Finally, I am delighted to announce the release of my 3rd eBook; although number 4 actually beat this one! Mixing Techniques has taken me quite a while and is a thorough investigation of the workflows and techniques of the mixing process with a focus upon AVID’s Protools. Head on over to the ToKshop.
Harmony for Engineers. A simplified approach to the concepts and structures governing Diatonic Harmony. Vsn 1.1 now published with an extra chapter on Minor Scales structures and Harmony.
Special introductory price. Any purchaser receives a life-long free update to future versions and revisions. Head on over to the ToKshop
Yes, eBook #3 (Mixing Techniques) is still ongoing… as is the discipline of Mixing. But in the meantime :)
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/
A massive day in Studio 1 NEVE yesterday tracking Horns for the Rebellious Bird debut release. Editing and mixing these today before dropping the Horns into the main mix sessions for final tweaks tomorrow; mastering Thursday… Friday onwards… REST!
My absolute gratitude to engineer Mark Kelson for driving whilst I was performing alongside Ellie Lamb on Trombone and Jeff Mead on Tenor Sax. Beautiful section.
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!
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!)
Geoff Spooner's CLUNK ORCHESTRA's 2nd Album has enjoyed quite a number of weeks on the Roots Music Charts. Mixed and Mastered entirely at ToKwerX. Congrats Mr Spooner!
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
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
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.
Available now in the ToKshop is the first iBook of an intended series on audio engineering. iBook 1 Recording Techniques is a culmination of approaches and an underlying philosophy to recording in the modern era gleaned from over 40 years of recording. I sincerely hope all aspiring engineers find this a valuable resource.
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.
Take 1 Bad Cat, 1 Cool Cat, 1 Warm Console, 3 Excellent Microphones. Blend them together and ensure phase coherence...then turn it up!
Nico Di Stefano is a wonderful guitarist and a very cool cat. His new amp is cool too, but it's a Bad Cat - which is still a very good cat. Exploiting the Neve Genesys console tracking solos for the upcoming debut EP for REBELLIOUS BIRD. Due for release this Spring...stay tuned.