1000 recorded Masters or Mixes for ToKwerX. Today we clocked up the one thousand file number on the KORG DSD Recorder, which is responsible for capturing all the analogue mixes and masters. Quite a milestone really. WooHoo-ness!
Due for release in France, have completed the masters for Nadeah Miranda’s upcoming album. Crafted pop with some awesome orchestrations by Nicola Tescari. Congrats to both of these wonderful musicians. For more info see website for Nadeah here: https://nadeah.com/
We live in a time of information overload. There’s never a lack of “news” available should we ever get bored, but not all information is correct or reliable.
If we are to move through our current state of uncertainty in the world with conflicting opinions on climate, immigration, politics and more, then our decision to follow a particular viewpoint needs to be thoroughly investigated.
Dont be lazy when it comes to informing yourself. Don’t believe the most seemingly supported news but rather be prepared to dig deeper and avail yourself with accurate information so our viewpoints can be both educated and considered.
As humans we have evolved to require stories, which provide us with meaning to our existence. These stories give each of us a role to play upon the stage of life but in order to believe these stories they have to extend beyond our current horizons. I’m all for storytelling but perhaps your imagination of being capable of mastering after reading a post on the Book of Faces is not all that informed - nor correct?
Confirm your sources...
Absolutely delighted to support the release of this sonic tapestry by dear friend and colleague Padma Newsome. The album is a collective of works featuring the wonderful artistry of this beautiful man. I am thrilled to have been involved in bringing this to life. Best wishes and congratulations Padma x. https://padmanewsome.bandcamp.com/album/the-vanity-of-trees
This week and next I am completing the debut release for Erin Downie and Rebellious Bird.
This EP has been over two years in the making during which we have endured: Moving homes (twice), Full Time Study, Floods, Single Parenting and Broken Hearts.
But we persevered.
I am incredibly proud of this upcoming release and consider it some of my best work. Erin sings beautifully on these tracks and the band is wonderful. Horn section will be dropped in next week.
Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard and at times sacrificed part of themselves to complete this project.
This EP is testament to the gift of love and the privilege of sharing music. Not an opportunity to be taken for granted.
I will deliver the masters to Erin before the end of September and sincerely hope something is done with this recording, for a debut release of this quality is a very rare gift indeed.
2020 is the year, which happens to coincide with the test result that shows ‘normal’ vision. I have commenced planning the implementation of a DOLBY ATMOS 5.1.4 speaker configuration to allow for mixing music in the ATMOS format. I sincerely believe this will introduce my clients and their audience to an inspiring and physically immersive sound for their releases. With both YouTube and Facebook using ‘Ambisonics’ for their audio playback engines the ATMOS mixes will be translatable to these platforms, heralding in a new era in music listening.
No longer just a song - with ToKwerX and ATMOS these will become a sonic experience!
A previous post of mine contained incorrect information, largely due to the fact Ben Langdon and I never actually discussed it. So I listed his latest SOLO EP incorrectly as a release by the Bean Project (Ben's other project). So...
Ben Langdon's SOLO project Grand Baxter has recently completed a four-track EP, mixed and mastered here at ToKwerX. CORRECT ;)
ToKwerX this weekend is welling in the sounds of the Grigoryan Brothers. Their superb classical guitars have been the centre of the soundtrack for upcoming film “a Boy Called Sailboat.” Mixes by my graduate Mark Farrell through my matched pair of AVALON 737sp hardware units. Mastering chain is: Audient SUMO VCA Compressor, Avalon AV747 Compression and EQ, Harrison 32C Filters and EQ, Quad Eight CL22 Limiter - all captured in DSD @ 5.6MHz sampling rate. Release of the soundtrack will be shortly.
This evening I experienced the most inspiring sound mixing format ever in Dobly Atmos. Think of Surround Sound (with Left, Centre, Right, Left Rear, Right Rear and a Sub') but now add another Four Ceiling speaker channels. This introduces HEIGHT into the sound stage and has been adopted by the film industry for cinemas and home theatres as the new standard.
But what about MUSIC in Atmos? It is beginning; slowly. Several artists have embraced the format. In 14 months when ToKwerX upgrades the studio for what is likely my final business lease, the speaker system will be an ATMOS 5.1.4 system. With so many artistic possibilities I have launched the plan to build my new system around this format. PROTOOLS Ultimate (formerly HD) with a Dolby ATMOS monitor array is the future at ToKwerX. Music for the new era in the most incredible advance in sound mixing since stereo! So excited!
the BEAN PROJECT features the very talented Ben Langdon and I've just completed four new masters of some new material, soon to be made available. https://www.thebeanprojectmusic.com/
Also stay tuned for some other great music from the Hills... Erin Downie's Rebellious Bird has just submitted two songs from the upcoming debut EP for the PBS Upstart competition. Fingers are crossed Erin (Yes... and my Toes!)
Last year I was fortunate enough to record, mix and master a double CD for Melbourne Jazz artist Chris Young. Also had a cameo on trumpet for a track. This release was mixed and mastered entirely at ToKwerX on the hybrid system to DSD then brought down to CD audio formats. John Shand from the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) has published a very positive review of this release, attributing 4/5 Stars. LINK to On-line article.
JAZZ Christopher Young Trio
DIGITAL ANALOGUE (Newmarket)
Christopher Young has a gift for crafting charged atmospheres in which to improvise. This gift is especially prominent on this double album's 20-minute centrepiece, the slow, dreamy Out of Time, which has minimal harmonic movement, instead using layers of post-Robert Fripp guitar played by guest Brendan Hains, whose long, sustained notes frost with tension the improvisations from Julien Wilson's tenor saxophone and Young's bass clarinet. This sharp edge of anguish is passed between clarinet, saxophone and guitar, without either the effect becoming overwrought or its impact diminishing. Meanwhile bassist Alistair Watts and drummer Daniel Brates maintain a soft, restrained, but nonetheless buoyant dialogue to keep the piece afloat. It is among the most compelling works I've heard this year, and amazes me afresh with each hearing. The rest of the album keeps you in its grip, too, with Young developing such full-blooded sounds on his saxophones, clarinets and flute, and his compositional ideas asking different questions of himself (sometimes multi-tracked) and his collaborators. Wilson's brawny tenor also guests on There Is Always a Way to Know and trumpeter Tony Norris spices up Eternity. JOHN SHAND
Since the age of 7 I've had an affair with the Trumpet. At 15 I entered my first recording studio and fell in love with the art of recording and all it's machinations.
Finding a balance has always proven problematic for me, especially over the last two decades where folks have been more than happy to pay me six times what they'd pay for a Jazz gig on the Horn and have me record, mix or master their performances. This is still essentially the same, with musicians being paid around the same performance fees that we were thirty years ago; sort of depressing isn't it?
But as life see-saws and weighing up the need to prioritise finances over artistic indulgence alters the scales it appears the balance is beginning to change. I am managing to find small pockets of time between parenting and engineering to devote to practice.
Today I bought a new stand for the Horn so 'she' can sit alongside me whenever I'm engineering. Within arms reach like the rest of my analogue hardware, so is now the first love of my life; and the affair continues...
HARRISON Consoles out of Nashville Tennessee have been designing, developing and manufacturing ultra high end consoles for decades, with the company founder Dave Harrison introducing the "in-line" configuration of a channel fader and a tape return (baby fader) on the same channel strip. His now famous 32C console and the same-named EQ are synonymous with musicality and technical perfection. The company has been developing it's own DAW known as MixBus and I've lauded their products over the past few years both here on ToKwerX and also under my role with RMIT University's Sound Production program.
Harrison have ported one of their digital designs long available in their flagship consoles across to other formats to allow engineers access to these within the AAX, AU and VST systems and it appears this will not be the last; the AVA Mastering EQ.
Unique in it's ability to create a flat curve between adjacent frequency bands this final stage EQ is designed to add the final touches to a mix or master. So far I've run this across some projects recently completed as a comparison and it's subtle ability to open up air in the top end, add presence to upper mid range and depth to subs in the 60-80Hz realm has proven wonderful. Harrison are offering a special price on this EQ so check out their site whilst this remains available. Harrison Consoles.
Remastering a CD release for Vinyl is a wonderful opportunity to remain as honest as possible to the original mixes and masters, whilst having the benefit of returning to analogue in order to create a truly higher sample rate; albums are generally cut from digital files of 96kHz at 24bit - significantly higher than the 44.1kHz at 16bit on the CD-DA medium. Up-sampling the files digitally would create a larger file but no change whatsoever in the frequency range and the 8 lower bit values would essentially be empty. Passing the signal through pristine converters and valves will produce analogue harmonics above the original frequency range so is an integral process in this remastering. Whilst the difference is indeed subtle it also allows for some slight colour enhancements with EQ and to be vinyl ready ensuring the frequencies below 125Hz are not ultra-stereo for the cutting lathe. So these are "mono-ized" somewhat to guarantee phase alignment in the sub-frequency range. My HARRISON 32C EQ's are then adding some subtle 90Hz over an octave and a 13k shelf to open up the top end for vinyl.
Importantly the audio has already been "brickwall limited" and I believe it's fundamentally importantly to avoid doing this repeatedly, so the optimum use of my analogue Quad Eight CL22 Limiters is a perfect solution. These are out of the Alfred Hitchcock Theatre at Universal Studios in Hollywood and they are wonderful...and incredibly quick; fastest attack time of .002 milliseconds. Yes, that's 2 microseconds and is essentially equal to 96 ÷ .002 samples (that's 0.192 of a single sample geeks) so the use of another aggressive digital soft-clipping limiter is unnecessary. I am always trying to stay out of the way of the music. The remastering shouldn't be heard in my opinion, so as to stay faithful to the original mixing and mastering engineers - and the artist(s) of course. Barney McAll's website is here.
The Clunk Orchestra 2nd Album is almost complete. Final mixes going down to DSD tonight - Stay Tuned...
The current mixing and mastering facility at ToKwerX is a beautiful balance of analogue and digital devices. Allowing the immense control and immediate recall of digital but gifting the ability to enhance with saturation, warmth and real vacuum-tube harmonic distortion to the mix or master. Add to this an expanded perception of stereo image and depth of field derived from 16 stems into analogue summing. The modern mixing & mastering facility need not be huge but can be incredibly powerful, whilst retaining the sonics that only analogue produces.
Some of my all time favourite digital processors are from iZotope and they have released a FREE version of the Stereo Imager from the OZONE Suite of plug-ins. This is a a single-band edition only but gives all engineers the ability to apply a mid-side based stereo image expansion. Think of it as lowering the centre to raise the sides of your stereo field, resulting in an enhanced perception of the actual width. Click on the OZONE Imager icon above for the link...
From the developers at Newfangled Audio, who have previously worked on Eventide plugins. EQuivocate essentially offers a Graphic EQ but allows unique scaling of bands, adjustment of centre frequency slope for each band, the number of bands and up to 26 discreet frequency targets. Add to this a default MEL scaling of frequencies shaped to our human non-linear responses or a Custom mode, a really easy Match EQ with side-chain learning, an Auto Gain control so your ears aren't fooled by changing levels and the ability to Solo each band.
Oh - did I mention for a limited introductory time it is FREE?
Within minutes of ToKwerX this is where you can be. So special and unbelievably close to the new studio. So whilst you're undertaking editing, mixing or mastering at ToKwerX take a break and breathe some of the amazingly fresh air and listen to the birds chatter over the symphonic chorus of the forest.
Most clients just send through their projects these days but I invite and encourage you to come, stay a while; complete your project amidst the peace that is literally moments from our door.