Achieve More Professional Sounding Vocal Tracks With VocalSync

by Jimmy Landry

Things have obviously changed in music production over the years, but just recently a few technological advances have surfaced that are game-changers. One of these items includes the VocalSync technology inside the new SONAR Platinum. What exactly is VocalSync and why should you care? Here is one real-world practical example:

VocalSync is a tool that’s integrated directly inside of SONAR Platinum which gives anyone working with vocals 2 distinct benefits:

1. The ability to save a lot of time from manual editing
2. The sonic advantage of producing tight professional sounding multi-tracked vocals

It does this by “guiding” or conforming the information on one track to match another more fluently. The outcome of this is a much more professional production sound in the vocal tracks.

Let’s take a look at a real-world example: Recently, I had the good fortune to work with a great artist from Finland by the name of Peppina who has made a name for herself through Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s brainchild platform HitRecord. If I had to compare or categorize her music I would say it’s a modernized version of Dido sprinkled with some Sarah Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. With my producer hat on, I thought to myself that her vocals needed to be very large and wide on the tracks, but they also needed to sound authentic, realistic and intimate. To achieve this sound for the lead vocal, I used VocalSync to tighten 3 “takes” that would work together strategically in the stereo field. Continue reading Achieve More Professional Sounding Vocal Tracks With VocalSync

When To Break The “Rules” Of Digital Mixing

Recently I was asked to create a song for a new short film that will be making the rounds on this year’s film festival circuit.  I got the creative brief [I had to write for a specific subject in the film] and got to work writing and recording everything myself in SONAR X3. Thankfully, SONAR X3 has pretty much everything you need to make a radio-ready track in the box; even if you are a #hack-of-all-trades like me. 😉  It was requested that this song have some grit to it, as well as some acoustic-oriented authenticity, so I grabbed my 5-Year Old’s harp out of his toy chest, my acoustic guitar, and got to work.  The only outboard gear used on this track were a Tascam UH-7000, an AT4033a mic, my Les Paul DC and Carlos Robelli bass.  I also played Dimension Pro organ through a controller.

THERE ARE NO MIXING RULES (KIND OF)

After writing the song on an acoustic and then tracking everything, it was time to mix.  I love mixing in the digital world because there really are no rules in terms of creativity.  Once you understand the basics of frequencies and how to put tracks together properly, you can really get creative with the Continue reading When To Break The “Rules” Of Digital Mixing

A Holiday Miracle: 24 Hours To Write, Record, Produce, Mix A Commercial Track in SONAR X3

“Audio Production Jobs” come in all shapes and sizes these days;-)  Yes, the music industry in general has shrunken to an all-time low in terms of major label budget projects, but the flip side is that there are many nooks and crannies out there to stay creative while making money.  I think the key these days is getting into as many industry circles as possible, and then over-delivering.  If you’re handed a job for writing, mixing, producing or even recording, and you knock it out of the park the first time with low-no hassles to the client, you will certainly come to mind on the next round.  I would also be willing to bet that your name will be referred to other folks outside of that job’s “circle.”  You just never know to where things are going to lead.

Stemming from this theory, I have been fortunate enough to work on some pretty diverse projects ranging from title tracks for Pokémon DVD’s to Major Label artists and just about everything in between in one form or another.  For the work I do now, the one thing that gives me an edge using SONAR X3 Producer over other DAWs is the quickness of the workflow; which contributes to music creation diversity.  Sounds deep right? …well it kind of is.  Here’s a real-world example with italicized words in red representing why SONAR X3 features are crucial to me when facing tough audio jobs.

Just a few weeks ago I was contacted by NYC singer-songwriter Jodi Good’s music attorney Steven Beer on a Friday night to discuss an opportunity for a “Holiday Song” to be placed with a major publication [for Monday].  Now usually, “Holiday Songs” are recorded around August or September and we were already at the end of November, so I knew this was going to be a tough one to accomplish especially since the song had to be written, recorded and mixed fast.  The other strike against me was that this one was a bit out of my rock, and pop-rock comfort zones, but I knew the challenge would be a good experience on many different levels, so I decided to fire up the eggnog and go for it.  Plus I had the comfort of knowing that Jodi is a great songwriter especially in the lyric department, so it was “weekend on.”

Literally that night Jodi was sending me vocal-only words and melodies as text messages on my Samsung S4.  She doesn’t play an instrument and we didn’t have the benefit of time, so we had to start writing via virtual and digital means.  I instantly forwarded them via email to my HP Z400 main rig where I drag-and-dropped them into a session for reference where they automatically created audio tracks.  The next move was simply pulling them down to a midi track where Melodyne’s ARA technology kicked in instantly giving me the notes in Midi.  This helped me to figure out the best chord structures for the verses and pre-chorus and also allowed me to see where I could go writing the chorus melody.  After about a half hour on my trusty acoustic, I had the bones to send back to Jodi via text.

[I’m going out on a limb here for your laughing pleasure 😉 Here’s the actual writing file on my phone which is what I texted back to Jodi when we were writing the melody – so you can hear how the song started, and where it ended.] Continue reading A Holiday Miracle: 24 Hours To Write, Record, Produce, Mix A Commercial Track in SONAR X3

Shawn Clement: On A [Quantum] Quest with Intense Music

Award winning SONAR user – composer/producer Shawn Clement is at an exciting point in his “intense” career: 

  • His credentials and track record have allowed him to open an office/SONAR studio at the heart of Paramount Pictures.
  • He just had a major successful event at The Kennedy Center in DC where his music was premiered during “A Tribute to the Wounded Warriors.”
  • On July 29th he will be hosting a score party at Paramount Pictures for his original music in “Quantum Quest, A Cassini Space Odyssey 3D.”

Little did he know, when in 1996 Shawn Clement took on a “gig,” that he would be stapling a movement to the universe’s musical bulletin-board.  “Reality TV – what’s that? Who’s going to take interest in that?” These were some of the questions flying around the conference rooms of major television networks back then.  Well it just so happens that still to this day 95% of us get sucked into the inevitable antics of The World’s Wildest… The World’s Scariest…  The World’s Most… You know, those shows that catch your eye when you’re flicking through the channels and catch a quick glimpse of a Corvette being severed in half by a semi-truck; and there it is – wham – a half hour later and you have neither moved from that channel, nor your seat for that matter. Continue reading Shawn Clement: On A [Quantum] Quest with Intense Music