Time flies when you’re having fun the old cliché saying goes. For me, five years ago, I was in the trenches for a good week going down a rabbit hole not knowing exactly where I would end up. I’m talking about sound panels – building sound panels that is; and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been in a few studios and loved the look and feel of those expensive looking ones on the walls.
When I moved into our new house, my goal was to create a project studio where I could plain and simply put, have fun. My jobs before Cakewalk at Elektra Records and Capitol Records allotted me enough pressure-cooker studio situations to last a lifetime, so this studio was about doing things I wanted to do, when I wanted to do them, and maybe also making some college money on the side for my boy Mack (now 8). Continue reading “Building Your Own Professional Sound Panels – 5 Years Later”
The Adaptive Limiter is the latest addition to the included plugin lineup for SONAR Professional & Platinum. It is a professional brickwall peak limiter designed for both mixing and mastering. It features 4 different limiting “Character” types, Configurable Lookahead, Inter-sample Peak Detection, L.U.F.S. Loudness & K-Metering, as well MP3 codec preview, and real-time dithering. It’s only been out for a few months now and we are already getting amazing feedback from customers.
Here’s what they are saying…
“The Adaptive Limiter has quite a few surprises in it, especially for such a simple, straight forward plugin. I like the nicely ordered presets, the “Match Input Loudness” feature for the bypass A/B switch, and the K / LUFS metering. And yes, the Dither / MP3 Encoding Preview is quite useful too! With the Adaptive Limiter, I can have it active on my master bus and still track new instruments, with no latency while playing.” – Lee Shapiro
“The Adaptive Limiter is possibly the best brickwall limiter in the business, big call I know, but after using various limiters over the course of 18 years…I was blown away when I got this.” – Benjamin Phillips
“The Adaptive Limiter is a fantastic tool, Great job Cakewalk! I tried it on several songs and tracks and was surprised by how good the Adapted Limiter works. Big thumb up!” – Holger Bremer
“I like the Adaptive Limiter a lot. It works good on both the master as well as buses and even tracks!” – Ken-Arve Nilsen
“The Adaptive Limiter is really great! I use it as the last limiter in my chain on the master bus… I think it may be one of the best brickwall limiter plugins I’ve heard, The LUFS metering is a really nice addition along with the input volume matching to hear the limiting before and after. It all really helps me create a great master!” – Hubert Torzewski
“I have found that Adaptive is extremely transparent!! It’s almost like it’s not even there…” – Sidney Goodroe
“Easily the best limiter interface I’ve seen yet. It also doesn’t hit the system too hard and as something included with a SONAR, well it is absolutely first rate.” – Jesse Stengel
“The Adaptive Limiter is soooo AWESOMELY INCREDIBLE. I love it! I love Sonar! It’s the best DAW on the planet!!” – Lana Slaughter
“I’m very happy with the Adaptive Limiter. Thank You Cakewalk! It certainly holds it’s own compared to the other 3rd party limiters I have.” – Kenny Wilson
“I am loving the Adaptive Limiter. I used it on a rock instrumental that I just finished recording and it sounds great and I prefer it now over Ozone. Great to have all these awesome stock plug in’s. I just recently moved to Sonar and find my mixes are sounding more pro. I am not having to use my purchased plug ins much as SONAR just delivers!” – Mark Stow
If you don’t already know the Adaptive Limiter, we made this video to help get you aquatinted. It is available by downloading the latest version of the Engineering Suite included with SONAR Professional & Platinum.
Every producer and mixer knows the struggle; the infamous car test. You know the drill. You print a near-perfect mix in your home studio and then bounce it with the label, “FINAL MIX_wav” and send it to your phone. You can feel the excitement, energy and anticipation of releasing your masterpiece into the world…and then you step into your car.
The nervous sweat drips down your back and your ears are clogged from hours of non-stop mixing. You press play and immediately regret not going to law school. OK…maybe it’s not that bad but straight from the bat you know your mix isn’t translating well in your car stereo or even the cheap earbuds that came with your phone. You are not alone.
Here at Cakewalk we are fortunate to have an external team of rocket scientists who help test out SONAR beta releases. This team is dedicated, passionate and most of all appreciated by all of us internally here at the Cake shop. Recently I received a general email from one of my esteemed colleagues mentioning that one of our trustworthy beta soldiers was jumping off the beta-battlefield in lieu of another SONAR related activity. Huh? This peaked my curiosity and I felt obliged to dig a bit deeper on the subject. What could “another SONAR related activity” involve? SONAR Olympics? SONAR CPU Racing? SONAR Academy?
Featured Music Placements on Discovery Channel, History Channel, CBS, Bravo Network
Compiling or “Comping” takes is relatively new to sound recording. With the increased ability of technology has come the increased desire to comp with excruciating attention to detail, sometimes all the way down to a syllable or note, to create “The Perfect Take.”
The Acoustic and Electrical Eras (1877-1945)
When audio recording was first introduced, it was an entirely mechanical process. Comping did not exist. In fact, neither did mixing as we know it. Everything was recorded in one take, and level adjustments were made by moving musicians closer to or farther from the horn–essentially the microphone of its time.
In the primitive stages of this recording format, it was not uncommon to have copies of the same record that sounded entirely different. This was because if a band wanted to release 1,000 copies of a song, they would have to record it 1,000 different times, each take resulting in its own uniquely-performed copy. Continue reading “The Evolution of Comping”
With the advent of digital audio, some feel a certain quality associated with the analog signal path has been lost. While that may have been true at one point, analog emulations have come a long way since first introduced. Let’s find out how to add that “analog sound” using some of SONAR’s plugins. (Note: Many of the following examples use features are exclusive to SONAR Platinum, so if you don’t already have this version, you can try a free demo by clicking here.)
#5 – ProChannel Tape Emulation
Tape does some pretty magical things to audio, so SONAR Platinum includes tape emulation as a ProChannel module. Best of all, you can use it as much as you like without having to clean the heads!
Here’s how tape emulation enhances the sound:
Emulates the “head bump” of analog tape to enrich the low end, adding subtle warmth
Smooths response by slightly rolling off lowest lows and highest highs
Increases sustain by smoothing peaks
Saturates the signal in a non-linear, analog manner
Optionally introduces high-frequency hiss
For a basic application, insert the Tape Emulator in the Master Bus ProChannel. You’ll immediately hear a more cohesive mix. Increasing the REC LEVEL increases the overall saturation. The REC LEVEL knob, TAPE SPD switch, and BIAS switch all interact in unique ways, so try out different combinations to hear how they affect each other.
After hearing how the Tape Emulator affects your sound, try applying it to individual tracks (your drums will sound particularly fabulous). This will be a more subtle effect, adding a sense of depth to the overall mix.
How did you get started with music? When I was about 10 years old, my dad bought this acoustic guitar for himself for $20 or so. I thought it was so cool that my dad knew how to play AC/DC and Kiss songs (correctly or not made no real difference to me at the time), so I asked him to show me everything he knew. I picked up the basic chords pretty quickly and started sneaking into his room while he was at work to play the guitar unsupervised. One day he came home earlier than usual and heard me in my room playing the guitar. He was too shocked at how quickly I surpassed his skill level to scold me, and he said I could keep the guitar. Around the same time, two of my cousins were getting into guitar and I HAD to get as good as they were, so I put in as many hours of practice as I could.
Fast-forward about two years, I was starting to get into electric guitar more and more, and for Christmas I got this multi-fx pedal, and I was quickly obsessed with tone and all the neat things you could alter about a guitar’s sound. This naturally evolved into a passion for the field of audio engineering, and I decided that’s what I wanted to study after high school.
I managed to hone my musicianship enough to get accepted to Berklee College of Music right out of high school, and I took on a Music Business major, a Music Production and Engineering major, and an Acoustics & Electronics minor. During summers I interned for various music-related companies, not the least of which was the world-famous Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN. It was throughout these college years and internships that I learned a lot about myself, particularly that I knew I wanted to work in the music industry to some degree, but I wanted audio engineering to remain entirely fun for me; I wanted to keep it around as a serious hobby but not make it my full-time profession. Continue reading “Meet the Bakers: Joey A”
These days, some professional mixing and recording engineers are doing work for major labels completely missed the analogue age. Others are still mixing on consoles. We have come to a point where there really is no “right” or “wrong” in terms of mixing. Some tracks are mixed so perfectly that they are not signed off on by the label because they are lacking something “distinct” or “of a raw nature.” Other times, indie songs are mixed by a band itself and find their way to the top, where at that point the label just has someone remix the single for mainstream radio. (For example compare the normal and radio mixes of Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know.)
NYC based mixing and recording engineer Liu Ortiz has seen it from all sides of the music and business spectrum. Starting out at such a young age of 16 as an engineer, his career has placed him with a perfect balance (at still a young age) with a ton of knowledge in both the digital and analogue worlds. He has worked on tracks with and for artists such as Mary J. Blige, Pink, Luther Vandross, Christina Aguilera, and even RZA to name a few, and was quite a successful engineer at the Hit Factory in New York City.
Coming from the world of Cubase and Pro Tools, and after hearing all the buzz about the full feature-set of SONAR X3, Liu decided to give SONAR X3 a whirl on a new track by Jennifer Hudson feat. R Kelley for RCA Records. After mixing the track, he found himself gravitating towards the workflow so he continued the journey onto another project called The Summer Set; a very well established band from Scottsdale Arizona who are quickly making waves internationally. I recently got a chance to visit with Liu at the new Cakewalk Room which is ironically enough in the old Hit Factory where he often worked. Liu showed me some of his new mixes, showed me where his picture and plaques were on the wall, and even gave me a few interesting stories about some of the “good ole days” featuring Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah and Sean Puffy Combs [don’t worry Liu – I’ll never tell 😉
Cakewalk Artist Relations: Since you grew up on analogue consoles, what are there big sonic differences you hear now that you mix “in the box”?
Liu Ortiz: Well in the beginning way back when DAWs first started, I noticed that no matter what I did as I progressed with more plugins and inserts of each channel, the mix coming out the box would progressively get thinner; especially with vocals. I couldn’t really do much to fix that problem until not too long ago where technology has progressed with DAWs and computers in general. Now, I can pretty much faithfully emulate hardware with EQ’s and compressors of pretty much all the consoles I have worked on in the past.
Neve and SSL’s had such distinctive qualities about them similar in comparison to that of Strats and Les Pauls. Since I worked on both extensively, I remember all the little nuances that each series had. So when I am mixing I just try my best to EQ with those particular traits in mind since they were my personal favorites. Pretty much all DAWs now are inherently very neutral, so I can dial in whatever tone I want and don’t have to worry about the vocals or guitars becoming shrill. I really appreciate technology now and just concentrate on crafting the best mix possible. I must add that it is pretty amazing to me that SONAR X3 has a Console Emulator built into every bus and every track – this blew me away Continue reading “How Eliud “Liu” Ortiz used SONAR X3 for his recent Jennifer Hudson mix (RCA Records)”