Sunday Jam 02

Set up a couple cameras for this one and played a bit on guitar and pedal board. Recorded with sm57 straight into interface.

Gear: Pedaltrain 2, Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 plus, Polytune mini, DIYRE Ferrite DI box, Ernie Ball Volume Pedal, ProCo RAT, Electro-Harmonix Freeze, Electro-Harmonix 16 second Digital Delay, TC Electronic Flashback delay, TC Electronic Hall Of Fame reverb.

Comedic Sound Design for games presentation by Luca Fusi

On December 12th 2015 Luca Fusi gave a talk on comedic sound design for the Vancouver Sound Designers Meetup group. I filmed and edited the presentation for the group’s youtube channel.

This was a really fun talk and I learned a lot from it and from the complex editing required to complete the film.

The one thing that went wrong was forgetting an 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter. Because of that I couldn’t get a clean audio feed from the audio interface into my H4N, all sounds clips in the video had to be manually aligned from samples Luca gave me and downloaded youtube clips.

Oh yeah, if you’re wondering about the video Luca mentions right at the start, it’s Gangnam style without music

Sunday Jam 01

Sunday Jam is the start of a routine to make music more often.

A little background information:

I started down the path of professional audio engineering and music production after many years of frustration recording my own music. I used to play bass from when I got home from school till I went to sleep. I used to wake up in the middle of the night with a guitar riff in my head and no way of recording it.

These days I spend all day in my DAW working on projects for other people or making tutorials. I look around the studio and think about all the money I’ve spent on instruments that I rarely play.

This first one is just expanding on a recent song sketch, really just a pattern made from various short sounds from my MeeBlip Anode synth. Processed on the buses with Decapitator and in parallel with ValhallaVintageVerb and 2 instances of Tantra.

9 things I learned from watching myself mix

I spent a lot of time watching myself mix while editing my Mixing in REAPER Vol 1 video series. I’ve learned quite a bit from it and I think these things are worth pointing out.
  1. I work pretty quickly, I don’t spend a lot of time on things that won’t matter much.
  2. I don’t overthink and second guess what I’m doing.
  3. I don’t set up several options to decide on later.
  4. I use a small handful of plugins. Maybe less than 20 different plugins and ReaEQ was used most.
  5. I almost never A/B compare plugins/chains, only with and without a plugin.
  6. I could be more organized. In the video I rushed and did the bare minimum and I think I fumbled later because of it.
  7. I could be using some reaper features to help with the organization. Autocolor, and track templates come to mind.
  8. I spend an average of 45 seconds setting a plugin. If it takes much longer it usually gets replaced.
  9. The first and last hours of the mix were the most important to the final sound. But that’s not to say that the middle two could be skipped, of course.
These things are not all good. I’m always looking to improve my skills and results. Mixing at maximum efficiency isn’t my goal. If I spent a little time to A/B compare a couple different compressors, or to think about the emotional impact a processing choice might make, the mix might be even better. Would the mix be measurably better if I side-chain compressed the bass? Who knows. We can’t explore every possible path, nor should we try to.
I think it’s good to look at how we work once in a while and evaluate our strengths and weaknesses and also determine what is important to spend your concentration on.
If you want to check out the video series I’m talking about you can get it here: MIXING IN REAPER VOL 1

Film sound editing presentation at Vancouver Sound Designers Meetup

On September 26 Humberto Corte did a presentation at the Vancouver Sound Designers meetup.

I produced this video for the group members that couldn’t make it. If you’re interested in how I made this, I have a video about it on the REAPER Blog.

Waves Behind the Plugins Documentary

For Plugin Day 2015 Waves created a documentary about their company.

Get an inside look at the making of your favorite audio plugins. Watch exclusive interviews with the people behind Waves’ mixing tools, and learn how Waves products travel from their minds to your hands and ears.

Worth a watch even if you’re not a fan of Waves plugins. It’s really cool to see the people behind the brand.

The coffee cup analogy to audio headroom

Today I was reading a post on a facebook group from a guy, let’s call him Jack, concerned with a master that was clean in the DAW and clipped when it played streaming from Soundcloud. He checked for intersample peaks and left some headroom (0.3dBFS) but still it clipped when streaming.

Then I went to get my afternoon coffee.

As I’m filling the cup I realized that I can use a cup of coffee to explain headroom. Bear with me a sec.

coffee cupHere’s the cup. It only holds so much. Pour the coffee in, leave some room for cream and sugar, and some extra room to stir and to walk from the kitchen to the studio. Don’t leave enough room in the cup and it spills.

The coffee is the mix, the cream and sugar is the mastering, and the walk from the kitchen to the studio is the SoundCloud encode (or any lossy format conversion) and streaming. There wasn’t enough wiggle room in Jack’s master for the conversion to mp3, so some coffee got spilled while the drink was being delivered.

When I’m mastering I set my limiter ceiling to -0.7dBFS which is pretty close to the recommended -1dBFS level for Mastered for iTunes albums. I’d much rather have slightly lower peak levels for a cleaner master without any crunchiness on various playback systems.

Makes sense right?


BTW, if you’re interested in having me master one of your projects I can be reached at, I do free test masters.