Pro Tips

Sound Tip #9 – When Something Doesn’t Work, First Things First. (My Biggest Tech Secret)

Posted by on Mar 6, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #9 – When Something Doesn’t Work, First Things First. (My Biggest Tech Secret)

Sound Tip #9 – When Something Doesn’t Work, First Things First. (My Biggest Tech Secret)

I am not kidding when I tell you that this tip is actually my biggest secret in engineering. Once you read it, you might discount what I have to say and that is ok, it’s your loss and your head ache. This is typically something seen more regularly in broadcast engineering. I have based a large part of my career around being able to fix very difficult broadcast technical problems and have been asked a number of times “how did you know how to fix (fill in the blank)?” The answer is my biggest professional secret… I likely...

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Lessons in Live Audio: Sound Tip #8 – Don’t give up! Get creative!

Posted by on Feb 22, 2012 in Blog Post, pro tips | Comments Off on Lessons in Live Audio: Sound Tip #8 – Don’t give up! Get creative!

Lessons in Live Audio: Sound Tip #8 – Don’t give up! Get creative!

I’m going to have to post this in both the Pro Tips section and the Blog section. I had a client this weekend have a conference and during their last night they had a 6 piece band scheduled to play, and they hired my services to run sound for the production/event. I was told that equipment would be provided and they just wanted a person to set up and run the board. This was a great event and what might have been a bad experience for many, was turned into a venue for creative sound design and a few valuable lessons. The event was held at...

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Sound Tip #8 – Mixing and Mastering are NOT the same thing!

Posted by on Feb 7, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #8 – Mixing and Mastering are NOT the same thing!

Sound Tip #8 – Mixing and Mastering are NOT the same thing!

This is a touchy subject for a lot of audio engineers. The reader is welcome to disagree on much of what I am about to say, however let’s get the rule out of the way. Rule #8 – Mixing is what happens when you mix your multi-track audio down to a Surround, Stereo, or Mono listening track. Mastering is leveling and processing the mixed track, in order to match the entire sound design of the project as a whole. NEVER do them at the same time. Personally, it is my opinion that the persons mixing an audio project (typically music)...

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Sound Tip #7 – Ribbon Microphone Care

Posted by on Feb 3, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #7 – Ribbon Microphone Care

Sound Tip #7 – Ribbon Microphone Care

If you are reading these tips and taking notes (what you’re not taking notes???? Why do I even bother?), then you already know about the two most common types of microphones (dynamic and condenser)… Buuuuut do you recall the most famous fragile reindeer microphone of aaaaall??? The ribbon microphone… The amazingly delicate and warm sounding ribbon microphone! This design is like the Faberge egg of the microphone family. It sounds amazingly warm and gives you that awesome Motown vocal recording sound, but I swear if you even...

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Sound Tip #6 If you got the room… use a boom!

Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #6 If you got the room… use a boom!

Sound Tip #6 If you got the room… use a boom!

I wasn’t planning on this being a sound tip. Sometimes, like in any profession, there are things we just do and never stop to ask “why?”. I received an email a few days ago from a gentleman going into field audio on a commercial shoot and he asked “if we are using lavaliere microphones on all the actors, do we even need to use a boom mic?”. My rule has always been, use a boom (also known as a shotgun microphone) any time you can. Sound Tip #5: ALWAYS use a boom microphone as an addition to any shoot whenever...

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Sound Tip #5 – All mixes are NOT created equal.

Posted by on Jan 26, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #5 – All mixes are NOT created equal.

Sound Tip #5 – All mixes are NOT created equal.

When mixing audio for media, it is very important to know your media’s mix standards. This is where the majority of people who start in music production and move into audio for visual media go horribly wrong. Typically, when mixing audio, you have to think about your projects final destination. Much like the movie “final destination”, if you’re not careful you can kill your project just with the mix. Here’s what I mean. When you are producing music for an artist album, CD, itunes, you are hoping to get “on...

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Sound Tip #4 – Word Clocks!

Posted by on Jan 23, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #4 – Word Clocks!

Sound Tip #4 – Word Clocks!

I’m going to make this super short… Sound Tip #4: Word clocks are important! There… that’s it! If you are wanting to get the best out of your audio recording and editing, invest in your word clock. The word clock is what provides the “slicing” function of your audio interface and recording system. Basically, it is what defines the parameters of your sample rate. Sample rates like 44.1k, 48k, 96k, 192k, are all defined by your word clock. Do you hear it? This took me a long time to wrap my head around when I...

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Sound Tip #3 – Always breakaway from your field audio work!

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #3 – Always breakaway from your field audio work!

Sound Tip #3 – Always breakaway from your field audio work!

No, I don’t mean take a union break! In the field audio industry there is a tool that is often overlooked. The “breakaway cable” seems like a pricey extra for the working professional, but without it you can do some serious damage to your production and ultimately your career. So what is this magic little tool? In its simplest form, a breakaway cable is two matching XLR cables and an equal length 3.5mm TRS male cable containted in the same shielding to form 1 uniform cable snake. These average around 20 to 25 feet in length....

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Sound Tip #2 – Make sure your sound guy is more geek than chic.

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #2 – Make sure your sound guy is more geek than chic.

Sound Tip #2 – Make sure your sound guy is more geek than chic.

Ok, maybe the sound tip title is a little rude. There is nothing wrong with looking your best and taking a little pride in how you present yourself. Everyone in the professional world should do so! I try to present myself professionally everyday. What I mean by “more geek than chic” comes from a conversation I had last night at a benefit dinner with a couple amazingly talented video directors in Nashville (you know who you are). We deduced that “Nashville is Music City USA, and with that title comes an influx of people who...

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Sound Tip #1 – know the right tools for the right sound!

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in pro tips | Comments Off on Sound Tip #1 – know the right tools for the right sound!

Sound Tip #1 – know the right tools for the right sound!

This is going to seem really basic, that is ok. I would not post this tip first if it hasn’t resinated many times as I go from client to client helping them sound as great as they really are. You have heard the term “putting a square peg in a round hole” right? It seems silly, but many do this with audio every day. For example, you could use a flat head screw driver to tighten or loosen a phillips head (the star shape) screw… technically with enough force and frustration, it would work. However, wouldn’t it be...

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