Remixing is one of my favorite things to do in the studio for many reasons. For one thing the song has been written, so the pressure of writing a masterpiece is off my shoulders. I’m also able to listen to a song from beginning to end; a completed thought, if you will. I get creatively juiced immediately if I connect to it. That’s where the magical third thing kicks in – I get to put my musical stamp on another artist and pay tribute to their work by recreating their art through my eyes. It’s an opportunity to let the world crawl inside my head (scary as that may be) and hear it the way I do. (more…)
Z3TA+ 2 has been making a lot of noise lately and continues to be a favorite with critics and users all over the world. If you haven’t tried Z3TA+ 2 yet, you are missing out on one of the greatest synths of all-time. MusicRadar.com did a round-up of the 39 best plug-in synths in the world and Z3TA+ 2 came in at #13.
The interesting and never-boring Texas-native front man of MURDER FM, Norman Matthew, will be guest appearing on the Cakewalk blog every other Monday (NorMondays) delivering music production tips, tricks and conditional evilness. As a seasoned producer/songwriter/instrumentalist, he will be delving into his bag of production wickedness to shed some interesting light on how he approached sounds, songs and life in general;)
MURDER FM’s dark, edgy, and sleek style has been creating a buzz in the music industry domestically, and is quickly becoming a huge hit internationally. Norman Matthew and the band have established a cult-like following, propelling two of the bands’ videos “As Beautiful as You Are” and “Machine Gun Kisses “to the Top-Ten list on (more…)
When people ask me what I do for a living, it is often difficult for them to grasp the words; I record sounds and musical instruments that musicians use to create music. At Digital Sound Factory we breakdown the instrument to the fundamentals and capture the sounds that make up its character. Each note and playing style is recorded. We are essentially creating a ‘digital archive’ of musical instrument sounds that render playback on modern computers.
Creating sound expansion packs for Cakewalk synthesizers involves many steps in the development process. It’s a long journey from defining the scope of the sound set to hearing a sound when playing a MIDI note. This is an overview of how an expansion pack is born and what goes on behind the scenes.
Defining the Project
First we take a close look at the scope of the project and define the instruments and samples required.
Musicians, engineers, and studio time are not free, so the better prepared we are, the more we capture. Each instrument requires different considerations. Sampling drum’s is different from sampling synthesizers is different from sampling brass or winds. In the case of drums, how the drum should be tuned, number of velocity hits on center to the edge of the head, matching rim shots, various microphone placements, to name a few. Sampling brass or woodwinds will entail multiple volume levels of sustain, more breath, less breath, breath only, mutes, staccato, and more.
The Recording Process
Sampling is similar to recording music in some ways, but in other ways it is very different. The similarities are musicians are recorded in professional sound environments using microphones, mixing console, speakers, etc. The very different part is we are not there to record music. We record the instrument and its characteristics. I can’t begin to tell you how many sessions I have walked into and the musicians are ready to impress with great music. In these sessions we focus on the technique, not the music.
Each note the instrument is capable of playing is meticulously recorded at various amplitude levels and styles (ie: sustained, mute, fast attack, slow attack, soft, loud, etc.) using 4 – 16 microphones, fast computers, and Sonar. It is imperative that any addition sounds that are not part of the instrument, such as squeaky chairs, breathing, or noise from the musician are identified and eliminated during the recording process. Occasionally there are sounds that make their way into the sample and need to later be isolated and removed using software tools. All microphones, takes, tracks, hard drives, etc. are documented for use during the editing process.
Selection and Editing
After days, weeks, or months of recording, the tracks are reviewed and the best takes are sliced and copied to a new project. This may include as many as 4 to 16 tracks of microphones that can be mixed or separated to create the final individual .wav files for each pitch/velocity/etc. Selecting the best ‘takes’ involves a lot of listening and is essential to delivering the highest quality instruments. Any additional DSP (Digital Signal Processing), such as leveling, noise cancelation, equalization, and amplitude fades are completed at this stage. Sustained notes require looping the recordings to create a seamless pitch at the loop points. Loops are adjusted to lengths based on memory size targets. Each .wav file is tagged with the instrument name, style, and pitch identification.
SFZ files are created and used to map the incoming MIDI controller note number to the correct .wav file and location. The SFZ files are text files and use ‘opcodes’ or operation codes that are used to control various synthesizer program parameters. It contains relevant information about the instrument such as velocity, filter types, envelopes, LFO’s, and others. SFZ files are programmed for each playing style and sometimes combined to create layers.
This is where the instruments develop personality and flavor. SFZ files can be combined as elements to create layers. Filters, modulation sources and destinations, and effects are assigned. The program is named and saved to the relevant style folder.
Digital Sound Factory Recording Video
This video includes recording sessions for orchestral strings, winds, brass, and percussion in the concert hall and studio, drum kits and percussion, ethnic instruments, and grand piano.
Download DSF Expansion Packs for as low as $19.95
Stock up this weekend on DSF expansion packs for Dimension Pro/Dimension LE. The DSF collection features thousands of sounds for all types of music and genres. Included are Grand Pianos, Guitars, Basses, Classic Keys, Orchestral, Hollywood Sound FX and much more. Buy one or buy them all and save big during this special offer. Ends February 28th, 2013.
Halloween treat: Upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer and get Haunted EDM
Just in time for Halloween, we have added a new treat to the SONAR X2 Producer Content Club. When you upgrade to SONAR X2 Producer, you will get the Haunted EDM Rapture Expansion Pack free of charge.
Haunted EDM for Cakewalk’s Rapture is a patch collection of tormented soundscapes, ghoulish leads, disembodied pads, frightening drum hits, and scary basses that will possess your music and reanimate your sound palette. From the laboratory of mad scientist Encanti, this library comes loaded with premier tricks and treats. Electronic Dance Music producers, beware…your sound collection will never be the same.
Please note: Haunted EDM will automatically be delivered with your SONAR X2 Producer order along with the DSF Symphonic Strings HD pack.
Last week was our fourth installment of CakeTV Live, which we broadcast bi-monthly, live, from Center Staging in Burbank, CA. In this latest episode we showed over 450 live viewers the new features of SONAR X2. In case you missed it, the webinar is now available for viewing on CakeTV (or right from this web page, below).
During the webcast we did our best to cover all of X2′s new features like Smart Grid, ProChannel FX Chains, and R-MIX SONAR. However, there were a few new features that we didn’t have time to demo that we think are worth mentioning.
Watch the promo video to see Z3TA+ 2, Rapture, and Stutter Edit in action. What you hear was made exclusively with these 3 plugins!
Cakewalk and iZotope have teamed up to bring you three inspiring tools for electronic music at a price that will make you think you are dreaming! Save over 50% when you download the Electronic Musician’s Dream Bundle which includes:
Z3TA+ 2 (regular price: $99)
Rapture (regular price: $99)
iZotope Stutter Edit (regular price: $249)
Regularly $447 if purchased separately, you can download this special bundle for only $199.95 through July 24th – save over 50% off the regular price.