November 2008 In This Issue

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Reviews

Allen & Heath ZED R16

Analogue Mixer, Audio Interface & DAW Controller

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If you want to use both a high-quality analogue mixer and a DAW control surface, you'll probably want to put them both in the same place. Well, now you can — and you get a multi-channel audio interface to boot.

Chris Hein Bass

Virtual Bass Instrument

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If you like the convenience of software bass but want a highly realistic sound, Chris Hein's lovingly sampled bass instrument could be just the ticket...

Cwejman Synthesis Modules

Modular Synth

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Wowa Cwejman is already in possession of a fine reputation for esoteric synth modules, but he hasn't run out of ideas yet. Join us as we take a tour of his latest creations...

Digidesign Transfuser

Groove Instrument Plug-in For Pro Tools

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Digidesign's latest virtual instrument is a multitimbral monster devoted to chewing up loops, beats and phrases and spitting them out as finished tracks.

Guitar Technology

Active Pickups • Softube Metal Amp Room

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We look at a new plug-in, as well as guide you through the pros and cons of active pickups, and suggest some products that might appeal if you are upgrading.

Harper-Diabate HDV1

Multi-pattern Valve Microphone

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This substantial tube mic comes with a generous array of accessories at a good price — but does it sound as impressive as it looks?

Hot! Sample Libraries

New releases on test

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Another crop of sound libraries get the SOS 'CSI' treatment: • Best Service HipHop & RnB • Ueberschall Adlibs • Vienna Symphonic Library Appassionata Strings II & Chamber Strings II • Vienna Symphonic Library Upright Bass

KRK RP6 G2

Active Studio Monitors

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These monitors may look like their more expensive siblings, but do they also share the family sound?

Lexicon PCM96

Reverb Processor

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Despite the huge advances in software reverbs in recent years, the best ones are still found on dedicated hardware units. There are very few manufacturers in this market, and we've been on tenterhooks since we heard that Lexicon were developing a new flagship hardware reverb that could be used within a DAW. So should your studio find a place for it?

M-Audio Pulsar II

Small-diaphragm Condenser Microphone

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A decent mic collection should include small-diaphragm condensers for their transparent, uncoloured sound. Does the updated Pulsar deserve a place in yours?

Moog MF107 Freqbox

Effects Pedal

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The MF107 Freqbox does what Moogerfooger pedals do best — offers lashings of good old-fashioned Moog weirdness.

MOTU Digital Performer 6

MIDI Audio Sequencer For Mac OS

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The highlights of Digital Performer's latest incarnation include advanced comping tools, new plug-ins — and a revolutionary alternative to track and instrument freezing.

Plug-in Folder

New releases

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• Stillwell Audio BadBussMojo • Abbey Road Brilliance Pack • Cableguys Filtershaper

Presonus Monitor Station

Monitor Controller

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No matter how 'in the box' you go, you still need easy, transparent control over your monitoring setup, and this little box claims to do it all for a good price.

Steinberg MR816 CSX

Firewire Audio Interface For Mac & PC

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The first fruit of the Yamaha-Steinberg union is finally with us, but does it provide the hardware/software integration that Cubase and Nuendo users have hoped for? And what is there to tempt users of other DAWs? Let's find out...

Universal Audio UAD2

DSP Plug-in System [Mac/PC]

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It's been a long time coming, but the successor to Universal Audio's hugely popular UAD1 DSP card is finally with us. So is the UAD2 everything we hoped it would be?

People + Opinion

Adrian Utley: Recording Third

Portishead

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Portishead's long-awaited third album has been one of the artistic highlights of 2008. The band's unique blend of lo-fi and hi-fi, vintage and modern is reflected in their unique approach to recording.

In Through The Out DAW

Leader

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As the recent demise of Tascam's Gigastudio has highlighted, having a piece of software that has been a major part of your life for several years suddenly cease development can be a real wake?up call.

Playback

Readers' Music Reviewed

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Sponsored by breed-media.co.uk

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Michael Brauer

Coldplay Viva La Vida

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Coldplay's recent album Viva La Vida was one of the most high-profile releases of the year, and an impressive showcase for Michael Brauer's unique approach to mixing.

Sounding Off

Tim Clukey

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Reel to real: the true impact of audio archival processing

Walter Becker

Larry Klein & Helik Hadar: Recording Circus Money

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For his second solo album, Steely Dan's Walter Becker made the unexpected decision to apply his band's high production values and jazzy sophistication to the world of reggae...

Technique

Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force: 'Planet Rock'

Classic Tracks | Producer: Arthur Baker

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For mixing Kraftwerk's synthetic beats and simple melodies with New York rap, 'Planet Rock' and producer Arthur Baker can arguably be credited with creating an entirely new genre: hip-hop. This is how it happened...

Alter Vista

Tweaking Windows Vista For Music

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If you've switched to Vista, or are about to take the plunge, check out our guide to the Vista audio tweaks that work — and those that don't.

Audio MIDI Setup

Apple Notes

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Audio MIDI Setup is the Mac OS X utility that allows you to set up audio and MIDI devices. This month we're going to delve into the MIDI Devices tab, in order to explain how applications work with the MIDI hardware you've connected to your Mac.

How Green Is Your Studio?

PC Notes

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PC Notes explains the simple measures that can reduce PC power consumption and cut your electricity bills.

Inside Transfuser

Getting The Best From Digidesign's Groove Instrument

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Digidesign's Transfuser plug-in is a sequencer within a sequencer — not to mention a sampler, loop-slicer, synth, drum machine and effects unit! We offer some expert tips to help you get to grips with it.

Linked Channels

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

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If you want to group tracks in Cubase, Group channels aren't always the best option. We explore what you can and can't do with the Link Channels function.

Mix Rescue: St.Vitus

Big up-front vocals

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We get to grips with a mix in which big, up-front vocals are crucial to the impact of the song, and dispense plenty of tips along the way...

Mix Rescue: St.Vitus | Media

Audio files to accompany the article.

Here are the links to the MP3 and WAV files that accompany the November 2008 Mix Rescue article for our newsagent readers who do not have eSub-access to the main web article.

Notes From The Deadline

TV Music From The Inside

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Get a few commissions under your belt and you might start to think you're a big name in the world of music for the media. But as far as the people who make television are concerned, there's no such thing...

Quantisation & Groove Functions In Logic

Logic Notes & Techniques

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Logic's quantisation facilities can do lots more than just helping you to tidy up sloppy timing — although they can certainly do that. Here's a simple guide to some of the possibilities.

Sonar: Creating Loop-based Music

Sonar Notes & Techniques

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Sonar was one of the first DAWs to take looping seriously — which means that you'll find plenty of tools for making loop-based music easier.

Studio SOS: Jamie Knight

Help & Advice

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We help singer-songwriter Jamie Knight make the most of his recording space, and advise on separation when recording multiple sources simultaneously.

Sound Advice

Q. How can I achieve a wider vocal sound?

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I often record double-tracked vocals and pan them left and right, but was listening closely to some other artists and noticed how the vocals seem to be close-up and spread across the stereo field, without appearing doubled up — for example, David Sylvian’s voice on ‘Wonderful World’ (from the Nine Horses collaborations; you can hear a clip at http://216.70.70.65/samadhisound.com/catalogue/ss0006/01.mp3). Do you have any recommendations for ways to achieve this? What I end up with sounds like it’s just lying centred on top of the lead vocal.

Q. How can I use multiple audio interfaces together?

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I’m currently upgrading my project studio, which is based around a Focusrite Saffire LE and is fine when using Cubase or NI’s Traktor. However, I am looking to bring Pro Tools into the equation, and despite some hunting I’m still stumped. Would using an M Box affect the sound drivers for my Saffire, forcing me to disable one piece of hardware and restart my system? Despite all my reading in forums, I am still unsure about the feasibility of adding a second Mackie Onyx 400F to my Windows XP DAW system. I understand Mac OS has the ability to aggregate, but it is not clear to me if Windows XP can handle the two interfaces at once or not. Would the drivers do this for me, and will I effectively end up with a 20-in/20-out interface to use with the bundled Tracktion 2?

Q. How useful are Omni mics for music recording?

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Lately I’ve been thinking that it might be handy to get hold of some omni–pattern dynamic mics. I can imagine they’d provide an interesting alternative in roles such as drum overheads, and the lack of proximity effect should make them useful for close–miking. Do you think they could be useful, and what models would you recommend if so?

Q. What should I EQ to improve my muddy mixes?

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I've only really just started getting to grips with EQ and I've come to a stumbling block. I'm working with Apple Logic 8 and am using all of the preset synth and drum sounds, which sound fabulous on their own (no problem frequencies, in other words). However, there are obviously overlapping frequencies between instruments, because things are getting muddy. Given that I have to remove some frequencies from one already perfect–sounding sample to make room for the other, how do I decide which frequencies are expendable? How can I identify which frequencies are causing the problem? For example, if you have a guitar part, obviously you remove the low end, but what frequency bits should you take out in the rest of the waveform? A little bit of the 500Hz range and 1000Hz? How do you know which bits waste headroom? Also, is it best practice to reduce the overall level of an instrument and then raise certain frequencies containing the essential musical parts ('attack', 'body', and so on)? I'm not asking which parts of specific instruments should be removed, but am more wondering how I can identify which parts of a sound are useful or unnecessary. Is it common to have seven or eight steep (high-Q) 'notches' removing a number of frequencies in one instrument?

SOS Podcast 009

21:58 mins

This Podcast was recorded live from the AES show in San Francisco. Hear exclusively from analogue hardware legend Rupert Neve, about his collaboration with SE Microphones; and recording engineer Bill Schnee, about his quest to bring true hi-fidelity recordings to the home market. Also, we have announcements of new products from Digidesign, Focusrite, Soundfield and SSL, as well as interviews with product specialists.

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