Posts Tagged ‘Video’


The Rode NT1-A say NO To Noise!!

June 17, 2009

nt1 a

Say No To Noise!!

The RODE NT1-A is one of the most quiet microphones in its class.

For a long time standing it hs been known that Rode make some of the best microphones around. The NT1-A is no exception

Sound On Sound said this about the NT1 A

“Despite its low cost, the NT1A delivers professional performance, both for vocal recording and for general instrument use. The lack of any heavy-handed presence boost makes the sound well suited for use with a range of singers and vocal styles and makes it’s also easy to fine-tune using modest amounts of EQ. At the same time, the high end is as open and detailed as you could wish for, so if you like a vocal sound with a modern breathy quality, you can achieve it using little or no EQ.”

Why is this important?

Light and dark, hot and cold, loud and quiet! These are examples of the contrasts found in nature. A low noise recording will give your work it’s dynamics. It will give you the impact you dream of. Adding noise from any device, especially at the source, only degrades your performance.

The RODE NT1-A has a self-noise of only 5 dBA!

Low Noise is only half the story

  • Multi award winning, and one of the world’s biggest selling studio microphones, the NT1 original is now a legend. The NT1-A continues this tradition while improving specifications and tonal qualities.
  • Using cutting edge technology for the electronics, RODE has implemented a computer controlled manufacturing line. Unlike many leading brands, all electronic boards are made without human hands assuring high specifications, tight tolerances and unsurpassed consistency.
  • Built to last with a new computer controlled matching process. The body is then satin nickel-plated. The NT1-A is designed to last a lifetime.
  • No PAD or Filters. Some microphone manufacturers include these in their budget products, but at what cost? The NT1-A can be used with very high sound pressure levels without perceptible distortion. Most people never use a high ppass filter on their microphones. Why pay for features you don’t want or need at the cost of what is really important, true performance!
  • Complete solution: The NT1-A comes complete with a dedicated shock mount and zip pouch. No optional extras to buy.


  • Acoustic Principle: Externally polarised 25 mm (1″) condenser
  • Active Electronics: JFET impedance converter with bipolar output buffer
  • Pickup Pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz ~ 20 kHz
  • Output Impedance: 100 ohms
  • Sensitivity: -31.9 dB re 1volt/pascal (25 mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB
  • Equivalent Noise: 5 dBA SPL (per IEC651, IEC268-15)
  • Maximum Output: + 13.7dBu (@ 1% THD into 1k ohms)
  • Dynamic Range: 132 dB (per IEC651, IEC268-15)
  • Maximum SPL: 137 dB (@ 1% THD into 1 K ohms)
  • Signal/Noise: > 88 dB (1kHz rel 1 Pa; per IEC651, IEC268-15)
  • Power Requirements: Phantom P48, P24


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

May 12, 2009


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.


So you wanna be a VJ (Video Jockey)

February 3, 2009


A VJ is a performance artist who creates moving visual art (often video) on large displays or screens, often at events such as concerts, nightclubs and music festivals, and usually in conjunction with other performance art. This results in a live, multimedia performance that can include music, actors or dancers as well as live and pre-recorded video.

VJs have become an essential part of the clubbing experience. They provide the projected visuals within the club environment that accompany the DJ, mixing and scratching video in a similar way to how DJs cut up records. Almost all major clubs now have someone on hand to provide visuals to go with the music.

If you fancy becoming a VJ, you probably already have a love of technology and a passion for all things visual. Successful VJs need to be technicians and artists rolled into one. Beyond that there are no hard and fast rules.

Many VJs don’t even use the term VJ, preferring to describe themselves as visual mix artists, audiovisualisers, pixel jockeys, visual performers, visual jockeys, pro DJs, video jammers or even viewsicians. This might be because they don’t want to be confused with ‘video jockeys’ – TV presenters that link videos on music channels.

VJs usually see themselves and what they do as highly individual. Just like musicians, they don’t want to be categorised and bundled together as all the same.

“VJing is the next step in music and media-related art. It teaches you to cut and manipulate images, similar to techniques used in film-making. And you get to perform without having to be behind the decks yourself.”  Jamie Corteen, VJ 2BitTV

What VJs do
There are two stages to VJing. One is preparation – collecting and shooting video clips, and editing and treating them so that you have a library of amazing images to play with. The second stage is doing it live – putting your visuals together in a spontaneous live set and playing them out at gigs.

The basic kit you’ll need for this is:

* A video camera to record images for your set
* A PC or laptop to edit images and play them out in the club (a laptop is more convenient but if you’ve only got a PC you can make it transportable!)
* Software for editing and treating your images
* Software to allow you to play out your images interactively
* A projector to show it all happening on a screen or wall in the venue

For more on those take a look at our guides on VJing: Hardware and Software

Once you’ve begged, borrowed, hired or bought the basic kit, it’s really a question of diving in at the deep end and having a go. It doesn’t have to be a solo project. There’s nothing to stop you teaming up with a friend who’s also interested in VJing – one of you might be great technically, the other better visually. Together you’ll learn from each other and really progress.

“People don’t have to have formal training to be good. I know some VJs who are fantastic graphic designers but never went to art college. I have no formal training at all.”
Graham Daniels, VJ and Producer, Addictive TV

Sourcing clips
Making all your own material is one of the ways to VJ, and will ensure you keep on the right side of the law when it comes to copyright and issues around sampling images. Increasingly though you’ll find sources of images, such as those available from the BBC through the Creative Archive Licence that you can use legally, and for free. There’s more on this in the links section at the end of this guide and in our VJing: Making Images guide.

Filming and editing is part of the job. It’s also how you are going to make your reputation. You’re only ever going to be as good as your source material. It’s not as scary as you might think. It’s just a question of getting your imagination to work and coming up with ways of generating and editing images:


“I wanted some film that looked like robots in 50’s monster movies. I got these toy robots and I wanted to film them up close. The only place in my flat where I had white backgrounds and a white surface was in the bath. So I just put them in the bath and set the video camera up and it all kind of worked.”
Russell Miller, myvideoclub, VJ

“Inspiration is everywhere. You can go down to the local supermarket and be inspired. It’s about taking time to observe what’s going on.”
Graham Daniels, producer and VJ

“I make my own animations and I also do video collages of cityscapes. I film railway stations and airports and interesting architectural objects. That came from doing fine art film and video for my degree.”
Ed Shinobi, VJ

Don’t forget the masses of free source material that you’ll find in the venue anyway ie. the artists and the audience. When you get more accomplished you’ll probably want to experiment with running a second camera live to pick up and use shots of what’s going on around you. There’s more on this in our VJing: Performance guide.

Getting gigs
At the moment, VJing is still a developing market so you’ll need to do some research on which venues, promoters and artists in your area are likely to hire you. Realistically you may not get paid for your first gigs. Put it down to experience. VJing live is the only way you are really going to learn.

Get hold of promoters and badger them into giving you gigs. Promoters who hire clubs with little or no projection facilities probably aren’t interested in having visuals. But some may simply not have considered VJs. Try putting on some charm and persuading them to hire one.

If you are at university or college, check with the Students Union to find out if they are running any club nights? Ask around about local DJs.  Often new DJs will start a night at their uni or a local bar, offer to work with them.
” We would like to change the way promoters and clubs think about visuals and hopefully help the wider visual scene get to the point where visuals are almost a necessity. At most events and clubs quality lighting is now essential – I want visuals to get to the same point.”
Graham Daniels, producer and VJ

Like anything creative, it’s a gradual process to build up your reputation. There are some very established VJs – arguably the people who’ve been doing it for a while have stitched up the plum gigs both in terms of live music and bigger events and festivals. You can still start looking around for smaller nights and grow your name from there. If you’ve got what it takes, and get known for being an innovator, one day the bigger outfits will be wanting to work with you.

Make a demo
First off though, get together a demo video that you can showcase on your own website, as well as send out to would-be employers. Make sure you ask the recipient what format is easiest for them to view (VHS, CDR, DVD?) and whether your target promoters is going to like the genre of music you’ve chosen.

VJs Kriel and Ed Shinobi put it like this:

“The first step to booking gigs on your own is to make a blinding demo video. Pick the music you like. Mix to it, then edit it down to 5 minutes (and no more) on your laptop or PC. Then dub it and send a copy to promoters who deal with that music. Follow up every tape with a call. Every time someone says ‘no’, or even worse says nothing at all, send out another ten copies to another ten promoters, Don’t accept ‘no’. Every step up the ladder only takes one ‘yes’. ”
Kriel, VJ

” It depends how you price yourself and the size of the night. If you’ve got 2,000 people coming in then they’ve got money to play with. They’re going to want that night to be good because they want to keep those thousands of people. If there’s a night that’s only got 500 people you have to ask yourself how much money they’ll be making. It’s generally not a lot so you have to ask yourself how much they’ll be willing to pay for something that isn’t a necessity.”
Ed Shinobi, VJ



Guitar Hero leads children to pick up real instruments

January 6, 2009


Online gaming, PC’s, Hand held games and video game consoles  have long led many anxious parents to fear that their children could turn into addicted, uncultured sloths.

But research by one of Britain’s largest music charities suggests that the popularity of active music titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band have prompted up to 2.5 million children to learn the instruments for real.

The report conducted by Youth Music found that of the 12 million young people aged from 3 to 18, more than half played music games. A fifth of those gamers said that they now played an instrument after catching the musical bug from the games.

“We have long known that young people are encouraged to take an interest in music if it is presented to them in a compelling way,” said Andrew Missingham, the music industry expert who wrote the report. “This research for the first time shows conclusively that young people are being inspired to make their own music by games that first piqued their interest.”

Guitar Hero, where players strap on a plastic guitar and strum along to rock hits, has sold 5.5 million copies worldwide since its 2005 release and spawned several games including Guitar Hero: World Tour, which came out last month. Rock Band, which features a plastic drum kit, has sold 4 million and the karaoke game SingStar has sold 4 million copies globally.

Guitar manufacturers and instrument stores told The Times that sales of instruments featured in the games are on the rise and music teachers said that the games were encouraging the uptake of music lessons.

Nick Matthews, 13, from Buckinghamshire, said that he had started to learn playing tracks such as School’s Out by Alice Cooper on a real guitar. He first heard the song while playing Guitar Hero with his 67-year-old grandfather.

“I like it because it’s really fast,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t like the songs if it wasn’t for game.”

Adam Easton, from Music Ground, the parent company for the majority of the musical instrument shops in Denmark Street, in the West End of London, said: “Because getting a guitar is actually cheaper than buying a new computer at Christmas, when kids get influenced by Guitar Hero and think they really want to play an electric, mums and dads say, ‘great, I’ve got him off the computer at last! Here’s 200 quid, go buy yourself one’.”

The US guitar-maker Gibson said that it had seen sales on the rise, particularly those that are featured in the video games such as the iconic Les Paul guitar.

Source: The Times