Tag Archives: Recording

Great Idea….Bad Timing??

Alesis ProtrackFinally, a professional mobile solution for recording on an iPod. The Alesis Protrack sounds good…

ProTrack provides convenient, direct-to-iPod stereo digital recording to iPod in a portable, handheld form factor. Users can capture live audio anywhere and anytime with their iPod or iPod nano. ProTrack’s smart design integrates the iPod into the recorder, with included sleds to securely mount supported iPod models to the recorder.

But only records 16-Bit, 44.1kHz or 22kHz stereo, supplies 48V phantom power to inputs when wall-powered (not on the 4 AA batteries it needs), and it only records to iPod (Classic or 5th Generation), or iPod nano (2nd or 3rd Generation). The last one is the kicker. With Apple due to refresh the whole iPod line anytime, it is rumored that the Classic iPod will be dropped…..and who knows about the Nano.
If this product was released like…….two years ago, it would have been great.

AKG C214

AKG has a new mic out, the AKG C214. From the press release:

Based on one of the most successful studio mics released by AKG, the C 414 model, and using all the feedback that during 30 years they have received from its users (maybe they could release a new version earlier, but…), AKG has released the C 214 Condenser Recording Mic, that includes some of the features of the models which is based on and some improvements that does not make it a expensive mic affordable only for big studios.

The AKG C 214 Recording Mic is a single capsule model that features cardioid polar pattern, 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, from 12 to 52V phantom power, 1” edge-terminated large diaphragm, ultra low noise circuit (that includes a suspension to reduce the mechanical noise), rugged double mesh grill (to protect it from high radio-frequency signals), switchable bass cut filter, switchable pre-attenuation pad (up to -20 dB) and 3-pin XLR output.

This mic is specially good for vocals and miking instruments or amps, both in stage and studio, and comes with a shock mount and a carrying case. The AKG C 214 Recording Mic will be available after the AES show and its price will be $600.

I have two C414s (a ULS and an EB…..don’t ask why I need two, I just DO….or think I do). Honestly, I can’t think of the last time when I put them OUT of cardioid pattern.

Spare Room to Studio in 10 Minutes

The SOS Forums had this interesting thread about a bloke who can turn his guest room into a studio in about 10 minutes.

My studio set up consists of a control room/office which is unusual in that it has no parallel surfaces, even a sloping roof. This room is loosely triangular being a maximum of 4.8m long and 4.5m deep. There’s a short 1.2m corridor (which I call the portal) that leads into a guest bedroom which is 3m by 2.7m.
Sometime ago I renovated the guest room so that I can convert it into a studio in around 10 minutes and I thought this might be interesting/useful.
The guest bedroom has a permanently installed double bed in it, but I’ve put it on hinges! It’s really easy to hinge the bed onto the wall

Pictures and other info with the original post.

Best Recorded Big Band Albums

As frequent readers of Jazz-Sax.Com will know, I won a pretty awesome M-Audio package. I really did not have the “horse power” to use it until my G4 PowerMac decided to die. Followed by my G4 Cube (though that was probably more me messing around with it than it just dying on it’s own accord. IE: It was apart and being messed with). Anyhow, I invested in a new MacPro 2.88 Dual QuadCore computer. Whoa. Fast!

Anyhow, a big band I play in is in the process of recording a demo. We’ve had two concert recordings. The first, according to the engineer, didn’t come out so clean, and would require a lot of work. The second came out way better. I was able to obtain the ProTools session from the first recordings, and have been using ProTools M-Powered to clean it up and what not.

Now, the question is actually two questions. What is the best studio recording of a Big Band, and what is the best live recording of a big band? For the former, I’d have to say Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Albums are amazingly well done. For the latter, I think the one that sticks out in my mind is Frank Sinatra and Count Basie – Sinatra at the Sands.

Opinions?

Gearjunkies User Studios

Gearjunkies.com has opened a neat new little site called Gearjunkies UserStudios. Here, people can flaunt their pro, semi-pro, project, or home studios. Though, right now, it seems that a lot of info is left out such as microphones, computers used, etc. But it was just launched, so, hopefully, that will be coming soon.

Auto-Tune Abuse

I came across this article from Hometracked.com.

Pitch correction software has applications from restoration and mix-rescue to outright distortion of a voice or instrument. I’ll discuss some of the more tasteful uses of these auto-tune tools (whether the original from Antares, or a variant like the free GSnap) below. But first I thought I’d highlight their misuse to illustrate the effects we usually try to avoid.

I think the second example on the page is more of a vocoder thing, ala Gorillaz or Peter Gabriel. However, there is a band I play in where we are trying to do a CD, so, we hired someone to record us live. After 3 months, he had two songs done, and I’d say they are not anything to write home about. He even put in clapping which makes it sound even more fake.
When I record, I try NOT to do much to it. Balance it, sure, but pitch correction…..not really, unless there is something that totally sticks out like a sore thumb. I had a two or three songs that students did before Christmas that I had to do some pitch correction with, but it was not the whole song. Just a couple of notes here and there.

M-Audio Fast Track Ultra

Fast Track Ultra PictureI got into recording a while ago, my first interface being an original MOTU 828. That thing works great. However, it is not supported in ProTools, and I kind of want to start using ProTools more. Plus, I want to move it to my home studio to hopefully make it easier to record virtual tracks by connecting my PC and Mac together via the ADAT outputs of the 828. Anyhow, M-Audio came out with a diminutive new little recording box that works with ProTools M-Powered, and supposedly has excellent microphone preamps as well. This box would be their new USB2 Fast Track Ultra interface.
Continue reading M-Audio Fast Track Ultra

NAMM Show 2008

The NAMM show kicked off the other day. So far, I haven’t seen anything that pops out “Whoa, that’s neat” to me. Some interesting things are:

I haven’t seen anything saxophonish yet……..

Portable Recording Studio with your iPod?

Belkin has a product coming out that looks rather good. Belkin Podcast Studio.

Belkin Podcast Studio is an advanced attachment for your iPod to add high quality recording capabilities. Dual XLR and 1/4-inch channels offer a solid range of recording options. A built-in mic and speaker are powered by their own battery, saving your iPod juice better used for listening to your genius later.

Engadget has some more pictures of it.
Seems no one knows if it has phantom power or not (probably not), and it seems to be 16 bit. Though, if you hook up a iPod Nano to it, and have 4+ gigs of free space, that would easily give you 6 hours of 16bit 44.1Khz recording.
Two potential problems. First, battery life. If it is iPod battery powered, who knows how long it will last. Plus, if it has phantom power on the XLR plugs, that would probably kill the iPod’s battery in no time. Recording on my Marantz flash recorder using phantom power pretty much kills 8 AA batteries if I record 3 hours of stuff.
Second problem, Windows formatted iPods. You can’t get, as far as I know, over 2 gigabyte files on a FAT formatted drive. I tried copying Pirates Of The Caribbean on an FAT (PC) formatted iPod that was 2.6 gigabytes in size. The iPod did not like that. Mac formatted ones didn’t complain.
So, it’s an interesting idea, especially since most everyone already has an iPod, but until we see it actually come out (June?), we can only guess.

First Wave Of New Audio Interfaces

Gotta love technology. M-Audio has introduced a new USB2 audio/midi interface. 4 really excellent microphone preamps, and DSP (for near zero latency mixes/monitoring). List price, $450, but the street price is quite a bit less.

UPDATE 11/28 by E: After checking the Mic preamp specs, and that of the Project Mix I/O, the Mic preamps on this new box are a lot better. After doing some recordings with the Project Mix I/O at 96Khz, I thought the preamps were amazing……..so this little box might be capable of some even more amazing recordings.

M-Audio Project Mix I/O First Impressions

I have been setting up all this new gear, and I finally got a chance to play with the Project Mix I/O a little. All I have to say is, whoa. Fun, cool, Rad (can we still use that word?). I mean, motorized faders……so much fun. I haven’t used it in Protools yet, but in Digital Performer it is great. I have my analogue modules coming in on channels 7 & 8, and the GPO stuff on 5 & 6. Though, coming from the PC, 5 & 6 are noisy. I’m thinking about moving that to a SPDIF input…..more soon.
Continue reading M-Audio Project Mix I/O First Impressions

EM Reviews Field Recorders

Electronic Musician reviewed a bunch of field recorders, including the the Marantz 671, Marantz 660 and the Edirol R1 among others.

Basically, they panned the Marantz 671 (successor to the 670, which I love) for having firmware issues causing the mic preamps to be noisy. The Edirol R1 came out on top of the two Marantz units. Though I would really call the article a “introduction” to field recording. They do not list exactly what they tried to record, and with what. We all know that the microphone is key to getting a good recording.

I would totally recommend the Marantz 670. I used it this weekend and got some great recordings putting it about 6 feet infront and 7 feet above the band. Of course using my Rode NT4 mic (awesome piece that it is).

I imagine the issues with the 671 have been fixed. I would take the EM article with some grains of salt. The reviewer used these units to record a snare drum (why??), the “ambience in a suburban neighborhood” (um, ok), and dialog. Ok, great tests there. NOT.

Oh, and EM was reporting, like it was news, that Sony introduced a new format called MiHD. Um, guys, these things have been out for OVER A YEAR. Get with the program!