Archive for the ‘Sound Recording’ Category

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Propellerheads New Record Software was designed for musicians – not audio engineers.

May 12, 2009

090511_record_frontpage

Propellerhead have a very good standing reputation, and it safe to say their flagship program Reason opened up a lot of doors, for a lot of musicians. Its huge sound bank was, and is something every good musician need in their toolbox. Its layout reasonably (ahem) simple.

It just didn’t record audio! One minor flaw, but quite a big one if your looking for that all-in-one piece of software to ‘record’ you band for instance.

That’s where record steps in. Propellerhead Software’s brand new recording software. Record gives you unlimited audio tracks, world class effects and mixing gear, and a whole new take on music recording. With an intuitive, straightforward interface and a hands-on approach to capturing performances, Record was designed for musicians – not audio engineers. This is recording done right.

Record now – not later.

Recording music is all about seizing the moment. Capturing a perfect performance – or even nailing that idea before it goes away – requires tools that are ready when you are. Record is always ready. Created with musicians in mind, Record lets you create record ready channels in an instant, minimizing the steps between idea and actual recording. The result equals more music – and less dialog boxes. Simply plug in, breathe out and you’re ready to go.

Line 6 in the mix

For guitar and bass players, Record comes installed with separate guitar and bass POD® units from amp and cab simulation experts Line 6 Inc. With bass and guitar amplifiers available for every single track in your Record project, you are never short of interesting tones and timbres. As the Line 6 amplifiers are insert effects and don’t affect the original instrument signal, you are free to change your amplifier and cabinet settings at any point in time – even after laying down your track.

The Record rack

All the instruments, processors and effect units used in a song are housed inside Record’s customizable rack. Any device created is automatically and logically patched into the rack, but if you’re feeling adventurous or need to do some routing of your own, just flip your entire Record rack over and all the cables are all yours!

The Record Effects

Your Record rack can be stacked with an infinite number of reverbs, distortion units, delays, dynamic processors, mastering EQs – everything you need to shape and color your sounds. Click and drag effects straight to the rack, or load any of the expertly crafted patches.

EQ Section

The mixing console features a warm sounding EQ section with high and low pass filters, high and low shelving filters as well as parametric midrange filters. This is where you can add some extra polish to your recordings, and the sound is just fabulous.

Channel Dynamics

Every channel has its own fully featured dynamics section with compressor, gate and expander functions.

Effect Sends

The console has eight dedicated effect sends and each channel’s sends can be set to work pre or post fader. Adding a send effect to the mixer is a two mouseclick affair. Simply right-click in the mixer’s master section and select what effect you want to use. Simple!

Insert effects

Record’s mixer features a clever way to handle insert effects. As explained on the Record page, each track in Record is made up of three components: a sequencer track, an rack device (audio track or mix device) and a mixer channel. In the rack device, you can put all the insert effects you want on your sound, and you can also map controls on the insert effects to the insert section in the mixer. These setups can then be saved as patches for instant recall. Record ships with a large library of ready-made insert patches for a wide array of applications. Reason users will recognize this method from Reason’s combinator, so in essence this is like having a dedicated combinator per mixer channel.

Fader Section

Here’s the control you will find yourself using more than anything else in the mixer. As the name and the picture implies, this is where the faders are and this is also where you set the pan, handle solo and mute. Stereo channels also have a stereo width control.

Master Compressor

The Master compressor is what gives your music that final touch. The legendary dynamics processor it was modeled after is in use in studios all over the world.

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Cakewalk’s Entry Level Music Creation Software for Windows Gets Major Polishing

April 22, 2009

musiccreator5

Cakewalk today did something quite unorthodox for the company: it launched a product on Facebook.

The results are what clearly aim to be a GarageBand killer for Windows users. Music Creator had always, quietly, been a big hit for Cakewalk: it’s cheap, entry-level software for the PC, which has the potential to reach a big audience of computer users. But the software itself was nothing to brag about, with a dated-looking interface.

Music Creator 5 looks stunningly different. The arrangement window has the familiar, GarageBand and ACID-style loop arrangement window. But there are additions you might expect in a bigger DAW: quick in-line access to track parameters, video preview frames at the top, elaborate time displays and editing tools. There’s also a sophisticated-looking mixing mode with graphical EQs and other options.

Cakewalk MusicCreator

There’s also quite a lot of instrumental and effects content for a $35 app. You get preset playback features – a bit like what you get in Kore Player, down to the pre-mapped 4-8 knobs and 4 trigger buttons – with 150 instruments. There’s the rather sophisticated Studio Instruments Drums for some acoustic and electronic drum parts, making it easier to actually program your own patterns rather than rely on loops.

Cakewalk also includes easy Flash-based music player creators, so you can share your finished tracks easily on the Web, and notation publishing features with tablature and guitar chord support.

In other words, you get the power of what might once have been a flagship Cakewalk DAW, for 35 bucks. (Windows-only) Some of the power options may actually be a bit intimidating to beginners – recently, I’ve heard that complaint even applied to the comparatively minimal GarageBand.

publisher

Cakewalk’s clever Publisher tool makes it a snap to export directly to an embeddable player.

As far as value, though, there’s a whole lot in this box, and a nice balance between looping features and the sort of acoustic drums and notation and sharing features that could appeal to bands just starting to add a computer. I actually think the integrated interface in Steinberg’s rival Sequel is a bit more efficient and runs on the Mac, too, but there’s quite a lot of added-in functionality in Music Creator that makes it broader in scope, and some of that added power may be a deal-maker depending on your needs.

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Cubase 5 Features Workshop with Steinberg Part 1

April 8, 2009
Visual Cubase 5

Cubase 5 – Advanced Music Production System

Dolphin Music recently had the opportunity of hosting the Cubase 5 tour. This evening offered  a one off workshop demonstrating the new advanced features of Cubase. Held in the sumptuous surroundings of the Leaf Cafe, Liverpool, we were one of the first to hear of all the exciting new additions to the worlds already most renowned sequencer.

tilttube

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.

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New Features in Cubase 5

Cubase 5 adds even more creative possibilities and new technologies to the world’s premier music production software developed by Steinberg — providing the finest tools to producers, composers and musicians in any musical genre. VariAudio and PitchCorrect provide integrated intonation editing for monophonic vocal recordings. Groove Agent ONE and Beat Designer change the game for beat creation, while the revolutionary LoopMash seamlessly blends loops, creating unimaginable variations. VST Expression tools for composers combine with the first VST3 convolution reverb and improved automation for more dynamic mixes. And an array of additional enhancements and 64-bit technologies boost performance — all designed to inspire further musical creativity and productivity.

Beat Creation and Loop Mangling

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

Vocal Editing and Pitch Correction

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

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.

Express Creative Visions

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

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.

Further Improvements and Added Value

Cubase 5 comes with redesigned and enhanced features plus many new handy tools and functions, making Cubase even more intuitive to use than ever before.

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PSPaudioware has announced the release of PSP sQuad

February 4, 2009

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For those who havn’t used this range of plug-ins, might I suggest you get yourself closer as soon as possible. PSP Vintage warmer is one of my personnal favourites when it comes to attaining that ‘squishy anolog sound’.

Therefore….

PSPaudioware has announced the release of PSP sQuad, a bundle of four new high-quality equalizer plug-ins: PSP ClassicQ, PSP ConsoleQ, PSP preQursor and PSP RetroQ.

PSP has added to its EQ several features including variable high pass filters or switchable steepness for the shelving filters. These EQs are said to be CPU efficient enough to be used at every stage of the creative process, from composition to tracking to final production/mixing/mastering.

The Processors in PSP sQuad have a number of features in common with each other, and with other PSP Audioware plug-ins:

  • FAT double sampling. In the PSP sQuad bundle, unlike other PSP Audioware plug-ins, FAT is automatically switched on for low (below 50kHz) sample rates, and off for higher sample rates.
  • 64-bit double precision floating point computations for “ultra low accumulative errors in the filters.”
  • An optional second generation SAT(uration) option in the output of each plug-in. This both protects against digital clipping in software or hardware following the plug-in, and adds a smooth, overdriven sound to hard-driven signals, according to PSP. The SATuration algorithm is located after output level control in a plug-in’s internal chain and its ceiling reference level is setup a fraction of dB below 0dBFS.
  • All actual parameters like gain, frequency or Q may differ from displayed values which is a typical feature of analog equalizers.

PSP ClassicQ is inspired by various classic British-style equalizers. It captures the sound and flavor of famously musical high and low filters (such as those in early Neve EQs), melded to mid-range filter. In addition, PSP ClassicQ offers a selectable simulation of class A circuitry and output transformer for a “unique, vintage-style color.” To its classic features PSP ClassicQ adds features such as an adjustable high pass filter, switchable Q for low- and high-shelf filters, and a sweepable midrange bell-type filter.

PSP ConsoleQ has an adjustable high pass filter, steepness (resonance) control for the shelving filters, and three nominal Q values for midrange filters. In addition to its other musical features PSP designed PSP ConsoleQ’s midrange bell type filters so that they have gain following Q factors. By this, PSP means that the Q factor of these filters gradually increases along with increases in boost or attenuation. The ConsoleQ is designed for deep track tweaking to get the desired sound for a track, or just to get great track separation in the mix.

PSP preQursor is said to have filters with low resonance peaks for reduced ringing artifacts, great band separation, and narrow notching on negative gains. All four filters are bell-type filters with progressive Q factors.

PSP RetroQ is described as optimized for use on groups and mixes, but is said to be “equally at home in any situation in which you desire some gentle sweetening in your overall processing chain.”


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Celemony Direct Note Access (DNA): Insane Melodyne

January 2, 2009

Celemony Direct Note Access

Celemony Melodyne Direct Note Access (DNA) Technology News: Direct Note Access is a technology that makes the impossible possible: for the first time in audio recording history you can identify and edit individual notes within polyphonic audio material.

This is the kind of software that will change the way we make music as we know it! Produers across the world will want this as part of their toolkit the minute they see it. It will become as used as compressors, as time efficiant as digital recording,  and as fun as as the  ‘Cher’ effect we now know to be all over every vocal take in the Top 10

If the auto-tune changed the way we record vocals. This plug will change the way we have to record ANYTHING.  It is truly a unique system and will be the most labour saving device since the toaster (sic)

I have every belief ANY Digital audio editor should have this system now!

To view/download alternative formats of this video click here.

Celemony DNA: Direct Note Access

Celemony say that once DNA has hit the market, studio engineers and producers will be able to think the same way about piano takes, for example, as they do currently with vocal recordings, where a slight blemish can be ‘fixed’ at a later date. This could change the way studio sessions run, and reduce the requirement for overdubbing or re-recording entire takes after minor player errors.

But it’s not just achieving perfect takes that Direct Note Access is capable of. Using the pitch-shifting and time-stretching capabilities to their extremes, some fairly radical effects can be created. But also, melodic material can be transposed, so if you fancy changing a guitar solo from major to minor, you can do so with just a few mouse-clicks.

Celemony are expecting that sample-library users will embrace the technology to turn loops that were previously only playable in the key that they were recorded in into templates that can be transposed to suit the project they’re working on.

If you have watched the video, we’re pretty sure that Melodyne with Direct Note Access has filled you with enthusiasm and will render your music-making simpler, more inventive and more productive. How many products actually do this?

The first Melodyne product with Direct Note Access will be Version 2 of Melodyne plugin (shipping early 2009). In the course of time, Direct Note Access will then be integrated into all the products in the Melodyne product family. The most comprehensive Direct Note Access functionality will be offered by Melodyne studio.

Celemony Melodyne 3

Melodyne 3 offers a new algorithm that allows any type of audio material to profit from Melodyne’s unique editing functions and sound quality; in other words, Melodyne is no longer limited to the editing of melodies but can handle homophonic and polyphonic textures. Melodyne 3 also offers fully automatic analysis of the audio material, powerful macros for the correction…

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Unlikely Revolutionary: How Bing Crosby Changed The Face Of Music

December 29, 2008

Today better remembered for his seasonal hit “White Christmas”, Bing Crosby was also a revolutionary recording artist, and without the innovations he brought, there’d be no Beatles, No X-Factor…or even the VHS video recorder. He truly changed the face of music and popular culture. But…how? Find out!

This man was an innovator!

Bing Crosby’s desire to pre-record his radio shows, combined with a dissatisfaction with the available lacquer/aluminum recording disks, was a significant factor in the development of magnetic tape sound recording and the radio industry’s adoption of it. He used his power to innovate new methods of reproducing audio of himself. In 1946, he wanted to shift from live performance to recorded transcriptions for his weekly radio show on NBC sponsored by Kraft. But NBC and competitor CBS refused to allow recorded radio programs (except for advertisements).

The live production of radio shows was a deeply-established tradition reinforced by the musicians’ union and ASCAP. The Mutual network, on the other hand, had pre-recorded some of its programs as early as the Summer 1938 run of The Shadow with Orson Welles. The new ABC network, formed out of the sale of the old NBC Blue network in 1943 to Edward Noble, the “Lifesaver King,” was willing to join Mutual in breaking the tradition. It would pay Crosby $30,000 per week to produce a recorded show every Wednesday sponsored by Philco. He would also get $40,000 from 400 independent stations for the rights to broadcast the 60-minute show that was sent to them every Monday on three 16-inch lacquer/aluminum discs that played 10 minutes per side at 33¨÷ rpm.

Crosby wanted to change to recorded production for several reasons. The legend that has been most often told is that it would give him more time for his golf game. And he did record his first Philco program in August 1947 so he could enter the Jasper National Park Invitational Golf Tournament in September when the new radio season was to start. But golf was not the most important reason.

Crosby was always an early riser and hard worker. He sought better quality through recording, not more spare time. He could eliminate mistakes and control the timing of performances. Because his own Bing Crosby Enterprises produced the show, he could purchase the latest and best sound equipment and arrange the microphones his way; mic placement had long been a hotly-debated issue in every recording studio since the beginning of the electrical era. No longer would he have to wear the hated toupee on his head previously required by CBS and NBC for his live audience shows (Bing preferred a hat). He could also record short promotions for his latest investment, the world’s first frozen orange juice to be sold under the brand name Minute Maid.

The transcription method had problems, however. The acetate surface coating of the aluminum discs was little better than the wax that Edison had used at the turn of the century, with the same limited dynamic range and frequency response.

In June 1947, Murdo MacKenzie of Bing Crosby Enterprises saw a demonstration of the German Magnetophon that Jack Mullin had brought back from Radio Frankfurt with 50 reels of tape at the end of the war. This machine was one of the magnetic tape recorders that BASF and AEG had built in Germany starting in 1935. The ½-inch ferric-coated tape could record 20 minutes per reel of high-quality sound. Alexander M. Poniatoff ordered his Ampex company (founded in 1944 from his initials A.M.P. plus the starting letters of “excellence”) to manufacture an improved version of the Magnetophone.

Bing Crosby and a ground-breaking tape recording machine in the 1940s

Bing Crosby hired Mullin and his German machine to start recording his Philco show in August 1947 with the same 50 reels of Farben magnetic tape that Mullin had found at a radio station at Bad Nauheim near Frankfurt while working for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. The crucial advantage was editing. As Bing wrote in his autobiography, “By using tape, I could do a thirty-five or forty-minute show, then edit it down to the twenty-six or twenty-seven minutes the program ran. In that way, we could take out jokes, gags, or situations that didn’t play well and finish with only the prime meat of the show; the solid stuff that played big. We could also take out the songs that didn’t sound good. It gave us a chance to first try a recording of the songs in the afternoon without an audience, then another one in front of a studio audience. We’d dub the one that came off best into the final transcription. It gave us a chance to ad lib as much as we wanted, knowing that excess ad libbing could be sliced from the final product. If I made a mistake in singing a song or in the script, I could have some fun with it, then retain any of the fun that sounded amusing.”

Mullin’s 1976 memoir of these early days of experimental recording agrees with Bing’s account: “In the evening, Crosby did the whole show before an audience. If he muffed a song then, the audience loved it — thought it was very funny — but we would have to take out the show version and put in one of the rehearsal takes. Sometimes, if Crosby was having fun with a song and not really working at it, we had to make it up out of two or three parts. This ad lib way of working is commonplace in the recording studios today, but it was all new to us.”

Crosby invested US$50,000 in Ampex to produce more machines. In 1948, the second season of Philco shows was taped with the new Ampex Model 200 tape recorder (introduced in April) using the new Scotch 111 tape from the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) company. Mullin explained that new techniques were invented on the Crosby show with these machines: “One time Bob Burns, the hillbilly comic, was on the show, and he threw in a few of his folksy farm stories, which of course were not in Bill Morrow’s script. Today they wouldn’t seem very off-color, but things were different on radio then.

They got enormous laughs, which just went on and on. We couldn’t use the jokes, but Bill asked us to save the laughs. A couple of weeks later he had a show that wasn’t very funny, and he insisted that we put in the salvaged laughs. Thus the laugh-track was born.” Crosby had launched the tape recorder revolution in America. In his 1950 film Mr. Music, Bing Crosby can be seen singing into one of the new Ampex tape recorders that reproduced his voice better than anything else. Also quick to adopt tape recording was his friend Bob Hope, who would make the famous “Road to…” films with Bing and Dorothy Lamour.

The innovations brought by Bing Crosby started a new dawn for recording artists, which changed popular culture forever, and gave the world rock’n’roll, The Beatles’ innovative albums and so much more, as even today, many of the world’s biggest artists still rely on magnetic tape to make their recordings.

The Videotape

Mullin continued to work for Crosby to develop a videotape recorder. Television production was mostly live in its early years, but Crosby wanted the same ability to record that he had achieved in radio. The Fireside Theater, sponsored by Procter and Gamble, was his first television production for the 1950 season. Mullin had not yet succeeded with videotape, so Crosby filmed the series of 26-minute shows at the Hal Roach Studios. The “telefilms” were syndicated to individual television stations.

Crosby did not remain a television producer but continued to finance the development of videotape. Mullin would demonstrate a blurry picture on December 30, 1952, but he was not able to solve the problem of high tape speed. It was the Ampex team led by Charles Ginsburg that made the first videotape recorder. Rather than speeding tape across fixed heads at 100 ips, Ginsburg used rotating heads to record at a slant on tape moving at only 15 ips.

The quadruplex scan model VR-1000 was demonstrated at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Chicago on April 14, 1956, and was an immediate success. Ampex made $4 million in sales during the NAB convention. Ampex developed a color videotape system in 1958 and recorded the spirited debate (dubbed the “Kitchen Debate”) between Khrushchev and Nixon on a demonstration model at the Moscow trade Fair September 25, 1959. By this time, Crosby had sold his videotape interests to the 3M company and no longer played the role of tape recorder pioneer. Yet his contribution had been crucial. He had opened the door to Mullin’s machine in 1948 and financed the early years of the Ampex company. The rapid spread of the tape recorder revolution was in no small measure caused by Crosby’s efforts.

The decade following the end of World War II witnessed what has been called the “revolution in sound.” The Decca Company introduced FFRR 78 rpm records (Full Frequency Range Recording) that had the finest frequency response (80-15,000 cps) of any recording process before magnetic tape recording. Decca’s method of reducing the size of the groove and designing a delicate elliptical stylus to track on the sides of the groove would be the same innovation of the new microgroove process introduced by Columbia in 1948 on the new 33¨÷ rpm LP vinyl record.

White Christmas

White Christmas. More than a Seasonal flick…but a revolution!

Crosby’s sponsor Philco would join Columbia in selling a new $29.95 record player with jeweled stylus (not steel) tracking at only 10 grams (not 200) for these LPs. No longer would records wear out after 75 plays. Crosby’s Ampex Company would be joined by Magnecord, Webcor, Revere, and Fairchild in selling one million tape recorders to a rapidly growing consumer audio component market by 1953. The 1949 Magnecord tape recorder had stereo capability eight years before any vinyl record had it. These components soon began to feature the transistor invented by Bell Labs in 1948. Crosby’s 1942 film Holiday Inn (where he first sang his most famous song) would be remade in 1954 as White Christmas, the first film to use Paramount’s new VistaVision wide-screen film process with multi-channel magnetic sound.