Scan Pro Audio Day – 26/11/11

On the upcoming Saturday the 26th we have another of our ever popular Scan audio open days.

This time around alongside the opportunity of catching tutorials from our team we also have Andy from Steinberg giving us the low down on all the new kit from them including the CMC controller series. We also have Tom giving us the lowdown on his recent Youtube chart topper (with 2 million listens to date) rmx of the Modestep track “To the Stars” with Break the Noize, Dj Rasp will be giving some one on one’s about scratching technique and Simon Lyon will be giving more one on one time with Ableton.

A full line up for the day:

11.00am Ableton Live
Simon Lyon aka The Ruthless Producer introduces Ableton Live. During this session, Simon will take you on a tour of Abletons features and show how easy it is to build tracks from scratch
12.00pm Mixing
DJ Rasp shows off the tricks and skills needed to be a top DJ. Rasp will demonstrate some of the basic skills you need to scratch and mix your way to DJ Nirvana
1.00pm Steinberg demo
Andy from Steinberg with all things Steinberg and he shows off the new CMC controllers. Q&A session to follow.
2.00pm Studio Secrets
Tom from “The Autobots” shares some of his studio secrets behind his and fellow Scan endorsees “Break the Noize” remix of Modestep’s “To The Stars” that has received over 2,000,000 YouTube plays.
2.30pm Guitar Rig 5 session
Does Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 spell the end for guitar amps in the studio? Steve Fairclough takes you on a tour of this awesome amp modelling software.
3.00pm Prize Draw !

Sign ups for the day can be found on the main Scan site here.

Altered Tunings…..

Altered Tunings:

Whenever I play a clinic or concert, people are always fascinated to know how difficult it is to play in altered Tunings, and why would anyone want to do it?

So here are some answers…..

It’s not difficult if you’re prepared to concentrate. That’s it. End of.

And why would you do it? Because altered Tunings give your Imagination a kick in the pants, they stimulate your creativity, and they sound great. Big expansive ‘Piano Type’ chords, that you just can’t get any other way on a guitar.

From the Top:

Probably the easiest and best known alternative tuning is to simply de-tune your bottom E string down a tone to a D.

Known as “Drop D“, this tuning crops up everywhere from Classical to Country and even Hard rock. Just try playing a big ‘ole D chord with that bottom string ringing out!

Next up:

Next up for me would have to be DADGAD. Probably the best known alternate tuning, it has a distinctive Celtic sound all of it’s own. Tune the strings exactly as they’re written with the Bottom E string tuning down to D, the A,D & G strings staying put and finally the B string down to A and the Top E down to a D.

DADGAD brings it’s own rewards if you set out to master it. Some players like Pierre Bensusan play in no other tuning.

Try tuning to DADGAD and then playing some regular open chord shapes. Listen to the strange exotic ‘Jazz’ type altered chords it gives you….

Here’s. Few regular chords in DADGAD for you to be getting on with…..

Open D:

Probably the next best known tuning, and one that’s very simple to get to from DADGAD is open D or DADF#AD where the G string is dropped half a tone to a F#.

If DADGAD is seen as Irish or European, then this is surely synonomous with the USA.

Just try sliding a bottleneck up your open strings, and you’ll hear the basis of every desert highway scene you ever saw.

Open D Minor:

Drop the F # to an F natural, and you have the Open D minor tuning.

A weird one:

One of my own favourites, and pretty rarely used is this….. EAC#EBE.

I have nothing to say about this tuning except that when I discovered it, I wrote a tune for my wife, which is probably about the most requested tune I play. It’s called Lana’s Garden, and it’s here……

Open G:

DGDGBD is the way you get to open G.

Again, I always associate it with the USA, as many Blues and Rags were written using it.

If you drop the B to a Bflat, you get Open G minor, which is also very interesting and one that I use here……..

C Tunings:

Drop C is basically just Drop D but with each string tuned a further tone down giving you CGCFAD, Open C however is much richer and gives you a lovely open C chord


Finally, if you drop the E string to an Eflat you get Open C Minor.

I hope these tuning ideas inspire you, give them a try and see what music you make…

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 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.

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.