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Readers' Letters: Why does Pro Tools turn conventional mixing on its head?, and more...

A post by David Mellor
Thursday November 30, 2006
"It took years of development to bring the analog mixing console to its current state of perfection. So why does Pro Tools throw all of this in the trash?"
Readers' Letters: Why does Pro Tools turn conventional mixing on its head?, and more...

In response to Why does Pro Tools turn conventional mixing on its head?, Jimi Sellars writes...

You are leaving out the fact that many of us use Pro Tools with a board. On the Sony DMX100 I can bring all the inputs through the board and compress on the way in if I choose. So you only do not have monitor mixer if you mix in the box.

RP response: That's exactly one of the points of the article. The board you use on the input side is what Pro Tools doesn't have.

In response to The room you have right now that you can't use as a recording studio, Aki Atrill writes...

... the only near ideal home studio solution I have ever encountered is an environmentally controled basement.

RP response: Anyone considering this should Google the words 'basement' and 'tanked' before they embark on such a venture.

In response to What is the ONE thing you MOST need to know to make great recordings?, Bart Nettle writes...

I totally agree, separation would be the most important after a clean quality unclipped recording.

But, perhaps the most important for an engineer who can obtain expert saperation is that of the actual musical performances.

During the capture of the quality performances on quality instruments separation as you mentioned is important. That is why a variety of quality preamps on similar instruments can help create a separation without heavy carving with EQ during the mix.

Using the same preamp on everything will muddy a mix as each performance will have the sonic qualities of that favorite preamp which will result in a recording that lacks depth.

That is also why sonic soundscape could sound better on several differing cheaper preamps than all on one higher quality preamp.If it is done with a variety of high quality preamps then you'll have a superior soundscape again.

Same principle applies to compression plugins and reverbs.

Hope this helps

RP response: It applies to microphones too. If you record everything with the same mic, every track will have that mic's 'sonic signature' imposed on it. Of course, that might be something you like...

In response to Seven PRO microphones compared - with audio!, Tom Ghent writes...

RP, Mic 4 sounded most natural w/ less slur on the S-like sounds and less boom on the low end. T.G.

In response to Do your recordings sound dull and lifeless?, Loren Dean writes...

I liked the girls in the first pictures.

Should I just shoot myself?

In response to The room you have right now that you can't use as a recording studio, James Hart writes...

I had my studio in the loft, and it was horrible.. too cold in winter, and really, really unpleasant in summer. Add to that the narrowness of the band of floor where I could walk without stooping, and it's a cramped, unpleasant place.

Of course, if it had been bigger, there would've been calls to turn it into another bedroom for the kids :D

Now, though, I think I've got one of the best lower-cost locations for a studio - I converted the built-in garage of a three-storey town house into a music room, and, save for the occasional complaints from upstairs about the amount of bass, I think I'm on a winner!

In response to The room you have right now that you can't use as a recording studio, Rick Herron writes...

Basements that don't leak or washrooms not in use can be a great place to set up some aspects of a recording studio.

Much of the recording can be done in many rooms of a house such as a den or bedroom that is not in use. These can be used to record vocals and some instruments and as a place to put the recording equipment. The main concern is to have a place to contain the loud music from getting out or the outside noise getting in. For that reason a small room that is not being used full time such as a washroom basement or large closet can work fine to place an amp with microphones, whose cables lead to another room where the guitar is being played or where the mics or line out from the amp are connected to the recording equipment.

What one needs to then do is make sure that sound deadening material is in place around the amp in accordance with the principles used to absorb standing sound waves. If using a large basement a "sound dead room" can be placed in the basement or any other room in the house.Grendel produces a nice product.

In response to Readers' Letters: Do famous artists use studio tricks to enhance their voices?, and more..., Gerald Composer writes...

So this is how people now perceive technology -- 'since it makes everyday life easier, EVERYTHING should be easier, if not downright simple.' This is a lie perpetrated by people who want to take your money. Things that come easy often lack the vital elements essential for spectacular results.

Art, e.g. music, literature, sculpture, painting, film, etc., as any real artist (they do exist) will tell you, is an organic process. The 1st result of their efforts is to connect us, not to achieve money, fame, sex, ego or show off our toys.

Take the time and effort to learn. Learn enough and you might become great. The rewards to your heart and brain are worth it.

In response to "Ho Lord" by Ranni Johns, Chas H. writes...

Very nice and soothing music.

In response to George Martin *was* the Beatles, Kem Welch writes...

I realize you must be yanking our collective chains in order to get rise out of us Beatle lovers so, with that in mind... nice try. The 'boys' were always ahead of their time. Mr. Martin has even said in interviews that people have wrongly credited him with arranging Beatle songs. He said they would "perform" the horn or string arrangement vocally and he would score it based on that.

I do not, by any means intend to underplay George Martin's part in their success. I'm sure there were times when his "tastes" and knowledge were considered most valuable in the studio.

As for it being "impossible" for a young man to modulate ANY amount of times in a composition simply because of his age is, well, silly. If you can hum it, you can create it, play it, and make it real. Perhaps YOU might not be able to compose a piece like that, but please, don't visit your limitations to the talents of John and Paul.

Gee, I guess you did get a rise out of me after all...

RP response: That article was written a while ago. As we now know, Heather Mills is really the fifth Beatle.

In response to Q: "I just wanna ask how can I minimize the popping sound on a microphone? I'm using a lavalier mic.", Z99 writes...

Since these mics are usually used for speech and not for "vocals" (as in a musical performance) it's probably safe to roll-off the lows (turn down the bass, or low frequencies) for the channel the mic is plugged into on your mixing console. Most of the harmful "popping" energy is in the low frequencies. If you turn them all the way down, a male voice may sound too tinny, so look for a balance. Even a female voice requires some low frequency energy to sound natural.

A properly used compressor can help minimize the effects of a mic pop, but that's a whole 'nuther bag of worms.

In response to Seven PRO microphones compared - with audio!, Franz Farnzworth writes...

7 6 4 and 2 are good mics

In response to 'I've found a pile a gold in my cellar. Is it worth anything?', Irvine writes...

Re Revox A700 I have a collection of precious old tapes that I am trying to restore. I found them in a junk yard in Musselburgh, Scotland. They are off air copies of many great classical concerts of the last 50 years and the BBC seems to have lost most of them. They include the only extant copies (to my knoweldge) of two of Havergal Brian's Symphonies. The were recorded and maticulously catalogued by a Dr Wallace over that period of time. The BBC are refusing to aquire and restore them for their archive. So, I am trying to lay my hands on a Revox A77, and or, a Revox A700 (those were the machines used for recording). and I will remaster them myself and give copies to the National Museum of Scotland. Can anyone help

In response to Do famous artists use studio tricks to enhance their voices?, FQS writes...

1. No; never.

2. Of course not, you don't expect an artist to list every guitar pedal they use in the liner notes. Even though it is cheating, I don't think most people want to know how the music is made. Mystery is good.

A post by David Mellor
Thursday November 30, 2006 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)