March 2009 In This Issue

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Competition

WIN Studio Makeover/Acoustic Treatment from Vicoustic (worth 1500 GBP)

Deadline: 2009-03-31

Prize kindly donated by Vicoustic, whose products are distributed in the UK & Eire by Systems Workshop. Tel: +44 (0)1691 658550 www.vicoustic.com

Reviews

Antares Auto-Tune Evo

Pitch Correction Plug-In [Mac/PC]

Thumbnail for article: Antares Auto-Tune EvoAuto-Tune has been the industry-standard pitch-correction tool ever since its 1997 release. Does the latest Evo version keep the competition at bay?

Behringer UMA25S

USB MIDI Controller & Audio Interface

Thumbnail for article: Behringer UMA25SWhat’s black and white and red all over? Behringer’s fantastically cheap new audio interface and MIDI controller, of course!

Dangerous Music D-Box

Summing & Monitoring System

Thumbnail for article: Dangerous Music D-BoxThis neat new hybrid product appears to be defining its own market niche, but can it really be all things to all people?

Golden Age Project Pre 73

Microphone Preamplifier

Thumbnail for article: Golden Age Project Pre 73This highly affordable device is based on the circuitry used in Neve’s legendary 1073. So can you really get a classic vintage preamp sound on a budget?

Korg Nano Series

USB Controllers For Mac & PC

Thumbnail for article: Korg Nano SeriesCan controllers this tiny and toy-like in appearance really do a serious job in the studio?

KRK Ergo

Room Correction System

This hardware-based room correction system includes an audio interface and monitor controller. Is it the answer to your acoustics nightmares, or just too good to be true?

Moog Guitar

Electric guitar-filtering-infinite sustain

Thumbnail for article: Moog GuitarAs instruments go, the electric guitar is a pretty established format, but if anyone can change that, Moog can...

MOTU Electric Keys

Sample Library

Interesting old keyboards are becoming ever-more expensive and difficult to find. MOTU’s solution to this is Electric Keys — samples of all of the desirable retro instruments you could want, for less money than a second-hand Vox Jaguar!

Ohm Force Melohman Plug-ins

Ohmicide Distortion & Symptohm Synth [Mac OS/Windows]

Fed up with bland, me-too plug-ins and tasteful processing? Ohm Force’s unique effects and synths could have exactly the spice your studio needs.

Overloud TH1

Software Guitar Amp Simulator [Mac-PC]

Can Overloud’s guitar amp simulator tempt us to plug into our Macs/PCs instead of our Marshall stacks?

Sample Logic Synergy

Kontakt 2 Player

SE Electronics SE4

Small-diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Thumbnail for article: SE Electronics SE4The SE3 was a popular mic, but it only came in cardioid flavour. The new SE4 gives you more options...

Steinberg Cubase 5

MIDI + Audio Sequencer [Windows/Mac OS]

Thumbnail for article: Steinberg Cubase 5The first paid-for update to Cubase for two years introduces some major innovations for sequencing and composition, including integrated Melodyne-style pitch correction and editing.

Sugar Bytes Plug-ins

VST Effects & Instruments For Windows & Mac OS

Thumbnail for article: Sugar Bytes Plug-insWorking with a mouse and keyboard needn’t compromise real-time control, as Sugar Bytes’ clever interface design demonstrates.

Ueberschall Score FX

Liquid Instrument

Use Audio Plugiator

Digital Synthesizer

Thumbnail for article: Use Audio PlugiatorThis desktop DSP box runs and offers hands-on control of Creamware’s ASB range of synth plug-ins — and it costs under $500. Is it too good to be true?

People + Opinion

Call Yourself A Producer?

Leader

Paul White shares his personal views.

Notes From The Deadline

TV Music From The Inside

You thought your music was just right to start with, so why are people telling you to change it? Because they’re paying you — and because they might actually have a point...

Playback

Readers’ Music Reviewed

In their quest for that elusive 'X' factor, the editorial jury don their sequined jackets and audition another batch of your submitted tracks.

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Robert Orton

Lady Gaga 'Just Dance'

Transatlantic number one ‘Just Dance’ was not only a breakthrough for Lady Gaga, but also for her producer RedOne and mix engineer Robert Orton.

Sounding Off: Music Downloads

Paul Sellars

Does the music download business have a future?

Youth: From Killing Joke to Paul McCartney

Record Producer

Thumbnail for article: Youth: From Killing Joke to Paul McCartneyA fearless maverick who swears by the need to generate tension in the studio, Youth has made a name as one of the most creative producers to emerge from Britain in the last two decades.

Technique

Changes & Developments

PC Notes

The past year saw some significant developments in the world of PC music. PC Notes looks back over 2008 to assess the changes it brought and turns an eye to what we can expect to be doing in 2009.

Classic Tracks: The Flamingos ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’

Producers: George Goldner, Terry Johnson • Engineer: Allen Weintraub

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: The Flamingos ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’This is the story of how an inspired rearrangement of an old song created a track that, 50 years on, remains a genuine and enduring classic.

Dynamic Mixing In Logic 8

Logic Notes & Techniques

Apple Logic 8’s mixer is endlessly configurable, and knowing how to make its flexibility work for you will result in faster and easier mixing.

File-format Troubleshooting In Digital Performer

Digital Performer Notes & Techniques

We present a DP-user’s guide to troubleshooting audio files and formats, and pass on tips for when the unthinkable happens...

Guitar Technology

Alternative Guitar Tunings For The Studio

Macworld iLife & iWork

Apple Notes

Apple unveiled new versions of iLife and iWork this month during their final MacWorld keynote, along with a new 17-inch MacBook Pro. And, despite the fact that they didn’t appear at this year’s NAMM show for the second year running, support for Apple’s products has probably never been stronger.

Making The Most Of The Stereo Panorama

Mix Processing Techniques

Last month we explained how to get a sense of front-to-back depth in your mix. Now we examine the left-right axis, as we suggest ways to get the best from stereo mixing.

MIDI & Score Editors

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

At the heart of Digidesign's drive to turn Pro Tools into a serious tool for music creation are the MIDI and Score editors in Pro Tools 8. We explain how to get the best from these new heavyweights.

Mix Rescue: Audio Files

Hear For Yourself

Links to the MP3 preview and high-resolution WAV files that accompany the SOS March 2009 Mix Rescue article for our newsstand/bookstore readers who do not have eSub-access to the main web article.

Mix Rescue: Moosmusic

Macrodynamics & Rhythm

Getting the macrodynamics of a song right while also nailing down the important rhythm can be a real challenge. We explore some techniques for tackling this and more on Moosmusic’s ‘Big Dummy Shake’.

Reason: Parallel Compression

Reason Notes & Techniques

If you want the impact of heavily compressed drums but don’t want to sacrifice your dynamics, parallel compression is the way to go. This month we explore the best ways to achieve this effect in Reason.

Studio SOS: Danny Williams

Garage Studio Tips

We turn a family home’s garage into a usable recording studio, and take reader Danny Williams through a number of gear maintenance, recording and mixing tips.

Using REX Files in Sonar 8

Sonar Notes & Techniques

Sonar has more facilities than the average DAW for exploiting REX files to their best advantage. We guide you through where to find those facilities and how to put them to use.

Sound Advice

Q. Can USB pen drives be used as a cheap way to record audio?

Someone suggested that I could use a USB pen drive to record audio on my laptop. Is this a good idea? How fast are they, and is it really a cheap way to separate my system and audio drives, or are there any problems inherent in this approach?

Q. How do I approach the process of mixing an entire album?

Over the last couple of years I’ve mixed quite a lot of songs, but only single tracks here and there. Now I’m about to mix an album, and I’m wondering what would be the best way to do it. The recording has been done in a very decent studio, and they have been adding some programmed elements afterwards. I want to avoid a situation where I mix all the tracks so that they sound great on their own, only to realise later that they won’t fit together as a whole. How would you approach this? Would you mix one track, and use it as a reference for the other mixes? Would you re-use some of the settings (for example, use the same plug-ins for the same tracks, with some tweaks)? Sadly, the budget doesn’t allow for a separate mastering job, so I would have to do some limiting and final tweaks myself.

Q. How does parallel compression work?

Parallel compression is something I’m just beginning to explore. It’s not something I’ve used much in the past, but I’m seeing its potential for beefing up groups and whole mixes. However, if I set up a compressor on a send channel, rather than processing the whole signal via an insert effect, won’t I get phasing? Also, if I set up compressors on several send channels and filter out certain frequencies on each channel (for example, roll off everything but the low-mid range on one, roll off everything but the high-mid range on another), then wouldn’t this just be the same thing as multi-band compression?

Q. Why can’t I get the right Guitar Rig sounds in Pro Tools?

SOS reader Gordon Staines of Cheshire emailed us because he was having difficulty using NI’s Guitar Rig 3 with his Pro Tools M-Powered setup. Using NI’s Rig Kontrol USB interface and controller, with Guitar Rig 3 running in stand-alone mode, he was able to get exactly what he wanted from it, “no latency, and it sounds great live just plugged into the phono inputs on my Marshall AS100D acoustic amp, of all things, or even when I just have the headphones in the controller for practicing. My problem is getting the same sounds out when laying down tracks.”

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