Posts Tagged ‘Pro Tools’

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SENOR COCONUT’S CUT-AND-PASTE, LATIN-DANCE EXCURSION

April 21, 2009

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Like an inspired tape splice between ’50s Latin bandleader Perez Prado and some overachieving club DJ, Señor Coconut matches cha-cha, merengue, and mambo rhythms with precision techno style. Layering vintage samples, programmed rhythms, vocals, and live instrumentation in Digidesign Pro Tools (LE 6.4 on an Apple Mac G4 PowerBook), he created exhilarating Latin-dance tracks for his sixth album, Around the World (Nacional Records, 2008).

“I have cut and moved and touched manually every single sound you hear,” says the German-born Señor Coconut (whose real name is Uwe Schmidt, but who also uses the alias Atom), referring to his new CD. Replicating the percussion mayhem and full brass shouts of a Latin big band, Schmidt painstakingly organizes his basic ingredients into complex Latin arrangements.

“I work in layers within Pro Tools,” he says. “First I arrange the rhythm section and then I go from the rhythmic to the melodic: the conga to the bass, then to the marimba, then to the trumpets, maybe at the end, the vocals. But I go four to eight bars throughout the entire song. The main process, after I have recorded and programmed everything, is cutting and looping and arranging in Pro Tools.”

Working under myriad aliases since the early ’90s, Schmidt has produced numerous albums varying in style from glitch to pure techno to Latin. Around the World is a follow-up of sorts to Señor Coconut’s El Baile Aleman (Emperor Norton, 2000), which covered the music of German electronic innovators Kraftwerk. Using his labor-intensive cut-and-paste aesthetic, Schmidt imbues the classic club hits of Daft Punk, Prince, and Eurythmics (as well as Les Baxter and Perez Prado) with frenetic Latin fever on Around the World.

“For songs like ‘Pinball Chacha’ or ‘Kiss,’ I come up with a guide template, a basic 4-, 6-, or 8-bar loop,” Schmidt explains. “Once the song is arranged, I know what type of accent or rhythms are needed in each part of the song. Very often I switch from double tempo to half tempo, or I adjust the accents within the beat. As the track progresses, I try to find better-fitting samples, recordings [of the 1950s Latin variety], or I add live performances. If not, I program the rhythms very simply, maybe using Native Instruments Battery and the internal MIDI provided by Pro Tools. I program the rhythms and record live percussion over that. Then when I get all the melodic and harmonic information and vocals together, I go bar by bar, looping 4- or 8-bar segments and cutting everything within those bars. I cut them into pieces, and after I decide on the core elements of the rhythm section, I cut all the other elements around that core element.”

Not content to work solely in the box, Schmidt employs his “orchestra,” which consists of eight musicians (brass, reeds, percussion) based in Cologne, Germany. They often replicate a Tito Puente or Perez Prado sample, anything from a timbale solo to a full brass section shout chorus. Schmidt layers the live instrumentation, samples, and programming with the kind of meticulous attention to detail that has become his trademark.

“To me,” Schmidt confides, “making music is not about being organic or free; it always comes down to control and shaping things that you can generate in different ways. There has to be a human being giving it a certain shape and controlling it.”

(For a free download of “Pinball Chacha,” see the online bonus material at emusician.com.)

Home bases: Santiago, Chile and Cologne, Germany

Sequencer of choice: Digidesign Pro Tools LE 6.4

Go-to drum plug-in: Native Instruments Battery

Web site: senor-coconut.com

Source:emusician.com

The Latest Pro Tools ???

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Get ready for a revolutionary new way to work with Pro Tools® software. Pro Tools M-Powered™ 8 delivers a streamlined, customizable interface along with many new production tools and creative options. Work with up to 48 stereo audio tracks*. Create with five new A.I.R. instruments and 30 more plug-in effects. Create sophisticated notation with the new Score Editor based on the Sibelius engine. Work MIDI magic with the new MIDI Editor. Change audio pitch with the new Elastic Pitch real-time pitch transposer. It’s time to upgrade to the most powerful version of Pro Tools M-Powered ever.

  • 48 stereo audio tracks* > up to 2 times more audio tracks
  • dedicated MIDI Editor window > greatly simplifies and streamlines MIDI sequencing
  • includes 5 new A.I.R. virtual instruments and 30 more plug-in effects > inspiring creative tools
  • powerful new Score Editor window > based on Sibelius notation engine
  • beautiful, redesigned user interface > new enhancements and customizability
  • elastic Pitch real-time pitch transposition > complements Elastic Time time-stretching
  • incredible new track compositing workflow > easily construct a perfect performance from multiple takes
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Pro Tools M-Powered 8 Software Upgrade – Step Up to the Most Powerful Pro Tools M-Powered Software Ever

February 20, 2009

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  • 48 stereo audio tracks* > up to 2 times more audio tracks
  • dedicated MIDI Editor window > greatly simplifies and streamlines MIDI sequencing
  • includes 5 new A.I.R. virtual instruments and 30 more plug-in effects > inspiring creative tools
  • powerful new Score Editor window > based on Sibelius notation engine
  • beautiful, redesigned user interface > new enhancements and customizability
  • elastic Pitch real-time pitch transposition > complements Elastic Time time-stretching
  • incredible new track compositing workflow > easily construct a perfect performance from multiple takes
Get ready for a revolutionary new way to work with Pro Tools® software. Pro Tools M-Powered™ 8 delivers a streamlined, customizable interface along with many new production tools and creative options. Work with up to 48 stereo audio tracks*. Create with five new A.I.R. instruments and 30 more plug-in effects. Create sophisticated notation with the new Score Editor based on the Sibelius engine. Work MIDI magic with the new MIDI Editor. Change audio pitch with the new Elastic Pitch real-time pitch transposer. It’s time to upgrade to the most powerful version of Pro Tools M-Powered ever.

Stunning New Look and Interactivity

With a sleek new look, Pro Tools M-Powered 8 is as easy on the eyes as it is to use. All of the Pro Tools M-Powered functionality you know and love is still in place—now with double the inserts per channel, more customizability, easier access to editing options and more. Customize the toolbar to show only your favorite tools, and rearrange them the way you want. Tile or cascade your window arrangement. Change the color of your channel strips, tracks, regions, groups and markers to any hue. Navigate through sessions quickly using the Universe view. And with the QuickStart dialog, you can jump right into an existing session, quickly create a new session from scratch, or start from one of the new session templates.

A Well-Stocked Studio

Pro Tools M-Powered 8 comes fully packed with a huge, comprehensive collection of music creation and sound processing plug-ins—giving you a well-stocked studio right out of the box. Create and play music with groundbreaking new virtual instruments, including the Mini Grand piano, Boom™ drum machine, DB-33 tone-wheel organ, and Vacuum and Xpand!2™ synths. Dial-up awesome guitar tone with Eleven™ Free and SansAmp. Play DJ with Torq® LE. Add character to tracks with 20 new A.I.R. effects. Make music with nearly 8GB of pro-quality loops. And with dozens of professional sound processing plug-ins and tools at your disposal, you can fix, enhance and polish your mixes with ease. See the complete list.

More Tracks Than Ever

Pro Tools M-Powered 8 expands the power of your current hardware interface, allowing you to work with up to 48 mono or stereo audio tracks. You can also add Music Production Toolkit 2 to create huge mixes with up to 64 mono or stereo audio tracks.

Score Your Music

Based on the Sibelius notation engine, the new Score Editor lets you view, edit, arrange and print MIDI data as music notation. Whether you want to compose music using the notation tools—or transcribe recorded, imported, drawn (with the Pencil tool) or step-entered MIDI data into notation—the Score Editor features everything you need and nothing you don’t. Write parts on a single staff—treble, bass, alto, or tenor clef—or grand staff. Place and edit notes, and edit the meter and key signature at whim. Add chord symbols such as Dm7 and guitar chord diagrams to sessions. Transcribe MIDI parts in real time. Print out a score in its entirety or print only certain instrumental parts. You can even export sessions as Sibelius (.sib) files for further finessing in Sibelius.

Complete MIDI Production

Pro Tools M-Powered 8 features a comprehensive array of new MIDI tools to streamline production with both virtual and traditional instruments. Gain extensive MIDI editing power through MIDI Editor windows, which can display MIDI and automation data for Instrument, MIDI and Auxiliary Input tracks. Work with new features that let you separate, consolidate and mute MIDI notes; scrub and shuttle through parts; view superimposed MIDI and Instrument tracks for easier arrangement editing; color code MIDI notes by track, type, or velocity; audition velocity changes; and play MIDI notes when tabbing. Edit MIDI automation and continuous controller (CC) data through multiple Automation and Controller lanes. You can even watch your musical handiwork scroll by in real time during playback.

Transpose Audio with Elastic Pitch

As a complement to Elastic Time, Pro Tools M-Powered 8 introduces Elastic Pitch, which allows you to you to effortlessly manipulate or correct the pitch of any audio region in real time, right inside the Edit window. Easily transpose an entire audio region in semitones +/- four octaves without affecting its timing or tempo. Fix a less-than-perfect vocal performance by altering the pitch of individual notes in cent intervals. You can also create cool sound effects by linking pitch changes with time compression/expansion using the Varispeed algorithm.

Comp Tracks to Perfection

Creating flawless performances is easier than ever with Pro Tools M-Powered 8. New track compositing features let you quickly and easily piece together the best possible version of a performance from multiple recording passes. Simply loop-record multiple takes on an Audio track, view and audition the takes in Playlist view, select the best parts from the track’s alternate playlists, and copy them to the main playlist with a single click. You can also rate regions on a scale of one to five to help identify which takes you like the most when compositing playlists.

New Editing and Mixing Capabilities

With Pro Tools M-Powered 8, your system has even more editing and mixing capabilities. Lock regions to the timeline to prevent them from being inadvertently moved or edited. Use the Automation and Controller lanes to view and edit track automation (such as volume, pan and plug-in automation) and MIDI CC data (such as velocity, pitch bend and modulation) without changing track views. And with ten inserts to play with per track, you can now use more plug-ins than ever before.

Expanded Hardware Control

Pro Tools M-Powered 8 deepens its integration with hardware controllers such as M-Audio® ProjectMix I/O and Digidesign® Command|8®. Now you can map plug-in parameter controls to almost any encoder on your controller, and access each track’s ten inserts.

More Great New Features

Pro Tools M-Powered 8 is chock full of many other amazing new features that’ll help you become more efficient, inspire your creativity and provide more flexibility for your workflow needs. For example, the new Check for Updates feature keeps Pro Tools M-Powered and your plug-ins up to date with the latest and greatest revisions. There’s also support for files up to 4GB in size, letting you work with longer files with higher sample rates. You’ll find even more with the most powerful update to Pro Tools M-Powered yet.


*Up to 64 simultaneous stereo or mono audio tracks with the Music Production Toolkit 2 option. Owners of the original Music Production Toolkit software option who upgrade to Pro Tools M-Powered 8 will automatically get support for up to 64 stereo audio tracks.

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Pro Tools M-Powered 8. Easy to learn and use = make better music faster

January 9, 2009

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Latest M-Audio compatible software available now!

M-Audio has announced the release of Pro Tools M-Powered 8 software, billed as the most advanced audio creation and production software ever.  It is available now through authorised dealers as well as from the Digidesign website

Pro Tools M-Powered 8 is the latest version of the industry-leading digital audio workstation. An enhanced feature set is complemented by a completely updated user interface, more than 70 bundled plug-ins and virtual instruments, fully-integrated MIDI and score editors and an expanded array of editing tools for both music and post production applications.

This is exactly the same version as Pro Tools LE but works with compatible M-Audio interfaces instead, such as ProFire 2626, Fast Track Pro, Fast Track Ultra and most recently added, the ProFire 610.

The M-Powered route is a handy way for existing M-Audio interface owning music producers to get into Pro Tools without having to buy a new interface.

Further product information on Pro Tools M-Powered 8 is available on request.

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Multi core PC’s for musicians. Do we need them?

December 23, 2008

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Some music applications will completely fail to take advantage of the multiple cores of a modern CPU – but which ones, and why? We find out, and advise on how you can make best use of however many cores your PC has.

Over the last couple of years, the PC musician has been offered first dual-core processors, then quad-core models, and octo-core machines (currently featuring two quad-core processors) are now available for those with deep enough pockets. Competitive pricing has already ensured a healthy take-up of DAWs based around a quad-core CPU, yet many users haven’t cottoned onto the fact that not all software benefits from all these cores. Some existing software may only be able to use two of them, reducing potential performance by a huge 50 percent, while older software may only be able to utilise a single core, reducing potential performance to just 25 percent of the total available. This month PC Musician investigates which audio software works with dual-core, quad-core PCs and beyond, what benefits you’re likely to get in practice over a single-core machine, and which software may for ever languish in the doldrums.

A Brief History

In the days when most musicians ran Windows 95, 98 or ME, the question of running multiple processors didn’t arise, because none of these operating systems supported more than a single CPU. It was Windows NT and then Windows 2000 that introduced us to the benefits of being able to share the processing load between multiple CPUs: Windows 2000 Professional supported one or two processor chips, while the more expensive Server version supported up to four, and the Advanced Server up to eight. However, at this early stage each processor was a physically separate device, so to be able to (for instance) use twin processors, you needed a specially designed motherboard with two CPU sockets. Many audio developers and interface manufacturers didn’t actively support Windows 2000, so most musicians stuck with Windows 98.

In 2001, Microsoft released Windows XP in Home and Professional versions, and once again most consumers who opted for the Home version were limited to a single physical processor, although the Professional version supported two. By this stage many musicians were straining at the leash, wanting to run more and more plug-ins and software instruments, and this Professional version let them do exactly that, using dual-processor motherboards and twin Xeon or Pentium 4 processors.
When you’re running stereo audio editors (such as Wavelab 6, shown here) and stand-alone soft synths or samplers, and even in most multitrack sequencers when you’re only running a single track, only one core of a multi-core CPU will be heavily used, although any others available may help with disk access, the user interface and other applications that are running simultaneously.

Multi-processing options really opened up the following year, when Intel introduced first Xeon and then Pentium 4C processor ranges with Hyperthreading technology, which let these CPUs appear to both Windows XP Home and Professional (or Linux 2.4x) as two ‘virtual’ processors instead of one physical one. They each shared the various internal ‘sub-units’, including the all-important FPU (Floating Point Unit), but could run two separate processing ‘threads’ simultaneously.

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Intel claimed up to a 30 percent improvement with specially written applications over a standard processor, but as many musicians soon found, having a Hyperthreaded processor didn’t necessarily benefit them at all unless they were running several applications simultaneously, since applications like MIDI + Audio sequencers had to be rewritten to take advantage of Hyperthreading. Steinberg’s Nuendo 2 was one of the few music apps to support it, but although various others followed, a few (such as Tascam’s Gigastudio) needed a major rewrite before they would even run with HT enabled. Nevertheless, my own tests (published in PC Notes June 2004) showed that with optimised audio applications such as Cubase SX2 you could expect a significant drop in CPU overheads where it really mattered, at low latencies of 3ms or under.

The biggest change came in late 2004, when both AMD and Intel seemed to agree that processor clock speeds had reached a ceiling. Intel abandoned plans to release a 4GHz model in their Prescott CPU range, and in 2005 both companies largely switched to releasing dual-core models. Unlike the twin virtual processors of Intel’s Hyperthreading range, these featured two separate processing chips mounted inside one physical package. By placing two processor cores into a single piece of silicon, manufacturers could provide significantly faster performance than a single processor, even when under-clocking them and running them at lower voltages, so that they didn’t run hotter than the single-core variety.

By late 2006 we had been introduced to quad-core processors, which have now dropped in price and can even be run with Windows XP Home (which is licensed to run a single physical processor, however many cores it has inside). However, if running XP Professional (and the x64 64-bit version), Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise or Vista Ultimate you also gain the option of installing two quad-core processors on a suitable motherboard, to provide a total of eight processing cores. Unfortunately, as with so many new hardware advancements, much software has had a long way to catch up before it could take advantage of so many cores.

When you’re using a PC with multiple processors of whatever type, to gain any significant performance benefit the software you run has to be specially written or adapted with multiple processors in mind.(hense the importance of updates and so forth) The way multi-processing works is that applications are divided into ‘threads’ (semi-independent processes that can be run in parallel). Even with a single processor there are huge advantages in this programming approach. Many applications use multiple threads to enable multi-tasking, so that one task can carry on while another is started; and when multiple processors are available, different threads can be allocated to each CPU.

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Reaper’s Justin Frankel told me that he routinely does a lot of his development on a dual quad-core Xeon PC, so it’s hardly surprising that the default Reaper settings work well with up to eight-core machines, typically offering over 95 percent utilisation of all eight cores. Reaper mostly uses ‘Anticipatory FX processing’ that runs at irregular intervals, often out of order, and slightly ahead of time. Apparently, there are very few times when the cores need to synchronise with each other, and using this scheme he can let them all crank away using nearly all of the available CPU power. Exceptions include record input monitoring, and apparently when running UAD1 DSP cards, which both prefer a more classic  ‘Synchronous FX multi-processing’ scheme.
Steinberg’s Cubase SX, Cubase 4 and Nuendo all work decently on quad-core systems, scaling up well from single to dual-core and quad-core PCs. However, Cubase 4 and Nuendo 4 don’t currently provide all the benefits they could at low latency with a dual quad-core system. Compared with the potential doubling of plug-in numbers from dual to quad, when you move to ‘octo’ you may only be able to run about 40 percent more plug-ins down to buffer sizes of 128 samples, while below this you may even get worse performance than a quad-core system.

Steinberg developers have already acknowledged the problem, which is apparently due to “a serialisation of the ASIO driver, which eats up to 40 percent of the processing time. Together with the other synchronisation delays, only 25 to 30 percent of the 1.5-millisecond time-slice can be used for processing. This is not very efficient.” Steinberg have promised to address the issue in a Nuendo 4 maintenance update, and have hinted that it may also result in changes to the ASIO specification.

Cakewalk’s Sonar does seem to scale well, sometimes giving a better percentage improvement when moving from a quad-core to an octo-core PC than the current version of Nuendo/Cubase 4, but the jury still seems to be out on whether choosing ASIO or WDM/KS drivers gives better results; with some systems ASIO is a clear winner, while in others WDM/KS drivers move significantly ahead.

Digidesign have a reputation for being slow but thorough when testing out new hardware to add to their ‘approved list’, and as I write this in early November 2007 their web site states that Intel Core 2 Quad processors and Intel Xeon quad-core have not been tested by Digidesign on Windows for any Pro Tools system.

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Nevertheless, Pro Tools HD/TDM users started posting recommendations for rock-solid systems featuring twin dual-core Opteron processors (four CPU cores in all) in mid-2006, and there are now loads of Pro Tools LE users successfully running both quad-core and even a few octo-core PCs in advance of any official pronouncements (there’s lots of specific recommendations on both quad-core and octo-core PC components in a vast 126-page thread on the Digi User Conference at http://duc.digidesign.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=988224). Despite the lack of official ‘qualification’, all Pro Tools systems seem to scale well on quad-cores, happily running all four cores up to 100 percent utilisation, and many users are very pleased with their quad-core ‘native’ CPU performance.

Like various other audio applications, even the latest Mac version of Logic Audio doesn’t yet fully benefit from having eight processor cores at its disposal, but for die-hard PC users of Logic the situation is rather more serious: Apple discontinued development and support for those using Logic on the PC back in 2002, so most recent version (5.5.1) is now some five years old. Although it’s a multi-threaded application, Logic 5.5.1 for Windows is not really optimised for multiple processors, so only one of the cores is likely to get much of a workout. However, there’s a partial workaround, using the I/O Helper plug-in available from Logic version 5.2 onwards, which can force any plug-ins on a track with it inserted to run on a second core, so that you can use lots more plug-ins/instruments overall (there’s a more detailed description on Universal Audio’s web site at http://www.uaudio.com/webzine/2003/may/index5.html). Logic Audio 5.5.1 also has a problem if more than 1GB of system RAM is installed (see http://community.sonikmatter.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t8032.html for some suggestions on this one), and also has problems running some VST plug-ins. It’s unlikely to benefit from a quad-core processor at all, and I wouldn’t recommend running it on a new quad-core PC, so its shelf-life is looking increasingly limited.

Further reading:

XP Tweaks For Music (www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep06/articles/pcmusician_0906.htm)
Advanced PC Silencing (www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr06/articles/pcmusician_0406.htm)
Partitioning Your Music PC Hard Drive (www.soundonsound.com/sos/may05/articles/pcmusician.htm)
Updating PC Hard Drives: The SOS Guide (www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb05/articles/pcmusician.htm)
PC Silencing & Cooling (www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec04/articles/pcmusician.htm)
Estimating PSU wattage: PC Notes May 2004 (www.soundonsound.com/sos/may04/articles/pcnotes.htm)
Installing A New PC Motherboard: The SOS Guide (www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec03/articles/pcmusician.htm)

Source:
Martin Walker
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan08/articles/pcmusician_0108.htm

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Artist Profile: Pendulum, studio to live.

December 23, 2008

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Pendulum are an Australian drum and bass group originally from Perth, Australia. In 2003, they relocated to the United Kingdom.

Pendulum’s second album, ‘In Silico’ (Ear Storm/Atlantic, 2008), has little in common with its predecessor ‘Hold Your Colour’. Dense, industrial and precise, the intention is to retain the uncompromising aspect of drum ‘n’ bass while making a heavy rock record. To this end and to avoid getting caught up in concerns of quality, Swire mocks up demos using Commodore 64 and Nintendo emulators, and low-end synthesizer sounds. Then, taking their live musicians — who are also part of the Pendulum performance experience — to various studios, the band records acoustic drums, guitars, bass and vocals.

“We set up drums outside of the drum kit and put mics on them to record the resonance,” Swire recounts, referencing Led Zeppelin more than a few times. “We built a mountain out of snare drums and put a mic in the middle. We had the mic to record the drums around [Kodish, the drummer’s] neck, or we chucked the mic behind him. The less mics we used in the mix, the more it sounded like that old drum sound we were trying to get.”

For every track, the band recorded the kick, snare, cymbals and toms separately at different volumes. From that, they created sample packs to load in Native Instruments Kontakt. They then laid out the sounds on a keyboard sampler, so if something didn’t sound right, Swire would play the part himself and then switch back to the sampled drums, as heard on “Different.” Once they had the drum sounds assembled, they’d dissect them, rearrange like breakbeats and combine them with the hits Swire created using an Alesis Andromeda synth or HR-16 drum machine.

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Mixing goes down in groups — one for each type of drum sound — with the normal and sampled drums coming in together. That way, they have the heaviness of the sampled drums and the largeness of the acoustic drums, which is best heard on “Showdown.”

That type of recording is also applied to the guitars, where a separate microphone records just the sound of the pick. Using a Shure SM57 on phase amplifiers, the guitars go through Avalon VT-737sp or API 3124 preamps. And the guys use Beat Detective in Pro Tools to break everything into separate hits so changes can be made, with the ability to go back to the way the instrument was originally played.

For vocals, Swire uses a Brauner VMA mic and the API 3124, starting with a clean sound and ending up dirty. “The cool thing is it’s got two capsules,” he says. “One sounds like a warm, vintage Neumann U 47; the other sounds like the original traditional, accurate, ultraclear Brauner VM1. The top end is amazing. It affects vocal performances because you can hear everything you’re doing and you’re working to that.”

Balancing technology with live, Pendulum treats In Silico as a drum ‘n’ bass record. Comparing their material to heavier sounds, such as Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” if they feel what they are doing has no value, they go back to find out what is wrong. To make this work, Pendulum concentrates on the mix, relying on Tube-Tech CM 1A and SMC 2B compressors, two Empirical Labs Distressors and Roll Music Super Stereo compressor, plus a great deal of freeware from db audioware and Sinus. Being Steinberg Nuendo-based, they also depend heavily on plug-ins from Sony/Sonnox Oxford and Waves — particularly the Waves C1 Comp-SC compressor with sidechain compression.

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“Because our sound has always been so focused on tight and heavy, the concern we had was making things more live might lose an element of that,” Swire says. “We wanted the sound to be raw, but we didn’t want the playing to sound sloppy. If you’re going to be making this sort of music, you have to combine the writing and technical. No one is as interested in getting the sound in your head as you are. As long as you’re willing to sit there and get it, it’s going to be okay.”

Shure SM57

The Shure SM57 unidirectional dynamic microphone is exceptional for musical instrument pickup or for vocals. With its bright, clean sound and carefully contoured presence rise, the SM57 is ideal for live sound reinforcement and recording. It has an extremely effective cardioid pickup pattern which isolates the main sound source while minimizing background noise. In the studio, it is excellent…

Native Instruments Kontakt 3 CROSSGRADE

The Native Instruments Kontakt 3 Virtual Instrument Software: Sampler. The ultimate software sampler for serious musicians and producers. Now in its third incarnation, Native Instruments KONTAKT 3 builds on its reputation as the industry standard for professional sampling. The outstanding audio engine – combined with KONTAKT 3’s state-of-the-art modular architecture – provides unlimited sonic potential for your music. Universal file…

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Alesis SR-18 Professional Drum Machine

PORTABLE PRO-GRADE DRUMS FOR MOBILE MUSICIANS.

Alesis knows drums. The legendary SR-16 ignited the drum-machine market in 1990 and has remained a classic ever since. The SR-18 is designed to meet the demands of today’s musicians.

Introducing the SR-18. Following in the tradition of its ancestor, the SR-18 is loaded with cutting-edge…

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Waves Platinum Native Bundle

Platinum is an extraordinary collection of signal processing tools. From dynamics, equalization, and reverb to pitch correction, spatial imaging, and beyond, Platinum is ideal for tracking, mixing, mastering, and sound design. With a total of 33 essential processors now including Waves Tune LT, L3 Ultramaximizer™, L3-LL Ultramaximizer, and IR-L Convolution Reverb as well as all the plug-ins found in…

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Source:
http://remixmag.com/artists/electronic/remix_pendulum/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendulum_(band)

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Mark Ronson talks production, equipment and Tom Cruise

November 5, 2008

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Mark Ronson is currently one of England’s biggest music exports, having won an English Brit Award and being a three-time Grammy award winning music producer and artist .




His second album, Version focused on the British music scene, with covers of songs by the likes of Radiohead, Maxïmo Park, The Smiths, The Zutons and Kaiser Chiefs. The album includes three top ten hits and won Ronson a BRIT Award for Best Male Artist 2008. He is the first person to win a BRIT award who does not sing on the actual recording.


Ronson’s heritage comes from being a superstar Dj seemingly to some of the music/fashion industries biggest names, P Diddy and Tommy Hilfiger to name a few.


To be more exact, it’s been about six months since Ronson has spun in Manhattan — the borough that made him famous for his selector skills. But one fulfilling evening doesn’t override his feeling of burnout. “I don’t enjoy [DJing] five nights a week — playing new hip-hop and stuff — because it doesn’t really get me that excited anymore,” he laments.


Some 14 years in the booth can do that to you. Ronson still gets his fill by spinning recent hip-hop hits, electro, rock and remixes of his own records — primarily at the renowned YOYO parties in London and for his weekly Internet show “Authentic Shit” on East Village Radio. Those couple gigs aside, he’s no longer keen on being the celebrity DJ that he became in the late-’90s by entertaining the rich and famous. As fun as it was rocking parties for Tommy Hilfiger and Diddy, it wasn’t enough creatively.
By 2000, Ronson found a new outlet with a piece of equipment he was already familiar with as a hip-hop head: the MPC. His first notable production work was heard on vocalist Nikka Costa’s album, Everybody Got Their Something (Virgin, 2001), and two years later on his solo debut, Here Comes the Fuzz (Elektra, 2003). This anything-goes party album featured everyone from Sean Paul to Saigon and saw Ronson translate his kinetic turntable magic onto wax.


Since cutting back on spinning in clubs in early 2006, Ronson has never been busier on the production front. Christina Aguilera, Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse have all reached out to Ronson recently for his soulful backdrops. Ronson has also produced Liverpool’s own Candie Payne’s “One More Chance (Ronson mix)” in 2007.


 


During a little downtime from his work for others, the producer recorded his surprising new sophomore album, “Version” (Allido/RCA, 2007) — a record that was never supposed to happen.


The album was been well received by critics. In May 2007 it was awarded the title Album of the Month by the British dance music magazine Mixmag. On June 23, the DJ made the cover of the Guardian newspaper’s Guide magazine, alongside the singer Lily Allen.


In June 2007, Ronson signed DC hip hop artist Wale to Allido Records. In late 2007, he focused on production, working with Daniel Merriweather on his debut album, and recording again with Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams.



Mark is the epitome of a modern day DJ who has advanced into the production realm. His work for other artists and producing covers’ is arguably what he is now most known for.


 


Ronson has only one request regarding working conditions when making music here: “It just has to be quiet in the studio,” he says humbly. That’s not much to ask, and as you’ll soon find out, Ronson is rather easy to work with.


But before he welcomes others into the studio, this soul purveyor sits at his Akai MPC3000 LE developing drum patterns. While the drums were the first instrument Ronson picked up as a kid, he admits to not being able to play them all that well. Thus he prefers recording the MPC pads to develop a track and then adds live percussion later. “The beats all come from the MPC, and then depending on what I think the song should start with — a keyboard, the guitar, a bass line — that determines what I should put on top,” he explains. “I just find a beat that I like on the MPC and then lay it into Pro Tools and then just add all the live instrumentation on top of that.”


Sticking to his old-school sensibilities, Ronson often draws from his collection of vintage keys: a Roland RS-101 Strings synth, a Wurlitzer electric piano, a Hohner Clavinet D6 and Yamaha grand piano, to name a few. “The only new thing that I use is a Nord Electro because I don’t have a hammer board, and it has a pretty good sound.”


Even with vocals, Ronson likes to take it back as heard on “Valerie” with Amy Winehouse. Here, using an old RCA DX77 ribbon mic through a Neve mic pre, the soul singer’s Motown-esque tone simply pops.


Soon after recording a handful of tracks with the aforementioned gear, Columbia UK picked up his new album (via Allido), and all of a sudden, there was a budget. With the dough came a world of possibilities. After working with funk/soul band The Dap-Kings on Winehouse’s Back to Black [Republic, 2007] album, Ronson called upon the horn players from the Brooklyn group to help blow out the covers on Version. He also hired large string sections — a move he never thought he could pull off.


“After working on Amy Winehouse’s record, that was sort of my first experience producing and arranging by myself in front of a band and going in front of a string section — something that maybe I would have been a little bit intimated to do before. So once I had the learning block of getting over that working on Amy’s record, that’s when I was able to have the confidence, and that’s when we brought that into my own record.”


 



Ronson worked with Tom Elmhirst, who mixed a quarter of the tracks on “Version” having already mixed Back to Black (Winehouse), Elmhirst was already familiar with Ronson’s robust funk/soul sound that relied so much on horns and big-band arrangements. “[Version] was very much a continuation of what we’d done on Amy’s record, which was that thing of having people play but make it sound contemporary as well,” Elmhirst explains. “On the mix side, I was really keen for it to kick. So a lot of times with The Dap-Kings, I’d be blowing up the sounds to make them heavier with samples to make it kick as well.”


As a veteran who’s worked with Moby, Bush, Goldfrapp and dozens of others, Elmhirst takes a purist’s approach to mixing. Working behind a Neve VR72, he likes the physical aspect of the console. “I enjoy the mixing side of it rather than just pushing a mouse up and down the whole time,” he says. “But it’s pretty conventional — Pro Tools|HD, and I managed to get it all out of 48 outputs.”


With his love of reggae, Elmhirst used acquired techniques to slip in a little Caribbean flavor on Version. “On a lot of the horns I’ll put a delay on them, but what you have to do with horns sometimes so they can come through clean and [with] that old, almost Motown sound — sometimes you need to distress them a bit so it’s extremely broad frequency-wise,” Elmhirst explains. “So I’ll put shelves on them, I’ll put Lo-Fi on them — anything to sort of crunch ‘em up and put ‘em into place. And the way the [horns] were tracked, they weren’t played individually — they were played as a group, so you’ve got a nice blend.”


 


MARK RONSON’S
ALLIDO HEADQUARTERS
Computer, DAW, recording hardware
Apple Mac G5
Digidesign Pro Tools|HD system
Studer 16-track tape machine


Sampler, turntables, DJ mixer
Akai MPC3000 LE sampler
Rane TTM 57SL mixer
(2) Technics SL1200 turntables


Console
Neve VR72


Synths, software, plug-ins, instruments, amps
Ampeg Jet guitar amp
Clavia Nord Electro organ/piano
Crumar Roady electric piano
Digidesign ChannelStrip, Lo-Fi plug-ins
DW drum kit
Fender Jazz Bass, Rhodes electric piano, Twin guitar amp
Gibson Les Paul guitar, acoustic guitar
Hohner Clavinet D6
Line 6 Amp Farm plug-in
Rhodes Mark I Stage Piano
Roland A-90 Controller, RS-101 Strings
Wurlitzer electric piano
Yamaha grand piano


Mic, mic preamps, EQs, compressor
(2) Avalon Vt-737sp preamp/ compressor/EQ
Brent Averill 1073 preamp
Manley Reference Gold mic, VoxBox compressor/de-esser/EQ
RCA DX77 mic
Universal Audio 1176 preamp


Monitors
Genelec 1030As

h1

Liquid Mix for Pro Tools HD

October 8, 2008

This year’s AES show in San Francisco sees the launch of Focusrite’s latest addition to the award-winning Liquid range. Liquid Mix HD delivers the power of Liquid Mix exclusively to the Pro Tools HD market.

Providing the same pool of classic EQ and Compressor emulations, Liquid Mix HD combines the sound of priceless and historically significant compressors and EQs with all the benefits of operating directly inside the Pro Tools HD environment. Over 60 instances can be used simultaneously on an HD 3 system, and thanks to Pro Tools HD’s low latency environment, they can be used for both recording and mixing.Each instance of the Liquid Mix HD plug-in provides one Compressor and one EQ emulation, selectable from a huge pool of high-quality vintage and modern day classics. Forty Compressors and twenty EQs are available straight out of the box, with some additional emulations available for free online.

 

As with the original Liquid Mix, a hybrid user-defined seven-band ‘super EQ’ is available in every instance, built out of separate classic EQ bands. Liquid Mix HD also offers the same ‘free’ mode for all compressors; original compressors with limited or absent controls suddenly become fully featured – yours to use as you choose.Liquid Mix HD uses the same, patented ‘Dynamic Convolution’ process as Focusrite’s other Liquid products. Unlike standard convolution techniques, Dynamic Convolution utilises vast processing power to sample the effect of a classic processor on a series of audio pulses, at many different gain settings and frequencies. This results in impressive emulations derived from immense banks of actual samples, recorded using each one of the 60 different analogue processors selectable when Liquid Mix HD is first installed.

The Liquid range of products has won in excess of twenty awards to date, including multiple TEC awards, becoming a worldwide hit in the audio production world, from project studios to post production and broadcast facilities, not to mention the Live arena.

 

Focusrite looks forward to making the awesome power of Liquid technology even more accessible to the Pro Tools HD owner, providing the sound of vintage processing and the reliability of the Pro Tools environment to studios the world over.Liquid Mix HD will be shipping in the UK in November 2008, available to purchase from all good Pro Audio retailers at £299.99. View Liquid Mix HD product page for more info.