Saffire Mix Control 2 – Routing

Apologies for the delay (no pun intended…well, sort of..) but I finally found the time to do the follow up for my Saffire Mix Control video.

This one shows some more of the routing capabilities of Mix Control, specifically using the line outputs and inputs as send/returns for hardware effects.

One thing I didn’t mention in this one, even though I rambled on for 12 minutes!!, is how to set up Pro Tools for the lowest ’round-trip’ latency. Unfortunately, even in low latency mode in Pro Tools and Mix Control it is still fairly audible. There are work arounds however, and 99% of the time I do end up moving the new clip (or region….damn you Pro Tools!) manually to line up with the original part.

Hopefully you find this video helpful. If so, please feel free to leave a (nice or constructive) comment and you can email me at garry@gatesheadmusicbox.com if you would like to get in touch.

Lastly, a big thank you to Angéline Morand for allowing me to use one of her tracks (below) for the video. This one, plus four more, will be available from all good online retailers, and a few offline ones, from the 9th October.

Check her out at www.angeline-music.com

All the best

Garry

Pop-up Music – working with The Music Box recording studio

The library that makes noise!

Music Library, Music Sync

We have been a little quiet of late over here at the Music Box but as ever are busy behind the scenes. Luckily we have some Vitamin D supplements to make up for a lack of exposure to the sun!

Our first piece of exciting news is that we are delighted to be a friend of Pop-up Music, a new and diverse music library that offers existing and bespoke music for advertising, film, TV, gaming and corporate projects.

Consisting of original songs produced by real musicians, every sound you hear on Pop-up is true to its genre. They have recently brokered deals with Sky TV and Reverbnation where one of their featured artists, Kangaroo, has just been featured as artist of the week!! Check out the track ‘Jumping Fences’…

As well as mixing and mastering tracks for them over the last year we have been happily referring artists and bands that we have worked with at The Music Box for inclusion in their ever-growing music library of original compositions. This is a great place for new music and independent artists to be heard, and given their already strong reputation amongst some very highbrow clients, a good place to be considered for music sync.

The great advantage for independent artists is that they are exclusively looking for original music, no compromises here, and will consider any submissions regardless of style. You can register your music using a simple form on their page, or through reverbnation.

If you want any more information drop us an email or you can check out their main website here.

More updates to come soon, lots of exciting things happening

Garry

Apex 205’s on Piano

ThomClarke

In August I decided to buy some ribbon mics for the studio. I often record very loud guitars and love ribbon mics on a guitar cab (as a very good engineer friend of mine says “ribbon + 57 on guitar = best guitar sound ever”, and I’m inclined to agree even if it isn’t that simple, or scientifically proven). But, I need to know that I can get it close enough, and pair it with a 57 or some such, to counteract any phasing issues. Although I suppose one way of protecting a sensitive ribbon mic would be to drop it back so it isn’t getting too much air from the speaker cone and then switching the polarity on the pre or channel strip. A tonal difference, and usually a more ambient sound depending on how your room is treated. However, I like it as close as I can get it and haven’t managed to break one yet.

I decided to go for modded mics, eventually choosing an American company that buys and modifies Apex 205 active ribbon microphones which cost less than $100 each before modification. Apex Electronics is a company based in California which manufactures in China, you can see the original spec sheet here.

Based on the Coles 4038, the ‘modded’ 205 has a 1.8 micron ribbon, as opposed to the stock 6 micron ribbon, specific ribbon tensioning and adjustments made to the headbasket. For a stereo matched pair the price comes in just under $700 (not including shipping), and here it is…

I was excited to try them and asked a colleague to come and play some piano so we could put them to the test. Thom Clarke is a musician and composer who I have had the pleasure to work with on and off over the last few months, and he came in on his day off so we could mess around with a few different placements. In the end I positioned the mics about 3 inches from the hammers  spaced about 14 inches apart and roughly at an 80 degree angle. The simplest way to do it was to wear a pair of closed headphones and just move them around until the balance was right. I love those moments, when you get the placement just right and the sound just really opens up, beautiful. The mics are figure 8, and as the piano sits at the end of the room I wanted to get some of the room ambience (although the room is quite dry) into the back of microphones. We removed the front of the piano as you can see in the picture above. The piano was a little out of tune at the time of doing this (and has since been tuned) and also one of the hammers was loose, so it squeaked A LOT! Although do I like instruments that have character, and like to consider the pedal movements, and other squeaks and creaks, just as much part of the sound as the rest.

So I have added a sample if you would like to listen to the results. We did overdub two instruments, just a pad synth string sample set and old electric piano, as this is a snippet of a song that Thom is working on for a commercial. Check out his site at www.thomclarke.com. 

Enjoy!
G

We will be adding more posts soon about mic modifications including building our own subkick mic as well as a U87 clone. We are addicts now!

Interview for Audient

In October I was asked to do an interview for Audient, a great UK based company that manufacture high end mixing consoles and pre-amps (amongst other things). Here at The Music Box we have 16 analogue in’s of which eight belong to the Audient ASP008. There is a link to the official site below with loads more info on the company.

Enjoy!

Posing with the ASP

 

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into audio engineering?

I was studying in London doing a performance degree as a drummer. I went to education fairly late on and wasn’t really sure what I wanted the outcome to be. As part of my studies we covered music technology and got to spend time in the studio, although in more of a session player role. As a result something just sparked my interest, and as my knowledge grew I thought “I’m actually not completely terrible at this” and so decided to consider it seriously as a career path for the future.

 
What genres of music do you tend to work in?
Typically I work in alternative music, but I suppose that is a fairly vague category. My passion is live music and I always aim to capture the essence of what a band or artist represents live. Although the studio is a commercial space I tend to track down the projects I know I will enjoy working on. So it could be a singer songwriter or a metal band, if it grabs me I want to be part of the production process.

Your an ASP008 owner, what made you purchase the 008?
Simon Horn (your man in Germany) was a tutor of mine during my degree and is now a good friend. He originally told me to check out the 008 and I was very impressed when I heard how clean and open the sound of the box was. Also, the chap who had the studio before me had an 8024, so from a business point of view it made sense to keep the studio with an Audient set up. You could say it was fate!

What is your favourite feature about the ASP008? What do you tend to use it for? Any tips for other 008 owners?
Not really one specific thing but it has some great features. I especially like the variable high pass filter for when I’m using ribbons on the overheads and I make a lot of use of the instrument inputs. I know it’s not the most exciting or original answer, but I usually have something plugged into it, a guitar, a bass or a synth. Just to get ideas down, before setting up mics. Occasionally these ideas stay on the finished tracks because the DI’d sound on the box is so great.

Speaking of tips, do you have any quirky recording tips?
Not sure about quirky but I am a huge fan of side chaining compressors, especially when it comes to drums. I’m not really that fond of gating. To me it sounds unnatural and stifles the sound of an instrument that should be allowed to breathe. Quite often I will have the sound I want in the overheads but mic up the toms and the kick beater with no intention of feeding them into the mix, just so I can throw it into the compressor.

What are your plans for the future?
I went to a Trevor Horn Q and A last year and I think he put it best. He said that throughout his career he was often asked what he plans to do next, usually after wrapping up a project, and his answer was always the same, “Just keep on working”. So, I couldn’t hope for any more than that.

The full interview is here.

For more information on the ASP008 8-channel microphone preamplifier click here.

 

Music Production, Mixing, Composition