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Month: February 2013

Audio Issues Live Sound Survival eBook released

Last week our friend Bjorgvin at Audio Issues released his third eBook Live Sound Survival: Big Sounds out of Small Systems. The book is packed…

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The DJ Mixer Turned Synthesizer, Fun with Feedback Loops

Today I found this Vestax DJ mixer with cool transparent orange case for $8. Even though I had no use for it, how could I…

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Review: Auralex Mudguard

Way back in July 2012 I was told about a pricing mistake at Musicians Friend for the Auralex MudGuard. It was actually a 4-pack of them for $110, just $11 more than a single unit. I don’t know if it was an error or just clearance but it seemed like a pretty good deal. I told some friends and got a little group buy going with 3 guys in California – Eric @rhythminmind; Cory @createmusicpro; and Andrew @cremasterandroo
Cory made the order and got them a few days later. After he shipped mine to me in Vancouver from Orange County I owed him $68. Still less than buying one in store or any other competing product.

The Mudguards have arrived

Off-axis microphone isolation
If you’re not familiar with this sort of product, it’s a barrier that mounts behind a microphone intended to reduce the pickup of off-axis sounds – noise, other instruments, or reflections from the room. A compact portable vocal booth is the concept.

There are several of these on the market in a wide range of prices. The SE Reflexion Filter was the first of these products to my knowledge. That one is certainly a more sophisticated design then the MudGuard, however in my previous experience with the SE, it wasn’t worth the effort or high cost.

Opinions vary greatly about their effectiveness and value in the studio. In every discussion I’ve read on these there’s always some guy that claims he can build one himself for $10. I’ve never seen a DIY option that didn’t look like a steaming pile. My own attempts at a DIY stand-mounted absorber have been garbage, definitely not something I’d want to be seen in a paid session.

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Video: Robots Don’t Sleep EP mixing at Emil Berliner Studios

In this video Robert Koch talks about his experience mixing his Robots Don’t Sleep EP at the amazing Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin. Robert’s music is electronic with a strong emphasis on songwriting. This project used the studio’s 40s, 50s, 60s vintage processors and tape machines as well as the echo chamber in the studio’s basement.
Find out more about the studio here:

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Guest Post: Digital to Analog Conversion Basics

A DAC or DA converter (digital to analog converter), is essentially the outputs of your sound card. When you read about monitoring in a studio environment you see a lot written about loudspeakers and amplifiers but digital to analog conversion is less frequently discussed. Of course we also have ADC which is analog to digital conversion which relates to the recording process. In this context we will focus on the DAC as everyone will be using those, including electronic only musicians.

Even the cheapest sound card has a DAC chip inside which converts the digital data stream into an audio signal which can then be amplified to a level which is appropriate for line level. There are many different DAC chips that can operate at various bit depths and sample rates. Some common ones are made by Cirrus Logic, Analog Devices, Burr Brown, Wolfson, and AKM. DAC chips are released fairly frequently and each development tries to improve on cost and/or sound quality.

All semi-pro sound cards/interfaces have a DAC chip for each of outputs available (often one per stereo pair), and usually the more you spend, the better the specifications of the audio devices within the audio interface. It is possible to pay $2,000.00 for a mere 2 channels of high end stereo L and R output or a mere $20.00 for a SoundBlaster.

Apogee Symphony IO is one of many well respected AD/DA converters for professional studio use

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