Wednesday, 30 May 2007

cc - week 11 - meta synth montage goodness

_____This week we were introduced to the metasynth montage room.[1] Basically what I wanted last week.______

I got a bit more into the image synth.
Analysing a sound I made, and then using the selection/transfer tool to select areas and then drag/copy around using the different possibilities (additive, subtractive, erase etc).
And the selection of either left, right or left and right (can't remember the boolean symbols :) made for good stereo processing.

I had a brief toy with the image filter, spectrum synth and sequencer but enjoyed the image synth/effect room so much more that I did the bulk of my processing in these rooms.
Again the graphical editing of parameters over time, was very pleasant!!

The montage room was also fun, although possibly a bit budget in some respects (unless it was all user ignorance :). A global pan for the entire channel for example.
I still found it quite challenging to do what I consider very simple tasks such as eliminating the pop/click at the end of some rendered samples. Using studio 2 made it necessary to do this in the montage room and zoom/scrolling takes a bit of getting used to, and the fade outs also. Hence there's still at least one click in the finished product.
I also didn't work out if there was a way to change the effects on a channel over time either.

cc week 11.mp3

Getting it to an mp3 was a bit of a challenge in studio 2, but sort of worked out how to use soundflower !!

[1] Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 11 lecture. University of Adelaide, 24 May 2007.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

aa - week 11 - eskimo joe

Mix a bit of an eskimo joe track.[1]

This was quite fun, but felt kind of cheating - having all the recording done and everything was presented quite neatly.

I went through and did 3 mixes, then i checked again my reference files (metallica - battery, chris isaak - wicked game), then realised i was lacking a bit of low end.. to a certain extent i can blame the sounds themselves - straight up the bass was not as low as my reference tracks, so when i mixed into a decent level there was lacking of low end...

Then I went through and did them again.

Mono mix - I found that certain sounds were imbalanced in the mix straight - ie needed work (eg bass and the outro rhythym guitar), so I mixed them to an aesthetic of quality rather than level.
This was the easiest and most straight forward, it sounds quite good and reminds me of AM radio.

stereo mix - I re-stereoised the sounds, panned a few other things a little bit. I noticed that I'd mixed the accoustic guitar too loud, but because it was quite stereo it was still quite transparent.

eq mix - HPF on the OH's, made the snare a bit snappier, gave the straight kick more room for eq. Got rid of annoying tone in rhythym gtr. I really got a bit annoyed with the vocals and had to automate the levels a little (picture below shows volume trim). Would have like to compress the bass, it's a bit all over the place. No eq on the accoustic, I really liked it as it was.. in retrospect it would have been good to at least have had a fiddle - it is quite big.
Just listening back to it in headphones, it does sound the most "commercial" of the three.

I did really miss having faders, one mouse does make it a bit harder. Maybe next week, just for fun, I'll try some subgrouping and use the real desk :)

[1] Fieldhouse, Steve. Mix. University of Adelaide, 15 May 2007.

Stavrou, Michael.
"Chapter 11 - The Art of Mixing". Mixing with your mind. Flux Research Pty Ltd, Mosman, Australia, 2004.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

f - week 9 - construction/deconstruction

Another week another forum.

First up, the magic formula for a hit song... as Freddy read from Michael Stavrou, get a big pile of songs, compare and work out what they all have compared to non-hits... magic ...
Hit songs my arse, I don't write songs so I don't care (I compose pieces :).

Next up, Dragos played some tunes and pointed out various techniques of construction. Techno - start with a sound, add another etc.... at some point pull some out, then end - or something like that.

Thirdly, Matt Mazone presented an add he'd done sound/music for and how he'd constructed it. The most interesting of the lot. And that's all I've got to say about it.

I think I'm getting quite bored of forum.. it's really quite uninteresting. ho hum.
oh well, I'm sure there's worse things to do on a thursday.

One thing I'm getting quite annoyed at, is low quality mp3's being played at us - what's the story ?
Although I do enjoy myself listening to the fluttering around the hi hats and other constant trebly sounds - one day I'll work out what the encoding is doing and then I'll be happy :)

[1] “Music Technology Forum – Week 9 – Construction/Deconstuction”. University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 10 May 2007.
presented by Freddy May, Dragos Nastasi, Matt Mazone.

cc - week 10 - meta synth

week 10 - use metasynth.[1]

Very nice piece of software. Annoying edit interface, although I'm sure it will get easier.

This weeks piece is amusingly the first one I felt I had little control over the end product. The editing is very crude and abrupt. I'm hoping that by using the mix and merge features it may smooth it out.

I mostly enjoyed the effects room. The stereo echo, pan and pitch, harmonise and harmonics were most enjoyable. Not to say the others weren't :)
Quite enjoyed the stereo factors, being able to draw and seperate dramatically. And the ability to effectively automate parameters !! I have previously spent so much time effecting tiny consecutive sections of files with tiny consecutive parameter changes.

Rendering was where the editing was a bit annoying, no tails. I am used to being able to either multitrack so long decays can be merged on seperate tracks, or having more obvious paste/mix features. Wasn't able to work out how to do this easily, potentially I was too focused on trying to do it all on one screen and would have found it easier with multiple files going on.

The image synth is quite interesting, I spent a while playing with it but didn't use it much for the final product.
The rendering to a new shorter file was a bit annoying - but a bit of render, copy, undo then paste sort of worked. Again not being able to layer was annoying (although the more I write this the more annoyed I get at myself for not working it out).
I enjoyed a bit of brush work, but need more learning of the grid to make more coherent sounds i think.

This weeks piece ; cc week 10.mp3.

[1] Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 10 lecture. University of Adelaide, 17 May 2007.

Monday, 21 May 2007

aa - week 10 - recording of the drums

WHINE WHINE WHINE : I've just spent an hour and a half trying to upload files. 672kb worth. Problems with authentication. Whenever a sample is in the process of travelling, I have to reauthenticate with my student id/password, then firefox freezes, then I have to use the task manager to kill the process - etc. Internet Explorer wouldn't even get that far....
Hence now that I'm going to write my blog, I'm grumpy and have much less time so it may be a bit short and sparse (apart from the whine that is ).
Also have noticed that some sounds missed normalising, and the loops aren't really that loopy (blame it on ProTools).
I'll attempt to neaten it all up over the next couple of days when time is once again leisurely.

WARNING : all the mp3's are on one external page, it's the best I could manage :)

This weeks' task was to record a drum kit[1].
Went for a minimal microphone setup. 6 microphones.

Shure 52A Beta on the kick, 56A Beta on the snare. Two Neumann Km-84's as overheads (spaced about 3' apart pointing down at roughly the snare and floor tom). Two Nemann U87's set up about 12' in front using MS stereo technique.
I had fun mixing these down. Eq on all mics except the MS stereo. Listening back, even the close mic has a pleasing amount of space. I quite enjoy the bigger looser sounds, lo-fi. Although I might have gone a bit overboard on "s dm 2 no sd.mp3", at least in regard to adding other sounds.

e dm 1.mp3
A mixture of all mics, just a little spacious. No compression.

s dm 1 no room.mp3

The "close" mics, shows a bit of space t from the overheads. Compression, perhaps a bit much.

s dm 2 no sd.mp3
Same loop as above. No snare mic, lots of room, quite a wide sound. Compression.

s dm 3 no sd.mp3
No snare mic, quite similar to above. Compression.
s dm 4 no comp.mp3
Mix of all mics, no compression. The crash has a really nice stereo decay. The toms sound a little thin but not unpleasant, perhaps a little out of context compare to the big sound of the rest of the kit.

snare above.mp3
snare below.mp3 :
Here the mic is alternatively positioned above and below the snare. Below has bugger all decay, the samples features one snare hit followed by 2 kicks, demonstrates how the snare will buzz to other sounds.
Above also shows the spill from the hi hats.

The kick drum mic was placed just inside the hole, did try the mic outside for 1 take. When i neaten this up I'll add an example of the two kick sounds.
The one outside was much brighter/thinner, I preferred the inner sound and moved it back in.

[1] Fieldhouse, Steve. Drum kit recording technique. University of Adelaide, 15 May 2007.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

CC - week 9 - further sounds and the sampler

More sampling goodtimes.

The quest this week: to further explore processing techniques to enhance our sound libraries, and create a soundscape using Reason and the NN-19 sampler module.[1]

I used my own voice as the sample source and manipulated it in ProTools, Peak, SoundHack and Fscape.

I've got to admit to finding Peak a fairly annoying program to use. Today I couldn't work out how to change the audio settings, I could not get a sound from Peak in studio 5 :( And also had trouble with ProTools not bouncing down sounds. It would go through the motions, create a file name in appropriate folder, do some thinking, then delete file - very odd, and only for some sounds....which did make some rather neat sounds not happen :(

In our lecture, Christian showed us a rather nifty technique that I quite enjoyed playing with.
Gate a signal, mix it with a phase inverted copy of ungated signal and then you have an anti-gate, whatever is above the threshold is removed.

Lots of cutting/pasting in ProTools, using multiple tracks/busses. Reversing, compressing, phase inverting, delays, reverbs, time stretching.
Also a lot more stereo imaging as a result of using multiple tracks for editing. I did have to limit myself, or individual samples could well have ended up as tracks in themselves.

Here are a couple of fun sounds. sound 11.mp3 reverse other.mp3

With Peak not making sound, I didn't use any loop points in any samples this week. Nor did I set key regions.
Once I'd imported the sounds into Reason, it stacked the sounds alphabetically and was quite easy to give them a neat key range to fit all sounds onto one stretch of the keyboard.
The looping however proved to be a bit limited. I think as a result I ended up with a lot of pitched down sounds, looooonnnnngggg and with new interesting artifacts :)

Final track. cc week9.mp3

[1] Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 9 lecture. University of Adelaide, 10 May 2007.

Monday, 14 May 2007

aa - week 9 - bass guitar

EDIT: i've just updated file links AGAIN.
so sorry, i am bloody annoyed. If they still don't work, here is the folder they're all in.17 may 2007

This week’s assignment. Record a bass guitar[1].

I went into the studio with Freddie May and Ben Cakebread using the pictured bass and amp.

The signal from the bass guitar was split by the Behringer DI, with one signal going into ProTools and the other into the bass amp. The amp was mic’d using a Shure Beta52A about ½ inch away from the amp aligned to the center of the speaker cone, and an AKG C414 was placed about 5 ft away in the direct path of the speaker. The C414 was routed through the Avalon pre-amp, then via a bus to a compressor.

We also patched the bass through the junction box so as to play in the control room.

The first 3 samples were recorded simultaneously.

f b 1 Beta52A.mp3 - Shure Beta52A

f b 1 C414.mp3 - AKG C414

fb 1 DI.mp3 - Behringer DI

The two mics captured the preferable sound, this I assume was because of the amp settings which coloured the sound quite strongly compared to the direct signal. Suggesting that eqing the DI could result in a good sound.

The Beta52A is much clearer and crisper. The C414 has a much roomier/muddier sound which would sound better in a looser spacier setting, the compression also reveals itself to be a bit too strong – more noticeably in the next recordings.

The next two samples are also simultaneous recordings.

f b 2 Beta52A.mp3. The C414 has very noticeable compression.

f b 2 C414. Mp3. Again the Beta52A has the crisper/clearer sound.

These recordings show that recording effected signal can be problematic. The compression settings which were good for one moment, were not good for later moments. Messing about with the bass and not playing consistently made for to much variation pre-compressor.

Overall I think the Beta52A had a good sound direct to recording, capturing the tone and extra buzzing very nicely (I like the buzzing).

[1] Fieldhouse, Steve. Electric guitar recording technique. University of Adelaide, 08 May 2007.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

f - week 8 - gender in

Another week on the issue of Gender in Music Technology.
Really quite a loose interpretation of the subject.

Kraftwerk[1], de-gendering music. That's like saying looking at something through a window removes you as a subjective interpreter. Just because you use a machine doesn't really remove your input, and just because it sounds like a machine doesn't mean it was created by a machine.

Freddie Mercury and Queen[2]. Never really noticed that the band name was slang for gay, quite amusing how one can just not notice something. Bring back the court of Louis XIV and let's all wear wigs and makeup :)

Pink vs. Eminem[3]. It was mentioned last week that love songs transcend the gender boundary[3a], people still will buy a love song about the same sex as the purchaser.
Well, Eminem is a tad rude perhaps, and I don't know his demographic. But he generally has quite nice backing music, and a good sense of rhythym - that's really the only thing I enjoy him for (not that I actually own any - of course not).
I don't really listen to Pink, so maybe she sells as a role model. Kylie will always be Charlene, and the buying public know it (she hasn't managed to make it in the US).

I also presented[4]. My point, in case anyone missed it. We are all suckers for what our minds tell us, and if it tells us that Music Technology is cool then it is :)
More affirmative action can only help the situation of imbalance, so I'm in favour of it.
I also wanted to get into the Jungian collective unconscious, and archetypes but didn't quite get excited enough :)

[1] Leffler, Bradley. “Music Technology Forum – Week 8 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 03 May 2007.

[2] Cakebread, Ben. “Music Technology Forum – Week 8 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 03 May 2007.

[3] Gadd, Laura. “Music Technology Forum – Week 8 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 03 May 2007.

[3a] Morris, Jake.
“Music Technology Forum – Week 8 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 26 April 2007.

[4] Kelly, Edward. “Music Technology Forum – Week 8 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 03 May 2007.

cc - week 8 - fscape soundhack and the nn-19

Get some vocal sounds and process through Fscape and SoundHack[1], easier than it sounds.

Fscape took me a while to be able to effect sounds. I wonder why that open option in the menu exists ? I couldn't get it to work.
I also noticed a few sounds generated with one of the effects (something to do with Bloss) created a bit of serious DC offset - and Peak doesn't deal with that (ProTools does :).

Didn't really understand what SoundHack or Fscape were doing. Just twiddled settings until a product was settled upon.
They do seem quite interesting and look forward to more fun with them.

When editing files,I am used to using 1 and 2 to navigate to beginning/end of selection, am yet to work out how to in Peak. Makes it a tad unwieldy when looping not being able to jump around.

Got a bit more into the sample settings in the NN-19. Root key, key range and level. Last week everything worked straight up, this weeks sounds enjoyed it !!

Apart from that the sampler was pretty much like last week, set it up similarly (velocity and mod wheel modulating filter, fader modulating amp env release, bit of delay and compression), but used a bit of LFO on the filter (BPF again) this time AND found the pitch modulation !! I did cut the whammy out because it went to about 1.5 minutes, too long :( Still can't believe I missed it last week.

Track: cc week 8.mp3

Screen shot.

Shows pitch info, velocity, amp env release and pitch modulation. Some sort of proof I whammied it up :)

[1] Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 7 lecture. University of Adelaide, 03 May 2007.

f - week 7 - gender in

Gender in Music Technology - can you tell the difference.

Not a topic for the faint hearted. The presentations on this subject probably reveal more about the people presenting than the earlier subjects, also make me realise that I'm almost old compared to most of the others in the forum :)

The presentations varied from"I'm not a feminist"[1] to "why should you tell the difference"[2]. With a quick stop via Homo Erectus, with the women staying in the cave [3].
Oh, not to forget the interesting variation of hard mastery vs. soft mastery [4], this I found the most interesting.
Women are more associated with soft, and men hard. Ha , yin and yang. Here the truth of the taoist philosophy of yin and yang proves itself again. In the heart of yin there is yang, and in the heart of yang there is yin. There is no actual dualism, there are no truths'. Sure gender gives major inclinations to societal roles but there are always exceptions.

And by the way, seemingly like almost everyone else who has posted a blog on this, I muchly enjoy Bjork !!

[1] Amy Sincock. “Music Technology Forum – Week 7 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 26th April 2007.

[2] Jacob Morris. “Music Technology Forum – Week 7 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 26th April 2007.

[3] Douglas Loudon. “Music Technology Forum – Week 7 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 26th April 2007.

[4] Probert, Ben . “Music Technology Forum – Week 7 – Gender in Music Technology, can you tell the difference?”. Forum Presentation, University of Adelaide, Schultz building. 26th April 2007.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

aa - week 8 - electric guitar

EDIT : I've had problems with the host for the files on this page, it's sort of fixed (I think) but am generally not impressed with them.

So, recording the electric guitar. That horrible overused tool of mayhem and boredom...

Set up the house amp, moved it around to a "nice" location.
Moved around listening to the amp, it's amazing how much different it sounds when you're listening in front of the speaker vs. above. All those high frequencies that travel straight.

3 microphones, AKG C414, Shure SM57, Sennheiser 421.
Set up the 3 mics to record simultaneously.

Put the SM57 and 421 pointed diagonally just inside the rim of the speaker. Steve saying he enjoyed that area[1], and me finding no better.

The 414 about 4 1/2' out and 1.5' above the center of the speaker. I had some issue with phase, moved it around for a while and couldn't find a spot without obvious phase problems. I got around this by deciding it wasn't a problem :) I recognised a particular metal sound generated by this phasing.

Patched everything so I could play from the control room.

Screenshot shows 4 takes, 3 microphones.

Take 1.mp3 : funny looking Roland midi guitar. No midi, lots of whammy. Mixture of the 3 mics, compression.

Take 2.mp3 : same guitar, same whammy. Mixture of the 3 mics, compression

Take 3.mp3 : the strat style guitar, neck pickup, bit of eq, a bit of compression, using the two dynamic mics.
Just noticed what sounds like a bit of delay, mmm no delay, so must be sick technique !!

Take 4.mp3 : the strat, bridge pickup, bit of eq, no compression, mixture of the 3 mics.
The thinnest sound of the lot, emphasised this.

All the sounds have their relative merits.
The differences in sound are down to technique, guitar and amp settings. And post production :)

[1] Fieldhouse, Steve. Electric guitar recording technique. University of Adelaide, 01 May 2007.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

cc - week 7 - NN-19 sampler

This weeks task was to "create a performance instrument that uses samples manipulated from voice",[1] using the NN-19 sampler module featured in Reason Adapted.

Using a wave editor to create samples was a genuine pleasure, really takes the hard work out of looping. No more little LCD screens!!

Importing into the NN-19 was all good, automap worked great - oh so easy (once I remembered how to do it :).

Then to get some control happening over the sampler.
Modulating the filter with velocity and the mod wheel was easy.
Getting the amplitude release to listen to the Novation was a bit of a pain
- on my first session I spent a bit of time playing with the buttons, then reading the manual, but couldn't find how to change the controllers other than using templates. So I scrolled through the templates, using the override mapping to listen for useable controller info, until I found a template and a fader that were useful....
Then on my second session, whomever had been on the computer before had the Novation setup on the User preset, which just worked fine straight up.

That was it really, routed the sampler through the compressor (kept the resonance under control), and a bit of delay and reverb - Bob's your finished product..
sample #1 010407.mp3

here's a picture of the NN-19

Heres a picture of the sequencer window, showing velocity and the amplitude release automation.

I could have spent longer getting that particular setup under control, with more tweaking of the samples, sampler and the Novation controllers and really done some aesthetic magic.
What I would have liked to do is setup each sample on it's own sampler, and then mapped out the keyboard accordingly - this would have given me far greater control over the individual sounds rather than only 1 envelope for all sounds etc.
But that for me is the general problem with Reason, it uses too much of an archaic form, mapped on outdated forms. The flexibility I desire is lacking (that based upon minimal use of Reason 1, and this "adapted" version).

[1] Haines, Christian. Creative Computing week 7 lecture. University of Adelaide, 26 april 2007.