ToKwerX

Julia Messenger @ the Melbourne Recital Centre: Sept' 22nd

I'll be very proudly performing trumpet with the wonderful Julia Messenger later this month at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Sept' 22nd. The band behind Julia is seriously awesome: David Jones (Drums), Mark Fitzgibbon (Piano) and Craig Newman (bass). Event is apparently SOLD OUT but rumours of a few still at the door on the night. SO looking forward to this one...

https://whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Whatson/Music/gigs/Pages/7b6bfae6-c437-4b46-aa9d-a540ea8b9b1b.aspx

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Grand Baxter ... No Beans - Sorry!

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 ;)

No Beans!

No Beans!

Dolby Atmos for ToKwerX - Plan for 2020

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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!

Trumpet through a Ribbon...

My 1976 OLDS Recording is a beautiful sounding Horn; not too bright or shrill. Recording for a Sydney artist's upcoming release and have opted for the OPR Ultra-Mod Rocket Ribbon as the microphone. Running through one of my AVALON 737SP modified valve units (on High Gain of course!) the tone is thick and moody but still with an upper presence. A little boost at 1.2k and another at 10k and the sound was there. A touch of compression. DONE!

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Sydney Morning Herald Review: Chris Young double CD

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 EternityJOHN SHAND

Does this count ?

I’m usually posting about gear that allows us to colour or process a signal but none of the chain is very useful without something in front of the microphone. How about this...

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

the Midnight Summit by Harrelson

I am utterly besotted. How absolutely gorgeous is “she?” So now I need about $7.5k AU... #hornfancy

I hereby invite the Universe to provide me with the means to own this beautiful instrument :)

My Two Mistresses...

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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 enters the Cross-Platform Plug-in market

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.

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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.

ToKwerX eBook Series: Recording & Editing Techniques

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.

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PS. the 3rd eBook is currently underway - Stay Tuned: Mixing Techniques

ToKwerX iBook 2: Editing 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.

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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.

1 Singer: 3 Mic's: Rebellious Bird

When tracking vocals for both a lead and accompanying backing parts it is great to utilise different mic's so the resulting lead and BV's have a contrasting timbre. This assists in providing a separation between the two final sounds within the mix. Additionally different vocal approaches between songs benefit from this to exploit different characteristics in a lead vocal - especially when working with a very accomplished singer - such as Erin Downie.

Thus far we've opted for my OPR Ultra-Mod Ribbon and P12 valve condenser by Peluso. Sitting in waiting is the CM7 FET condenser by Wunder but as yet has not got a guernsey. I've set up three input channels with HPF, EQ and soft-knee compression: OPR Ribbon required several dB cut around 350Hz and a subtle boost at 12kHz; the P12 is actually coming in flat - this mic' has been modified 4 times from stock and is quite sublime. The Ribbon is providing a wonderful thickness in the mids for a female lead vocal whilst the P12 has a very similar body but as one would expect from a condenser has more subtle high end making it wonderful for the more breathy takes. These then matrix out into a single master record buss, which allows Erin to simply move between mic's and audition each characteristic.

,,, and a reminder of the January 19th show to open the Skylark Room for 2018. Link for Bookings here: http://www.theskylarkroom.com/upcoming-gigs/rebelliousbird

Kooka...Trumper?

It amazes me just how trusting creatures can be when we don't threaten or scare them. I only provide the birds from the neighbouring forest with water - no food. They can source theirs naturally. But since ensuring the water tub is freshly topped up every day or so the birds are happy to come... and hang. This evening I had a particularly settled visitor who, it would appear, likes a bit of the 1976 OLD's Recording tone?

iPhone in my left hand, trumpet in my right - nearly dropped both at one point - eek!

STV: Stereo Volvo Album 2018

Spent today and will do so tomorrow with Pete Warren-Smith and Scott Bennett laying down grooves on the upcoming 2nd album for Stereo Volvo. So a bit of A-P for those who might be interested:

From this...through this...into this...

By these...

A couple of points for the engineers out there: my favourite secondary Kick (and cool Snare) mic' configuration "a la derriere" using my new Open Plan Ultra-Mod Rocket Ribbon; and the Overheads may look strange but this variation on ORTF ensures the Kick and Snare fall in the centre of the stereo image. Only 7 mic's on the Kit and it was massive; all condensers bar the Ribbon at "the rear": Wunder CM7 FET on the Kick, AKG 214 on the Snare, Josephson E22's on Rack and Floor, with a pair of AKG C451's on Overheads.

Strings @ ToKwerX...

Well, virtually. In the form of the EastWest Hollywood Strings library I am using for the track "UnRavel" by Erin Downie & Rebellious Bird. As recommended I've recorded the sections of the string ensemble separately, through some slightly overdriven API Vision strip (UAD) and some usual Valve analogue harmonic distortion (a la ToKwerX) then brought them back into the session as four stereo tracks. Oh Phükk! These are incredible. Don't get me wrong, I adore real strings, but the price tag of recording the 20+ players to produce the parts I've now written... that's way out of my budget. So for the first production using my new Christmas String Ensemble (thanx Santa) I am absolutely elated. Sincere apologies to my friends at the MSO.

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