Show 188 – Home Grown Hits and more!

This week we chat with Tony Arratia about his site Home Grown Hits. In the comments section we talk about what makes a mix sound amateur, some multiband compression clarification, and some more thoughts on piano recording.

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22 thoughts on “Show 188 – Home Grown Hits and more!

  1. I’m always trying to think of questions to ask you guys on other issues besides the last show’s topic. So speaking of topics, would maybe doing a segment on controlling the DAW using wireless midi controllers? There are so many great iPhone & iPad apps on this topic. It seriously freed me from having to go back and forth from behind the kit to the desk.
    I would be intrested in instructions setting up the wireless network for this purpose.
    Also, I’m glad I asked you about purchases made through you guys on amazon. I’m like you Ryan, I buy everything from roach spray and curtins to instruments and strings…. It will all now be purchased through THRS… This is so easy… so if any regular listener here has not yet donated, at least do this for the guys. Much love to everyone and smoke weed and then give a hug to a hippie.

  2. Cool show! It sounds like Tony would do a mean Kermit the Frog impression for some reason… I never heard of the website before and I’ll definitely keep it in my bookmarks now. There’s a cool concept behind it.

  3. Another Drum question. Can you two both describe the signal process when recording drums? What exactly are you pluging your mics into? Straight to a interface? A high end mic pre then to interface?

  4. Guys!

    Tell me your fave drum overhead placements to use?! And do you prefer using a matched pair, or two totally different sounding mics?
    I used to love my Oktavamod 012s as drum OHs but now I’ve taken to using two unmatched mics that compliment eachother.

    Also, do you think it’s important for an engineer to be able to tune a kit? On most sessions I do now I end up tuning the kit, but a lot of people have said that’s the drummers job. My opinion is that an engineer should do whatever it takes to make a recording sound better!
    (I am not a drummer BTW, I just love tracking drums!)

    Kisses from Katie x

    • In My personal experience I noticed a huge difference when I switched to a matched pair… But I’m sure it has a lot to do with the kind of microphone one can use as overhead’s. This is a great question and would love to hear what the guys have to say!

  5. Hi Guys GSAA. If we click through your link to Amazon then select the amazon.co.uk link to buy stuff here in Britain do you still get a piece? I’d happily route all my Amazon purchases through you if it works here.

  6. I struggle with the Home Grown Hits site. Conceptually it’s only successful if you have a community producing great stuff. Just sharing my honest opinion here, but I’m not sure I heard anything radio-worthy when I took a tour through the top 10. I’m sure it’s neat for folks to put their music up there, but how do you foster a community of real talent? Anyone I know who’s writing anything that could compete with the radio isn’t involved in something like this. Again, not to be harsh, just my opinion.

    Granted, I have been listening to The Beatles mono mix collection all day long so there’s absolutely no comparison in songwriting ability. By the way, I highly recommend all listeners click through the Amazon link and buy the mono boxed set. Those are the mixes that The Beatles and George Martin slaved over and approved – NOT the stereo ones (which were an afterthought at the time because so few people owned stereos).

    That collection has me thinking about how perfect the arrangements of those songs had to be. You get some more leeway on a stereo mix, but in mono it’s gotta be just right. Pretty impressive really. It pushed an emphasis on songwriting and arrangement rather than studio wizardry.

    • The Beatles, r u serious? How many on the mainstream charts during any, say 5 year, period since actually compare to them?

      Here’s an interesting statistic about the charts at Home Grown Hits: the top 10 rock songs are all in the top 20 in the All category. None of the other categories even come close to that, not even hip hop. I think that says something pretty important about the current voting demographic at Home Grown Hits.

      I think HGH is a great idea. The implementation is good. Maybe with time the demographic won’t be so lopsided. I did hear some good stuff on there.

      • Before leaving the HGH site i did one more quick count…39 of the top 50 in the All category are rock songs. More lopsided than I thought. Anyway, good luck to the guys at HGH.

      • The Beatles, I know – made me totally jaded, that’s why I mentioned it. While it skewed some of my views of the songs, I still hold fast to my opinion that the current quality of “top” songs on there is pretty weak.

        I’ve been in a major label, top 40 band, and living just south of LA I’m exposed to a lot of musical talent. That demographic of musicianship/songwriting is likely higher than other parts of the country. Nashville and New York probably see the same level of quality.

        So when I critically listen to independent artists trying to put out radio-ready tunes I set the bar pretty high. Similarly I think Simon Cowell is an important voice – he’s probably saved thousands of people from ruining their lives because they’re fooled into thinking they are talented. Just patting a kid on the back and saying “Good job buddy, nice try” when they strike out isn’t going to help them get better.

        If you just want a site to share your songs around then Noisetrade makes more sense. If HGH was mine I’d curate the submissions and rather than dilute the group with sub-par offerings, only post the ones that have the best chance. Not doing so potentially scares away talented folks who don’t want to be lumped in with poor artists.

        It comes back to working hard to develop a strong community of talented artists. If the stars align and you’re lucky it’ll happen totally organically…or not.

  7. Hey guys, in reference to show 86, I checked out that Audix Fireball V and was curious about beatboxer’s in live sound applications.

    I’m not a beatboxer myself, but I’ve tried….however, I’ve seen some amazing live beatboxers including Rahzel (from the famed Roots crew) and a Baltimore-area beatboxer who goes by the name “The Ox”. Anyway, on to my question, I’m pretty sure I saw both of them using just a 58. So Ryan, have you ever had to work with any beatboxers doing live sound and if so, what did you do for the sound?

    Do you guys either have any recommendations on EQ and compression in these scenarios? The sound of both the guys I mentioned was HUGE and crisp as hell. Now I know a lot of it is in the technique these guys possess, but if you have any ideas how to get the sound in your face (just like the hip hop beats these guys are replicating), I would love to hear your ideas. In the box, I’m sure you could amp up the sound tons of ways with EQ, Compression, Distortion, Parallel techniques and multiple micing scenarios. I just looked at the Audix Fireball V’s specs and it tells me a little because the frequency response slowly rolls down at 100hz until it dies at 50. There’s a tiny bump at 120hz, and then it rises steadily from 1k to 10k at about +10db and then just falls off a cliff with little high end. Let me know your thoughts! Best podcast period.

  8. Hello Ryan and Jon,

    Long time listener, first time poster. First off, let me say what an AMAZING job you guys are doing with the podcast, and I’m very impressed not only by the insightful content, but fankly that you’re still providing such great content after all these years! THANK YOU for the bottom of my heart! All of us here really appreciate it!!

    Question: I’m a new guitarist with an axe and a tube amp. I enjoy plugin in and rocking, but of course having just a guitar and an amp, my tonal pallet is not as large as guys with extensive pedal boards. Before dropping money on what is sure to be another endless pit of expenses, I started thinking: I already have great tone shaping options in my computer! Between Logic’s pedal board, Amplitube, & Guitar rig, I should have more than enough tonal shaping options, right?

    So I was wondering, instead of purchasing actual hardware pedals, can GOOD tone (emphasis on good) be achieved running my guitar into the line input on my preamp, into my computer, through amplitubes pedals, then back out my audio interface and into my amp? Have you heard of anyone doing this, and more importantly does it sound good? Is there any extra gear I would need, like a DI or reamp box? Is latency a killer in this setup and should only be used as “reamping” after the fact or can it actually be used while recording / jamming?

    My amp is a Kustom Defender V100 which does have an effects loop as well as ” Speaker-Emulated XLR Direct Out.” I’m currently using the Hi-Z input on my UA LA-610 as my guitar input into my computer, but also have a cleaner pre if you think that too much tube in the chain. 🙂

    Any advice or experience shared would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind I’m new when it comes to Guitar and Amps, but have been doing home recording in my project studio for years.

    Thanks again for the podcast and keep up the great work! I for one will be listening,
    Jon T.

    • Latency will likely depend on your system, if it’s robust enough you can probably knock it down to a manageable level. The bigger question is: should you even do this? I’m not clear on what your end goal is, just jamming on your own in the studio or trying to play with a band? “Live Reamping”?

      I’ve been a guitar-geek for 20 years and had custom hand-built pedals made for me. Your intuition is right – pedals are a black hole of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). But it’s a lovely, lovely, black hole…So there’s my caveat: I’m a total tone snob.

      I have yet to hear any digital versions that can outdo a true analog pedal. This is more true for overdrive and “dirt” boxes than maybe something like a delay. However, I have yet to encounter a “Memory Man Deluxe” plugin that comes anywhere near the original. Many of the plugins sound really good, but if I compare them directly I always prefer the real deal.

      You’ll likely need a reamp box if you want to pull this off. That way it will match the output from your DAW to what your guitar amp is expecting. You DON’T want to put any sort of drive/distortion through your amp’s effects loop. That will sound disastrous.

      The 610 is a great DI, you’re set there. Play with the sounds, I’m sure you can get interesting results. Holy grail of tone? Not likely. Cool, quirky, interesting stuff? Sure!

      • Thank you for the very helpful reply. [quote] The bigger question is: should you even do this? I’m not clear on what your end goal is, just jamming on your own in the studio or trying to play with a band? “Live Reamping”? [/quote]

        In all honesty, right now, my focus is on making a good record, so mainly recording. However, we do jam in the studio to come up with song ideas, and would love to use it in this application as well. Live I know is a whole different beast, and will cross that bridge when I get there.

        [quote]You’ll likely need a reamp box if you want to pull this off. That way it will match the output from your DAW to what your guitar amp is expecting. You DON’T want to put any sort of drive/distortion through your amp’s effects loop. That will sound disastrous.[/quote]

        Thanks for the advice on what to put in the effects loop. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the purpose of an amps effects loop is so you can tap into the signal AFTER the preamp tube, but before the amps tube? And in theory, the reason why you want to avoid drive/distortion after the preamp is because you’d probably be distorting an already distorted signal? Obviously I’m just speaking in theory right now as I have no way to actually test this yet, but I would like to wrap my head around the concepts so I know kind of what to expect before trying it out.

        • So here’s how I typically do reamping (with is relatively normal):

          1. Track my guitar parts directly into my DAW, using some amp emulation so I don’t just hear “plink, plunk, plonk” when I’m playing).

          2. Once my parts are tracked I run them out of the DAW through a reamp box to my pedalboard and then amp.

          3. Season to taste.

          4. Setup mics and track back into the DAW.

          A potential step 2b for you could be to place the amp sim on the raw, pre-reamped track and only use the “pedals” in the sim. It’ll probably be OK, but not mind-blowing…or maybe I’m totally wrong?

          In the end if great, pure, wonderful tone is what you’re going for it’s REALLY hard to do that (for a guitar) in the purely digital domain. I have some recommendations for pedals if you’re interested in just starting out with a good core that will guarantee solid sounds.

  9. Hello Ryan and Jon:

    On the subject of eradicating a sound like the guy trying to clean up the noisy pedal in his piano recording. You could try either Adobe Soundbooth or Apple’s Soundtrack pro. Both of these programs are more geared toward location sound or sound for picture, but both have some sophisticated algorithms designed to get out unwanted sounds within a complex sound…a plane flying overhead during a dialog for example or a clank in the background of a otherwise clean take of audio. Some of the greatness comes from the fact that you can identify these sounds visually in special graphs of the sound. I’ve heard amazing results using either or both of these programs. My opinion is that Soundbooth is a bit more competent with this type of problem audio, but both are respectable. Sountrack Pro is part of Logic pro 9 now I believe and if you don’t want to spring for the entire suite of Adobe creative products you can rent the software for a month from Adobe’s Creative Cloud program. I think it’s $19 a month. Actually, I think you can get a 30 day free trial from Adobe. https://creative.adobe.com/plans

  10. I have a love / hate relationship with my room mic when micing my drums.
    I love how much added expression and feel I can get, but I hate how much time it sucks to find the sweet spot. Even with a semi permanent mic set up in a home recording space, I can’t decide on where to park my room mic. You’ve given me good advice to get it mounted lower to the floor to avoid bright cymbal presence, but it’s still a mystery. I’m wondering if it would be any good to build a small fortress around the kit and only have the kick exposed to the room. Maybe I’m over thinking it. I know that most of the answer is “use your ears”, but I always like hearing your angle. Till I get this worked out, I don’t feel worthy of my diploma. Thanks.
    Oh, and it’s a Apex 460 with a tranny mod, which really helped with the Chinese sizzle.

  11. Hi guys,
    Long time subscriber, 1st time Commenter.

    1st. kudos. Love the show, yours, Sluau’s, and IHR have become the white noise of my life: be it while driving, mowing the lawn, or doing the dishes, your shows make those crappy menial tasks go faster!

    Re: show 138.. About recording GTR + vox simultaneously..

    I recently had a problem with a singer/songwriter where he couldn’t play/sing the same way in isolation then he could while doing both at same time.. I tried just about every method there is, but couldn’t escape the phase issues.. fortunately, i ultimately found one That works for me..

    I can’t recall of it has a “name” but I used two Fig 8 Mic’s, so close together that I used drummers goo to keep them from vibrating together. they were Positioned about midway between vox and GTR, one pointing at the Voice, Null point at GTR (and other end of the 8 toward the floor) and reverser for GTR, about halfway between Hole and 12th, with null point toward vox and other end of 8 toward the ceiling…

    It takes a LONG time to set up, soloing each, finding the right blend of cancellation of one vs tone of the other, but OMG does it ever work well (for me at least)! It’s not perfect vs each in isolation, but the best compromise I could find…

    Caveat… Your performer Has to practice at sitting still, and after each take and/or smoke break, you have to reposition the Mic’s again.. So it is a lot of work, but it’s been the best way I’ve found yet to capture both..

    I won’t mention the Mic’s that I used, as, while I was just a customer at the time, I’ve since become a distributor or the brand, and my intent in commenting was for the “technique” and not shameless self promotion.. (Not that I won’t try that in a future comment, wink wink, nudge nudge…) but for now, I want this to be received as totally unbiased.

    That said, I will add that I also experimented with two Naiant Pencil Omni’s over each shoulder, near each ear, pointing slightly out toward the GTR… I am not affiliated with them at all, and while now technically a competitor, I do believe on giving credit where credit is due..

    While I just did it as a test as didn’t expect anything usable, the result was surprisingly good at usable!

    It worked well solo’d, but even better at lower relative volume to add depth and room to the other two Mic’s..

    But to get back on point, While sonically, I prefer recording each (vox and GTR) separately, this method worked for me with great tone and minimal bleed!

    Thoughts? Comments?

    Also.. Best quote of the series yet, I can’t remember which episode, maybe late 120’s, but it was “And you get to use your whole knob instead of just Half!” Too funny!!

    Best wishes,
    Sending donation along with my comment.

    Rob Crewe
    http://www.stillwaterstudios.ca

  12. Oh, further to my last comment, as a result of the great nuggets of ideas I get from your show, my neighbors think I’m an iPhone addict, as I OFTEN shut off the mower or drop the garden rake to open up “Notes” and type them down so I don’t forget…

    Again, great show.. Love the format..

    Rob

    http://www.stillwaterstudios.ca

  13. Hey guys. Great show as always. Still getting caught up on all the shows but recently listened to the show about acoustic treatments. Sort of along those lines I wondering if you could give me some advice on how to keep noise level down but still have that a great mix when playing at a small bar.. Any advice is much appreciated. The place does not run its own sound so we will be doing it all.

  14. GSAA,

    Kinda regret asking about the amateur mix stuff now. I thought i was way closer than i was to finishing… which leads me to another question. When do you stop beating a dead horse? I think ive finally ground the horse carcass to a fine paste but my tenacity working on this mix surpassed my skills and good sense long ago. I realize in many cases you will never be “done” with a mix, but what are your “good enough” land marks. Being utterly green im going by the “if i know im listening to a mix” technique. If anything one part calls out my attention thats not musical i go to work, but i think this has turned into an orboros of self delusion. ‘If i just use a little more eq maybe no one will notice i cant play guitar’.

    Aside from that i just signed up for home grown hits. With the power and tools that technology and people like Tony Arratia provide its a wonderful time to be a musician!

    Ride the original recipe chicken

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