Show 163 – Magic Mix Glue; Drum samplers; and D112 in reverse?

This week we have 3 short segments – Magic Mix Glue; Drum samplers; and AKG D112 Sounds better Flipped?
Our guest this week is Jason Suko
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LINKS
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Jason Suko’s Studio – South Sound Sound
AHJTeam D112 flipped comparison on YouTube

19 thoughts on “Show 163 – Magic Mix Glue; Drum samplers; and D112 in reverse?

  1. Great show once again, thanks.

    I have a couple of questions. I bought a ribbon mic a couple of months back for guitar cabs, virtual synth re-amping and vocal experimenting, but have not really used it too much because of the huge amount of gain needed for anything less than loud sounds. I have an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra, which has four of the “award-winning” Octane pres, and they are really clean up until a certain point when resonances and noise creep into the signal in the final quarter of the gain setting. So, as I don’t have too much experience with different pres, do all pres act like this, so that the really useful range of gain is less than what’s available? And as for the solution to my problem, would the answer perhaps be a pre with more gain, like the GAP-73 or maybe try and hunt down some old mixing desk with better pres, or perhaps would it be of more overall use to buy an outboard compressor, like the FMR Audio RNC 1773, thus keeping the noise floor lower at least for more dynamic stuff like vocals. Besides, the compressor would have other uses as well. Or pehaps, and I just thought of this so I haven’t experimented yet, could I run two different pres in series, because I happen to have an old mixing desk with cleanish pres, but also with not enough gain. So that both would contribute a little bit of clean gain?

    Thanks for a great show. Fight the chicken, heroes!

    PS. the gear I mentioned is really the upper limit of my budget.

  2. Hey guys

    Thank you for the Michael’s Questions Holiday Special! Your donation is in the mail…… 😉

    But seriously, thank you very much for answering my questions.

    BR,
    Michael

  3. I’ve heard a lot of good things about digitalfishphones plugins. I’d love to try ’em – but they’re “PowerPC only” on macs, sadly…

    Michael

  4. Jason Suko???!!! Who’s that joker and what’s he done that’s so special? 😉

    You guys were on fire this week. I think you’ll have to start incorporating the slide whistle and rim-shot into your delivery.

    Jon, I switched over to iPhone after ditching my rotary last month too and I can’t believe all the crap I’ve been missing. I had an iPod touch and thought that was pretty much the same without the phone bit, but man, was I wrong – I’m loving this thing!

    Have you tried out Propellerhead’s new app – Figure? Like most music apps for the iPhone, it’s liimted, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun to put together drum/bass/lead snippets. It even almost looks like a rotary phone!

    Regarding drum samplers, I think I have/had use/used pretty well everything out there. I don’t have the new Steven Slate, but I agree with Ryan – the previous version is good sounds, but quite niched in the rock / pop arena and I don’t like using them for more nuanced work.

    I always seem to fall back into Addictive Drums – they don’t do much more than any other library out there, but the interface is intuitive and I don’t find myself having to work too hard to get the sound that I’m looking for out of them.

    I’m digging NI’s Studio Drummer these days too. They’re not as flexible as AD in terms of being able to mix and match kits, but if you really want nuance and realism, those samples will do it.

    Cheers guys! Dave

  5. Cool, thanks Dave. Any and all input is welcome. That goes for all you lurkers out there, too!

    Have you bought any expansion packs for the samplers, or are the included samples flexible enough to get by with? What I like the most about the Steven Slate stuff, I think, is that it’s all included in the pack; they don’t sell you a system you need to expand to fully utilize, which is kind of my fear with most of the other stuff. I want to have all I’ll need once I buy the first package if possible.

    Michael

  6. I’ve never felt the need to expand any of my libraries. AD comes with four “kits”, Studio Drummer comes with three…

    I’ve collected enough of the libraries over the years that I just choose something else if what I’m working with doesn’t do the job.

    I just downloaded SSD4, and yeah, it comes with a whole poop-load of possibilities. I’ve only launched it to see if it installed. I love that it comes as a 64-bit plug and I love what looks like a whole slew of variety, but I think their interface, while functional looks like it was slapped together like an applicant to a graphic arts program who should probably be looking for another occupation to pursue…

    More on it later.

  7. RE: Show 160: Guys, nice show on distortion. Although it left me wondering what the base settings for the various distortions were. However, regarding your response to Frank and his question about what makes EQ’s different and in the interest of accuracy; I have to offer a friendly counter answer. First, I agree wholeheartedly that the analogue mode on a plug-in as well as any analogue saturation algorithms (tube, FET, tape, etc.) that are part of an EQ plug emulation do add that mystical, magical “warmth” that is intended to replicate the same warmth found in their analogue hardware counterparts. However, that warmth is really secondary to what makes different EQ’s sound different. What makes various EQ’s sound different is far more a direct function of the filter curves they use than anything else. I’ll try to be succinct and use some relatively standard examples to illustrate, however, there really is no short answer. These are mostly taken from MOTU and Sonar sources, but there are some other general EQ web sources too.

    The filters determine the relationship of how the Q changes or interacts relative to the amount of boost or cut being applied. The first type has minimal interaction between the Q and boost/cut. This means the base of the Q curve remains the same regardless of B/C.(Boost/Cut) Even small adjustments result in a high Q. This type of EQ is known for being “clean” and at times can sound harsh. It is precise and surgical in nature and generally used for removing ringing from drums or other similar tasks like getting rid of masking. Examples would be SSL console EQ’s from the 60’s and 70’s. They are also considered “standard” parametric EQ’s.

    The second is called a “Constant Q” EQ because the base width of the Q stays the same regardless of B/C. These type curves act more like variable notch filters in that as more B/C is applied, the narrower the bandwidth becomes. These are also used a lot for drums as they are even more surgical. Neve 1060’s use these curves as do several other classic EQ’s. Constant Q is now frequently used on higher end Graphic Equalizers.

    In the third type, Q increases as B/C is applied. This is the classic Neve type EQ (and its newer clones), as well as the type found on SSL G consoles. This is considered a very musical EQ because small amounts of B/C make gentle changes in sound as the Q is very wide at low B/C levels. This makes for a very intuitive adjustment also. As B/C is increased, the Q increases making the sound appear louder and/or more upfront. Obviously these work well for vocals and instruments like guitars and strings, but also can be used for gentle mastering EQ work.

    There is also a “pure” type EQ filter which is an extreme form of the Neve type curves and thus is even more suited for the gentle tone shaping required for Mastering and/or bus EQing. So as you can see, it is the filter curves that define the sound of different EQ’s. Any analogue distortion, whether hardware or emulation, is more like special icing on the EQ cake.

    Now to confuse things, when it comes to Pultecs, they are essentially shelving filters, only the boost/attenuate functions allow for “overshoot” when boosting or cutting. Normal and most conventional parametric shelf filters maintain a very accurate B/C when applied and the shelf amount or bandwidth (Q ) refers to how steep the shelf roll off curve is. Most EQ’s use ±6db as first order and ±12db second roll off which while very accurate can sound harsh. Overshoot reduces this harshness. Overshoot means when boost is applied, there is also a small cut applied right above the shelf frequency or conversely, when cut is applied, there is a small amount of boost applied just above the shelf frequency. To the ear this smoothes the transition to the drop or gain in the shelf frequency relative to the roll off amount and removes the harshness found in lower order shelf filters. This is more or less what a Pultec does. It allows you to set the boost of the frequency and then attenuate it slightly above that frequency to produce overshoot. The bandwidth sets the steepness of the shelf curve.

    Now here is when it gets really crazy and even more complicated. The EQ section of a Pultec is passive, meaning it cannot really “boost” anything. It is like a tone control. You cannot add anything, you can only cut. The only true boost in a Pultec is the output gain structure. That means the “boost” knob starts at a certain amount of cut at its lowest and then as you “boost”, you are adding back in what has been cut to where at peak boost you are back at full volume. Similarly, the attenuate knob stats at full volume and cuts it. Also, they do not overlap because again, the frequencies they act on are slightly above and below each other. And that is how you can achieve overshoot with a Pultec and why they are so musical.

    Obviously there are many variations on these basic types, but hopefully this will give a general understanding of what makes them different and how that difference affects what they are used for. So with nods to Cakewalk and MOTU and a few other general sources, this is about as brief a way I can explain what makes different EQ’s sound different. Hope this has been helpful to those who were wondering the same.

  8. PS: I feel lucky because my MOTU 828 MKIII hybrid has a built in 7 band EQ with all four basic filters plus shelf filters with overshoot. And my Sonar Producer Expanded has three of the four but also has a fourth hybrid filter. It uses an asymmetrical filter that has curves somewhere between type I and type III when boosting, but acts more like a notch filter when cutting. This is a great EQ for drums because it allows you to gently shape the tone of the drums when boosting while allowing the removal of specific ringing and such when cutting. The MOTU allows me to set the filter type independently for each band which is also a really nice and very useful feature. btw, I started listening around show 45 or so and went back and listened to the earlier shows back then.

  9. Hi folks !
    Yes, Native instruments studio drummer is awesome. I bought just after a positive review on IHR. Although you have only 3 kits you can tweak those kits to suit all your needs. The effect section is great and the midi clips are quite nice. But you have to consider that it is hungry for processor power. On my Windows XP system I have to bounce a lot to keep it stable.

    Keep up the great work, gentlemen.

    Oh – just started at episode 1 for the second time – No not star wars, but HRS

    Ride the funk out of the rooster !

  10. TFAGS

    Sooo just in case any one is curious… its illegal to wear studio headphones while driving in the state of Louisiana… My usual head phones died and i needed something to listen to the show with so i grabbed my Yamaha RH3Cs.

    It is remarkably hard to keep a straight face while being pulled over and listening to the sophomoric humor about tape heads. luckily it was a slap on the wrist, but i gotta find some inconspicuous headphones now.

    Have yall ever used Hydrogen (http://www.hydrogen-music.org/hcms/) I’ve played around with it and the price is right, but i can never get a natural beat out of any drum sequencer. To understand how bad they come out just imagine Helen Keller and a fifth of vodka and you will probably be in the ball park.

    Ride the Chicken

  11. So I was curious, how much of the “producer” hat do you guys put on when you have an artist in the studio that may need some help… Example: when in a song there are two guitar tones that fight each other, maybe one sound fits the song but the other is way off in left feild…

    do you let it ride or put your foot down. I often find myself acting as a producer as much as an engineer, especially when dealing with newer folks to studios…

  12. Eetu, check out the Cloudlifter CL-1 for your ribbon mic. Sounds like it’s exactly what you need (http://cloudmicrophones.com/cloud12/?page_id=222).

    I’ve used Toontrack’s EZDrummer for years. The “Vintage” and “Nashville” kits are the only ones I find usable. I can coax decent sounds out of it, but only if I spend lots of time tweaking the midi grooves/velocities, and set it up as a multi-out VST. Being able to mix and add plugins to individual “mics on the kit” allows me to pull decent sounds. But the best use I’ve found is to hook up an electronic kit (Roland) as a midi trigger and have a real drummer play. Pretty fast and fun to get decent sounds and the exact parts you want – not to mention editing minor flubs in seconds.

  13. I did a cool thing to practice the tips I have been hearing on the show. Instead of recording myself, I posted an ad on craigslist in the musicians area looking for a singer/songwriter that wanted to record a demo for free. I had the guy over this past Sunday and had a great session. It was nice to put on the sound engineer hat and not worry about the performance part as well. The recordings sounded great. I had recently bought some equipment I had not had the chance to play with. I got a CAD GXL3000 mic I used on the vocals, which sounded great. The Presonus Tube Pre sounded great too in my opinion. I know that it is a lower end unit, but I ended up running the vocals and acoustic through it and I was happy with the warmth on both. I recorded the acoustic using the X-Y technique with a couple small condenors I had (CAD CM217) and ran the line out to the Presonus. At first I was not overjoyed with the X-Y results until I bumped up the level of the mic pointed at the neck. Bam! The clarity I was looking for came through. Great experience. Next time I will ask some more clarifying question though, like can you play to a click track.

  14. Wow… thanks for the breath of info e.scarab. All the more stuff to play with in mixing (as if I didn’t have enough!).

    I have Superior Drummer and it’s fantastic. I’ve gotten very great results using a touch-sensitive MIDI keyboard to program the drum parts. That way the velocities are always changing depending how hard you hit the keys which makes the drums sound a bit more natural. It takes some practice getting used to how hard to hit the keys (especially for riding cymbals) but I recommend that to anyone instead of manually drawing in drum parts.

  15. Re Vincents comment re Show 160.. re: Duplicate systems for testing updates and plugins

    You could always buy a machine virtualizing system that creates a Virtual Machine (VM) within your main computer. Examples of these for a MAC (or setting up a PC/Windows environment on a MAC) being VMWare Fusion (costs about $60-$80, Virtual Box (Freeware from Sun) , Parallels ( Again about $60-$80) – there are also others out there. Similar software is available for the PC/Windows world (such as a VMWare product) but I wont list them all here.

    OK so..
    Install this. Then set up an “identical” environment to your original main machine(s) – Most VM apps have a tool to actually copy an existing environment and then move that copy into the VM one thereby creating an identical duplicate.

    You could then test what you want within that VM world without blowing everything to hell. If you kept a backup of the clean virtual environment you could then rebuild it as necessary each time you test something and never kill your working one. As the test environment is in a protected VM world you can screw around as much as you like and never risk your production world. Anytime your real production world gets a tested and “authorized” update you can refresh your VM image to reflect the new real world.

    This is how many software development people work… One of my sons is in a development world and the laptop he uses to visit sites and test changes etc has numerous VM’s he can call up at will and test changes etc before productionizing them. We need to get smart and emulate them!

    I think spending less than $100 buck and a little time for testing stuff and stopping new stuff from F&*king your production environment is money well spent..

    Anyway.. Just 2c worth of ideas from me.

    Ride The Horny Chicken..

    Steve

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