April 2009 In This Issue

To open articles, click title links

Competition

WIN Audient BB4 Modular Channel Strip worth 1450 GBP

Deadline: 2009-04-30

Prize kindly donated by Audient
+44 (0)1256 381944

WIN Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II guitar

Deadline: 2009-05-31

Prize kindly donated by Gibson/Epiphone

Reviews

Alesis Master Control

Firewire Audio Interface & Control Surface

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Audio interface, control surface, monitor controller — the Alesis Master Control does it all. Could it be the perfect companion to your DAW?

Audio-Technica AT2035 & 2050

Condenser Microphones

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Industry stalwarts Audio-Technica introduce two new microphones that offer a similar character to their popular AT2020, but with better performance and additional features.

Camel Audio Alchemy

Software Synth [Mac/PC]

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Truly original and innovative software is a rare thing these days, but Camel Audios latest is exactly that. Find out what it is that sets Alchemy apart from the soft-synth crowd...

CEntrance AxePort Pro

USB Guitar Interface

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If you're a guitar player who uses computers to create music using samples, loops and virtual instruments but don't need to...

Focal CMS65

Active Nearfield Monitors

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Focal control everything from design to manufacture in their factory in France — and this approach appears to be paying off.

IK Multimedia T-Racks 3

Master Processing Suite [Mac/PC]

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IKs original T-Racks invented the idea of one-stop shop software for master processing. Do the improvements in version 3 keep it ahead of its rivals?

Imperfect Samples Braunschweig

Piano Sample Library

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The inaugural product from Imperfect Samples is a sampled piano with a difference...

Line 6 Pocket Pod Express

Modelling Guitar Processor

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If you thought the Pocket Pod was a no‑brainer spin‑off from the successful Line 6 Pod line, you should take a look at the...

Loopmasters KJ Sawka

Multi-format

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Drum & bass wasn't designed for human drummers but has still attracted the attention of a few die-hard technicians whose superhuman dexterity is surpassed only by their lung capacity.

Markbass Studio 1

Bass-guitar Amp Emulation

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A couple of years ago, the bass player in my band announced proudly that he'd bought himself a Markbass combo. I wasn't very...

Nine Volt Audio Taiko

Sample Library

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You'd have to be bloody serious about Taiko to want 2.3GB of multisamples, but the instrument's ubiquity in high‑octane film and TV scores has led Nine Volt Audio to take it very seriously indeed.

SE Electronics SE4400a

Multi-pattern Condenser Microphone

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Small size and a choice of polar patterns make this mid-priced, large-diaphragm mic a very versatile performer.

Sonic Reality Ocean Way Drums

Virtual Drum Instrument

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Ocean Way Drums offers 19 drum kits, recorded in a world-famous studio by a world-renowned engineer. Is this the best drum sample library money can buy?

Soniccouture Bowed Piano

EXS24 & Kontakt 2/3

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Following their excellent esoteric tuned‑percussion releases Hang Drum and Balinese Gamelan, Soniccouture stay off the beaten...

Sony Acid Pro 7

Digital Audio Workstation Software For Windows

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Acid Pro has always offered a fabulous environment for loop-based music creation, but version 7 sees it making a bid for fully fledged DAW status.

Toontrack Jazz EZX

EZ Drummer Expansion

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If you want great drum sounds but don't need to tweak every bolt in the kit, Toontrack's EZ Drummer provides a very natural‑...

Universal Audio Twin-finity 710

Hybrid Microphone Preamplifier

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Which is best, tube or solid state? When it comes to investing in a preamp, thats a question you may no longer need to ask...

Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard

Digital Synthesizer

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Waldorf build on the success of their Blofeld synth by adding not only a keyboard, but also sample RAM.

Waves Maserati Collection

Plug-in Bundle [Mac/PC]

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Most of us cannot afford to have Tony Maserati mix our tracks — but thanks to Waves, we can now use his personal effects and processing chains in our own mixes.

People + Opinion

Kevin Burleigh & Glasvegas: Recording A Snowflake Fell

Christmas In Transylvania

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For most bands and most record labels, trekking to the wilds of Eastern Europe to record a Christmas album would be a project that would remain filed under Nice idea, but... Glasvegas, however, are not your ordinary guitar band.

Playback

Readers’ Music Reviewed

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The editorial team audition another crop of your submitted tracks.

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Jochem van der Saag

Seal: Soul 'A Change Is Gonna Come'

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When Seal decided to pay tribute to classic soul records on his album Soul, he turned to legendary producer David Foster — and his right-hand man, Jochem van der Saag, who was responsible for mixing and much more.

Sounding Off: 21st Century Culture

David Glasper

What can we do to save ourselves from the misery and bathos of 21st century culture? Simple: hide in the past.

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Leader

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Editor-In-Chief Paul White likes dreaming up April Fool's blue-sky products, but with the unveiling of MOTU's Volta and Microsoft's Songsmith, fact is indeed becoming stranger than fiction!

Technique

Advanced Mixing In Logic Pro 8: Part 1

Logic Notes & Techniques

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A professional producer and mixer passes on his favourite Logic mixing methods, starting this month at the bottom, with tips for bass and drums.

Advanced Vocal Compression

Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

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We explore some of the advanced parallel compression techniques used by top mix engineer Michael Brauer — and how you can recreate them using Cubase.

Building A Beatbox In Ableton Live

Ableton Live Notes & Techniques

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We show you how to make Live emulate an MPC-style workflow for composing rhythm tracks.

Classic Tracks: Heavy Zebra ‘Karla’

Producer: Heavy Zebra • Engineer: Kevin Byrne

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Blighted by drug abuse and mental illness, Heavy Zebra never fulfilled their early promise. Nevertheless, the deranged majesty of their 1972 single Karla makes it a bona fide classic track.

Cubase: Advanced Vocal Compression — Audio Files

Hear For Yourself

We explore some of the advanced parallel compression techniques used by top mix engineer Michael Brauer — and how you can recreate them using Cubase.

Double-tracking Vocals

Sound Techniques

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Whether you want to do it for real or fake it, double tracking can add very effective texture to vocal parts.

Mix Rescue: Timo Carlier

Recording simple ideas quickly

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Recording simple ideas quickly often helps you to capture a good, fresh-sounding performance — but it can also leave you with frustrating technical problems in the mix. This month, we tackle just such a recording...

Mix Rescue: Timo Carlier | Media

Audio files to accompany the article.

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

Non-Windows Hard Drives

PC Notes

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If youre under the impression that installing your audio apps on a non-Windows drive will lead to better performance, youre in for a surprise. Recording audio tracks to such a drive, though, is a different matter...

Recording Techniques For Upright Piano

Miking Techniques & Recording Tips

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Weve discussed how to record grand pianos in some depth in past issues, but miking an upright piano can present a very different challenge.

Recording Upright Piano: Audio Files

Hear For Yourself

We've discussed how to record grand pianos in some depth in past issues, but miking an upright piano can present a very different challenge... Here are links to MP3 and WAV files to accompany April's recording workshop.

ReGenesis

Early Genesis for the modern keyboardist

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Forming a tribute act can be challenging when it comes to getting the sound as close to the original band as possible, and approaching the keyboard rig for a Genesis tribute certainly proved tricky.

Sonar: Integrating External Hardware With Your DAW

Sonar Notes & Techniques

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Is it time to lighten the load on your CPU and put that outboard signal processing hardware to work inside your DAW? We explain how...

Studio SOS: Gerry Daly

Making the most of your studio space

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We turn a less-than-ideal square rented room into a workable recording and mixing space.

The SOS Guide To Choosing A Modular Synth

Plug & Play

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No longer the preserve of men in laboratories or capes, the modular synth business is thriving, and its now easier to go modular than ever before. Read on and well show you how...

Track Comping

Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

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One of the major new features in Pro Tools 8 is a system for easily assembling 'comp' tracks from multiple takes. We explain how it all works.

Upgrading MacBook Hard Drives

Apple Notes

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With the increasing size of audio files and high-quality sample libraries, a Apple MacBook hard drive that seemed capacious just a couple of years ago may now be straining at the seams — but swapping it for a bigger one is easier than you might think.

Music Business

Notes From The Deadline

TV Music From The Inside

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Your showreel can say a lot about you. And if its going to get you work, what it needs to say is: trust me.

Sound Advice

Q. How can I create a better stereo image?

I've recorded a couple of songs with just three tracks: acoustic guitar, bass and lead vocal. I'll obviously pan both bass and lead vocals in the centre.

Q. How much difference does mic position make to vocals?

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I have heard from a 'proper' singer that changing the mic position when recording vocals can make a big impact on the way they sound. 

Q. Is Windows 7 good for musicians?

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Could SOS write an article on the latest Windows 7 as soon as possible, and say whether in your view it's worthwhile to try it instead of Vista, or even XP?

Q. Should I buy a separate preamp?

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I have happily been using Pro Tools for the past decade and am currently using Pro Tools LE with an Mbox 2 interface. I want to buy a mic preamp, perhaps a Behringer Tube Ultragain or similar, but will this be a waste of money when using Digidesign's LE Interfaces?

Q. What should I buy to equip my studio?

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I'm planning to start some writing and recording in my basement home studio — only there's no equipment in it!

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