AUD210 (Studio 1) Week 11 & 12 – When Deadlines Approach (Project 2) + Copyright Research

warning

It’s really true

I’ve been slacking off when it comes to my blogging, leaving everything until the last minute due to over-analysing the situations and making out that I have a lot more work than I actually do… It’s discouraging, and while the project is so close to completion I feel like I’m still so far away from a pass. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself, but it’s something I’ll still have to keep working at in order to have a more constant online presence, versus a sporadic one.

Personally though I would rather do a massive update at the end of a project – in the form of perhaps a “making of” documentary… Huh, now that’s an idea I could save for a later trimester.

I spent the last half of Week 11 working on my presentation material for the final project 2 presentations. Flash forward to the second half of week 12 and I’ve crammed all of my blogging that I should have done earlier into what little time I have left in the effort to get something a little more than a pass.

The presentations that Campbell and I gave went well, and we received very positive comments on the tracks (it was the first time we had shown the audience snippets of both Undercut and Miniband). However they weren’t the final mixes – they were the versions where I had just done the drum edits and bounced out the files specifically for the presentation. I do not have them on SoundCloud as I’m running out of space on my account and I could use the space I have left for a finished product over a work in progress.

Campbell is planning to finish the mixes over the weekend, which is just after the deadline but I think it should be fine for me to still get a Credit – as long as I talk about my intentions in regards to where we will distribute the EP and why, right?

cover-art

So this cover art was just something I threw together for the final presentation at first, but I feel like it has stuck, and I really like that there’s three colours behind the logo, because each colour could represent a track on the EP. It’s unclear at the moment whether or not we will keep the working titles or think of new titles for the songs.

After a few texts with Campbell we agreed that we’ll be uploading the EP to BandCamp, with a price of $0 or pay what you want. In addition to that, I will also use the strategy I used for my side project Mephisto – upload ‘Big Boss‘ to SoundCloud with a link to download the track from my theartistunion.com page. Eventually I will upload the other songs as well, but for now I’ll only upload Big Boss. I’ll probably make it a monthly thing to keep people interested in the EP for a while before I release anything else from, say, my solo album that’s in the works. We’re also going to be receiving the final version of the visualisation from Shannara over the weekend, and I’ll be uploading that to my YouTube channel, and since I’ve almsot got 3.5k subscribers on there, my fans are bound to see it and love it, considering the genre is not unlike the bands that I listen to and use in mashups.

Uploading stuff to theartistunion.com is a good strategy and especially for our working demographic. We’re trying to target online users that follow publishers such as Trap City, Electrostep Network, UKF Dubstep, Monstercat, etc.

Our age demographic is both genders from age 16-30. We feel that this age range probably contains the most amount of avid dubstep & metal fans in the ‘age of the internet’.

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What about copyright?

I recently created an audio asset for a film student that my lecturer managed to get me in contact with. His brief was that he wanted something in between ‘Time Of My Life‘ from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and The Black Eyed Peas’ attempt to modernise it – ‘The Time (Dirtybit)‘.

I essentially created a one minute long remix of the Black Eyed Peas’ version that was somewhat tamer and not as in your face as their version was. It only took one revision where I tweaked a few things to fit the opening animation and he was completely happy with it. When he uploaded the full thing to YouTube, I noticed that he had a copyright disclaimer in the description, which reads:

“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for ‘fair use’ for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

Now I bolded “teaching” because I feel like if this were a real world project, outside of the educational realm, this would definitely get slammed for copyright infringement – I did not ask permission of the original copyright holder to remix the song.

As a ‘YouTube Remixer’ this is a problem I’ve faced before with many strikes & blocked videos. It will benefit me to evaluate what exactly it is I own out of the Hesher X Intensity EP.

According to Music Rights Australia, there are 4 possible ways you can own copyright in an audio recording:

  • If you composed the music.
  • If you wrote the lyrics for the song.
  • If you performed it live.
  • If you were partly or fully responsible for the recording of audio for the song.

In Campbell and I’s case, I was the one who had fundamentally written the songs, and we got Dismay to feature in on the recording process, in which they stuck to the guitar parts we had written, but also came up with their own drum parts as well (the MIDI mockup drums were not followed 100%).

We are allowed to split the copyright ownership however we like, so it will probably be 50% me, 30% Campbell, and 10% each for the two members of Dismay, for each track.

According to Edward R. Hearn, “in the event one of the collaborating songwriters is a member of a band and the other is not, the collaborator who is a member of the band will have the authority to allow the band to rehearse and perform the collaborated song in live concerts and to record the song for release on phonorecords.”

So really, we should be trying to get Dismay some gigs. And who knows, maybe we will. Campbell and I have already been promoting this EP a lot on social media, and Campbell has even reached out to people he knows in the industry.

This project overall has definitely been up to standard with regards to our project plan. A few milestones were not met by their specified dates, but this project has still been a success. In light of spending time trying to organise Nana Nangz and parting ways with them, we were under a lot of pressure to deliver a project with the same targeted learning outcomes, with two less weeks to do it in.

I’d say Campbell and I have done a fantastic job with this project, and he’s been a pleasure to work with. I’m looking forward to Studio 2 where I’ll be taking on even more projects.

References

Hearn, E. R. (2012, October, 11) Collaborator/Songwriter Agreements [Web Article] Retrieved 9th December, 2016, from http://www.internetmedialaw.com/articles/collaborator-songwriter-agreements/

Music Rights Australia (2012, July ,6) Copyright FAQs [Web Article] Retrieved 9th December, 2016, from http://www.musicrights.com.au/antipiracy/what-is-copyright/

Obringer, L. A. (2003, May, 24) How Music Royalties Work [Web Article] Retrieved 9th December, 2016, from http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/music-royalties2.htm

 

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AUD210 (Studio 1) Week 11 & 12 – When Deadlines Approach (Project 2) + Copyright Research

AUD210 (Studio 1) Slow Country (Case Study #3)

Introduction

This case study is a critical analysis of a song by Gorillaz entitled “Slow Country“. It will aim to break down the song in terms of tempo, pitch, structure, instrumentation, interest, and the use of dynamic, spectral, and time domain processing to better understand how the song recording was constructed and produced.

Overview

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  • Song title: Slow Country
  • Artist: Gorillaz
  • Release Date: March 26th 2001
  • From the album: Gorillaz (March 26th 2001)

Lyrics:

VERSE
City life

Calling me all the time
Me and my soul
Geared to attack
Never get another chance
So what you doing
Gotta get money
Keeping me real
CHORUS
Can’t stand your loneliness

Can’t stand loneliness
Can’t stand your loneliness
Can’t stand loneliness
VERSE
Shit night life

Been trying not to laugh though
You won’t get money
From doing what you loving
I’m moving out of city
Victor of a second chance
Get a lot of problems
We kicked a lot of them
Virtual Members of Gorillaz:
  • Stuart Harold ‘2D’ Pot
  • Murdoc Alphonse Niccals
  • ‘Noodle’
  • Russel Hobbs

The brains behind Gorillaz:

  • David Albarn (music – everything)
  • Jamie Hewlett (character design)

Song/Artist Background

With this final case study, I’ve decided to do something different and base it on a band full of fictional characters – a ‘virtual band’. Gorillaz, not unlike other virtual acts such as Alvin & The Chipmunks, Dethklok, Hatsune Miku & Your Favourite Martian, is a virtual band made up of fictional characters from the minds of David Albarn (lead singer of English rock band ‘Blur’) & Jamie Hewlett (comic book artist).

Breaking It Down

This section will break down the song to highlight these fundamental composition elements.

gorillaz sc waveform.png

Waveform of Slow Country (captured using FL Studio 11)

BPM & Time Signature

BPM: 143.722
Time Signature: 4/4

Scale & Key Signature

Key: B Major

Structure

Duration: 3:37
Amount of bars: 127

Arrangement:

  • Intro (4 bars) Bars 1-4
  • Chorus A (8 bars) Bars 5-12
  • Verse (16 bars) Bars 13-28
  • Pre-Chorus (7 bars) Bars 29-35
  • Chorus A (8 bars) Bars 36-43
  • Pre-Verse (3 bars) Bars 44-46
  • Verse (16 bars) Bars 47-62
  • Pre-Chorus (7 bars)Bars 63-69
  • Chorus A (8 bars) Bars 70-77
  • Pre-Verse (3 bars) Bars 78-80
  • Bridge (15 bars) Bars 81-95
  • Chorus A (8 bars) Bars 96-103
  • Chorus B (8 bars) Bars 104-111
  • Outro (16 bars) Bars 112-127
  • Fade/Ring Out

Instrumentation

I was able to identify 5 different sound elements in this recording. Below I will explain where the different elements occur in the structure of the song and what processing has been applied to the recordings to achieve the sound.

1 – Drums

  • Sampled drum beat from The Specials’ late 1980’s reggae hit Ghost Town (‘Air’ sound effect was also part of this sample). Sounds like EQ processing was used here to ‘remaster’ the sound and bring in some low to mid frequencies into the mix. Also sounds like the sample was duplicated and a expander/gate was used on the copy to fatten up just the kick and snare a little bit, which is evident through the release time and how the kick and snare sound a little ‘choppy’. Light reverb has been utilised on this sound.
  • Crash cymbals, open hats, closed hats and additional snare hits were added in to accompany the sampled beat.

The drums occur all throughout the song except for the pre-chorus and pre-verse sections.

2 – Bass Guitar

The bass guitar occurs all throughout the song, except for the intro and pre-chorus sections. It does not feel picked but rather fingered as the method of performance – there is not much attack on the notes of the bass.

3 – Vocals

  • Main vocals – occur from the first verse onwards until the outro. They do not occur in the pre-choruses or pre-verses.
  • “Woop woop” vocal cuts – most prominent in the verses but also occur in the choruses (past the first one), the pre-verses, the bridge, and the outro.

4 – Keyboard / Synths

  • Piano riff in first chorus A & outro. Delay is noticeable on piano at the end of the song once everything stops and the delay lingers. Subtle, higher-pitched chords can be heard in the pre-verse and chorus B as well.
  • Octaved additive synths which sound like a mix of sawtooth and square waves occupy the pre-choruses (also leading into the choruses a bit). Some portamento is used to help the notes ‘glide’ from one note to another. Delay and reverb are used on these sounds to help them sound a little atmospheric and ‘spacey’.
  • Deep sounding string/horn stab samples (could even be pitched down vocal cuts) which sound like there’s a fair bit of reverb on them to help achieve such deepness.

5 – Sound FX

  • The breezy ‘air’ sound effect from the Ghost Town sample – occurs all throughout the song but is attenuated with a low pass filter at times when the song becomes more quiet so it does not overpower the atmosphere the other elements are trying to create (filters noticeable in pre-chorus and pre-verse sections).
  • Ambient noises accompanied by a wind chime sample – occuring in the pre-verse and chorus B.

Overallgorillaz-sc-spectral-panning

Spectral balance and stereo field of Slow Country’s bridge section (captured using EasySSP vo.1)

Overall Dynamics

The dynamics for this song are all fairly similar throughout. There are no distinct places where it feels less ‘loud’ in comparison to anywhere else in the track.

Overall Spectral Balance

The overall feel to the track is a warm feeling which comes from the overall mix being run through a low pass filter with no signal at all going over the 15kHz mark.

Overall Panning

The mix is very mono, and only gets a little wider in the pre-chorus sections with the additive synths – the higher one panned to the left a little and the lower one panned to the right. As an alternative sample based easy listening track, it’s supposed to sound downtempo and mellow, so hardly any number of elements can be causing interest at the same time as each other.

Overall Interest

Personally the most interesting parts about this song lie in the use of vocal ‘woop woops’ in the verses as opposed to synths, and keeping the actual synths as the main thing that mixes up the track a bit, and takes you to a different place for a few seconds before bringing the beat back in. It’s a nice mellow song that you can throw in a chill-out playlist, and that’s what I like about this song.

References

WhoSampled (2016, March, 13) Gorillaz’s ‘Slow Country’ sample of The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town [Website] Retrieved 7th November, 2016, from http://www.whosampled.com/sample/17762/Gorillaz-Slow-Country-The-Specials-Ghost-Town/

Wikipedia (2016, November, 14) Gorillaz (album) – Wikipedia [Wiki Page] Retrieved 7th December, 2016, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorillaz_(album)

Wikipedia (2016, December, 7) Gorillaz – Wikipedia [Wiki Page] Retrieved 7th December, 2016, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorillaz

AUD210 (Studio 1) Slow Country (Case Study #3)

AUD210 (Studio 1) Lost In The Echo (Case Study #2)

Introduction

This case study is a critical analysis of a song by Linkin Park entitled “Lost In The Echo”. It will aim to break down the song in terms of tempo, pitch, structure, instrumentation, interest, and the use of dynamic, spectral, and time domain processing to better understand how the song recording was constructed and produced.

Overview

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  • Song title: Lost In The Echo
  • Artist: Linkin Park
  • Release Date: October 19th 2012
  • From the album: Living Things (June 16th 2012)

(Lyrics available in the above lyric video.)

Members of Linkin Park:

  • Chester Bennington – Vocals (lead & screaming).
  • Mike Shinoda – Vocals (rap & background), Rhythm Guitar, Keyboard, Piano, Synthesizer, Strings & Horns, Creative Director, Production.
  • Brad “Big Bad Brad” Delson – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Samplers.
  • Dave “Phoenix” Farrell – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Samplers.
  • Joe Hahn – Turntables, Samples, Programming, Backing Vocals, Creative Director.
  • Rob Bourdon – Drums, Percussion.

Song Background & Inspirations

“The idea of [Lost In The Echo] at its core really has to do with finding issues in the baggage that is weighing you down and letting go of it.”
– Mike Shinoda (2012)

Not unlike my previous case study, this song also does a great job of combining genres. This concept has been Linkin Park’s motivation from the very start of the band’s activity. For 2012’s single Lost In The Echo, they decided to bring some elements of their sound back from their roots while still keeping it ‘fresh’. In the video documentary ‘Inside Living Things‘, Shinoda explains “we’ve established enough of our own thing that people know what we’re about” so bringing the iconic rap/rock sound back is “not a problem anymore” (2012).

Breaking It Down

This section will break down the song to highlight these fundamental composition elements.

LITE waveform.png

Waveform of Lost In The Echo (captured using FL Studio 11)

BPM & Time Signature

BPM: 120
Time Signature: 4/4

Scale & Key Signature

Key: A Minor

Structure

Duration: 3:24
Amount of bars: 100 (+2 beats)

Arrangement (bars counted from intro section):

  • Fade In (1/2 bar/2 beats)
  • Intro (8 bars) Bars 1-8
  • Pre-Verse (8 bars) Bars 9-16
  • Verse 1 (8 bars) Bars 17-24
  • Pre-Chorus (8 bars) Bars 25-32
  • Chorus (16 bars) Bars 33-40
  • Pre-Verse (4 bars) Bars 41-44
  • Verse (8 bars) Bars 45-52
  • Pre-Chorus (8 bars) Bars 53-60
  • Chorus (8 bars) Bars 61-68
  • Bridge A (8 bars) Bars 69-76
  • Bridge B (8 bars) Bars 77-84
  • Chorus (8 Bars) Bars 85-92
  • Outro (8 bars) 93-100
  • Fade/Ring Out

Instrumentation

I was able to identify – different sound sources/instruments in this recording. I have grouped them into 7 sections – each element contains multiple sound sources except for the bass and electric guitars which I have singled out. Below I will explain where the different elements occur in the structure of the song and what processing has been applied to the recordings to achieve the sound.

1 – Drums

  • Real Drums which kick in around the last two bars of the Intro, and remain constant throughout the structure of the song. Standard drum kit panning is used to provide a wide stereo image, except the kick and snare sound fairly mono.
  • Electronic Drum Samples – contains samples such as a kick with delay, a snare with a bitcrusher effect, multiple other samples with distortion and delay on them, and also closed hi-hats. The samples in the higher register of the frequency spectrum tend to be panned slightly more to the left, due to the real hi-hats being panned to the right.
  • Tuned 808 Kick Drums, prominent in the intro & pre-chorus sections. There is distortion on these samples to help provide harmonic content.

The drums alone take up a wide range on the frequency spectrum, which suggests it’s one of the most important elements of this song, almost as if it were the ‘backbone’ that holds it all together.

2 – Bass Guitar

A very subtle element in the song, the bass guitar feels like it is only there to provide a ‘performed’ feeling to the synth basses. It sounds as if the lows and highs were completely taken out of the signal through EQ processing, keeping the low-mid to mid frequencies intact. The bass guitar occurs in the pre-verse, chorus, second verse, bridge B and outro sections.

3 – Electric Guitar

For Living Things and also during the sessions for the band’s 4th album A Thousand Suns, guitarist Brad Delson had moved away from tracking guitar in favour of other roles in the studio such as using samplers, assisting the studio engineers with DAW & recording operation, and also production elements. This shift in the mindset of the band (not being completely centred around the guitar anymore) has resulted in this element being more of a supplement rather than a primary feature.

A result of this shift, rather than the guitar’s ‘staccato’ riffs in the pre-verse and outro sections being performed, the guitar is instead ‘cut’ up to fit with the bass guitar & synths. Ultimately the mix focuses more on the drums and bass over the guitar as ‘main features’. The electric guitar occurs in the pre-verse, chorus and bridge B sections only. For the first two bars of the last chorus, the guitar is quieter and panned to the right.

4 – Keyboard / Synths

  • Steel drums that have been performed and sampled via either a Granular Synth or a Sampler. A bitcrusher effect, delay and reverb have been applied to this sound. This sound can be heard in every section except for bridge A. There seems to be a bit of a pitch bend in the reverb tail when the synth stops playing for the bridge A section and at the end of the outro.
  • Lead synth, possibly subtractive & sawtooth-based. Processing includes distortion, delay, and reverb (in that order). This sound occurs in the intro, pre-verse, and outro sections. In the intro a low pass filter is used to fade the sound in across the 2nd half of the intro.
  • Strings, though they feel programmed though some sort of virtual instrument and not performed. They only appear in the outro.

LITE steel drum eq.png

Steel Drum isolated synth spectral readings (captured using EasySSP v0.1)

For the most part the synth serve as some nice background textures which are not overpowering to the point of drowning out the vocals in the mix. Referring to the image above, it’s visual that the steel-drum sounding synth seems to be ran through EQ with attenuation to both the highs and lows (less extreme of the two cuts) of the signal. The lead synth and strings both fill out the high and high-mid frequencies that the steel-drum synth doesn’t occupy.

5 – Synth Basses

  • Wavetable ‘growl’ type synth bass. Occurs in pre-verse, chorus, second half of bridge B & outro.
  • Another more distorted wavetable synth bass which occurs in bridge A & bridge B.
  • Subtractive sawtooth synth bass with light distortion, flanger effect & a bass boost at about 60Hz. Occurs in pre-verse, chorus, second verse, bridge B & outro.
  • Various one-shot synth bass sounds (possibly layered with kick drum samples) arranged using a sampler throughout bridge A. Sidechain compression is used on these samples possibly using some sort of controller that triggers at the start of the MIDI note for the sample (which is why it sounds like the sounds have a fade in or a slow attack time).

Stereo images of growl bass (left) and saw bass (right) (captured using EasySSP v0.1)

The bass synths overall tend to have a very wide stereo image and once you merge the stereo separation, you can hear the actual bass guitar a lot more, so this proves that the bass guitar is supposed to fill the ‘gap’ that the synth basses leave unoccupied. In the pre-verse and outro sections in particular the overall mix goes from wide to narrow in terms of it’s stereo image depending on the synth basses, therefore the synth basses are a very important element of the track when it comes to creating interest in the mix.

6 – Vocals

  • Rap Vocals – verses & bridge B.
  • Lead Singing Vocals – choruses, pre-verses (after first chorus) & outro.
  • Background Singing Vocals – pre-choruses, choruses, pre-verses (after first chorus) & outro.
  • Scream Vocals – end of 2nd chorus, bridge A & outro.

The time domain processing applied to the rap and lead singing vocals provide a clear stereo image. Vocal doubles are also used as ‘echoes’ as well as reinforcing a certain phrase, with the double usually being panned to the left or right. A chorus effect is put on the raps lightly in the second verse and a bit more prominent in the bridge B section (not noticable in mix but noticable in isolated vocal track).

7 – FX

  • Distorted guitar feedback used as a sweeping effect going up. This starts the song off with the fade in and is also heard just before the chorus sections. Later on in the track (bridges / last chorus), the feedback is reversed to sweep down and a gate effect is used on it, with the wet dry being automated to let some of the pre-gate signal through towards the end of the sweep.
  • Turntables used to scratch a screamed vocal cut. Fairly mono but goes more stereo as the scratches occur. This can be heard in bridge A.
  • Various other synth samples that accompany the scratched vocals. Delay and light reverb are used on these. Also in bridge A.

All of these effects are used in such a way to create interest, I’d call it the icing on the cake. Without the turntable scratching of the screamed ‘go’ vocal cuts, the bridge A section would feel very empty.

Overall

Overall Dynamics

One of the things Linkin Park is (infamously) known for is historically, their songs aren’t too dynamic – the quiet parts are loud and the loud parts are even louder. Living Things as a whole used a lot of compression, so it’s no surprise that Lost In The Echo, being the first track on the album, is so loud and ‘in your face’.

Overall Panning & Spectral Balance

LITE prechorus spectral panning.png

PRE-CHORUS: Spectral Balance and Stereo Image (captured using EasySSP v0.1)

LITE chorus spectral panning.png

CHORUS: Spectral Balance and Stereo Image (captured using EasySSP v0.1)

These screenshots are taken from two different sections – the first pre-chorus and first chorus. It is evident that in both screenshots we can tell that there’s a light low pass filter on the entire mix – in context to the drums, this places more emphasis on the actual kicks and snares to give the song that ‘hybrid’ electronic/rock feel. It also keeps elements such as the cymbals of the drum kit and the high end of the synths tame enough so as to not take away from the ‘meat’ of the mix, which seems to be in the low-mids.

Overall Interest

The concept that interested me most about this track was the bridge A section – when I first heard the song many years ago I remember losing it over how cool it sounded. Now that I know exactly what’s in there that makes it cool, I can look into trying to re-create that feel for my own productions.

Another prominent concept for me was in the pre-verse sections. The staccato on pretty much every element except for the synths and drums made the song feel very ‘epic’, probably due to the contrast of the stereo image going wide to narrow, back and forth.

Overall I’m glad I did this case study as this is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I still haven’t been able to get sick of it despite listening to it probably about a hundred times!

Now, I just need to find myself some turntables…

References

LPTV (2012, September, 18) Linkin Park Gets A New Guitarist | LPTV #85 [YouTube Video] Retrieved 30th November, 2016, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRS_jqWmovE

Linkinpedia (2016, October, 18) Lost In The Echo – Linkinpedia [Wiki Entry] Retrieved 30th November, 2016, from http://linkinpedia.com/index.php?title=Lost_In_The_Echo

Wikipedia (2016, November, 30) Linkin Park – Wikipedia [Wiki Entry] Retrieved 30th November, 2016, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linkin_Park

Wikipedia (2016, November, 30) Lost In The Echo – Wikipedia [Wiki Entry] Retrieved 16th November, 2016, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_in_the_Echo

AUD210 (Studio 1) Lost In The Echo (Case Study #2)

AUD210 (Studio 1) Week 10 – MIDI + Drum Recording (Project 2)

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This week was a big one. But at least we have a final project plan that has been approved now!

We had our Tuning Session, where we were finally able to present our updated projectWe got into the MIDI studio on Thursday and made our own patch on the Moog Sub-37 synth, which will help with Campbell’s synthesis LO’s. We saved it in the bank too so if other people want to use it, they can find it in Bank 16 Preset 01. We recorded a whole bunch of interesting sounds that Campbell can use in the mixing phase.

These are the new versions of the tracks with the guitar and the bass tracks in the mix. MIDI drums are still present but ever so temporary…

Richard came in both Saturday & Sunday to record drums. On Saturday we were in the Audient 4816-B, but ran into problems with the faulty channel strip which delayed us and ultimately led to booking out the Neve for Sunday. We also managed to book the blue drum kit, which is great considering it’s the better kit out of the two (the red kit lives in the Audient).

The mics we chose to use gave us really good results with minimal bleed on each channel, on both Saturday & today. It just sucks about the channel strip in the Audient-B – we had to essentially redo whatever we managed to do, because the Neve was undoubtedly better for recording.

Our mic setup consisted of the following:

  1. Kick drum – MXL A-55 Kicker
  2. Snare drum (Pearl Mahogany) – AKG C414 B-XLII
  3. Snare drum 2 (Pearl Chrome Firecracker) – Sennheiser E614
  4. Hi-Hat – Sennheiser E614
  5. High Tom – Sennheiser MD421
  6. Low Tom – AKG D112
  7. Overhead L – AudioTechnica AT-2050
  8. Overhead R – AudioTechnica AT-2050

The MXL A-55 Kicker did a great job at picking up a punchy yet deep kick, which is what we were going for. We had a choice between the D112 and the A-55 for the kick drum, but we decided to go with the A-55 for the kick drum so we could use the D112 on the low tom (we originally planned to use the MD421 but we wanted a better bass response).

There were concerns at first that the snare drum was going to clip a lot, using the C414 on the snare, so we applied a -6dB pad to the C414, and we ended up getting a fairly crisp snare sound without the signal clipping. We used the cardioid polar pattern to ensure we got no unwanted noise from the other drums.

I’ll go into a bit more detail on why we decided to use the AKG C414 B-XLII:

C414B_frequency_comparison.png

Given that the frequency range for snare drums is around 100hZ to 10kHz, the frequency response chart of the C414 B-XLII (above pic) demonstrates that the microphone picks up this frequency range at a substantial level, with the strongest frequency being in the high-mids around 6kHz. This was good in the recording of the snare drum to pick up a clean and bright signal.

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By looking at these different testimonials online, we decided it was a great mic to use in any situation.

We ran into difficulties using the E614 on the firecracker snare. We had to play around with the placement of the microphone and the EQ on the channel strip to try and get a brighter signal (as the sound the desk was picking up was surprisingly dull for some reason), and this resulted in putting the microphone on the underside of the snare, facing upwards towards the steel strips.

The E614 was also good choice for the hi-hat, for its ability to withstand high SPL (them hi-hats be noisy).

I knew the AT-2050s would be a good choice for the overhead mics, due to experiences with using an AT-2050 last trimester for a sample library production assessment task – I found that it easily picks up a lot of room sound, so that’s why we decided to go with those.

In hindsight, there were a few slight changes to the proposed mic plot in our project plan for this session, but we achieved the results we wanted, and we all went home happy. After the session I came home and worked on drum edits to save Campbell some time for the coming weeks – the mixing phase.

Shannara also got back to us with a draft of the visualisation render. Campbell and Nara worked back and forth together in our facebook group chat on the logo (which combines both of our logos) and also we provided feedback and changes we wanted made live so Nara could easily tweak them before ultimately rendering a draft and showing us. We’re so proud of where this project is heading and the results that have come out of it so far!

References

http://recordinghacks.com/microphones/AKG-Acoustics/C-414-B-XL-II

 

AUD210 (Studio 1) Week 10 – MIDI + Drum Recording (Project 2)

AUD210 (Studio 1) Teamwork: An Interview + Side Project

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In a recent interview I had with Rachel, we discussed our projects that we’ve worked on between ourselves & our roles within them. We came to some beneficial conclusions that will help us in future projects.

For project 1, which was a song that Rachel had written/composed and I had produced, mixed and mastered, we agreed that the roles were not evenly spread out, which we were both at fault for. I personally wanted to take on most of the workload mainly because I’ve always been so used to working alone, that I’ve developed a ‘do it yourself if you want it done right’ mentality. Rachel explained that it wasn’t only me that was in the wrong though, as her and Chace didn’t exactly ask me if there was anything I wanted them to do.

I feel as if part of the reason the roles weren’t evenly spread is that we didn’t spend enough time discussing each role and what performance standards are required. Which also came from the complete lack of a project plan. Having worked with Rachel in the previous trimester, we both kinda had ‘backburner’ roles in the group we were in, especially when it came to the studio sessions. It was hard for me to adapt to another group’s hardwired framework when my original group had split up resulting in myself joining the new group that Rachel was a part of. This was a challenge I didn’t think I was ready for and didn’t want to ‘upset the apple cart’ so I just took on whatever roles the other group members would give me. Coming from that experience and into this one with project 1, I feel like that is why I wanted to step forward and take responsibility for most of the work this time around, and with Rachel having to work with me again she probably wanted more of a lead role as well, but I stepped in and said I wanted to be the main ‘techie’.

However, after the wrapping up of project 1 and beginning to work on project 2 with Campbell and also another side project with Rachel, I’ve changed my mentality to not only keep my roles organised and under control, but also encourage whoever else I’ve been working with to stay on top of what they had to do as well, instead of just taking on their role for them.

Through these experiences, I’ve learned that teamwork and planning go hand in hand. If each member of a team doesn’t have a specific role, you don’t end up with a team, but rather a whole heap of ‘bench warmers’.

It’s just like trying to play a game of say, League of Legends, and everyone on the team decides they all want to go down the bottom lane. Who is going to look after the top and middle lanes? That’s where project planning comes in.

This is the side project I have been working on with Rachel, it started off as a simple 16 bar melodic loop that Rachel had made sampling a vocal cut (courtest of Chace) and making a cool melody for it. Rachel originally had the idea of pitching this to Game Dev. students if any wanted to use it as part of a soundtrack, and this could still very well happen in the future. What I bring to the table is a ‘remix’ of that original idea into a track that I may get a vocalist to sing or rap on in the future. She basically gave me the loop and told me to ‘Mash’d N Kutcher’ it, which I’m sure translates to “remix it”, so that’s exactly what I did.

If you’d like to check out what Rachel had to say, click here.

AUD210 (Studio 1) Teamwork: An Interview + Side Project

AUD210 (Studio 1) Research: Grainy Waves and Wavy Grains

NB – Not to be confused with Grain Waves.

Granular Synthesis

Granular synthesizers is like a synth/sampler hybrid –  you start with “simple waveforms such as triangle, square, and sawtooth waves” and then manipulating that sound or sample into “something more musical”, using looping, filter envelops and low frequency oscillators (LFOs) (Price, 2005).

pizza granular.png

In the demo I produced for this blog post, Pizza, I’ve included examples of what I used and what were the outcomes for both the granular and wavetable synth patches I created. Example A was the sound sample I used, which was an organ sample from one of the sample packs in my library. Example B is the outcome, using Fruity Granulizer and FL Studio’s built in sampler (similar parameters to Ableton Live’s Warp functions) I adjusted grain attack, grain hold, grain speed and wave speed in order. I put a fade on the sample and set a certain region for it to loop while the note is sustained. Since the original sample was a D note, I had to assign it to the D on the virtual keyboard in the plugin, so it played the correct note in the midi editor.

In this video, Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park reveals how the band came up with the synth sounds from songs such as Crawling & Numb – granular synthesis.

Wavetable Synthesis

Wavetable synthesizers use audio samples known as ‘wavetables’ to create a bank of sound waves that the user can cycle through to get to a specific sound. A distinctive feature of the wavetable synth is the ‘wavetable position’ control, which allows the user to crossfade a sound wave with a different one in the table in order to create a dynamic tone.

Since only one cycle of each sound wave in the wavetable is stored in the synthesizer, wavetable synthesizers are efficient on memory usage, leaving more memory for other plugins and more important tasks in the session.

Wavetable synths are also less harsh on processing power. Rise explains that “calculating what two waves would do when added together or how a filter would affect a wave is computationally intensive”, wheras with wavetables, “all the different waves are precalculated and stored in the tables.” (2013)

pizza wave.png

In Pizza, I used Xfer Serum to make my own ‘dubstep’ style synth. Using the ‘Toilet Lunch‘ wavetable from Cymatic’s ‘Vomit‘ Xfer Serum preset pack, I was able to create one original preset and split it up into three different ones (with different LFO rates for the filter automations). I cycled through the wavetable and picked the sound wave I thought would sound best. In the embedded audio, example C is the wavetable I used, and example D is the outcome.

References

Price, S. (2005, December) Granular Synthesis | Sound on Sound [Web Article] Retrieved 23rd November, 2016, from http://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/granular-synthesis

Rise, S. (2013, February,27) Wavetable Synthesis | The Synthesizer Academy [Web Article] Retrieved 23rd November, 2016, from http://synthesizeracademy.com/wavetable-synthesis/

AUD210 (Studio 1) Research: Grainy Waves and Wavy Grains

AUD210 (Studio 1) Week 9 – New Beginnings: HesherTensity & Dismay (Project 2)

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Don’t ask, I just felt like using a Rick Pic.

Probably because I’m feeling really good about this project now. We had a pretty productive session yesterday in the studio – tracking guitar and bass tracks. It was very beneficial having Sean and Richard from Dismay come in – we let them tweak their own settings in Guitar Rig and they were super cool with learning the parts on the spot and getting all three of the tracks done. However we did not have the time to record drums – so this will have to wait for next week. This is fine because none of us have plans or anywhere important to be.

Also should probably mention that I didn’t know you had to book the drum kits, and that they just came with the live room! (The kit was booked out when we went to use it, and plus it was pretty awkward without cymbals or a snare stand…) So yeah, that’s another reason why the drums didn’t get recorded. Slight miscommunication issue but nothing we can’t work around, considering next week the drums are completely free.

 

The above uploads are the versions we tracked the guitar and bass to. I still need to come back into uni at some stage and print the guitar and bass stems due to neither Campbell or I actually owning Guitar Rig ourselves.

Zeroth got replaced by another demo entitled Miniband, which I uploaded to the slack feedback channel earlier in the week. It got a positive reception there and so I thought why not just use this song instead of Miniband? It clearly has the potential to be a something huge, rather than ‘mini’. (I’m so funny!) Big Boss and Undercut were also worked on quite a bit. I’m very happy with the way Undercut is turning out now, considering it started out as a simple trap beat with no harmonic or melodic content at all.

Another thing I’m yet to mention is that we had a meeting with our animator on Tuesday, whom is still keen to do some sort of visualisation for us (akin to Trap Nation). Shannara is more than confident that she’ll be able to get us a final product by the time our project is due to present – I’ve already provided her with a rough mix of Big Boss, and all we will have to do is update Nara with the final mix of Big Boss, which is to be completed by Campbell in accordance with our project plan (which is now on Trello!).

Should be smooth sailing from here on out, unless we encounter some problems with recording the drums next week – we are booked into the Audient 4816-B, and I have heard that there is a busted channel strip on the console, but we will see what we can do.

AUD210 (Studio 1) Week 9 – New Beginnings: HesherTensity & Dismay (Project 2)