor and input level controls at your fingertips, you’ll wonder why no one ever thought of it before.

The Lexicon IONIX U42S USB 2.0 Audio Interface features the newly designed dbx microphone preamps on every channel, the I·ONIX series is more than equipped to provide professional recordings that keep your music sounding its best.

The Lexicon I·ONIX U42S records four analogue and two digital channels simultaneously.

The Lexicon I·ONIX U42S USB 2.0 Audio Interface main features include:

  • USB 2.0 connection to DAW – up to 480Mbps
  • 44.1 to 96kHz sample rates, 24-bit resolution
  • Analogue ¼” and XLR combi-jack inputs on the rear panel for mic/line inputs
  • Analogue ¼” TRS (Stereo Main) outputs
  • dbx® high-voltage, ultra-low noise mic preamp’s on all analogue mic/line inputs
  • Supports Windows® and Mac® platforms 48V phantom power for each input pair
  • Input signal metering via 8 LED’s per channel Signal mixing and stereo bus signal metering
  • ¼” high output headphone connection(s)
  • MIDI In/Out
  • Zero latency monitoring
  • Low latency ASIO drivers
  • Lexicon Pantheon II VST/AU reverb plug-in
  • Software suite includes Steinberg®’s Cubase® LE4, and Toontrack® EZdrummer® Lite

Specifications:

  • Combi-jack Analogue Inputs: 4
  • Simult. Recording Sources: 6
  • Microphone Preamps: 4
  • Hi-Z Instrument Inputs: 2
  • S/PDIF
  • MIDI
  • Headphone Connections: 2
  • ¼” TRS Analog Outputs: 2
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Don’t sacrifice your desktop or your music.

You care intensely about your music. It’s more than a pastime – it’s a passion. Lexicon understands your passion and it inspires us to innovate. Brilliantly designed, the I·ONIX Desktop Recording Series fits where it makes the most sense, between your keyboard and monitor. With all the level meters and gain controls at your fingertips when using your DAW, you’ll wonder why no one ever thought of it before.

Featuring newly designed dbx® 60V high-voltage, ultra-low noise mic preamps on all 4 channels, the I•ONIX U42S is more than equipped to provide professional recordings that keep your music sounding its best. The preamps run on a high-voltage supply to guarantee stability and provide you with a superior recording across a wide dynamic range. Performance driven A/D – D/A converters ensure pristine 24-bit/96kHz audio to capture every subtle detail of your performance.

The I•ONIX U42S can record four tracks at once and includes 4 combi-jack mic/line inputs with +48V phantom power, 2 TRS balanced line outputs, 2 hi-Z instrument inputs, 2 high power 1/4″ headphone outputs, S/PDIF and MIDI I/O. Dedicated knobs and meters offer easy access to input and output levels and locking combi-jacks make sure that a connection is not lost in the middle of a performance.

Pantheon Hall

The Lexicon name is synonymous with “the world’s best reverb.” The Pantheon™ II VST/AU reverb plug-in features 6 reverb types with 16 adjustable parameters, and 35 factory presets that range from Vocal to Live Sound and Special Effects. It’s easy to complete your mix and make your music sound its best with the exquisitely rich, full reverbs that made Lexicon famous.

No compromise performance – ergonomic brilliance.
Pure genius.

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Shure Microphone Maintenance Tips!

April 9, 2009

Shure have a series of podcasts aimed at clearing up any problems microphone users may be experiencing. In this Podcast they explore the top frequently asked questions from the Shure Applications Group. Chris Lyons is joined by Tim Vear as they discuss how to clean a microphone grill and how to hook a mic up to a computer. Liftpoint from Chicago, IL provides the soundtrack on this podcast.

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Dolphin Music Studio Spotlight: Whitewood Studios

March 25, 2009

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Located in Liverpool’s Elevator buliding (also home to to Dolphin Music) is Whitewood Recordings Studios.

Found located  in one of the cities most vibrant new areas, the Building itself  boasts The Leaf Cafe, numerous  big name artists and musicians alongside the most talked about young acts, graphic designers, software developers and dancers even grace a floor!

All this activity seems to be leading to a valuable asset to Liverpool whilst offering facilites to the artss across a whole spectrum.

Dolphin Music took a snoop around Whitewood Recording Studios and spoke to the two main chaps Robert Whitley and Danny Woodward. We talked pre-amps , the need for outboard equipment and what it takes to make a session smoothly. The live room is spacious and well stocked and their patter is relaxed and welcoming.

http://www.whitewoodrecordingstudio.com

Get in touch if your studio wishes to be inclued in this series of videos media@dolphinmusic.co.uk

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Loudness Wars: Dynamic Range Strikes Back with Campaign, Plug-in

March 24, 2009

Are you sick of the death of dynamic range? Are you mad as hell at squashed audio that means to be “loud” and only wind up with the actual sounds smooshed out? Alternatively, are you guilty of some detail-squishing dynamic abuse yourself?

A campaign is on to get the dynamic war out of comment threads and forums and onto the streets. Taking a positive tack, the Pleasurize Music Foundation isn’t simply attacking overcompression and dynamic distortion: they’re suggesting an alternative path, in which restored dynamic ranges bring back joy to your life. There are opportunities to sign up as listeners, labels, producers, mixing and mastering engineers, even the consumer electronics and music tech industries.

There’s also a free (Windows-only) plug-in for checking the dynamic range of your mix. There are plenty of other tools that do the same thing, but the idea is nice.


Now, the idea of crushed dynamic range is nothing new. But via comments, mastering engineer Tobias Anderson points out that it’s not always the mastering that’s to blame — some people are actually distorting at the digital conversion stage. (That’s, incidentally, not the fault of digital recording, either – to screw that up, you have to be really careless, which evidently people are.)

Tobias’ comments below. Now, obviously, this is an issue that can generate some controversy. But start talking about simply preserving dynamic range? I think just about everyone can get behind that. The idea of “quality” can often be loaded, but talking about dynamics as pleasure is as universal as hearing.

As a mastering engineer, it has become increasingly disconcerting to both work on and listen back to much of todays’ music. Distorted, compressed & messy sounding to say the least! However, 2 points I must make:

Firstly, compression and brick-wall limiting are NOT the only factors involved in making a record loud and / or distorted. The clipping of the ME’s ADC (analogue-to-digital-converter) is the most aggressive form of distortion you will hear on todays’ loud records. Digital limiters are generally (hopefully) not cranked too much (between 1-3db), but rather the load should be spread across more than 1 unit, making the effect less obvious than if the same amount of gain reduction had been employed with a single unit. The signal is then fed back to the ADC, and ‘clipped’ to achieve the final loudness increase. The maximum peak level of digital audio is 0dbfs, however when clipped, the incoming audio exceeds this value (up to 6db, maybe more in ridiculous cases!) and the loudest peaks of the music are literally shaved, or ’squared’ off. With the upper end ADC’s, this process can be fairly transparent, if used ’sensibly’ (if that is possible..) however when abused, it sounds truly awful as you all can hear. One example (many are available) that springs to mind is the Foo Fighters’ Nothing Left To Lose album. Every time the snare is hit, the digital distortion is unbearable, the high frequencies sound grainy and harsh ect ect. However, audibly, the effect of clipping differs greatly from the effect of brick wall limiting, which can, as previously mentioned, and subjectively speaking, benefit or compliment a particular style or genre of music. Dance, hip-hop & drum n bass coming to mind especially. This processing DOES impart a certain sense of power to the sound which is very different than simply using compression alone on the mix buss or on the individual elements in the mix.

Secondly, music is never ‘cut’ or HPF’d (high-pass filtered) at 80hz. 40-45hz maybe, a gradual roll-off from 80hz-20-30hz probable, but there is still a lot of important musical information below 80hz that is needed in modern music, even if it can’t be reproduced by poor consumer listening equipment. The 60hz(ish) peak in a hip-hop kick for example, would sound completely wrong and hollow if the fundamental frequency lived in the 100hz range for example. I can’t think of a commercially released modern record that has been released with very little or no musical information below 80hz, not impossible, but certainly not the norm by any stretch. Lastly, having a ‘pre -mastering’ chain is really not a good idea, and will probably do more harm than good in most situations, unless: the listening environment is very good and the engineer is very skilled. Using a particular compressor for a desired character on the mix buss prior to mastering, is a very valid ‘mix’ technique, but again the engineer must be very competent for this to be worthwhile.

I hope this has shed some additional light on the loudness war for you all.

If you would like to express your dislike for the practice, in hope of eventually stopping it, please visit and register for free at

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Cubase 5 : The New Features ‘ A Guide’

February 10, 2009

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Cubase 5 – Advanced Music Production System

Cubase 5 comes with fully integrated new tools for working with loops, beats and vocals, such as LoopMash and VariAudio, combining with new composition features and the first VST3 convolution reverb to take musical creativity to new heights. With stunning innovations and additional enhancements that boost productivity and performance, Cubase 5 represents the absolute cutting edge in digital audio workstations.

Beat Creation and Loop Mangling

Cubase 5 features outstanding new tools for creating beats, generating exciting new rhythms and working with loops.

Find out more

Vocal Editing and Pitch Correction

Cubase 5 comes with an amazing new toolset for perhaps the most important element in any song: the vocals.

Find out more

New Dimensions for Your Mix

Cubase 5 has numerous new features that will help you bring new depth to your mix — in more ways than one.

Find out more

Express Creative Visions

With Cubase 5, Steinberg has innovated even further to offer even more creative compositional tools.

Find out more

Next-Generation Performance and Faster Workflow

Cubase 5 also includes an array of additional new ways of working faster, with added performance that takes advantage of new technologies.

Find out more

Further Improvements and Added Value

Cubase 5 comes with redesigned and enhanced features plus many new handy tools and functions.

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Turn your laptop into a multi instument keyboard and vocal-processing powerhouse

January 9, 2009

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Regardless of what instrument you play or what software you use to record and compose, it’s never been easier to access massive libraries of synth and sample sounds, guitar and bass amp emulations, vintage-derived effects and so on. While all of this power and flexibility has been a boon for the home recordist, bringing these same software-derived sounds to the stage continues to vex many. The good news is that today’s multicore laptops have more than enough horsepower to handle the needs of most keyboardists, guitarists and experimental-leaning vocalists, as well as multi-instrumentalists who may need to jump between several instruments during a set. By choosing the correct software and hardware, as well as doing some critical housekeeping and asset-management chores, you can easily bring your best software instruments and effects to that stage and consolidate your hardware needs down to a few roadworthy essentials.

The host with the most

First and foremost, all of your software instruments and effects need to live somewhere. While it’s completely feasible for a keyboardist or guitarist to work solely within a workstation-style product such as Propellerhead Reason or Native Instruments GuitarRig, if you really want to take advantage of your plug-in collection or jump between instruments, you need to employ a more open-ended option. Two products that are built expressly for this purpose are Apple MainStage — part of the Apple Logic Studio bundle (; www.apple.com/logicstudio) — and Native Instruments Kore 2, which is now available in a software-only edition , as well as the software/hardware package  (www.native-instruments.com). Both programs do many of the same things: 1. They allow you to access, organize, edit, combine and recall the majority of the third-party plug-ins on your machine. 2. Both allow you to play software instruments and process live audio sources (guitar, bass, vocals and even feedback loops). 3. By largely removing the traditional elements of a DAW, both of these apps allow more CPU resources to be used for instruments and effects, thus keeping latency in check.

Choosing a host performance application will depend largely on what software you already own. Logic Studio users have a clear advantage in this department because all channel strips and saved plug-in settings are immediately available in MainStage; in other words, what you did in the studio shows up in MainStage. Kore, however, requires a little more prep work in the beginning (users will need to batch-convert their third-party plug-in sounds over to the KoreSound format), but it offers support for a wider range of plug-in formats as well as Windows PCs.

Time to organise..

The second major task in prepping your sounds for performance is figuring out exactly what you need and exactly what you don’t. If your goal is to replicate the sounds you used in your recordings, a recent demo or what have you, then that is the obvious place to start. Open up the original sessions, isolate the plug-ins that you need to use live and give each preset a specific name before saving them to a new folder. Of course, you can skip that step if you want to dive in and start playing. Either way, once you start to have a firmer grasp on what you’re going to need in a live show or rehearsal situation, that’s the time to start creating a performance library.

MainStage and Kore have different ways of creating that library. With MainStage, you’ll need to create a new Concert. A Concert can comprise any number of live audio and instrument channels, and the Performance pane can be customized to include a wide array of assignable controllers (which you can then easily map to your hardware), meters and patch selectors. You can load instruments and live signal processors in a row and select them interchangeably like presets on a piece of hardware. A single preset can comprise both audio and instrument plug-ins, and a Concert can include any number of presets. When you load a new Concert, all the associated instruments and samples are loaded in the background, and nothing really nails the CPU until a preset is selected. The load time between presets is generally very minimal.

The no hassle, buy nothing keyboard workstation

If you’re a budget-conscious keyboardist and you want a simple and reliant way to access an array of keyboard sounds that requires practically zero mousing around and almost no MIDI assignment editing, here it is.

Load up an empty 16-track session in your DAW of choice. Starting with the first track in the session, load up your first instrument sound and set this track to receive only MIDI channel 1. Repeat the process as needed (track 2 to MIDI channel 2, etc.) until you’ve loaded up all of the sounds you need or you’re out of MIDI channels. Changing MIDI channels on most portable MIDI keyboards (M-Audio Oxygen 8 V2, Axiom 49, etc.) is a simple one- or two-button process. With this setup, you only have to load one session into your DAW, and switching between sounds is as simple as changing the MIDI channel on your controller.

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Online Recording Program – Need A Session player quick??

December 10, 2008

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It is now possible to record online,  in real time and with other musicians!

Bizzare to think but very possible now with ‘digitalmusician.net’

So if you need a part for a song for example,  using the community within the site you are able to meet and hook up with the player you need then you are able to exchange the relevant files and literally record a  take online through your already existing Sequencer software (Cubase etc).

The digital musician link (DML) plug-in is a VST 2.0 plug-in. You can start the DML in your music software (assuming it is compatible) and then connect to musicians and producers from all over the world. Using a standard broadband Internet connection (ADSL) you can record audio in CD quality and MIDI online in sync with your playback.

What is digitalmusician.net?

digitalmusician.net is the place where the international music business community (musicians and producers) meets and works on joint projects.

DM-Recorder software is a free online multi-track recorder which is available to all DMN members. Besides the “normal”  recording functions the programme allows you to mainly record projects on and offline with other musicians using a normal Internet connection. Use the DM-Recorder as a multi-track machine with other musicians that have a basic broadband connection.
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The advantages of the DM-Recorder are:

* Offline collaboration with partners. Data is saved on a server and updated by other project members each time a project is reopened.
* Performances can be bought or sold directly via the DM-Recorder.
* Direct connection to partners and real-time recording via the Internet as if you were in the same studio (online collaboration) It offers you, for example, the possibility to find and sell music jobs via the Internet. This way you can further your career without even leaving your studio.

You can:

* Make professional contacts worldwide
* Find music jobs and make money
* Record songs together with other members without travel or hotel costs
* Choose music projects that you would like to work on
* Find suitable partners for your projects (using the „”Studio & Artists” database)
* Place  “adverts” for your own services and sell them

DML is an abbreviation for the digital musician link plug-in. You can download the PC or Mac versions of the DML plug-in here.