Electronic Drums

Nowadays electronic drums are more sophisticated than ever, and can prove to be an invaluable tool in the studio. Essentially, they are a controller, sending data about which pad has been struck and how hard, to a ‘brain’ which then triggers a sample. However, the really cool thing about them, is that the data in question can be stored as MIDI data, and recorded into your DAW, allowing you to capture the drummers performance, which can then be edited and applied to different sample sets later, at your leisure.

Drum Kit Thumbnail

But aside from all that, the main advantage is that you can whack the living daylights out of them, and disturb no-one! In your headphones it can sound like the wrath of God, but outside all that will be heard is the clickety clack of your sticks on the pad surface.

Steve's simple guide to Mixing

There are many ways to skin a cat, or so the saying goes. When it comes to mixing down your music each style and genre has a multitude of do’s and do not’s that can help to define a track, but at the heart of the process the are some standard rules you can follow to make the task quicker and easier for yourself. So we present to you a quick guide to mixing your tracks.

Some fundamentals:

1).  Clean up your audio!!!!!!

Seriously, you can save yourself a while heap of trouble and work by cleaning up your tracks before you start to mix. Get your edit tool out and remove all the noises, breaths, crackly guitar leads etc. This will also clean up your working area making it easier to see what’s ahead.

Next, find a reference CD or file that you admire or would like to emulate and listen to that on your system. Listen to the use of space/noise/effects etc.

2) Go out and put the kettle on.

Again, seriously, give yourself some time away from the project. Yours ears get ‘tired’, and tired means you’re gonna miss something.

3). When you finally feel ready to go, listen once more to each individual track or group track, nows the time to add any compression or eq to tracks. In the finished mix we want each instrument or group to hold it’s own within the particular sonic space, If you use too much of one frequency band across a number of tracks, you’ll find it dominates when everything is played back together, so pay particular attention to eq.

4). Ok. Bass and main drums into the centre please. Along with the main vocal, these should remain constant at the centre of your stereo spread. If you’ve recorded your kit correctly, or if your sample /loop is a good one, the drums should naturally assume their correct position, with the snare sitting slightly to the right, and the toms spreading R to L as they would with a real drummer. Make sure the cymbals aren’t too loud.

5). Now add the rhythm guitars, panned as they would be on stage, around 30 points left or right.

6).  Next we want synths, strings, pads, all the stuff that ‘engulfs’ the sonic space. We need to blend these instruments ‘around’ the existing ones, so that each can be heard clearly. At this point, check your reverbs. Do you have different reverb lengths for your instruments? If so, are any of them clashing i.e. Does the reverb sound consistent. Is it believable that all these instruments were in the same space at the same time?

7).  Next we want solo instruments like lead guitars or pianos or brass. See these as being layered ‘over’ the mix you have just created, and pay attention to the panning i.e. Horns usually come from the back and sides, lead guitars are usually panned 30 points L or R.

8).  Finally, vocals hard centre. Backing vox 10 points left and right.

Vocals are the most emotive instrument in any song. Make sure they’re balanced well against the backing, that harmonies “support” rather than challenge the lead vocal, and now, a very important rule.

Wherever you’ve set the reverb on the vocal track, Back it off a bit!

Seriously, again, this simple rule will stand you in good stead time and time again.

9) OK. Walk away.

Once again, rest your ears. Before the final mix, take a walk outside, let your ears re-align themselves with normal everyday sounds and sound levels. Give it at least 20 mins for your ears to reset.

10). There is no 10.

You’re on your own. Mixing is a skill and an art. Trust your ears. Burn a mix. Take it somewhere else to listen to it i.e. A boom box or car radio system. Be critical……it’s gonna be a long night……..

Jam Hub

Jam Hub is designed to be a simple solution to a the problem facing many bands of finding a rehearsal space unlikely to disturb those around them. A Jam Hub module along with a complete set of headphones will allow you to rehearse anywhere without the worry of noise bleed annoying your neighbors.

The problem has always been that gathering musicians and instruments together for a rehearsal or jam, is the noise level. Things usually start off ok, but once people get into their music, they tend to turn up a bit, and before long a simple rehearsal at home ends up at full concert volume.

Jam Hub allows a group of musicians to rehearse together in relative silence.

All you need to do is pick which colour section you want, plug your instrument in, put on your headphones and get playing.

Each musician has control over the volume of the other instruments in his/her particular mix, and therefore you do away with the volume wars.

Playing music with other people is one of the greatest things about being a musician, and Jam Hub gives you the freedom to do it in rooms where noise would otherwise be a problem.

Jam Hub Homepage

Guitar Rig 5

GUITAR RIG 5

Guitar Rig 5 is the latest in Native Instruments guitar amp modelling software. It features 2 new models, namely “Van51” and “HotSolo+” which are both pretty full on types of heavy overdrive based distortion. It features a new classic compressor model, the reverb “vintage verb” with various plate and spring emulations, a new convolution reverb,  an analog-modeled 8-band filterbank, the new “stereo tune” chorus, and a unique “Resochord” harmonizer.

A cool new feature is the “Control Room pro” model, a speaker emulator allowing up to 8 cabinets to be combined at a any one time. You can mix and match from 27 cabinets and 16 types of microphone, you have control over mic placement and room sound, and I can’t think anyone could need more than that, no matter how “experimental” you wanted to get.

For those of you who want to integrate Guitar Rig 5 further into your production, it also has a new side chaining function which can be assigned to any stereo input.

Finally, there is a new feature called “container” which allows the creation of FX chains that are easy to create and recall for live work.

And speaking of live work, check out the controller pedal/audio interface.

A proper robust piece of kit that performs incredibly well.

 

http://www.native-instruments.com/

The Breedlove Difference

Each Atlas Series Instrument has been designed and engineered by Kim Breedlove. With a strong art background and refined design sense, Kim Breedlove acquired the tools, the training and a keen interest in building guitars, mandolins, banjos and other fine instruments in 1974. At a very young age he entered the elite level of producing legendary quality instruments and has dedicated his life to this masterful artistic endeavor.

Atlas guitars feature many of the design principles from Breedlove’s custom shop including Breedlove scalloped bracing, pinless bridge and JLD Bridge Truss System.

 

 

The body shapes are similar to the custom shop offerings for deep body styles with non cutaways and soft cutaways. The bridge, fingerboard and peghead overlay on each model are made from Indian Rosewood.

The playability has been changed to a slightly narrower nut width 1-11/16 in., but each has the same low string height for fast comfortable playing. D’Addario EXP11 light gauge coated strings are comfortable, last a long time and have a full sound.

Fishman Classic IV Pickups are on all cutaway models. These are easy to use, reliable and sound great. Each Atlas Series instrument has passed the strict quality assurance process in Bend, Oregon, USA. Breedlove has reached these amazing prices by creating a high quality system to produce these exact models and specifications.

The Breedlove Difference

The Breedlove tone is an outcome of the way they brace their tops. All of their guitars have tops voiced both before and after the braces are applied. They utilize a modern bridge truss device (patented by J.L.D. Guitar Research) that counterbalances the string tension on the top of the guitar. Does this mean Breedlove guitars lose the ability to vibrate well? Just the opposite. In the past, building a guitar top has required trade-offs between sturdiness for longevity, and lightness for resonance. Due to the increased structural integrity of the bridge truss, Breedlove is able to brace their tops for optimal vibration and sound quality. This creates what they call a relaxed top. You will also notice the back of their guitars vibrate more than other guitars. The result is a responsive guitar with rich bass, balanced mids, sweet highs, and a remarkable balance of sound when playing notes up the fingerboard.

A guitar where the strings pass over the nut and then angles sharply towards the tuner posts has added dampening, which causes loss in sustain. So Breedlove designed their peghead so the strings between the tuners and the nut are parallel to the rest of the string. Then they have the Breedlove Pinless Bridge. Why drill 6 holes through a part of the guitar that needs stability?

And so finally, all these little innovations and variations become the Breedlove difference. Do yourself a big favour and check one out today.

 

 

Breedlove guitars are available from our ProAudio shop.

Breedlove Hompage

Scan Pro Audio Jam @ London International Technology Show

Our attendence at this years LITS show went down well with the Scan stand having exclusive first play throughs of BF3, Overclocking master classes the epic 3XS Swordfish system and most importantly for the audio guys hands on with some tasty kit and plenty of demo’s being performed by our team.

On the last day we attempted something a bit different by hooking everything up we had to hand and getting into a a 3 way jam session. So here’s the resulting video footage of Tom, Steve and DJ Rasp doing getting to grips with using iMaschine, Serato Itch on the Numark NS6 and Guitar Rig 5 at the London International Technology Show.

Tom's Guide to Acoustics (Without Breaking The Bank)

An introductory guide to getting the best out of your studio environment, when recording and mixing down your tracks. The guide covers speaker placement and the basics of using acoustic treatment to defuse the sonic reflections in the room and make the task of critical listening whilst mixing far easier.

Steinberg CMC Controllers

Last weekend whilst having a hunt round the BPM show at the NEC we came upon our friends at Steinberg and their wonderful little CMC series controllers. You can pick and choose from a number of cheap and cheerful units to make up your very own dream control panel. With that in mind and a view to populate his own x-mas wants list even further our Tom sat down with Andrew from Steinberg and had him take us through the options available.

Steinberg Homepage

Scan Audio Open Day 24/09/11

Many thanks to all those that made it down for our open day last Saturday making it a great success. The theatre area was set up and demos, training sessions and Q&A’s took place throughout the day with Ableton production and remixing sessions being popular and the showmanship of Dj Rasp entertaining all between the seminars themselves.

If you missed out this time watch the site for futher announcements as we have another being planned before the end of the year.

 

Dj Rasp
Dj Rasp - Record crate digging for the 21st century

 

Statelapse Q&A
Luke Statelapse and Tom Autobot dissect a Dubstep Remix.

 

Simon 1 on 1
Simon gives a 1 on 1 Ableton talk through.