Such a beautiful Quintet... Yes, I am the 5th!
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...
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 ;)
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!)
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!
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
So nice to be playing the "humiliating mistress" live again; very different to studio. A small guest appearance with the Tracey Roberts Quartet (+1?) but some great moments shared, especially with Jon Magill (Tenor) - as these shots suggest.
Pics by Michéle Photos
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...
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 :)
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.
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.
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
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!
It's pretty simple really - some would say "black and white" yet it has become my nemesis; TIME. Time to practise. The instrument I love the most from all that I play and the one I've attained the highest level upon throughout my life thus far is this one - and in my opinion no other demands the constant upkeep of practise more than this. Therein lies the beauty of it - and the humility. So as I embark upon a new year, with no doubt a whole raft of other challenges I hereby declare that this particular challenge is one I intend to make a priority. Make time to practise Anthony! Have a wonderful and safe New Year everyone.
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.
I'm using an LCR (Left Centre Right) configuration for Percussion on the Stereo Volvo tracking. Timbales, Cowbells and Splash Cymbals are all set on a "tree" so rather than simply a stereo overhead or spaced pair the LCR works beautifully to ensure there is body and weight in the overall image. So a Stereo X-Y Audio Technica condenser along with the newly beloved OPR UM Rocket Ribbon as the centre capture; all equal distance from the centre of the Timbale skins. Also tried the Josephson E22's on Congas and Bongos and was delighted - clearly not only intended for Toms. Big thanx to Scott Bennett for his hard work, managing to capture no less than eleven (!!) groove and various percussion tracks. Let the editing begin...
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...
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.
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.