Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mixing Outside the Box - how and why

I know I keep banging on about this month's thrill - coming out of the box for the Sons and Daughters record. So I thought I would explain my thinking (and feeling). The project was beautifully recorded onto "One Inch" 16 track Analogue Tape. I wanted to integrate my usual "In the Box" mixing method into the whole process. I have fallen in love with the working method of setting up mixes and adjusting them later after input from Band, Producer, Record Company. Letting the mixes grow and be inspired by different tunes and mixes across the album is a method I really value, as a way of navigating the route to the best possible result, especially when I am not mixing the whole time with the band.

So I put together a "white room" for a month at Strongroom, initially with my rig, Apogee Ensemble and Metric Halo ULN-8 convertors, and a rented Fat Bustard. This has enabled me to work alone, and with Scott from Sons and Daughters and Keith (the producer). Recall on the Fat Bustard is very simple (most of the controls are notched), and everything else is recalled with the session and so the album has been taking shape nicely.

Finally I have rented an Ampex ATR 102 for a day at the very end of the session, so when all the mixes are approved I shall be able to print the whole album to half inch tape at 30 ips, as well as back into Logic at 96k.

ATR arrives in my Mixroom

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Monday, 20 December 2010

Adding SSD to my Mac Pro

I have an old (3 years) Mac Pro and I was chatting to Hasan from macxperts about what a great machine it has been and is for audio. He suggested a very cost effective upgrade for my Tower - SSD drive for System Apps and Audio. So I bought one from OWC

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Aggregate Audio Issues in my World - a simple solution

I came out the box for the Sons and Daughters LP Mix, and it was a new experience for me. I have successfully tracked in the past with my ULN-8 and my Ensemble at 44.1k so I was hoping for a simple and stable solution again - though this project was 96k. I had quite a few problems - interfaces not being recognised, terrible glitchy audio, no audio, Logic complaining about wrong sample rate and more. I had to replace the firmware on the ULN-8 and the Ensemble although both were already at latest firmware and latest drivers when I started the project, it seemed they became corrupted. Shutdowns did not always solve the problem, and though I was enjoying the project, the music, the audio and the challenge I found it very frustrating at times, and wondered if my system would be more stable with 2 Ensembles or 2 ULN-8s instead (though I would still have to aggregate). I also considered (and am still very interested in) a non aggregate 16 output system using an Aurora 8 hooked up to my ULN-8.

After reinstalling the firmware on the Ensemble I followed the instructions exactly and switched on the computer before powering up the Interface. This made me think that switch on order might be important, so from then on I booted the computer before switching on any Audio Interfaces. This seems to work very much better, and now my system seems to be stable and very useable.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Sons & Daughters mix

Starting mixing in Strongroom 11. LP is 16 track Analogue and beautiful that is too. I have come out the box at 96k into a Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard. Having fun so far.IMG_0954

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Settled into Strongroom 11

I set up my pop-up studio in Strongroom 11 for a little while. Mixing "Emmy the Great" and then "Sons & Daughters" Nice to be back in Shoreditch. I've been coming for 30 years :-)