Audio Recording Through the Ages

Nowadays, we can do practically anything with audio. With the advent of advanced digital audio production software like DAWs, audio engineers can edit, rearrange, and mix audio to their heart’s content. Whether that’s in music, speech, television or sound effects, the results are often incredible.

Yet, just 200 years ago a human voice had never even been recorded. For the vast majority of human history (we’ve been on the planet for 200,000 years), audio recording was totally impossible. The technological progress that’s been made in the last two centuries in this area has been revolutionary and astounding. It’s led to the birth of the modern music industry, the invention of radio, the introduction of sound in film, and has generally allowed for much more accurate records to be kept of important events and speeches.

With this in mind, McGowan Transcriptions have designed this infographic looking at the history of audio recording technology. Starting from the very first foray into this area the phonautograph, which could record sound but not play it back the infographic tracks different developments and advances that have been made in this field, taking you on a journey through time from the early acoustic era to today’s digital age.

Take a look at the infographic below to find out more!

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How The Life Of A Sound Engineer Is Different From Any Other Engineer?

Hi folks, got another guest post from Kaylyn Gabriel.  Kaylyn Gabriele is an independent blogger and editor who is working for a number of Electronic Music Schools. She has a keen interest in Music and Audio Engineering Programs. Apart from this she is a gold medallist and has completed her graduation from Canada University. You can always catch her on Facebook and follow her on  Twitter to find out more about her.

Audio Engineering is a bit different field from other engineering fields and is very interesting as compared to all other branches. The truth is not everyone knows about the job of a sound engineer. Every day is a new challenge for them. On an average you will see that you are working with really talented people who are completely lost into their music world. You will also get a chance to work with vocal artists, movie producers and may be some music video games artists, if you have decided to pursue your career as an audio engineer.

How-The-Life-Of-A-Sound-Engineer-Is-Different-From-Any-Other-Engineer

The possibilities and opportunities are endless for an audio engineer. What is the most interesting part about this type of work is that what you crate, what you frame you can listen to that very easily. Imagine what would be the feeling when you are telling your friends that you are also a part of a famous song!

What are the advantages of an Audio Engineer?

You can guess very well that the job of an Audio Engineer is quiet interesting and exciting. After being fascinating, this job offers you a lot of benefits. Well, why most people fall for these types of job is because of the creativity you can explore and the pay that you get are really amazing. But one should understand that this job is not for everyone. Just because you are a big fan of music, you enjoy music does not mean that you can be the creator for it.

Some other countable challenges for Audio Engineers

Well you need to be very patient when you are working as an audio engineering. It takes a very long time to frame your grip over music. People who are already working as audio engineer they say that it took them few years to learn the basics. Mostly people do not have this much of patience to learn music to a perfect level. But if you really have that patience and want to make something different into the music world, this is going to pay you much higher. Audio Engineering is not as easy as it appears but it is a very wonderful career choice for any dedicated music lover who is looking for handsome money.

An average Salary for a Sound Engineer

If you are looking forward your career in Sound Engineering then you must be aware of how much salary an audio engineering is getting. For most of the people salary is the most important aspect of a career. Well an average salary for an audio engineer is $90,000. So what are you thinking, if you think you are the one who can create music and give music its new face, then go ahead and mark a difference.

The Importance of Skilled Professional Audio Mixing

Hi folks, here is a guest post from mix pro-studios on the importance of professional audio mixing.  Hope you enjoy.

 

Getting the best professional audio mixing may make the difference between a recording being a success or failure.  It is a very competitive market and the professional engineers in this field will know exactly what to do to help achieve an artist’s vision.  Mixing records is a very skilled art so it is important to choose the best professional audio mixing possible to give an artist the best sound possible.  Blending together multiple audio signals into one perfectly even output signal is very important and takes a lot of skill to do it well.

 

Electronic devices that handle all the recording inputs in a studio setting are called mixers. Microphones and some MIDI devices such as keyboard for example, plug into the mixing device that adjusts volume settings as well as some elements of the sound. In most professional studios, a mixer is the conduit between the microphones and the computer.  This conduit feeds the audio into the computer where it can be recorded and edited.  The person responsible for the editing is the professional audio mixing engineer.  He or she mixes the various sonic elements of vocals, different musical instruments, effect, etc. into a good balance producing a final version.  Most of the best mixing professionals have many years of training and experience with audio equipment, which in turn has allowed them to master their craft.  The mixing engineer will use their talent, experience and skill to achieve the best sound possible for the artist.  Some artists do not use professional audio mixing services so will produce their own music using a computer and a digital audio workstation.  Unfortunately, if they do not have the proper skills to know what they are doing they could produce an inferior product.

 

Oftentimes, professional audio mixing engineers have a musical background with some formal training and they may also have a degree in recording equipment or audio engineering.  The way some of the best engineers have gotten to learn their craft is simply from operating some of the complex audio equipment.  They have learned through trial and error the best ways to achieve the greatest outcome from observing frequencies, variations of effects and filters as well as all kinds of sounds.

 

Generally, professional audio mixing engineers follow specific procedures such as:

 

  1. Studying the artist’s style.
  2. Finding the most important tracks or combinations of tracks to highlight.
  3. Deciding how best to emphasize some tracks while de-emphasizing others.
  4. Tweaking the final mix.

 

A good way to find a professional audio mixing engineer is by recommendation from those in your particular industry.  Having your recording mixed well by a skilled engineer could make the difference between your music being a success or failure.

Stevie Rose EP

Hi folks its been a while since I’ve written a blog so I thought I would let you know about this project that has just been completed.

Rode NT2 on acousticThese two tracks were recorded as part of an EP project with Stevie Rose. We started off by discussing how we would approach the recordings and which direction the production would take. Stevie was unsure on how he wanted the tracks to sound so I would take on the role of the producer to help guide him through the process. The initial tracks started off as acoustic demo’s with just guitar and vocals upon which we would build the tracks making creative decisions as we went. The process was fairly experimental and was good for developing Stevie’s creative ideas and exploring engineering techniques.

Drum kit set-up for session with stevie roseDue to the acoustical nature of the tracks, we wanted to keep them sounding as natural and organic as possible.  For the drum kit I chose a standard four mic set-up comprising kick, snare and stereo overheads which I supplemented with a room mic and an overkick.  The acoustic guitar tracks were recorded with a combination of XY coincident pair with some mono guitar tracks to enhance where needed.   The electric guitar parts were all added last in the sections that we felt needed a little more character or energy.

The intention of the final mixes was to give the listener a sense of watching a live performance with reverbs tailored to add a sense that the musicians are all playing in the same room at the same time.

Well thanks for reading and listening, I intentionally left this post a little sparse on the technical side as I would have been here for an age and the purpose for this post is more the listening aspect, but if you have any questions about this or any other post feel free to get in touch.

Cheers OZ

 

Listening Tips and Tricks

Hi

Ever done a mix thinking  “This sounds great” only to listen to it through a different set of speakers and think “Thats not quite how it sounded when I mixed it?”.  Well you will be happy to know that this is a really common thing in the mixing world, it can also be aparent in large studios not just home/project studios.  The trick is to understand how the room you mix in affects your mixes.  This will take a little bit of listening to get right.  The first thing to do is listen to your mix on as many different systems in as many different room types as possible and taking note how the mix sounds, usually too little or too much bottom end is the first thing you will notice.  Now go back adjust your mix and restart the process,  as I said it is a bit of a tedious expedition but you will benefit in the long run.  Now I should probably mention that there are spectral analysis plugins out there that can tell you how to set-up EQ to combat the room acoustics but I think there is no substitute for going out and really listening and understanding how rooms affect your mix. 

Here are a couple tips and tricks from the Mixing Engineers Handbook.

“One of my favourite ones is to turn on the vacuum cleaner and lay it up against the wall in the front of the room.  Sounds a little strange, but I just kind of want to see if the mix is still cutting through.” Jon Glass

“Obviously, the idea is to make it work on all systems.  You listen on the big speakers, the NS10’s, out in the car, plus your own speakers, then you go home and listen again.  This is a lot of work but is the only way to go.” Andy Johns

“I mix a lot at my house now where I sit outside a lot on my patio.  If I mix in a studio with a lounge I’ll go in there and listen with the control room door shut.  I definately get away from the middle of the speakers as much as possible” Don Smith

Hope this is usefull, thanks for reading

OZ

Run Run Run – Mixing Project

Hi there,

I have been doing another mixing project and thought i’d write a wee blog about it.  The track is a reggae song by a band called Arise.  With this track I focused alot more on the stylistic components suited to the genre of music and tryed to enhance the atmosphere of the song.  Have a wee listen.

Due to it being a reggae track I went down the route of honing the tones and building the instruments with consideration of the genre.  While this is done as part of mixing for all music, I felt this track would benefit greatly if I focused alot more on this aspect.  With reggae, much like Hip Hop, the beat and the vocals are the focal point as Roey Izhaki highlights in his mixing concepts book.

“As typical to many hip hop mixes, the beat and the vocals are the life and soul of the production, with all other elements tailored behind them.” Roey Izhaki – Mixing Audio: Concepts, Practices and Tools.

I am not going to go into too much detail on the whole track, instead I am going to focus on some key features.  To begin with I focused on the ryhthm section, getting them to sit right within the groove and in their own pocket.  The most important feature I felt was getting the right balance between kick and bass guitar.  Since the tracks were well recorded this was not too much of an issue.  I high passed the bass guitar withe a brainworks fillter then with EQ I boosted the bottom of the kick (around 70hrz) to sit in the space that I carved out of the bass guitar which I then EQ’ed around the kick with an SSL EQ.  This helped to really lock the bass and drums together enhancing the groove of the track, which Bobby Owsinski highlights as the pulse of the song.

“ALL good music, regardless of whether it’s Rock, Jazz, Classical, Rap or some new space music that we haven’t heard yet, has a strong groove.  The groove is the pulse of the song and how the instruments dynamically breath with it” Bobby Owsinski, The Mixing Engineers Handbook.

The next thing I’d like to look at is the organ part.  For this part I wanted to take the focus away from the organ and use it more of a suplementing feature for the groove.  For this I experimented with various compression and side-chaining techniques but I found that I still was not getting the balance right.  It would either be too close in the mix or too far away and reverb washed out too much and lost the definition.  To get around this I thought of a mid-side approach to try and clear the middle out.  The first thing I tryed, and luckily liked, was the AIR stereo width plugin.  I loaded up the preset sides only which pretty drastically clears the middle out giving some really wide organ stabs that left space in the middle for the vocals to sit.  With the bass track for the organ I passed it through a distotion plugin to to dirty it up and sat it behind the bass guitar adding a subtle colouration.

The last thing I wish to talk about is the vocal tracks.  The signal processing applied was very run of the mill EQ and compression to get the vocals sitting perfectly.  The backing vocal might seem a little low in the mix but the intention for these was just to add atmosphere using a delay to help it wash out behind the lead vocal.  However, with the reveb aux I treated quite a bit.  Firstly, using a long plate reverb, I EQ’ed with a bass cut and a high boost to help the vocal stand out in the mix.  I then inserted an AIR Distortion plugin to add some character to the reverb.  I think this has worked well and the reverb sound on the vocal just has that extra bit of yum.

Thanks for taking the time to read and if there are any specific things in the mix that you would like me to expand on, let me know.  I’d be happy to explain further.

Cheers OZ

Revamp your guitar tone with a Bogner

Hi there,

Found this video online and thought I’d write a wee post.  For years I searched for an amp that would provide the guitar tone that I pictured in my head.  After trying out countless number of amps I discovered Bogner.  As soon as I heard one I thought that is the tone for me.  I have recorded quite a few different amps but for me the versatility of a Bogner is second to none.  The ease of which you can dial in a unique sounding tone with any and all guitars is ideal when recording guitars.

Check it out, let me know what ya think.