Episode 47, Garageband up close

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In Episode 47 I told you about the return of  “The Home Made Hit Show“. Welcome back! Please send them your music.

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I also went on to explain why I love the new Cerwin Vega XD5 monitor speakers and the Cerwin Vega XD8S subwoofer.

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Thanks for listening to the Home Recording Weekly podcast. Next time I will pick winner number three, and play their song on the show.

Chord Blaster from Henretta Engineering.

When it comes to distortion pedals, there are many types and styles to select from. Believe me, it can seem endless. It is not uncommon for guitar players to search for years, for that one special dirt box effect, only to settle on a few that they like. This was my story.

I will look for my dirt box of tone no more. I will look for my dirt box of tone no more.

Let me just start off by telling you what I love about the Choad Blaster, from Henretta Engineering. I love the simple tone shaping knobs, how the knobs are laid out, and the ease of which superior tone is achieved.  You quickly get a feel for this pedal and what it is that it can do. This makes for a quick dialing in of your favorite fuzz/overdrive/dirt settings.

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The included, one page manual says, “The Choad Blaster allows you to dial in a wide range of overdrive, distortion, and fuzz sounds using a unique combination of two EQ/Gain controls. You can ad some light to a dark rig, fill out the sound of a vintage single coil, put some chunk in your rhythms playing, dial in a singing fuzzy lead sound, or just boost your signal without coloring the tone. The possibilities are endless”.

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I could not agree more with those words about the Choad Blaster, from Henretta Engineering. Some things came to my mind as I first stepped on the Chord Blaster, like, “yea, that sound would be great for humbuckers”, “OMG, that sound would help out single coils”, and the tone I loved the most “oh, that is the awesome one”.

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Here is the reason I was able to quickly find tones that rocked my rig, and easily find them. The knobs actually alter the things that we (as musicians) wish to alter. The red knob adjusts the amount of low mid frequency gain. The yellow knob (my best new friend) adjusts the amount of the upper mid frequency gain. The blue knob adjusts the amount of treble or bass, like a tone knob would. The green knob is a volume knob.

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Plus, for the upmost in pedal tweaking geekery, there is an “internal trimmer” that helps to obtain even more fuzziness as you turn knobs clockwise.

Add to the selling points that the Chord Blaster is “true bypass”, and this now becomes “a must have pedal” for all guitar/bass/keyboard players.

Episode 46, Winner two

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Here is a link over to the 2014 Home Recording Weekly Songwriting Contest. We still have one winner to go this year, so please feel free to enter that song!

Congratulations to Jon Stombaugh on a job well done. He is winner number two, of the 2014 Home Recording Weekly Songwriting Contest. The winning song is titled, “As the World Burns (I’ll be Lookin Up)”, and I can not stop listening to it. I love how it re-enforces what a lot of us preach about the power of a great, great song. This is just a great song.  Everything else does not matter. Here is a link over to the list of the prizes that Jon has won….

Thank you to each and every one of you that has entered. Good luck to all of you. Thank you to all of the generous prize donations this year, too. Without those amazing folks, there would not be much of a contest.

iKlip Xpand from IK Multimedia

From the company that has the best slogan in the industry, “Musicians first”, IK Multimedia continues to put out innovative, top quality products for todays musicians.

Weather it be the mixing engineer for a major label, or the street level performer, IK Multimedia has what you are looking for. I am just in love with so many IK Multimedia products, products that I use on a daily basis, like their Amplitube Fender app and T-Racks mixing and mastering software, right down to their physical products like the iLoudiKlip Xpand, and the iRig MIDI2. This is a quick few products from their amazing product line for musicians.

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Today I wish to review an amazingly handy, rather clever, and very well made physical product from IK Multimedia. Please know that I have put this product to some good use prior to making this review. What I have to say about the iKlip Xpand will most likely be what you have to say about it too. Please note that there are two versions of the iKlip Xpand; one that fits iPad sized tablets, and the one they call the iKlip Xpand“mini” which fits smart phones and most effect pedals, too.

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 I found the iKlip Xpand to be way more useful then IK Multimedia ever suggested it would be. From open mic night at the venue that I work in to making videos in my studio, the  iKlip Xpand has proven to be a cool and handy unit. It was designed to do two major functions. First, mount quickly and easily to a microphone stand. Secondly, it was designed to quickly and easily, strongly hold any sized smart phone. IK Multimedia hit a home run on both of those features.

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But, like I said, I have found it capable of so much more.

For example, intended use : Holding a smart phone, to a microphone stand, allowing for hands free app use while performing musically.

Found use: Holding effect pedals (like guitar, bass, and vocal effects) securely in place, to allow for either hands free effects, or to allow for live tweaking of the pedal, comfortably, while performing.

Found use: Attaching a smart phone to a tripod, microphone stand, or a flash stand, to serve as a video tripod for filming. The iKlip Xpand actually has a “ball head” allowing for fast, and easy aiming of the camera.

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The iKlip Xpand is well made. The “rubberized” feet separate easily, and have just the right amount of tension to hold your smart phone securely. The iKlip Xpand held every type of smart phone that I came across, just as good as it held my iPhone. The other end of the iKlip Xpand has a nice large “screw and dial” that makes for fast attaching to any straight bar of a lot of sizes too.

If I had to choose words to describe the iKlip Xpand those words would be, “clever, very rugged, well made, ingenious, and insensible”. The iKlip Xpand is such a well made unit that I have no problem saying that it should last well into the future of your musical career. I truly love the iKlip Xpand and I continue to find new uses for mine.

IK Multimedia keeps a sharp eye on technology and how music is being made, and then makes products that help this movement. Thank goodness for IK Multimedia, for being so creative, and for helping so many of us musicians.

Episode 45, an interview with mixer David Glenn.

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Wow, 45 episodes. This is just amazing to me. The fact that you all are into what I choose to discuss just blows me away. I hope to never let you down, to always challenge your way of thinking, and to destroy your negative audio habits. How is that for a goal?

 Here is a link over to my personal review of David Glenn’s’ most awesome training video “Mixing Vocals“. That video series changed how I will forever mix tracks like vocals.

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In todays show I also mention “Mixing with compression” from Matt Weiss. Yet another mind bending video series. I now have confidence when using compression. I am a much better mixer now, and my mixes sound tons better thanks to these videos.

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Here is a link to the 2014 Home Recording Weekly songwriting contest rules page. Please follow the rules and please enter today!

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Mixing Rap Vocals 2: Advanced Techniques from Matt Weiss

 From Matt Weiss and The Pro Audio Files comes yet another smash hit training video, titled “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” and more to the point they are labeling the series as “Advanced Techniques”.

The 10 videos that were downloaded within “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” are titled,  #1-”Intro”, #2-”Murs”, #3-”Exciters”, #4-”Snoop”, #5-”Multiband Compression”, #6-”Juicy J”, #7a-”Unison Doubles”, #7b-”Adlibs and Punch Doubles”, #7c-”Chorus Vocals”, #8-”Arrested Development”.

 Let me add that I have had the pleasure of “running into” Matt Weiss before. I have reviewed his amazing training video titled “Mixing with compression“, and it changed the way I will forever use compression. Really, it is very, very, very good, and it will help you out with all aspects of compression. I also learned what to think of before applying compression, and how to get that tone I hear in my head by using compression. I you can only ever purchase one video to help you use compression with confidence, “Mixing with compression” is the one to purchase.

I have also interviewed Matt Weiss, on the podcast, and here is a link over to that interview. I learned a lot about Matt and I learned a lot from what he had to say about so many unique audio topics. The most important, or the “take home facts ” about Matt are that he is a very talented recording and mixing engineer, and he excels at teaching others.

Matt also made the “Mixing Rap Vocals 2”  series to be a continuation of sorts, that better flows after watching “Mixing Rap Vocals“. You do not need to watch the first one to understand what Matt is doing in “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“, but he does use practices discussed in the first series. Matt also makes reference to the first series from time to time. However, if you really wish to become the best mixing engineer that you can be, why not buy them both?

Matt gives a lot of “high value” information to the viewer, here in “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“. Matt will thoroughly explain some very complex techniques to you, and then give you detailed “before and after” listening scenarios. Matt explains techniques like “upward compression”, “parallel compression”, “find the singers vocal sweet spot and enhance it”, and then, to top it all off, he gives us a lengthy explanation of “multiband compression”. He explains, in great detail, what multiband compression is, and then demonstrates how he likes to use it in vocal tracks. You will learn an incredible amount here, so you better be prepared for that!

Video 1, “Intro”

Here is where Matt tells us what to expect. He uses some “matter of a fact language” which tells me I have the right guy, about to show me all of the right stuff. Matt lays out what sorts of things we can expect to learn. Matt ends the video by saying this, “We are going to be creating something great. This is what I do. This is all of my secrets. You bought it, you got it, lets get started.” Who can argue with that?

Video 2, “Murs”

Matt plays us a sample of the song he is about to sprinkle with magic mixing dust. It is a nice rap track from a rapper titled, “Murs”. He explains that the vocals were recorded in less than perfect circumstances. This is paramount. How many times have we, home recording nuts, recorded vocals in a closet, a car, a mobile home, a (insert object)? Matt is about to show us exactly how to work with these sorts of recordings. Awesome indeed!

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Matt details exactly what he does, exactly what he uses, to get amazing vocal mixes. Matt shows us what to listen for, and how to apply plugins to help the vocals sound so much better. He uses EQ, de-essing, parallel compression, distortion, multi-band compression, and all of the usual suspects, but that is not the point of “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“.

Matt teaches us how  to mix vocals. He explains why he is doing what he is doing, and he gives us “before and after” listens as he moves through the mixing process. He constantly details what he hears, teaches the viewer to hear it, too, and then shows us how to get the best results. He opens up plugins and actual demonstrates how he is applying them. He is such a detailed teacher, and that is so worth the price of admission. “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is like sitting down with a great mixing engineer, and being in their head.

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Matt has a great way to add excitement to a vocal track. He uses EQ, compression, and EQ to accomplish this “excitement feel”. Once he brings in this trick, the vocals leap out of the mix. He says it is “subtle” but it really makes the track bounce. Wow, this is a cool trick that I will use way into the future.

Next Matt brings life to the vocals with an double effect using Izotope Nectar. This is a wide, doubling, distorted type of effect. Then he demonstrates what this brings to the vocals. Everything is subtle, but improves the vocals, step by step. You sure do not need to own a ton of plugins to accomplish these effects, but this is how Matt mixed the track. He uses Izotope Nectar and so he wants you to learn how he uses it. Great stuff for sure.

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Matt then explains that these new vocal sweetening tracks go into a delay that makes things “wider”. He sets up a stereo delay to make the vocals sound wider than the mono counterpart. This really is sweetening the vocals, and it makes it sound very professional. I am learning an incredible amount about mixing vocals, already, and this is only “video one” of the whole “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” series!

Video 3, “Exciters”

After a quick explanation of just what “exciters” are, Matt goes about showing us several ways that we can use plugins to bring that excitement to a vocal track. As video 3 unfolds, Matt will detail many different ways that he uses to get that attention grabbing excitement to a vocal. Here is a play by play run down.

Matt digs right in, and starts mixing once again. He plays the same mix that we have been working on, and details what he would like to do next. Matt begins by isolating the harmonics with a simple EQ, and its’ High Pass Filter. Who knew?

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Next, Matt explains why we would either compress the harmonics or distort the newly isolated harmonic content. Then he “sweetens up the vocals” by creating a cool excited parallel effect track, using the harmonic content and distortion techniques. The end result takes only seconds and yet it brings the vocal a sense of clarity and a new sense of excitement.

This is the stuff that I am tripping out about most. Matt is constantly talking about ideas and techniques before he demonstrates them. This is how folks like me learn. Matt is a great mixer, and an amazing teacher. He understands how to get techniques across to someone, and then he drives it home with examples.

Next, in “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“, Matt goes above and beyond. Matt delivers on the last technique, which was a parallel exciter effect track best suited for hip hop. He then goes on and creates a very cool parallel effect track that does the same sort of thing, but for other sorts of genres like pop or rock music. Matt employs this crazy EQ to achieve a cool sweetener effect.

Within the videos that make up “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“, Matt is constantly detailing how one plugin will add certain things to the original recording. He knows about the “give and take” characteristics that plugins will bring, when you use them. If you do not know, every plugin that we use on a signal changes that signal in two ways. Each change we make to a recorded sound will bring “intended changes” and “un-intended changes” to that recorded sound. For an example, with some “positive changes”, like EQ cuts, come some negative changes, like volume cuts.

Matt constantly points out these principals, when they happen, and how to better mix a track, keeping these things in mind. These are the things that pay back in time, and they will pay back over and over. Knowing what happens, intended and un-intended has helped me grow as a mixing engineer, and Matt has helped me the most in this area. He is just a wise person, and what he points out is extremely helpful. This stuff is just another reason why I feel confident in saying your mixing will improve drastically just by watching “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“.

For example, Matt just added a mad EQ cut as a parallel effect track. This was an “indented” action as he got rid of all of the “un wanted” frequencies with this EQ cut. He then explains that this new parallel EQ track is adding sibilance to the overall vocals. This is the “un-intended” action. Matt must then bring in a De-esser followed by a compressor to combat the newly created sibilance. This is just one example, and I hope you can follow what I am trying to explain here.

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Next, Matt changes gears completely, and covers a radically different way to add excitement to a vocal. He comically calls this technique the “Weiss Vocal Cutter”.

Here is the idea: Matt starts off this technique with a low level (quiet) copy of the original vocal track as a parallel effect track. Like a mad chef, Matt adds a radical EQ setting, distortion, compression, and de-essing. Would you believe that at 23 db below the original vocal track, this doubled track is cutting through and adding excitement? It does. This is a cool trick that we can use and even make our own.

Matt shows us yet another way to accomplish some excitement in a vocal by using a parallel effect track. He uses Izotope Nectar once again to accomplish this particular idea, but you can do this process in other ways, using other plugins. “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is paying off in spades.  Matt takes the viewer through his Izotope Nectar settings, just so that we better understand the process, and his thinking.

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Making parallel effect tracks is a lot of fun, and really allows us to surgically add excitement and polish to a vocal track. Matt has given us a lot to think about, and a lot to use in our own mixes. Matt was not kidding when he said, “We are going to be creating something great. This is what I do. This is all of my secrets. You bought it, you got it”.

Video 4, “Snoop”.

Here we go. Matt starts off with a new Pro Tools session, and a new idea to teach us. We give a song a listen to, and then Matt starts making decisions. Matt helps us define our end goals by better defining what it is that the song needs. He does this just by listening close, and by a few cool tips via Matt.

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Then, as the title suggests, we get to hear (The one and only) Snoop Dogg do what he does so well. The vocal track is dirty, bass heavy, and flat. Matt is going to take this vocal to perfection, and I get to follow along. “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is so amazing!

  Distortion first? Yep. But, as we learned with each intended thing we get, we get an un-intended artifact. The track was bass heavy to begin with, and since we added distortion, the lows are even more apparent.

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Can you say Pultec EQ? Matt can. He gives a very good explanation of how the plugin works, and why it sounds so good on tracks like vocals. If you are wondering how these plugins work, with both a boost and an attenuation engaged, Matt can help you. Matt cleans up the lows and adds highs with one EQ. Amazing. Matt has helped me learn how to better apply Pultec EQ’s.

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Next, some more “corrective” EQ’ing, followed by some multi-band compression. Keep in mind, I am not just watching Matt mix. Nope, not by a long shot. Matt is demanding my attention, pointing out how single words sound. His mixing precision, and attention to detail is actually helping my ears learn what to listen for. Then, and only then, after I understand the issue, does he explain how to best fix the issues. This amazing detail can only come from someone that is at Matts level of mixing genius. Matt has mixed a lot of records, and his experience can be yours, by purchasing “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“.

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Matt continues mixing, applying all sorts of tools, and the vocal just keeps sounding better and better. This has all been in series mind you. Then, we bring in parallel compressed tracks. Tracks just like we have been putting together since the first video in the series. Matt adds a parallel EQ track, a parallel exciter track, and then some parallel reverb. Perfect!

I really feel as if things are really coming together for me. I actually understand what is going on, and the concepts Matt is employing now make sense to me. Like I have said, Matt has a great way of explaining things so that everyone can grasp the concepts and follow along. Trick by trick Matt mixes the vocals, and the backing tracks to perfection. It is amazing how much Matt has to share.

Video 5, “Multiband Compression”

Up until today, Multiband compression has eluded me. I get the concepts involved with it, well, sort of, but I feel intimidated when it comes to applying multiband compression. It can be rather confusing for me. If you were to ask me, I would honestly say that there is a complete lack of confidence on my part.

Let me tell you a true story that totally relates. I felt this same exact lack of confidence before, only it was stemming from my lack of compressing skills. I knew what all of the knobs of a compressor were for, and what they all did, but I just could not see the forest for the trees when applying compression. Then I watched “Mixing with compression“, also from Matt Weiss, and it rocked me. If you can’t hear the finished sound, before you apply compression, then I suggest that you check out that powerful video. My “compressing confidence” was propelled higher than it has ever been. Now I know what I want to do with compression, before I even open a compressor, and I know how to make that sound in my head happen with compression. It transformed my mixes overnight. True story!

Matt has included this video, which he calls a “workshop”, just so that he can remove the mystery that surrounds multiband compression. This is exactly what I need! “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is paying for itself once again. Matt is about to do for multiband compression in “Mixing Rap Vocals 2, that he did with compression in “Mixing with compression“. My mixes are going to rock!

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 Matt puts the mix aside and just talks. He explains what multiband compression is and how we most commonly apply it. I enjoy listening to Matt, too, as he explains things very well. Then, after the quick chat, we get back into a mix. It is Snoop Dogg again, much to my enjoyment. This is a vocal I am familiar with and I can relate to it well.

Matt defines an issue with a part of the vocal, and then opens up a multiband compressor. Matt sets the multiband compressor up to catch the glaring issue of the vocal track. More importantly, he explains the settings and how he used the settings to fix the issue at hand. I completely understand what he has just done.

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Matt continues pointing out, or defining issues that he hears in the vocal. Then he helps the viewer understand how to remove the issues with multiband compression. Issue by issue, setting by setting, we perfect a vocal with multiband compression. Matt talks about the knobs, what they are doing as he turns them, and then we listen back to the before and the after. It is really starting to sink in, and I now feel as if I can figure multiband compression out.

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Matt continues on adding bands of multiband compression until the vocals sound great. The vocals are totally transformed and they sound amazing. Multiband compression is a powerful tool that makes cleaning up a vocal easy and fast. Did I just say that?

That was one heck of a great tutorial on multiband compression, but Matt is not done teaching. That is not even close to the end of the lesson. Next, Matt shows us some “creative uses” for multiband compression. Yee Haw!

Matt shows us how to apply multiband compression to make a vocal sound more like the artist! He says it like this example, “Make Snoop Dogg sound more like Snoop Dogg”. I am intrigued to say the least! His example comes with a very good tip, and let me tell you it is awesome! This really works!

Mat details some more amazing things that we can easily do ourselves, using only multiband compression. These tricks do things like help improve vocals, easily bring more excitement to a vocal, and even trick our ears.

I just finished a mix of my vocals and now I need to re-mix that track. I have so many cool new ideas now! I feel a lot more confident about applying multiband compression now.

Let me help you once more. If you struggle with applying multiband compression, then Matt can help. Maybe you are like I was, and you lack confidence when it comes to applying multiband compression. You know all of the other plugins like the back of your hand, but multiband compression is just not your forte.  If this sounds like you, then purchasing “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” might be the single best decision you will make in your mixing career. I am blown away by how much solid knowledge, and priceless confidence I have gained. I will need to practice what I have learned, of course, but I am completely blown away.

Video 6, “Juicy J”

 Here is a video that I can relate to. Matt opens with a quick explanation about how we sometimes all get a vocal track to work on that was poorly recorded. I work in a small room, and record vocals that sound poor, quite often. They demand more work, and more attention than a well recorded vocal. Sometimes vocals are recorded on mp3 recorders like iPods and iPhones. Matt has an example of a vocal recorded on an iPhone, and he is about to “make it work”! AWESOME!

Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is paying back huge! I need to learn all of this stuff. I don’t record with an iPhone or any sort of smart phone, but I do get all sorts of tracks from clients, that have similar issues. I have made a lot of “problematic” recordings sound better, but I can’t wait to learn how Matt works on this sort of common issue.

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Matt attacks the recording with the common most tools, but in clever and creative ways. Matt continues to “think out loud”, so that we can follow along with him. Step by step, frequency by frequency, issue by issue, the track comes together. Again, Matt uses EQ like a real pro. He is a mixing ninja to say the very least about his mixing knowledge. His ideas and the ways that he gets to the finish line simple amaze me. This was recoded with an iPhone guys, and Matt is making it sound like a pro recording!  Wow, what more do you want?

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Matt Weiss continues working, applying the usual suspects, but in very clever ways. Matt understands the fundamentals that make up audio like no one else and his techniques prove this. He just explains things about mixing and about music like no one else has ever explained them to me before. I came across this very thing before,  when I watched “Mixing with compression“, from Matt Weiss. He teaches compression in such a cool and indescribable way, that it stuck.

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Multiband compression comes in to the chain, next, as Matt continues to help fix the vocal. It is because of  “Mixing Rap Vocals 2”  Matt has a nice, easy to understand flow going. He works the EQ’s and the multiband compression until the poor vocal sound quite good. Very good in fact.  Next, Matt does some very cool stuff.

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Matt insists that the vocal is lacking dynamics. Apparently, IPhones will limit (or “clip protect”) audio that is going into them to be recorded, so it does make sense. Matt opens up an expander and gets to work. Talking to the viewer the whole time, Matt details exactly what he is doing. He shows the viewer how to bring a clipped vocal much more dynamic. Matt is adding “upward compression” as it is called in “the business”.

This is some amazing information. I have heard the term “upward compression” before, but could never find any information on the subject.  “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is packed full of great, professional information that I will use for the rest of my career in audio. Best of all is the fact that Matt explains it all in an easy to understand sort of way. Matt changes the settings for us just so that we can get yet a better grasp on what it is that he is accomplishing.

Think about this… This is some high tech subject matter here. Applying an expander in to obtain upward compression to then add dynamics to a clipped vocal track is crazy cool. I would be lost completely if any person other than Matt Weiss were explaining it to me. This is a “must have series” no matter the genre of music you work with. These techniques work on rock, metal, rap, country, and on and on.

Matt then does a trick that just blew me away. As a mixing engineer, we often times are forced to wear many hats. We make some rather serious decisions that can change a song completely. Matt does this very thing, just to make the poorly recorded vocal take feel more right. I will not give this one away here in this review. I will let this be as much of a total surprise for you as it was for me. I did not expect him to do this, yet it makes things so much better. Want to learn what Matt does? Do yourself the favor, follow the link provided and buy “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” right now.

Video 7a, “Unison doubles”

Rap, as a genre has some cool attributes. One of these attributes is something Matt calls “Unison doubles”. Unison doubles are the versus that have two passes of recorded raps. It is like a total duplicate, or a carbon copy of the first pass of vocals that we blend in with the first.

Matt discusses how he works with unison doubles in rap music. He goes into some details about the “pros and the cons” associated with introducing and then using unison doubles. Matt then shows us some of his his tricks that he uses with unison double. Matt explains how unison doubles can “take away from” the main vocal, and we need to work at getting them to “add to” the main vocal.

Matt uses words like punch, clarity, depth, and tone as he works on unison doubles. He has some very important things to show the viewer. His tricks are so good that they probably will help you either make your unison doubles work instead of not work. He really does some very cool stuff here.  Once more Matt applies tools of the trade, like EQ and compression, but it is so much more than that. Matt clearly defines his goals, and shows the viewer how he uses, or sets up EQ’s and compressors to achieve these goals. That is “where the money is”, so to speak, and that is where the real value is.

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Video 7b, “Adlibs and punch doubles”

So how do we mix, i.e., process all of the stuff that falls between a vocal and not a vocal? You know what I mean? Well, in rap it is all of the laughs, “uh-huh’s”, the “that’s right”, and so on. All of that stuff is recorded, and a big part of a rap song. How do we think about that material when put into context of the entire song? Do we process it like the rest of the vocals? Matt knows. I am really starting to figure out that “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” is the whole package. Everything you will need to know about mixing rap is in “Mixing Rap Vocals“, and “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“.

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Matt shows the viewer how it is that he sets up his plugins and mixes all of the things that he calls “Adlibs and punch doubles”. This video is just as mind blowing as all of the others. I learned a lot about things that I just never ever thought about before. That is another thing that I love about being in Matts’ mind. He shines light on so many things that I have never given too much of my attention before. Stuff like a vocals panning, a vocals energy, a vocals body, or a vocals speed get great amounts of discussion. I love how much I am learning, and how many cool tricks I can place in my “mixing toolbox”. These are all important things to think about as we mix vocals. Now, because Matt taught me about all of these things, I am able to better approach a rap vocal mixing job.

Video 7c, “Chorus vocals”

The chorus is the song. The chorus needs to represent the way we think about a song. Words like “aggressive” are used to describe a song, and our choruses need to fit within that description, whatever it is. But how do we make a chorus fit into our descriptive words? Matt knows how, and inside “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” he gives us a ton of ways to accomplish this important task. He gives us some audio examples, some actual mixes that he has done, that shed some light on his very techniques. Wow, this is so cool. I never thought too much about this, but boy is it important.

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If you, the reader, think these videos are “just more of the same”, boy are you wrong. Matt is simply giving the viewer a lot of detailed, sharply focused information. These last three videos in the series (7a, 7b, and 7c) are what Matt calls a workshop, but they are full of points that need to be made. Each one is unique in and all by itself, but each video also leads into the next, in a way. Consider these three videos a great big bonus, but the bonus makes so much sense. The bonus also ties in with the whole mixing rap vocals theme.

Matt shows us, in quite a few examples, how he likes to use processing like EQ, compression, and reverb (just to name a few) to make a vocal sound more “forward” in a mix, or sound more “back” in a mix. This is stuff that we will all need to do at some point in out careers. No matter the genre of music, these decisions need to happen. What will you do when someone asks you to “push the chorus vocals of back in the mix”? Will you know how to accomplish these important tasks? I will, thanks to “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“.

 Video 8, “Arrested Development”

Matt wraps up “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” with a walkthrough of a mix that he did for the rap act known as “Arrested Development”. Matt begins with a song description, which is “celebration like” and then he shows the viewer how he made it sound “celebration like”. Using effects and techniques to accomplish a feeling is something that Matt does very well. It will take me a lot of practice to pull off what Matt shows the viewer, but it will happen in time.

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Look, for me, learning new things is a must. As an aspiring mixing engineer, learning how things are done is also very important. Keeping current with the musical trends of today is paramount. Watching training videos accomplishes so much. You get a look at what others are doing. You pick up new and exciting ideas. You learn as you see things done right in front of you, as the mixing engineer  explains everything they are doing. Matt goes above and beyond, as usual, and lets the viewer know the sonic goal first, and then gets the viewer to that sonic goal.

Matts’ training videos are not about the brand name of the plugins that he uses, but instead they are about the techniques that he uses. You will be impressed with the amount of training, at the overwhelming amount of information, and the amazing tips, tricks, and techniques found inside “Mixing Rap Vocals 2“. Matt said it right at the start, in video 1, when he said “We are going to be creating something great. This is what I do. This is all of my secrets. You bought it, you got it, lets get started.”

If you feel that “Mixing Rap Vocals 2” sounds like something you would enjoy and learn from, you might also like these titles from Matt Weiss and The Pro Audio Files…..

Mixing with compression

Mixing Rap Vocals

Episode 44, winner number one, and “selling air Quarts”.

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Congratulations to winner number one, Leon Wright.

 “Leo”, as he likes to call himself, entered with a great song, titled “Water over the bridge”. Great track, and there is a great vibe going on in the song.

For a complete breakdown of the amazing prizes that Leo has won, please follow this link.

There are still two winners to be chosen, so please enter today!

IK Multimedia CSR for the T-Racks collection

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IK Multimedia has a ton of amazing tools for the musician. I adore the T-Racks collection, and the plugins that all fit within T-Racks. CSR, or “Classik Studio Reverb” is a set of four reverbs that will amaze your ears and improve your tracks.  CSR, or “Classik Studio Reverb”, offers a suite of four high-quality reverb plug-ins, Plate, Hall, Room and Inverse, which are available as a single product, or separately in the T-RackS Custom Shop.

Each reverb module has two modes, “easy and advanced”, with up to 100 adjustable parameters per unit.

IK Multimedia goes on to explain “CSR operates within two modes: Easy and Advanced.

The Easy mode provides access to basic reverb controls like mix, decay time and level, diffusion, buildup, slope, etc., depending upon which of the four units is being used. Advanced Mode delves more deeply into the fine-tuning and response of the unit. Plus, there’s a handy Macro feature that allows you to deeply assign controls to one of four macro sliders for simultaneous adjustment of multiple parameters. What that really means is you have an unprecedented amount of control over how your reverb responds. And it’s all easy.”

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Here is a better explanation of the advanced mode: “If you need more control than is available in Easy Mode, CSR provides Advanced Mode. Here you will find an array of highly developed modeling and shaping controls that are hard to find in any reverb – over 100 parameters per unit to be precise. All parameters, the Modulation Matrix, and Macro Controls, can be adjusted and changed to create the reverb effect that you need, tailored to the very finest detail. The Modulation Matrix is an 8×8 structure; meaning that 8 modulation sources can manipulate 8 destinations. For example, to apply an envelope to your reverb time, you can fine-tune the tail for a specific reverb sound. Or, use an LFO to modulate the reverb image, creating movement in the acoustic space.”

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“Macro controls can be created allowing complex sweeping changes in Classik Studio Reverb’s effects, changing virtual environments at your command. You can associate up to 8 different CSR controls to a simple Macro slider, therefore making morphing between different reverb settings easier than ever. In both Easy and Advanced Modes, it is always simple to find that perfect sound. A convenient A/B comparison allows you to quickly apply modifications and compare between two reverb settings in a snap.”

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You can purchase CSR as a set of four, “Plate, Room, Hall, Inverse”, or one by one with the “Custom Shop” app. Please take note that you do not need an ILOK dongle to hold your license information, as these plugins will work once you have downloaded them from IK Multimedia.

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I love how easy the reverbs sound, right from the moment I open them up. They just make music sound way better, just by placing them on tracks. Plus, you can work them in “easy mode” or “advanced mode” for a world of possibilities.

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This is from the IK Multimedias’ website, “CSR’s four reverb modules are now part of the T-Racks Custom Shop, which means they can be used in the T-Racks CS processing chain like all the other modules. They can also be run as single plug-ins in VST, RTAS, AAX and Audio Units compatible hosts, that support 64 bit operation.”

If you already are a IK Multimedia T-Racks CS user, just log into the Custom Shop and click the TRY/BUY button on the CSR Classik Studio Reverbs modules, to try them out for free or purchase them.

If you aren’t a T-Racks Custom Shop user yet, access to your user area to get your FREE T-RackS Custom Shop serial number and download the product installer. Once you have installed T-RackS Custom Shop, log into the Custom Shop and click the TRY/BUY button on the CSR Classik Studio Reverbs modules to try them out for free, or purchase them.