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Old 02-17-2012, 09:03 PM   #1710877  /  #51
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Wow man, printing this thread. Thanks PM.

Interesting about the Behringer stuff, was looking at their mixing desks there's quite a few turning over on ebay. I've decided to use the place to get an idea of what's more in demand so I've started to chill out a bit on the urgency. I realised how little I know about something that's mushroomed massively over the past 15 years.

Almost grabbed a 49 key MKII while I was mooching. Went for £190 2nd hand + £20 postage, they're £260 brand new anyway so... shows how popular they are though.

I think I've decided on getting a half decent dedicated laptop/mac(*spits* - I don't know whether I can bring myself to tbh) in time but what I've got should get me started.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:15 PM   #1710891  /  #52
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So yeah, it's going to be a main synth/keys/piano whatever I finally settle on, plus whatever separate usb controller keys I throw in (I think it'll be something from novation).

I'll get protools pretty soon, see how my current guitar/mic rig work out with that. I've got a Shure mic which is okay, but that thought about it being like lenses scares the shit out of me, I'm also looking at buying a digital SLR and the specs are almost gibberish (i skipped optics mainly, it bored the shit out of me, regretting it a bit now).
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:17 PM   #1710892  /  #53
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anything with an i7 is great for audio

with respect to software on a mac, Garageband is ok, its a decent beginners app, lots of tutorials available etc....plus it's bundled with every mac

There's a light version of Logic that offers quite a bit more flexibility and is pretty much the be-all end-all for most ppl's needs.

What are your needs with respect to recording? Like what is the extent of the number of channels you'll be recording at once?
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:26 PM   #1710905  /  #54
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jesus, those monitors are 3 grand each?
I knew genelec were a considerably pricier make and out of my reach but damn.

I wonder what they sound like.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:36 PM   #1710915  /  #55
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4 channels is not out of the question I suppose, I can imagine typically needing two when working alone, plus whatever the controllers/software are up to. Guitars will be mic'd as well as direct - depending on whether I'm using anything on the digitech and I get a better amp worth miking up.

There's a decent store near me who say they can put it together according to my needs even if I haven't got a clue, then demo it in house for me, so I'm gonna go check them out tomorrow. At least I might get a good idea of where the finished article needs be. I'll be leaving the bank card at home.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:48 PM   #1710929  /  #56
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buying a mic doesnt have to be tricky especially when you're aiming for a tight budget.


just like lenses, there are general purpose condenser mics like the AKG C1000S or the CAD C195.

At this pricepoint, it's fierce competition and there's just so many to choose from.

Avoid anything that has a USB jack on it, or anything that doesnt have an XLR plug.

These mics are great for recording instruments and vocals. Some brands carry a better reputation than others. All the major microphone manufacturers who have been in business for 50+ years are worth paying attention to, but some of the noobs like RøDE and CAD are def worth checking out. Some of the cheaper companies have been successfully creating excellent knock-offs of microphones whose patents have run out...for a lot less money.

Beware that most knockoff mics are typically "Character Mics". Some mics provide peculiar emphasis and de-emphasis inherent to their design. These mics are almost always strictly for vocals....these mics add character. Everybody who hears their voice through a large diaphragm condenser like a U87, loves that sound because the mic captures subtle nuances in the voice that you only hear in your head. Sadly, at $6000.00, you just can't use that mic to record a classical guitar; it makes the guitar sound dead. Just like you can't use a wide-angle lens for macro, most large diaphragm condensers are shitty instrument mics.

on the other hand a cheap Shure Beta57 or Beta58 is sometimes the absolute best mic for your particular voice. Peter Gabriel thrives on Beta57's.

small diaphragm condensers give you a wide accurate frequency range but dynamic mics can behave as delicate flattering compressors.

it's worth trying out a bunch of mics with a pair of reference headphones.

I've had a long love affair with Sony MDR-7506's
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:52 PM   #1710934  /  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matty View Post
jesus, those monitors are 3 grand each?
I knew genelec were a considerably pricier make and out of my reach but damn.

I wonder what they sound like.
they sound like God

the Adams sound like God's creator
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:29 AM   #1711095  /  #58
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Originally Posted by d-_-b View Post
i think he used labview or something similar
That's p. fucking cool when you think about it.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:37 AM   #1711100  /  #59
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will you explain the nuances of compression? I feel like I'm using a sledgehammer on finish nails. I just compress the shit out of everything.

ETA: I didn't mean explain although that would be nice. I meant point me to a fairly good explanation of how to use it. I have a fairly good vst at work where, because they end up being soundtracks for shit systems we want them super compressed, that I could use for my home stuff if the standard ones that come with cubase aren't good. Frankly I can't tell the difference though.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:53 AM   #1711215  /  #60
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When an amplitude threshold is set, a compressor crushes a signal that exceeds said threshold by a set ratio. The signal crushing is called dynamic compression.

Compressors, Limiters, Gates, and Expanders are all the same hardware/algorithm applied with different parameters and slightly different internal routing.

To understand the "compression curve" you should first familiarize yourself with the following linearity graph:



The square represents the realm of dynamic shaping (sometimes called a waveshaper)

in this case, the signal going in on the left is the same as the signal coming out at the bottom, so the comparison of the 2 signals forms a 45˚ line demonstrating that the relationship is completely linear. Note the corresponding zero crossings marked on the axes.


compression/expansion/limiting affects the relationship between the input amplitude and the output amplitude. In fact pretty much every transmission system in nature will modify a signal the way a shock absorber reacts to bumps. Every aspect of a signal path deteriorates the dynamics of a signal in some manner, and that dynamic deterioration will take the shape of a sigmoid. To keep the concept simple, we'll ignore the way nonlinearities affect an entire frequency spectrum and focus on basic dynamic compression.
Here is an example of a compression curve on the graph:



in the above graph, the peak values that encounter the curvy parts of the sigmoid are being reassigned to lower amplitudes, effectively making the peaks quieter. The output waveform will have all of its peaks above the threshold (the cusp of the curve) reduced.

Since waveforms passing through a compressor are affected symmetrically above and below the zero-crossing, it's not necessary to display the entire sigmoid. For the sake of redundancy, the graphic of compression curves that are displayed on a computer are truncated to the zero-crossings like this:




The above graph is often referred to as a "soft-knee". A gentle curve; gradual dynamic squashing as the peaks emerge over your set threshold. if you change the curve to a corner at the point of threshold, then its a "hard knee". Hard knee dynamics tend to abruptly take care of more rowdy waveforms that refuse to behave but you dont want to use a straight up limiter.

Almost every compressor/expander/limiter/gate has a time aspect to it. This is often pretty confusing to people attempting to "hear" a compressor in action since the time-envelope can have a weird effect on what you're attempting to learn. Using dynamics tools is an artform unto itself so dont be afraid to play with these things incessantly.

Time Parameters

Attack: the amount of time it takes once a peak has crossed the set threshold to be squashed to full compression. When a peak exceeds the threshold, the signal will be squished by a ratio. That ratio can be determined by either where it intersects the "knee" or in very very simple (cheap) compressors, the ratio will just be a straight up x:1 squashing. The time it takes to reach that ratio is the attack. An abrupt attack can sound pretty violent, if not snappy/clicky. Zero attack is generally bad, especially in digital systems.

Sustain: the amount of time it takes before the compressor stops squashing the signal. Sustain can be a pain in the ass if all you wanna do is chop down a few peaks. Typically you aren't compressing for a few peaks anyway, so sustain comes in handy for guitars.

Release: the amount of time it takes for the compressor to back off the compression-ratio once the threshold is no longer being triggered. Zero release is as violent as zero attack so its generally set to a time where the compressor's effect is no longer distracting.


By now you may notice that compressors only seem to make things quieter, which is true. This is why most compressors will also have a post-gain feature. Once you squash a signal into relative uniformity, you'll wanna restore the newly well behaved signal to its former glory. Pumping up the post-gain will not only bring back the volume, but you may notice how much louder it seems. Crushed dynamics means denser waveforms, which means now that the quiet parts and the loud parts are all loud....depending on how subtle your compression is. Some devices have an "autogain" feature. This is basically performing a trick called normalization. Normalizing the signal means boosting the signal until the loudest peaks are at the full resolution of the signal path (super loud). Then your post-gain is used to attenuate that blast.

A compressed signal restored to its former peak volume will seem far louder than it originally was because the integral of the waveform over time is a much larger quantity.



Uncompressed waveform:




Compressed waveform:




Compressed waveform gain restored:



Compression 'curve' of basic attenuation/gain reduction, threshold set to zero:



Compression curve of a limiter, every peak past the threshold will be reduced to the threshold amplitude:



Expanders do everything compressors do but in reverse.

Gates allow signal to pass *only* when the signal exceeds the set threshold and will close off the signal only when it drops below the threshold. Gates tend to be less distracting when a gentle attack, sustain, release are set. They are often referred to as "noisegates" as their primary use is to keep excess background noise out of a mix by switching the signal on and off when the signal significantly exceeds the noisefloor.
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:19 PM   #1711537  /  #61
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Wow, best online lesson ever.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:48 PM   #1711582  /  #62
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Wow. Thanks. Really.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:51 PM   #1711589  /  #63
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+1, nice one.
suoer cool explanation.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #1711596  /  #64
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thanks

useful application of the above explanation takes a fair amount of practice

compressors are disguised as a lot of different things too, and the linearity transformer also exists as a type of synthesis called "waveshaping". So instead of just drawing a simple curve, some software will allow you to apply a very complex curve to dramatically reassign the stream of input values.

if you draw the line from the lower right corner to the upper left, you effectively invert the signal
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:09 PM   #1711643  /  #65
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I think it may help the practice part to have someone tell me as im doing it what sort of thing im going to be producing.

Like should the vocals be compressed a lot differently than an acoustic guitar recorded on the same condenser mic or is it a subtle enough difference that the output will be easier to understand if you leave them uncompressed until the final mix etc.
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:26 PM   #1711646  /  #66
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different voices get different compression treatments and swapping out mics will require different settings again. I've created tons of presets for my compressor plugins.
electric guitars use compression as an extension of the instrument itself.

acoustic instruments may need compression to bring life back into the recordings, depending on how they were recorded.

drum/cymbal compression is very tricky and easy to screw up.

Compression is either used as an effect, a mixdown tool, or a means to compensate for the dynamic limitations of the input signal.

Always try to make everything work without compression at first. It's pretty common for engineers to use compression to tame the behavior of a particular track.

If you were recording a solo violin, for example, any compression used would be very subtle since the wild dynamics are actually favorable. But if you were multitrack recording that same violin part in an ensemble, you may discover that the violin can occasionally get buried beneath the rest of the instruments so a compressor can be employed in the most graceful way possible to pop the violin into the mix again....or you could just push the fader up, whichever sounds more convincing. Skilled engineers are freaks of nature with this stuff.

Sometime we'll talk about the concept of "side-chaining". Where one channel controls a parameter of a dsp on another channel. For example you can have a compressor automatically tailor its curve according to the dynamic behavior of another channel. Sometimes you can mix a whole bunch of tracks into a bus that has no actual output, but that bus is controlling the sidechain of a compressor to automix the punch of another track
See also: Ducker
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:20 AM   #1712771  /  #67
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Midi is so cool - had a buddy with a midi oboe
was wicked even a lot of years ago, usb ports the same stuff now.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:50 PM   #1713303  /  #68
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theres no such thing as a midi oboe
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:12 PM   #1713420  /  #69
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I saw a guy who built guitars with individual piezo pickups under each string which he could output midi.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:32 PM   #1713448  /  #70
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Roland and a number of other companies have been making those adapters for decades

http://www.roland.com/products/en/GK-2A/
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:57 AM   #1715163  /  #71
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I'm a total n00b in this, but I did buy a Zoom H4N recorder for my daughter and it came with cubase 4 too.

Four channel inputs, converts to .wav files on an SD card that you can then mix/blend/edit in cubase on the PC without adding input/converter cards to the PC itself (although cubase can do this too).

I guess what I'm saying is that record your stuff in whatever hardware format you have that xfers to the PC and then do your edit/mix seperate.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:02 AM   #1715169  /  #72
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I see the H4N in tv shows a lot, because it looks cool and sciency

Zoom is not famous for the quality of its hardware. It's still a pretty nice recorder for the price. There's just a lot better options out there than the Zoom H4N when it comes to the combination of preamps, microphones, and A/D converters. If you could spend just a little bit more, you get better sound.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:03 AM   #1715170  /  #73
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if you can buy your mic(s) and audio interface for under a grand, you're rockin.

Ideally you have realtime i/o - to - dsp
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:09 AM   #1715177  /  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d-_-b View Post
some deaf guy proved that you could engineer sound with math if you had the right visualization toolkit
The Mathematics of Musical Instruments
IIRC, Second Order differential equations can describe any musical instrument.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:12 AM   #1715179  /  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike PSS View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-_-b View Post
some deaf guy proved that you could engineer sound with math if you had the right visualization toolkit
The Mathematics of Musical Instruments
IIRC, Second Order differential equations can describe any musical instrument.
no prerecorded samples:

http://www.pianoteq.com/
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