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Tag: Mixing

Review: Slate Digital Virtual Console Collection

It seems like every few weeks there some new piece of audio software that claims to make your music bigger, louder, deeper, and more badass in every way. Every new plugin is announced as a total game changer.

Like that means something.

The Virtual Console Collection

Steven Slate’s Virtual Console Collection is one of those so called game changing plugins. There was SO MUCH HYPE about this product that I was completely put off by the idea of it and tried to ignore it for a while.

VCC is a plugin that claims to make your mixes sound more analog and to make your DAW react exactly like an analog console. Not only that, but you get a choice of several consoles that you can use in any combination.
Say you wanted your guitars mixed on an SSL, drums on a vintage Neve, bass on a vintage RCA tube console, everything else through a Trident console and finally all those tracks summed through  an API. Impossible in real life, but accomplished in a minute with VCC.

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Guest Post: How to Use Compressors

This guest post comes from Barry Gardner, mastering engineer at SafeandSound online mastering services

How to Use Compressors

One of the most common tools that will be found in music production studios is an audio compressor. I will initially make distinction between dynamic range compressors and for example an MP3 compressor, here we are dealing with the control of audio dynamics not lossy audio formats. Compressors have been used since the 1950’s initially in radio broadcasting and also in the creation of vinyl records. An audio compressor is a device which could be described in it’s simplest form as an automatic level dependent fader. A compressor has a number of uses in a music mix and we will explain what those uses are and the basic controls. Audio compressors can be used for both practical and creative purposes. Practically a compressor can even out the loud and soft levels within a piece of audio, creatively we can affect the sound tonally and alter the transients (peaks) within the audio. You will find both analog and digital audio compressors and the controls found on them are largely the same so either will be suitable for practicing the controls.
Compressors have a number of controls which may initially be confusing for a new user. We will outline and discuss each control. It can be useful to have a plugin instance open when you go through each control. Please note not all audio compressors will have all controls.

  • Threshold – The threshold on a compressor determines the signal level at which the onset of compression begins.
  • Ratio – The ratio relates to the amount of compression that is applied once the threshold has been exceeded. The higher the ratio the more more compression. For example a ratio of 5:1 means if the threshold is exceeded by 5dB the output will rise by only 1dB
  • Attack – This time constant determines how quickly the compression will occur at onset and relates to the transient peaks in the audio. Often stated in milliseconds. Occasionally scaled 1-10.
  • Release – This time constant determines how quickly the compression action will return to a state of no compression. Often stated in milliseconds. Sometimes scaled 1-10.
  • Make up gain – Compression reduces overall level of a piece of audio by bringing down the level of the peaks, however by using the make up gain (normally adding the same amount as indicated on the gain reduction meter) you can bring up the overall perceived volume.
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Guest Post: De-Essing Approaches

I was recently working on a song and the sibilance was just a little too much for me. Like anything in audio there several ways of accomplishing the same task and different people will have different opinions but these are a few ways that I found to be effective.

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Review: IK Multimedia T-RackS Deluxe

Introduction
T-RackS 3 is a suite of high-quality digital and analog-modelled VST/AU/RTAS Dynamics and EQ processors, for mixing and mastering. T-RackS can also be used outside of your DAW as a standalone mastering application. Version 3.5.1 is the latest at the time of this review.
T-RackS Standard comes with the 4 ‘classic’ processors and metering suite as individual plugins also available within the T-Racks Shell or standalone.
T-Racks Deluxe has all the same functionality but adds a few more processors for a total of 9 including two analog modelled devices, the Fairchild Limiter and Pultec Tube Equalizer.
Each of the processors are also available for $99 each. The two newest additions to the T-RackS family – Black 76 Limiting Amplifier (modelled after Urei 1176), and White 2A Leveling Amplifier (Modelled after Urei LA2A Tube compressor/limiter), are only available as add-on purchases.
The decision to offer the individual processors was based on user feedback and common use. When T-RackS 3 was first released it was considered a mastering plugin, but users started liking the effects for mixing as well. Splitting up the system outside of the T-RackS Shell has made things much more convenient.

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IK Multimedia T-RackS 3 Deluxe Double Deal (limited time offer)

T-RackS 3 Deluxe Double DealThis month (Feb 2012) IK Multimedia is running a special 60% off on T-RackS 3 Deluxe. It’s just $199 in the online store or from your favorite retailer. [update – $99 upgrade offer for T-RackS 3 Standard users]
Buy and register Deluxe before Feb 29th and you qualify for the group buy to get a T-RackS 3 Single Black 76 or a T-RackS 3 Single White 2A for FREE.

Here’s how it works:
1. Buy T-RackS 3 Deluxe for only $199.99/€149.99* on our online store or your preferred music retailer.
2. As soon as 2,000 registrations are received, you will also be given a FREE T-Racks 3 Single title to choose from Black 76 and White 2A.

Make sure to spread the word so everyone gets a better deal! Building your own mixing and mastering studio has never been easier, but hurry, this promotion ends February 29th, 2012.

Check the Group Buy Counter here.

* All prices exclude taxes.

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3 Mid-Side Processing Tricks

In this article I’ll explain how I use Mid-Side processing on stereo sources for practical or creative effects. Mid-Side? Two channels of audio can be…

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Guest Post: The 24 Bit Advantage

This guest post comes from Barry Gardner, mastering engineer at SafeandSound online mastering

The 24 bit advantage

These days almost all digital audio workstations have the option to record and operate at 24 bit resolution. In fact it is highly likely that the vast majority of musicians and engineers are already setting their DAW’s up to work at 24 bit. 24 has a number of advantages over operating at 16 bit. I am going to explain a very important advantage which may not be as obvious. It relates to mixing reference levels on your stereo master output bus. Firstly we have to look at record levels because this is where the initial advantages occur. When you record at 24 bit resolution you have a much greater theoretical dynamic range. This means that the noise floor of the recording in the digital realm is much lower than recording at 16 bit. It is theoretically 48 dB lower than at 16 bit. So as a consequence there is no need to record anywhere as hot as when using 16 bit. In fact, a suggested recording level for 24 bit would be to have an average signal level of -18dBFS. You could even have peak signals at this level without detriment to audio fidelity. With peaks at -18dBFS at 24 bit your noise floor is still theoretically 30dB better than that at 16bit. An additional bonus effect is that to obtain peak levels of -18dBFS your mic preamps, compressors and mixer channels will be operating at a lower electrical level which means a cleaner and clearer recording.

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