I have fond memories of watching Star Trek as a child. My father loved the show and we watched it together when he was home from work early enough. I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness on Saturday night. The movie is not one of the all time greats and it often parodies the original television show. That said it’s beautiful and extremely fun to watch. The entire film shines with pink and blue hues. The sound effects are also very good. In one scene two ships chase each other in Warp drive and the sound blew me away. It’s rare a movie does that. Take a look at the video above to see how sound designer Ben Burt created some of the effects in the movie. I was happy to hear he went the extra mile using things like styrofoam through a vacum cleaner. Everyone already knows Ben’s work as he created Dark Vader’s heavy breathing and the lightsaber hum.
“Much to the delight of Trekkies and science fiction fans everywhere, “Star Trek Into Darkness” zooms into theaters this weekend. Moviegoers will see big names such as Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana in the credits, but may miss another key role: that of sound designer. CNET’s Kara Tsuboi brings us this behind-the-scenes listen of how the sound effects were created in a studio far from Hollywood.” – cnet
This entry was written by effects, sounds and tagged Ben Burt, Sound Design, Star Trek. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Check out this hand made distortion feedback microphone with an arcade push to talk function. It’s called a Dr Moonstien. I can see this being used at many a live show around 3AM. It’s available on eBay (link).
“This is a hand built noise machine built by me. it is a push to talk mic with very cool arcade style big red button. you can mix your very overdrive mic preamp with 3 extremely nasty octave modulators. this is the ultimate noise crust mic kind of a death metal version of a vocoder can be used as a feedback machine. this is good noise machine for the person that is more into destructive tambor than clarity. great way to juice up those vocals or control feedback to do your evil bidding. runs on 9v battery has 1/4 inch audio out has regular volume knob and 3 volume knobs for the different octaves of crust. on off power toggle blue led.” – drmoonstien
For more info: ebay.com/itm/hand-built-noise-push-to-talk-noise-microphone
This entry was written by effects, hardware, live performance and tagged Distortion, Dr. Moonstein, ebay, feedback, microphone. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Ned Rush contacted me this morning leting me know about his new Max 4 Live device The Knobulator. I’ve mentioned another one of his devices Supacut previously (link). I like simple fast inspiring effects and putting a bunch of wild parameters on one knob makes a lot of sense. The key to make loops continually interesting/not repetitive is a thousand little edits and effects here and there. This guy can help make that process some fun. $20 USD.
“MaxForLive device for mashing up audio in realtime. Turn the knob and the effect comes on, stop turning it and it turns off. There are other options. Great for live performance as well as audio productions.” – Ned Rush
For more info: nedrush.blogspot.co.uk/p/the-knobulator-by-ned-rush.html
This entry was written by Ableton Live, effects, plug-ins and tagged Ableton Live, Max 4 Live, Ned Rush, plug-in, The Knobulator. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
So there is an all new version of Izotope’s Trash (Trash 2) that was just released. It’s certainly good and has hundreds of paramaters you can mess with. Sometimes however you just want a really good distortion unit with a few killer presets. Think about guitar pedals and imagine if they had a hundred options. That wouldn’t make sense. kiloHearts from Linköping, Sweden have plug-in called Faturator. It’s really nice, lightweight and with a great sound. This reads like a sales pitch and they did give me a NFR license however I really am using the plug-in a lot. Besides the “right” sounding fuzz and distortion there is a great stereo widener which I actually used a few times on its own (turning off the fuzz altogether). $19 USD Mac or PC.
“Faturator can do everything from adding subtle and warm gritty character to your sounds to slam them into a wall of heavy saturation and digital fuzz. Contrary to many distortion effects, Faturator will preserve the dynamics of your sound and work its wonders on it regardless of input gain. For the heck of it, it can also color the input to emphasize a specific tone of the sound, or throw some stereo width into the mix. Everything to give you a fast and easy way of making any input come alive.” – kilohearts.com
For more info: kilohearts.com/products/faturator
This entry was written by effects, plug-ins and tagged Distortion, Faturator, fuzz, kiloHearts, stereo, Sweden, widener. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Just listen to what the Skychord Cloudbuster does to a Juno-6 at around the 1:35 mark in the video above. It detunes the synth in a modulating say Clockwork Orange soundtrack type of way. Add a little of it’s Pre-amp gain and you have a scary vintage sounding distortion unit. So many little boxes of want lately. This one is $375 USD.
“The cloudbuster is a sequentially modulated lo-fi echo machine featuring harmonically dark burned out lightning strike repeats, howling gore ripping feedback, nightmare time based gurgling, and heavenly comatose modulations. At the heart of the cloudbuster is a four stage sequencer that modulates the delay time via a sequencer. This sequencer has a length of 2 or 4 steps.” – skychord.com
For more info: skychord.com/cloudbuster.html
My usual vocal chain is Shure SM7b, Api 512c, Wavearts Track5 (which I only use the Gate section) and Izotope Nectar. Recently I took my API Lunchbox and SM7b to a friends house to record. He didn’t have any plug-ins on his computer and I realized he needed compression on his vocals. When I bought my Lunchbox and 512c I also bought an API 527 compressor. It’s always been in the Lunchbox but I rarely use it. In fact, I’m ashamed to say I just use software compressors, mostly presets and never really figured out how to set my 527. That’s what this post is all about. This is a question to Wire to the Ear readers. What would be a good setting on my 527 compressor for vocals. What’s a good starter setting and what should I adjust?
I’ve already asked a friend (Cesar B. de Guzman aka @cyndiseui) on Instagram. I set my 527 as he thought would be a good start. He makes a lot of music but what do you think?
“527 is a VCA comp that has a very fast attack response. U could do this ratio 1 til 3. Attack 3 o clock. Release 8-9 o’clock. Set to new if you want something sparkling style or old as punch vintage type… The only thing you could adjust yrself is threshold. Technically you could leave from 2 to 3 db down from the threshold as a starter.” – cyndiseui
For more info: apiaudio.com/527.html
Today I thought I would give you a quick look at some of my workflow. Here’s how I often start creating an EBM (Electronic Body Music) style track. I’ve started a Eurorack modular system and you can see my first two pieces in action here. I have recorded a 5V Pulse into Ableton from the Korg SyncKontrol iOS app. I loaded the click into Simpler and use MIDI to create a pattern. In this example it’s a straight 16th note. I use Ableton Live to route the 5V click out of my Motu 828 MKIII into a Doepfer Dark Time analog sequencer. The Dark Time is not in sync with my Ableton MIDI set up. The Dark Time controls an Analog Solutions Telemark (SEM clone). 8 steps of CV variation and CV filter variation loop the bassline. I also have the Dark Time send a clock out to a Korg Monotribe. On the Monotribe I have muted the drums and just have it playing some lazer zap type sounds typically where you would find a snare drum. Using MIDI I have a Vermona DRM1 MKIII playing a kick and snare. The Monotribe’s clock out goes into an Intellijel uStep which sends a 16th note clock to a Make Noise Echophone. I have a MFB-522 drum machine in sync with Ableton via MIDI playing a clap. This clap is sent into the Echophon where it’s delay shimmers in 16 synced steps because of the uStep control. I can play with the Echophon’s pitch knob for a wicked nice analog clap delay effect. Is it worth all this effort? In my opinion yes. You can’t really get a sound like this without going analog. This part would make a good verse. Because I can pitch the bassline on a MIDI keyboard the next step is to make a Chorus, maybe change the Dark Time sequence length or patter slightly, add some pads from an Ensoniq ESQ-1 and add vocals. I hope you enjoyed the peek into a world where control is everything.
“CV/Gate (an abbreviation of Control Voltage/Gate) is an analog method of controlling synthesizers, drum machines and other similar equipment with external sequencers. The Control Voltage typically controls pitch and the Gate signal controls note on/off. This method was widely used in the epoch of analog modular synthesizers, beginning in the 1960s and up to the early 1980s. It was mostly superseded by the MIDI protocol, which is more feature-rich, easier to configure reliably, and more easily supports polyphony.” – wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_voltage
For more info: thehorrorist.com
This entry was written by effects, modular, synthesizer and tagged ableton, Ableton Live, Analog Solutions, Dark Time, Doepfer, drum machine, Echophone, Korg, Make Noise, MFB, Monotribe, synthesizer, Telemark, The Horrorist, Things to Come Records. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Every now and then I will grab a stack of old photo from storage, scan them and get them onto flickr. I came across this set from a Disintegrator (my first band with John Selway) show in 1996. It took place in Monticello NY. I decided it would be interesting to record a call with John and let him see these photos at the same time. Deadmau5 eat your heart out because we play live. Listen to the audio interview as we discuss everything on stage and more. Be sure to follow the link at the bottom of this post to see all the photos on flickr.
“The planetary journey continues on Saturday October 12, 1996 at the illustrious Concord Resort Hotel nestled within the Catskill Mountains just 1 hour north of New York City. For URANUS, the fifth in a series of planetary parties we have selected an unparalleled lineup of the best DJ’s and producers in the galaxy. The world renowned Concord Resort is one of New York State’s Largest exhibition centers featuring over 170,000 square feet of raw space. We will be converting this space into two MASSIVE dancing arenas complete with CLAY PACKY GOLDEN SCAN HPE series fixtures, J WOLF SOUND, and a huge ARGON laser sweeping overhead. For those wishing to continue your journey, the excitement continues. After the party rooms are available. The Concord resorts features indoor and outdoor swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms, and a plethora of recreational facilities to suit your every need. For reservations please contact the Concord after September 1, 1996 at 1-800-CONCORD and ask for the planetary group rate.”
To see the full set of photos: flickr.com/thingstocomerecords/721…
This entry was written by drum machine, effects, hardware, interviews, live performance, synthesizer and tagged Disintegrator, Industrial Strength Records, John Selway, The Horrorist, Things to Come Records. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
One of the major reasons for starting this blog was to share my studio notes with you. I love sharing the creation process and hearing feedback. Take This Step was released last month with remixes by Pet Duo, Mark Hawkins, Brian Burger and Lenny Dee. You can get the full details of the song including a promo video on it’s original post page: click here. Today let’s get into how I created it. My last album Joyless Pleasure was very autobiographical, song structured, love songed and a real listeners album. For my next album Fire Funmania which will be released later this year I wanted to go back to my roots a bit. The first single Take This Step clears the way. Lyrically it has two themes. You can take the song literally as an indoctrination anthem. Join the army, the troop and fight. You can decide if I am being satirical or not. However, the theme could also be about getting a day job or even being pushed into marriage and society. As a 42 year old trying to conform and be healthy yet keep my art pure surely there’s a reason I was able to make this song. The arrangement shows the nervous tension with 5 parts growing to a peak each higher than each other until the cresendo at the end. I think I’m trying to say yes it’s ok to join but if you do do it strong, properly and aggresively!
Ok so yeah now to the toys. There are several kick drums on the track. I’ve been DJing on my Traktor S4 a bit and you can hear that influence here. As I use NI’s Traktor anytime I put a loop into one of the Sample Decks and it loops more than 2 times is saves the loop on my hard drive for later use. I grabbed 2 of the kicks on Take This Step from this folder. I also created 2 kicks on my Jomox Mbase 01 which is signed by Jürgen Michaelis. The Mbase has a depth you can’t get from samples. There are parts of the song where you hear the underlying kicks booming and that’s the Mbase in action. In sections of the song there is a Boss DM-100 bucket-brigade analog delay on the kicks. You can hear it right away as the song starts. The ride is from my MFB-522. The 522 is like a mini Roland TR-808 and I like it quite a lot. You can get some really clean shimmering rides from it that again most of the time samples can’t match. I used Ableton Live’s built in Auto Filter to cut some of the high’s out from it so it fit well in the song. There are some large long white noise crashes that bring in new sections. Those are from an Ensoniq ESQ-1. I bought a Crystal-X cartridge off eBay that has a few hundred sounds on it and the crash/smash is on there.
The main synth is a Moog Slim Phatty going through Audio Damage’s Vapor diffusion chorus plug-in. In different sections of the song the main synth pattern changes. I used 3 plug-ins each seperately at different times to achieve the different synth patterns: Izotope’s Stutter Edit, PSP’s N20 and Sugar-Bytes Turnado. These are the type of plug-ins that are nearly impossible to replicate in hardware without a serious amount of work. What I usually do is go through the presets, do some editing and then render the same part 5-10 times. Then as the song plays back into the section I swap out the different renderings and choose the one that’s the coolest. It’s that little extra work that makes all the difference. Towards the end of the song there is a build up where the synth starts panning, changing and “lifting”. This was done with Sugar-Bytes Effectrix and automation.
I wanted to keep these vocals clean and commanding. The chain was a Shure SM7b mic through an API 512c micpre. I also used Izotope’s Nectar plug-in. There’s quite a few places where the last song in a verse has some effects on it. Like the synth parts I would render the last word, move it to a blank channel, load several effects on the channel and change presets, edit and render about 5 different versions. I would again listen back to the song with replacing each version and choosing the best one.
I follow my own advice and the faders were all at about half height so the mix came out nice and clean. I added some volume to the master file using Izotope’s Ozone. I didn’t work on this song all day in a succession of days so it’s hard to tell you exactly how long it took to create it. I would guess about a full week or two weeks on and off. For me the most difficult part is always the arrangement. It’s like a puzzle and if you don’t feel inspired or take the time to get it right you can really ruin a song. So this song is a mix of the best hardware and software I have.
The next single which comes out in August is called The Man Master. I shot a music video for it in Berlin, there are remixes by David Carretta, Millimetric and Dupont and there will be a limited edition 7″. Production wise this song is a full analog affair using only analog sequencers and such. More on that when it’s released!
“The Horrorist’ new single is pretty awesome. His new record is going to be the best one yet.” – alexxaugustus (via Twitter)
This entry was written by effects, hardware, music, promotion, song writing, synthesizer and tagged song writing, The Horrorist, Things to Come Records. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.
Williamsburg Brooklyn has another boutique pro-audio store! Just last month we saw the modular synth shop Control open and now my good friend Dan Physics and his business parter Blue Wilding have opened Audio Power Tools. Dan cut his teeth as a manager at the flagship Guitar Center store on 14th street and now he’s working exclusively with high end stuff. The great thing is they will let you try before you buy which is important because unless you work in recording studios most people don’t have access to say a Germanium micpre.
“Only the good stuff…with the highest performance, value and support for working pros. Every purchase is a balance of necessity and personal taste. Our “demo-based shopping” helps you make confident decisions.” – Audio Power Tools
This entry was written by effects, hardware and tagged Audio Power Tools, Brooklyn, Dan Physics, pro-audio, Williamsburg. Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.