March 2014 In This Issue

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Competition

Win! Blue Bottle Rocket Stage Two

Deadline: 2014-04-07

Thumbnail for article: Win! Blue Bottle Rocket Stage TwoFantastic chance to Win Toontrack Production Bundle in January's Issue Competition.

Reviews

Audio-Technica AT2020 USB+

USB Capacitor Microphone

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The improved AT2020 USB+ adds a headphones output to monitor what you recorded, and its bundled accessories include a conventional stand-mounting swivel clamp, a small tripod desk stand and a 10 foot USB cable.

Avenson STO2

Omnidirectional Microphones

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Need a stereo pair of high-quality omni mics for under £500$600? Look no further!

CME Xkey

Compact USB Controller Keyboard

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A compact USB MIDI keyboard controller for the musician on the move, but with full-size keys and polyphonic aftertouch too!

Crypton Hatsune Miku English

Vocaloid Instrument

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Hatsune Miku is the name of a fictional 16-year old girl, who can be made to sing using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 3 synthesizer engine.

DPA D:Facto II

Handheld Capacitor Microphone

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Danish mic legends DPA take their considerable mic-designing experience to the stage — with impressive results.

Eve Audio SC204 & TS107

Active Monitors & Subwoofer

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The 2.1 monitor approach may have its pitfalls, but there are also some very real benefits to be had, especially in small studios.

Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb & R2

Reverb Plug-ins For Mac & PC

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The market for reverb plug-ins is crowded, but Exponential Audio hope there's space for two more high-quality designs...

Fluid Audio F4

Active Monitors

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These compact and affordable monitors, from young US company Fluid Audio, turn in a surprisingly good performance.

Gem Audio Labs Sculptor

Discrete Preamp With EQ & Peak Limiter

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We check out Gem Audio's classy and charismatic interpretation of the recording channel strip.

IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R430

Speaker Isolator

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All the stands in this range are intended to decouple a speaker from the desk or studio furniture on which it sits. Where this model differs is in its size — 17 inches wide by nine inches deep, making it suitable for speakers with a larger footprint.

Korg Gadget For iPad

Mobile Synthesizer Studio App

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Korg already have an enviable track record for making high-quality apps, but in Gadget they've made their most serious step yet towards full music production.

Kush Audio Electra

Analogue Equaliser

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Can Kush maintain their reputation for fine-sounding analogue gear with this interesting EQ?

Kush Audio Electra | Media

Analogue Equaliser

Audio files to accompany the article.

Mackie SRM550, SRM650 & SRM1850

Active PA Speakers

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The latest additions to Mackie's established SRM range offer the same level of flexibility, but in traditional wooden‑box enclosures.

Nektar Panorama P1

USB MIDI Control Surface

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Nektar's Panorama P1 is a control surface with a lot going for it — especially if you use Cubase or Reason.

NI Maschine Studio

Groove Workstation

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Native Instruments take their hybrid groove machine to another level with new hardware and a big software update.

Olympus LS12 & LS14

Handheld Stereo Recorders

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Do Olympus's latest recorders maintain the high quality and intuitive control of their earlier models?

Output Rev

Kontakt Instrument

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Fledgling company Output claim that Rev is the world’s first collection of reverse instruments, loops, rises, pads, pulses and swells.

PMC TwoTwo 8

Active Monitors

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The eagerly anticipated flagship in PMC's new TwoTwo range is finally here. Has the wait been worthwhile?

PPG WaveGenerator

Software Wavetable Synthesizer

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Apps based on existing software are far from unusual, but Wolfgang Palm has chosen to go the other way.

Retro Instruments Doublewide 500

Mono Valve Compressor

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American company Retro Instruments offer this true variable-mu valve compressor in 500-series format.

Rhythmic Robot Shortwave

Kontakt Instrument

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Rhythmic Robot’s Shortwave is a Kontakt instrument crammed with ghostly voices, radio tuning sweeps, morse code bleeps and an assortment of hisses, crackles and pulses.

Roland MicroCube GX

Battery-powered Guitar Amp

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Guitar amps don't come much more portable than this updated model from Roland. But how does it sound?

Sample Shop: March 2014 | Media

Audio files to accompany the article.

Samson Expedition Express

Portable PA System

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Designed for musicians on the move, this portable PA offers a wide range of uses for almost any gigging scenario.

Spitfire Audio - Hans Zimmer Percussion Volume 1

Sample Library

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The cinematic supremo enlists the best of British in a grand percussive collaboration.

The Analogue Revival

Spotlight

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Synthesists have been asking manufacturers to build new analogue instruments for years — and now they’ve finally responded. But what took them so long? We round up some of the recent offerings.

Thermionic Culture Phoenix HG15

Mono Valve Compressor

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Vic Keary's latest design is a compressor that's also a mic preamp and an EQ — but not, apparently, a channel strip!

Tronical Tune

Self‑tuning Machine Heads

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Thanks to Tronical Systems, your guitar can now tune itself. Is this a valuable tool for committed guitarists, or a crutch for the lazy and tone‑deaf?

UA API Vision Channel Strip

Channel Strip Plug-in For UAD2

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The latest of many hardware emulations from Universal Audio reproduces a complete API channel strip in your DAW.

UVI Sparkverb

Reverb Plug‑in For Mac & PC

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UVI's rainbow‑hued reverb plug‑in is designed to help you instantly find the right ambience for your mix.

Zero-G Cyberstorm

Sample Library

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Cyberstorm has been produced by Frédéric Devanlay who was also responsible for Zero-G's Deep Impact and Perception Cinemascapes.

People + Opinion

Hits & Misses

Leader

I'm writing this column in January just before setting off for the NAMM show in California, which is perhaps the highlight of...

Inside Track: Arcade Fire's Reflektor

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Korey Richey & Mark Lawson

Thumbnail for article: Inside Track: Arcade Fire's Reflektor

Despite recording mainly live, Arcade Fire spent more than a year recording Reflektor. It was up to Korey Richey and Mark Lawson to get the results to tape.

Playback

Readers' Tracks

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This month we comment on releases from Testing Tomorrow, Clemistry & Audnoyz and Emiliano Cannavò.

Prefab Sprout

Paddy McAloon: From Langley Park To Memphis (And Back)

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Prefab Sprout rose to fame in an era of indulgence and eye‑watering studio budgets. These days, things are a little different...

SOS Awards 2014

And The Winners Are...

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The NAMM exhibition in California brings together music equipment and pro audio manufacturers from all over the world; the perfect opportunity to present the SOS Awards, which celebrate the products that you, our readers, have enjoyed using most over the past year.

Sounding Off: Tristan O'Dwyer

Has The ‘Perfect Workflow’ Resulted In Better Recordings?

Thumbnail for article: Sounding Off: Tristan O'Dwyer

The creative process is about serendipity, spontaneity, accident and chance. It’s about defying convention, standards and the dreaded ‘best practice’.

Technique

15 Popular Audio Myths

And Why They're Wrong!

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Some pieces of bad advice just won't die, no matter how unhelpful they are. Here's why you shouldn't believe everything you read on the Internet...

Apple's new Audiobus

Apple Notes

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The new version of Audiobus is really going places. All aboard!

Chord Generation

Reason Tips & Techniques

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We look at how chord‑generating Rack Extensions in Reason could help you out of a musical rut.

Classic Tracks: Tomorrow 'My White Bicycle'

Producer: Mark Wirtz • Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Thumbnail for article: Classic Tracks: Tomorrow 'My White Bicycle'

Tomorrow's pioneering paean to the joys of communal public transport has proved to be a classic of the British psychedelic underground.

Flex Appeal

Logic Tips & Techniques

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Learn how to Flex Pitch like a pro in Logic Pro X.

It's About Time

Live Tips & Techniques

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We look at what Live's built-in delays can do for you.

Make Some Noise!

Reaper Tips & Techniques

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Create striking new sounds using Reaper's ReaSynth plug-in.

Making WAVs

Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

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Pro Tools often turns up its nose at corrupt WAV files. Here's how to bring them into line.

Mix Rescue: Alex Joyce

Mixing Dubstep

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One of our engineers visits a reader's studio to help him bring the best out of his dubstep track.

Mix Rescue: Alex Joyce | Media

Dubstep: Hear For Yourself

Audio files to accompany the article.

Open Wide

Studio One Tips & Techniques

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Studio One offers multiple methods of synthesizing splendid stereo from mediocre mono.

Open Wide | Media

Studio One Tips & Techniques

Audio files to accompany the article.

Passing Chords: Part 1

Spice Up Your Keyboard Chords

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Bored of the same old chord sequences? In this short series, we explore some simple ways to spice up your piano chords.

Passing Chords: Part 1 | Media

Hear For Yourself

Audio files to accompany the article.

Remote Collaboration

Long‑distance Recording Projects

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Once an expensive and futuristic dream, the technology for Internet‑based collaboration is now available and affordable — and more practical than you might think.

Take A Browse

Sonar Tips & Techniques

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Find what you're looking for faster with Sonar X3's new Browser.

Taking The Strain Off Your CPU

PC Notes

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Improve your PC's performance by taking the strain off your CPU.

The Mix Review

Commercial Productions Analysed

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This month tracks from Jason Derulo, Martin Garrix, Eminem and our Classic Mix: The Beatles' Yesterday from 1965.

Vari Ability

Cubase Tips & Techniques

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Perfect your vocal pitch-correction techniques with Cubase's VariAudio.

Music Business

Funkhaus Studios, Berlin

Studio File

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Reborn out of the Cold War East German TV and radio network site, Funkhaus Studios can be found deep inside Block B!

Notes From The Deadline

TV Music From The Inside

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The pace of change in music technology can be scary, so let's be thankful for the one constant.

Off The Record

Music & Recording Industry Views

What does the world of sports broadcasting offer the budding sound engineer?

Sound Advice

Q Can distortion plug-ins achieve the same sonic effects as tape emulations?

Thumbnail for article: Q Can distortion plug-ins achieve the same sonic effects as tape emulations?

I’ve listened to music recorded on tape and the ‘warmth’ seems to be largely due to the soft-saturation characteristics of the tape and other non-linear components in the signal chain. This being the case, won’t a simpler valve emulation or mild overdrive plug-in achieve pretty much the same result?

Q Does the centre of an image suffer with the ORTF recording technique?

Thumbnail for article: Q Does the centre of an image suffer with the ORTF recording technique?

I keep reading in your mic reviews about the sound being more natural when hitting a mic on-axis. Does this mean that there’s a risk of coloration with the ORTF technique right in the centre of the stereo image?

Q How do I recreate the vocal sound of Haim?

Thumbnail for article: Q How do I recreate the vocal sound of Haim?

I'm really interested in the vocal sound on Haim's debut album, Days Are Gone — could you tell me what sort of processing might be involved in this album?

Q What's the best way to add sub-bass?

Thumbnail for article: Q What's the best way to add sub-bass?

How do I add sub-bass easily to my tracks? I have a nice core ‘bass’ tonal synth but it lacks the low-frequency weight I’m looking for.

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