Thursday, June 27, 2013

Using Aiwa Q Sound Boombox as an Effects Processor


Aiwa Boombox (CA-DW480) has "QSound" onboard. It makes reverb, delays and hard panned sounds seem to appear outside of the speaker box, and bring them forward. This model boombox has RCA inputs (Aux) and headphone (mini jack output). The Qsound processor also affects the headphone jack. That means you can use Qsound as a musical effect! Your sounds and mixes will have a gigantic, impossible soundstage that uses psychoacoustics.

This is a low-fidelity hack, sort of like a bargain plugin. Apparently there are different types of Qsound and encoders. This one says "Virtual Stereo." It is one of the better 3d expansion effects I've heard.

In the early 90s it seems that Madonna and other artists had their music specifically encoded for Qsound. But I'd say the 3d effect works on a lot of content, sort of like Dolby Prologic will, but only with 2 speakers.

I'm not sure they meant for the headphone jack to output Qsound, but this could be useful for someone who likes to experiment. If you find the encoding software you could mix for the Qsound, then "print" the output from the headphone jack. People without QSound should be able to hear what you did.

Calibrating Speakers Limits Their Performance

If you are using Room Control or Room EQs you are not getting the most performance out of your speakers/monitors. In theory calibration sets your monitors closer to a certain specification. This only works in one point of the room. Calibration limits the peak performance in all the other areas of the room. Your speaker's natural performance capabilities are also tapered. This is similar to when setting your color TV to "what looks the best" (peak performance) instead of setting it to neutral color balance (calibrated). If you want your speakers to sound the best, set them by ear. I do not believe in calibration any longer. Its not useful for mixing.

The only pros to calibration is that everything will seem smoother. This is great for playback in a bad room. It may help intelligibility somewhat. But you do lose the "wow" factor from your system, which might have been why you bought it in the first place.

Color TV also looks different at different brightness or gamma. The same goes for speakers. They will sound different at different volume the moral of the story is to set the controls to what you like for peak performance. Most of the time calibration always hit the mark anyway. When creating we want to see and hear as much information as we can, and for some people that might be turning Room EQs off, or just bumping up the bass for awhile. You can use your own judgement and experiment with what works.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dubstep Drums Effects Processing Tutorial.

This is a pretty good dubstep drums effects processing tutorial from Audio Tuts. This is for Ableton but the basics apply to other environments and EDM genres.

To sum up what he does in this video:

1. Layer 3 different snares.

2. Layer a clicky, short bass with a subby bass (longer sine wave), then shortens the audio overall length.

3. Add a variety of real hi-hat sounds (stereo) in between the main rhythm. You could use toms, shakers, or any sound.

4. Add a high pass filter on the hi-hats bus / group.

5. Low Pass filter the kick drums very low for headroom. Add a "smiley" EQ curve for less midrange.

6. Add a Compressor with slow attack & release (200-300ms) to kicks, which preserves the attack. 3:1 or 1:5 ratio? -2db Gain Reduction? Adds a notch for the snare, and a slightly smiley eq.

7. Add a parametric EQs to the snares, sweep to where it sounds the best and boost. Add a low pass filter & mid dip. Add a compressor again.

8. Remember to save.

9. Variates the rhythm again. Adjust fader levels.

10. Puts reverb on the snares with a hi-pass.

11. Optional: Use gates to adjust the tail end of the sounds

12. Add any types of effects you like. There are no rules.



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Drum Machine Samples - Links To Download

Here are some links to Drum Machine & Drum Samples. I'm keeping these as bookmarks for the future. Synth Drums

A cool sample pack:
now a 330+mb zipfile

A huge archive!

collections of freestuff from one of the nets best sample groups.

Netboy, a very old site I've talked about before!

Some more kits: - drumkits page

Monday, June 3, 2013

My Current Mastering Chain



Here is an overview of my current output chain. I'm keeping it here so I don't forget!

1. Ozone Imager

I use this to make the mix brighter and give it a wider soundstage. This plugin can change dynamics so I don't do too much.

2. SSLCompressor

This plugin is like an auto-volume for me. It gives some movement to the sound that I like.

3. L3 LL Multi-maximizer

I have a custom mastering setting that I use for this. It also helps me keep the band balance in check. The limiting gives me a boost. This plugin is very useful. Ultimately, I end up editing my settings.

4. PSP Vintage Warmer

I like the way this sounds post limiter. If I am doing a lot of limiting, this can give something back into the mix.

5. H-Compressor.

I use this as parallel compression at 40% wet. It brings out some of the reverb / noise.

6. Space Designer.

I use IR files to check to see if the bass end of my mix is interfering with my mids. I check to see if things are intelligible in a large or boomy space that I don't have access to in the real world.

7. TT Dynamic Range Meter

I check the clipping on this one and also to make sure I didn't lost much dynamic range. If I lost more than 5db range though my mastering chain, I better go back and check the settings.

I also take this time to make sure things sound okay on my PC stereo speakers. I have them pushed together like a mono set. They do not have tweeters and are small enough to check the midrange.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Club Simulation In A Plugin


With's IR files, you can simulate a club and check your final mixes on that system virtually.

This comes with preset files for Voxengo Pristine Space but you can load the Audio files into Logic's Space Designer and any IR plugin. Set your mix to 100% wet.

Downsides are that this method does not simulate certain distortions and other dynamics. But I find its a better technique than using a pure simulator plugin like TB_Isone.

One thing you might want to do is monitor this in mono. You are probably supposed to use headphones, but I think its not asbolutely necessary.