Monday, December 28, 2009


This post was inspired by an e-Newsletter from my friend Mr. Walt Bowers, a local engineer and studio owner. He is also an instructor for the Broadcast and Sound Engineering program and Tulsa Technology Center, and a part time instructor at both Tulsa Community College and the University of Tulsa.




Interesting! Because of these videos and articles, I decided to make a video describing what George Massenburg was talking about.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sidechain Gang - Sidechaining 101

SIDECHAINING is the topic for today. So what is it?

Sidechaining is this: taking a piece of one signal and using it to do something for another. Let's think of a few examples of what a sidechain can do.

1) A De-Esser. This is a compressor with a sidechain EQ. The sidechain EQ looks at the source and you can adjust which frequency to attenuate. The de-esser selecectively compresses ONLY the selected band(s), usually somewhere above 5khz, to remove the sibilance from some voices.

2) Realistic Reverb. You can trigger a reverbs using mulitple sidechain compressors, so that when your voice gets above oh let's say -25dBFS, your voice is sent to  a Small Room Reverb.  However, once your voice goes to -12dBFS, your voice is sent to a Large Room Reverb. Why is this realistic? When your are in a space, you can't really hear too much of the room partially because you are influenced by what you see, but also because of the actual loudness of a voice. When a singer sings loudly, however, the voice can travel all the way to the back of the room, allowing you to hear how big the space really is. You get this effect in small venues listening to singer-songwriters.

3) A Gate's "Listen" or "Key" function. What this does on a gate is only release the gate for signals of a given frequency range. This can help a lot when gating kick drums and toms because you can choose a lower frequency as a key input so that the snare drum (usually the loudest thing) doesn't trigger the gate. Just select your frequency range and the gate will stay quiet until something in that frequency range is hit above the threshold, but it will play back the full sound, not a filtered sound.

4) Kick / Bass Dynamics -
This is the CLASSIC example of sidechaining that we're going to deal with today. This is where the kick triggers a compressor to turn down the bass guitar every time the kick hits. Why? Well the kick drum and the bass both share a similar frequency spectrum. Both have a wide response, from sub lows to present highs. The problem is, these instruments often compete if not played well. There's a certain "married" sound that you get from a bassist and drummer playing together in the groove. It's undeniable; it sounds like they are perfectly on and the bass is locked in with the kick drum. This can create a really punchy and tight sound and should REALLY be used when you're having trouble hearing both kick and bass fully. I've made two tutorials to explain how to do it!

You will need:

1. A compressor plug with a key input function. N4 has this, but N3 and C4 do not. See below.
2. The video tutorials that I made!

A free vst compressor plugin (to engage key in, turn up "KeyVolume" to 0.0dB):


Here are the videos for you to enjoy! Best Viewed Maximized and in HD.



Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tempo and Time Signature Changes

How to change tempo and time signatures within Steinberg's Nuendo or Cubase.

1) Tempo Change

Let's say you've got a metal band in the studio. They're really hitting the drums hard, making it "heavy" and adding subdrops and other crazy hooligan stuff like that. Then they say "hey, so this verse is 180bpm but then the breakdown is like 60bpm. It's heavy." So how do you do that in mid song? If the drummer is good he is recording to a click, and if he wants that in his ear, how can you do this?

Another example (a little less bitter sounding example) is if a band has a ritardando toward the end of a song and they go into a second song by gradually slowing down the first until they're at the new tempo. HOW CAN I DO THIS KENDAL, you ask? I made a video to show you how.


2) Time Signature Change

Alright, so you're recording a jazz trio. Drummer comes in and says "hey man. This verse is in 17/4, but then it changes to 5/4 in the chorus, and 6/8 until the end. Can I get a click for all of those?" Before you freak out, just relax a bit. You can do this. I'll show you how in this video.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Drum Mixing

So today I finally got a chance to try out my MOTU on a full drumkit. Two words come to mind: At last! I feel like I was finally able to get tones that I wanted. I was recording on a custom wrapped 80's TAMA Kit with DW snare and custom made Saluda cymbals. Very nice sounding kit considering its age and it's somewhat older heads. The kick drum has a really cool mirror head. The miking went as follows:

Overheads - (2) KM184's
Kick - RE20
Snare - SM57
Rack Tom - SM57
Floor Tom - MD421
Room Mics - (2) AKG 414's

So, only eight mics on this kit, but it sounds like FAR MORE than that! Sean is a talented drummer, and today we were just setting up the kit, letting it acclimate to the room, getting sounds, checking mic levels and positions, etc. We recorded a quick little beat to mix sounds and I suggested doing a driving rock beat, so we did. After mixing, the kid sounded UNGODLY to say the least. It was dirty and vicious. I know that this sound is due to three things in this order:

1) My MOTU Mod.
2) My KM184s as Overheads.
3) Sean.

In the following clip, you will hear the 100% Dry drum sounds. After that you will hear the drums after mixing. The file is 24bit WAV.


I was so impressed with the sounds we got I just had to share them with you guys. Just your drum sounds usually end up sounding like the first clip? If so, then you need some mixing knowledge! Email me with any questions you might have.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Black Lion Audio MOTU 24i/o Review

Alright, so here's the deal. I've been using a MOTU 24IO for quite some time. It's a nifty piece of equipment. No preamps, no effects, nothing that just wastes space, simply 24 TRS inputs and 24 TRS outputs. I use external preamps (API, UA, etc) and choose to go mixerless. With the 24IO, all of my routing can be done within the CueMix software mixer, which is just incredible. Here's a picture of the CueMix from the MOTU Website ( 7 is way too hot.)

Anyway. So I really love the MOTU and have had no problems with it other than one thing: the quality of conversion. I found that most all MOTU units sound like crap at 44.1kHz resolution, but really sound pretty great at 96k. What sucks is, who wants / needs to record at 96k all the time? It takes up over double the hard disk space and is twice as hard on your hard drive to record. Most sessions I do end up being 44.1 or 48k, so that's where I usually keep my clock set.

Still...I did some tests and found that the 44.1 really started to bother me. In comparison to the 96k, it sounded like I had a sock over the microphone at was that dark and muddy. Now, in a full mix after EQ and compression, the 44.1 always sounded okay, but it was never as crisp or as detailed or...something...that I wanted it to be. I couldn't really put my finger on it.

Soon I learned about a company called Black Lion Audio. They're based out of Chicago, IL and their basic service is as follows: take pro-grade gear (NOT top of the line...but widely used Lower-grade "Pro Studio" gear), replace the analog section, replace the clock, and you've got yourself one amazing interface. They mod all kinds of interfaces, such as the Digidesign 002, 003, and 192. They also mod the MOTU 24io, HD192, and I think a few others. Each mod is different, and for my particualar unit, the clock has to be external; the housing is already jam packed with electronics. So, I got the BLA "Microclock mkII," with my mod. Since they can't fit it in the chassis, they just knock off about $100 of the price to compensate for your trouble, which I found to be a pretty impressive deal.

Out the door, my Mod and Clock cost around $950. My MOTU cost $1400 brand new, so having a professional quality interface for a grand total of only $2350 is a STEAL. To get the same number of inputs and outputs from Apogee, you'd have to spend a good $10,000+. Plus, the MOTU 24io mod is one of the more expensive mods. Some really well known producers are using the BLA stuff...Butch Walker, Jay Ruston, plus artists like the Donnas, Dave Bazan, Weezer, and so many more. It's really impressive.

I scheduled the mod back in September, and my date was December 7th. This place is POPULAR. As of right now, their next available mod spot is in late February. Anyway, so I gave my downpayment (half up front) and I paid for the clock (which they sent immediately). When I got the clock I plugged it in and experienced an interesting change. The soundfield had more clarity and depth, with just a touch of brightness added. What was probably happening was a touch of darkness being removed because of clock accuracy. Anyway, I noticed just from listening to my Left and Right outs that I could hear a difference. It was subtle, but you really could hear it.

Months passed and the time for my mod FINALLY came! I shipped it on a Tuesday and got there Friday. My mod was scheduled for the following Monday, and it was finished a week and a day later. It was difficult being without my MOTU for two weeks, but I was sure it would be worth it. And OH YEAH it was.

I wire everything back up, hook up my BLA Microclock, start working with the unit, and immediately I can hear a big difference. There was a LOT more clarity in the spectrum, just more clarity in transients and especially in tonal balance. I was able to notice things like, oh the kick is too boxy or the bass is a bit too boomy. Things came together quicker in the mix and to my surprise it was extremely translatable! That was my favorite part. I usually mix on a handful of speakers, but I hate it when I get an awesome mix on one set and then it doesn't sound nealy as good on another set. I think that is a combination of things (that we don't have time to talk about right now) but I know the BLA Mod and Clock helped a TON.

And don't even get me started on how good it sounds once you record an entire SONG with it! My goodness! Imagine this for a second: your sound is only as good as the weakest link in your chain. Mine was my converters, for sure. Other than that I use great instruments, room treatment, mics, and preamps. So think: if your chain gets just 10% better because of the mod, and you've got a production of 40-60 tracks, then your production will theoretically sound 400-600% better. That sounds ridiculous at first, but trust me this mod will make you believe it. Things sounded SO crisp and real. Like I was sitting right there listening. It truly was the missing link in my sound that I always needed to get that "professional sound" that we all love. It's incredible!

The company is rock solid. They're honest, they're patient, they do amazing work, and they've got to be the nicest guys I've ever talked to. They really know their stuff and will sit there on the phone explaining everything they do and everything that goes into the mod until you run out of minutes on your cell phone. FIVE STARS for Black Lion Audio. GO check them out and see the inredible deals they provide.

Friday, December 11, 2009

5" Monitors, 19" Monitors, and Hall Monitors.

Christmas is coming. Do you have your hats ready? I do. The weather is starting to become "frightful," and I love it. I can't stand the summers here; they just get hot and humid; you can literally stand outside and start sweating just because of the thickness of the air. Anyway.

So...what's with the title? Well here we are again talking about monitoring. I'm considering getting a new set of 5" monitors for mixing mains. I honestly don't have the desk space for 8" monitors right now, and while I'm a fan of my Yamaha MSP5s, they just don't seem to give me the exact sound I want. I need a pair of monitors that I can listen to and start a mix quickly and get through it enjoyably.

A few monitors I'm considering at the moment are the Focal CMS 50, plus JBL LSR4326Ps, the impressive Genelec 8030A's, and the also impressive Adam A7s. These are all somewhere around $1000-$2000/pair, and I really think they will give me some good mixes if I find the right set. I am waiting to make a reference disk so that I can go to Guitar Center and try out the monitors they've got there. Anyone want to join me?

Now...what did I mean by 19" Monitors? Now we're talking about computer screens. I got some new 19" LCD monitors for my workspace. SO amazing. I used to work with two 15.4" monitors (very small for audio or video) and finally bit the bullet and went up to two 19" screens. I'm utterly amazed at the power I have now. The first picture is of my old small screens, and the pictures following are screenshots of my new monitors.

's so awesome. These are screenshots of my workspace now. Beautiful.

Now what about the hall monitors? I don't know. Just don't get tipsy on your Egg Nog.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving - Give Thanks for TUBE amps

WARNING: Guitar talk for a while, then recording talk later. you smell that? I think it's the smell of tone. Daniel just got his Tiny Terror Combo made by ORANGE. Awesome amp. We're both just so impressed by how loud that little amp can go. It's truly a work of art. Kudos, Orange, for making one heck of an amp.

The other day I went down to my favorite guitar store (Full Scale Guitar in Broken Arrow) and tried out some pedals. A lot of people have been raving about the Keeley Mod Blues Driver ever since its release, and so I grabbed that in addition to a few other boutique pedals they had there. Others included the Xotic BB Preamp, the Keeley TS9, and the Fulltone OCD. How do I put it simply...the Xotic BB Preamp beat them all by a long shot. .

The BB is a SUPER versatile pedal with only four knobs: volume, gain, bass, treble. While you might think the bass and treble controls are kind of strange, you have to consider, they are active, so if you turn down the bass and treble, it sounds like you're accentuating the mids, not simply rolling off low and high. Likewise, if you turn up the bass and treble, it sounds like the mids are a bit scooped-sounding. This bass control is INTENSE and should be used with honor!

I can't tell you how many pedals I've tried that are just TOO boomy. One of the better sounding distortion units around is the ZVEX Box of Rock. The pedal is SO sick for lead work, especially during recording, but playing chords is a nightmare. The pedal is just SO incredibly thick the chords are just mud at high gain. Now, a pedal opposite this is the Lovepedal Kanji Eternity. AMAZING sounding pedal with not much low end. However, paired with a compressor, this is one of the best sounding pedals I've ever heard and owned. Warm, creamy, great for lead and rhythm.

Anyway, so I've decided that the BB is my next choice for my pedalboard. I'm very picky about what pedals go on my board, and I've gone through a lot. Fulltone FullDrive 2, Hand build Keeley TS9 clone, Box of Rock, etc. I think the BB is just a great idea. If I'm using single coils, I can beef up the low end a bit, but if I'm using humbuckers, I can bring it back down. What a great concept, Xotic! What just have a tone knob when you can have true active EQ!

(Guitar talk is now over)

As for recording, I've had some interesting discoveries recently. Compression is something I use very carefully (as you might see in a former post about bus compression), as is EQ. I'll get to that in a second.

One thing I advise people to do is not listen too loud. I've seen some engineers listing to their songs fairly loud, and judging the mix that way. There are a few problems with that. First, it makes EVERYTHING sound good. When you turn music up, you feel it in your bones, your heart, and you're just enjoying the loudness. However, when you're listening quietly, you're really focusing to hear elements of the mix. THIS IS NOT TO SAY that you need to listen super quietly all the time. There are many benefits to listening quietly, however:

1. If your room is not treated well for mixing, listening quietly can help eliminate the room from the equation.

2. If you listen quietly, your ears are hardly being stressed, so you can mix for much longer.

3. If things still sound punchy at low volumes, they will certainly sound punchy at higher volumes. This is partly because compression is easier to spot and adjust when you're listening quietly, or at least quieter than what one might consider "loud."

There are a few drawbacks to listening quietly, but the main problem (and a big one) is the low end. When you listen quietly, the low end is somewhat masked, and so sometimes you can add WAY too much low end when listening quietly, and when you turn it up, you are blasted away by the kick and bass guitar. This is yet another reason to check your mix on different speakers at different volumes.

I like to set my EQs on these tiny computer speakers because they really are midrangey and they help me get all the low mids, mids, and high mids balanced out. There aren't many high or low frequencies pumping out of these things, so it helps me focus on JUST midrange. This is great for things like acoustic, electric, vocals, and drums. Most of the lows are comprised of kick and bass guitar, maybe some low end of electric. Highs are usually sibilance, cymbals, some snare, some acoustic "zing" sound, and maybe some electric. Other than that, about 90% of the music is contained in the mids (LM, M, HM), so make sure instruments aren't fighting each other!

Get a pair of computer speakers. It can do wonders for your mixing ears.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I sure hate computer problems. I need some back-story here.

Computer is a custom-built Intel Core2 Quad 2.4GHz PC, Three drives (System, Recording, Data) as well as hard drive docks for backing up files onto external drives / internal drives kept in storage. 4GB GSkill Pi RAM (not sure what I think about this yet...) and a MOTU 24io modded by Black Lion Audio. Running Nuendo in Windows XP. Pretty sick machine. I usually never have problems, but today I had a weird one. Not really that bad or anything, nothing was "lost," but still...very weird.

Recorded a HUGE session (roughly, the equivalent of 48 tracks being recorded at once for 4 minutes, or simply put, roughly 180 minutes of recording time). Afterward, Nuendo exited fine, it saved, nothing went weird. The session was over so I decided to defrag. Did that just fine, no problems. I forgot what exactly I clicked, but I believe I tried to open the MOTU Audio Interface control panel, and my computer "crashed" as they say, which really means it gave me the blue screen of death. DUN DUN DUN.

Needless to say, these are usually harmless if they occur at times that are few are far between. I don't think I've had one of these for handful of months. The problem is, they are usually just a glitch of some kind that is not only untraceable, it's really totally irrelevant. When you restart your computer, it works perfectly fine. SO, could be a RAM issue, or a million other things.

ANYWAY...why did I hate this so much? It erased a few of my plugins. Had to go back and install them again, which was a pain. Opened up a session and it said "missing plugins," and I was like what the heck? And really it didn't "delete" the plugs it just was being weird and not picking up that they were there. I reinstalled them into a fresh new folder and it works perfectly now.

The only upside to this is that Nuendo seems to load much quicker. I think over time I have deleted plugs, weeded out some I never use, and so it no longer loads them or searches for them. A nice fresh start, I suppose. Had to spent about an hour recovering my settings and whatnot, but it's back to normal in perfect working order ready for more sessions.

Sometimes I complain about my computer but I just remember...I could have had a V8! There's nothing harder than trying to record onto a tomato juice can.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Loudness War?

PODCAST UPDATE - We've got our ideas lined up for a few shows. Soon we will be doing some talk over my last few posts here. I mainly made them so I could have them on record, not just because I enjoy talking to myself. Regardless, the first episode should be ready in a week or two.


Man, I am sick of the loudness war***. Albums are just sounding louder and louder all the time, and they sound AWFUL. Absolutely horrible. There are so many people out there just dedicated to competing with volumes they forget about the music.

This whole's what I like to call "car marketing philosophy:" just because it [a car commercial] is loud and grabs your attention doesn't mean you will give a crap. I am sick of car commercials saying things like "we are currently OVERSTOCKED due to a 'shipping error' and everything must go!" They yell in your face as if to catch your attention, but really, it's just annoying.

The same theory is now applicable to modern music. Songs are louder than ever in an attempt to grab your attention. The problem is, songwriters are lazy and don't know how to write catchy lines or lyrics anymore, and their musicianship is so weak that it becomes uninteresting. Thus, to compensate for being a crappy songwriter, they have to make it loud. With the right songwriting and performance, your attention can be captivated immediately. Think Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" or John Denver's "Annie's Song." More recently, think Third Eye Blind's "Never Let You Go," U2's "With or Without You," and Wilco's "Either Way." All of these songs are well written, and they grab your attention just by being so.

Get it? YOU OWN THE VOLUME KNOB. Keep your mixes dynamic. (Hint...mute the drums and see how hot your mix is at this level. If it's around -2 or -1dBFS, you're WAY TOO LOUD (in my opinion).)

***for more information on what exactly the loudness war is, go to A while back a guy made this fantastic video which has had worldwide popularity. I really think the creator of this video deserves a standing ovation! Here it is:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bus Compression - 16 November 2009

So, I've decided that [for most rock] I like doing about 4-6dB total of bus compression. It sounds like a lot. Now let me explain.

Seeing as the consoles had headroom above 0.0dB and sometimes all the way up to something like +24dB, we have to consider a few things.

1) How hot are the tracks going into the master?
2) How much headroom are we leaving for the Mastering engineer?
3) What's my process? Why?
4) Why does it sound this way?

Let's address these in order.

1.) If you bypass all of your master fader plugs, your sound better not be clipping. Why? I'll tell you why. If your tracks set off the OVER (clip) meter, putting a limiter on the master doesn't mean it's not distorting digitally, it just means it's not triggering the meter. Digital busses aren't mind readers, they are mathematical devices only doing what they are told. If you trigger an OVER meter on ANY tracks, you are clipping. Just because you put a limiter on doesn't mean you're protecting the sound from clipping. HOWEVER...when it comes to a compressor, it's possible to elude this.

A compressor works by gain reduction, so, it's actually preventing clipping in a way. be honest, if your tracks are hot enough where they are even CLOSE to 0.0dB, you're not leaving yourself nearly enough headroom per track. If 65 tracks combine at -6dBFS, your master is going to be SMOKING loud. I'd go for about -12 to -18dBFS per track on a large production. A

2.) You need to make sure and leave a good 3-6dB for the mastering engineer to work with. The more the better. If you're the last link in the chain (like many project studio owners), you STILL Should be mixing at about -6 or -4dBFS. It'll allow you to control your mix better. Don't mix with a limiter on the bus!!!!!!!!

3.) So, we've got our tracks in, not mixed yet. What are the levels on the bus? If I've gain staged the thing correctly, my master seems to hit around -6dBFS on a good day. Usually what I do is add Tritone Digital's Colortone Pro (for saturation) in the first slot. After that, I add Waves RenComp doing at MOST 1.5 - 2dB of compression with a very fast attack and a medium release (200-300ms). This helps control some of the transients. To set this, I go to the loudest part of the song and adjust from that. After this, I add the Waves SSL bus compressor, which I love. In this, I set the attack just a bit slower, usually 3ms, and the release a bit slower, maybe even 600ms, and on this compressor I do a max of 4dB of compression in the loudest parts of the song. It actually ends up to be more like 3dB, sometimes even 2dB.

So why nearly 6dB of compression on the master? A few reasons.

1) It helps the mix come together quickly.
2) I don't have to do nearly as much automation.
3) I don't have to use so many compressors on individual tracks, and this is the main reason. Not only is it more DSP efficient, it also just SOUNDS better. If you let the tracks just be naturally dynamic, the bus compressor can take care of a lot.

4.) Stay with me on these comparisons...Analog consoles and and analog tape will compress more per input signal in dB/ratio increments, as in, the compression was NOT linear. For example, at 0.0dB, the console might be compressing something "like" 2dB at 2:1. However, at +6dB, the console might compress a bit harder, something "like" 5dB at 4:1. That is to say, the compression CHANGES in a nonlinear way as you get hotter and hotter. That's not to say that +24 is simply a limited signal, because usually, +24 didn't sound too great.

SO, this is one of the reasons why I use two separate compressors on the mix bus. One is to control the transients, (as you can imagine, things -6dB to 0dB on a console) and the other is to control more of the overall mix punch (0dB to +12dB on a console - just made up numbers, just trying to illustrate a point). So basically, it's like saying two heads are better than one.

You don't just want to compress 6dB with one compressor, because you have a fixed attack and release. Instead, you can compress with separate multi-stage compressors for different parts of the sound. You could use SIX compressors only doing 1dB of compression and you might get a great sound doing that. Set each one for different ratios or attack/release times for different parts. A very pulsating tune might need more compression on the attacks to control them, however, a sparse tune might call for some more mild compression.

Moral of the story...MIX WITH YOUR EARS, NOT WITH YOUR EYES!!!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recording News - 13 November 2009

PODCAST – 13 Nov 2009



Hey all. Before I start getting comments about how "it depends on the song" and "you can't say that because every mix is different," blah blah. I understand that. I'm speaking in GENERAL terms about MOST rock mixes with five piece bands (vocals, acoustic, electric x 2, bass, drums). Consider a mix with all of those plus some BGVs, piano lightly, and some tambourine. That's your basic rock mix sometimes, so let me elaborate.

Working more with the low end today. Trying to debunk certain myths within my mind about the low end, and trying to create new ways to understand the low end. The only truth I've found is that most of the time, kick and bass are the only things below 100 or so. May be a bit of guitar or perhaps a slight hint of fat snare in that region, but nothing else. I also understand that in the highs (6k-20k) there is not a whole lot going on other than cymbals, the top end of vocals, the top end of acoustic / perhaps piano, the top crunch of electric (sometimes) and aux percussion. Thus, most of the action goes down between 100-6k. That's nearly a given, right?

After that we've got the next simplest section, the mids. When I say mids, I guess I mean 500-1k. For me, there's a little bit of everything here, however, it seems like the only thing that is predominant here is vocal or lead instruments. For most rhythm, there seems to be a dip in the 1k region and the 500 region perhaps. This helps take out a lot of clutter for the vocal.

Now the hardest sections (for me at least) are the low mids (100-500) and the high mids (1k-6k). Here we are dealing with so many elements. In the low mids we're dealing with fundamentals and warmth, as well as boominess and honkiness, but in the high mids we're dealing with presence and attack, and logically, harshness and sharpness. These are just semantics, but you understand I know.

Obviously, the best mixes are going to come out of the best songs. Some of my favorite mixes are those done for the San Francisco Grammy award winning band TRAIN. The album version of "Drops of Jupiter" is just mind blowing. So much space and depth, and everything can be heard. Drums are punchy, guitars present, piano full, strings brilliant. I think the biggest part of WHY that mix is so good is the SONG and the BAND themselves. Train is a phenomenal band with lots of creative arrangements, and their singer is truly a pro. When the singer is good, you're not afraid to turn him up. If the singer is bad, sometimes you naturally turn them down in the mix. See how that applies to ANY instrument? If the guitar part is lame or too full-bodied or too thin, you might turn it down, but then the song sounds weak without guitar, so you turn it back up. It's this "give and take" part of mixing that is the most frustrating. low mids seem to get less predominant as I get better as an engineer / mixer, because most of that is taken up by the vocal fundamental. You’ve got some acoustic and bass low end, as well as drum warmth and punch, but a big portion of the 200-400 region seems to be taken up by vocals. However, vocals are also tending to have a lot less low end than they used to. Here I go again.

More low end notes soon.


WAVES released two plugins in the Post Production series.

Waves Noise Suppressor is a real-time multiband processor for fast and effective broadband noise suppression on dialog tracks. Suitable for both indoor and location recordings with constant or modulating environment noise, WNS delivers "superior sound quality with minimal artifacts", according to Waves. WNS offers all the flexibility, portability, power, and precision of software, like true Pro Tools integration, multiple simultaneous instances, and full automation.

$2800 MSRP

Waves LoAir – 12 November 2009. More than just a subharmonic generator, LoAir features adjustable frequency and low-pass filter controls to shape your ultra low-end. Plus, it lets you process polyphonic content, as well as create an LFE track from stereo or 5.0 sources. Similar to Waves MAXXBASS, but mind you, it’s more for post production.

$100 MSRP. Mac / Windows in all formats.

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH WAVES…Wave Arts has announced the release of Tube Saturator, a new plug-in that represents Wave Arts' first step into the world of accurate real-time analog modeling.

Unlike other tube simulators which use radically simplified models, Wave Arts says that Tube Saturator "uses state-of-the-art circuit simulator technology to capture every nuance of an analog system". The actual schematic (consisting of resistors, capacitors, tubes, and so on) is precisely specified within the simulator and completely defines the signal processing - no approximations or short cuts. Technically, the plug-in is solving a set of mathematical equations, in real-time, to capture the non-linear and complex interactions of all the components in the system, with the intention of sounding exactly like the analog circuit.

Use Tube Saturator to add a bit of analog warmth to recordings, or increase the drive for some distortion. You can use it as a saturating peak limiter too. This new technology is CPU intensive, but brings you analog realism like never before, according to Wave Arts.

Features / specification:

  • Accurate tube preamp simulator using 64-bit circuit simulation technology.
  • Drive control for distortion adjustment.
  • FAT mode for increased punch.
  • Analog style metering.
  • No latency.
  • Up to 192 kHz sampling rate, depending on CPU speed.
  • Mono or stereo.

Pricing & Availability

Priced at $149.95, Tube Saturator runs as a plug-in within any host application that supports VST, Audio Unit, MAS, DX and RTAS plug-ins on Windows and Mac OS X.


Togu Audio Line. – Great free plugins of all different varieties. VST, Universal Binary, and AU. You can donate money via paypal, and

TAL-Filter (multi mode filter device)





TAL-Dub and Dub II (versatile delay units)

TAL-Tube (tube emulation)


MXL announced in October a year-end promotion called “Trade It Up.” Bring in your old MXL mic, dead or alive, and swap it for a $50 discount against the purchase of a new MXL Gold 35, V67i Tube, V69XM, V89, or MXL R77. If you have an old MXL mic you don’t use, heck, try trading it in for a newer one.These mics seem to be a big jump from old MXL stuff. Lots of producers like Benjamin Wright have been using these new mics. It’s about time.

K. Osborne
The Closet Studio