Short video showing my recent test of the Sonuus G2M Pitch to MIDI converter. For a little over $100 AU it’s a no-brainer. Already utilised on an upcoming release. This is not a paid endorsement, just me testing my new gear.
In the early 80s I had the honour of working with Peter Vogel’s FAIRLIGHT company in advising and testing the world’s first Pitch to MIDI converter; the VoiceTracker (VT). The unit is quite large (approx. 30com wide) and works best with a display screen. Latency for monophonic conversion was dependent upon the internal settings, which determined how many “iterations” of the wave-cycle was analysed before deciding on the pitch, then spitting that out to 8bit MIDI. The fastest I got the unit to track with accuracy was having it set to 3 iterations, with the latency for A440 being approx. 9ms. This was very laggy by today’s standards but in 1983 it was a sensation. I’d open the show with a solo trumpet, but the audience would also hear my Yamaha DX7 synth “playing along with me.” Saxophonist Brandford Marsalis also bought one when he was in AU after I introduced the VoiceTracker to him. Unsure about his unit, but I still have mine and I’ll never get rid of it; it’s an Australian Legend in audio design and technology.
Today I bought a Sonuus G2M unit and thought readers would appreciate the differences over nearly 40 years. Oh, the price? The VT was over $3000 back then (although Fairlight did give me a good deal). The G2M was a little over $100.
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.
If you're into audio engineering or are just fresh to this field of art and technical expression it's likely you've been given advice from those who may not actually have been doing this for long; I'll offer you the benefit of my forty years in studios through my eBook series. There are currently two releases published in ePub format for use on a myriad of devices: 1 investigates Recording Techniques whilst 2 delves into the workflows I've developed for Editing, predominantly in ProTools. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy or bundle.
PS. the 3rd eBook is currently underway - Stay Tuned: Mixing Techniques
It's been an extremely productive Summer with lot's of recording, performances, back to lectures and teaching and also managing to write the 2nd iBook (ePub format). This second publication focuses upon the Editing Techniques within the DAW environment and features a whole range of workflows for an entire production process. The intention is to provide engineers, especially junior engineers with a framework upon which to develop or adapt their own workflows in the many aspects of editing prior to the blurry end leading into the mix stage.
It became apparent after releasing the 1st iBook (Recording Techniques) that whilst there are quite a few publications of that type the Editing aspects for the engineer have not been the focus for many teaching or learning resources. It is my sincere hope that this 2nd ePub document will become a valuable addition to reading the user manual for ProTools especially, although many of the workflows can be easily adapted across alternative DAW packages. Head over to the ToKshop to grab yourself a copy.
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?
Eventide’s Audio division recently released a new entrant into the Transient Shaping collection of digital audio tools available to the modern engineer, although this processor is a lot more than just a means to emphasise the attack transient and shorten the decay elements of a sound.
I am loving “Fission.” This is practically splitting the atom when it comes to accessing the elements of the sound envelope and most importantly gives the engineer independent control between both, with a powerful library of dedicated effects assignable to each component: Transient & Tonal.
Sure, split a Tom hit and you can alter the balance between the attack strike and the decay of the shell - you can now even Tune the decay independently of the attack with the Pitch algorithm - but this is a sound sculpting tool, not just a Transient Designer of sorts. If you’d like to literally divide the sonic elements that are the DNA of your targeted sound and manipulate them both in beautifully musical (and non-musical) ways then check out “FISSION” by Eventide.
If you've been following my previous Blogs this month there is clearly a buzz around the new DAW package from HARRISON CONSOLES entitled Mixbus32C. I am extremely pleased to announce that RMIT University's SOUND PRODUCTION program has entered into an education partnership with Harrison, which enables the inclusion of the Mixbus packages into the training collection delivered across the two year Advanced Diploma. Besides allowing the next generation of audio engineers to fully appreciate the differences between DAW software there are also financial benefits made available to current students wishing to purchase the software. All HD studios at RMIT within the Sound Production program will see the installation of Mixbus32C and the Essential plugin bundle over the next few weeks, with audio-focused teaching and learning computer labs already running the packages for compatibility testing.
This is a first for RMIT Sound Production, which continues to remain as the premier industry-supported program delivering this form of study. Thank you to the wonderful attitudes to education and the amazing support from Harrison Consoles, Nashville TN, USA.
Well HARRISON thinks so. The Nashville based now legendary console manufacturer has just released a new version of their wonderful Mixbus3 digital recording, editing and mixing package; Mixbus 32C. Harrison delivered their first 32C analogue console way back in 1975 after designer and founder Dave Harrison left MCI where he'd built some of their best gear. I got to drive a 1974 MCI at Woodstock Studios here in Melbourne when Joe Camilleri first built it. That MCI was the last desk by Harrison before founding his own company. Harrison is a whole chapter in audio-engineering history and was responsible for the advent of "in-line" console design, where a single channel-strip would have inputs, outputs and a return from the tape machine. This meant we no longer had to give up separate channels on the console for both inputs and returns - revolutionary for the 1970's!
I am posting this blog because I firmly believe we DO NEED ANOTHER DAW package. We need more variation in the SOUND of software available to creative engineers and producers. If we all use the same "Tools" then we minimise the chaos within our creative Universe - we risk losing the ART based on the individual that comes from the myriad of choices we make when recording, mixing and mastering a record. Harrison's Mixbus 32C features the most famous aspect of the Dave Harrison design dynasty, the 32C EQ. Another revolutionary design and one that became an incredibly musical and expressive shaping tool for engineers. I am fortunate enough to own a pair of channel-strips from a double transformer-version of the 32C (link) consoles and there have been 3rd party models and copies of this famous EQ that I have not needed to purchase. Now I can have 32C EQ across my entire mix, on every channel. That's certainly a creative bonus. And, it comes standard with the package; no add-on or plug-in.
Check this software package out, regardless of what you think your favourite DAW is. I sincerely think you'll be swayed to the sound of the 32C ... and isn't SOUND why we began this journey in the first place?
Imagine a Compressor than can reduce the gain of the higher input levels, but also acts like a negative Expander and raises the lower input signals ... well Eventide did, but they did it back in the 1970's and they called it the OmniPressor.
Thanx to the good folks at Eventide I am working my way through their digital processors currently available in the Anthology X bundle to include at RMIT Sound Production. What I love is the warmth of tone in all their plug-ins, which is unbelievably close to their famous hardware we all came across in studios decades ago - but could never afford. The sign of a successful studio was the presence of an Eventide HD2000 multi-processor! The HD3000 is also included in the Anthology X suite.
Eventide were never cheap processors. Hey, the company also make avionics so they're not messing around with their digital devices. Gladly the company are sharing their plug-ins with the world at prices even small studios can afford - check them out. Beautifully crafted tools.
Last week one of my fav' German software developers, iZoptope, offered a new plug-in - for Free! Their version of a Dynamic Delay is a breath of fresh air for those who want to have a delay that feeds off the input signal rather than just behave like a digital sampler with a time offset and number of repeats. I spent only a few minutes on this new processor to bring a 6/8 guitar to life, without cluttering the space around the part. I'm loving it. So, if you weren't one of the early up takers of this offer from iZotope I strongly suggest you don't delay...any further :)
If like me you're a Mac-Head running the latest OS X (Yosemite - no, it's not pronounced like Vegemite. I've always preferred Promite anyway) you may also be running the app's Pages and Numbers. Personally I love them but I do know of Microsoft Office folk who freak out when first opening them. Like all new things, we are likely to not break but more so bend our habits to accommodate change - yes, change IS inevitable! Embrace it.
The location of the User Templates for these two iLife app's has changed and no longer lives in the expected Application Support folder of your account or root-level Library. Apple have organised them into a "container" which now resides here: ~/Library/Containers/
You will find a file called com.apple.Iwork.Pages
Like most new App's, this is also a container. So, right click it and choose "view package" and you find a familiar folder structure: Data/Library/Application Support/User Templates
There they are! If you can't be bothered doing this every time you want to directly open a template to change it rather than duplicating, deleting etc simply create some Aliases that point to these locations. An Alias appears as a folder with a small arrow in the lower left corner of the icon. You create an Alias by holding down Command + Option whilst dragging the source folder to a new location. You can then simply click these Alias folders to route you to the User Templates in a flash.
I have commenced my application for an arts grant to complete a unique project. The outcome will be a database of high definition Impulse Response files for use by all artists, free of charge. The focus will begin upon iconic spaces here in Melbourne and Victoria, allowing the acoustic qualities of these to be made available for usage within Convolution Reverb software/hardware units. (ie. the Capitol Theatre, Great Hall, Werribee Mansion etc.)
I am hoping that artists who see the creation of this database as artistically and culturally useful and relevant can add a "Like" to this post on my Facebook. This will be collected over the next few weeks and data used to show support for my grant application from peers and artists.
In advance - thank you.
If you know the Bricasti M7 Reverb processor than I don't need to say another word. The new Lexicon or better?
Samplicity have released a library of Impulse Responses from the M7 and under strict instruction from Bricasti these are absolutely free. I have been experimenting with this library using the TDM version of Trillian Lane's TL Space; now managed by AVID and known as just 'Space' in the AAX version of the same plug-in. Had the pleasure to sit and listen to some of the IR's with a graduate of mine, Cam Trewin from Woodstock studios - my old haunt from the late 90's. The first comment we both made was "the tails. Fantastic reverb tails." Just like the hardware version of the Bricasti M7 at Coloursound Studios and now at RMIT Studio 1; only FREE!
Go to Samplicity's website to obtain this incredible library for your favourite convolution reverb plug.
Not often you hear an audio engineer and producer recommend an image editing app; perhaps this is a first? As part of the ToKwerX clean install and OS X upgrade process I needed to upgrade to new versions of non-audio apps, namely an old PPC version of Photoshop. With Adobe's recent decision to make their creative suite a subscription license there was little reason for me to sign up, given I only use their apps to prepare graphics for website, logos, branded documents etc. I'm not a photographer.
Enter "Pixelmator" by Apple. I am going to whole-heartedly recommend "Pixelmator" for all the less-than high-end graphic and photo requirements. You want to know the best part? It's $16 AU. Yep, that's not a typo; $15.99 Australian dollars. Just get it folks. It's one of those No-Brainer purchases for a Mac owner.
It's that time most studio owners dread but definitely a necessary task - the Clean Install. Assertion errors, access violations, unusual crashes; familiar alerts? Sounds like its time for your system too! I am shocked by the number of studios who simply do not do this regularly and wonder why their system lets them down. For me it's at least an annual event. When carrying out the duties of a clean install make sure you have done a double-check on capability pages from your audio software developer. I also recommend running a utility such as Drive Genius across all your drives to ensure that any bad blocks are flagged. Your newly updated system will only be as good as your drive-health is. When requiring items in your Root Library to be copied over to your newly created system I use a simple method of colour-coding folders that contain user-defined data like instrument patches for samplers, plug-in settings etc. It saves me hours or trawling and is far less stressful - just copy all of the "green" folders to an external drive and also create a directory so you know where they belong. Sit back, relax, and INSTALL.
If your kids are anything like mine then they love their i-devices. Trouble is that open access to the internet over WiFi is often a requirement for the different games and apps the kids love to use. Thankfully Apple has produced a configuration utility that can easily create a personalised profile for each child's device, ensuring age-appropriate access to content. Each of my children have their own specific profile for each device, which blocks their access to Safari and YouTube whilst also managing content for songs, movies and apps. The profile cannot be removed without a password (known by Dad ONLY) unless they want to perform a factory reset to the device, thereby losing all their data. So, if you're a parent and would like to sleep better without the constant worry of "what are they being exposed to" then follow the link below to the Mac version of the utility - PC version also available from Apple. iDevices can be fun for kids - now they're also fun for me as their parent!
Free to existing registered owners this real contender DAW software just received another upgrade making it an absolute "not to be ignored" tool for serious engineers.
Mixbus version 2.2 introduces 3 new plugins. This is the beginning of a series of plugins which will work seamlessly on all 3 platforms ( Windows, OSX, and Linux ) according to Harrison. Clearly this iconic company is taking this venture very seriously - I am too. If you didn't check it out after my last blog post perhaps you should rethink that decision?