Studio News September 2017

CELEBRATING OVER 30 YEARS OF RECORDING

Message From The Boss

Live Tour Management/Front of House shows in September saw a couple of great one off's. Firstly with The Divinyls 3 original members Rick Grossman, Mark Mcentee and Richard Harveyjoined onstage by Izzi and Jack from The Preatures to pay homage to the tunes at the closing night of the Perth Fashion Festival. Izzi did the vocals proud and it was so good hearing the tunes live once again.The following biggy was the mighty Ball Park Music(pic) playing to their home crowd headlining the Beer N Cider Fest at Brisbane Showgrounds.Naturally the punters sang every song and at times i was having trouble working out exactly where all the vocal level was coming from!! Finally as i am sure you know one of the great inspirations has gone- so i just gotta say -  RIP Tom Petty - and i can highly recommend the Doco on Netflix - well worth the 3 hours.
Marshall Cullen ~ Director

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Session Highlights

The Mighty Rusty(pic) has been mixing like a demon most of the month with artists such as
Yhan Leal (Album), Hoodoo Gurus(live materiel), Shayana Band(Tas-Album), Adam Jones(Album)

Other sessions have included Rose Carleo Band(Tracking and mixing), Love Drunk Hearts (Tracking), Medusas Wake(Transfers), Enticer(Drum Edits), The Kids(vocal edits). Larry Leach(Transfers)

Tip Of The Week - Documentation

This one just came up recently and the band shall remain nameless but it highlights a very important point - proper documentation .Now this was a key job in the days of tape based recording and it was often the "Tape Op' or Studio assistant's job to Log Everything on track sheets and most importantly the artist and session on the tape reel and box itself. We were booked for a bake and transfer of some 2", the band brought in a Reel and Box which was completely unmarked! Russ "Are you guys sure this is your tape?' Band "Absolutely, we've been carrying this around from house to house since 1980, its our 9 song album which we never had time to mix, but now we do."
1 week later after baking Russ pops it on the MCI - "hmm - its 30ips - and theres only 2 songs!!" (it would need to be 15ips to fit 9 songs)- He calls them"ah guys....?" Band"OH, well er um...can you play us these 2 songs over speaker phone so we know which ones they are-must be the singles....?Russ"Sure ..here you go..."
Band"long silence ....Oh, Oh F###%%% - THATS NOT US!!!"

Now days even in the digital world proper file management, labelling of HD's, naming files and folders correctly is crucial so go to it!
 

Mastering and Red Stairs HIghlights

Andrew Beck's recent master of Yhan Leal's 'Up On The Mountain' single was premiered on Triple J earlier this week

 Triple j radio premiere: 

King Willy Bowden is busy as ever with the end of year lead up and has been tweaking his dials for John Williamson, The Sheyana Band(album), Perth Legends The Stems (Remaster), Fanny Lumsden(topping the Country Charts) and Winston Surfshirt 

Peter Holz has been busy recording a fabulous session with Living Guitar Legend Tommy Emmanuel(pic), as well as People Watching People and with more work forAaron Beri and Joel Leffler(with his new single Auburn Hair recently added to Mood Media),

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New Backline and Instruments

As well as the new in house kit theres a bunch of NEW amps, synths and guitars available for sessions as well.
Checkout 
the list here

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www.damiengerard.com.au

Rusty Tip of The Week #11 -Plugins

Rusty's Tip of the Week - The Truth About Plugins

Now don't get me wrong , i love plugins and use them extensively when mixing, even though i run back through an analog board as well. But it's important to understand the nature of them as well. The first most important thing is that they are obviously in the digital realm so unlike their analog originals they DO NOT like to be overloaded. The second and very important tip for is that just inserting them on a 'track' will not affect your input path into PT at all. So don't think you are running 'through' a compressor before the signal hits PT - if you have inserted on the recording track its only on the output. To record 'through' a plugin you need to run an AUX which the input hits first and put the plug across that.
My Current Favourites are Waves  SSL4000, Reel ADT, API550EQ, Neve Sheps73 , LoAir, plus Slate Trigger, Autotune and the usual Bomb Factory bundle.

Rusty's Tip Of The Week #10 -Monitoring

Tip #10 How can you trust what you are hearing.....

Another endless topic thats become even more confusing now that so much music is listened to on nothing more than iphone earbuds.

Common sense and best practice audio are the best places to start i have always found.

You will have noticed that so many pics of control rooms the world over still seem to have those smallish rectangular speakers with the white woofer- The Yamaha NS10 - and there's a very good reason  - consistency.

Certainly in the hey day engineers and producers could jetset about the globe and be fairly sure that there would be some monitor speakers they had used countless times before at every studio they worked at. (-ed - "Even the very first DG's control room c1985 - see pic- saw to it that probably the most notable piece of kit it had at the time was NS10's so that producers coming in to do demos(yes done at real studios back in the day) had monitors they were used to.")

This is very important and beats super quality every time because as an engineer especially when tracking you are often listening to tracks individually, not as a mix and having a consistent reference that every time you dial up the kick drum you know how it should sound, and likewise for all the other basic instruments.

Of course monitors can be a personal preference and many engineers carry their own from studio to studio. for the same reasons as above.

The reason NS10's are good for this is they are only average quality and quite mid range sounding (sometimes they are run with a sub for electro music for eg) so it stands to reason that if it sounds good on them it will sound even better on higher quality speakers.
 Theres also something about them that engineers recognized years ago that the way the box works frequency wise  is very helpful in balancing parts together especially vocals .

Of course today the list of Nearfield Monitors is endless. Nearfield becoming the main preference because in theory because of their smaller nature to 'mains' they are much less affected by the acoustics of the room, so if you are basically within 2meteres of them, roughly on axis, they will sound very similar from place to place. this is of course very popular for home studios wheres theres little or no tuning done at all. Plus they are nearly always self powered now so the internal amp is well matched to the drivers, whereas NS10's will need a separate amp.

The way i would evaluate monitors is to set them up where you will be most using them, then play a combination of single tracks such as kick, snare, bass, guitar, vocals, piano
and then play your favourite fully mixed and mastered tunes that you are used to hearing all the time and think about how accurately the speakers recreate the sonic in your head
you associate the way the solo tracks and the songs with, so picking some songs you have heard 1000's of times is a good idea. You dont need to worry about any fancy acoustic theory, set them up where you will be working , move them around and use your ears.

You dont want anything too bassy or hifi sounding either because then you may tend to under do the bass side, or not hear parts that have been "smoothed out"a lot by the nature of the monitors. Thats why the slightly gnarly unported (less bass) NS10's are such a benchmark.

Worrying about how your mix will sound on lots of different monitors(and now days earbuds) is best left to mastering engineers but its certainly a good idea now days to listen on headphones and ear buds to see if theres anything sounding horribly wrong, and the same if you do have a second set of speakers, prefarable larger and more bassy than the nearfileds. A good set of professional studio cans you trust and use a lot is of course important as well, but they won't give as true a representation of how it soudns in a room with some air around it and again thats why good consistent monitoring is essential.  Then there is always the car stereo , never to be underestimated and worth burning a cd if it doesnt have an aux input.

Russell Pilling has been listening to NS10's(with a sub since 2002) KRK,  JBL, Klipsch, Genelec and many more big and small monitors for about 30 years.

How To Get The Best Result from your Mixdown Engineer – Rusty’s Tip Of The Week 9

The short answer to getting the best result from your mixdown engineer is "Leave Them Alone".

But seriously, imagine setting up the drum mix while the singer and guitarists are telling you what they want, and at the same time watching out for the drummer slyly pushing up fader number one thinking it’s his kick drum?

(Note to drummers - These days it almost never is).

There’s a time for everything and I’ve found it’s so much more efficient to have time alone to sort out busses and fx, do all the patching, get all the lines up through the board, start pulling sounds and so on.

Some bands still have day jobs and find it works well to come in after work, when there’s a mix up ready for tweaks. At this time everyone can have their turn to listen and talk about what they are hearing and figure out what they would like to hear more or less of.

When mixing albums it’s so great to be able to finish 1-2 songs a day and then start a draft mix of the next song so it can stay up over night and can be listened to with fresh ears in the morning.

Mixing is a very important process and it's all on one guy to pull it the way the band and/or producer are hearing it in their heads. If it has been the same engineer tracking then it’s often easier becuase by that time he will have a very good idea of the band’s ideas and the vision of the overall sound.

It’s harder if it comes in 'cold' with maybe 20 guitar tracks for each song which have to be sorted through, 'the fix it in the mix’ approach where no one has made any decisons during tracking. This can lead to very extended times for each song, often over a bands expectations.

There are counteless articles from name producers and engineers advising people to make those descions early and commit, it really does save a huge amount of time later. It’s also a good idea for the band to listen to rough mixes and make any notes of things they are concerned about or creative ideas to try regarding FX and dynamics.

But the overall message to reinforce today is, it really will be quicker and better if the engineer is given time to simply engineer before any input and ideas are contributed - there’s a lot to be done in the purely technical realm before the creative decisions need to be made.

Russ-T-Rokk Pilling has been mixing bands on his lonesome (and sometimes with a little help :) at Damien Gerard Recording Studios Sydney for over 25 years

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