Show 232 – Ask HRS # 2

In this episode of Ask HRS we talk about:
Pro Tools issues because of slow drives
beware of CFL bulbs in the studio
new gear we’ve acquired recently?
lessons or tricks from a recent session?
how do we feel about Slate digital VCC now?
Can mistakes contribute to feel or should they be removed?
Doubled hits in overhead and room mics?
tube amps are too loud
outside the box (as in oddball) mastering techniques
monitor emulations
LCR panning and clarity
Amp attenuators again
Sound Devices 633 and 664
Comments on Marco’s song on show 229
Using hardware compression for tracking and mixing
Comments on Glass Wands segment from show 230

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19 thoughts on “Show 232 – Ask HRS # 2

  1. With regards to the “tube amps are too loud” comments, Zvex makes a half-watt tube amp. Also, one could hook up speakers that are far less efficient. Most guitar speakers have an SPL of about 100dB so they’re still stinkin’ loud at 1 watt. Looking for something small (like 4″ or 5″), cheap, and “full range” could also save you 20dB and still have an interesting sound.

  2. Hey Guys, I’m loving the comment shows.

    I was wondering if Ryan would consider doing a more in depth show on his location sound and post production work. I’ve been getting into audio for film more and more and would love to hear some more of his thoughts on the subject.

    I’m considering purchasing a location audio kit centred around the SD 633 and the Sennheiser 8060 shotgun. For wireless I was considering the Sennheiser G3 systems with a better lav mic (such as countryman). I am now reconsidering. I am aware the Lectrosonics stuff is much better quality, but if most of my production work is to be doc style, would the G3 stuff really not cut it? What are some of the problems you have encountered? I know that their live sound wireless gear is well regarded but maybe that’s not the case for location work.

    Thanks again for the great show.
    Keep fighting the good fight.
    Marc Landry

  3. RE Mixing on Headphones: I agree wholeheartedly with your advice never to mix on phones. I was forced to do this when I was working in my studio apartment. When I listened to my mix on speakers I was horrified to discover dissonant bass rumblings and rampant phase cancellation.
    It has become apparent to me however that music is ever increasingly listened to on headphones via smartphones. In fact you’d be hard pressed to even find an outlet that sells decent consumer quality loudspeakers these days. All they sell is plastic 7.1 satellite systems for home theater. To make matters worse a lot of young people simply use the speaker on their i-phone as their only stereo. I am forced to consider how my mix will sound through a tiny speaker on a phone. Are there any tricks to getting a good mix on a cell phone speaker?

    • I think it was on Graham Cochrane an Joe Gilder’s podcast (“simply recording”) they said that “mixing on headphones is better than not mixing at all”. At least while you’re still learning, of course (I don’t know if that is your situation, but it might apply to other listeners at least). So a good pair of headphones, judicious use of LP filters and doing a good amount of your mixing in mono should at least alleviate some of the issues. For whatever that is worth.

      I would guess that for getting a good mix on a cell phone speaker, much the same applies. Make sure the mix sounds good in mono, which can also help fitting things together for a stereo mix anyway. Use a crappy speaker as a reference (a cell phone speaker is probably too crappy, though), and make sure that e.g. the bass also lives at e.g. 200 hz (from what I hear)

  4. Dear Jon and Ryan.
    I have a quick question. Since it’s looking like the beginning of the end for the home recording show and maybe possibly the end of Ryan’s recording adventures at home to politely give privacy for his sons chronic masturbation (something he and I have a lot in common) I was just curious if you guys felt any guilt of completely giving up and abandoning so many people who love and adore you guys. I mean that has got to be a heavy thing to deal with. It really must be hard not thinking of so many of those recording enthusiast and producers out there Who depend on you guys so much. But I’m sure they will get over it I mean a musician can only cry and feel empty and completely alone for so long right? If you ask me that’s vocal material right there!! Helping them when they don’t even know it!!
    I was picked by sound on sound magazine to give my thoughts on an article they are working on and it’s about the Home recording podcast abandonment… They are calling it the industries biggest disappointment. I of course told him I will not partake in any articles based on lies…. For under $50
    I’m not going to backstab some good guys, and besides…. you’re out of luck because the ATM down the road is out of order so good day sir!
    That was proof that you guys still have at least one fan and that fan is me!! I will never think bad of you guys even though thousands of thousands already do.
    Anyways I’m always going to have yalls backs but just try and stay clear of any gatherings of musicians and producers.

    …. Haha!! Man I swear it’s so much funnier if you heard me say this

  5. Dear John and Ryan
    In regards to your email I first want to say thank you for having so much faith in me. I recently checked my schedule and sad to report that I unfortunately will not be able to take over as host of the home recording show. I did however appreciate the very warm comments and your appreciation of my complete Behringer equipped studio. I consider myself lucky having not one pice of gear without a behringer logo on it. And the whole studio only cost me $199
    On a serious note, I wanted to tell Jon this past weekend I purchased aggressive drums the recording guide. So I have seriously seven thick books on just the art of recording drums and this guy gave me more useful information and from a very practical users perspective then these books combined. But he didn’t have to dedicate two pages on his inspiration….. ME!!!! Anyways I appreciate you guys trusting me of confessing for the first time coming out of the closet but I’m sorry guys I’m married and just don’t go that way

  6. Jon, pretty sure your light hum is coming from the dimmer. It may be the fluorescent light doesn’t work with it but I would be willing to bet if you put an incandescent light bulb in it you are going to have the same problem. It’s is most likely the rheostat in the dimmer. Get rid of the dimmer and put a straight on/off switch in and I bet you find the hum gone and the fluorescent is quiet…

    • Another possibility. These bulbs are pretty notorious for giving off radio frequency interference. If it’s putting out an RF signal and something in your signal chain is picking up on that, this would explain the buzz and also why isolation of your AC power is not helping.

      • Fluorescent lights definitely can be a problem but dimmers have caused problems such as Jon mentioned long before the advent of the new fluorescent bulbs. I have several fluorescent lights running on the same circuit as my recording gear at times and I have never had a problem with hum or buzz. But I have had trouble several times with dimmer circuits. Cheap wall dimmer switches are notorious for causing problems. It would be interesting to hear from Jon whether he tried replacing the bulb or the dimmer. But with all the steps he says he has taken to isolate the power, that dimmer switch seems the most likely culprit to me….

        • Yes, dimmer switches can also produce RFI.
          Apparently dimmer switches and compact florescent bulbs are just a bad combination. The dimmer switch rapidly switches the current on and off to produce the dimming, thus causing the light bulb to act as an oscillator. So I’m guessing we both might be right. It seems that some dimmers are better than others, and there are ways to minimize the problem. Just one more damned thing to contend with.

  7. Ryan: RE: 500 series DIY stuff.

    I can personally recommend the CAPI VP28 and VP312. The 312 is a much easier build but the VP28 is fantastic. I built these last summer. Well worth it. The awesome thing about the VP28 is that it has 2 output transformers and two 2520 opamps with a fader control. It is more like the actual channel strip on the API console than just a 500 series. I’ve had good results and heard even better results with people pushing their stereo bus through a pair of VP28’s running at line level with no gain increase. In that sense it colors similarly to the output bus of the API console.

    I’m also very interested in the U76 (blue face 1176 in 500 series) at I’m not sure if i’m going to build that one or the Soundskulptor 5167.

  8. Request for show segment: Good and crappy rhythm guitar tones for rock/hard rock, with sound examples and explanations why they suck/rule. This is a great opportunity for everybody’s favourite pastime: reamping. I’m thinking same mic placement, different amp settings too keep it simple.

    I can provide the examples of crappy rhythm tones, just hit me up.

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