Category Archives: Production & Technique

Focusrite Academy : Drum Recording

Starting out on the engineering road can be quite daunting, especially for instrumentalists, often more used to gigging than studio sessions.

Well, fret no more as Focusrite have opened their Academy, a free online video tutorial site designed to teach Producers and Engineers the essential basics of the art of recording acoustic and electric instruments on their computer.

Drum recording is the first course on offer and covers mic placement, recording, processing and showing you all the interfaces, mics and outboard equipment you need to get started.

Through a whopping 25 Videos, session drummers Craig Blundell and Alessandro Lombardo, with producer Tim Harbour, talk about skinning, try various variations of mic placement using between one and 12 microphones, show you how to correct phase problems to get the best results and then how to process and edit the recorded tracks.

Click here to see the full range of Focusrite @ Scan

Ableton introduce their bitesize creative tips series “One Thing”.

It seems to be the season for tutorial videos at the moment, although Ableton have chosen to move in a slightly different direction with theirs.

Any artist can suffer from a lack of inspiration at some point and the videos in this Ableton bitesize series are designed to help kick-start your creative process, and in this respect share the same common goals as the popular ’74 Creative Strategies for Electric Music Production book they put out a few years back. 

The series launches with 13 videos and promises to bring you a new one each month to help keep you inspired in the studio with technical tips as well as broad creative strategies, there’s something that should strike a chord with beginners and experienced musicians alike. 

Check out the Ableton “One Thing” series here.

All things Ableton @ Scan.

Native Instruments launches their new “Trutorials” series.

Native Instruments have made public their first series of trick, tips and guides to their ever popular “Komplete” software.

You can check out 12 different quick guides now with tips and tricks for Reaktor, Form, FM8, Replika XT, Rounds, Guitar Rig, Massive, Polyplex, Absynth and more.

These are essential tips and tricks for any and all of you Komplete owners out there.

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/specials/komplete-trutorials/

Universal Audio – Live NAMM Webcasts with Special Guests

Universal Audio are once again webcasting their producer seminars from the Namm show this week over in Anaheim, with special guest sessions from Christian “Leggy” Langdon (The Pierces, Ed Sheeran), Mick Guzauski (Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams), Derek Ali (Kendrick Lamar, Top Dawg Ent), Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton) and UA stalwart Fab Dupont (Jennifer Lopez, Mark Ronson).

Sessions start at 3PM (11PM GMT) Thursday and 1PM (9PM GMT ) at the weekend.

Welcome to UA's NAMM 2016 Landing Page

Session times are as follows.

Fab Dupont
Daily 4.30pm PST  (GMT-8) 

Tracking and Mixing with Next-Generation Apollos (Daily)
Watch producer/engineer Fab demonstrate the next evolution of the Apollo interface and how it can expand your studio and your sound. Featuring the Dede track, “Sun Kissed Lover.”
 
Christian “Leggy” Langdon - Live Tracking with Apollo Twin 
Daily 3.30 / 5.00pm PST
Showcase Apollo Twin and the latest UAD plug-ins.
Featuring the Jasmine Ash track, “Talking.”
 

Mick Guzauski – Recording with Apollo
Thursday 3pm, Friday & Saturday 1pm
Showcase Track with Big Data.
 

Welcome to UA's NAMM 2016 Landing Page

Derek Ali Mixing with Apollo and UAD
Friday & Saturday 3pm
Showcase Track with Kendrick Lamar.
 

Vance Powell Mixing with Apollo and UAD
Sunday 1pm & 3pm
Showcase Track with Chris Stapleton.

Follow this link for the livestream 

Discover The Universal Audio Apollo Range @ Scan

 

Cover Page!

 Congratulations to our own Pete Gardner on reaching the cover page of the prestigious Sound on Sound magazine!
Pete has been a contributor for a while now, but this month, he has put together the definitive version of “What’s the best CPU for todays Audio Production software”.

Pete is one of the most informed guys in the country (probably Europe!) when it comes to attaching things to the innards of a PC, and in this issue he shows all the various benchtests he uses to measure the different CPU’s available.

Sound on Sound is probably the best Audio Production mag available, and if you’re serious about the world of Audio Recording, you should make sure of your subscription now.

Christmas: Old ideas: New Instruments……

 

Old Ideas : New Instruments

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With Christmas fast approaching, many parents look at options for presents for their little darlings, and many of them will consider a musical instrument as parents have done over the ages.

Most everyone knows the benefits of learning an instrument, self discipline, a sense of worth, etc. apart from the very joy of creating music itself, but it may be that the traditional instruments of the past are unlikely to interest your budding DJ/Producer, so check these out….

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ELECTRIBE EMX2 – KORG

 

The electribe has been reborn including KORG’s latest technology distilled from popular products such as the KingKORG, kaossilator, kaoss pad, and taktile. The 200 preset patterns cover House and Techno as well as cutting-edge dance music genres such as Trap and EDM. Another major evolution of the new electribe is support for polyphonic playback, which is indispensable for musical styles that involve complex chord progressions such as House music,
There’s also a “motion sequence” function that lets you record knob and button operations and use them in the pattern that you create. Either drums or synths can now be assigned to each of the 16 parts (i.e., the 16 pads). For example you could create complex rhythms by assigning drums to all of the 16 parts

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It also has a Brother in the…..

Electribe Sampler ESX2 – KORG

The electribe sampler featuring KORG’s latest technology has been reborn with cutting-edge technology inherited from popular KORG products such as the KingKORG, kaossilator, kaoss pad, and taktile. The internal memory lets you save 250 patterns, including preset patterns which are perfect for today’s dance music scene. There’s also support for the polyphonic playback that’s indispensable for styles that include complex chord progressions, such as House music.
An evolved step sequencer
Using the 16 pads placed on the front of the unit, you can create patterns intuitively while actually hearing and seeing the sounds. You can use the pads as a keyboard to realtime-record phrases, and also perform step recording by entering the pitch and rhythmic value one note at a time.

1c2e2895172f6fc5cbc644cd8cdd1122_pcBoth of these are new instruments, as used by Dance producers and DJ’s to produce todays Hits and Dance anthems.
ballsSo where in the past it might have been a Guitar or a Piano or a Saxaphone, nowadays its very likely to be a KORG Electribe unit….. and old idea for Christmas, just new instruments for todays music makers…

Alphasphere Nexus

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Every so often, a product comes along that excites me. It can be for different reasons, sound, control, ’newness’ etc.
This one excites me, frankly because it looks like something Doctor Who might play in his spare time….
So what is it?

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Well, it’s an expressive, electronic musical instrument that is compatible with music production software, allowing you to compose, produce or perform.
The interaction design of the 48 tactile pads allows sound to be triggered and manipulated with subtlety. Each pad is pressure and velocity sensitive and fully compatible with MIDI polyphonic aftertouch.
The AlphaSphere is MIDI compatible, so you can use it in conjunction with all existing music production software. It is also OSC compatible and can be enabled as a controller for lighting and visual applications.
Designed with musicality in mind, a series of logical notational arrangements can be mapped around the spherical hexagonal lattice form, representing a departure from linear musical convention.
Explore the playing surface in combination with the accompanying software AlphaLive to unlock new musical ideas and your create own perfect ergonomic instrument.

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In the end, all you need to know is that you can assign any sounds to any of the pads. It is completely customisable in that respect. After that, The AlphaSphere’s trigger pads feature an elastic surface that adds another dimension of expression over standard drum pads. In addition to playing the pads percussively to trigger drum sounds or samples, you can also hold and massage them with varied degrees of pressure, transmitting polyphonic aftertouch to modulate synth parameters or effects. Also, the note layout of the pads can be customized to a particular musical scale and key, both of which can be chosen from a provided bank
All in all, this is a new MIDI musical instrument, that captures the imagination, and when you finally see it live, it makes you want to play it!

 

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BITWIG!!!! Very new and Very cool…….

So, this week has seen the launch of the first major new player in the world of Digital Audio Workstations in a long, long time.

To be fair, Bitwig launched their Beta quite a while ago, (and I blogged about the promises it offered in terms of collaboration with other users), but it’s been a rocky road for the guys and we’re pleased to be hosting the Shiny new finished product here at Scan Towers tonight as part of our ongoing Webcast series.

Bitwig are promising a fresh look at the DAW, and their heritage suggests that they have the capability to do this very well (ex- members of the original Ableton team remember).

They claim that every new feature in Bitwig was designed by Muscians and is therefore very useful, as opposed to features included by programmers just because they can…

 

WINDOWS, MAC OS X, LINUX

All for one, one for all.

The next generation of software for sound and music creation is available on all three major platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Produce, share, and collaborate from completely different machines. When it comes to which operating system you wish to use with Bitwig Studio, the choice is yours.

1

INTEGRATED USER INTERFACE

Customized workflow to match any style.

Today it’s possible to make music with any DAW. What sets each one apart is workflow, how quickly you can realize your ideas, and the freedom to choose how you produce and perform. In Bitwig Studio, use the Clip Launcher alongside your arrangement to draft your song‘s layout on the fly, or use it exclusively as a performance tool. This is one of many features that demonstrates Bitwig Studio’s seamless integration of multiple views into your workflow as needed, the way you want it.

2

PLUG-IN SANDBOXING

Damage control.

Never again will a single plugin take down your entire project. The “sandboxing” feature built-in to Bitwig Studio ensures plug-in crashes will not interrupt valuable production time, or better yet, your performance on stage. Choose 32-bit, 64-bit, or choose both. No third-party bridging is necessary to run your favorite plugins side-by-side. Bitwig Studio protects your workflow while efficiently running your VSTs for non-stop creativity. 

 

 

3

UNIFIED MODULATION SYSTEM

Modulation redefined.

Modulating one parameter from the next often means losing hands-on control – until now. Bitwig Studio is hard-coded with a Unified Modulation System, allowing you to easily link any device parameter, including nested internal devices and VST plug-ins, without losing hands-on control. Never before has modulating virtually any parameter between devices been so simple. Nothing is locked, so you can manipulate on the fly to find the perfect range of modulation. Make your devices take on a life of their own, create dynamic relationships between sounds, and hear your music begin to breathe.

4

 

OPEN MULTIPLE PROJECTS

Limited to one idea? Think again.

The bassline from your last session could be the missing piece of your current project. The rhythm section in your latest song carries perfectly over to the next. No need to close anything or dig through complex file structures. With Bitwig Studio, open multiple projects at the same time and drag-and-drop between them.

5

 

OPEN CONTROLLER API

Your controller just became a lot smarter.

“Smart controller“ takes on a new meaning in Bitwig Studio. The Open Controller API is accessible not only to you, but also to third party manufacturers for complete integration of your favorite controllers like never before. This feature allows you to freely edit existing control maps direct from the companies that design your controllers, or to easily create your own. Get the most out of your gear with hands-on control of parameters that mean the most to you, and take full advantage of every pad, knob, button, and key at your fingertips.

6

DETAIL EDITOR

Everything in its place.

Bitwig Studio is designed to offer unprecedented flexibility by eliminating boundaries at every step of music creation and performance to give you greater control over your workflow than ever before. The Detail Editor revolutionizes audio editing by allowing you to perform non-destructive editing within a clip, allowing you to stretch, split, pitch, pan, copy, reverse, add, move and re-arrange audio as you wish. Edit multiple tracks in the same view, edit notes using audio as a reference, isolate your view to one clip or expand it to see the everything in the entire track. Consider the Detail Editor your very own limitless creative space.

Go wild.

DYNAMIC OBJECT INSPECTOR

Build up your ideas, faster.

Start with a groove or motif, take the idea that inspires you from the start and quickly transform it into a complete composition. Bitwig Studio introduces new ways to keep up with your inspiration. Take the Dynamic Object Inspector, it allows you to select multiple notes or events and edit them together with an interactive histogram, easily adding variations as you go.

7

 

Included Devices

Made in Berlin.

Each device in Bitwig Studio was designed in-house using a modular system integrated in the application. The modular system will be available to anyone using Bitwig Studio in the future. A simple click will allow you to modify any existing device, or create your own. Our selection of current devices demonstrate the power hidden beneath the hood of Bitwig Studio, where limits are defined by the scope of imagination.8

So Given all of this Wonderfulness, how is it going to be received?

Well, its worth taking a look at our webcast tonight, or looking at the archive on You Tube later, and judge for yourself.

Either way, we’re very excited to be in at the start of this and wish our Bitwig Buddies all the very best for the future.

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Arturia Beatstep……

So, along comes another controller!

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Ahh but………

Arturia’s BeatStep offers a new degree of functionality and performance for a portable pad controller.

BeatStep is highly versatile, capable of triggering clips in such applications as Ableton Live, it also allows you to play drums in conjunction with such applications as BFD or EZDrummer.

BeatStep is also a 16-step analog sequencer for creating all kinds of musical phrases to be sent to analog synthesizers, MIDI drum machines, MIDI keyboard devices, or computer programs. Its vast connectivity allows you to interface BeatStep with a computer or iPAD using USB, a drum module using MIDI or an analog synthesizer equipped with CV/GATE.

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Main Features :

    MIDI controller Mode – RED LED MODE

    Step Sequencer mode – BLUE LED MODE

    16 velocity and pressure sensitive pads

    16 encoders

    16 MIDI Controller presets

    16 Sequence presets

    Works with MIDI Control Center Editor

    Internal and External clocking

    CV outputs

    USB I/O

    MIDI output

    iPAD compatibility (using camera connection kit)

    Transports can send MIDI CC or MMC

    Kensington Lock

    Standalone MIDI or CV operation when powered via standard USB power adaptor

    USB Class compliant (no drivers)

Apollo Twin: Pro Interface for your desktop……

Hokay…..

Universal Audio make some of the worlds best Audio Interfaces, and their plug-ins are legendary (especially here at Scan towers where all the Pro Audio staff use them in their own studios)…. trouble is, that kind of High-end top dollar, professional unit is always out of reach to the humble bedroom studio or recording enthusiast right?

Wrong.

Here comes the Apollo Twin….

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Purpose built for the smaller ‘project’ studio, The Apollo Twin, brings the legendary Universal Audio quality within reach of Mac users everywhere….

With its class-leading resolution and Realtime UAD Processing, Apollo Twin sets a new standard for desktop music production. This 2×6 Mac Thunderbolt interface allows you to record with near-zero latency through the full range of UAD Powered Plug-Ins — ingeniously merging classic analog tones with cutting-edge features.

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They say:

  • World-class 24-bit/192 kHz audio conversion
  • Realtime UAD Processing — track through vintage Compressors, EQs, Tape Machines, and Guitar Amp plug-ins with near-zero latency*
  • New Unison™ technology for stunning models of classic mic preamps**
  • Available with either UAD-2 SOLO or UAD-2 DUO DSP Processing onboard
  • Includes “Realtime Analog Classics” UAD plug-in bundle
  • Thunderbolt connection for blazing-fast PCIe speed on modern Macs
  • 2 premium mic/line preamps; 2 line outs; front-panel Hi-Z instrument input and headphone output
  • Digitally controlled analog monitor outputs for full resolution at all listening levels
  • Uncompromising analog design, superior components, and premium build quality throughout

We say:

With the ability to use the Unison pre-amp modelling technology on the pre-amps, and the comprehensive monitoring facilities, this looks like a real ‘step-up’ for the smaller studio, allowing access to world beating plug-ins, and UA quality hardware.

Apollo-Twin