Meet the Bakers: Joey A

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

Meet the Bakers: Dan Gonzalez

It was right about ninth grade when I first started getting into playing guitar. Before that I was all about the Clarinet until 8th grade – when I rebelled for a couple years and didn’t want anything to do with school band. It wasn’t until I entered my Junior year of highschool when I realized that there could be benefits to playing a wind instrument as well as a stringed. So, I joined a the choir, jazz, the string orchestra (upright bass), and directed the marching band during football season. Continue reading Meet the Bakers: Dan Gonzalez

Subtractive EQ Part 5: When Should I Boost EQ?

Missed Part 1? Read it here.

When should I boost?
Some of you may read this and field this very question.  Boosting is something that you can do any time you want with any given instrument.  Obviously it is your own choice in the matter but if you find yourself constantly pulling your faders up and down because your master level is clipping then you may want to apply these EQ techniques to your workflow. In my world it is always a matter of reducing first and then boosting later.

Conclusion
Mixing is as much of an art as it is understanding the logical ways that instruments interact with one another. Continue reading Subtractive EQ Part 5: When Should I Boost EQ?

Subtractive EQ Part 4: Bass

Miss part 1? Read Subtractive EQ – Snare Drum.

Bass
The bass in this track caters to fans of the early Metallica era.  Bassist Cliff Burton popularized this distorted sound on such tracks as (Anesthesia) Pulling Teeth.  It’s important to blend this type of bass tone into the bottom of the guitars.  In this mix the guitars and the bass become a single unit ebbing and flowing with one another at certain points through the song.

Understandably one can assume that there was much processing done to this track before it’s transfer into SONAR.  It’s important to capture the sound before you start mixing so that your mixing process is not a patch-job.

This tone is aggressive and piercing to the ear.  A significant way to know that this instrument needs attention is by the aural fatigue that you may experience while soloing this track and listening to it rather loudly for more than 10 seconds.  I aimed to adjust the bass track to fit like a glove under the mix by applying a HPF at 78Hz with a steep bandwidth setting.  The amount of bass here needs control. Using a compressor to control the sound would be redundant because of how much overdrive was applied to this track.  The overdrive has ultimately eliminated any trace of strong transients.

Lastly, there is another dip in the EQ around 2.2kHz.  This adjustment reduces some of the aforementioned piercing sound. Any harsh tones in this register will be too overbearing in the mix.

Subtractive EQ Part 2: Heavy Rhythm and Lead Guitars

Did you miss Part 1? Read Subtractive EQ for Snare Drum.

Guitars
Your guitar tone can change significantly by carving out the correct frequencies and reducing those that introduce unwanted noise. Distorted electric guitars tend to occupy most of the mid-range based on their nature of their sound. This mix was tricky because the band is instrumental and their music relies heavily on the layering of multiple guitar tones.

Rhythm Guitar 1

Here I have chosen to attenuate the unwanted rumbling of the of the low end of the rhythm guitars using the supplied HPF. The bass guitar is rather guitar-like in this song therefore it is important to make room for that. The HPF for Guitar 1 was applied at 50Hz and similarly to Guitar 2 at 47Hz. Why not the exact same frequency you ask? Having the slightest Continue reading Subtractive EQ Part 2: Heavy Rhythm and Lead Guitars

Subtractive EQ Part 1: Snare Drum

Introduction
Equalization is one of the most powerful tools that an audio engineer can get their hands on. Live engineers, post-production engineers, and recording engineers all have their specific uses for it. It’s so powerful that some beginner engineers habitually reach for it without understanding what it can ultimately do to a mix.

Overview
Let’s resonate on the concept of volume momentarily. It is in our human nature to enjoy music at high volume levels. Concerts are a great examples of this. Outdoor festivals and the like tend to blast our eardrums with massive amounts of volume that we cannot experience in any other format. To most, increasing volume directly correlates to better sound. In a mix setting, dramatically boosting various frequencies can be a crutch for inexperienced mix engineers. By increasing the gain of a specified frequency band on an EQ one can subsequently add unwanted gain to the overall mix. Typically the problem that follows is a battle to keep your master fader from clipping and you all of sudden feel stuck in a gain-staging paradox. This can happen to best of us.

In Use
Apply subtractive EQ techniques to your instruments. Instead of boosting your favourite signals try limiting yourself to cutting. We can call this concept “carving”. Let’s take a look at a musical example. This series of articles will demonstrate some key elements of a typical Rock Mix.

Snare
Generally the snare is the focal point of a typical rock oriented mix. I’ve started with all my faders down and raised the snare to a suitable level: 0dBu. This recording was tracked with two snare microphones. The bottom snare microphone captured the sizzle of the snare and the top microphone captured much of the attack.

Snare Bottom EQ

The first drawbacks I noticed when isolating the snare recordings Continue reading Subtractive EQ Part 1: Snare Drum

Free Download: White Knuckle Bass Presets for TH2 Producer

I sat down with some of my best session players to collaborate on 50 presets for TH2 Producer that are sure to add some grit to your low-end instruments. It’s no secret that my passion is mostly in the Rock and Metal world of music and I’ve felt that Bass doesn’t get enough love in those genres. Below are 5 examples from the Free Download that outline some great Rock and Metal lead, rhythm, clean, and ambient effects and I would definitely pull out of my bag of tricks for a record.

1. Pick Rhythm

Here’s a style of playing called “Djent” that has been popular in the last couple years. Typically this sound is done with down-tuned guitars but why not just use a bass? I’ve double-tracked this recording to give a wider sound Continue reading Free Download: White Knuckle Bass Presets for TH2 Producer

Karl Sanders of Nile talks SONAR and Metal

Nile’s sound comes from a mixture of down-tuned riffing, inhuman drum speeds, and lyrical content about ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia – making them one of the most technical groups that exists in the Extreme Metal genre. Karl Sanders was gracious enough to spend some time doing an interview with us about his writing process, heavy metal, and SONAR.

1. How long have you been a Cakewalk user? What version did you start with? I have been a Cakewalk user since the mid 90’s, starting with Cakewalk Pro Audio 5. I was writing songs and recording song demos of the early Nile songs that eventually became the Nephren-Ka album. I really went nuts with all available MIDI and audio tracks– adding tons of ethnic instruments and MIDI orchestrations to the record. Then when it came time to tour the album, I had the insane idea that maybe we could have all those extraneous tracks available to us in our live performances if I brought my PC with me and just ran Cakewalk. At that time in 1996-97 this was an unheard of concept in Death Metal and everyone thought I was a lunatic. Nowadays Continue reading Karl Sanders of Nile talks SONAR and Metal

21 Reasons to Check Out Addictive Drums ADPaks

Listen to some of these incredibly recorded ADPacks that are now available on the Cakewalk Store.

Vintage Dry

1. Late 70’s

2. Clean Shave

Session Percussion

3. Gentle Crush Continue reading 21 Reasons to Check Out Addictive Drums ADPaks

Cakewalk’s Top 5 Live Performances of 2009

HOB BostonWith the return of U2, Madonna and AC/DC to the stage, 2009 was another successful year for performance venues nationwide. The Cakewalk staff had a busy year as well, attending all sorts of concerts and festivals. Continuing on our quest to name our favorites of 2009, here are our choices for the ‘Top 5 Live Performances’. You can see our picks for the Top 5 Singles of 2009 in a previous post.

Anthony Conte: Ben Folds with the Boston Pops, Aimee Mann, Pete Yorn, Matthew Sweet, Cake

Carl Jacobson: Oneal Armstrong @ The Middle East (Boston, MA), DJ Z-Trip & Chuck D at the Shepherd Fairy Exhibit Party @ ICA (Boston, MA), The Pat Martino Trio feat. Tony Monaco @ Scullers (Boston, MA), Kokayi @ CMJ Showcase (NY, NY), Some traditional Appalachian band from West Virginia on the streets in the Mission District of San Francisco in September 2009

Keith Albright: Third Day, Casting Crowns, and Natalie Grant @ SoulFest (Gunstock Mountain, NH), Michael W. Smith, Todd Agnew

Tara Zanett: Journey (and Heart!), No Doubt, AC/DC

Steve Cox: Stevie Wonder at the 25th Anniversary Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Concert @ Madison Square Garden (NY, NY)

Josh Langberg: DJ Hell @ Resolute Warehouse (Brooklyn, NY), Skinny Puppy @ the Palladium (Worcester, MA), Raster-Noton, Alva Noto & Byetone @ Make It New (Middlesex Lounge – Cambridge, MA), Nitzer Ebb @ the Paradise (Boston, MA), Xanopticon @ The Armory (Somerville, MA)

Continue reading Cakewalk’s Top 5 Live Performances of 2009