Learning Materials For The Aspiring Music Producer & Engineer

Glenn Gould – The Last Recording

My earliest assignments with Glenn Gould were editing and mixing for his various piano recordings and film scores until the beginning of 1982. It was then that Glenn first mentioned conducting and recording an orchestra with the intention of determining his physical stamina and demonstrating a personal objective of revealing a composer’s-conductor’s interpretation of a musical work utilizing one’s own creative techniques …

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Enhancing Rhythm and Musical Tonality Through Equalization

The three fundamental roles of music are Melodic structure, Harmonic Structure and Rhythmic Structure. All three elements contain certain variations of the audio waveform that can be manipulated in the mixing stage in order to assist the mixer in altering and/or enhancing an instrument’s role in the performance. One of the most fundamental processes is the equalization of the original waveform …

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Enhancing Rhythm and Musical Tonality Through Dynamic Management

Dynamic management in music has been often used in pop – rock music since the 1950’s. Phil Spector used compression g enerously in his famous “Wall Of Sound” productions. The main goal was to compress the dynamics of the backing music and the vocals independently so the overall production sounded loud and even in amplitude . This trend continued into the 60’s and was influential in the sound of “The British Invasion”. It was only in the early 70’s with the arrival of progressive rock and the “LA” sound that compression was used modestly in music productions, for intentional and appropriate use of dynamics were critical to bands like Steely Dan and Pink Floyd …

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Creating Dimension In Mixing

With the diverse productions in the pop-rock genres these days, one can almost say that many of the mixes sound very “one” dimensional, rather than sounding multi-layered with a sense of distance and depth. A lot of mixes have the lead vocal up front with little or no reverb and then the band’s perspective is placed behind the vocal, often mixed with using one reverb preset. The perspective of depth of a one-dimensional mix is mainly shaped by equalization and level differences between the various instruments and the singer. Add in mastering equalization and compression and you have a lot of today’s music. Very flat and in your face sounding. Mind you, this can present an effect as being high energy, but after repeated listening, it eventually wears your hearing down. At the opposite end of the various pop/rock genres, you have classical music, which sounds amazingly dimensional, especially if the music is a “concerto” which features a solo instrument like a piano or violin …

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Producing Acoustic Guitar

The acoustic guitar is still very much in style these days, used in the many genres of folk, pop and rock music. While the acoustic guitar remains one of the most simplest instruments, it also remains one of the trickiest to get a superb sound on in the studio. It’s really not that challenging to record, as long as you follow a few basic guidelines …

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Creativity and Imagination

Where do imagination and creativity originate? Where is the seed of intuition and inspiration that when nurtured, reveal artistic fruit that assimilates the creator with an intimate soulful experience? Creativity is paramount in communication; it is expressive and poignant in the revealing of our stories, our truth, our hearts, our desire for aesthetics, and in sharing our pain. Imagination and creativity are innate and constitutes our deepest empowerment and liberation. The potential to create is in all of us …

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Surround Sound Mixing

Numerous opportunities exist today for up-and-coming audio engineers in the postproduction industry, especially with the need to satisfy a cinema theatre audience, as well as consumers possessing a high-quality home theatre system. There has recently been an increase in new post-production studios, especially facilities that are aiming to capitalize on productions with medium priced budgets. With more facilities being launched, the need for multi-talented engineers is sure to escalate in the near future. In this article I will discuss in detail the comprehension, methodology and utilization of surround sound mixing as it primarily pertains to music. I trust this explanation will be beneficial for engineers desiring to enter the field of post-production surround sound mixing …

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Early Reflections

When sound arrives to a listening position in an enclosed reflective environment it is composed of three sonic elements. The elements are described as 1) direct sound path, 2) early reflections and 3) reverberation.

Early reflections are sounds that arrive to a listening position after being reflected from surfaces of the enclosed listening environment, such as walls, ceilings and floor. They arrive later than the direct sound, often in a range between 15ms to 100ms and arrive before the onset of full reverberation. The early reflections provide to the listening experience the audio evidence regarding the size of the enclosed environment and the sense of distance and dimension of the overall sound. They perform an important role in determining the overall character and sound of the experience …

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Multi-Band Compression

The majority of the compressors we use in music production operate on what is known as the full-band principle, where the entire audio signal is processed via a single gain-control element. When gain reduction occurs, the whole signal level is reduced, just like turning down a volume control. Whenever a loud peak occurs it forces the compressor to act and the level of the whole signal is reduced until the loud event has passed. Multi-band compression isn’t specifically limited to use in mastering. The ability to focus on specific frequencies and control them, without effecting other frequencies, is what sets multi-band processors apart from the more basic single band models …

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