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

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