AUS230.LO10 Evaluate own production process to the practice of industry professionals with a framework for continuous reflections

In reflection of the professional production standards, I recollect here the readings and methods used in recording the Bart Stenhouse Jazz band. The band is a five piece professional jazz band which we had the privilege of recording in the SAE Neve studio. On embarking on this recording project, the many stages of production and recording processes were discussed many days prior to the studio recording.  In consideration, Zager (2010 p124) describes it clearly by stating that “mixing is the penultimate of the recording process. After all of the tracks have been recorded, the producer and the engineer begin the long and arduous process of creating the final sonic image – the mix. Just as a film director and sculpt the final film during the editing process, the music producer and audio engineer create the final album during the mixing process. Bands position themselves in a variety of ways, but an orchestral setup is mostly traditional. When producers and engineers are trying to recreate a live performance in the recording studio, attentative listening will help them develop a realistic sonic image. What is the album going to say to the listener? That is the question that should be asked at the beginning of production. Did the producer and the artist remain true to the original creative and sonic concept? A music producer’s goal is to enhance an artist’s creative vision and must be the primary objective of producers and engineers during the mixing process.

Each stage of the mixing process is essential to the final sonic picture. Is the the album supposed to sound intimate (as if the artist is performing in a small club)? or live (as if he or she is performing in a concert hall)? Is the album supposed to sound like a studio creation, with the help of technology for the purpose of creating an electronic soundscape? Can the sound of the final mix be reproduced during concert performance? That might be of concern to the artist. Each scenario must be taken into consideration before mixing.

Most of the considerations have been addressed for the pre-recording stage, but the concepts must once again be discussed. Mixing is the blending of technology and art, and art is ever changing. Accidents constantly occur during the mixing process, and many of them remain on the album.The actual creation of the album continues throughout the mix.  It is relatively easy to physically describe the elements of a mix, but it is not easy to describe the art of the mix. Obviously,a producer’s knowledge of recording technology must become second nature, just as music theory is second nature to musicians” Zager. M 2010 P125 Music Production; for producers, arrangers and students))

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((to be continued))

CIU212 – Major Project Development

The development of my major project has been on the move for a few weeks now, and here I am ready to blog about it. The scope of my project is to create an audio drama version of a favourite book that I have, which is called The Garden of the Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Khalil Gibran was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer. As a young man he immigrated with his family to the United States. Gibran is known as the most successful and famous Arab writers in the world. Along with my passion for audio production, my interest in esoteric writings and wisdom literature has been the main reason to do this project. The book was written and published in New York and has crossed international borders to become one of the most read books in English. “His work is marked by a distinctive flavour of ancient wisdom and mysticism – and it will no doubt come as a surprise to many readers to learn that he lived in New York from 1912 to 1931. His masterpiece, The Prophet, written during this period , is one of the most highly regarded spiritual texts of the 20th Century” (Joe Jenkins). Gibrans style of writing in both poetic prose and existentialist metaphors are a soothing dialogue of  “In an epoch characterized as The Age of Anxiety, Gibran saw a divine order infused in the world. Gibran’s message is a healing one and his quest to understand the tensions between spirit and exile anticipated the needs of an age witnessing the spiritual and intellectual impasse of modernity itself”  ” (Joe Jenkins). This blog is focused on discussing the practical matters involved in the project management of this production.

Objectives of the project –

  • My appreciation and passion for poetry and quality wisdom literature.
  • My regard for the traditional audio production of a  “radio drama’ genre and the contemporary pod-cast market.
  • To reach an audience target market interested in creative audio drama (i.e podcast recording and broadcasting)
  • And as a tribute to an outstanding artist and author – Kahlil Gibran.

The Product –

  • I will be creating a Podcast audio Drama. It will be an audio narrative based on the sequel to the world best seller “The Prophet”, the drama dialogue is taken from the book, “The Garden of the Prophet”  which was published  in 1931, nine months after Gibran’s death. “The Garden of the Prophet”  follows the story of Almustafa the chosen one. Set in “the hush of the garden  where his mother and Father are buried” he shares the characters’ beauty of wisdom and
  • I will be producing only a segment of the book not the entire book.

Artistic Merit-

  • The product will have artistic merit from different angles, Firstly the original text in its own rights and secondly the audio production that will be created to reinforce the story line. For example; Foley, Voice over Actors, and music to suite the story.

TARGET MARKET / PUBLISHING

  • This product is aimed at the Podcast/Audio drama market. Targeted at People who enjoy listening to audio narratives online. The product will be targeted at a specific group of listeners who share a focused interest in wisdom and mysticism literature.
  • Podcast listeners & Subscribers concentrated with above average education in the 20 to 60 year age bracket.

PUBLISHING The production will be uploaded to my website page which will be created on a wix.com template. http://coznegrete.wix.com/neurosysmediapodcast The audio drama will also be uploaded on to a chosen internet radio broadcasting stations (i.e  ABC podcast station, or the Triple J podcast station). Triple J is among the ABC’s top podcast producers, with 9.8million podcasts downloaded in 2011-2012 (up 8% from 9 million in 2010-2011),

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Methodology– A mixture of the Waterfall process and the utilisation of GANTT charts will be implemented in the project management.

Scope – An audio narrative of 20-25 minutes in length recorded in SAE studios, 9-10 narrative actors (Script acting), will include music and sound effects (Foley). Will be published on-line.

Industry Scope – My product is a Narrative audio drama (Podcast) which falls in the 274 Section of the ACLC Industry Classifications. 274: Recorded Media Manufacturing; This class consists of of units mainly engaged in the manufacture of recorded media containing audio, video or interactive material. Examples of recorded media include compact discs, digital video, audio cassettes, video tapes and vinyl records. According to the ABS (Australian Bureau Of Statistics) Group 26 Broadcsting electronic or digital media, & film consists of units mainly engaged in creative production for film, television, radio or the internet. It also includes the transmission or delivery of those products.”

Target Market A common concept in radio marketing is the target audience. This means the type of listeners. Target audience is decribed in demographic terms – i.e. age group, sex, education, occupation. etc.  The target audience my product is aimed at is people with above average education between the ages of 20 -60. More specifically podcast listeners and subscribers. So with this my target market will be concentrated in particular age and socio economic groups.. Listener will be people who share focused interest in esoteric literature. The size of my audience  depends a lot on the number of internet radio broadcasters. The more stations in the market, the more tightly my target audience needs to be defined.

Pod Cast Market Podcasts are audio series published online. As new episodes of a podcast are created, they are added to the podcast feed and are distributed over the internet. Uses either download episodes individually for listening or subscribe to the feed of a podcast. Podcasts are compared to radio programs by some definition. However, podcasting on the internet and radio broadcasting are characterized by 3 main differences.

  1. A podcast targets a specific group of listeners who share a focused interest.
  2. Podcasters creating podcasts anticipate longer shelve lives since it is possible to make podcasts available indefinitely for download or reuse.
  3. no specialized equipment is required to produce & publish podcasts.

Quality framework POD CRED – Is a framework for analysing listener appeal which demonstrates it’s application to the task of automatically predicting the listening preference of users. The Podcred framework consists of an inventory of factors contributing to users perceptions of the credibility and quality of podcasts. Podcred consists of four categories

  • Podcast content
  • the Podcaster (Narrator/s)
  • Podcast context (relevance/trends)
  • Technical executions of the Podcasts

The podosphere (totality of all the podcasts on internet) is growing and its growth is forseen to grow in the future. Download statistics reveal a steady trend in podcast use. (see http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.145.8018)

Approaching the unkown! AUS230

For many, approaching the unknown is a frightening and daunting journey. For this novice Audio student it is exactly that, I guess it’s nerves and anxiety more than anything. However, this trimester in Audio Studio 3, the primary focus is on “the impact of sounds on audience perception in various media”.  So to begin by odyssey through this connection between audio production and consumer, I have come across a note worthy quote, from a significant author in the  halls of history and taken from Michael Zager’s book “Music Production; for producers, composers, arrangers and students, which will assist me on my bewildering journey (2012 2nd ed).

” Let us describe the education of our men. What then is the education to be? Perhaps we could hardly find a better than that which the experience of the past has already discovered, which consists, I believe, in gymnastics, for the body, and music for the mind.”  – Plato.

What this means to me is that, if I am going to get through this epic trimester journey where the work load increases and the Learning curb is super steep, then I will need to balance my time, space and health with exercise for my body and arduous efforts or researching, reading, contemplating, and project management for my grades (and mind), along with some cool music! too! of course.

Zager (2012, pxv) describes it best, so as to understand the concept and depth of music. “Music (which stems from the greek word meaning  dance) is generally considered to consist of pleasant sounds that are either played on instruments and/or sung. Music consists of pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, timbre, tempo, form and dynamics. Music producers must be familiar with these elements in addition to having the ability to arrange, orchestrate, analyse songs and instrumentals, coach recording artists, and understand recording technology.

To me these are words of music to my ears, although concepts which are at times difficult to comprehend, they do set out a blueprint for incorporating sound design into pleasurable music. These concepts also allow students of audio (like myself) music to gain an in depth understanding and critique of the aesthetic-all qualities that constitute a musical composition.  However, “not all types of music are designed to get the same response from an audience” (AUS230-Subject guide). It is through the above mentioned components of music(i.e pitch, melody, harmony, rhythm,  meter, timbre, tempo, form and dynamics) that composers, producers and student can communicate the various elements of musical instrumentation and elements, so that an understanding of how processes can inform and combine to produce a work that is pre meditatively intended to reach a goal- the consumers listening pleasure!

 

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Audio production is a complex topic, a topic which I will be discovering and deliberating in a number of blog posts I will be delivering through my journey of Audio Studio 3.

see you at my next Blog

 

The analysis of a live venue, live sound and their distinguishing elements.

Good bands create good sound regardless of the equipment, although equipment and specifications of equipment have a great deal to do with proper live sound set up, EQ’ing, proper levelling and acoustic tuning. live sound production is a considerable section of the music industry and has specialised areas and industry specialists who take great pride and effort in their field of audio.  The live sound industry includes anything from a simple PA system at a sunday market, to a enormous performing arts complexes (i.e QPAC, Convention Centres)  where huge touring production companies stage their performances for ever growing numbers of audiences.

Live sound is a serious business, and one bad show could cost the producers, sound engineers, staging companies valuable income and reputations. For the purpose of this blog post the definition of live sound is “the process of electrically blending together multiple sound sources at a live event using a mixing console. Sounds used include those from instruments, voices, and pre-recorded material. Individual sources may be equalised and routed to effect processors to ultimately be amplifies and reproduced via loudspeakers. The live sound engineer balances the various audio sources in a way that best suits the needs of the event. 

The live audio segment is usually made up of stage productions, rigging out (to fit or equip) the stage with microphones, mic cables , speakers (i.e wedges. active or passive, drive racks, inline speakers, etc), di boxes etc. all commonly referred to as the signal chain. This audio signal processing is applied to  individual inputs, groups of inputs, or the entire output mix, usually using processors that are internal to the mixer or external (outboard). This mixing process is usually split in to two main sections known as Front of House (what the audience hears in their ears) and Folding back mix ( which is what the performers usually hear in their space on stage.

The processing of these two sections is commonly done on the relative mixing console being used for the event and may consist of a number of effects processing (i.e reverb, delay, echo, Eq’ing, compressing, or gate’ing the signal).

The front of house engineer focuses on mixing the quality of the audio, according to the acoustic qualities of the venue for the audience, and most often operates from the middle of the audience. The output signals from the FOH console connects to a LSR system (live sound reinforcement system). The monitor engineer focuses on mixing the sound that the performers hear on stage via a stage monitor system (also known as the foldback system).

The production process usually includes a ‘stage plot and an ‘input list before performers ever get on stage. the stage plot is commonly a diagram of details describing or illustrating where specific instruments, performers, microphones etc will be placed and arranged, where as a input list is the coinciding list of microphones, inputs, and outputs being used by members of the band/artists usually used by the staging crew and audio engineers of the event.

On attending and experiencing the live sound production excursions during this tri-mester both at the HI FI Bar and the QPAC (Queensland performing arts complex) I have gained a greater appreciation for the dynamics and knowledge used in utilising Live Sound reinforcement technique used in the live audio industry.  The acoustic qualities of live sound reinforcement and technical procedures used in Live sound vary between size and features of a venue. For example, for small events (i.e Hi FI), often a “sound check” is conducted a few hours before the show. This allows the sound to be fine-tuned prior to the audience hearing the first song. In recent times, many of bands use digital mixing consoles. The settings of previous shows can be saved and recalled in the console and the band can start playing without sound check.

On a larger scale, (i.e QPAC) technical rehearsals may be held in the days or weeks leading up to a concert. These rehearsals are used to fine-tune the many technical aspects (such as lighting, sound, video) associated with a live performance.

In conclusion, live sound is a specialised area of audio production and is an ever increasing industry due to the growing rate of the live performance industry of festivals, events and mega events around the world.  With todays contemporary technology, sound engineers don’t take the band to studio alone, they now take the studio to the band.

Different musical characteristics of a musical genre.

It has been said before that the majority of people take their senses for granted and at often times it may not occur to us that there are many different elements composing a single or particular musical composition, also depending on where it is being played or performed regardless of having a ‘good ear. Not surprisingly,  the musicality of listening correctly comes, or rather, should in a sense begin with having a ‘good ear’, which means as a start, having a close to accurate perception of pitch and rhythm.  We take it that all good musicians and producers should by definition have  a ‘decent ear’.

Apart from having a decent ear to listen with, it is relevant to discuss that “the 10 characteristics of music may be broken down into five main categories. Each category serves a distinct role in the music and the manner in which it sounds. By learning about the 10 basic characteristics of music, one becomes a better and more informed musician or audience member,” in other words we become a better listener.  Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_8475291_10-characteristics-music.html

There are many characteristics to music, and can be a complex array of elements and concepts that make music an intriguing and fascinating art form.  The five umbrella characteristics of music are; MELODY, HARMONY, RHYTHM, TIMBRE and FORM. These characteristics can be further dissected into smaller elements of the musical composition and are relative to the quality and quantity of the musical piece.  As each musical piece varies depending in which genre it is played for, the characteristics can change and vary in size and depth.

MELODY, can be further described into three section such as  motives, phrases and periods of a composition.

HARMONY, the characteristics of harmony can be broken down into  chords and arpeggios.

RHYTHM, can be further  dissected into mono-rhythmic, poly-rhythmic and tempo.

TIMBRE, can further be described into texture and density of a piece; such as instrumental or orchestral.

FORM, is the characteristic of music that places all of the elements into an intelligible structure making it possible to listen to and understand musical goals and destinations.

In addition to these five umbrella terms for musical characteristics, there is also the like of Musical Instruments and Voice – Musical instruments are classified as percussions, strings, wood wind and keyboards. Another method of classifying musical instruments according to the type of vibrating material used to produce sound is called the Sachs-Hornsbostel Sytem  Our voice is also considered a musical instrument. Each of us has a different voice type or vocal range and no two voices are alike.

As an example I have taken a specific song; .”With a Little Help from My Friends” and have played it in there different genre  types so as to distinguish and describe the different musical characteristics of the piece.

With a Little Help from My Friends” is a song written by John Lennon  and Paul Mcartney , released on the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkyqRP8S93Y    

– The Beatles, the original genre being pop rock. psychedelic 

This version of the composition is perhaps the one that most cover versions adopt the original melody,the song is partly in the form of a conversation, in which the other three Beatles sing a question “Would you believe in a love at first sight?” and Starr answers, “Yes, I’m certain that it happens all the time.” The timbre of the original song is bland and lightly dull perhaps because it was recorded in the old analogue system where the vocals don’t have the higher end of the harmonies as digitally recorded versions. The original vocals (lead and back up) are distinguishably yet slightly panned left and right through the melodies and the bass are mono-rhythmic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wG6Cgmgn5U

– Joe Cocker – With a little help from my friends

This cover version of the classic Beatles, has a variance in melody and tempo (rhythm) the vocals are sung in an arpeggio harmony and has many high pitch vocal screams( for lack of a better word) by Joe Cocker. This version has a poly-rhythmic composition and has a massive drum/percussion section and its Timbre is off the scales, in other words very bright and exuberant.  The back up female vocals create an exquisite interchange of pitch and harmony between the lead and back up which creates various dips and rises in the melody to create an intense feeling of calling and rejoicing which is intentionally placed to interpret the overcoming of despair and anguish so to speak of the lyrical story of the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPvoPYD-Kow  

-The acoustic duo “die wohngemeinschaft” performs the song “With A Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles.

Mirjam Pedrazzoli – vocals

This acoustic solo version is a rhythmic interpretation of the keys, chords and melody of the original. The female vocals give the Timbre of the guitar a complimenting pitch. The melody is moody and almost melancholy and the female vocals has tremendous pitch change when she reaches to the highs,  she plays around with the chorus phrasing in junction with the guitarist and acoustics of the room that they are playing in. The acoustics of the room is an aid in the compositions form and enhances the stereo image of the artists interpretation.

The Journey

The first step of a thousand mile journey is always the most difficult.  In other words, the complexity and scope of this project is a challenging experience to say the least.   As I consider myself to be a beginner in the field of Audio recording and Studio Controls, the research involved has been diverse in areas from project management and communications to  psychoacoustics, through to microphone variances and applications to the DAW practices (short cuts) through to console controls and patch bay functions and applications.  However, as this is the beginning of a series of blogs that will be put forth in sequence to the various stages of the studio production journey. In order to grasp a clearer understanding of what the concepts and task at hand  where about I researched a bit on what project management really entails and what where the signposts that I should be guiding myself with in order to achieve a number of learning outcomes. Kerzner (2010, p2) stipulates that “In order to understand project management, one must begin with definition of a project. A project can be considered to be any series of activities and tasks that:

  • Have a specific objective to be completed within certain specifications
  • Have defined start and end dates
  • Have funding limits (if applicable)
  • Consume human and nonhuman resources (i.e. money, people, equipment)
  • Are multifunctional (i.e., cut across several functional lines)

Project management can mean different things to different people. Nonetheless, project management is the planning, organizing, directing and controlling of company resources for a relatively short-term objective that has been established to complete specific goals and objectives.

Therefore this project is to be called a Multi-Media Project in a hypothetical real world scenario where our group of students are required to earn an imaginary income of $10, 000 in thirteen weeks. Each student is required to put a certain amount of hours per week on the execution of numerous activities, skill sets, and project management objectives.

The main objectives for the Audio Media Project “Adopt a band” is to deliver certain outcomes to a specific brief.

  • It  is imperative for our team to meet these requirements:
  • Tie smaller projects together to form one large project
  • Provide value to the students portfolio
  • Create real world scenario for students to simulate a work environment in a production house.

The media production Portfolio requirements

  • 3-4 track Ep – produced and mixed by the group
  • Live sound reinforcement – produced and mixed live by the group
  • “Making of” 3-6 minutes -professional sounding documentary produced by the group with help from film students.
  • “Optional”-Band logo designed by a graphic design student\

 

On receiving the details of the project I sent a few emails and messages to some musicians that are in the Brazilian community and have solid musical background in the sound of the streets of Brazil.  The name of the band, Som de Calcada; literally means ‘sounds of the footpath”; the genres of music they perform are related to the traditional style of Afro-Caribbean sounds of the North East coast of Brazil. The distinct rhythm styles of music the band performs varies between Forro, Marakatu, Baiao and the well known Samba.  The Band Som de Calcada is made up of 8 members; Henrique Mazzeu- Lead acoustic guitar and vocals, Lucas Sadd Tambeli-percussions and vocals , Jason////-percussion and vocals,Erin Byrnes-percussions and vocals, Matias Campos-Bass guitar and vocals, James///-Didgiridoo,  Richard ///-Trombone and David//-Saxaphone.

As a point of reference we researched  Luis Gonzaga  SEE LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG0piPBjAzk 

TEAM ACE is made from SAE Student Carlos Negrete, Adwin Narayan, Chris Anderson and Ronin Ryan.

It is imperative that all members of TEAM ACE, take on the responsibilities set out in the Group Work Statement.

Auditory Perception and Psychoacoustics

According to Huber and Runstein (p.64 2010)   It is important realize that the ear is non-linear device (what’s received at you ears isn’t always what you’ll hear). It’s also important to note that the ear’s frequency response (its perception of timbre) changes with the loudness of the perceived signal. The area of psychoacoustics deals with how and why the brain interprets a particular sound stimulus in a certain way. Although a great deal of study has been devoted to this subject, the primary device in psychoacoustics is the all-elusive brain…which is still largely unknown to present day science”.  Well thanks to great scientists and persons of great insight in to the human perception of sound, there have been extensive studies and framing of psychoacoustic theories and literature. It is however, in my opinion, important to have a holistic and astute awareness of psycho acoustic interpretation.  Oscar Sacks (p.xi, 2014 Musicophilia) denotes in his work , that many authors discern that “our musical powers – , some of them, at least  – are made possible by using, or recruiting, or co-opting brain systems that have already developed for other purposes. This might go with the fact that there is no single “music centre” in the human brain, but the involvement of a dozen scattered networks throughout the brain. Stephen Jay Gould, who was the first to face the vexed question of non-adaptive changes squarely, speaks of “exaptations” in this regard, rather than adaptations – and he singles out music as a clear example as such an exaptation. Yet regardless of all this – the extent to which human musical powers and susceptibilities are hard-wired or are a by product of other powers and proclivities – music remains fundamental and central in every culture. We humans are a musical species no less than a linguistic one. This takes many different forms. All of us (with very few exceptions) can perceive music, perceive tones, timbre, pitch intervals, melodic contours, harmony, and (perhaps most elementally) rhythm. We integrate all of these and ‘construct” music in our minds using many different parts of the brain. ”

It is of course, important to remember the ongoing science of audio theory. M Schaffer in Cox & Warner( Audio culture reading in Modern Music 2014,p.29) suggests that “the sound scape of the world is changing. Modern man is beginning to inhabit a world with an acoustical environment radically different from any he has hitherto known. These new sounds, which differ in quality and intensity from those of the past, have already alerted researchers to the dangers of the imperialistic spread of more and larger sounds into every corner of man’s life. In various parts of the world important research is being undertaken in many independent areas of sonic studies; acoustics, psychoacoustics, otology, audiology, noise abatement practices and procedures, communications and sound recording engineering (electro acoustics and electronic music), aural pattern perception and the structural analysis of speech and music. These researchers are related; each is dealing with aspects of the world sound scape, the vast musical composition which is unfolding around us ceaselessly. In one way or another researchers engaged on these various themes are asking the same questions: what is the relationship between man and the sounds of his environment and what happens when these sounds change?”   As I reflect and look back at the journey of music production I can honestly say that the more I learn the more I realise the less  know. The important thing is that of being aware that your on the journey, regardless of the obstacles, the challenges, the doubts, and difficulties. The learning slopes have been acute and obtuse, the   highs and lows of working towards finding those answers to the ill structured problems have been mind opening and very rewarding. 003

Midi Production and Sampling

On the beginning of our midi production project, our team decided to record some drums, sample some midi synthesis sounds and add some piano rhythm. Our first production task was to microphone a drum session in the Neve. 026 027 028 029 030 031 032 041.  H033uber and Runstein (2010 p.160) suggest that “because each part of the drum set is so different in sound and function, it’s often best to treat each grouping as an individual instrument. In its most basic form, the best place to start when miking a drum set is to start with the fundamental “groups”. These include placing a mic on the Kick and on the snare drum. At an absolute minimum, the entire drum set can be adequately picked up using only four mics by adding two over head pick up, either spaced (3) or coincident. We chose Se Electronics pickup mics, Shure SM57 and a A55 kick drum mic. We spaced the Shure SM57 and one of the Se Electronics mics at equal distance from the centre of the snare (1100mm) and the other Se Electronic pick up mic to the side of large TomTom drum.

In addition, we set up a midi keyboard on a DI box connected directly to the NEVE console and recorded to protools some  midi synthesis sample. 

040 039 038 037 Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 5.02.11 PM  After having sufficient data to work with on our mix down we, took the recorded samples and moved to work in the Audient student , as we had to adhere to our studio booking times and limitations.  We continued to collaborate, and even under exhaustion and studio time limitations we added further elements to create a composition.

Group Midi Production

Processing the colour of sound signals! -Compression!

004 003   The dynamic ranges of the various instruments used in our recording of the composition were not very broad, however are distinguishable throughout many areas of the audial spectrum. The dynamic range and creativity of how the overall sound quality will be delivered in the final production is perhaps the central paradox that a production team/group must consider in successive steps and collaborative stages. During our recording mix-down, we had decided on doing some changes to drum and violin audio tracks so that these particular sounds would stand out at better levels above the other  tracks within the mix. However, according to Huber and Runstein (p491. 2010) ” the concept of automatically changing the gain of an audio signal (through the use of compression, limiting and/or expansion) is perhaps one of the most misunderstood aspects of audio recording”.

The amount of literature and technical authorities on compression are too many to add to this brief blog entry.  In simple terms “The most common controls on a compressor (and most other dynamic range devices) include input gain, threshold, output gain, slope ratio, attack, release and meter display. A compressor reduces input levels that exceed a threshold by a specified amount. Once reduced, the overall signal can then be boosted in level, thereby allowing the softer signals to be raised above other program or background sounds” (D. Huber & R.Runstein. p 491. 2010  Modern recording techniques)

Huber and Runstein (2010) , further suggest that “Changing the dynamics of a track or overall program will often affect the way in which it will be perceived by making it ‘seem’ louder, by reducing its volume range to better suit a particular medium or by making it possible for a particular sound to ride at a better level above other tracks within a mix”.

 The  decision to add compression to the drums and violin frequencies was mutually decided. We then continued to select the Avalon compressor and patched the corresponding patch bay inputs and outputs. 006 009 008 007  The decision to only compress the violin and bass drum audio tracks was based on the rationale that, as according to Huber and Runstein P.490 2010) that it is rarely a good idea to impact performance when recording instruments that contain high frequency/ high level signals (such as snare or cymbals), because the peak transients will probably distort in a way that’s hardly pleasing.” 

Instrumental Frequency Ranges of Interest

Instrument                             Frequencies

Cow bells                   Clank sound at 200Hz, 

Bass guitar                Bottom at 60-80Hz, attack/pluck at 700-1000Hz, string noise/pop at 2.5 kHz

Acoustic guitar          Bottom at 80-120Hz, body at 240Hz, clarity at 2.5-5kHz

Congo Bongo            Resonance at 200-240Hz, presence/slap at 5kHz

Strings                        Fullness at 240Hz, scratchiness at 7.5-10Khz 

Vocals                       Fullness at 120 Hz, boominess at 200-240 Hz, presence at 5kHz, sibilance at 7.5-10kHz.

(Note: These frequencies aren’t absolute for all instruments, but are meant as a subjective guide.)  

taken from 2010. p 484. Modern Recording techniques, .) 

 

002  Here is a snap shot of the dry and wet tracks from the protools studio session. On closer sight, it is observable that the size of the top wave length (drmcmprs) is slightly larger than the original (lower track). 

005We also prepared processing compression on the violin samples(Vin/dst/cm) that had been recorded and previously distorted through a pitch controller plug in .  

Huber and Runstein (2010) propose that “Generally, the idea behind these processing systems is to reduce the overall dynamic range of a track, music or sound program or to raise its overall perceived level without adversely affecting the sound of the track itself. Its a well known fact that over compression can actually squeeze the life out of a performance by limiting the dynamics and reducing the transient peaks that can give life to a performance.”

On the learning outcome of the compression processing of the group production assignment, I believe we were successful, at producing the right balance of compression and EQ paradigms for the end sound quality. In reflection of the processes, stages, decisions and out comes to the manipulations of sound in a group project like this one, I more clearly now, understand the idea that musical sound brings a myriad of psychoacoustic sensations to the experience of music, none more so than color- or timbre. . In the words of a prominent psychologist and songwriter,  Patrick Ehlen, “Color is not “added” to music, it is integral to it.”  from O.Sacks. 2014. p191. Musicophilia, Tails of music and the Brain.. 

Microphoning for Wind Wood instruments and percussions.

020 The process and comprehensive choices that are needed to make in regards to microphoning broad instruments is by no means an easy or simple task. Owsinski proclaims that “Although it’s possible to get a good sound by just randomly placing a microphone in front of an instrument or vocal, it can sound so much better with a little forethought regarding the many concerns involved. And, the more mic’s you record with, the more complex these concerns become”.  I  decided on  choosing the following  microphones for the recording of all the instruments including the vocals, Rode NT2A, “This large diaphragm condenser, transformerless mic can be switched between figure-of-eight, omni, and cardioid modes, and has a choice of 80Hz or 40Hz low-cut filter frequencies as well as a filter-bypass switch position. Similarly, there’s a choice of 5dB or 10dB pads” (taken from http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar05/articles/rodent2a.htm 1/09/2014)).  AKG C414, The C414 is probably the best-known microphone that AKG make,These C414s are large-diaphragm, multi-pattern capacitor microphones utilising a gold-sputtered diaphragm where only the front side of the diaphragm is coated, the aim being to avoid electrical shorting between the diaphragm and backplate at very high SPLs” (taken from http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov04/articles/akgmics.htm 1/09/2014)) .  Behringer B2Pro   Being a capacitor mic, the B2 Pro needs 48V phantom power to operate, and the XLR socket, which carries both the signal and the phantom power, has gold-plated pins. The sensitivity of the mic varies from -14mV/Pa to -18mV/Pa depending on the pattern selected, which in practical terms means its not that dissimilar in sensitivity to the majority of large-diaphragm capacitor models” (taken from http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/apr04/articles/behringerb2.htm))  and two Pencile mica for room mics. The instruments that were recorded varied in frequency responses and timbre. The instruments were recorded separately and cohesively different microphoning proximity techniques were considered and experimented with.  wi-pan-flute-lrgla Kena022019015013012013015016017

 Hence once we had organised and connected the microphones to the appropriate channels, we were able determine through critical listening and deduction what listening gain levels where adequate for further processing..  whilst metering for  harmonic and melodic contours.  In order to prevent the phenomenon of Masking, or Phase Shift with the guitar, an element which was later evident, The musicians decided to do the recording in instrumental sections, which was in agreement with the production team, this I think allowed for clearer tonal and acoustic frequency response isolation and reduction in bleed and acoustic reflections.