Show 190 – AES 2012 recap and more!

This week we talk about some of the highlights of the recent AES convention. Our guests this week are Matt McGlynn, Bjorgvin Benediktsson, and Randy Coppinger.

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20 thoughts on “Show 190 – AES 2012 recap and more!

  1. Pingback: AES 2012 SF « Randy Coppinger

  2. Another great show, I enjoyed the tips about Recorderman and using the mic height as a room fader.

    I have a question for you guys about resonance. What tips do you have to add realistic harmonic resonance to something like a bass or brass instrument that sounds too constant and dull? I am trying to get that vibrating resonance type of sound that happens in nature and I’m not sure if I should be looking into saturation, exciters, or what. I even heard someone say they use 1176s in this way but I can’t reproduce it. What I am after is not just adding more harmonics but trying to reproduce the sound something makes when it resonates to the frequency of the sound coming at it, if that makes sense. I think it would be a great way to add life and vibe to a dull track and I hoped you guys would have some insight.

    [insert obligatory homoerotic chicken reference here]

    • In addition to the comments from the guys on adding harmonics through distortion, I wanted to add something else which came to mind concerning resonance.
      You can use delay feedback to create a tuned resonance which will be excited by the sound sent through it, similar in principle, if simplified somewhat, to the way physical objects (rooms / metal bars / springs slash plates) resonate at a particular pitch.
      Using the equation 1/Hz = delay time (in seconds)
      or 1/delay time (in seconds) = Hz,
      you can, for example get a resonance at 220Hz by setting a delay time of 0.004545455 seconds (sorry Ryan) or 4.54 milliseconds.
      Adjusting the feedback gives you control over the length of the resonance’s decay.

      On a side note, it is always worth bearing in mind that delay, in the digital domain at least, is the father of EQ, chorus, flange, phasers, reverb and more. Keeping this fact in mind can help you to think outside the FX box.

      Outside of inside the box anyhow.

      • Thanks guys for the awesome ideas in show 191. I had previously kept my bass recordings direct out from the TRS on the back of my amp, as I work without a separate tracking/control room setup and everything in my room vibrates like crazy when I play even at quiet levels. I just had to have a 15″ driver, huh… This led me to be rather dismissive of miking the amp without taking it to another location, and the DI signal was great so I really never bothered. With your tips I will now be trying out various mics and objects to stick in front of the amp to see what I can get and if I like it I can blend it in with the DI. You have inspired me to try a lot more “impure on paper…good in practice” techniques. I want all the “cool little funk” I can get in my tracks. I think I’ll even try close-miking a bass set in front of the amp ;).

        I will also see what I can achieve by driving VCC. My saturation attempts seemed to make the tracks louder and harmonically fuller for sure, but didn’t add that ‘vibe’ I was looking for. I don’t have a good tape sim yet, but it sounds like time to start looking into that as well. I have had my eye on VTM for a while, and now I’m also taking an interest in oZone. The exciter looks like it’s only in Advanced…bummer.

        Do you happen to know which plugin 1176s model no buttons in properly? I have the CLA and I know it alters the sound when it’s dropped in but I’ve recently taken an interest in finding plugins that handle subtle coloring and realistic overdrive like their hardware counterparts. It seems to be a big piece that many leave out of their equation. Do you generally mess with the input gain with the buttons off? I can’t seem to find a good resource searching Google for “1176 no buttons in”.

        Thanks also to Adam! After I go back and read your comment about 15 or 20 more times and actually understand it, I get the feeling it will open up a whole new world for me ;). You mentioned delay being the father of all modulation effects and this intrigues me. Can any of you guys expound on that? It sounds like a pretty deep rabbit hole.

        In the meantime, I’m going to have plenty of fun cut out for me experimenting with these ideas. Time to vibe the chicken.

        • Vincent, I’ll unpack a little that statement about delay:
          Firstly, let me say that I’ll be paraphrasing lots of theist important text concerning digital audio, Curtis Roads’ Compiter Music Tutorial. If you’re at all interested in understanding what’s going on under the hood, it’s essential reading.
          In the box, all you have to work with are samples: measurementsof signal amplitude at a particular time. All digital effects can do is adjust the amplitude of timing of a sample. Those that adjust the amplitude include panning, distortion and compression. Those that adjust the timing include those mentioned before: reverb, delay, flange etc.

          Chorus, flange and phasers blend a dry signal with a delayed signal whose delay time is modulated by an LFO. The only difference between the effects are the ranges of delay times, modulation speeds and feedback amounts.

          EQ is also achieved in the digital domain by mixing a dry signal with one with a very short delay – starting at a delay of one sample for a 6dB/Octave H/LPF. For sharper Qs, the signal is delayed by more and more samples. This is why heavy EQing can smear the transient information, destroying any punch your drums had in the process.

          In this situation, one option is to choose a linear phase EQ. These EQs don’t use delay to adjust the tonal balance, using FFT processing instead.

          That’s another rabbit hole, and this comment has gone on long enough.

          Or should that be chicken-hole?

  3. lots of great shows since my last comment, as always…

    i just wanted to tell everybody my band’s new album, recorded all in my home studio from pre-production demos through to finish, is finally out! i’ve gotten so many tips and insights from the show and the community i thought it would be cool for people to hear it. (it’s free to download).

    so have at it and let me know what you think! it’s really the first time i’ve been able to do a demos to finals project, since it’s my band and doesn’t have a budget. the tracks were finished almost a year ago now, and it’s been sitting in the can until we could release. so, obviously i have my own critiques of the recording/mix by now. i’m interested to see where the group’s critiques agree with my own and where they differ.

    i hope it’s cool to post this here, thanks for the great show!

  4. Anyone recommend a mixing forum? I’m looking for a forum like gearslutz or KVR that has a dedicated mixing forum or subforum where I can ask mixing questions, maybe get feedback on a mix, advice, etc.

    Does such a place exist?

    • Hi Jon,
      just listened to the show they answered your question in. I had hoped to find the URL Jon (the other Jon) mentioned, but no luck. So I replayed the comments section to get the URL again. 😉
      Here you are:
      Jon said to use the “Bash This Recording” discussion for getting feedback about your mix.
      Good luck (maybe we meet there…)

  5. Hey guys,

    TFAGS! This has turned into quite a long comment, so apologies to Ryan…

    Today’s practice mix was a festival of applied HRS wisdom! I tried out the subtractive EQ > Compression > additive EQ order, which really made the most of the compression – definitely worth the extra step. I also bit the bullet and tried multiband compression to tame some loud snarly notes on upright bass – I love how ReaXComp lets you solo out individual bands.

    Also, the tricks you guys mentioned of increasing the impact of a big drop in a song are big favourites of mine – I was mentally ticking them off as you mentioned them – cutting down the arrangement, telephone EQ (thank you, Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree), 808-y bass drops, and so on. Although I’ve heard some dodgy attempts at it where EVERYTHING (including reverb) gets muted before the big drop…

    Also, Jon: thanks so much for the mix breakdown – I love hearing before / after examples and seeing how it all fits together. Hearing the results you got from those dodgy guitar DI recordings blew my mind!

    One thing that didn’t quite do it for me was the distortion on the vocals – were they like that when you got them? I’m not such a fan of distorted screams as the main vocal sound (although they work really well for highlight or contrast). I’m very fond of parallel compression and distortion on aggressive vocals, just bringing it up enough to bulk out the upper mids, while still keeping the vocals sounding visceral and human.

    Also, I’ve got a live recording gig coming up, and I was wondering about drum overheads. Any of you folks have some tips and tricks about minimising bleed from the amps?

    Congratulations! You have reached the end of this comment – reward yourself by riding the chicken to the pub!

    Nick Brickworks

  6. GSAA,

    Trade shows are pretty cool, but I agree the “networking” afterwards is where its at. There is nothing like watching your CEO getting shithoused on bourbon street. I think we should start something like a kickstarter to send Jon to the next one.

    Chickens! now with 10% more midichlorians!

  7. Pingback: Why I Don't Give a $#!t about Audio Equipment (And Other Good Stuff from AES) - Audio Issues

  8. Listening to this episode gave me an idea for a discussion. You may have discussed something similar so forgive me if you have as I am only about 75% through the archives. I think it would be interesting to hear what studio setups / gear you would get for various budgets. For example, if you only had $5,000 to build a complete setup what would you purchase? How about $15,000, what changes? where do you concentrate your funds? I think it would be good because I believe a lot of your listeners struggle with this very basic question. I know each person’s music style would affect this answer, but it would be very interesting to hear.

    Your show has provided a ton of valuable information and I feel that you are particularly good at keeping the solutions/advice in the real world for us individuals that cannot drop $5,000 on a Manley.

    Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much.

    You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

  9. Hi guys,

    ISAA [interesting show as always] (“great” sounds so blurry…)

    not sure if it was in this very show that Jon shared some tips for reamping, but I guess it was. You said cleaning up the DI track before sending the signal out to a real amp would save you so much work afterwards. I guess you meant silencing pauses properly etc. What else would you recommend for cleaning up a DI track before reamping? I found volume automation as a replacement for guitar volume adjustments throughout a song as valuable. I prefer to keep the volume pot on the guitar at 10 and then decide later, how much I turn it down to achieve less overdriven/distorted sound from the amp. Works great.
    However I have a problem with noise: when plugging in the DI directly to the ramping box (Palmer Daccapo) and feeding the tube preamp (Engl 530) with it, everything is fine. When first recording the DI signal at 24 bit and playing it back through the reamping box, I get an annoying noise level. I use Reaper’s ReaFIR for suppressing the noise before sending the signal to the reamping box. This removes all the noise, but very low signals of the guitar are also removed. Not too much important stuff is lost this way, but I’m wondering, why I get this noise at all. The noise floor of the recorded DI track looks very low, but of course gets amplified a lot by the preamps distortion channel (gain setting around 12:00). Any idea what the root cause could be or how to track it down efficiently? I’m using a Terratec audio interface (DMX6fire 24/96).

    Keep on rockin’


    • Hi Guys,
      did a bit of further testing to find out that
      1) the mic input of my audio interface sucks in terms of noise. For normal signals it’s ok, but for sensitive DI signals, which are amplified so much in the distortion channel during reamping, it is useless.
      2) attaching the mic level output of the active DI box does not work too well on the line input of the audio interface. 😉 Again too much noise. Different noise compared to the one I get via the mic input however…
      I used my Behringer MIC200 mic preamp as DI box (it features XLR and TRS outputs at line level) and the signal was way better. Just a tiny tiny noise floor audible after reamping through the distortion channel. This leads me to the following options:
      a) I need some natural sounding low-noise mic preamp, which I would put between the DI box and the audio interface’s line input. Would a simple OP amp based preamp work fair enough for the job? There are DIY lits for 10-20 bugs out there.
      b) I get another MIC200 for this job. The downside is that I think it colors the sound in almost every setting (it’s meant to do that). Even the neutral position seems to be far away from neutral according to some measurements I did. Looks like all preamps up to $50 are tube based and intended to color the sound.
      What would be your recommendation for me to get a clean neutral DI sound into my audio interface?
      Thanx for opinions different from “get a better/new audio interface”… 😉

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