Show 212 – Electronic Music Production with Brian Casey and more!

This week we have an excellent song dissection by Brian Casey in the electronic soundtrack style.

Download Show #212

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FYI Jon used an all-tube signal path, modded Apex 460, ART PRO MPA II, ART PRO VLA II for this podcast. Last week it was Shure SM7B into GAP PRE-73. Before that it was SM7B into True Systems P-Solo.

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18 thoughts on “Show 212 – Electronic Music Production with Brian Casey and more!

  1. Does anybody have experience comparing the SM57 to the Beta 57? I need to add a few more dynamics to the mic locker and since I don’t have any 57’s yet it looks like it is about time.

    I know the beta is super-cardioid. So other than that, are there significant tonal differences? If I pocked up two of both would they sound terribly different? The betas would for times when I wanted less side pickup but could tolerate a little more back pickup.

    TFAGS!

  2. GSAA!
    I’m leaving this on the Mp3 player for a while. This is the way I work & I’ll have to listen a few times to get all the good stuff.
    My free plugin essentials are Camel Audio’s Camel Crusher & Vallhalla freq echo.
    I’ve dl’d Rough Rider & thanks to you guys I finally pulled the trigger on Ubermod.
    Thanks for the Great podcast (I went back & listened to all the back episodes before it was cool) & I always use your Amazon link.
    Hey that chicken looks like it’s got a few miles on it. You want a new one?

  3. Wow, what a podcast. There is so much depth to electronic music. Even if it’s not your thing, it’s really the style where the “producer” really gets to shine and as such a great place to learn to be a better producer.

    I got my start doing a lot of synth and EDM music because I knew enough music theory to sequence it out and it was easier than dealing with bands. I even got good enough that someone I knew who was designing a side scroller mobile game wanted me to score it… then the game never got finished, but hey a compliment is a compliment.

    I’m definitely going to listen to this one a couple more times at least.

    GSAA

  4. Just listened back, I’ve a MAJOR complaint!

    How come Jon bleeped out my profanity yet left in his own….somebody doesn’t want anyone else talking dirty to the HRS community! Either that or he knew my mom might listen in!

    But seriously, glad to know my segment translated fine from my brain to the outside world, and as Ryan says, there’s plenty more where that came from – if anyone wants it…that’s what she said!

    p.s. Soon I will have a fully functional website etc so Ryan can stop giving outmy e-mail address disappointedly whenever I’m on the show….on that note, anyone recommend a good, clean, efficient word press theme for a studio website?

  5. Jon,

    Are you using the standard or digital version of the MPA? If digital, do you have a preference using the digital versus analog output?

    Thanks.

    • I have the analog version. I prefer to let my ECHO Layla 3G do all the A/D work because I’m confident in its converters, hell, that’s what it was MADE to do. Besides, a digital output from a mic pre won’t let me patch in my Presonus ACP88 rack compressors.

  6. Recording bass recommendations.

    Up until this point, I’ve only recorded bass by running though a Focusrite Trakmaster Pro straight into my DAW. I want to start moving some air in addition to this input, so I’ve started looking at bass combo amps. My question is this.

    How loud does a combo need to be able to play for a good recording? Does pushing the driver harder result in a better sound or can I get a solid, full response at lower volumes. Also, since I would be using it exclusively for recording (no live gigging) and I don’t have to worry about filling a room, is there an ideal driver size in terms of frequency response and accuracy? Finally, do you have any recommendations on one that might fit the bill?

    On a side note, The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 that I planned to buy through the Amazon link, I ended up getting at GC. Between coupon codes and a gift card, I ended up taking it home for around $300. Couldn’t turn that down. That being said, I still wanted to show my appreciation for the tons of information and entertainment you guys provide, so I sent Mr. Grant to the tip jar.

    Thanks again. You guys rock.

  7. In one of the recent shows there was a comment on using gaming mice so you could map different buttons. For mac users that want to map mouse buttons I would recommend checking out USB Overdrive. It’s a program that gives you full control over mouse button mapping, speed settings, and acceleration beyond what you can do in the stock OS mouse settings. The default mouse acceleration on mac drove me nuts and there’s no way to change it in the stock mouse settings. The only buttons I couldn’t remap on my mouse with USB Overdrive were the DPI switches but that’s probably a limitation on my specific mouse.

    Also, for anyone with small/medium I can’t recommend the CM Storm Spawn enough (link). It’s smaller than most mice and has a ring finger rest which makes it super comfy. I love it so much that I bought 2 in case they stop making it.

  8. @andy Starr, thanks for the link, my travels brought me to that link also!

    @Scot regarding bass amps etc, in my opinion most of these things are purely taste, especially with instrument amplifiers, and the room acoustic may be the most important factor in a full sounding bass sound.

    Personally I don’t dig really cranking bass amps for break up, unless its a really small bass amp for a particular less full tone. queens of the Stone Age use very small amps on bass fairly often for such tones.

    If you have good software amp sims already then you can use those in parallel on a di’d channel to colour the sound as you wish anyway, which I often do. Also, it might sound crazy, but if I’m just using a di, I often get a mike, usually set to an omni pattern close in on the actual strings of the instrument to give a unique kind of air/room feel, plus the added natural string attack. You can boost the low end like crazy on such an air bass mike as I like to call it, and get all kinds of results blending with the less natural di sound. that’s usually best for acoustic/folk/more easy listening stuff I find.

    Another option is that if you have a keyboard amp or PA system lying around with reasonable low end response, try giving that a go.

    Finally, to recommend an actuall bass combo amp, I really like everything I’ve heard from Ashdown engineering so far, and I’ve heard a few. They’re fairly heavy to carry obviously but they’re very tidy, well built, good value and have some really cool tone possibilities. EBS also have some cool small combo bass amps.

  9. @ brian – killer segment. I was out walking the dog and listening on headphones, and I had to pause it and head back to the house to listen to it properly.

    LOVED what you were able to accomplish with compression and distortion on the drums and the synth sounds particularly.

    As someone who places a lot of library tracks, I’d say finish that track, write 10 more and get it out there. I’ll use it. 🙂

    -Rene

  10. Good evening from the UK. GSAA. No, actually, this one was the best yet, from my point of view – top stuff.

    I write and record electronic music, but I’m an avid listener of your podcast. This is because I think there are few boundaries between electronic music production and that of traditional bands and real instruments. You can get as creative with either and your insights into the science behind recording should be heeded by all electro heads such as I. Compression techniques, re-amping, etc, can all be put to good use in electronic stuff. The only thing I won’t be doing is getting handy with a soldering iron, but I still find Ryan’s passion for this oddly attractive (and I am 100% married to a woman).

    I’ll be honest, though – I have secretly hoped for a more electronic-oriented podcast from HRS and episode 212 delivered it in spades. Brian’s track sounds fantastic (what wouldn’t with Star Wars engine noises?) and his insight into how he achieved the various sounds were fascinating – particularly the acoustic drum treatment which was epic sounding.

    Anyway, one quick question for Jon. I’m a long-time Logic user and I’m concerned Apple have indeed handed their entire Pro team their P45s. I’m therefore considering alternatives and Reaper is of course amongst them. I rely heavily on midi production, alongside audio and, while Reaper is clearly a winner with the latter, how does it fair with midi editing? Is it considered an important aspect of the DAW by the developers or is it an afterthought (which is so often the case with modern DAWs)? I’ll never forget the drum editor in early versions of Cubase which allowed to to kick notes around with a little shoe – if you tell me it has that, I’ll probably poo myself. And buy it, obviously.

    I’ve included a link to my SoundCloud page for anyone who is bored/interested enough to check out my tracks, but as someone who has never been able to pigeon hole the music he makes (nor do I wish to), perhaps you’ll like my slightly alternate take on ‘dance’ music…

    Ride the pigeon hole, not the chicken.

  11. Thanks Rene, glad you enjoyed it. There are ten others in the pipeline of varying styles etc, but yeah, that whole finding time to finish them thing is problematic…its fun though, one of the tracks I have completed is a banjo based track in an old school folk style…basically I get to use all the instruments and sounds I don’t get to use else where when I’m composing such stuff.

    As a matter of interest Rene, have you any online library’s you know to be worth shooting for, I have some in mind, but I feel its best to get a real top knotch bunch of tracks going first before making moves.

  12. Hey guys, GSAA.

    Here’s a non-show-specific question, but first a little background:

    I’m working on a project with my friend. We are recording an Americana-style album without drums. We already laid down the upright bass tracks which act as a kick and the guitar tracks which resemble a snare pattern, and now it’s time to record some banjo, dobro, violin, etc…

    We decided to leave the metronome off when we initially recorded the demo and are playing to the demo to isolate and improve the sound of each part. I explained to my friend that this will at least triple the amount of editing time required to get the tracks to sound tight, but after a long debate (and a lot of beers), we decided to go without the dome.

    So I loaded up the three guitar tracks (large diaphragm condenser, 57, and DI) and the two upright bass tracks (large diaphragm condenser, and a 57) into Pro Tools. I wanted to tighten up the bass tracks a bit and used elastic audio to get the bass in sync with the guitar. I’m not too worried about phase issues between the two mics on this source. I’m using the 57 vary sparingly to highlight some of the overtones with the low cut set relatively high. All of the core bass tones are being picked up by the condenser.

    Now I need to adjust the timing of the patterns played on the guitar to the non-existent grid, but I’m having problems with phase-coherency between the three guitar tracks when using elastic time. I edit-grouped the tracks, inserted the markers and tried every algorithm before and after committing with no luck. So naturally I fired Pro Tools and moved on to Reaper. Reaper’s new “stretch time” feature works similar to Pro Tools’ elastic time and gets better results but I’m still hearing the phase go all out of whack. So I scratched that idea too. Then I moved on the the split, move and extend method of time editing in Reaper. No luck there either. (For Jon) I put each guitar track in a guitar mix folder and used the ghost waveform of the combined tracks. Before and after the edits they all look perfectly in phase, but when it plays back, anyone with a pair of working ears can tell that they are not. I glued the tracks after editing and still no luck.

    Which leaves the question: Is there any way of keeping phase coherence that you, Jon, know of in Reaper or you, Ryan, know of in Pro Tools on a single source, multi-mic recording?

    If no, I think I have two options going forward: 1) figure out what mix of the three guitar tracks sounds good with where I think each track will ultimately sound like, bounce the mix to a “guitar mix” track and fix the timing problems on the newly-created mix or 2) don’t touch the guitar tracks at all, record the rest of the parts with the timing issues, then see what guitar mix works, bounce the guitar mix to a new track and fix all the timing problems with the guitar and any other parts we record.

    If I do the first option, I’m worried that I will not get a good blend of guitar tones for each track and will have to rely on unnecessary, aggressive EQing to get the guitar to mesh well with the other instruments. If I do the second option, recording all the other parts will be aggravating and take many more takes to get right at tempo hiccups. Which of these two options do you guys think will yield the best-sounding final mix, or is there a third option that I should utilize instead?

    Sorry for the long question, but it seems that the internet doesn’t have a working answer for the phase problems and the question about which option I should use I want answered by the only guys that I trust.

    [insert chicken reference here]

    -TheEJM3

  13. GSAA,

    I used to piece together small electronic song segments, but never amassed anything that i would consider publishing. I think my biggest problem was working with proper materials to begin with. I could never overcome a cheese factor in most of the stuff i was working with.

    HRShole out

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